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A Gluten Free Birthday in Taos, New Mexico

On Monday I turned 48 years old! Every year I grow older I seem to be getting better and I really like that! I am the happiest I have ever been and look forward to the many years ahead with great joy and optimism.

The love of my life, Rich, took me to Taos, New Mexico for my birthday weekend. We both love Taos and looked forward to a wonderful time together exploring, relaxing, eating and drinking. Taos and Santa Fe are gluten-free friendly towns and we made the most of our visit.

One of our favorite places, Martyrs Steakhouse was our first stop on Friday evening. We had drinks and appetizers there last year and LOVED their Steak Tartare so much we could not wait to have more. Rich and I regularly stick to drinks and appetizers when we eat out rather than full meals. We love variety in what we eat and sticking with appetizers and small plates allows us to eat many different dishes at a restaurant.

First up though, a Dirty Gin Martini for me (what is a birthday celebration without one?!) and a Gin and Tonic for Rich. The bartender showed us a new gin he just got in, Monkey 47, a German gin made with 47 botanicals. After tasting a sample of that, Rich had to have a drink made with it.

For food, we started with the Shrimp Cocktail, served with a tangy Chimayo Red Chili Cocktail Sauce. Mm, shrimp cocktail is one of my favorites. So simple, light and satisfying. The shrimps were HUGE and the delicious cocktail sauce was tangy and bright.

Rich and I love oysters and eat them as often as we can, so of course, when we saw Blue Point Oysters on the menu, we had to get them. I was intrigued and excited to try the Basil Mignonette Sauce that the menu said they were to be served with. Mignonette Sauce is classic sauce or condiment that usually contains peppercorns, shallots and vinegar. It is my most favorite accompaniment to oysters! Martyrs’ use of basil in their sauce was divine! The bright flavor of the basil, combined with the shallots, pepper and vinegar mixed so well with the oysters. That sauce was so good I think I could have eaten it all by itself.

After the shrimp and oysters, we were getting a bit full at this point but could not leave without having our beloved Tartare. Their Tartare is served with a bacon aioli so you can see how it would be absolutely delicious. I discovered my love of raw meats in the last year or so. When I was a kid, I thought I there was something wrong with me because when I was around raw beef I really, really wanted to eat it. And, I did on occasion, which looking back, was probably not the “safest” thing to do, and not the tastiest either! Now I see that I was just craving tartare at an early age!

Martrys’ tartare did not disappoint at all. So delicious and the perfect end to our meal. There is only one other tartare I love more, and that is the one Rich makes. Soon, that recipe will be here on the website. If you like tartare, you will just love Rich’s!

gluten free bread taos new mexicoFor lunch on Saturday, Rich and I wanted something light like a salad. I used the Find Me Gluten Free app and located the Taos Diner and Market. FMGF had reviews that looked favorable for us, gluten free bread and staff that understood the needs of the gluten free. Once we arrived, the photo at the top of this post was what we encountered. When we saw it, we laughed and knew we were in a good place. We both had simple salads with grilled chicken. Taos Diner offers gluten free products from Daonuts, a Taos GF bakery, and we decided to try those too. I had a the sandwich bread (which I later learned was not baked by Daonuts and I don’t know who actually bakes it, sorry!) and Rich has the Cheddar Green Chile biscuit. Both were good and the biscuit was especially tasty. I had a bit of it even though it had Cheddar (no cow dairy for me). Took one for the team I guess.

On Saturday night, we had reservations at La Boca in Santa Fe. Rich and I love Tapas (that whole small plate thing) and were very much looking forward to our visit to La Boca. Spanish cuisine is one that is really gluten-friendly. Maybe that is why I have grown so fond of it lately. I just love every single thing I have eaten at the Tapas restaurants we have visited in the last year or so. Tapateria in Colorado Springs, where every single dish on the menu is GF, is my favorite (we went there for lunch on Friday on our way down to Taos). I also love 9th Door here in Denver. So, you can see how excited we were to have the opportunity to experience La Boca.

We started with Patatas Bravas and Pincho de Pollo. Patatas Bravos is fried fingerling potatoes, served with a roasted garlic aioli and a sherry vinegar sauce. The best “fries” I have had in quite some time. I LOVE mayo/aioli so that part of the dish was especially wonderful for me. The Pincho de Pollo was Harissa chicken, skewered and served with avocado and a cucumber and tomato salad. The flavors worked so well together.

The final dish we had was Octopus wrapped in Pork Belly. Both Rich and I said it was the best thing we EVER put in our mouth! Holy cow, was that delicious! Just when we thought dinner could not get any better, we ordered a 2010 Susana Balbo Late Harvest Malbec. I LOVE Malbec’s so I was thrilled to try a late harvest version. Holy cow, it was so amazing! It started off sweet like a late harvest would and then ended spicy lile a good Malbec should. I am not a big fan of sweet things and when I do eat them, I need to put something salty in my mouth afterward so the sweet taste does not linger too long. This wine did just that. Amazing!

So if you find yourself in Taos or Santa Fe, know that you will be able to eat deliciously gluten free!!

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