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Welcome to Loretto's Santa Fe Blog

Welcome to our Santa Fe Blog.  We've created a place for our guests to share their favorite Santa Fe and Inn and Spa at Loretto memories.  In addition, they can catch up on Santa Fe events, enjoy restaurant recipes from The Living Room and Luminaria Restaurant, read about spa innovations, and much more.

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October 30th, 2013 | 10:41am

Inpsired Recipes From our Kitchen to Yours

Blue Corn Crepes w/ Braised Duck Confit, Chile Colorado and Chipotle Crema
By Luminaria Restaurant, The Inn and Spa at Loretto 

Delight and inspire your next dinner party with signature recipes from Loretto’s kitchen The following recipe is from the art of braising series- which explores how the versatile technique of braising adds depth and flavor to a variety of dishes. You don’t need to be an expert chef to master this recipe, but you do need to bring your appetite because this dish will have you craving more. So put on your apron, set the table, and prepare to impress your friends and family with this innovative Santa Fe recipe.

Recipe Yields 5 servings

Blue Corn Crepes

  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • 5.5 oz Water
  • 12 oz AP Flour
  • 12 oz Blue Corn Meal
  • 3 oz Melted Butter

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients, and slowly add the dry. In a non-stick pan (7 inch or smaller preferred), warm to medium high heat and add small touch of oil or butter. Add just enough batter to the pan to cover the entire bottom of the pan. Turn down heat and gently lift the edge of the crepe to allow the wet batter to flow under. Flip the crepe over like a pancake, and remove from heat. Slowly slide the crepe out onto a plate lined with a paper towel, stack for service

Duck Confit

  • 12 Duck Legs
  • 10 Thyme Sprigs
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Oranges, Zested
  • 1 tbs Black Peppercorn
  • 12 Garlic Cloves, Crushed
  • 4 cups Duck Fat, Melted
  • 4 cups Canola Oil
  • Kosher Salt and Cracked Black Pepper
  1. Season Duck very heavily with salt and pepper, add Thyme Sprigs, Orange Zest, Bay Leaves and Black Peppercorn , store in cooler overnight
  2. Heat oven to 200 to 225
  3. Place duck legs in a large pan and cover with duck fat and canola oil, then add garlic.
  4. Cover with foil and cook in oven for 2 to 3 hours till duck falls of bone and easily shreds

Chili Colorado

  • 24 Dry Pasilla Chilies
  • 24 Dried Guijillo Chilies
  • 4 qts Boiling Water
  • 2 Spanish Onion Diced
  • 12 Garlic Cloves, Chopped Fine
  • 4 tbs Ground Cumin
  • 4 tsp Dried Mexican Oregano
  • 8 tbs AP Flour
  • 4 tbs Sherry Vinegar
  • 4 tbs Sugar
  • Salt to taste
  1. Rinse chiles and split open, discarding stems, seeds, and ribs.
  2. Toast chiles, skin sides up, in batches, about 30 seconds (be careful not to burn them, or sauce will be bitter). Transfer chiles to a heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over them. Cover bowl and soak chiles, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 15 minutes.
  3.  Purée chiles with three fourths of soaking liquid, reserving remainder, in a blender until smooth. Pour purée through a china cap into a bowl, pressing out solids, and discard solids. Whisk reserved soaking liquid into chile mixture.
  4.  Cook onion, garlic, cumin, and oregano in oil in a large heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, 2 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Whisk in chile mixture and simmer, partially covered, whisking occasionally, until reduced (about 30 minutes). Season with salt, vinegar, and sugar.

Chipolte Crema

  • 4 cups Half & Half
  • 4 cups Heavy Cream
  • 4 tbs Sour Cream
  • ½ cup Chopped Chipotle Chilies
  • Salt to taste
  1. Mix the half and half, heavy cream and sour cream in a bowl, cover and let sit out for at least 24 hrs.
  2. Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth
  3. Season to Taste with Salt
  4. Place in squeeze bottle for service


  1. Heat two Crepes , stuff with Duck Confit and carefully roll
  2. On a large round plate, ladle 4 oz of Chili Colorado on plate
  3. Place Crepes on top of sauce
  4. Garnish with Cotija, Green Onion and Chipotle Crema

Posted by Sarah Sims

October 29th, 2013 | 1:44pm

Go on Holiday from the Ordinary in Santa Fe

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Take a town steeped in historic traditions, sprinkle with mountain snow, mix in a medley of once-a-year occasions, and voila! You’ve whipped up the perfect holiday in Santa Fe. It’s our good fortune to have a treasure trove of festive events unique to Santa Fe — like fall’s Fiesta de Santa Fe or the February ArtFeast. And when Old Man Winter arrives, we have a City Different take on the holidays to decorate the season. Legendary shops and museums, check. Pristine landscape, got it. World-renowned cuisine, always. Holiday music and performing arts … hello, are you getting all this down on your holiday list?

