My favourite body of water during summer in Taos is The Quail Ridge Resort and Spa’s swimming pool, past the blinking light, north of town.
It does require a membership (or a day pass) but unlike the Spa pools here, is a decent size for lap swimming and much quieter except for during the week when kid’s Summer Camps are in effect. On weekends it’s akin to a private pool. Clean, clear water and a great hot-tub.
The views of the mountains are just an added bonus.
I bring my grandkids occasionally and usually we stop at Cid’s to pick up a picnic lunch, but now that William Sarokin and Andy Lynch have teamed up to open Common Fire in the (empty) restaurant space this Fall, there’s no need to bring a thing other than your towel and bathing suit.
While the restaurant is being revamped, Andy’s Summer Shack is open to the public – Quail Ridge members and non-members alike – daily from 11-3pm.
Andy’s restaurant credentials are as good as they get. Growing up in New York, his first gig was at the famed (and ill-fated) Windows On The World at the World Trade Center.
Arriving in Taos during the early 80’s, his first job was at the Apple Tree, then owned by Polly Raye. He started out as a waiter but a random comment made about a wine that was being considered for the restaurant’s list led to a promotion and the moniker he carried for years; Andy Lynch The Wine Guy.
Andy went on to be the Food and Beverage Manager at the Taos Inn for many years before heading to Santa Fe where he worked at Santa Cafe during its heyday. From there he went to Poulet Patate and then Pranzo before taking a break from the service industry for a good while.
Travel and family gave him a much needed break from the business and returning to the States, he and his family settled for a time in Los Angeles before moving back to Taos last year.
Billy Sarokin, an Academy Award Nominee for Sound, has had a long love affair with Taos. While working on the acclaimed Off The Map, he and his wife Anne bought a couple of condos at the Quail Ridge, so they and their daughters could spend more time here. They live in New York.
Over the past few years, Billy’s toyed with the idea of a business here that would support him and his family when he eventually tires of the Film Industry – unlikely to be happening anytime soon, he is one of the most in demand Sound people out there, and loves his work. But that day could come and Taos is where he and Anne want to be.
Billy met Andy through a mutual friend and the two of them began looking for a space to house the restaurant they dreamed up.
Fast forward a year and Andy’s Summer Shack is open for business.
The menu is simple but fabulous; easy, unpretentious summer food all made on the grill or stewed slowly on the stove top (the kitchen is operable), all the meat and poultry used is grass-fed and free range from New Mexico and Southern Colorado. The breads are house baked using locally grown, organic flours and grains and the House Tea, cold-brewed Darjeeling and single-garden Ceylon, will make you forget all about that other stuff the moment you take a sip. Gluten free options are available.
The prices are unbelievably low and for all the people who work on the North side of town, this lunch spot is a boon.
An hour spent in the shade, overlooking the pool and tennis courts makes any summer spent inside working, bearable.
Common Fire, opening in September, features an open hearth, two terraces and needless to say, Andy Lynch The Wine Guy will have the best beer and wine list in Taos!
Andy’s summer Shack at the Quail Ridge is open daily to the public from 11-3pm. the menu constantly changes depending on what’s available at the market and the food is delish and as fresh as it gets. Just look at that loaf of bread right out of the oven!
Photos of Andy and the two Thumbelina’s (Natalya and Jamie) at the Summer Shack by Lynne Robinson