- Cowgirl Chef - http://cowgirlchef.com -

Santa Fe: Vinaigrette

There comes a time when I must take a tiny break from the nonstop consumption of: green chile cheeseburgers/breakfast burritos smothered in red and green/posole/blue corn chips, tortillas, and pancakes. That’s when I head to Vinaigrette, the salad restaurant that’s doing everything right.

The menu is a simple mix-and-match concept, where you can order “classics,” such as Cobb and spinach salads, or one of the signature bowls of greens, such as “The Beet Goes On” (one of my favorites, with roasted beets, goat cheese, pistachios and a balsamic vinaigrette) or “The Omega aka Avocado-Piñon” (see fluffy salad above), as is, or with Diver scallops, grilled shrimp, fish, pork tenderloin, flank steak, or lemon-herb chicken breast added to.

Vinaigrette is housed in an old adobe with a big patio out back, and it’s super-casual with lots of wood and bright red Tolix chairs, which remind me of Paris (and my obsession with French industrial design).

Also, the portions are big, which is exactly what I want when I’m eating a salad. Because it’s a salad, right?

But perhaps the coolest thing about Vinaigrette is not just how lovely the salads are, but where the greens and herbs come from — the owner’s farm, just 20 minutes north of Santa Fe, in Nambé. Here, Erin Wade grows what she can for the restaurant — about 70% of the organic produce, plus veggies and microgreens in the winter from her 1,200 square foot greenhouse. And it’s a self-sustainable operation. Food scraps from the restaurant feed her farm pigs or are mixed into the compost pile; chickens roam about to keep away pests, and their eggs, naturallement, are gathered in baskets and taken to the restaurant to be eaten.

Simple. Like I said.

The only tricky thing about eating at Vinaigrette is the parking — but you could say that about just about anyplace in Santa Fe, because the parking here is worse than Paris — so arrive early to find a spot. Then head to the patio if it’s pretty (and chances are it will be) and settle in for a long, leafy lunch…or dinner.


709 Don Cubero Alley

Santa Fe, NM