Light Up Your Holiday Season at the Plaza

The traditional heart of any town settled by the Spanish is its plaza. Our beautiful Santa Fe Plaza is truly the center of local holiday celebrations. Tree-laden and lined with historic buildings on every side, the Plaza is always gussied up for our colorful events. Every year, the Santa Fe Model Railroad Club has model trains chugging around the tracks in the First National Bank at the corner of the Plaza at Lincoln and Palace Avenue. And it simply couldn’t be a holiday without Aspen Santa Fe Ballet staging the timeless classic, The Nutcracker, at the Lensic on December 21.

The magic officially begins when the lights flicker to life on the big pine tree, and holiday spirits begin to sparkle along with the entertainment. The lighting ceremony takes place November 29 at 6 pm, and though the mayor of Santa Fe will be there to usher in the holiday fun, I suspect it’s that visit from Santa Claus that will create a wee bit more excitement.

Shopping in a Winter Wonderland

Getting through Thanksgiving is a tall order, and with it begins the search for that elusive holiday “something” to deck your halls or give to someone special. You can’t find a better place for success than SWAIA’s Winter Indian Market, which takes place November 30-December 1 at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. It’s such an intimate, authentic opportunity to buy heartfelt gifts. Smaller and cozier in ambiance than the Summer Market, the event, presented by the renowned Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), showcases the work of 200-plus talented Native artists from all over the U.S. and Canada.

The Native fashion show is a great place to snag a stunning holiday outfit. The kids, meanwhile, can participate in hands-on art activities and draw inspiration by a youth art exhibit. On both days at 11 am, film screenings show the world from a Native perspective in moving pictures. Cirque du Soleil’s star hoop-dancer, Nakotah LaRance, performs with Native musician Ben Frejo both days at 1:30 pm. And don’t forget the silent auction, with items donated by SWAIA artists and local businesses, the raffle for one-of-a-kind holiday ornaments … hey, it might be your lucky day!

This Hometown Holiday Party Deserves a Royal Round of Applause

America isn’t famous for building palaces, but a palace isn’t so startling in Santa Fe, a city settled more than 400 years ago. The Palace of the Governors distinguishes Santa Fe with the oldest continuously operating government building in the U.S. And on December 13, the annual celebration we call Christmas at the Palace takes place in the magical setting of this venerable historic compound on the Santa Fe Plaza.

As the oldest structure in the highly regarded New Mexico History Museum, the Palace welcomes revelers to an old-fashioned holiday party that honors the holiday traditions of the Pueblo people and the Spanish settlers. Settle in with a cup of hot cider for the music and merriment of the evening, which is always capped by a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Always Room at the Inn for Weary Wanderers

The sun makes an appearance at least 300 days a year in Santa Fe, which means December gets its share of blue sky and sunshine from above. With an altitude of 7,000 feet, winter here means having a warm coat, hat, and gloves handy. And that’s especially true when we gather on the Plaza for Las Posadas. Hosted by the New Mexico History Museum, this traditional event is a re-enactment of that legendary journey of two exhausted travelers on their way to Bethlehem. Visitors are invited to join the candle-lit procession following the young couple around the Plaza as they seek shelter for the night. Devils show up in full regalia to mock the action, but the crowd always gets the better of evil with some loud and energetic booing. At the successful conclusion, everyone decamps to the Palace of the Governors for cookies and cider before heading back to their own cozy rooms for the night.

Here, a Dazzling Holiday Display is in the Bag!

You say tomay-to, and I say tomah-to. You say luminaria, and I say … farolito. No matter what you call ‘em, the New Mexico tradition of placing an illuminated votive candle in a brown paper bag has spread around the globe to enliven holidays everywhere. New Mexicans from the north talk about “farolitos,” while Albuquerque residents (or “Burquenos,” as they are locally known) refer to the luminescent bags as “luminarias.” Confusion increases when you hear a Santa Fean talking about luminarias, which up here refer to the bonfires lit along the farolito walk. In Santa Fe, you get both, since the luminaria bonfires provide a spot to warm up as you admire the farolitos laid out in their humble bags along downtown streets and driveways.

But wait … what are we talking about? You’ll find out when you take a walk in Santa Fe on the evening of December 24, on this one-night-only decorative heritage event. A series of brown paper lunch bags, filled with just enough sand to secure a votive candle snugly, are placed in decorative rows all over downtown and left to shimmer merrily through the night. The tradition mirrors the purpose of the Star of Bethlehem, shining all night long on Christmas Eve to light the way for the Holy Family.

