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Nov 17, 2009 11:48 AM

Veggie-friendly recommendations in south New Mexico and El Paso

We are planning a trip to south New Mexico next week. Our 5-day trip will start and end in El Paso, TX and take us through White City, Carlsbad, Roswell, Alamogordo, Ruidoso and Las Cruces. We would like to try as much local/regional food as is possible given that we are (1) vegetarian (eggs/dairy OK), (2) keen to avoid chains and try local favorites, (3) novices to New Mexican cuisine and eager to try. Non New-Mex cuisine recommendations would be great too
We will not have time for more than 1-2 meals in each location, but we want to cover as much ground as we can in a short while. From searching previous threads, we have identified the following places that may be good options.
1) In Las Cruces/Mesilla - La Posta
2) In El Paso - H and H carwash
3) In Carlsbad - No Whiner Diner
4) The restaurant inside the cave at Carlsbad caverns (for the experience rather than food from what we gather.

Any help would be greatly appreciated

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  1. I'm sure your trip has passed, or you are on it now, but I can give you rec's for Las Cruces. La Posta does have vegetarian options, but so do most Mexican places. I love the red and green enchiladas at Andales, which is in the same vecinity as La Posta. Also, SI Italian Bistro, though not New Mexican, has one of the best selections of vegetarian options in town. Portobello & Blue Cheese sandwich=greatest thing ever! They are located on Idaho, behind the Albertsons.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ma_bell_deve

      Thanks for the recs - I managed to read this in time for the Las Cruces segment of our trip!
      Below are some notes that may help others that chance upon this thread

      In El Paso, we made it to H and H carwash. This is not a place for the very-strict vegetarians, but if you define vegetarian food as food without visible pieces of meat in it, they have incredible huevos rancheros, and good enchiladas. Plus, the friendly staff and owner made our meal here one of the highlights. We have no reference point to compare this to, but for someone passing through, a meal here is certainly an experience that cant be replicated too easily.

      At Carlsbad, we ate at Lucy's - good food, again with plenty of veggie options (we tried red and green enchiladas and the chile rellenos). The No Whiner Diner was closed over the weekend, so no idea how it ranks. This is the best town for a decent meal in the Guadelupe Mountains/Carlsbad Caverns area. The Caverns have an area called the 'underground lunchroom'. This is not a restaurant, but theres tables where one can eat, and theres some snacks available in the store there. There are not too many places where you can eat at 800 feet below ground, and though a touristy experience, its a cool one.

      We also enjoyed a meal at Dolan's in Lincoln, NM - this is a little cafe in a remarkably preserved house in the historic district of Lincoln. Loved the ambience, and the bean-cheese burrito, while nothing special certainly hit the spot.

      We picked up some pistachios from a roadside place in Alamogordo, and in Las Cruces, we had a dinner at La Posta (again, touristy, but good food, and an interesting experience for travellers) - in fairness, we settled for an easy experience (too tired after 4 packed days to do more research). However, I have no complaints against La Posta - again, we were novices to New Mex cuisine, so at that point everything was novel and therefore excellent for us. We also tried a nearby bistro/winery in Old Mesilla (cant remember the name) - good bistro fare with a nice choice of New Mex wines.

      Overall, Im happy to report that while this area isnt gourmet central, theres very good and reliable authentic vegetarian food to be had, and once can quite easily travel here with limited chain-resto meals. Our disclaimer is that we intentionally opted not to ask about use of lard or meat stocks. We dont eat either as such, but sometimes ignorance is bliss - It is likely that we unknowingly ate both, but what we dont know wont hurt - besides, that may have prevented us from some excellent meals - These are all individual decisions - those more particular about these things should certainly check.

      1. re: ipsit

        The Bistro and Winery you stopped in at in Las Cruces was most likey St. Clair Winery & Bistro. If thats where you stopped, its one of our favorite places in town.

        1. re: ma_bell_deve

          Mediocre American fare, albeit cheap for what you get. The only wines served are from St. Clair itself, which are again mediocre except for their pricier DH Lescombes label.