In NM for the first time...
- iparonich Feb 23, 2008 07:57 PM
Will be in MN for a couple of days for the 1st time. where should we eat??? :) Starting in Las Cruces for a night and then going north and ending up in Sante Fe. Thank you for any suggestions.
If you are in Cruces for a night, you should seriously consider heading for Chope's. It's about a 25 minute drive through some lovely rural country. Chope's is a bit of Chowhound heaven... a quasi-ramshackle diner serving up incredible food. The chile rellenos are arguably the best non-crispy ones in the known universe. DO NOT be swayed by any of the places advertised in the tourist mags... true 'hounds would not want to head anyplace else.
I concur, Chope's is a must and one of the only things I miss about my college days in Las Cruces. I have my own little hole in the wall favorite from college days but don't have any idea if it's still around or any good. It was called La Casa de Menudo on Solano. For breakfast Mesilla Valley Kitchen is good as well.
You'll actually have the opportunity to stop at the Buckhorn Bar to try their green chile cheeseburger. I've been eating GCCs for over 20 years now, and the best one I've had yet was at the Buckhorn (far better than any I've had at the neighboring Owl Bar, that claims to have originated the GCC in the '40s).
Take the San Antonio exit from I-25 just S of Socorro - you can't miss it.
It's a little out-of-the-way, so you don't hear about it from the folks who never get out of SF and ABQ. ;-) But you'll be going right PAST it - what an opportunity!
Once you hit Santa Fe, if you are looking for a great breakfast I recommend Pasqual's Kitchen on Don Gaspar. It is extremely popular, so expect at least a short wait, but it is well worth it. They serve lunch and dinner also, but imho breakfast is what they do best. For something unique and authentic, try the huevos motulenos: a fantastic dish of fresh corn tortillas with eggs, black beans, plantains, queso fresco and green peas of all things. It sounds a bit strange, but the flavors come together beautifully on the plate. Their house-made chorizo and corn meal mush are also unbelievable. Enjoy your trip!
On your way up from Las Cruces, you can stop in the small town of San Antonio and eat at either the Owl Bar or Manny's Buckhorn Tavern. Either of these places has great green chile cheeseburgers. Keep in mind that green chile has a bite to it. I would agree with the suggestion of Chope's, awesome rellenos. Any other suggestions really kind of depends on what kind of food you want to eat. Do you want local New Mexican fare (spicy) or are you less adventureous? In Santa Fe, we like Castro's and Horsemen's Haven for New Mexican. If it's warmer, we love taking guests to the Coyote Cantina for drinks and hors douvres.
International Delights Cafe is one of my favorite places in Las Cruces. It's informal, reasonable, and serves a variety of Mediterannean fare in addition to cooking supplies. Their baklava is wonderful and comes in pecan, walnut or pistachio. I've also enjoyed Old Mesilla Pastry Cafe a few blocks off the plaza on Old Route 28. Their breakfasts are awesome.
As you trudge on and on up I 25, you might want to stop in Truth or Consequences. If you like fresh, organic ingredients and innovative specials, the White Coyote Cafe at 113 Main is the place for you.
Next up is Socorro. The Socorro Springs Brewing Company is good, but for the REAL New Mexican cooking, seek out La Pasadita at 230 Garfield.
By the time you reach Albuquerque and then Santa Fe, your choices are legion. My book "Culinary New Mexico" lists over 85 pages of possibilities including bakeries, specialty food stores, restaurants, and wineries. One real ABQ sleeper is El Modelo, a take-out joint near the Spanish Cultural Center. Their burritos carne desebradas are to die for!