Make sure you have comfortable shoes and warm clothing, because this is an outdoor walk, with many local streets closed to vehicles. Just picture it: One night, carols ringing out, thousands of farolitos a-glow. And then this bucket-list experience becomes a beautiful memory until the next holiday season rolls around. 

Put a Visit to Santa Fe on Your Wish List

Made your list? Checked it twice and a holiday getaway to Santa Fe isn’t penciled in yet? December is one of the most festive — and affordable — times to visit Santa Fe. Blue skies lend inspiration to a mountain hike, winter sunsets paint the landscape, and nothing tastes quite as delicious as a dinner of green chile stew in good company on a cold night. Bring a friend, bring the family, or just give yourself the unique gift of a Santa Fe holiday that’ll be a warm memory for ages.



Posted by Sarah Sims, Marketing Specialist

October 24th, 2013 | 8:42am

A Ghostwalkers Guide to Santa Fe

A city steepened in folklore and mythology, Santa Fe’s history is spattered with a myriad of legendary deaths and murders that gave this quaint town an ethereal reputation. Its modest 37.4 square miles are etched with paths that lead ghostwalkers to known locales regarded for their ghost sightings and paranormal activity. While most myths and legends come to life during Halloween, the ghosts of Santa Fe roam this historic town year-round giving believers and non-believers an extended opportunity to visit.                                                                     

Many argue that spirits roam freely among us each day; we just need to believe and be open-minded about their existence. The Inn and Spa at Loretto’s Ghostwalkers Guide gives you the tools and tips necessary to cultivate a ghost encounter. 

Below is information on five local ghosts within walking distance from the Inn. Seek them if you will, but beware, they may find you first!

1. Inn and Spa at Loretto - Sister George

The Inn and Spa at Loretto is built on the site that was formerly the Santa Fe Opportunity School. Sister George and several other nuns ran the school as part of the Sisters of Loretto, the Catholic order that also built the famous Loretto Chapel. In the late 1960s, a devastating fire destroyed nearly the entire school grounds, except the Loretto Chapel.            

In the early 1970s, the property was sold and the Inn and Spa at Loretto was built. In 1976, Sister George died and many say she returned to the school’s former property after death. Billie Frank, former concierge at the hotel, recalls “At one point when the fourth-floor was closed for renovation, the front-desk kept getting calls from that floor. I thought this was strange, but had no explanation for it. Then, one day, someone told me about Sister George’s affinity for phones and it all made sense. 

In addition to Sister George, there are other mysterious events that have happened around the Inn. Be sure to ask the employees at the Loretto Chapel, Luminaria, the Spa at Loretto, and the concierge if they know of apparitions who’ve settled at the Inn and Spa at Loretto.

2. San Miguel Mission

The San Miguel Mission was built in 1610, ten years before the Mayflower landed. Locals and tourists marvel over the construction of the building, the San Jose Bell, walking the old squeaky floors, and the St. Michael the Archangel Statue.  

In addition to the history, the San Miguel Mission is said to be hunted by numerous spirits. These spirits are as diverse as those who’ve worshiped and died at the mission. Visitors over the years have see orbs of light dancing through the interiors, while other guests have seen a woman dressed in white, kneeling in tears at the foot of the alter. On many occasions people have claimed to see a tall priest, dressed in a black cassock. Employees at the State of New Mexico offices, about a half of a block from the church, have seen this priest roaming in their building and the plaza. Oddly, most of these events occur around 10am. 

3. The Oldest House

La Cases Vieja de Analco or the Oldest House sits across the San Miguel church on the north side of the nave. Many ghost sightings have taken place at the Oldest house, the most spoken about legend is below: 

In the early 1600s a Santa Fe pair of brujas, female witches occupied the house. One evening Juan Espinoza, a young Spaniard, sought out the brujas. He wanted to win the love of a beautiful woman whom had no romantic feelings for Espinoza. The brujas united their potions to create a love concoction, they charged Espinoza gold. Long story short, the potion didn’t work and Espinoza wanted his money back. The brujas didn’t like Espinoza’s request and killed him with his sword. They were charged with murder, however, the governor declined the case and the brujas disappeared … so did Espinoza’s body.

The legend continues on the anniversary of Espinoza’s death, but no one knows exactly date. It said his head rolls down deVargas Street as if bowled out of the hands of a bruja.                                                                                                                     

4. The Pink Adobe

The Pink Adobe is located in the center of the historic Barrio de Analco, across the street from the San Miguel Mission, just two blocks south of the Plaza. For over 50 years a women, Rosalea, filled her days using her talents and energy to create a unique flavor, décor, and personality that makes this restaurant so special. After Rosalea’s passing in 2000, the Pink Adobe has continued to honor her work and legacy by keeping it true to her vision. It is said, before her passing, she would sit with her dogs in the corner of the bar while doing paperwork. Locals and tourists have reported they still see her sitting at the end of the bar to this date. She is said to just sit, not bother anyone.

