When you walk into Flying Star (3416 Central Ave. SE, 505/255-6633, 6 a.m.–11:30 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 6 a.m.–midnight Fri. and Sat., $9), you’ll be mesmerized by the pastry case, packed with triple-ginger cookies, lemon-blueberry cheesecake, and fat éclairs. But try to look up to appreciate the range on the menu boards: Asian noodles, hot and cold sandwiches, mac-and-cheese, and enchiladas. With speedy service and a huge magazine selection, it’s a great place to zip in or to lounge around (wireless Internet access is free). This is the original location of a long-running (20-plus years) minichain that’s now all over the city—you’ll find one in nearly every neighborhood, including the North Valley (4026 Rio Grande Blvd. NW, 505/344-6714) and downtown.
Just a few blocks from the university, Annapurna Chai House (2201 Silver Ave. SE, 505/262-2424, 7 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Wed., 7 a.m.–9 p.m. Thurs.–Sat., 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Sun., $6) is a vegetarian’s delight, serving a menu that’s compatible with Ayurvedic dietary recommendations, with giant masala dosas (rice-flour crepes) as well as less strictly Indian dishes such as cardamom pancakes with maple syrup. Or just stop in for a refreshing spicy mango lassi or chai (distinctly different from the sort peddled in Starbucks). There’s also free wireless access.
Pick up goods for a picnic at La Montañita Co-op (3500 Central Ave. SE, 505/265-4631, 7 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 8 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun.), where quinoa salads and stuffed grape leaves are all the rage; look in the dairy section for “sampler” pieces of locally made cheese.
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition