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May 1, 2012 02:50 PM

ROADTRIP from SD to Austin Texas

Hi all!
My sister in law and I are taking a 3-4 drive from San Diego to Austin. We know the good spots in both our starting point, San Diego, and our final destination, Austin. We are more interested in what's in between.
We are taking the 8 to the 10. So, though Arizona with Tucson as a stopping point for the first night. Then Through New Mexico, hoping to get to Stockton, Tx as our second overnight rest. Then on to Austin.
She's from SD and doesn't have much road trip experience. I'm from Nashville, have loads of road trip miles on my belt, but none in the Southwest.
Would love any recommendations you have - mainly on food, but also for anything else interesting or worth a stop.

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  1. I assume by Stockton, TX, you mean Fort Stockton. There are a couple of decent Tex-Mex Restaurants there [Mi Casita is one that I recall]. There is also a steakhouse that I recall being average [K-Bobs]. You will also find the usual suspects of fast food and chain restaurants, including an I-HOP. In terms of things to see in the area, it will be near and around Alpine, Texas, which is near where Big Bend National Park is located and is otherwise a quirky, interesting town. If you find yourself East of there and hungry, I had a very good cheeseburger at a truck stop near Ozona, Texas [used to be called Town & Country]. It will be the only place to eat right off of I-10 at the Ozona exit. Are you going to San Antonio then Austin? Depending on how you decide to cut over to Austin, the eats get more interesting, especially if you enjoy barbecue or German-American fare.

    7 Replies
    1. re: hawkeyeui93

      Ooooh? Tell me more about this german-american fare, pretty please!

      1. re: lisamarie77

        Off of Interstate 10 (and after your evening in Fort Stockton), take Exit 477 and go East on US 290 towards Austin. En route is a town called Fredericksburg, Texas, which has several German restaurants with a Texas flair.

        1. re: hawkeyeui93

          My mom has lived in Fburg for 37 years, and I visit frequently. There are no good restaurants serving German food (and a few with poor ratings on the hard to find sanitation website). In fact, there are few good restaurants of any sort in Fbg. There is a popular place run by San Diegoans (Sunset Grill) featuring things like the Del Mar burger but I eat there only if my mom makes me. Outside of town is the Alamo Springs burger joint, with the 3rd best hamburger in Texas. THAT's worth visiting.

          1. re: pickypicky

            Do note that I did not say good, but instead said they were en route to Austin. With that being said, I have been to Germany about fifty times and I had something closely resembling German fare at a place called The Auslander (I think). I have also been to New Braunfels and I think it is the same story. With this being said, I would personally save my calories and find one of the several excellent BBQ joints surrounding Austin.

            1. re: hawkeyeui93

              Agree completely. One must eat, you're right. No, sadly, the German places in Fredericksburg have faded to sad caricatures of themselves. I have German friends in FBG who may eat at one now and then but it's more out of homesickness than the quality of the food. There's no good Mexican food nor BBQ in Fbg either, so it's an equal opportunity town.

      2. re: hawkeyeui93

        Alpine has one of the finest restaurants in that part of the state (and a fabulous sister restaurant in Fort Worth.

        1. re: foodiechick

          When I first went six years ago, it was so amazing to find it there-- buy a club card so we could drink, get drunk, and eat all that great fried food under the tree growing in the bar. As with everything, it's kinda not stood the test of time, but it's still the only place in Alpine worth eating.

      3. I've made this drive five or six times. Nothing of note on the road except maybe for the date shake in Dateland, which is outside of Yuma. I'd plot your route, and zero in on chowhound towns on the way. (Tucson, etc The Tucson Inn is a lovely, old-fashioned hotel with little pink bungalows.) What I can recommend is my favorite place in the world, Marfa TX, between El Paso and Ft Stockton. Google it. In the middle of nowhere and filled with people transplanted from Brooklyn who brought their food and gave it a texas twirl. Great restaurants, including one of my all time faves, Cochineal. For lunch, you have to eat at Food Shark, a cool food truck and it parks in the middle of town. Don't miss the Chinati tour featuring the art of Donald Judd, if you have time.

        For more on Marfa check out comments on the Texas board.

        I've stopped in Ft Stockton many times. There is absolutely nothing to eat there or between Ft Stockton and Fredericksburg. I've eaten at that burger place in Ozona, and I won't again. Also, do not eat at any place advertising barbecue. There is no good bbq til you get to Austin. You might consider stopping in Van Horn TX.. It used to have a restored old hotel that was kinda cool. Alpine's ok, and so is Ft Davis. All those highways are gorgeous. But for food and a place to stay Marfa's the one. For more in Fredericksburg, see below. It is charming and well worth a visit. Hondo's is fun for beer and dancing to live music, but not much for food. Really, no place is that great for food in Fbg.

        2 Replies
        1. re: pickypicky

          I, too, enjoy Marfa, but do note that it is off of I-10 about 45 miles. It would be a more interesting place to spend an evening than Fort Stockton.

          1. re: pickypicky

            This is great! Thank you, pickypicky. These are just the kinds of gems I'm looking for. I'd much rather drive a bit off of our route to have a better evening. I'll def put Marfa on our route! This sounds right up my alley.

          2. Damn, if it was Phoenix I'd say pizzeria bianco

            1. In Tucson I would recommend Feast
              and Beyond Bread
              That's just from when I was there

              1. In the Imperial Valley, look for Quesadillas Especial at any decent taco shop.

                I can get you that far, but that's about it.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Fake Name

                  We could never find any decent taco shops along I8, and lord knows we tried. I made my husband drive around El Centro for an hour. But if I ever find one, I'll now know what to order.

                  1. re: pickypicky

                    Celias 1530 Adams Avenue El Centro, Ca

                    More of a sit-down. but ragged enough around the edges that it has that "taco shop" feel to it.

                    1. re: Fake Name

                      My fave in El Centro used to be El Sombrero across from the County Courthouse...they made the best Mex....this was back when I wore puka shells and a Farrah feather haircut..

                      1. re: Fake Name

                        Celia's makes a pretty solid quesadilla especial. I also like the one at El Zarape, in the town of Imperial, about a 7-10 mins drive from the I-8. Mariscos Puerto Nuevo is another decent option (and has the biggest selection of Mexican bottled hot sauces I've seen). I believe Sombreros is now gone.

                        A couple of other options in El Centro, if you happen to pass by at mealtime, are China Palace and Exotic Thai Bistro. The food is decent, but what is more interesting is the Mexican influence on Asian cooking (goes back to the history of the region's Asian community). The curries at Thai bistro felt like a cross between caldo and curry. Perhaps not a destination restaurant, but worth a stop if you're in the region.