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Spicy food

New Jersey
Level Contributor
66 posts
34 reviews
Spicy food

I have been reading that most of the cuisine in Santa Fe is unlike any other as far as spicy/heat is concerned. I am not a big fan of spicy or hot food. Am I going to have a problem? I really enjoy Mexican food but do not like heat/spicy. The Group of people I am traveling with really enjoy eating spicy food. So my question is what do the food experts recommend me to do? Also, can you recommend a place for northern Mexican food that has non-spicy options. Thanks

9 replies to this topic
Los Alamos, New...
Level Contributor
3,282 posts
149 reviews
1. Re: Spicy food

This will be no problem. You can ask for any dish to be served not spicy. Happens all the time.

Albuquerque, New...
Level Contributor
2,039 posts
45 reviews
2. Re: Spicy food

When they ask “red or green”. Say either “neither” or “on the side”. The latter makes you seem less pusillanimous.

Los Alamos, New...
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Los Alamos
Level Contributor
1,010 posts
216 reviews
3. Re: Spicy food

"Northern Mexican" [sic] food? If this is what you mean rather than "Northern *New* Mexican," which is a totally different beast, you may be disappointed, precisely because they are different and because Santa Fe is, well, in northern New Mexico, not northern Mexico. For "Mexican" -- not New Mexican -- fare in general, Sazon is the best (and most expensive) game in town. I don't have enough experience with their menu to separate "Northern" Mexican from other Mexican fare, however. I would judge most of their menu to be consistent with what you get (or at least what I've had) around Mexico City, but there may be some "northern" things on the menu as well. Go to their web site (reachable from the applicable TA page) and check it out. Another place to consider is Gabriel's, which also has fantastic "New Mexican" and "Southwestern" fare, and is the first place that comes up in this forum for most restaurant recommendations. They do have things like fish tacos, so you can go, if not "Northern" Mexican, at least "Western Coastal" Mexican while your friends enjoy the spicier New Mexican fare.

If you intended instead the distinctive cuisine of Northern New Mexico, but without (or with minimal) the distinctive chile peppers, bleen68's recommendation is the way to go, and there are many options; indeed, almost anywhere that serves New Mexican fare will oblige on this. Note, however, that you will be missing out on the main thing that makes this cuisine distinctive.

New Jersey
Level Contributor
66 posts
34 reviews
4. Re: Spicy food

I did mean New Mexican. Thank you for taking the time for giving such a detailed explanation.

Los Alamos, New...
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Los Alamos
Level Contributor
1,010 posts
216 reviews
5. Re: Spicy food

OK, then. You really can't go wrong with Gabriel's; simply get one of the things on the back page of their menu, which generally don't involve chiles. My sons recommend the fajitas strongly; they are attractively seasoned without being spicy-hot. (The fajitas, not my sons!) This will be true of most other places that serve fajitas as well. Another place with interesting options for mixed parties in the spicy-food-tastes sense is Mucho Gusto, a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant near the downtown area. The "New Mexican" page on the menu delivers on the chile promise, but the "house specialties" generally are not strongly hot. These should at least get you started.

Edited: 22 April 2018, 00:07
Kalispell, Montana
Destination Expert
for Glacier National Park, Santa Fe, Sedona
Level Contributor
11,175 posts
798 reviews
6. Re: Spicy food

New Mexican dishes for non-spicy preferring palates can be super hot even if its mild to others tastes. There is less cheese and sour cream to temper it as well. They serve fewer beans and more often, Pozole a side dish made with hominy and spices. Chile sauces here tend to be mostly straight/pure pureed Chile peppers with a bit of salt and oregano, sometimes onion. Chili (note the spelling difference)...which you are used to in other places and in typical Mexican restaurants has a big variety of herbs mixed into it like cumin. We love both NM and Mexican. Rarely do we ever find the too-hot problem in regular Mexican restaurants and we eat a lot of it. NM food seemed extremely hot years ago but now we have gotten used to it...they say people build up a tolerance to the heat....and that seems true over time.

NM specializes in growing its variety of chiles and the flavors...to fans...can vary from region to region. It can also vary in hottness from year to year and from field to field. Most restaurants do have choices on their menus as mentioned because visitors from other areas of the country in general, and some elders can be spice sensitive...as are the little kids. Plus sometimes, you just plain want something else to eat.

................

