Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Silver City

[by Shelley]
After a couple days hiking and climbing around Phoenix, we got rained out and decided to head further south and east to the Gila Wilderness. The original plan was to do a multi-day hike around here but the weather forecast was lousy. We decided to check out the area anyway for future reference. The last 45 minutes of the drive to Silver City was in the dark and through a snow and wind storm. Visibility was nearly nil, it got icier and icier and the only way we could see where the road went was by the reflective posts at the side of the road.

But we arrived safe and sound and booked into the Palace Hotel. Built in the late 1800's it has a lot of interest and character to it. We asked the receptionist about places to eat and she first pointed out Isaac's across the street, highlighting the great bison burgers. When we said we were vegetarian she immediately said "Oh, you have to go to Shevek's." We did and it was awesome! Immediately upon entering, you pass through the small bar area and past the display full of handmade chocolates and desserts. The menu has three sizes of each dish -- tapa, mezze, and entree. We asked the waiter for vegetarian recommendations and almost half of the large menu was suitable. In order to try more things, we had the mezze size of the salad and tapas sizes of the other dishes:

Spinach, Cabrales Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad
with an aged sherry vinegar and walnut oil dressing.

Eggs with Fromage and Wild Mushrooms
soft scrambled eggs finished with freshly made fromage and topped with wild mushroom "caviar."

Spinach Briouats
traditional Moroccan street food. Spinach and herb-stuffed phyllo dough "cigar." Served with tzatziki on a bed of greens.

Grilled Stuffed Portabello Mushroom
with roasted red pepper pesto on a bed of greens.

Spicy Chickpea and Eggplant Stew
spiced with garlic, red pepper flakes and cooked in a sauce of roasted tomatoes and fresh herbs. Served over cous cous confit.

Accompanied by a nice Luna Rossa Shiraz, made locally at Deming, New Mexico. (We were impressed that the waiter recommended a local and quite inexpensive wine.) And followed by dessert of yummy chocolate cake with peach and raspberry filling. There were only a few people in the restaurant and the chef came out and chatted with us. Even the background music was good.

We might have to go back again tonight to try a few more of the options!

This morning after the included breakfast at the hotel we had coffee, tea and reading time at the Javelina Coffee House which is also in the Palace Hotel building. It's large and funky with an eclectic crowd. The doors are set deep into the building and there are raised window seating areas. The place is filled with assorted mismatched tables, comfy chairs, and couches, mostly of quite old vintage. There were people on laptops (free wifi), some seated at the in-house computer terminals, a group of women that appeared to be a conversational Spanish group, and a couple guys that I can only describe as "rubby dubs". It was an interesting mix!

We wandered the downtown area for a short while and since it was sunny decided that we should try to get out for a hike. We drove just 6 miles up the road to Pinos Altos only to find ourselves once again in the middle of snow, wind and icy roads. Ok, maybe we won't hike after all! We wandered some more, this time going into several of the art galleries, art shops and the museum. It's a very historic area with lots of old buildings and interesting architecture. There is lots of art around - as one of the locals told us, "Silver City is full of starving artists".

This is a really nice town and we definitely look forward to coming back when it's warmer and doing some hiking in the Gila Wilderness.

2011-02 Silver City

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