two women eating and drinking at restaurant table

Santa Fe brunch at Cafe Mimosa in New Mexico

This post was contributed by Lisa Crovo Dion

I’ve been traveling regularly 1,000 miles back-and-forth from San Francisco to open a new brunch restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

I’m thrilled to say that it finally happened, we opened the doors to Santa Fe brunch spot Café Mimosa, a New American brunch restaurant, last month. I urge everyone to come visit, sample our signature Smoked Salmon Benedict and other delights, and indulge in a blood orange mimosa…

During these repeated visits, I’ve learned a bit about northern New Mexico, specifically Santa Fe, a quirky, artsy, beautiful, high desert city with deep ties to the stunning landscape — smack in between Albuquerque and majestic Taos.

Happy Hour is the Santa Fe Way

One of the first things I noted about Santa Fe is the laidback vibe. While folks in San Francisco routinely work until 7 or 8pm, those in Santa Fe celebrate Happy Hour on a regular basis, knocking off anywhere from 4-6:30 to gather, snack, and imbibe.

Entry to the Eldorado Hotel in Santa Fe

Agave Lounge at the Eldorado Hotel has one of Santa Fe’s  best Happy Hours.

Standout Happy Hours in town include Pronzo Italian Grill, the Anasazi Hotel, and the Agave Lounge at the Eldorado Hotel. When I was there last month opening Mimosa, my cousin and I hit the Agave Lounge where they serve $4 draft beer and $5 well drinks, sangria, wine, and margaritas. They also offer $4 food specials that included Kobe sliders, ceviche, and tortilla chips with a trio of tasty dips in a very stylish setting.

I didn’t expect to be super busy at the restaurant when I arrived sine we had just opened our doors, but due to a substantial piece in the local paper, we were unexpectedly slammed and not entirely prepared for it. I haven’t done “real” restaurant work since college so it was seriously draining to be on our feet serving brunch daily from 7am-2pm. Not complaining. A good problem.

Wind sculptures with a backdrop of Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Wind sculptures at the Envision Gallery in Taos, New Mexico

So, after a crazy week, we took Memorial Day off and headed north to the sublimely gorgeous, hippyish enclave of Taos, New Mexico, seated on a mesa at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Taos is a world-class ski destination but the mountains and the tributaries that feed into the Rio Grande also offer lots of other outdoor adventures off season. But, today we were here for rest and relaxation.

R&R Meets B&B in Taos

La Dona Luz Inn Bed & Breakfast provided exactly that. With 2-ft thick adobe walls, latilla-and-viga ceilings, hidden staircases, and overflowing with color, art and antiques, this rambling 200-year-old inn contains just five rooms and is arguably the best bargain in town, with prices starting at $99 per night.

Exterior of La Dona Luz Inn in Taos, New Mexico

The affordable, quirky, art-filled La Dona Luz Inn in Taos, New Mexico.

The themed rooms are all unique and abound with as much personality as owner and host, Paco Castillo. Paco is a descendent of the original owners and has lovingly refurbished and enhanced the property, constantly adding onto and embellishing the historic structure. Breakfasts are hardy — think frittatas and waffles.

La Dona Luz was the perfect place to restore ourselves while soaking in the history, art, and quirky architecture before heading back to our new restaurant adventure.

Photos by Lisa Crovo Dion

Exterior shot of Cafe Mimosa in Santa Fe

Delicious daily brunch at Cafe Mimosa near the East Railyard district of Santa Fe, NM