I should have made a left at Albuquerque!

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The Travelin Man
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2009/07/06 10:41:03 (permalink)
Oh...we got a picture for you, too, darlin'!
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2009/07/06 10:58:12 (permalink)
Just move along, there is nothing to see here!
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2009/07/06 11:48:09 (permalink)
Is this like the Burger King, in that it's supposed to be cute but is actually horrifying?
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buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2009/07/06 14:49:37 (permalink)
June 7, 2009 cont.
 
Our first stop in El Paso, actually wasn't in El Paso.  We drove a little bit further north to the tiny town of Canutillo to eat lunch at Little Diner.


Lots of cars in the parking lot, as this place is quite popular.  And as you can see from the inside view,

it really isn't that little.  This sign

on the wall made me think this restaurant had a New Mexico soul to it.  You place your order at the counter

(Spanish is the primary language here, but we had no trouble being understood) and they bring the food to you.
 
While we were waiting to order our food, the beverages caught our eye.  We both went, "Hey, Horchata"!  Ooohhh, Melon!"

The cantaloupe flavored drink

(more like an ade than a soda) was cool, refreshing and one of my favorite things on the trip.
 
Just to change things up, I got the combo this time,

with an excellent red chile enchilada, an even better taco, stuffed with fresh ingredients and a forgettable gordita.  A la carte, Johnny got a very good beefy tamale,

a huge chiles rellenos,

that had the Christmas (both green and red) chile on the side and an order of the flautas.


With the crunchy shell and the tender shredded beef, Johnny especially liked the flautas.
 
Another thing that makes me a fan of Little Diner is that they give away colorful bumper stickers, 

one of which is now on the back of my beater car.  The food was good, but I would definitely go back for the melon drink!
 
Little Diner
7209 7th Street
Canutillo, TX
915-877-2176
 
http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Review/201-201/little-diner
 
Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/07/06 14:52:30
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Nancypalooza
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2009/07/06 16:54:34 (permalink)
That's just about the right colors for your alma mater too--I guess it'd be better if you went to Syracuse?  The food looks awesome--maybe Capn Combo has become that because if something's bad on the plate, something else is bound to be good.
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2009/07/09 14:37:29 (permalink)
Sunday June 7, 2009 cont.
 
We checked into our hotel room in El Paso and relaxed for a hour or so.  Since we had eaten so little on this day so far, we were soon ready for another lunch!  This time, we visited Julio's Cafe Corona

This is a bigger, comfortable place, that sits right next to the highway.  While we dined, there was live music from this guy.

There were large groups of Hispanic families, which was a good sign.  Our waiter, who was a real pro, easily slipping from Spanish to English, depending on which table he was addressing.
 
Like most meals on this trip, it starts with homemade chips and salsa. 

We particularly liked the fresh tasting, hot salsa we had here.  We were told that the lemonade was fresh squeezed,

but it sure didn't taste or look fresh squeezed.
 
Despite the 90 degree temperatures outside, Johnny and I decided to try some of their interesting soups.  Mine was the Tlalpeno soup,

which was extremely hot and absolutely delicious.  It contained big chunks of tender chicken and avocado.  Johnny's soup was called Julio's Special Soup. 

Not nearly as hot, it held chicken broth, cilantro, tomato, onion and lots more avocado.
 
For his entree, Johnny chose wisely and went with the Mole Poblano. 

I took quite a few photos of this dish, but this is the best I could do.  There were long shreds of moist chicken underneath the chocolate sauce.  There was some serious heat to this dish, too.  It was so good, it made me wish I had ordered this instead of the crappy meal I ended up with.  I tried something different and got the Salpicon. 

I should have known just by the fact the beef is served cold that it may not be something I enjoy.  Famous last words, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.  I passed on dessert, while Johnny went for the ultra caramelly flan. 

Really good!
 
After this, we were full.  We went back to the hotel and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.
 
Julio's Cafe Corona
8050 Gateway East
El Paso, TX
915-591-7676
 
http://www.julioscafecorona.com/
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/07/09 14:42:31
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2009/07/09 15:30:54 (permalink)
Sunday June 7, cont.
 
