Get­ting it to go

Pasatiempo - - RESTAURANT REVIEW - Alex Heard

I’d re­visit all of these places, but I’ll come back to M.A.M.A’s World Take-Out first, es­pe­cially for the Bom­bay curry chicken sand­wich with spicy cur­ried chicken, mango chut­ney, cashews, and let­tuce on a brioche bun.

Some­times I’m a lit­tle har­ried when lunch hour rolls around, and the re­sult can be rapid-on­set hunger that has to be dealt with quickly. That’s when grab-and-go places — those non-fast-food eater­ies where you can get a sand­wich, a wrap, a salad, or some­thing hot with lit­tle or no wait time — are such a bless­ing. Re­cently, I hit the streets to re­visit a few old fa­vorites and look for new con­tenders. The find­ings were gen­er­ally good. These days, Santa Fe has a di­verse range of spots serv­ing high-qual­ity mid­day meals to go.

Eloisa, in­side the Drury Ho­tel at the cor­ner of East Palace Av­enue and Paseo de Per­alta, runs an en­tic­ing car­ry­out op­er­a­tion dur­ing the day. As you en­ter from the ho­tel, you’ll see a re­frig­er­ated cab­i­net on your left that con­tains sand­wiches and sal­ads. The choices look good — sal­mon Niçoise salad, a chipo­tle chicken sand­wich, and more — but some days there’s a sup­ply is­sue — each of the three times I stopped in, the shelves had been ran­sacked. Plan B is to place a to-go or­der from a menu that of­fers things like Frito pie, croque jamón, and Cae­sar salad. There’s also a taco bar op­tion, which is the path I took. For $9, I got two de­li­cious carne asada tacos with red cab­bage slaw, a cou­ple of hot sauces, and pur­ple potato salad.

The Bee­stro, down­town on Marcy Street, is an in­for­mal small-space op­er­a­tion where you point at what you want and they fix it up. I had an ex­cel­lent sand­wich called the Dutch Chicken — lime-mar­i­nated chicken breast, melted Havarti, ap­ple but­ter, ser­rano chiles, and greens on a toasted baguette. As is the case with many gra­band-goes, the Bee­stro is a good place to dis­cover un­fa­mil­iar brands of chips and so­das. For ex­am­ple, I’d never heard of Zu­ber­fizz, made by a soft drink com­pany in Du­rango, Colorado. Their “orig­i­nal cola” is great — it’s less sug­ary than Coca-Cola — and I’d go back to the Bee­stro just to have it again.

Far­ther out, on West Alameda Street, La Mon­tañita Co-op has a bustling lunch area in the back that should sat­isfy any­body. You can as­sem­ble a salad from a bar of­fer­ing some 40 items, grab takeaway sushi and cold pre­pared sal­ads (turkey Wal­dorf, lemon-ca­per-tuna, etc.), try their soup of the day, or or­der a sand­wich that they’ll as­sem­ble while you wait. I or­dered one called the New Mex­ico Ham and Cheese. Noth­ing fancy here — light rye bread, thin deli ham, Amer­i­can cheese, green chile, and pur­ple onion — but I en­joyed it, and the price, just over five bucks, was right.

Park­ing on lower Canyon Road can be a pain, but you shouldn’t let that keep you away from good old Café des Artistes. The menu is small and sim­ple: roughly 20 sand­wiches and sal­ads, which you can or­der in ad­vance by email. I tried a sand­wich called the Bird and Berry — thinly sliced turkey, stuff­ing, cran­berry sauce, sprouts, and cream cheese on sour­dough. It came with chips and was a bar­gain at $6.95. For two dol­lars more, they’ll make this and other sand­wiches on a split crois­sant.

On Old Santa Fe Trail, near the state capi­tol, Kaune’s Neigh­bor­hood Mar­ket of­fers rea­son­ably priced pre-made sand­wiches — spicy jerk chicken, veg­gie and cheese — cold pack­aged spreads like tuna salad and egg salad, and an un­usual salad bar called the Neigh­bor­hood Chop, which pro­duces very sub­stan­tial salad bowls that are of­ten pro­tein-heavy. The Carne fea­tures a bed of chopped let­tuce, five veg­etable top­pings, and “a quar­ter­pound pro­tein punch — you choose the meat.” I tried the an­tipasto chop, which was so loaded with ham, salami, and cheese that it could have fed three peo­ple (and was a bar­gain for less than $9).

Verde, the Santa Fe-based com­pany that spe­cial­izes in healthy juices and nut blends, has two lo­ca­tions — one on East Marcy Street and another on West San Ma­teo Street — that of­fer to-go sand­wiches and salad bowls. A cou­ple of things I wanted were out of stock, in­clud­ing a pulled pork sand­wich with cab­bage-co­conut-pineap­ple slaw, so I or­dered a curry chicken and cau­li­flower wrap. The in­gre­di­ents were healthy and fresh-tasting, though the wrap was a bit skimpy on the fill­ing.

Both lo­ca­tions of Whole Foods could pro­vide enough lunch food for a small army; I of­ten go to the smaller one, at the cor­ner of St. Fran­cis Drive and Cor­dova Road, be­cause it’s eas­ier to get in and out of the park­ing lot. They have a salad bar, pizza by the slice, pre-made sand­wiches, and wraps. The wrap I tried — turkey — was full and moist.

Fi­nally, be sure to seek out M.A.M.A.’s World Take­Out. On Ru­fina Street near Meow Wolf, it’s a charm­ing lit­tle place that serves some very good food. There’s a lot of va­ri­ety here: sand­wiches, sal­ads, hot dogs, Asian treats like pad Thai and Sin­ga­pore noo­dles, pu­pusas, and com­bos, in­clud­ing a Mid­dle Eastern plate that comes with falafel, hum­mus, salad, and (for a lit­tle more money) chicken shawarma. I had the Bom­bay curry chicken sand­wich and liked it a lot: spicy cur­ried chicken, mango chut­ney, cashews, and let­tuce on a brioche bun. I’d re­visit all of these places, but I’ll come back to this one first.

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