Arroyo Seco and Arroyo Hondo
Breakfast and Lunch
Up in Arroyo Seco, Abe’s Cantina y Cocina (489 Hwy. 150, 575/776-8516, 7 a.m.–5:30 p.m. daily, $3.50), a creaky old all-purpose general store/diner/saloon, has earned fans from all over for its satisfying and cheap breakfast burritos—and don’t miss the sweet, flaky empanadas (delicately spiced prune, apple, and pumpkin are the usual choices) next to the register. (For coffee, though, you’ll want to go next door to Taos Cow.)
Just down the street, Maverick County Food Co. (480 Hwy. 150, 575/776-0900, 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m. Tues.–Sun., $10) serves eclectic sandwiches, plus bigger plates such as lamb meatballs with lentils. When the weather’s nice, you can enjoy it all on a small, sunny deck, or inside the cozy sunporch. It serves espresso, gelato, and great pastries, too, if your spirits are flagging on the drive up the valley. Outside the summer season, the place is closed on Sunday.
Coffee and Dessert
In Arroyo Seco, most people start the day at Taos Cow (485 Hwy. 150, 575/776-5640, 7 a.m.–7 p.m. daily), a chilled-out coffee bar par excellence, with writers scribbling in one corner and flute players jamming in another. But it’s really the ice cream that has made the Taos Cow name (you’ll see it distributed all around town, and in occasional spots elsewhere in New Mexico and Colorado). The most popular flavors are tailored to local tastes: Café Olé contains cinnamon and Mexican chocolate chunks, while Cherry Ristra is vanilla with piñon nuts, dark chocolate, and cherries.
A second branch of Mondo Kultur (36 Hwy. 522, 575/751-1994, 7 a.m.–8 p.m. daily) that servers fair-trade coffee and breakfast, as well as offering rental DVDs and Wi-Fi, is past the “old blinking light” in Arroyo Hondo.
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition