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Southwest Driving Trip


My husband and I are flying from Kansas City to Monterey, CA., to pick up a car to drive back to KC in a couple of weeks.

Along the way, we'll be stopping in Las Vegas, Flagstaff and Albuquerque. It's all part of MINI takes the States (http://www.minitakesthestates.com), so the route is somewhat predetermined, but we're more than willing to take side jaunts; we have overnights planned, but little else, and are more than willing to go off route for good memories and good food.

At this point, our itinerary from Vegas is as follows:Interstate 215 to Interstate 515 to NV 93, cross Hoover Dam to AZ 93 to Interstate 40, driving through the cities of: Las Vegas, Boulder City, Kingman, Valentine (66), Peach Springs (66), Seligman, Williams and Flagstaff.

We're overnighting in Flagstaff. From there, we're headed along Interstate 40 through the cities of: Flagstaff, Winslow, Holbrook, Gallup, Continental Divide and Albuquerque.

We're adventurous eaters, and I have already culled from this long lists of potential restaurants to try in the cities we're staying in overnight. I'm looking for "must stops" along the way, be they bakeries, farms, restaurants, etc. We really want to experience food unique to the area, and are planning to have a big cooler, lots of ice and plenty of water for crossing the desert.

Thanks in advance for your recommendations!


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  1. I'm a big fan of Pasto in downtown Flagstaff for dinner. The Beaver Street Brewery has hearty fare and their own microbrews, and is my recommendation for a lunch there. Macy's European Coffee House & Bakery (across the street from the brewery) is a must for breakfast.

    And by all means, stop at La Posada in Winslow. It's a former Harvey House next to the Santa Fe and Amtrak station, but it has been totally refurbished. Its contemporary restaurant is a destination for some of us, and the hotel has tremendous charm and wonderful decor.

    1. For Flagstaff, I second the recs for Beaver Street Brewery and Macy's. So good we never go anywhere else. Have fun!

      1. In Albuquerque both Sadie's Cocinita and El Pinto serve outstanding New Mexican food in very pleasant surroundings on the northwest side of town. Green chile salsa on everything and cubed potatoes rather than rice. For a bread basket, sopapillas with honey to cut the fire of the green chile.

        1. By all means stop at the Turquoise Room at La Posta in Winslow.

          A great local place in Gallup is Earl's Restaurant, just east of the center of town on Rte 66.


          Jerry Saywell

          1. I would recommend Mike and Rhonda's for breakfast in Flagstaff over Macy's. Big portions, good food(the pancake sandwich is killer). BUT you must go to the original east side location on E Rt 66. The west side location on Milton/W 66 is subpar for some reason.


            1. I recommend Beaver Street Brewery as well. Great "pub" atmosphere and good food. Their Thai mussels in curry are to die for, and so unusual for a bar...

              1 Reply
              1. re: Baxterita

                One more rec for beaver street. It's nothing mindblowing, just bar food done very well, with high quality beer to go along with it. I've also had very good experiences with the service.

              2. If you are driving across I-40, you cannot miss the Turquoise Room at the La Posada Hotel (www.laposada.org) in Winslow, Arizona. Fresh ingredients, much of it locally produced, definite southwest flavor.

                The hotel is cool, too, as an alternative to a night in Flagstaff. (Spend the day at the Painted Desert/Petrified Wood National Monument then drive on to Winslow).

                Even for lunch, stop in at the Turquoise Room and then wander around the rest of the hotel. Well worth it! Breakfast is great, too!

                (Oh, and just a block or two away is the Standin' on the Corner location in Winslow, if you are into cheese)

                1. One of my favorite places to stop, when we go on our annual drive from L.A. to Santa Fe, is La Posada, in Winslow. It is such a charming and inviting hotel (a refurbished Harvey House). The Turqoise Room Restaurant has excellent food and it feels like stepping into an earlier time. Beautiful original art is tastefully featured throughout the place. The rooms at the hotel are also quite quant and surprisingly reasonable. Don't miss stopping here.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: handlertaper

                    We just spent the night at La Posada and had dinner in the Turquoise Room. The hotel is still under rennovation and our standard upstairs room, although quaint and romantic, it still needed to be rennovated, especially the bathrooms. The owners are tryng to maintain as much of the original tile and decor as is possible, but the bath tiles were cracked, there were cords running all over for lack of enough electrical outlets, and basically it seemed as though they had not decided if they were going to have modern conveniences or not. This place is fun, but it has the potential to be a first class property if they would figure out how to put 1920 and 2007 together and make it work. The Turquoise Room had a very limited menu with venison and steaks as their main draw. We ordered the Wild West Sampler, a piece of venison, a chili made of wild boar, elk, and bison, and quail. The portions were flavorful, although small for the price. We had a squash blossom appetizer that I would order again, and chocolate dipped grapes that were difficult to eat although the chocolate was wonderful. The signature soup of bean and corn was good, but not special. We shall hit La Posada again in ten days and have a different room, which, hopefully will be a little nicer.
                    In Albuquerque, Duran's Central Pharmacy has opened a restaurant called Duran's Station. It is on Menaul near University. The adovada and chili rellenos were fantastic as was the guacamole.
                    We just ate at Abuelos in Amarillo and loved it. Also tried Henke's BBQ. Great chopped meat and sides, but have been told of better places we have yet to try.