The taste of Taos

The Historic Taos Inn is the epitome of Taos. In fact, this lodging’s nearly 100-year presence on the main road is a major contributing characteristic of downtown Taos. Its Adobe Bar is known as the “Living Room of Taos” for its nightly live music that brings together community members and travelers.

In its Doc Martin’s Restaurant, the tastes of Taos await in a fine dining setting.

In the 1890s, Dr. Thomas Paul (Doc) Martin came to Taos as the county’s first, and only, physician. He bought the largest of the houses, which is now Doc Martin’s Restaurant. Doc was a rugged individualist and dearly beloved because of his deep concern for his fellow man. In local lore, he is well-known for traveling miles all over the county –– hitching up a team of horses and later his tin lizzie –– through mud and snow to set bones, break fevers and deliver babies.

Chef Bill Hartig is the culinary talent behind the creations for a range of menus encompassing lunch, dinner, weekend brunch, holidays and wine pairings.

“We use much season produce from this region,” said Hartig. “Our focus is to source as much local food as possible as well ethically sourced meats.”

A quick glance at the dinner menu shows imaginative dishes of purple vegetable curry, using forbidden rice and coconut broth, and pasta primavera featuring housemade spinach pappardelle, seasonal vegetable, and lemon pesto butter.

Hartig says, “We make our own tortillas for our tacos, and our (own) breads.”

Grace Lawrie, marketing director for the Taos Inn, says, “An added benefit is that it just smells delicious in here for our guests.”

A fresh bread plate is offered as a starter on the dinner menu and is served with balsamic, extra-virgin olive oil and maître d’hotel butter.

The lunch menu offers a Picadillo taco, which is described as a Northern New Mexico beef taco, and a vegetarian Soyrizo taco prepared with house-made chickpea and tofu “chorizo,” potato hash, hibiscus pickled red onion, and cilantro.

Lawrie says, “Our menu is great for those who are conscious of food allergens, such as vegan and gluten-free.”

Doc Martin’s Restaurant has won the “Wine Spectator ‘Best of’ Award” for more than 30 years running. Its wine list offers international whites, reds, rosés, and dessert wines. From local, family-owned vineyards, they offer Gruet sparkling wine from Albuquerque and a Sangiovese from Vivac in nearby Dixon.

Local brews are from Santa Fe Brewing Company and La Cumbre Brewing Company in Albuquerque.

“Our wine list is pretty fluid. We are always bringing in new wines. We pair our daily specials with recommended wines,” says Hartig.

The summer menu takes advantage of the local growing season for local farmers. Also on-site, the Taos Inn has a greenhouse for growing their own greens, and they have our own herb garden –– all of which contribute directly their menu creations.

“We prepare three to six specials a night. As a diner, you’re getting what’s available at that time. It’s really fun to let Chef Hartig be creative in real time,” says Lawrie.

Hartig has about 20 years of experience working in restaurants. He has worked in Albuquerque at Scalo, Artichoke Café and Zinc. Before moving to Taos, he ran his own restaurant for a short time.

“I love working in Taos. When I’m outside hiking with family, I get inspired for cooking with local foraging, like porcini mushrooms,” says Hartig.

Since 1936, The Historic Taos Inn has welcomed local residents from all over Northern New Mexico –– as well as visitors from all over the world. With its fresh summer menu in Doc Martin’s Restaurant, its entire staff looks forward to welcoming new and old friends alike.

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