Decent places along I-40
Hello everyone. I'm transferring to Apple Valley CA and after looking at the map it looks like I-40 is my best route there. I'll be getting on 40 in Ashville NC and taking it all the way to California. Since a large portion of the drive is through New Mexico and Arizona I'm posting on this board and the Not About Food board. If anyone has any suggestions for any decent places to eat along I-40 please let me know. Any other advice would be appreciated. This is my first cross country trip in a car.
Are you getting the feeling there aren't any decent places along I-40? I can only speak to New Mexico. Most people recommend Rudy's BBQ at the San Mateo exit in Albuquerque. Turn North at end of exit ramp and you'll see it just on your left.
There is the Rio Grande Cantina in Albuquerque. It's OK to not bad. Take the Rio Grande Blvd exit (one of the last few exits on the west side of ABQ). Turn south at end of ramp. Rio Grande Cantina on the right a couple of blocks down. New Mexican style food. Farther down this board is a discussion about food in Gallup, NM. A couple of recs there, too.
Sorry, can't help with Tucumcari, Santa Rosa or Grants.
re: desert rat
Maybe I'll take some notes while I'm on my way there. When I get to California and get settled in, I'll post all the places I stopped at. I'm sure there has to be some decent places. If anyone has some suggestions for good local chain food restaurants I'd appreciate those also. I just want to stay away from the McDonalds and Burger Kings. You guys probably have several chains that I have never even heard of.
As far as chains go, In-N-Out Burger and Tommy's are ones you'd probably want to try. Both originated in Southern California and both are still family owned. They both have something to offer that is IMO distinctly better than the major fast food chains. There has been a ton of discussion of In-N-Out and some discussion of Tommy's on Chowhound's Los Angeles Board. They each have a Barstow location at the Lenwood exit of the I-15. In-N-Out also has two Hesperia locations that are not too far from Apple Valley so you might want to try that one after sometime you get to your destination. My suggestion for in-N-Out is to try the Burger- Animal style. See the secret menu description at the site below.
In-N-Out Burger Secret Menu
Do be sure to plan a stop in Winslow, Arizona to take in the wonderfully restored La Posada Hotel, one of Mary Jane Colter's last designs. Very pleasant and reasonably priced rooms. The Turquoise Room is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (except on Monday) and I've greatly enjoyed a number of meals there.
Here are a few of our faves, all pretty close to the interstate:
Amarillo - Big Texan Steak House. Breakfast is the best bet. A 12oz filet with eggs is $8 less than the 12oz filet dinner. Steaks are awesome. Setting is not to be missed. Service is OK to excellent depending on who you get...ain't that always the case.
Albuquerque - Can vouch for the Rudy's BBQ already mentioned. Don't miss the creamed corn. Other spots worth checking out:
Blue Corn - excellent brewpub with very good to excellent S'west fare. A couple of miles north of I-40 on I-25 at the Jefferson exit. If you like it hot, their Chipotle Corn Chowder is not to be missed.
Route 66 Diner - not too far from the interstate, on Central. Cool setting, good service, nice menu of good, solid diner food.
Also on Central, further east from Route 66 Diner is Perea's. Excellent family NewMex place...only open for breakfast and lunch. Excellent adovada and green chile, possibly my favorite refrieds on the planet.
Grants - 4B's. THe only NM outpost of a small chain out of Montana. Solid coffee shop fare, nice variety. Service can be spotty. Their cream of tomato soup is legendary, and deserving of the legend.
Flagstaff - Salsa Brava. 2 locations...the one closest to I-40 is in a shopping center on your right(look for the signs for Buster's Restaurant), not too far from where I-17 ends (at I-40) and turns into Milton Ave. Yummy Mex...excellent salsa bar.
OKLAHOMA CITY has several good food choices including Johnnie's, a local chain that serves charcoal broiled hamburgers (very good with hickory smoked sauce). If you take I-240 through the city there is a Johnnie's just off the Interstate at 421 SW 74 (near Santa Fe Ave.). I-240 usually has less traffic, but if your object is to see the city then I-40 would probably be a better route.
From I-40 you can easily get to one of the most well-known steak places: Cattleman's at 1309 S. Agnew. Take the Agnew exit from I-40. This is a "cowboy" place-- nothing fancy or too expensive.
My personal favorite is the Asian food around NW 23rd and Classen Blvd. This is home to a large Vietnamese and other Asian community, and there have been quite a few posts about the restaurants in this area. For lunch Sala Thai at 1614 NW 23 has a good deal-- authentic Thai food with good tasting curry at a cheap price. The most famous Vietnamese restaurant is Lido at 2518 N. Military (just east of Classen Blvd.). Lido has a somewhat limited menu for Vietnamese restaurants, but the vermicelli noodle dishes are good. Probably a more chowish place is the restaurant just behind Lido in the same building called Banh Cuon Tay Ho. You'll probably have lots of Vietnamese food in California, but it's an interesting experience to go to the ones in Oklahoma, and to visit the large supermarket just north of Lido. There are also a number of pho restaurants and other Asian choices along Classen.
AMARILLO has a much smaller Asian community than OKC, but I have found some of the restaurants to be just as interesting, particularly Houang's Restaurant at 5615 E. Amarillo Blvd., a Laotian restaurant with dishes such as Laotian style papaya salad and seafood soup served in a hot pot. Also note that Houang's and several other Asian restaurants in the same vicinity are open late (10 p.m. or later week nights and about 1 a.m. on weekends). I'm not recommending the Asian food over steaks in Amarillo; only if you want a change of pace from steaks and are looking for an alternative other than chains.
if you want to go the small town route, stop in Clinton, oklahoma, west of oklahoma city by about 90 miles. at the parkersburg exit just west of town there is a BBQ place called Jigg's. They do all their own smoking. Great, cheap, huge sandwiches. Fabulous beef jerky. In town, take the 10th street exit and go to the little mexican place between Braums and Pizza Hut. Taqueria Fresnillo. Tacos (run the gamut from shredded beef to pig cheeks) for 1.35 each, sopes (same meat choices) for 1.60 each, gorditas are 1.50. Also, have tortas, enchiladas, flautas and real mexican candy and coke, but i am addicted to the tacos al pastor. menudo on the weekend. both are easy to get to, easy to get back on your way.