You may think me crazy for choosing to try out the Eldorado Hotel’s newly renovated Cava Lounge on the Saturday of Indian Market weekend, but that’s just what I did. The Eldorado Hotel and Spa had its own mini Indian Market set up in the lobby and adjacent hallways, with a large assortment of lovely Native arts and crafts for sale. After spending a bit of time perusing the booths, I meandered over to the bar to meet my friend and found a seat. I can’t go without pointing out the thoughtful design of the high bar chairs, each with a handle on the back to make it easy to pull out.
The bartender approached us immediately and was very friendly. When I asked what their specialty drink was, he told me all the cocktails on the menu were specialties, but that he could get creative if I wanted. The menu had such lovelies as a classic Pisco Sour, a Manhattan, and a drink called a Blood & Sand made with locally crafted Santa Fe Spirits Colkeghan Scotch, Blood Orange Juice, Cherry Liquor, and Tempranillo Salt. YUM! His enthusiasm was infectious, and I was tempted, but I opted go to with what they call “Your Daily Gin & Tonic” made with Santa Fe Spirit’s Wheeler’s Gin and artisanal Fever Tree Tonic Water.
As I sipped my perfectly balanced G&T, from behind me came the sounds of Spanish guitar and elegant foot stomping. I turned to look, and sure enough, in the middle of this mini Indian Market was a Flamenco dancer in a traditional red dress with a huge ruffled train. She tapped and kicked and flicked the train around with her well trained feet and spun around the small dance floor. She was captivating. It just added to the festive and multi-cultural atmosphere of the lounge that afternoon.
They have a nice selection of small plates, some of which can also be ordered as larger platters. I went for for the “Spanish Sampling” of Manchego cheese, Chorizo, Spanish Olives, greens, and a smear of date sauce, which was just the right size and each of the components were flavorful in their own right but also complemented each other nicely in the dish as a whole.
Once the G&T was gone, a glass of wine seemed in order. They had a Rose from France on the menu, and I asked the bartender (different than the first gentleman) if it was on the dry side. He assured me it was, and offered a taste. I trusted him, declined the taste, and sure enough it was exactly as described.
I suspect if the Cava Lounge is this accommodating, patient, and delightful on literally the busiest tourist day of the year, it is even more so the rest of the time. See for yourself why Cava Lounge is “Santa Fe’s Community Living Room.”