we said...
our santa fe hot spots

» el rey inn, moderate, (505) 982-1931.
we debated long and hard about recommending el rey, not because there's anything wrong with it (there isn't!), but because we kind of wanted to keep it to ourselves. the white stuccoed court motel dates back to the '30s and attracts repeat visitors like us with its quaint, quiet grounds and cozy, casual charms. and who can resist the complimentary cinnamon-apple tortillas at breakfast?

» hilton of santa fe, expensive, (505) 988-2811. housed in a 350-year-old hacienda encompassing a full city block, this isn't your ordinary hilton. its downtown locale, just steps from the plaza, makes it ideal for business or pleasure.

» bobcat bite, inexpensive, (505) 983-5319.
the story of how this friendly dive along old las vegas highway got its name is a little scary (imagine hungry bobcats perched outside waiting for table scraps). most notable is their signature two-fisted green chile cheeseburger. and of their ribeye steak, noted roadside grub guru michael stern said, "there is none more delicious between amarillo and l.a."

» la casa sena, (505) 988-9232.
southwestern is a stalwart in santa fe, and this is a great place to get it. you can enjoy your meal on the ­coveted outdoor patio, or head inside to either the main dining room or adjacent cantina, which is a little cheaper and more lively (if you like singing waiters, that is).

» santa fe school of cooking, (505) 983-4511.
santa fe is known for its cuisine, so why not head to this noted recreational cooking school for a lesson on how to serve up everything from super-spicy salsa to stuffed steak with red-chile sauce.

» ski santa fe, (505) 982-4429.
this 660-acre basin with 45 runs and 6 lifts can handle 7,800 schussers an hour.

» santa fe opera, (505) 986-5900.
even if you're not a huge fan of opera, we think you'll appreciate the show at this impressive open-air theater boasting the gorgeous northern new mexico mountains as a backdrop. the season runs july through august, but performers like lyle lovett and the czech republic's national theater ballet brno hit the stage in other warm-weather months.