El Paso and Ft Bliss for a week
We're going to be in the area for a week of celebrating and hanging out. Need the whole gamut: great "chow" sites; celebration fine dining; good lunches. Probably March- April. Have cars, can travel, site-see the area. Maybe drive to Vegas, after.
Jackson's (several locations) is a good brewpubish place, with free WiFi (at least the location near the airport.
Carnitas Queretaro (several locations) is quasi fast food Mex, but excellent variety and quality.
With wheels, there are a couple of legendary chow spots within a 40-minute drive. Chope's in La Mesa, NM is NOT TO BE MISSED. Finest soft chile rellenos in the known universe. Just a funky road house with KICKBUTT NewMex Mex. On the same route is Little Diner in Canutillo, TX, known for their gorditas and rightfully so.
re: trail 6
Jaxon's is the restaurant referred to by GroovinGourmet. There are three locations...the one near the airport on Airport Rd. has a micro brewery and decent food...nothing to write home about. Another location is on the far east side of town on Montwood Dr. Third location is on North Mesa St. on the west side of town. Cattleman's is a well-known tourist destination restaurant. It's about 20 miles east of town in Fabens, Tx....actually about 8 miles north of Fabens....just head out into the desert. Great steaks and all the usual trimmings set out on your table...beans, coleslaw, etc. It is owned by some German people...at least it used to be. Several dining rooms, great views of the setting sun, a movie-set location over the years, buckboard rides, and on and on. The Central Cafe, or Cafe Central, in downtown El Paso would probably be your finest dining experience in terms of elegance and quality. Gee, I sure miss my old hometown sometimes!
Went to Carnitas Queretaro yesterday. Completely underwhelmed. The carnitas were salty, the sopes were soggy, the salsa was watery and the chips were stale. I don't get why Mexican food in this town is so bad. In the 5 years that I have been visiting, I have yet to get a meal that comes close to what we have in NY or LA in terms of freshness. And I think that I have tried just about every place that has been mentioned on this board ( not Chopes though). Sad that all I look forward to is going to Dairy Queen since we don't have that in NY... And when the paper does the "best of" edition and Red Lobster is #1 for seafood....
For a short visit (though you may have already passed through), Cattleman's and State Line are good for BBQ. Eat a snack before you head out for Cattleman's, as it's a drive out of town.
Can second posts about Carnitas Queretaro, Chopes and Little Diner. CQ on Mesa is killer if you like pork (which is hard to find in El Paso). Little Diner is hard to find in the dark, but the red salsa will take your head off as your heart lifts to the heavens. They also sell homemade tortillas to take home in bulk, thus the phrase "Tortilla Factory" in its name.
Almost any Formica-tabletop, strip-mall, run-down looking, former Pizza Hut-building occupying, Mexican resto will have at least ONE world-class dish on the menu in El Paso. The challenge is to find it, and keep going back (the local restaurants should be famous/notorious for cooks being able to replicate dishes time and time again, over years). After awhile, you know where you want to go to get the best of whatever it is you want to eat.
Some locals say Chinese food is better in Juarez. All I know is, Asian food stinks in El Paso, save one Thai restaurant on Fred Wilson.
For some reason, there are Taco Bells in El Paso. Maybe Juarez visitors hit them after watching the US TV signals.
There's a decent Indian restaurant on Mesa. Order from the menu vice the buffet.
Cafe Central is tops in "gourmet" dining in town. I think it's overrated, as it seems to know it's Nr 1 (in reputation). Recommend Mi Piaci on Doniphan, which occupies a horrendous part of a horrendous mini-strip mall on Doniphan. The setting inside isn't much either, but the food is killer northern Italian. There was a review in the local rag about a year ago in which the chef stated he went cheap on location in order to maximize kitchen quality. I hope it works out.
Best pizza: Hello Pizza on Country Club, near the NM state line.
A couple more places or comments about existing: Jaxson's has good beer. It is one of only two or three places in EP to get home brew. The food is so-so but for beer and appetizers, it's a nice place to hang out. Cafe Italia on Mesa boasts some of the best homemade, brick oven pizza anywhere. He makes his own mozzarella and sauce from homegrown tomatoes; but, bring your own liquor as there is no liquor license; for Chinese, try Sam's, Moon Day, or Moon Star- all excellent and they defy the notion that you can't find good Chinese food in EP- China Bistro in the NE is also supposed to be fantastic. But, this is El Paso- anyone coming from outside the area need not look for other ethnic foods (though many excellent ones exist), go with the Mexican. Try as many Mexican restaurants as you can while you are here and try something different at each place. The following site is also an excellent resource for dining in El Paso and I find most of the reviews to be quite accurate http://www.eskimo.com/~sockeye/ep/EPI...
In Las Cruces, NM about 50 miles north of El Paso just off I-10: The Double Eagle in Old Mesilla is a very good steakhouse. There are two dining areas. The old ballroom in the oldest building on the Plaza is worth the higher menu prices by itself. Read up on its history at http://www.double-eagle-mesilla.com/
Amigos Restaurant at 2000 Montana is very good Mexican food in a semi casual atmosphere. I went there for Mother's Day and they had a strolling mariachi band playing (nice touch).
Very quirky is the H & H Coffe Shop and Car Wash at 701 E Yandell. Lots of good quality food crammed into a small dining area.