Rainy Day Santa Fe

A Shot in the Rain:  Santa Fe, New Mexico

A woman with a red umbrella explores the cliff dwellings at Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico. Photo by Kayte Deioma

A Rainy Day in ….Santa Fe, NM

story and photos by Kayte Deioma

Despite the fact that Santa Fe boasts an average of 300 days of sunshine per The ĄCARNAVAL! exhibit at the Museum of International Folk Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico.year, all travel guides warn to be prepared for inclement weather. Especially in summer, thunderstorms blow in and make their presence felt before blowing away again to make way for more scorching sunshine. In summer, it may be the heat, as well as the rain that has you seeking an inner sanctum. No fear, Santa Fe offers an extensive array of world-class museums, galleries, spas and other ways to stay cool and dry in the summer or warm and dry in the winter.


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Nidah Spa – A Delectable Experience

story and photos by Kayte Deioma

Santa Fe is blessed with an abundance of outstanding holistic healing and Reception area at the Nidah Spa at the Eldorado Hotel, Santa Fe, NM.spa facilities, based on Japanese, Swedish and even Native American healing modalities. A spa experience is great when you’re traveling alone, but it’s also a wonderful bonding experience between couples or friends. It can even be a great multi-generational family experience. Many of the Santa Fe spas have facilities where couples can get a massage in the same room. Hot tubs and steam rooms accommodate groups. Spa salons allow girlfriends to gossip over a manicure or pedicure.

My friend Julie and I decide to try out the new Nidah Spa which opened December 2004 at Santa Fe’s Eldorado Hotel. Nidah is the Apache word for “your life.” Nidah’s spa treatments are based on the sacred directions of the Native American medicine wheel.

The Elixir Lounge at the Nidah Spa in the Eldorado Hotel, Santa Fe, NM.Treatments based on the North are restorative, with their roots in the restful stillness of winter. Herbal ingredients are chosen to “relax the body and encourage tense bodies to ‘cool down.'”

East treatments use stimulating spring herbs to rejuvenate and renew body and mind and include a Tomato-Maize Facial or an East Winds massage.

South treatments, like the Chili and Honey Rub, are designed to instill the energy and vitality of summer.

West treatments are designed to purify and detoxify. West massages can include essential oils designed for High Altitude Relief, Feminine Rescue or General Detoxification; or you can choose a Purification Wrap using a Blue Corn and Anasazi Bean Cleanse.

Julie gets slathered with Sedona mud and cocoa at the Nidah Spa in Santa Fe, NM.In addition to the four compass points, the Native American medicine wheel counts the Center as the fifth direction. Golden Center treatments represent the earth. They are designed to support all the other directions and bring optimum balance. As much as we both appreciate having our energies balanced, Julie and I both choose the Golden Center Chocolate Mole Mud Wrap as much for the pleasure of being wrapped in chocolate as for its balancing effect.

After a quick visit to the steam room to open our pores, Julie and I experiment with the hot and cold herbal E.lix.rs in the Elixir Lounge. Spa technician Irene Truitt comes to escort me into a treatment room where I am welcomed by the delicious aroma of cocoa.

The Golden Center Chocolate Mole Mud Wrap is designed to restore balance.The treatment begins with a dry body brush “to energize the lymph.” Then the warm Sedona mud mixed with cocoa, cumin, cinnamon and nutmeg is slathered over my body. Its creamy smooth texture is much more chocolaty than muddy. Irene works fast to apply the warm mole mud before it cools, then wraps me in warm layers of wool and Mylar to keep in the heat. I am feeling like a cross between a chocolate truffle and a well-wrapped mole enchilada.

While I bask in the warm mud wrap, Irene unravels my curls and begins aIrene gives Julie a scalp massage as part of the Chocolate Mole Mud Wrap at the Nidah Spa at the Eldorado Hotel, Santa Fe, NMrelaxing scalp massage. She adds a hot stone behind my neck to release the muscles. Then my feet become the subject of her attention with a decadent foot massage. Twenty minutes later I use the shower in the treatment room to shower off the mole mud, then relax on the massage table for a half-hour back massage with my selection of scented or unscented lotion to work out the remaining kinks. The final touch is a layer of the Spa’s signature “Spun Gold” body lotion which leaves a glittery golden sheen on my skin.

Back in the locker room I experiment with the spa’s variety of hair products to get my wild curls back under control before changing to head up to my room. Julie is still raving about the foot massage. A woman in the elevator asks about our treatment. “You look refreshed.” She says. She’s been considering the avocado facial. By the time we reach the fifth floor I think she’s leaning toward a Chocolate Mole Mud Wrap.

