photo by David Fenton
VIBE: SULTRY MADRID NOCHE, WITH A BUENOS AIRES FLAIR
Swing open the door of the low-slung adobe El Mesón restaurant, just two blocks off the Plaza, and step into Old Spain. Here, you can sample the Madrid-born owner-chef's specialties. Then saunter over to its candlelit Chispa Tapas Bar. On Tuesday, the mood is South American sizzle at weekly tango night; on the first Saturday of every month, professionals take to the floor for flamenco. Settle in and sip sangria. INFO: El Mesón: $$$; Chispa: $$$, $10 cover on flamenco night; both closed Sun-Mon; 213 Washington Ave.; 505/983-6756.
Worldly Touch Santa Fe is the second-oldest U.S. city, established by the Spanish 400 years ago. Native Americans have lived here even longer.
VIBE: CONTINENTAL SHOPPING SPREE
Shop for vintage furnishings from France and Italy and clothes from Parisian and U.S. labels at Block Mercantile (pictured; closed Sun-Mon; 418 Montezuma Ave.; 505/982-7477), in the artsy Railyard District. Owned by a former fashion stylist and interior designer, the store has a modern rustic feel: A barn door opens into an airy room with a velvet couch that encourages lingering. Another good stop is Poem (125 E. Palace Ave., Ste. 30; 505/820-7884), a boutique straight out of a Parisian neighborhood. The owner has a soft spot for eclectic international treasures.
Worldly Touch Santa Fe is a walking city, with cobblestone streets near the Plaza and plenty of courtyards to pause in.