I'm missing SQUINT 2014 (bummer...) to give a talk at a workshop on Quantum Contextuality, Nonlocality, and the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics in Bad Honnef, Germany, followed by collaboration with Markus Mueller at Heidelberg, and a visit to Caslav Brukner's group and the IQOQI at Vienna. Herewith some ideas for food and entertainment for SQUINTers in Santa Fe.
Cris Moore will of course provide good advice too. For a high-endish foodie place, I like Ristra. You can also eat in the bar there, more casual (woodtop tables instead of white tablecloths), a moderate amount of space (but won't fit an enormous group), some smaller plates. Pretty reasonable prices (for the excellent quality). Poblano relleno is one of the best vegetarian entrees I've had in a high-end restaurant---I think it is vegan. Flash-fried calamari were also excellent... I've eaten here a lot with very few misses. One of the maitres d' sings in a group I'm in, and we're working on tenor-baritone duets, so if Ed is there you can tell him Howard sent you but then you have to behave . The food should be good regardless. If Jonathan is tending bar you can ask him for a flaming chartreuse after dinner... fun stuff and tasty too. (I assume you're not driving.) Wines by the glass are good, you should get good advice on pairing with food.
Next door to Ristra is Raaga... some of the best Indian food I've had in a restaurant, and reasonably priced for the quality.
I enjoyed a couple of lunches (fish tacos, grilled portobello sandwich, weird dessert creations...) at Restaurant Martin, was less thrilled by my one foray into dinner there. Expensive for dinner, less so for lunch, a bit of a foodie vibe.
Fish and chips are excellent at Zia Café (best in town I think), so is the green chile pie--massive slice of a deep-dish quiche-like entity, sweet and hot at the same time.
I like the tapas at El Mesón, especially the fried eggplant, any fried seafood like oysters with salmorejo, roasted red peppers with goat cheese (more interesting than it sounds). I've had better luck with their sherries (especially finos) better than their wines by the glass. (I'd skip the Manchego with guava or whatever, as it's not that many slices and you can get cheese at a market.) Tonight they will have a pretty solid jazz rhythm section, the Three Faces of Jazz, and there are often guests on various horn. Straight-ahead standards and classic jazz, mostly bop to hard bop to cool jazz or whatever you want to call it. "Funky Caribbean-infused jazz" with Ryan Finn on trombone on Sat. might be worth checking out too... I haven't heard him with this group but I've heard a few pretty solid solos from him with a big band. Sounds fun. The jazz is popular so you might want to make reservations (to eat in the bar/music space, there is also a restaurant area I've never eaten in) especially if you're more than a few people.
La Boca and Taverna La Boca are also fun for tapas, maybe less classically Spanish. La Boca used to have half-price on a limited selection of tapas and $1 off on sherry from 3-5 PM. Not sure if they still do.
Il Piatto is relatively inexpensive Italian, pretty hearty, and they usually have some pretty good deals in fixed-price 3 course meals where you choose from the menu, or early bird specials and such.
Despite a kind of pretentious name Tanti Luci 221, at 221 Shelby, was really excellent the one time I tried it. There's a bar menu served only in the bar area, where you can also order off the main menu. They have a happy hour daily, where drinks are half price. That makes them kinda reasonable. The Manhattan I had was excellent, though maybe not all that traditional.
If you've got a car and want some down-home Salvadoran food, the Pupuseria y Restaurante Salvadoreño, in front of a motel on Cerillos, is excellent and cheap.
As far as entertainment, get a copy of the free Reporter (or look up their online calendar). John Rangel and Chris Ishee are two of the best jazz pianists in town; if either is playing, go. Chris is also in Pollo Frito, a New Orleans funk outfit that's a lot of fun. If they're playing at the original 2nd street brewery, it should be a fun time... decent pubby food and brews to eat while you listen. Saxophonist Arlen Asher is one of the deans of the NM jazz scene, trumpeter and flugelhorn player Bobby Shew is also excellent, both quite straight-ahead. Dave Anderson also recommended. The one time I heard JQ Whitcomb on trumpet he was solid, but it's only been once. I especially liked his compositions. Faith Amour is a nice singer, last time I heard her was at Pranzo where the acoustics were pretty bad. (Tiny's was better in that respect.)
For trad New Mexican (food that is) I especially like Tia Sophia's on Washington (I think), and The Shed for red chile enchiladas (and margaritas).
Gotta go. It's Friday night, when all good grad students, faculty, and postdocs anywhere in the worlkd head for the nearest "Irish pub".