Santa Fe & Albuquerque, NM | Feb 2024 | Road Trip Reflections

My pup Valentine and I have been on an indefinite road trip, living nomadically since October 2023! If you'd like to see more posts & vlogs about our travels & adventures, please click here.

It was so hard putting this post together because I have soo many photos from a single month! And I was also thinking about how best to organize and share all of it: chronologically or by type (shops, restaurants, etc.) or what?? In my mind it makes the most sense to do it in order which also makes it a little bit easier for me to remember so that's what I'm going with. And to keep this post extra long instead of extra extra long, I'm splitting it up into 2 parts! :)

Part 1 includes Jessica's visit where we explored Santa Fe and Albuquerque (after a month I can finally spell it! lol)! Here are the places we checked out, the food we tried, and some of my favorite memories made!

Part 2 will include the rest of my time here in NM and some final thoughts on my first time visiting this state!


  • States Visited: 2
  • AirBnB Stays: 3
  • Miles Driven: 699
  • Cheapest gas price: $2.599 (found in NM on the way to Albuquerque)
  • Santa Fe Altitude: 6,998 FT


While I have really enjoyed traveling alone, it's always nice to have a friend to share the experience with and I was so happy Jessica came to visit for a weekend! We had so much fun when she came to see me in WA I knew it would be fun exploring NM with her too!


It was actually snowing the day she was flying in but luckily by the afternoon it had stopped and started melting away. The sky on the drive to the airport--which was crazy small, there was one lane for pick up and one other person waiting here lol--was really beautiful!

It was the end of the week so we took it easy and decided to pick up dinner, catch up, and get some rest for our packed weekend!

Apothecary - Santa Fe Oxygen Bar & Healing Bar

We both wanted something healthy and the menu here looked good--they also had pho which any time I see a vegan version I have to try! We also got the spring rolls. Everything was good but to us, it was not pho or a spring roll lol. It was fresh and healthy though. The interior was very cute though (bottom right photo) and the fake pho and biggest spring rolls we've had are pictured below as well lol.

We thought it was interesting this restaurant was also an oxygen bar but after we realized Jess was experiencing altitude sickness and how high we actually were, it made more sense!

Btw my favorite vegan pho place is Happy Veggie in Redondo Beach--the broth is so flavorful, there's lots of toppings, and the way they cook the mushrooms (maybe king oyster?) is so yummy! Second fave is Mistasie 3 in Huntington Beach. And while you're there, stop by The Donuttery for the best mom & pop shop style vegan donuts! I also stopped to get pho at All Chay in Salt Lake City and that was really good! Not a lot of toppings but flavor was there! Wanted to share in case you're on the lookout for vegan pho too :)


We spent our first full day exploring Santa Fe! It was very cold and REALLY windy which made it so much worse! When we set out, snow was lightly falling! It didn't last long but that wind was so piercing! Here's are some of the highlights:

Bumble Bee's Baja Grill

(Pictured above) We considered sitting on the patio but it was just so cold and windy! We decided to try out their drive through instead and just eat in the car--we were not deterred by their drive through menu sign that said "world's slowest drive through" lol. It's nice that we weren't in a rush and the food sounded really good--with a separate vegetarian/vegan menu!-- so we didn't mind if it took some time. But it wasn't even long at all! 

We both got the vegan burrito, shared chips and salsa, and I also got a horchata which was the best horchata I've ever had! (Sometimes they taste kind of watered down.) The food was fresh and flavorful and the burrito was huge (that pic doesn't do it justice)! We couldn't finish it so Jess made a burrito compartment in my car which I thought was so funny lol. Val had her own snacks during lunch and a few chips too--she loves the cronch :)

I highly recommend stopping here--it's a great spot for fast and casual food with more options and higher quality than a typical fast food drive through. Definitely get the horchata--I miss it and think about it from time to time lol.

Santa Fe Railyard & Farmer's Market

(Pictured below) It's a cute place to walk around with shops and restaurants and art galleries. One bummer is the Farmer's Market had nothing vegan and the chai Jess got was super spicy/peppery (unless you like it that way!) There's also lots of walkways and paths including one that leads to 2 different parks which was fun! 


Canyon Road 

Canyon Road is known for having blocks of art galleries and it was such a fun place to walk through! We didn't go inside (in case dogs aren't allowed) but there was plenty to see outside. I can imagine if you go into every gallery that you can spend an entire afternoon here! 

