Highlights of our Recent Santa Fe Culinary Tour

Making Tamales at the Santa Fe School of Cooking

Tamale making at the Santa Fe School of Cooking.
Click photo for larger view.

As Carol and I have been exploring the world over the past nearly four years, we’ve heard a consistent and resounding request from our fans: can we come with you?

While this wasn’t our original intent when we created The Roaming Boomers®, we’ve grown to understand the frustration many baby boomers face as they consider the whole travel planning process.  In short, our fans were saying, “We don’t like travel planning. If you create a fun travel itinerary, we’ll just come along with you”.

Well, we’re just home from our very first Roaming Boomers small group tour, and we had an absolute blast!

We chose Santa Fe as our destination city because of its rich history, its renowned culinary scene, its longstanding prominence in the art world with its plethora of art galleries; a fantastic collection of museums for such a small town, its wonderful hotels, and the easily walkable layout of the city’s historic tourist district.

To get on the mailing list for our future small group tours, click the link at the bottom of this article!

Before I share a few of our reflections, as well as a few of the comments of our guests, let me briefly share with you our itinerary:

Photographs from our Santa Fe Culinary Tour

First off, we arranged for our guests to stay at the historic Inn and Spa at Loretto. The hotel is a AAA Four-Diamond property, offers an award-winning spa, and is within very easy walking distance of Santa Fe’s historic central square.  Plus, with our Virtuoso Travel Network connections, we were able to arrange a complimentary room upgrade for everyone, as well as a complimentary breakfast each morning.

The Inn and Spa at Loretto

After checking into our rooms, and then enjoying a champagne welcome reception, we walked only a block away to the Oleaceae Olive Oil Company for a tasting of olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and fine sea salts.  Our taste buds were dancing with all of the unusual flavors.

Santa Fe Oleaceae Olive Oil

Santa Fe Olive Oil Tasting

Santa Fe has a Spanish influence that dates back over 400 years, and this influence is still reflected in a number of renowned Spanish restaurants located in Santa Fe’s historic district.

Here, part of our group raises glasses of Spanish wine and sangria, as we toast our fabulous evening of tapas, paella, and fun, all accompanied by a fabulous flamenco guitarist at Santa Fe’s famous El Meson restaurant.  Salud!

Tapas, Paella, at El Meson in Santa Fe

After a good night’s sleep, at 9:30 the next morning, we all enjoyed a walk over to the Santa Fe School of Cooking where we spent a few hours learning to make tamales, and enjoy the fruits of our labor for lunch.

Chefs Jeremiah and Rafael were informative, instructive, patient, and made our time together great fun.  After a little instruction, we were all kneading masa into corn husks, and filling them with our favorite toppings.  YUM! YUM!

It looked as though we made about 80 tamales, and what we didn’t eat for lunch went to a local homeless shelter.

Roaming Boomers at the Santa Fe School of Cooking

Roaming Boomers at Santa Fe School of Cooking

Tamale Making Santa Fe School of Cooking

Finished Tamales Santa Fe School of Cooking

Did you know that Santa Fe has a Chocolate Trail that is growing in popularity?  Yep!  Some of the world’s finest chocolatiers form a trail that encircles historic downtown Santa Fe.

During our tour, we sampled three of the four chocolate shops on the trail and learned about the cocoa bean, how it’s made into chocolate, and even dipped fresh strawberries into a vat of piping hot chocolate.

Kakawa Chocolate House Santa Fe

C.G. Higgins Confections Santa Fe

Dipping Strawberries Chocolate Trail Santa Fe


We have a personal disdain for tours that keep you busy every waking second of the day.  For this very reason, we provided free time each afternoon so that our guests might go explore individual interests on their own.  Some shopped, some visited museums, some took a nap, some smoked cigars, while a few strolled Santa Fe’s famous Canyon Road to visit the art galleries.

In the early evening, we again gathered to visit the home of the James Beard award-winning chef, Lois Ellen Frank.  After touring her garden of native plants and trees, we gathered around a table in her demonstration kitchen for a fabulous four-course dinner of Native American foods.  All agreed that this was the highlight of the trip!

