It was straight into the car this morning, breakfast from the deli at Tenaya Lodge eaten on the road as we drove straight to Fresno for a 9:25am flight.
With no stops we made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare and got checked in. We had three heavy bags but J’s Platinum status meant the lady who checked us in didn’t bat an eyelid.
Fresno airport (FAT) is a small but very nice airport and bills itself as the gateway to Yosemite.
Security at American airports is a bit more effort than here in Australia, ID and tickets have to be shown (anyone not flying can’t go through to the gates), shoes have to be taken off, iPads and laptops have to go in separate trays (I usually put my laptop and handbag in the same tray) and of course there is the body scan.
This was my first time going through the scanners, but it is an easy process. Stand sideways with feet apart on the marked spots, put your arms in the air and the scan itself takes about three seconds. Whoever is monitoring the scans gives the all clear to the staff at the scanner and if necessary you will also get a pat down. Both J and I got a left side pat down, no idea why.
We boarded on time but were delayed in taking off because an overhead bin could not be shut (and not because it was too full). It was eventually sorted and we took off for an easy 39 minute flight to LAX.
We had about 20 minutes before our next flight so grabbed a quick sandwich before heading to the gate. We were in the American Airlines satellite terminal where the American Eagle flights come in and out of.
I thought that as we were going a further distance the second plane would be bigger than the first, but it was smaller! There were only 3 seats in each row, one on the left of the aisle and two together on the right.
J slept most of the flight and I read. The hostess seemed a bit offended when I declined a drink and complimentary snack, telling me it was a long flight. Ummm, I personally don’t think 1 hour 45 minutes is a long flight, and even if it was, I am pretty sure I can go that long without food!
We could see storms in the distance as we came into land at Santa Fe and it was a bit rough but we made it down safely. Luggage was collected, new car sorted and we headed into town.
We knew that Santa Fe was known for its adobe style buildings but we were both surprised at how many buildings were in this style, including the airport.
We checked in to the La Fonda on the Plaza hotel. The lobby was very busy, but I really liked our room with its brightly coloured furniture.
We went for a walk around the plaza and surrounding streets, checking out the Native American market, the Cathedral, the oldest house in America and the oldest church structure.
Just across from the hotel was a guy selling all sorts of stuff, but what caught our attention was the chillies and garlic.
Just next door was a hot dog vendor and neither of us could pass up a chilli dog.
After another hour or so of wandering we went back to the hotel and got ready for dinner. But first it was up to the rooftop bar at La Fonda for a drink. This is supposed to be the best place in Santa Fe to watch the sun set.
It was then a short walk over to the Coyote Cafe for dinner.
We were seated at a booth, which gave us lots of space and meant no-one was sitting on top of us at the next table.
Bread was provided, and happily for J some of it was corn bread!
For entree J had Eduardo’s house smoked chile rubbed duck breast, celery root and Fuji apple salad, California grapes.
It was a really good dish and definitely the pick of the two entrees.
Mine was the sweet ginger, papaya and goat cheese spring rolls with scarlet endive, spinach and scallion salad.
Nice, but a bit weird and I couldn’t taste the ginger or papaya.
For main course, we both had the specialty of the restaurant, the Chef’s famous tellicherry pepper elk tenderloin with roasted garlic smashed potatoes, applewood smoked bacon and brandied mushroom sauce.
We were asked how we wanted the elk cooked. As we have never had elk before we weren’t sure but the waiter said we should have it how we have our steaks, so medium rare it was.
It was beautiful dish, the meat was tender and a little bit gamey but not as strong as I was expecting. Everything on the plate was excellent.
We had ordered a half bottle of Gaston Chiquet champagne with the plan to order something else once that was finished but we didn’t have a chance. The food came out so quickly we were done and dusted in 45 minutes. We were tired so it wasn’t an issue as it meant we got back to the hotel earlier than expected.
But I really think restaurants do themselves a disservice by rushing patrons through. We had planned to get more wine (where they make their most profit) and if we weren’t so full we would have had dessert. So they got less money out of us than what they could have done. And it is not like they needed the table either, there were empty tables around us.
I thought the service was perfunctory, they weren’t that interested or genuine.
We did get complimentary truffles to go, they consisted of milk chocolate champagne, dark chocolate dulce de Leche and white chocolate pistachio.