Set in the Plants of the Southwest nursery, Treehouse Pastry Shop & Café (3095 Agua Fria St., 505/474-5543, 8 a.m.–3 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Sun., $9) has impeccable ecological credentials, using all local, organic ingredients, composting its waste, and even paying its workers a living wage. Fortunately, the all-veggie food, from quinoa salad to cherry pie, is delicious too. Settle in for a wait, though—as one regular says, “It’s like they’re just having a nice day cooking, and they only occasionally realize the customers exist.”
Ramblin’ Café (1420 2nd St., 505/989-1272, 7 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 7 a.m.–2 p.m. Sat., $6) is very light on charm—it’s in a near-abandoned strip mall—but its food more than makes up for it. Try the spinach-and-green-chile quesadilla or a big BLT, also laced with green chile; in the morning, a smothered breakfast burrito gets you moving.
The decor—all light pine, metal, and chalkboard menus—at Counter Culture (930 Baca St., 505/995-1105, 8 a.m.–3 p.m. Mon., 8 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–9 p.m. Tues.–Sat., 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Sun.) is spartan, but the colorful crowd of, well, countercultural types fills the void. At lunch the eclectic menu runs from fat burgers to cold sesame noodles, with prices around $7; in general, Asian flavors are good, as are the soups. Dinner is a bit more formal, and a bargain, as prices max out at $15. Breakfast, served till 11 a.m.; on Sunday, breakfast is served all day. Cash only.
Community activists need caffeine too—and they head to the Santa Fe Baking Co. (504 W. Cordova Rd., 505/988-4292, 6 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 6 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun., $8) to get it. The scene is talkative (local radio station KSFR broadcasts a live show from here weekday mornings), and vegetarians will find a lot to eat—but so will fans of gut-busters such as chile dogs; breakfast is served all day.