The Lobby Lounge at the Eldorado Hotel, Santa Fe, New MexicoThe sun came out so we ventured outside after our spa experience, but if it’s still raining, lunch at the Eldorado Court restaurant might be in order. For dinner, the hotel’s much-lauded Old House Restaurant can keep you well-fed and dry. In between you can check out the fitness center on the fifth floor, or lounge in front of the kiva fireplace in your deluxe room. Drinks in the Lobby Lounge are accompanied by live music nightly.

For more information, visit www.eldoradohotel.com

Chocolate Smith: A Chocolate for All Seasons

story and photos by Kayte Deioma

As if a chocolate spa treatment wasn’t enough, Santa Fe introduced me to my new best friend: weatherproof chocolate.

Chris White and Cliff Perry came up with the idea when they opened up a bag of melted chocolate after hiking on a hot summer day. The two of them founded Chocolate Smith, a chocolate shop in the funky 2 nd St. area of Santa Fe. From here they market their “weatherproof chocolate” to the world.

Weatherproof chocolate "Packer Squares" at Chocolate Smith in Santa Fe, NM.Consisting of various flavors of dark chocolate “paté” coated in Dutch cheese wax, the chocolate blocks are waterproof and resist “blooming,” the separation of ingredients that leaves chocolate splotchy and unappetizing after changes in temperature. The “paté” is a dark chocolate ganache, similar in consistency to fudge.

Several flavors of chocolate are available in the colorful weatherproof wax. Travel bars come in plain Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Weatherproof chocolate hearts  at Chocolate Smith in Santa Fe, NM.Raspberry, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, Orange Chili Chocolate and Nuts and Berries. These are the basic utilitarian “packer squares”, great for hiking, camping and other forms of travel. It’s a great gift to ship to friends and family members in Iraq, since it will survive both the trip and the heat.

In addition to the travel bars, the chocolate “paté” comes in a variety of fun, shippable weatherproof shapes. Two different chili chocolate “patés” come in Southwest-themed shapes. The Sunset Orange and Mucho Ancho chili chocolates come in the shape of red or green chili peppers, a cowboy boot or hat or a cactus. Other chocolate “patés” are formed into hearts, sunflowers, gingerbread boys, ducks and rainbow trout, all dipped in appropriately colored cheese wax.

I carried a “packer square” of Orange Chili Chocolate around in my purse forWeatherproof Chocolate Packers Squares from Chocolate Smith in Santa Fe, NMseveral days in the ninety degree heat of Santa Fe, then packed it in my checked luggage for the trip home. The plastic wrap got a little clingy with the wax, but came off easily. For the heck of it, I immersed the pink, orange and yellow wax-covered bar in water for a few minutes to put it through a pseudo rainy-day test.

After pealing away the wax, the chocolate was in perfect condition. The rich flavor of Dark Orange Chili has a nice bite, with no bitter aftertaste. It has a more fudgy texture than a regular chocolate bar, but if you’re craving chocolate under chocolate-unfriendly weather conditions, it will do the trick. The chocolate “patés” also come in large “party rounds” that resemble cheese wheels. “We have to tell people to peel off the wax,” says Kari Keenan of Chocolate Smith. “It’s still a new concept, and they think it’s edible.”

Chocolate Smith in Santa Fe, NMIf you’ll have a chance to eat your chocolate without the threat of extreme weather conditions, Chocolate Smith has a slew of other gourmet chocolate treats with a Santa Fe twist. These include Dipped Caramel with Sea Salt, Pińon Caramel Squares, Cinnamon Crunch, Dipped Ginger and many more. The shop is also known for its chocolate barks in flavors like Red or Green Chili Pistachio Bark, Mocha Almond Bark, Mountain Bark, a white chocolate bark with coconut, cherries, almonds and toffee, and my new favorite, White Chocolate Lemon Lavender with Almonds. The Pecos Peanut Butter Fingers with a lingering chili bite are also addictive. To continue the Southwest theme, Chocolate Smith’s dark and white chocolate hand-painted pottery shards have also become quite popular.

All of the chocolates mentioned above are made in house. There are a few imported chocolates also available, as well as drinking chocolate from Kakawa Chocolate House, a local company that makes their drinking chocolate from ancient South American and not-quite-so-ancient European recipes.

Kari Keenan of Chocolate Smith in Santa Fe, NMAlthough Chocolate Smith is not a café – there’s no place to sit – they’ve recently made coffee available to enjoy with your chocolates. You can easily pass a half hour or so tasting the samples to find your favorites and learning all about their unique products.

If you can’t make it to Santa Fe, you can order your Weatherproof Chocolate from www.ChocolateSmith.com. They gladly ship to destinations around the world.