In 1927, Willa Cather penned one of the very best novels ever written about New Mexico in Death Comes For the Archbishop, an American literary classic based on the the vicissitudes of Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy. As the first bishop of Santa Fe, Lamy faced the prolific challenge of reestablishing a congruent Catholic church while facing religious corruption and the desolation and loneliness of living in a strange and unforgiving land. It’s no wonder he had a secluded retreat built for him in the colorful foothills of the Sangre De Cristo mountains. That exquisite hideaway has become one of America’s best retreats with exceptional accommodations, unlimited recreational opportunities and now, the finest in dining.
In the spring of 2002, the Bishop’s Lodge Resort and spa launched a new concept restaurant called Las Fuentes (The Fountains), so named because of the lush green oasis watered by the Spa’s own water recycling plant. On Sundays, Las Fuentes features a lavish brunch buffet which perennially garners “the best in Santa Fe” recognition. To say it’s one of the very best brunch buffets we’ve had in New Mexico is a vast understatement. For just shy of $40 per person, not including tip, you can engorge yourself on among the best brunches you can find anywhere.
It’s a Bacchanalian feast, an indulgence in the type of excess you dare not allow yourself too often–even if you could afford it–for fear of caloric over-achievement. It’s a bounteous buffet the type of which is a complete antithesis of the eating Olympics E.B. White described in his 1952 classic Charlotte’s Web when he wrote about Templeton the rat’s scavenging at the fair. It’s on par with the very best of buffets in Las Vegas which, contrary to stereotype, are no longer the all-you-can-choke-down fests of cheap chow yore.
The featured fare is Continental (French, Spanish, New Mexican, Native American) American cuisine at its finest, at least thirty different items showcased decorously in stainless steel vessels that are both attractive and utilitarian. Two elegant dining rooms with western appointments make diners feel instantly at home where they’re surrounded by authentic Navajo rugs and commissioned murals by early Santa Fe artist W. E. Rollins. Dulcet musical stylings provide a soothing tone by which to enjoy your meal. The buffet stations occupy two elongated rooms, both thematically laid out and a joy to navigate. In the nearly seven years (2004-2011) between visits, the buffet was actually scaled down, emphasizing high quality over sheer volume.
Seafood items include snow crab legs, oysters on the half-shell, shrimp and a fish entree. During our most recent visit, the carving table featured Virginia ham served with a pineapple glaze. An expert carver will fill your plate if you wish. Salads of both the legume and vegetable variety as well as macaroni fare are plentiful. Turophiliacs (those obsessed with cheese) will find a wide variety of high quality cheeses: creamy mozzarella, mild Swiss, sharp Cheddar, bold goat cheese and more, all of which go well with the dried fruits and candied walnuts.
Santa Fe Server & Back Bar
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Sunny Designs 1866DC-30 Santa Fe Barstool w/ Swivel, 30"H
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