This evening I sat zazen as the sun began its slow descend. If you want to take photographs in Santa Fe, do it in the Evening, when the sun lingers for a long time. In the Morning the sun rises so quickly that it appears as if somebody switched it on… Then I celebrated this lovely August day with a walk to Santacafe, where I hadn’t been all year. I sat at the bar, like I used to, ordered the same three small appetizers I would have ordered two decades ago, plus a glass of Super Tuscan wine, and talked to the bartender who had worked there for seventeen years, about the rains that graced our town this Summer – like they used to twenty years ago, before the weather had changed.
After dinner I strolled through town – I can’t bring myself to call it a city – past the library, past the Anasazi Hotel, where we shot interview footage for my first Epic Records press kit in 1992, past the Frank Howell gallery on the corner of the plaza, past the Plaza Bakery, filled with people and once, and maybe still, the highest grossing Häagen Dazs store in the world. I took a left down towards Pasqual’s, and made a mental note to make a reservation there as I haven’t eaten there in nearly a decade – we ate there often while recording “Lava” – followed by a right onto Water Street.
I could swear the bike locked to one of the meters was Michael’s Dahon, and for a moment I listened intently, to find out whether I could hear live music somewhere. But maybe he was downtown to eat, enjoying the warm mid-summer evening.
As I moved on I noticed that Foreign Traders, a store on the corner of Water and Galisteo, had closed and my favorite bookstore in town had moved into the space and added a cafe. I continued on Water street, past the dark backside of a building, where I had more than once climbed up a fire escape to my girlfriend’s window on the second floor. I rounded the parking garage and headed back towards the plaza, thinking about riding a Harley along West San Francisco in the early Nineties.
The band had stopped playing on the plaza a while ago, and the crew had nearly packed everything away, but somebody was still playing percussion and singing, while a crowd kept clapping in rhythm. Left on Lincoln street, then right on Marcy Street. There were still people waiting to get a table in the tiny tapas restaurant La Boca. Diagonally across the street from La Boca used to be La Traviata. The Santacafe bartender and I had talked about that place. Until it closed it was our favorite restaurant in town. I must have gone there for lunch at least two, three times a week in the early Nineties. What was the name of the chef and owner? He was the chef at Santacafe until it burned in 1986. When it re-opened the position was given to Michael Fennelly and X then worked at Carriage Trade, which was where Geronimo is now, before opening La Traviata. I met him at Carriage Trade, where I played guitar three nights a week in the summer of 1987.
I crossed the street, walked past the library, past whatever took the space of the old Video Library, and headed home.
What wonderful memories you shared of the simple joys of life or should I say the joys of life that are not “for sale” or “priceless”. :-).
You’re making me homesick for places I’ve not yet been.
Matt – make a note of it and we’ll go next time.
I am in complete agreement, Santa Fe is not a city, it is a place to call “my home town”.
Best “city” I’ve been to.
What a treat to walk around Sante Fe. I remember so many of those places. It must fee wonderful to be home. Those who never leave can’t possibly feel like that. I love the town of Santa Fe.