We had been running around at such a rigorous pace up until now, Johnny and I were enjoying the down time at the hotel.  So much, we seriously debated on whether or not to go out to dinner.  Knowing we would undoubtedly regret it later, we soon found ourselves in the car, heading east on I-10 towards the small town of Fabens.  Our destination was Cattleman's Steakhouse at Indian Cliffs Ranch

The directions we had were get off at the Fabens exit, make a left and drive five miles into the desert.  And they weren't kidding.  This place is truly in the middle of nowhere.  Still, when we pulled up, there was lots of activity as a wedding reception was going on in the front building.  We pulled in and followed the signs towards the very back of the complex to the steakhouse.  The parking lot was huge.  So we would find our car when we were leaving, I told Johnny to park next to the horse.

Back in PA, we don't have horses in our restaurant parking lots!
 
The inside of the place was equally as big.  Hey, we are in Texas after all.  Room after room filled with saddles, ropes, wagon wheel chandeliers, cowboy art,


the whole place looked like a Western museum.  We were handed thick, leather bound menus, which focused on steaks.

 
Since we weren't monumentally hungry, we settled for 10 oz. steaks,

mine being the New York Strip, his being the Ribeye.

These were both fine cuts of meat, both cooked perfectly, mine medium and his medium rare.  For flavor, his got a slight edge, but I was still very happy with what I was served.  As you can see, Johnny went with the corn on the cob, which came wrapped in aluminum foil, while I had the thick steak fries.
 
The other sides came served family style.  The creamy cole slaw,

which included pineapple, was a big hit with us.  Less so was the pinto beans. 

Strangely, after a few bites, Johnny remarked how much the beans reminded him of Coney sauce for hot dogs.  And he was right.  We also got an extra side of delicious, extra-buttery mushrooms, that were actually kind of sweet.

 
Dessert time!  Johnny loved his smooth chocolate mousse.

Once again, I went off the board and tried the Queen of Sheba,

which was frozen cream, with cherries on the bottom.  Trust me, it sounds better than it really was.  Kind of chalky to my taste.
 
Still, Cattleman's gets a big thumbs up from us for the great steaks and cool cowboy atmosphere.
 
Cattleman's Steakhouse at Indian Cliffs Ranch
Fabens, TX
915-544-3200
 
http://www.cattlemanssteakhouse.com/ 
 
Despite the fact that the horse was gone, we found our car.  We went back to the hotel and called it a night.
 
Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/07/09 15:43:19
#37
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2009/07/09 16:21:13 (permalink)

 First a missing pony, and now the horse is gone?! I think we may need to alert the media... something fishy is afoot!!  nowI must go find some TAQUITOS!!!!!
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2009/07/09 17:57:39 (permalink)
buffetbuster -

Great report as always...was the second sculpture a Remmington?
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ann peeples
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2009/07/09 18:19:30 (permalink)
I am enjoying all of your food adventures!!! However, I absolutely love pinto beans; sorry you dont like them!
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2009/07/09 18:37:01 (permalink)
BB, I'd sure like to know what they did to those pinto beans at Cattlemen's Steakhouse. I've been eating pintos ( 'soup beans' ) all my life, and I've never seen any that look like that. You compared them to Coney sauce, so I'm assuming that they were spicy; what was their heat level like? 
#41
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2009/07/10 11:36:47 (permalink)
buffetbuster


As you can see, Johnny went with the corn on the cob, which came wrapped in aluminum foil, while I had the thick steak fries.

So by the time you took the photo Johnny had already eaten the foil?
 
Brad
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2009/07/11 21:50:02 (permalink)
A delicious report. Those chiles rellenos and tamales look great, but what I really crave now is blueberry cobbler and blueberry pie. Great pics, as always. 
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2009/07/13 22:26:11 (permalink)
Your Tlalpeno soup looks a lot like the soup Julie lives off of at our local Mexican joint.  This is sopa de pollo (chicken soup) at Taqueria Jalisco:



And I don't know whether the Tlalpeno had cilantro in it or not; it does here, and it's served with a wedge of lime.  Mucho delicioso.
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2009/07/27 20:10:36 (permalink)
Brad_Olson

buffetbuster


As you can see, Johnny went with the corn on the cob, which came wrapped in aluminum foil, while I had the thick steak fries.

So by the time you took the photo Johnny had already eaten the foil?
 
