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Jan 8, 2012 09:40 AM

From Houston to Long Beach, CA on Interstate 10

I'm travelling I-10 from Houston to Long Beach very soon. Do you know of any good places to eat on that route? Since I'm starting early morning, I'll probably be way past San Antonio around lunchtime, so I'm afraid I'll have to pass on San Antonio restaurants. I plan on spending the night in Las Cruces, if I can endure it in the car that long.

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  1. As you are probably aware, it's a wasteland between San Antonio and El Paso.

    If it were me, I would stop in Luling and get some brisket and sausage at City Market, make some sandwiches and take them with me for the drive. While it's in New Mexico, I would try my damndest to get to Chope's in La Mesa for dinner. Absolutely amazing chile rellenos, and worth the drive from anywhere. At 10 hours drive time and with City Market opening at 7AM it is doable, and would make for two of my most favorite places in one very long day.

    If that doesn't work, your best bet might be to head for Culver's in Kerrville for a quick lunch. Their burgers and ice cream offerings are top notch, the crinkle-cut fries not so much.

    Best bet for a quick bite in El Paso is Carnitas Queretaro. Way yummy fast casual Mex, with multiple locations around town. Exit 28A and head down Gateway a few blocks on the right, easy back onto 10W when you are done. If you are looking for a true 'hound destination, I'd head for H&H Car Wash. 701 E. Yandel (915) 533-1144 Unique location and tasty Tex/NM Mex.

    3 Replies
    1. re: GroovinGourmet

      I looked up H&H and Chope's and they look terrific! Unfortunately I think I'll get into that area too late (probably around 8 pm) to eat there. I may backtrack from Las Cruces to eat breakfast at H&H, though. It certainly sounds worth the trip.

      1. re: skypark

        In Las Cruces, I always stop at Old Mesilla. I like La Posta, and their New Mexico-style stacked green chile enchiladas.

        In the mood for a fancier dinner, you can't beat the Double Eagle.

        1. re: skypark

          I wouldn't recommend doubling back... H&H is damned good, but not transcendental like I think Chope's is.

          And that's not a particularly green strategy to say the least.

          Unless you have a specific need for being in LC on night one I would recommend staying in EP for the night, hitting H&H when they open for breakfast.

      2. Having done this same drive numerous time, I have to agree with others. Between SA and EP is an absolute desolate wasteland of awful nothingness.

        I totally understand why you want to make it to LC; there's something psychologically satisfying about being in another state, even though it's just 40 mls or whatever further than EP. It's what I do most of the time.

        That being said, for food I'll crib off of Groovin and highly, HIGHLY recommend getting of in Luling for some brisket & ribs at City Market. Absolutely worth stopping for, it's not far off the 10, and it will travel well.

        H&H in EP is definitely worth it, but if you feel it worth your sanity to make it out of Texas (again, very understandable given the awfulness of the drive), I would stop in Las Cruces at Hotel Encanto - great hotel, btw - and eat at their restaurant Cafe Espana. Very tasty.

        Or just stop in EP for the night and hit H&H or Chopes in the morning.

        Where are you stopping from there? If you can get that for brekkie and make it to PHX for the night (leaving you a very manageable 5 hr drive the next day) I'd definitely recommend stopping in at Pizzeria Bianco ... some of the best pizza in the country.

        Then, if you're into it for "fun" sake, you could stop for a later lunch in Cabazon (just W of Palm Springs) at the Wheel Inn, which is where the dinosaurs and bar from PeeWee's Big Adventure are. Food is better than I thought, but I had to stop there for childhood reasons.

        7 Replies
        1. re: a213b

          Between SA and EP are two above average places: Isaack's in Junction for one of the the best burgers you'll have anywhere; and Sutton County Steakhouse in Sonora for some of the best steak you'll have, anywhere.

          1. re: Lambowner

            I really need to try that burger at Isaak's again to see if it's changed for me. The first time I got one was the last time I got one but it was probably 15 years ago. I usually get the plate lunch which is decent. Their cream gravy is really good. Which is not what I should be eating - lol.

            1. re: texasredtop

              I know we've disagreed on the burger at Isaak's TRT! I sent a relative heading west there for lunch two weeks ago and his wife was raving about the burger. Try it again!

              1. re: Lambowner

                Oh yes, I am definitely going to Lamb. Turkey season will be here soon and we'll be back out there. I'm sure the burger I had there so many years ago would have not made anyone rave. I'm looking forward to a really good one to compliment their great onion rings.

            2. re: Lambowner

              I decided to try the burger at Isaack's a few days ago since I hadn't had one in many years there. I wasn't impressed with the one before but they are awesome now. The bun is homemade and made by the same woman that owned Irma's across the street several years ago. Irma's changed hands a few times, changed names a few times and eventually she was no longer making the buns for that place so we quit going but I'm so happy to see she's back and making them for Isaack's. It's my "go to" meal in Junction now. YUM YUM!

