EATING HEALTHY OUT IN TAOS

Stunning Taos mountain and El Salto in the distance. Just your average view from the highway.

Stunning Taos mountain and El Salto in the distance. Just your average view from the highway.

This past week I was lucky enough to visit lovely Taos, New Mexico. I lived there long ago and it makes my heart so happy to return. I took the opportunity to bring you all along for some fine healthy dining. Please do not consider this an overview, there are so many amazing food options in this tiny beautiful town. It is more of a snapshot, a few good things to enjoy that will love you as much as you love them.

Enchanted by pomegranate seeds at Bella's.

Enchanted by pomegranate seeds at Bella's.

My first stop was Bella's, after finding the not-to-miss Hero closed on Mondays (see below). I stumbled across a menu with some really unusual and unique offerings. The one I chose, above, is the Chile en Nogada- apparently a traditional Mexican dish- feaaturing an entire fire roasted Poblano Chile stuffed with ground beef, tomato, and all sorts of unexpected spices and flavors. I eschewed the walnut cream for a side of guacamole and it was all delicious. The service could not have been more charming, notwithstanding the apparent Pats loyalty of the chef...

 

The incredible Hero.

The incredible Hero.

The one place I knew I would not miss before I even arrived was Hero. Tucked away in a quiet spot just off the Taos Plaza, this lunch place turns out dishes of delicious creativity and stunning flavors. Owner and chef Sheila Guzman knocks it out of the park (that's her on the right above, with helper Emily). I ordered the bright and succulent Maki bowl, with raw Ahi, chunks of avocado, dressed greens, and an uplifting wasabi sauce. I added on a pork taco with handmade corn tortilla for good measure. Soooooo good.

 

Carnitas and calabacitas.

Carnitas and calabacitas.

Heading north out of town is one of the locations of the Guadalajara Grill, an institution here for many years. I knew I wanted to stop here but wasn't sure what I could get that would be satisfying and still healthy. I went for the carne asada plate, and ordered a side of calabacitas (squash and a variety of other vegetables)...the astute gentleman taking my order knew what I was getting at and suggested, "sub calabacitas for rice and beans?" Yes! And a perfect dish was born. This was really delicious, people. I don't what they do with that grill but it works. I asked for guacamole and no sour cream and it was fantastic. I was also treated to live music and the warm feeling of many families out to dinner, greeting each other with familiarity and love.

 

Magical Aceq.

Magical Aceq.

My final stop was at the magical Aceq, in the fairy tale tiny town of Arroyo Seco, north of Taos and on the way to Taos Ski Valley. With the last little bit of my waning energy from an action packed week I was lucky enough to visit here with friends and scarf down some unique and luscious inventions. White sauced wings that literally fell off the bone, glazed lamb ribs with a side of kimchi, and a hearty raw kale salad that included a genius addition of wafer thin jalapeno slices were all tasty, tasty, tasty.

I want to reiterate that this was a mere snapshot, in an effort to illustrate the idea of eating with satisfaction on the road without abandoning all sense of feeling great as well. There are soooo many delightful dining options in Taos and I can't wait to return and try more of them.

Where have you travelled recently? What great food did you find that kept you energized while still adding to the adventure?