Brad


LOL...Too funny.
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2010/08/10 14:39:10 (permalink)
With the Roadfood bus tour coming to New Mexico next month, this seemed like an appropriate time to finally finish this trip report from last year.  The food descriptions might suffer from my lack of memory, but I did take some notes.
 
Okay, where did we leave off?  Oh yeah, El Paso, TX.
 
Monday, June 8, 2009
 
First stop of the day was a place we were eagerly anticipating, H & H Cafe and Car Wash. 

This place is just a little coffee shop, with a much bigger area for washing cars.  And, you can get your shoes shined.  Talk about your one stop shop! 

Unfortunately, during the time we were here, we never saw a car being washed.  Or shoes being shined.  I guess we will just have to settle for breakfast.
 
There are a couple of tables by the near wall, but most of the seating is at the counter.  Two different menu boards
 

are on the wall and they still handed you a menu.  Our waitress was a little short with us, but that was most likely due to her lack of English and our lack of Spanish.  Johnny went with the Mexican Style Omelet,

which was full of ham and peppers.  On the side was refried beans, homemade guacamole and two large sliced potatoes.  And, of course, some homemade tortillas

on the side.  He was very happy with his breakfast. 
 
It is hard for me to ever turn down Huevos Rancheros,


so that is what I went with.  Have you ever seen Huevos Rancheros like this?  I haven't.  Instead of the normal red or sometimes green chile over top, it is served with what the Sterns called "a curious buttery gravy".  Whatever it was, it was delicious and I used my tortillas to mop up every ounce.  Johnny also ordered a bowl of the green chile,

but truthfully, I can't remember much about it.
 
I went outisde to use the bathroom and when I was walking back in, a man sitting on a chair just outside the front door, struck up a conversation with me.  Turns out he was the owner and was happy to hear I was from Pittsburgh.  He told me his (I believe) aunt used to be the mayor of Homestead, which is a suburb of Pittsburgh.  I asked if he minded if I take some photos and he even rounded up the ladies for an interior shot.

On the way out, he even gave us H & H Cafe coffee mugs. 

How nice is that?
 
A couple more outside shots:


 
H & H Cafe and Car Wash
701 E. Yandel
El Paso, TX
915-533-1144
 
http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Reviews/3911/hh-cafe-car-wash
 
Johnny and I spent the rest of the morning exploring downtown El Paso, which was full of beautiful murals,



a cool alligator fountain,

statues

and interesting architecture.


 
We made a quick stop at the University of Texas at El Paso bookstore, so I could pick up a couple t-shirts.  I was amazed at how nice the store was,

only to find out it had only been opened for a few days.  All of this helped us build up an appetite, so we made one more stop in town.
 
Much more to come..... 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2010/08/10 14:47:10
#46
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2010/08/10 15:38:12 (permalink)
  YOU WENT OUTSIDE TO USE THE BATHROOM?! 
       I really like the looks of the krazy huevos.
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2010/08/10 15:50:20 (permalink)
AHI MPLS-
Yeah, it was outside and around the corner, kind of like at those hamburger places in Ohio from a previous trip report.  Or, that could explain why the owner wanted to chat with me!
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2010/08/10 16:16:59 (permalink)
BB
Janet had me park next to a hitching-rack where the Amish "parked" their horses during the Farmers Market Hours in Lancaster, OHIO last weekend. (so we could find the truck in the lot full of other trucks)!!! The dogs talked to the horses for awhile, before calming down for a nap.
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2010/08/10 17:53:35 (permalink)
mayor al

BB
Janet had me park next to a hitching-rack where the Amish "parked" their horses during the Farmers Market Hours in Lancaster, OHIO last weekend. (so we could find the truck in the lot full of other trucks)!!! The dogs talked to the horses for awhile, before calming down for a nap.


You may not have been able to find your truck, but I bettcha you found some Good Eats! Send me some Scrapple would ya? People out here think Scrapple is some kind of a board game to make up words.
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ChiTownDiner
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2010/08/10 20:09:30 (permalink)
Let's keep this moving...I can't wait to see ABQ and Santa Fe! 
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2010/08/10 20:24:04 (permalink)
ChiTownDiner

Let's keep this moving...I can't wait to see ABQ and Santa Fe! 