              1. re: texasredtop

                So glad you liked Isaack's, TRT! The buns are great, the produce is locally grown. The tomatoes tasted like tomatoes. You know what I mean. Can't stop smiling when I'm there.

                1. re: Lambowner

                  I'm just so darn upset that I didn't try them sooner. Well, I had tried them a few times many years ago and gave up. I would have never dreamed that the baker from Irma's was making buns for Isaack's now. Lamb, those are almost the same buns as Pappy's. I think you have a choice of buns but that is the one I get there. It might be a little lighter bun at Pappy's but the taste is the same. In fact, I thought the whole thing tasted a lot like Pappy's but Pappy's has a little better quality of meat I think and more meat.

          2. Okay, I'm sold on Chope's! Does anyone have a view on Milky Way or Issacks at Junction, TX?

            2 Replies
            1. re: skypark

              Just saw this, skypark. Highly recommend Isaack's. The food is outstanding and the restaurant and staff are a total 1959 time warp.

              1. re: skypark

                Milky Way has once again changed owners. I think the previous owners took it back over in Oct/Nov. It hasn't changed much and we prefer it over Isaak's burger although neither are spectacular. Isaak's does have great onion rings. At MW I get the patty melt but have them put the jalapenos on the side cuz they are hot hot hot. Their fries are fresh cut, Isaak's are frozen. Vice versa on the onion rings. We have property in Junction and have eaten almost everywhere there and nothing stands out much. We usually either eat at MW or Isaak's when we're there.

              2. Made the drive from Las Cruces to Houston a few times. There isn't much from San Antonio to El Paso so understand this recommendation isn't going to be out of this world good. We had property in Ozona a long time ago and the one place we ate in town was The Hitching Post. They have really good onion rings. I usually got a ribeye or chicken fried steak. That was over a decade ago but we did stop there on the way in from Vegas a couple of years ago and it was decent enough. Stopping in Luling is normally a good idea but not when you have that many miles to cover. Even stopping in Kerrville would be time consuming. If you can make it to Ozona, The Hitching Post is right off the freeway, on the north side of I-10.

                1. So many wonderful options, but I can't help but put in another plug for Old Mesilla.

                  I've driven that route several hundred times, and probably more than a thousand, in my long lifetime. We've lived in almost every major city along that route - Las Cruces, Tucson, Phoenix, San Bernardino, Houston, Pensacola - and with relatives all over Texas, sometimes I think that I-10 is just our driveway. I'm really old now and, after traveling, and living, all over the world, sure enough, our house is about 1 mile south of good ol' I-10. Seems fitting that if I die here, my hearse will carry me down I-10 to my final resting place.

                  And I never, ever drive through Las Cruces without a stop at Old Mesilla.

                  You should at least consider it.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Jaymes

                    I agree. I was really happy I stopped at Old Mesilla. As it turned out, after a large breakfast at home, an early start, and fruit, water and nuts in a cooler, I made it all the way to H&H without stopping for lunch, right before it closed. The place had a lot of character, but I wasn't very excited about the food. The gravy on the huevos rancheros was quite bland, even with the special salsa, and the chile rellenos and enchilada were just okay, from my point of view. But again, a really neat place to visit.

                    Although I got into the area early enough for dinner at Chope's, I learned they aren't open on Mondays, which broke my heart. So, rather than give up, I decided to stay in Las Cruces until they opened for lunch the next day. In the interim I visited Old Mesilla, and was very, very happy I did. The plaza around sunset was beautiful, and the award-winning margarita (with a little orange in the mix) at the elegant handcarved wooden bar in Double Eagle was a real pleasure.

                    Lunch at Chope's was great. I had a combo plate that included a green enchilada, tamale and chile relleno. I enjoyed a taste of my companion's stacked red enchiladas so much that I requested extra red enchilada sauce which I used to spice up my combo plate. The sauce was smoky (almost to the point of being burned, actually), and I loved it. The place was clean and welcoming, and everyone was very friendly.

                    We drove to Tempe and had a terrific dinner outside, next to a fireplace, at the Secret Garden. The mussels were swimming in a delicious fennel sauce that I sopped up entirely with the grilled bread, and the pan-seared pork belly with local dates and marscapone was rich and decadent.

                    We made it in to Santa Monica the next day, and after a terrific drink at Shutters of gin, different vermouths, curacao and bitters, ended the day with a terrific izakaya-style dinner at Musha's: of hand-tourched saba and black-sesame ice cream, among other delights.

                    Thanks, everyone, for your input.

                    1. re: skypark

                      "...and after a terrific drink at Shutters..."

                      So I close my eyes, and I'm there again, sitting right beside you, looking out at the beach and the blue Pacific beyond.


                      Thanks for reminding me.

                      1. re: skypark

                        You were right to spend an extra night in Cruces so you could hit Chope's. Glad you liked it as much as I did.