It’s a light-year from necessary to love art to enjoy The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. But if you don’t love art, you will crave more when you emerge into the daylight of a brilliant Santa Fe afternoon. You can see it all in 90 minutes, and it is worth a trip. If you find yourself in northern New Mexico, you simply must see this collection. The National Gallery of Art in the District of Columbia has more of her very best paintings, but that national treasure and its thousands of great artworks merits a full day. Besides, you’ll never find a parking space in Washington.
G. O. was an abstractionist who didn’t have to be. O’Keeffe learned painting in the art school manner: copy the great works of others and master their techniques. The skills to do photo-realism are on display in her floral and bones paintings, but cameras can do that. Her goal was always to re-create the feeling, or the spirit that moved her while painting, and preserve it in pigment. Art lends a different perspective to the world and broadens horizons. Kat and I left that museum quiet, inspired, and contemplative.
That same morning we stopped at a newer El Parasol to scratch my breakfast burrito itch. This Parasol has a rustic-modern dining area (most locations are purely take-out) and a decidedly upscale feel. Ah, but the prices are exactly the same! Kat ordered a bacon and egg taco with red chile sauce on a soft corn tortilla. I chose their bacon, egg, and potato burrito (in a flour tortilla) with green chile sauce. We shared a superb cold horchata, which is rice milk with sugar, cocoa, and cinnamon. Everything was delicious, and Road Food’s rating was completely justified: “It’s worth a trip from anywhere.”
After raving over that breakfast to El Parasol’s cashier, she asked us to vote in the Santa Fe newspaper’s Best Of 2016 readers’ poll. Voting led us to review 2015’s results; there Cowgirl BBQ won the best restaurant award. Cowgirl has an innovative chef, and I was drawn to standards such as Chicken Fried Steak and their Barbecued Beef Sandwich. Better yet, they offered The Mother of All Green Chile Cheeseburgers (made with a blend of bison and beef, brie, plus the usual suspects) and a real novelty item, Yak and Beef Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and a special glaze. We had skipped breakfast, and ordered beers with chips and salsa. Then I noticed the SIZE of the burgers and BBQ sandwiches: they were bigger than the inside of a size 8 Stetson. Kat ordered pulled pork quesadillas. I picked a lamb slider with chimichurri sauce. It was still too much food. We had the last of those still-delicious quesadillas for dinner.
And there you go: Three reasons to take a trip to Santa Fe from anywhere.