Not sure if you want breakfast or lunch – try brunch

Photo courtesy of Sweet Water Harvest Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Cafe Fina
Photo courtesy of The Pantry Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Bishop's Lodge Ranch Resort and Spa
Photo courtesy of Inn and Spa at Loretto
Photo courtesy of Santacafe
Photo courtesy of The Anasazi Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe
Photo courtesy of Steve Collins
By Billie Frank, Santa Fe Local Expert

Santa Fe loves brunch! This meal, a portmanteau word combining breakfast and lunch, is the perfect weekend solution to a late morning or early afternoon repast. A bit of research revealed the first use of the word seems to be in an 1896 piece titled Brunch: A Plea, published in the British Hunter’s Weekly. According to Princeton University, the origins arose from Catholic Church “guidelines” which “require a period of fasting before taking communion.” This meant not eating before Sunday Mass. However it got its name, this popular custom’s a great way to dine after a leisurely (or active) start to your weekend day. Most places offer brunch from around 11am to somewhere between 2 and 3pm.

In Santa Fe, true brunch, offering a bit from both meals, is found at many upscale dining places such as Santacafé  and hotel eateries including the Anasazi Restaurant at the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi. If you want something less formal there are places, such as Café Pasqual’s and The Pantry that serve breakfast all day. Once lunch service begins; voila: brunch. At Café Fina it’s always brunch time. The classic meal brings to mind dishes like Eggs Benedict, lox and bagels or inventive pancakes. Many Santa Fe menus offer traditional fare combined with regional favorites. Dining with a group where some members want breakfast and others want lunch? Go out for brunch. It’s a win/win solution.

9. Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Sweet Water Harvest Kitchen

Sweetwater offers brunch every Sunday from 9am to 3pm. Located in the up-and-coming Midtown area, you won't find it unless you go looking. They are committed to natural food and sustainable farming methods. Much of the food is organic (including their eggs) and they mill their own buckwheat and spelt for their pancakes daily. Part of Santa Fe's Farm to Restaurant program, they source produce from local farmers when possible. They work to accommodate special dietary needs and have coded the menu; gluten-free (GF), vegetarian (V) and vegan (VG) options help. Choose from dishes such as Heirloom Tomato Eggs Florentine, southern style shrimp and grits or Indonesian Vegetable Curry with brown rice. The GF diners will love the buckwheat/banana pancakes served with real maple syrup. From 11am to 1pm, diners can enjoy live music while they eat. They offer holiday brunches except on Christmas Day when they're closed.

8. Cafe Fina
Photo courtesy of Cafe Fina

This is one of those places that's a true local hangout. Sitting on Old Las Vegas Highway, about 15 minutes from the Santa Fe Plaza, you have to know about it to find it, although, thanks to the magic of social media, tourists are finding it. They serve brunch everyday from opening until their 3pm closing. Signature dishes are breakfast burritos, corn cakes with chipotle shrimp (try a poached egg on top) and their fried fish sandwich. They source locally whenever they're able and all eggs are organic. Everything is made from scratch including the tempting selection of baked goods. They love to be accommodating and Murphy O'Brian, who owns the café with his wife Annamaria, says "If we have the ingredients we will try to make it happen for you." He qualifies that generous statement with, "Time permitting of course." Of course!

7. The Pantry Restaurant
Photo courtesy of The Pantry Restaurant

While The Pantry doesn't offer an official brunch, this popular spot, opened in 1948, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner from the moment the doors open in the morning to when they close at night. Everyone at your table can get whatever meal they want. Breakfast favorites include the ubiquitous breakfast burrito, the Breakfast Sandwich (a tortilla filled with scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese and green chile with fresh salsa on the side) and fresh corned beef hash. Want a bit of lunch (or dinner food)? The menu has a selection of salads, sandwiches, burgers, New Mexican Traditions (including carne adovada) and a section labelled "Comfort Food" with favorites like chicken-fried steak, fish and chips and meatloaf. On weekends (especially Sunday when people come after church), be prepared to wait. Locals have been coming here for generations; it's a Santa Fe weekend breakfast tradition.

6. Las Fuentes at Bishops Lodge
Photo courtesy of Bishop's Lodge Ranch Resort and Spa

Just a short drive from the Santa Fe Plaza brings you to the idyllic world of Bishops Lodge Ranch Resort & Spa. This historic property, once home to an archbishop and the Pulitzer Publishing family has been welcoming paying guests since 1919. A classic Sunday buffet brunch has been served for decades in Las Fuentes Bar & Grill Restaurant. There are a lot of tasty options for guests to choose from including seafood including shrimp, oysters and smoked salmin; freshly carved meats such as beef and pork tenderloin, cured ham, and prime ribs; made to order omelets and Eggs Benedict; a salad bar with hot and cold vegetable offerings; a beverage station and of course, a dessert table to tempt you. As you dine enjoy the mellow sounds of live music played by local musicians. In warm weather, dine on the balcony overlooking the lovely grounds.