Santa Fe however, is a dining destination with over 350+ restaurants of all kinds. There are a lot of other great restaurants with different cuisines altogether...Italian, Spanish, Oriental, BBQ, Brewery Pub Grills, Steakhouses, restaurants like Geronimo with its Game-centric menu, local hamburger stands like the Blake's Lotaburger and the Bang Bite Filling Station (https://www.bangbitesantafe.com) which has an amazing variety of gourmet burgers. There are bakery cafes like the wonderful Clofouti's. The cafe up at Musem Hill has a very diverse menu and some nice desserts. You will also see all the the familiar chain restaurants seen everywhere else. Those are not in the Plaza area but generally along the Cerrillos Road with the familiar chain hotels.

The big hotels all have their own restaurants with varied menus since they cater to visitors with all kinds of tastes...La Fonda's Plazuela, the Inn on the Loretto's Luminaria, El Dorado Hotel's Agave...

I too recommend Gabriel's mentioned above for both its menu and country ambience. They make the best table-side guacamole ever...they will ask you if you want everything in it...just omit the jalapenos. They have salads, huevos rancheros, and fajitas too. They make their own corn tortillas too. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/59d5d61a2278e755eba83935/t/5a02c9ee8165f56e6f2d81bb/1510132207028/Lunch+Menu+June+2017.pdf

For true Mexican...Los Portrillos on Cerrillos Rd. https:/…

Ranch House or Cowgirl BBQ for BBQ http://theranchhousesantafe.com

Mucho Gusto is a hidden favorite for a varied menu and milder spice. http://www.muchogustosantafe.com/menu.html

Rio Chama and the Bull Ring for steak and lobster.

Posas for Tamales in a very casual cafe. http://santafetamales.com/our-menu/

The Plaza Cafe on the Plaza has a great menu for varied tastes. It is the oldest and longest running cafe in Santa Fe and deserves its good reputation. https://www.plazacafesantafe.com

Jinja for Oriental. jinjabistro.com/lunch---dinner-menu.html

If you go to the restaurant listings on TA, you can search through them, read their menus and most recent reviews. It will be hard to narrow down the choices...choose a few and then ask us. A lot of us down in Santa Fe are foodies and have eaten in more places than you can imagine.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
Level Contributor
22,300 posts
58 reviews
7. Re: Spicy food

I've found that the food at Tomasita's is very mild unless you ask for spicy! The chicken tacos I had had just plain chicken, cheese and lettuce and salsa was on the side. www.tomasitas.com .Also Del Charro has mild cheese quesadilla if you ask for it without green chile. Or ask for it on the side. Many times the green chile is mild and just has a green chile flavor. At Gabriels you can get tableside guacamole made to order, you can get it without chiles or spices. You can order burgers most places so you can have plain your spicy loving friends can have a green chile cheeseburger. Try Del Charro, Santa Fe Bite, Second Street Brewing, Santa Fe Bar and Grill, Tiny's (also has karoke) The Shed, La Choza and many more.

Check https:/…

Oklahoma City...
Destination Expert
for Oklahoma City
Level Contributor
2,057 posts
133 reviews
8. Re: Spicy food

Just out of curiosity, what do you consider "too spicy/hot?"

For me Poblano peppers are very mild; Jalapenos are low medium; Cayenne are high medium; Habanero are low hot and Ghost Peppers are high hot.

But the father in law of a friend thinks Poblanos are too spicy/hot.

You might give some sort of reference as to what is "too hot" for you.

:)

Saint Louis...
1 post
9. Re: Spicy food

Here are some other great Restaurants you can try in Santa Fe, NM . Vinegrette on Don Cubano Alley. More than just salads, very good. For family friendly Italian; Piccolino's especially great for pizza, pasta,Their seafood pasta is marvelous as is their fried calamari appetizer. Note: on the Calamari (They give you so much just order a green salad with it for dinner.) My husband often ordered their or Veal Parrmigania "as good as NYC" he used to say. Piccolino's is very consistent in their foods flavor and quality. one of my favs in Santa Fe. For a little dressier Itallian You can't go wrong with Andiamo on Garfield St. For Japanese food that is more than Sushi, try Konami on Guadalupe St. or Tokyo Cafe in a shopping center off Cerrillos Rd. Authentic and fresh They have a salmon rice bowl that is one of my favorites. Hope this helps.

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