It’s a well-known fact that Santa Fe is a special place. Known as The City Different, there is a magical feeling in the air and a variety of unique comestible shops. These are a few of my favorites that promise to beef up your culinary ingredients and ensure you have a well-stocked bar.
Calling all wine lovers! Would you believe that there is a phenomenal wine and liquor store in Pojoaque, about 15 minutes north of Santa Fe on Interstate 84? It’s definitely an anomaly, but one that oenophiles willingly drive to procure some of the city’s finest wines available.
Whether you seek a bottle of hard-to-find champagne or a Barolo from a particular year or a must-have mezcal, head straight to Kokoman’s and do not pass go. It’s that amazing.
Wherever we travel, we are pros at finding the best pickles and fermented foods in the area, so it was no surprise when we stumbled upon the Barrio Brinery. Hidden in a Santa Fe-style strip center off West Alameda, the Barrio Brinery makes an assortment of pickles, sauerkraut and escabeche that can be purchased directly at this location where they make the pickles, as well as at numerous restaurants around town that proudly use Barrio Brinery fermented foods.
If you are on the hunt for fermented foods, stop here for a taste of probiotic happiness. Your gut will thank you.
As a dedicated home cook, I invariably need to access hard-to-find spices (such as sumac, za’atar, berber, powdered curries etc.) that aren’t readily available at any of the city’s many grocery stores. I recently had some sumac and za’tar shipped to me but was forced to purchase 1 lb. bags, which are likely to go bad long before I can use it all.
Enter the Savory Spice Shop. Located on Galisteo, just down the street from the Plaza, this store is everything I could have imagined and more. Though it seems to be a franchise-type concept, what’s important is the herbs and spices are fresh and available in small packages, so there’s less waste.
The shelves are well-stocked with classic spices for every possible global dish you can think of. Latin American, check.
Middle Eastern, you bet. World flavors, such as Indian, Chinese and Southeast Asia, absolutely.
Europe and the Mediterranean, affirmative. Africa and the Middle East, of course.
And if you are into baking, they have plenty of options for you as well including special blends, spices and an eclectic collection of cocoas.
If, however, you prefer grilling, their selection of rubs will fill your head with delicious ideas for your next parrillada. They also have assorted salts and peppers, pre-packaged spice blends that come with a recipe and boxed spice sets for the person you know and love who has everything.
With more than 400 items, you will certainly be able to spice up your life with a visit to this sensational store.
Though these are three outstanding stores that cater to epicureans, the best way to showcase the vibrancy of Santa Fe’s food community is with a fact: this city of 85,000 people (on a busy day in high season) has nearly 10 outstanding grocery outlets–and some of the lesser quality options have multiple locations. This incredible selection of grocery stores makes food-obsessed people like me weak in the knees, but it also makes us crazy as the challenge of procuring the very best products at each store requires lots (and lots) of time dedicated to shopping.
Santa Fe is lucky to have one of the country’s best Whole Foods, two locations of Sprouts and three locations of both Albertson’s and Smith’s. The centralized locations of Trader Joe’s and Natural Grocers add even more digestible options to the mix, while a celebrated co-op, La Montanita, elevates the grocery options even more. Kaune’s Neighborhood Market, a locally-owned grocery store, is small but mighty and many who live and/or work downtown depend on it as a go-to lunch spot. And, last but certainly not least, is the weekly Santa Fe Farmers Market, which is my first stop and where my weekly menus come to life by what’s on the tables of my favorite farmers.
Clearly, Santa Fe is a city for food lovers and those who live to eat and this is one of the many reasons I proudly call it home.
Check back often for new edible finds that meet or exceed our culinary standards. We continue to explore the city’s diverse and constantly changing food scene, bite by bite, sip by sip and shop by shop, savoring every step.