Our favorites were the sculptures that blew in the wind. Some were so simple but the effect is so fun and pretty! So maybe it was a good thing it was so windy that day after all! That spot with all the wind sculptures was definitely my favorite and next to it were these bright animal inspired sculptures! It was interesting to see all the different styles and materials that were used.

This area is quite well known and I think if you're in the area, it's worth taking a look! Parking was easy, we drove further down the street and was able to find a spot there.

Kakawa Chocolate House

After walking around in the cold, we thought it was the perfect time to get something warm to drink! This place specializes in chocolate elixirs so we were excited to get some!

And in case you're wondering, Kakawa (ka-KA-wa) is an Olmec word, meaning cacao or chocolate.

Just walking up to the door I already loved this place! The bright red ristra and the bright colored trim and gold on the burgundy door. Inside there were two large display cases filled with chocolates! I'm actually not a huge fan of chocolate, maybe because vegan ones are dark and I don't like the bitterness, but there were so many different flavors and they were all so cute and pretty!

The service was so friendly and you can sample all the elixirs. There were several vegan ones and I think we both got the classic and went for the smaller 3 oz size because it was VERY thick and rich! I really wanted to try the Marie Antoinette which is orange flavored (love that combo!) but they didn't have it available that day. They do sell it online so I may have to pick up a bag!

There were also lots of vegan chocolate options! We got orange peels dipped in chocolate, a prickly pear truffle, a passion fruit truffle, an orange flavored dark chocolate piece, and upon my insistence, a cherry chili truffle! Jessica can't do spice (she was telling me how black pepper can be spicy for her) and I can't handle it either but for some reason I really want to try spicy things lol. And we were in Santa Fe, the city of chilis! So I thought we had to get one chili thing and felt like since it's mixed with chocolate, it can't be that bad right? She was skeptical but game and I took some video of us trying it for my NM YouTube video so you'll be able to see our reactions there lol.

They also have a big parking lot which I love because I can't deal with places where parking is a struggle!

Overall this was a great experience and I highly recommend checking out Kakawa Chocolate House, specifically their flagship location near downtown on Paseo De Peralta (they have 2 other shops.)



Sunday was our last full day together so we decided to take a little day trip to Albuquerque! It's about an hour drive from Santa Fe and it'd be the first time there for both of us!

On our way to downtown, we passed by Balloon Fiesta Park and decided to stop real quick! I totally forgot ABQ is where the Hot Air Balloon Festival takes place until Jess mentioned this park! This is where they all launch from and it was fun imagining what it would be like if the sky were filled. The day we stopped we got to see a bunch of geese on the field which was fun too! 

I also stopped to get gas just outside of ABQ and it still blows my mind how cheap it is compared to CA! $2.60! That is just so wild to me!

Driving into downtown it was a HUGE contrast from Santa Fe! There were skyscrapers and the area felt a little more rough as do most downtowns or large cities. A very different vibe from Santa Fe. I'm glad I decided to settle in SF instead of ABQ (I was debating where to get an AirBnB), I think it's a little bit more me, dog friendly, and feels safer as well.


We hadn't eaten yet so our plan was to grab some brunch at Knead first, an all vegan DONUT and lunch spot! Unfortunately they were so busy that day they weren't taking brunch pick up orders so we stopped in to get some donuts instead. I was bummed we couldn't get food here because it looked really good! The place was pretty packed and a lot of the donuts were close to getting sold out so if you check this place out, go earlier than later!

We got an orange flavored donut and one that had a crumble on top and was filled with strawberry jam. These donuts were SO good! The dough part reminded me of milk bread or Asian bakery style bread which I don't usually get to have because it's not vegan. I didn't mind it at all but keep in mind it's not like the regular mom & pop style yeast or cake donuts.

Flyby Provisions

This is exactly the kind of gift and art shop I love! It was filled with goods from local artists including food, prints, original art, stationery, candles, and more, and owner Gina was friendly and knowledgeable on the artists she carried and local happenings. This could've been the only place we stopped at in ABQ and I would've been completely happy! I also loved the decor from their bird local painted outside to the art that was hung on the walls inside. The street that it's on also has other gift and coffee shops and some cool murals as well. If you want to support an awesome small woman owned biz, stop by or shop online!

Soo Bak Seoul Bowl

We ate at this Korean fusion restaurant for lunch. Their outdoor area was closed but they said if your dog is well behaved you can come inside which was so nice and both the staff and other customers were very sweet to Val :) 

We had the bibimbap bowls with fried tofu, corn, and broccoli, the veggie fritters, cucumber kimchi, and I tried the Boricha, a Korean roasted barley + corn tea.

