New Mexican items may be front and center on the menu at Rellenos Café (135 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, 575/758-7001, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Mon.–Sat., $6–10), but the real good stuff here is from south of the border: rich chiles en nogada(stuffed poblano peppers in walnut sauce) and spicy, tangy tortilla soup.
Or stop in at Guadalajara Grill (1384 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, 575/751-0063, 10:30 a.m.–8:30 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 10:30 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri. and Sat., $10). It may be in a strip mall, but the food transports you straight to western Mexico, with enormous portions of gooey queso fundido (fonduelike cheese) and shrimp sautéed in garlic. There’s a branch on the north side (822 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, 575/737-0816).
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition