SANTA FE, N.M. — Gourmet Today is part ladies’ tea room and part gourmet take-out, a place to find chicken salad sandwiches or chicken and dumplings, crab and corn bisque, Texas chocolate sheet cake or an airy meringue pavlova. It’s a one-woman show: owner T.J. Griffith makes, bakes and serves, either at the table, on the patio, or for take-out.
The menu is limited, but it changes daily; we found a choice of chicken and dumplings or filet one day, along with a range of soups, sandwiches, salads and cherry cobbler, among other things.
We opted for a couple of side salads to start ($3.25). Each was an excellent mix of lettuces, with trimmings ranging from cherry tomatoes to slivers of sweet red pepper, cucumber and radish, with a generous dollop of the house dressing atop. The latter was a housemade poppyseed vinaigrette that was good, but unfortunately for my guest, on the sweet side. A true Francophile, she was horrified.
But she was entirely happy with Gourmet Today’s filet special ($17.50), which could have done any Paris cafe proud. The filet was melt-in-the-mouth tender, although a little more cooked than the medium rare she ordered, and it came with suitably simple accompaniments: butter-fried baby potatoes and glazed carrots. She ate every bite.
I tried the corn-crab chowder ($10) and was pleased, too. It was velvety with corn and just a hint of seasonings, and nicely laced with crab meat, including several substantial chunks. A wedge of Gourmet Today’s fresh cornbread ($2) was the perfect side.
At this point, we were stuffed, but as my guest noted, dessert was, under the circumstances of a review, obligatory. It was hard to choose – that Texas chocolate sheet cake? A nut tart promising macadamias? Buttermilk or chess pie? We settled on cherry cobbler (fruit choices vary often) with ice cream ($9.50).
It was excellent: served warm and laden with cherries under a very thin, crisp, but cake-like, crust. And there was lots of it – between the two of us, post-lunch, we could manage to eat only a little more than half of it.
Several items on the menu caught our eye for a return visit. The day’s alternative special, chicken and dumplings, definitely made the list, as did the pimiento-cheese sandwich. Gourmet Today offers two unusual cheese choices: a baked brie with cranberry topping and walnuts, served with soup and salad ($30 for two) or a wedge of creamy blue cheese – what type isn’t specified – with honey and Marcona almonds ($12, also for two).
Service at Gourmet Today was excellent the noon we dined – attentive and brisk when it needed to be, attentive and relaxed when we lingered. We looked forward to slightly warmer weather when we would have enjoyed the front patio with its view of Old Santa Fe Trail and the State Capitol.