As our dear mother would say, “If you can’t say something nice about someone or something, don’t say anything at all.” This was an admonishment more honored in the breach than the observance, but it’s the thought that counts, right?
That said … we actually dig the Tesuque Village Market in Tesuque, and have since it opened in 1989. Many is the time over the years we’d pop in for a croissant and a coffee on our way southward into La Villa Real.
The bucolic, tranquil, secluded canyon atmosphere was a lovely pit stop, and remains so, but that atmosphere has gone upscale over the years, from northern-New-Mexico-funky into what we call the semi-gated mind-set of the Arroyo Hamptons with a dash of millennial posing thrown in.
Late-hippies and faded movie stars have been replaced with rich, middle-aged guys in cargo shorts, flip flops and Hawaiian shirts; tables of blue-haired sophisticates thinking they’re slumming it in the provinces; inked and pierced youngsters with purple and green locks.
Kind of like putting a retirement home in Meow Wolf.
And why does everyone seem to be either working in or auditioning for some movie?
As for slumming it, forget about that.
Everything at the end of Archbishop Lamy’s old horse trail is at least 15 percent more costly than you will find it in town. And there’s nothing wrong with that. TVM has a wealthy, captive audience. And who wants to drive all the way into town when you can grab a top drawer Scotch or mezcal or tequila in the village? The selection of wines and spirits is impressive, and there is great swag in the back, from caps ‘n tees to frisbees and handbags. Cool stuff.
Lunch, not so much. A recent visit to Tesuque Village Market on a warm Sunday afternoon found it jammed, frenetic and LOUD. No worries. Once we were able to get some attention from a server (the busboy was much more helpful), we had a $4 (!) Arnold Palmer, but NOT with mango tea! (How can they not have any regular old black tea?!) So we went with a pricey, very weak lemonade and left it at that. Our amigo had a House Margarita, again weak, and though ordered “straight up,” arrived jammed with rocks. And at $12, we were left wondering whose “house” we were in, anyway?
Our buddy had a hankering for a classic BLT ($14) on toasted rye with fries. With our mother in mind, then, we will say that the french fries are hand-cut and were great! Ahem, and when the BLT did FINALLY arrive, it was, alas, only a B and L sandwich. We searched for evidence of T, “tomato,” and when we eventually found a piece, it was nearly invisible, paper thin and pathetic. #Sad.
We grabbed a Tuna Melt ($13) with a nice fresh pickle and fine hand-cut fries. And again, though advertised “with sliced tomatoes,” we found absolutely no evidence of any tomato of any kind – sliced, diced, chopped, chunked, shredded or minced.
Nyet, we have no tomatoes.
Also, the rather unattractive lump of tuna salad on toast was caper-and-onion-heavy, and topped with a now-cold blanket of melted provolone. The fries and pickle were fine.
In sum, like La Coupole in Montparnasse, people don’t go to Tesuque Village Market because the food or drink or service is necessarily that good. They go because everyone else does and not to would be a sign of ignorance. So our advice is to pop in for a cup of coffee and croissant, and pretend you’re in La Coupole, or some movie.