Go easy on the poor Guy, CTD. After all, he IS from Pittsburgh ya know! They march to their own drumbeat!
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2010/08/10 20:50:29 (permalink)
Or to slices of pie...I am already excited about hitting this new (to me) area!
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2010/08/11 11:43:17 (permalink)
Monday June 8, 2009 cont.
 
For lunch, we headed to Smitty's,

a bbq restaurant located in a strip mall near the airport.  The inside is very dark

and surprisingly large.  There are seats at the bar available, but we sat at one of the many big, comfy booths.  There were several tables with with people dressed in western clothes and soldiers from nearby Fort Bliss.  The walls are decorated with all kinds of cowboy amd western art.


We liked the art work on the front of the menu.

 
To drink, we both ordered the iced tea, which in this part of the country means unsweetened.  Since we are both power tea drinkers, we were happy when they brought over a whole pitcher. 

We also noticed, an old guy with two full pitchers sitting on his table.  Apparently, he planned on being there for a while.
 
Captain Combo struck again as he went with the four meat platter.


He thought the brisket was easily the best of the four and described it as being tender and moist, despite how thin it was.  He called the corned beef dry and leathery, the chicken, moist with plenty of smoke flavor and the sausage was mild and slightly sweet.  The beans were smoky, but neither of us cared for them.  Much better was the finely chopped cole slaw,

which was creamy and had small bits of pineapple in it.  Loved it!  The best known side here is the German potatoes.  They are very large, deep fried 'til crispy on the outside and have a creamy interior.  We were a big fan of these, too.  As you can see, pickle and onion slices completed the plate.
 
I went for the hot link sausage sandwich,

which was much spicier and did not need any of the thin bbq sauce sitting on the table.  I wasn't really planning on having dessert here, until I got up and walked around and noticed a cake sitting on the bar.  On the menu, it is called Melinda's Homemade Rum Cake and the waitress extolled it's virtues.  We both got a piece

and thank goodness we did, because it was fantastic!  This cake managed to be light and dense at the same time, incredibly moist and not too sweet.  Just a perfect piece of cake.
 
While getting back to the car, I noticed that I had somehow managed to get bbq sauce all over the bottom part of my leg. 

How did that happen?  I can be a sloppy eater at times, but that is ridiculous!
 
Smitty's
6219 Airport Road
El Paso, TX
915-772-5876
 
http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Reviews/57/smittys
 
Before we left town, we checked out one more sight, a big church, with a beautiful interior.  Soon, we got on I-10 north and headed back to New Mexico for the rest of the trip.
 
Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2010/08/11 11:46:29
#54
Ralph Melton
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2010/08/11 15:13:08 (permalink)
We ate at Smitty's just last week. It sounds like Johnny's brisket was better than what I had; what I had was kind of tough. I agree that the rum cake was very good.
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2010/08/11 15:55:17 (permalink)
Ralph-
That's cool that you were just in El Paso.  Sorry your experience with the brisket wasn't good, but glad you got to try that rum cake.
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2010/08/11 16:23:35 (permalink)
I want to be Captain Combos side kick when I grow up!  Nice plate of chow!
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2010/08/12 17:03:03 (permalink)
Captain Combo! I love it! Great trip report, and beautiful photos.
I have never really explored the southwest with the exception of Tucson,
where my in-laws used to live.
I would love to do some roadfooding there some time.
Wish I could make the tour this year, but the budget and the dates are not in my favor...maybe next time.
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2010/08/13 09:50:01 (permalink)
Monday June 8, 2009 cont.
 
Once we were back in New Mexico, our first stop was the small town of La Mesa, home to the Roadfood restaurant Chope's

We knew ahead of time that they are closed on Mondays, but I still wanted to see the place and maybe, hope for a miracle.  The place sure looked promising from the outside, but they were indeed closed.

 
Instead of getting back on the interstate, we took Route 28 north and were treated with some lovely scenery. 

And once we arrived in Mesilla, we struck by the beauty of this small town.  Instead of going straight to lunch, we spent a good hour or so wandering around.  Some of the sights around town. 



Right on the north end of the small town plaza is a great looking church, known as Basilica of San Albino.


Johnny and I really liked the town of Mesilla.
 