5. Luminaria Restaurant & Patio
Photo courtesy of Inn and Spa at Loretto

Sunday brunch at Luminaria at the Four Diamond Inn and Spa at Loretto offers guests a leisurely way to begin their day while choosing between both breakfast and lunch options. Dine in their beamed dining with its classic southwestern décor. If you're with someone special, request one of their intimate booths, In warmer weather, opt for a table on the elegant, secluded patio. Signature dishes on the seasonally-changing menu include Loretto Eggs Benedict, an unusual take on this classic offering shaved ham, asparagus, baked potatoes and Hollandaise foam; breakfast tacos with chorizo; seasonal waffles or pan-seared salmon with risotto. The menu notes that Luminaria is guided by "principles of sustainability" and local produce is used whenever it's available. For something different, start your meal with their deconstructed mimosa.

4. Santacafe
Photo courtesy of Santacafe

This long-time favorite on the local food scene has offered Sunday brunch for over two decades. Dine in one of their three Santa Fe-style dining rooms, the bar or in warmer weather, the courtyard of the historic, former Padre Gallegos House. While lunch is offered six days a week, Sunday brings brunch. From 11:30am to 2pm diners can choose from an array of both breakfast and lunch dishes, with everything prepared from scratch. Start your day with a mimosa or the featured margarita or a wasabi Bloody Mary. Signature dishes include stuffed French toast, their version of Eggs Benedict served on a house-made English muffin with chile Hollandaise and their three "classic" dishes: Crispy Calamari with a chile/lime dipping sauce; Shiitake Mushroom & Cactus Spring Rolls with southwestern ponzu and Shrimp & Spinach Dumplings with tahini sauce. Leave room for dessert; they're all made in-house.

3. Anasazi Restaurant at Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi
Photo courtesy of The Anasazi Restaurant

For an upscale brunch experience, head for the restaurant at the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi. The dining room's décor honors the long gone and legendary Anasazi People, featuring rough stone walls and pictograph-style murals. In warmer weather, you can dine on their street-side patio for some of the best people-watching in town. Their signature brunch dishes include Green Chile Breakfast Burrito with Spicy Hash Browns and Asadero Cheese, Spanish Benedict (poached eggs over sautéed spinach with rioja chorizo and chipotle hollandaise served on an English muffin) and Beef Tenderloin Asado. Start your morning with a mimosa or a Silver Coin margarita or any eye-opening Bloody Mary. Brunch is served every Sunday from 11am to 2:30pm. They also offer special brunches on holidays including Mother's Day, Father's Day, Christmas, New Year's and Easter.

2. Terra at Four Seasons Resorts Rancho Encantado
Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe

Executive Chef Andrew Cooper of Terra Restaurant at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado is passionate about fresh, local and sustainable food. He loves sharing this with diners. Brunch, served Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 2pm, offers such signature dishes as the chorizo breakfast burrito, egg-white frittata and the "Morning After Eye Opener" featuring beef short rib hash made with pickled jalapeños topped with sunny-side up eggs. Sip a Bloody Mary or one of the resort's signature cocktails as you site in the contemporary dining room with its stunning mountain views. In season, Chef Cooper can be spotted at the Santa Fe Farmers Market on Saturdays choosing the freshest ingredients on offer to take back to his kitchen. It even gets fresher than that. In season, he picks produce fresh from his on-site garden.

1. Café Pasqual's
Photo courtesy of Steve Collins

.Café Pasqual's doesn't serve an official brunch, but breakfast is served from opening until 3pm daily. Lunch service starts at 11am each day. Anytime between 11am and 3pm, you can order from either menu. James Beard Award-winning chef/owner Katherine Kagel calls her food philosophy, "Never, ever," meaning that no chemicals, antibiotics, hormones or anything artificial is ever used in her food and it's organic whenever possible. Their winning formula has been bringing people in for over 35 years. This busy eatery doesn't take reservations for breakfast of lunch; be prepared to wait. Breakfast favorites include breakfast burritos, huevos rancheros, cheese blintzes, corned beef hash and the more unusual smoked trout hash. Lunch offerings include salads, sandwiches, burgers and plates such as mole enchiladas. Portions are often HUGE (ask your server), but many dishes are available as half-orders. Arrive when the doors open or be prepared to wait.