Contemporary takes on the old-school general store are something of a growing trend. One such is Modern General in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which sells assorted tools, kitchen gadgets and other practical odds and ends, all with a sleek farmhouse aesthetic, and also serves the most delicious breakfast in town.
Like any good general store, Modern General stocks the basics: fruit and vegetables from proprietress Erin Wade’s farm in nearby Nambé, New Mexico, barrels of organic and heirloom wheat, gluten-free flours and eco-friendly cleaning supplies. But the airy space is also full of treasures – tasteful, locally sourced ones as well as the finest kitchen accessories from France, Italy and Scandinavia. Los Poblanos soap ($12) – artisanal bars from a farm in Albuquerque – and silverware from France by Guy Degrenne ($35 per setting) were among my favourites. A utilitarian paring knife by Nogent ($16), rolls of Nutscene twine ($9) and a leather-handled Sportman’s axe by Estwing ($51) were all new to me. I left with a couple of jars of local honey ($16), a sculptural cutting board hewn from ancient Tuscan olive trees ($70) and a small hand-hammered copper frying pan ($210) that was crafted in Mexico by the Amoretti Brothers. All the items have been chosen to “spark joy in the user”, says Wade.
This is Wade’s second Santa Fe venture; she is also chef/owner of my favourite lunch spot in the city, the vibrant, design-led Vinaigrette, which serves a chopped salad like no other. Happily, she’s brought some of her signature dishes to MG (as locals call it), such as the Czech kolache pastries and nutrient-packed green juices. The avocado on toast is perfectly delivered and the purple barley porridge can be washed down with single-origin coffee, but perhaps best of all is the atmosphere: convivial and bursting with local colour.