Eating the Desert: The Trinity Hotel & Restaurant
Author: Jake Martin-Wagner
Relics of New Mexico’s cultural heritage thrive in this southwestern state’s present day gastronomic scene, where the region’s ubiquitous green and red chilies continue to unify the myriad cultures that have called this state home.
The subterranean treasures of Carlsbad Caverns National Park consistently command deep admiration and wonderment. High above the wild tangles of ethereal chambers people enjoy windswept views of desert plains, snaking rivers, snow-capped peaks and plunging arid valleys, punctuated by hundreds of spectacular species and vibrant perennials. A dozen miles from the geological wonder of the Carlsbad Caverns, down a picturesque stretch of desert highway, the settlement of Carlsbad’s small-town charm lures visitors with delectable culinary creations, at once, pleasing chamber wayfarers, road-tripping foodies and residents alike.
This town on the banks of the Pecos River is comprised of a variety of juxtaposing elements, and in more ways than one, Carlsbad represents a harmonious union of these countless styles, aesthetics, and cultures. Still a thriving mining town, Carlsbad gleefully marries past and present: bohemians and bakers, miners and multi-generation families, educators and environmentalists. The residents will be the first to express their fortune and love for this Southwestern community. Canal Street, Carlsbad’s thoroughfare, stretches along the Pecos River and boasts a vibrant diversity of Pueblo-style dwellings and 21st century architecture.
Also included on this diverse throughway is the Trinity Hotel & Restaurant, an 1892 renovated and redesigned First National Bank, which nearly fell to the wrecking ball before becoming the quietly elegant and inviting establishment that exists today. This stately structure, built from locally crafted brick, now thrives as an upscale hotel with nine luxurious suites and the best restaurant in Carlsbad, dedicated to enhancing and improving the experience of each patron through recurrent innovation and unwavering dedication to hospitality.
Whether a long-term resident or rambling visitor, the Trinity restaurant is a culinary experience not to be missed. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday, this restaurant consistently attracts and satisfies multitudes of residents, hotel guests and sightseers for all three meals. The lovely, dark, and deep hue of the vaulted dining room, with pressed-tin ceiling, walls of russet and gold, and flowing drapes, embraces diners in an alluring atmosphere suited perfectly for wining and dining the night away. Hotel guests are encouraged to partake in free afternoon wine tastings served atop the striking hardwood bar that stretches alongside the dining room. The tasting features a wide selection of elegantly bold wines, including a delightful variety from Balzano Vineyard & Winery, a local farm owned and operated by the Trinity Hotel’s proprietor, Del Balzano.
Once the sun sets, chef Luis Martinez, nominated as one of the best executive chef’s in New Mexico, executes a variety of delectable Italian classics, effortlessly marrying classic Mediterranean cuisine to contemporary New Mexican fare using locally sourced organic proteins. His expansive menu of vibrant starters, perfect pasta and expertly cooked proteins offer countless sights, smells and tastes that are sure to send the senses reeling and leave diners craving more.
Of Trinity’s many palatable starters, don’t miss the Caliente Goat Cheese ($9). Chef Martinez adorns a crunchy crostini with a hearty layer of chèvre and a meticulously placed droplet of habañero compote to provide a blast of heat and beautifully complement the creamy smoothness of the goat cheese.
The signature entrée of the Trinity is the Chicken Bolloco ($14). In a spate of Italian-Southwestern wit, Chef Martinez pairs traditional fettuccine with a creamy “Alfredo” sauce made with New Mexico’s own quintessential ingredient: the green chile. Nestling in the center of the al-dente nest of pasta is a stunningly moist chicken breast generously dusted with Parmesan and sundry herbs.
These are but a few offerings of the outstanding dishes you’ll find at this wonderful establishment. Martinez has a mighty talent and his culinary creations are not something to be missed.
The Trinity Hotel & Restaurant, 201. S. Canal Street, Carlsbad, NM. Find more information at thetrinityhotel.com.