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lady guadalupe ornament

The Christmas season is upon us and most people will be focused on the date, December 25– Christmas Day. And we certainly can’t blame them, after all the whole year leads up to this most festive of holidays, which is especially bright and cheerful here in Mesilla (we’ve had our decorations up since the week of Thanksgiving). But there’s another date that is so very important to many of the people here in the southwest – December 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe!

red chile fields

As the temperatures begin dropping and the mornings become brisk, we know that autumn has definitely arrived in Mesilla, New Mexico. And with the changes in temperature, we start looking forward to Thanksgiving, when our families travel back to the Valley and gather for a feast, giving thanks for all of the blessings we’ve enjoyed over the past year. One of those blessings is the fall harvest that begins early September and extends all the way into November.

halloween

It’s that time of year again! – when the leaves (and the chiles) are changing color, the mornings are cooler, and the days are shorter. But Fall in Mesilla, New Mexico, also means that Halloween, and more importantly, Dia de Los Muertos, is just around the corner.

In Mexico, Halloween, also called Dia de los Brujas (or day of the witches), is celebrated by children throughout the country in much the same way it’s celebrated here in the United States. Kids dress up in costumes and go door to door shouting “queremos Halloween” (we want Halloween) to get treats. Many stores and homes are decorated with skeletons and coffins.  The feeling is generally festive.

But the most important event, and certainly the much bigger holiday, is Dia de los Muertos – or Day of the Dead, which stretches from October 31 to November 2. This is an important holiday in Mexico and is still observed here in the US by the parts of the country originally settled by  those of Mexican descent…..and Mesilla is no exception!

Traditionally, the event marked a day to think about, remember and honor our loved ones who had passed away. Throughout Mexico, people make pilgrimages to cemeteries where they create festive alters at the graves of their family members buried there. Bright, colorful candles are lit with pictures of their relatives and decorations adorning the grave. Often relatives and friends will leave food or beverages that the dead enjoyed while they were alive. Everything from cookies to tamales to even shots of tequila might be found at these alters. It’s not just a day of mourning……it’s a day of remembrance and celebration.

Here on the Mesilla plaza, the town of stages a Dia de los Muertos celebration. Stop by and you’ll hear Mariachi bands and witness alters erected around the plaza – each one honoring a loved one.

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And, of course, here in La Posta you can come by and visit the alter to our loved one, Katy Griggs, who founded this restaurant back in 1939. She’d love to have you stop by and say hello!

We hope you decide to visit Mesilla for this special celebration, and when you do, don’t forget to have a margarita, and raise a glass to someone special! Adios!

old postcard

After 78 years, Katy Griggs’ “little chile joint” is still going strong. Back in 1939, serving customers on a few wooden tables on a dirt floor, she never could have known that her restaurant would become known throughout the world for great Mexican food. At the time, she just wanted to host locals and travelers and share the recipes her family had passed down for generations. But as more and more locals and travelers visited, they told others.  Before she knew it, she was receiving visits from renowned magazines and food experts.

In the earliest days the most notable of these was Duncan Hines, one of the very first writers to begin rating and reporting on the restaurant industry. Not only did he visit Mesilla and La Posta in the 1940s, he even recommended us! La Posta is prominently featured in his 1945 popular book, Adventures in Good Eating, where he wrote that La Posta has “a reputation for serving good Mexican food.”

Not too long afterwards, Katy was visited by writers from the Ford Times Magazine. This magazine was published by the Ford Motor Company to encourage their customers to visit places dotting the back roads of the United States. The 1955 issue prominently features La Posta, complete with a painting of how the lobby looked at the time – without birds but with the beautiful bougainvillea tree that still graces it.

concha valles banegas

Katy’s La Posta continued to garner fame and popularity as the years progressed. She contributed much to the Mexican food culture in America. La Posta was one of the earliest restaurants to offer free “tostados and chile” to its patrons.  We refer to this now as “chips and salsa”. Today, we take it for granted, but back then it was a simple matter of hospitality that few other restaurants offered. She was also the first to serve the iconic Tostadas Compuestas – the fried tortilla cups filled with beans, chile and cheese that our customers adore. You might find them on the menus of Mexican restaurants around the world now, but it is believed nobody had ever served them before Katy did.

Gamboa then now

Perhaps most important, La Posta has been a central part of so many people’s lives, for a variety of reasons, over the past eight decades. Just this month, we hosted the 65th anniversary party for a wonderful local couple – Mr. & Mrs. Ed Gamboa. What makes it even more special is that 65 years ago they hosted their wedding reception in the very same room – the Banquet Room (formally the Grape Room) – right here at La Posta!

And more memories are still made here every single day – birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, family reunions, proposals – you name it. Each one becomes a new story to tell, and each becomes part of the story that is La Posta. We hope you’ll come back soon and make your own memories here – or remember something special that happened in your life at Katy’s “little chile joint.”

red chile fields

La Posta de Mesilla has been a proud member of the Mesilla Valley Community for almost 80 years. During that time, we have acquired and used tons of ingredients from local farmers and suppliers to make our delicious food. As we make our way into this harvest season, we wanted to take a moment to tell you about some of the local people we know who have been delivering the freshest and highest quality produce to us for years!

uss new mexico

As Independence Day approaches, we wanted to take a moment to recognize our servicemen and women who are protecting us every single day. At La Posta we do that in a unique way, by keeping the crew of the USS New Mexico (SSN 779) well fed with traditional New Mexico dishes in their own La Posta Ajabo de Mar (La Posta Under the Sea), the name given to the galley of the nuclear-powered Virginia class submarine built by Northrop Grumman in Newport News, Virginia.