Our lunch spot was only a few blocks away, so we walked over.  La Posta de Mesilla has long been in the Roadfood books and on the outside,


it looked very New Mexican!  The building itself has a long history as more than just a restaurant.

The lobby was unusual, as they have very large bird cages and fish tanks, including piranhas. 

The entire interior was decorated in a bright, cheerful decor


and this is one of the prettiest restaurants I have ever seen.  I even ended up taking a photo of the sink

in the men's room!
 
The menu is huge, so we told the waitress we wanted to look it over for a bit, but we did want to start with some appetizers.  Soon, our basket of sopaipillas arrived. 

These are puffy rectangles of fry bread, best served piping hot.  There are only two to an order here, but these sopaipillas are larger than what you normally see.  Drizzled with honey, these sopaipillas were pure heaven!  Because Johnny needed a change of pace, he also ordered a bowl of fruit,

which came with some cottage cheese on top.  For how much fresh, sweet fruit we got, we thought this was a bargain at $6.00.  Great idea by Johnny and we made quick work of it.  Also as an appetizer, we placed an order for La Posta de Mesilla's most famous dish, Tostadas Compuestas,

which was first created here in 1939

and spread to other New Mexican restaurants.  We loved all these fresh ingredients and different flavors on top of each other.  To complete our meal before our meals showed up, these was chips and salsa

on our table, which we devoured.
 
For our entrees, true to form, Johnny went with Combination Plate #1,

which was frijoles, tamales, rolled red enchilada, rolled taco, red enchilada con carne and rice.  I can't remember specifically how each thing was, but I do know he was very happy with his meal.  My entree was the Green Enchilada,

which was corn tortillas covered with green chile and topped with shredded cheese.  On the side was frijoles, rice and an interesting Mexican slaw, which tasted like it had salad oil or vinegar on it.  The dish got a thumbs up from me.
 
La Posta de Mesilla was one of the better dining experiences during our week in New Mexico.  needless to say, I was happy when it was announced that this restaurant is going to be part of the upsoming Roadfood bus tour.  No doubt, everyone is going to enjoy their meals here.  One other cool thing about this place is that the galley on the nuclear submarine USS New Mexico is names after La Posta de Mesilla,

which is quite an honor.
 
La Posta de Mesilla
2410 Calle de San Albino
Mesilla, NM
505-524-3524 
 
http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Reviews/355/la-posta-de-mesilla
 
After a little more exploring in town, we drove north and checked into our hotel room in Las Cruces.
 
Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2010/08/13 10:06:37
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! 2010/08/15 08:49:18 (permalink)
Monday June 8, 2009 cont.
 
After a few hours of relaxing in the room, we headed out for dinner in Las Cruces.  Our destination was the Roadfood reviewed restaurant, Nopalito

We were a little surprised to see the dining room so empty, but it was a Monday night. 

 
Both of us started our meals with horchatas. 

Thicker than I am used to and not as hot as others we would have later, we thought these were the best horchatas we had on the trip.  The thin chips were obviously homemade and went very well with the fiery red salsa, but we preferred the full flavor of the green salsa.

 
Johnny went for the very good chiles rellenos,

which benefited from the thicker breading.  I ordered the stacked enchiladas,

which I really liked despite there being practically no heat at all.  The fried egg on top was a nice touch.
 
With their being so many great restaurants in the area, it is easy to overlook a place like Nopalito and we were very pleased with our visit.
 
Nopalito
310 Mesquite Street
Las Cruces, NM
505-524-0003
 
[link=http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Reviews/3650/nopalito]http://www.roadfood.com/R.../Reviews/3650/nopalito[/link]
 
One more stop before calling it a night.  On the way to Nopalito, we spotted a frozen custard place called Caliches

and stopped on the way back to the hotel.  The custard itself was nothing special, but it still hit the spot on a hot Summer night.  Here is my hot fudge sundae

and Johnny enjoying his Mango Dango sundae, which came with fresh mango and salted pecans.

 
Caliches
590 S. Valley Drive
Las Cruces, NM
505-647-5066
 
http://www.caliches.com/%3C/a%3E%3C/font%3E
 
We went back to the hotel and called it a night.
post edited by buffetbuster - 2010/08/15 08:52:56
#60
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