I thought everything was really tasty especially the fritters and the service was quick and friendly. I also enjoyed the tea--it tasted really clean if that makes any sense and exactly like what it was made of lol It wasn't sweetened and I thought it was nice to have with food because it's mild and doesn't have an overpowering flavor.

It's a fusion restaurant, not an authentic Korean place so keep that in mind if you are wanting something more traditional.

I was wondering why they had a big watermelon painted on their building and later found out that Sandia, the area that it was located in, is Spanish for watermelon--makes so much more sense now lol.

Old Town Albuquerque & The Breaking Bad Store / Museum

Old town had a bunch of little shops and it was cool to walk around although I felt like there wasn't anything that special--a little more typical touristy stuff. There were a few art shops that were interesting and some cool murals and sections that were fun to walk through. We noticed that many shops seemed to be closed so maybe we were also missing out on some things.

The Breaking Bad Store

The highlight was actually The Breaking Bad Store which I was pleasantly surprised by! I've seen the last few seasons of the show but don't really remember much except that it gets kinda violent and isn't my cup of tea. It's not just a gift shop with mugs and t-shirts with breaking bad characters on it--the walls are adorned with signed photos of the owners with the cast and the connected room is really like a Breaking Bad museum! There's different items from the set, costumes from the show, it was really cool! I think if you're a fan of the show this is a must see if you're in ABQ! Both Jessica and I thought it was cool even though we aren't fans. There's also lots of fun photo ops!

I really loved how this shop that was painted with the sun, clouds, and flowers on the bright blue! They also sold cards that were luminaries which were really unique and pretty! You can see some of them in the photo above as well.


Los Poblanos

My friend Julie recommended this gorgeous place and I'm so glad she did! 

Just driving up to the property was already so lovely with the tunnel of trees and the property is just gorgeous--even in the winter! I can imagine how beautiful it is in the spring! 

While dogs aren't allowed on the property because they have llamas and other animals walking around (I think the llamas were in their pens when we went but there were llama crossing signs! and we did see their cat walking around :)) we thought we could pop into the Farm Shop real quick! Val was sleeping and it was cold so leaving her in the car was fine and temperature was not an issue. 

I love the aesthetic of the Farm Shop and the goodies that were inside. Jess said it reminded her of Joanna Gaines and Magnolia Market at the Silos and I can totally see that! That convo also made me decide to go to Waco at some point :) 

I'm so glad we stopped here and got to see a little bit of this place.

If you can't make it out to this location, there's a smaller version of the Farm Shop in downtown Santa Fe. 

They also offer tours, lodging, and there's a restaurant there as well. We only saw a tiny part of the property and I hope I get to come back and stay here one day! If you're looking for a getaway or little vacation, take a look Los Poblanos :)


Los Poblanos was our last stop but before coming here we popped into Bookworks, a local and independently owned bookstore! I had wanted to stop by because it was dog friendly but by the time we got here Val was sleeping so we let her sleep in the car. I loved all the notes that were on the different books and found the cutest little notecard with mushrooms on it to snail mail to a friend! I love checking out the local bookstores at every stop and this one didn't disappoint!

I always to try pick up some stickers and postcards at every place I go to, for myself and to send to friends! I've found that they are the perfect keepsake / souvenir for me since I'm trying to stay minimal. Here's my haul from Sunday!

And that wraps up a very eventful weekend exploring New Mexico! It was really so much fun to get to see, eat, and do these things with Jessica (and luckily she felt better from her altitude sickness after a day) as well as the time we got to spend hanging out back at the AirBnB! 

New Mexico has really surprised me in so many ways! I understand why I have heard how special Santa Fe is and have so enjoyed my time here! I have a few more things I wanted to share about this city and state, please stay tuned for part 2 :) Thank you for reading and joining me for my road trip travels! 

Part 2 of this post coming soon! If you want to know when it's up, sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of this page!

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Thank you Colleen for all your encouragement and support throughout my entire life! It truly means so much. I’m so happy I got to see you before starting this trip and that I’ve been able to see Jessica throughout! It’s been such great quality time and so fun to share these experiences and memories with her. Valentine and I send lots of love and hugs! I will keep you posted on the book :D


I loved everything: places you picked, restaurants you chose, opinions, Val notes, photos (especially of My sweet Daughters back together again)! I love you both so much and am very proud how you make the world your personal playground. Be happy, stay safe and keep checking off your Bucket List. We’re looking forward to your book “The Adventures of Olivia and Valentine”.


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