5. La Llorona

No one knows when the legend of La Llorona began or where it originated. Though the story varies from source to source, the one frequent theme states she is the spirit of a hopeless mother who drowned her children and now spends eternity searching for them in water. Her movements have been traced throughout the Southwest and as far north as Montana on the banks of the Yellowstone River. Reports by locals state that she drifts between the trees along the shoreline of the Santa Fe River and floats along the current with her white gown spreading upon the waters; on many a dark night people have seen her walking along the riverbank crying for her children.

In addition to the above, the spirit frequently roams the halls at the Public Employees Retirement Association Building (PERA) near the Santa Fe River. Employees hear resounding cries through the walls and feeling unseen hands pushing them while walking the stairways.

REST YOUR HEAD. Check out our Ghostwalker Package and stay in the company of Sister George! The Package comes with your choice of accommodations and a copy “Santa Fe Ghosts” by Susan Blumenthal, so you can learn more about our ethereal friends.

Complete your ghostwalk experience by downloading these thrilling “Ghost Hunter” Apps to your smartphone or mobile device. 

  • Ghost Radar ® By Spud Pickles
  • Phantom Radar - The Ghost Detector By Inner Four, Inc. 

Disclaimer: This information was compiled through internet sources, interviews, and by the book Santa Fe Ghosts by Susan Blumenthal. This information may or may not be accurate.  We are not responsible for anything that might occur during your tour.

Posted by Sarah Sims, Marketing Specialist

October 22nd, 2013 | 10:30am

Are Your Wedding Colors Hot or Not?

When planning your special day it’s important to not only be timeless, but also on trend. Undoubtedly you want that wedding photo on your mantel to reflect your everlasting love and not an outdated style. From vintage pastels to deep royal blues and greens, the 2014 color trends are totally on target to ensure your wedding palette stands the test of time. Destination Hotels Senior Catering and Events Manager Rachelle DeYoung has the full scoop on this year’s hottest colors. The best part, we can officially say bye-bye to neon and plaid!

Rachelle’s 2014 color forecast:

1.  Color of the year: Emerald Green

2.  Blue is the new Black

3.  Yellow, African Violet & Blush aren’t going anywhere; expect to see them through the end of 2014

4.  Nectarine and Poppy are the hottest accent colors this year

5.  Deeper colors are coming to surface while colored metallic is on its way out. Traditional metals like gold & silver are still in.

6. Neon and plaid are done.

Posted by Sarah Sims

October 14th, 2013 | 12:42pm

A New Foodie Feast at Luminaria

Cooking is more than the preparation of food. In Santa Fe cooking is a passion, a celebration of taste, the study of how local ingredients come together to ignite the senses. Cooking is the mastery of techniques, the art of integrating the sciences, and a reinvention of cuisine.

Join us to celebrate the ingredients that allow us to create brilliant dishes to delight and inspire your Santa Fe dining experience. “The Study Of” culinary series features an in-depth exploration of ingredients with the chefs of the Destination Culinary Collection. Throughout the year, we’ll unveil a new gastronomic topic to examine through cooking demonstrations, educational lectures, innovative recipes or sumptuous tastings.

Explore the current featured ingredient below, and dine at Luminaria Restaurant to personally sample new inspired dishes from Chef Brett Sparman. Bon appetit!

The Study of Braising: Keeping it Seasonal
In this segment of the “Study Of” series, we opted to focus not on a specific ingredient, but the age old cooking technique of braising. The Study Of Braising is best demonstrated during the fall and winter months as it evokes feelings of comfort and warmth that mesh beautifully with Santa Fe’s holiday traditions. Braising is a technique that can be implemented across all culinary disciplines. Many food varieties, such as meat, fish and vegetables are invigorated by this technique.

We hope Chef Sparman’s new braising recipes will delight and inspire your palate. Please join us at Luminaria Restaurant now through December to enjoy three new braised dishes, including:

  • Blue Corn Crepe w/  Braised Duck Confit, Chile Colorado, Chipotle Crema
  • Braised Pork Belly w/ Diver Scallops, Chorizo Black Bean Puree and Plantain
  • Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs w/ Poblano Cheese Grits, Carrots and Pearl Onions, Escabeche

Psst: say the secret word “succulent” and receive a complimentary appetizer when you purchase an entrée.

Click here to view the full Luminaria menu 

Posted by Sarah Sims, Marketing Specialist

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