Chef Lois Ellen Frank's Garden

Native American Foods Lois Ellen Frank

Lamb-stuffed New Mexico Green Chile Pepper.  YUM!

Lamb Stuffed Pepper Lois Ellen Frank


The next morning, we were up enjoying a very informative historic walking tour with local historian Joel Stein.

Santa Fe Hsitoric Walking Tour

Santa Fe St. Francis Cathedral Interior

Santa Fe St. Francis Cathedral Exterior

The evening found us all enjoying a fabulous tequila-pairing dinner at the Lumineria restaurant inside the Inn and Spa at Loretto.

Lumineria Restaurant Santa Fe

Seared Scallop w/ Squid Ink, Marcona Almond ~ Beef Pinxtos, Harissa Aioli, Spiced Peanuts ~ Lamb Albondigas & Romesco Crudo.  WOW!

Tequila Dinner Lumineria Santa Fe

On the fourth day of our Santa Fe Culinary Tour, we enjoyed a guided tour of the world-famous Santa Fe Farmers’ Market.

Santa Fe Farmers Market

Roaming Boomers Santa Fe Farmers Market

New Mexico Chiles

And for our final hoorah, we ended our Santa Fe Culinary Tour with the Taste & Spirits of Santa Fe Tour.

This unique Santa Fe Culinary Event started at the historic hacienda of La Case Sena with old charm and unique Southwestern cuisine and continued to La Taberna featuring authentic tapas created by celebrated Chef James Caruso. Our Taste & Spirits of Santa Fe Event concluded at Coyote Cafe known as a forerunner of contemporary Southwestern cuisine! Each outstanding restaurant served us a signature cocktail/wine & a small plate tasting created with southwestern flair by award winning Santa Fe Chefs.  Big fun, and yummy food!

La Case Sena

As I think  you can see, we had a blast.  In fact, here’s a few comments from our fellow baby boomer travelers:

  • Judi - The group was such a variety of people that everyone added their own little bit of spice to the mixture. What a fun group to be with.
  • Judy - I enjoyed the entire trip – and the variety and extensiveness of activities. My accolades and sincere thanks to both of you on planning and continued involvement in making it a delightful trip, with everything appearing to run smoothly. THANK YOU!!
  • Linda - The trip was fabulous!! You did an amazing job of organized activities with variety and free time to explore things that were not part of the tour. The restaurant choices were varied and wonderful. I loved it. The people were great and fun to be with.
  • Don & Jody - Thank you to the Roaming Boomers for putting together such a wonderful trip. The little touches that the Rooming Boomers arranged such as gift bags in our rooms upon arrival was a special treat.
  • Ralph & Beth - All in all, the trip was a terrific experience for us and you were both delightful to travel with and had a great attitude the entire trip.
  • Nancy - Thanks Carol and David, I really enjoyed the whole format. I’m thinking you were so lucky to have started out with such fun, interesting people! (Me included Big Smile))

Well, we had fun too!  We learned a great deal about the historic town of Santa Fe, made new friends, enjoyed fabulous cuisine, tasted unusual wines and cocktails, learned to make tamales, and frankly can’t wait to do another Roaming Boomers small group tour.

How about you?  Would you like to join us on our next small group experience?  If so, get on our free monthly newsletter to stay informed of future outings.  CLICK HERE

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2 Responses to “Highlights of our Recent Santa Fe Culinary Tour”
  1. Nancy Fahey says:

    David and Carol showed us a different side of Santa Fe, which was historical and culinary! A real treat, even for me, being that I have gone often. From the Inn and Spa at Loretto to the walking tours and the ‘chocolate trail’ a fun trip, and I might say, a great group of ‘boomers’! Thanks and hopefully this is a start to some more fun tours!!!

    • David Porter says:

      Hi Nancy,

      Thank you for the kind comments. We loved having you along, and look forward to another small group adventure soon! Smile

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