Sarah Hartford’s spirit is in every bite of her food
Fourth visit: April 10, 2014
First visit: March 6, 2014
My friend Michael Gonzales, owner of Cafe Bella Coffee, urged me (several times) to try Hartford Square. After my first visit, Micheal wrote to me:
“I am so delighted you were able to make it there Larry! Like I was telling you in my opinion that place has opened a new chapter in central new mexico dining.”
Michael is one of several food people I know who I trust completely. So, what is so special about Hartford Square that makes me dream of it?
This place is Sarah’s dream. She serves only the freshest local stuff, organic wherever possible. This is farm-to-table at its best. Seasonings are phenomenal, and nothing is oversalted. There are salt shakers on the tables if you must destroy her delicate balance. I won’t. Fresh flowers, daffodils and forsythia during my last two visits. The decor is simple: black, white, and stainless steel. The delightful staff wear black and white.
For each of my visits, I had a cup of soup and a half-sandwich. My guest Deanell had salmon twice and salad/sandwich the latest time. Did I say that everything is fresh and delicious? Well, I said it again.
Corned Beef on Rye
Sarah does corned beef from scratch. The outside is slathered with orange marmalade making for a delightful rind. The Swedish rye (house made, of course) is sprinkled with orange zest before baking. Truly amazing combination.
The soup — Cabbage, Bacon, Caraway & White Beans — was hearty and quite amazing. I got my corned beef and cabbage this day.
Hot Meatloaf & Mozzarella Sandwich on Homemade Herb Bread
With cabbage and white bean soup.
Everybody’s mom makes meatloaf and serves meatloaf sandwiches the next day. Well, Sarah’s meatloaf trumps your mom’s. And it’s better than what I make. Her homemade herb bread is spectacular, with a delicate taste and perfect texture. Don’t forget to eat your spinach.
Italian Sandwich— Ham, Salami, Sundried Tomato, Pepperoncini & Provolone on Herb Bread
Surely you have been to sub shops and had an Italian sub.
This Italian is better. The real star here is the use of oil-packed sundried tomatos. Delicious.
The real hit of this lunch, however, is the carrot-ginger soup. The finely pureed carrots are sweet and not salty (although sarah assured me that there was salt added in the cooking). I could not taste it, and that is a tribute to her delicate and thoughtful seasoning. The ginger was fresh and pungent. One of the best soups I have had during my six years in The Duke City.
Salmon with Spinach Butter
Deanell loves salmon. This spinach butter-covered filet was perfectly cooked. Soft and buttery.
Kale and Brussels Sprouts are back in, it seems. I hated these things when I was a kid, and so did you. Well, forget that your mom forced these on you, and order this salad. I love it. Just because it’s healthy doesn’t make it bad. On the contrary, it is fabulous.
For breakfast, snack, or lunch, these bars can’t be beat. Not at all like the junk you get in the yuppie camping stores, these beauties are lovingly hand made. Dates, apricots, apple, cranberry, flax seed, millet, brown sugar,and more are gently blended and lightly baked. Michael Gonzales would be proud to serve these in his place. Get a bagfull. Take them home. Or just eat them in the car.
Zingtopia Macu Drink
Sarah makes many drinks, including a special blend of coffee provided by Michael Thomas.
You will do well to order a zingtopia macu, which has become one of my very favorite delicious cold drinks I have found in this town.
Just get one. Or two.
Hartford Square is small, having but seven tables and a lunch counter. Size doesn’t matter. It is the piece of Sarah’s spirit that is contained in every bite of food that does matter.
Come back here when the weather lightens up and the small patio opens.
By the next time I dream of Hartford Square, I will have planted a suggestion to get up at o-dark-thirty to get there for breakfast. Friends tell me that it, too, is great.