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 Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhandle

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wanderingjew

  • Total Posts: 7386
  • Joined: 1/18/2001
  • Location: East Greenwich/ Warwick, RI
  • Roadfood Insider
Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Thu, 08/1/13 7:03 PM (permalink)
Sunday July 7
 
Since we didn't return back to our hotels until just after midnight, I wanted to give everyone the chance to get some sleep. I went on my own to Satellite Coffee near the hotel for my first cup of Java. By the time I returned back to my hotel I figured mostly everyone should be up and ready for breakfast... Unfortunately many of the roadfood restaurants in Albuquerque are closed Sunday... The restaurant in the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, The Pueblo Harvest Cafe, reviewed in the older Roadfood books, wasn't what it once was back in the 90's when I visited last in 2008. Reviews on yelp, travel advisor and urbanspoon confirmed my suspicions. I looked into another very promising place called Roper's Restaurant which received the best hot breakfast award in Albuquerque Magazine, but it was a little out of the way.. That left me with Sophia's Place, a small hole in the wall in Los Ranchos De Albuquerque featured on Diners Drive Ins and Dives.
 

 
Billyboy, Dana and I met Chi Town Diner and Patti there. Once again the sleepy heads Ralph Melton and Ice Cream Chick decided to get a few extra zzzzz's....By this time Cousin Johnnie was probably close to landing at BWI and Buffetbuster and Mariton were approaching the four corners...
 
Sophia's Place features indoor and outdoor seating. When we got there the place was buzzing you stand in line to order your meal and then you look for a place to sit down. Thankfully the system works because we did find a table outside despite how busy it was...
 
I had blue corn pancakes on my brain and Sophia's definitely delivers...
 

 
Topped with fresh fruit and pinon butter these light billowy bad boys redolent of corn meal didn't really need the syrup that accompanied the pancakes...
Chi Town Diner proclaimed these the best blue corn pancakes of the trip. I believe he also got a breakfast burrito too....
 
After breakfast we said our goodbyes to Chi Town Diner and Patti  as they were leaving for home the next day(I will be seeing Billyboy and Dana Tuesday night before we all fly back home on Wednesday)  ... Upon returning to the hotel, I was ready for my second cup of coffee at a place I really wanted to try, Michael Thomas Coffee Roasters not too far away from the airport... I got there and once again- (and for the last time of the trip) TTM'd- there was a sign on the door noting that they will be closed the entire 4th of July weekend and would not reopen till Monday... Therefore I was forced to return to Satellite Coffee for my second cup (this time the Nob Hill location)...
 
Luckily being on the southern fringes of town it was a quick easy on to Interstate 25... approximately a little over three hours later I found myself in Las Cruces after passing some  towns with interesting names including "Truth or Consequences" and "Elephant Butt"/... I will be spending the next couple of days in Las Cruces before returning back to Albuquerque...
 
After checking into my hotel in the late afternoon, I found out I was only a mile and a half away from Old Town Mesilla, however considering that the temps were at or nearing the 100 degree mark, I decided to drive...
 

 
Old Mesilla is basically a down scale smaller version of Albuqerque's Old Town with interesting southwestern  shops, galleries and restaurants... I did not see any Native American's selling their wares in the plaza.
 

 

 

 
 

 
 

 
But this interesting old church did catch my attention...
 

 
I also observed this cute little whino enjoying his fix...
 

 
Once again I did not realize that my planned dinner stop would be right in front of me..
 

 
La Posta De Mesilla
 
Arriving just after 5pm, there was already a  half hour wait for a table...
La Posta De Mesilla has quite the festive atmosphere with an aquarium of fish (including piranha) and exotic birds on display...
 

 

 

 
 
After being entertained my my surroundings my table was finally ready..
 

 
I sat down to a decent bowl of chips and salsa...
 
I decided to order the "Le Posta Chica" which is basically a little bit of everything.
 
For starters....
 

 
I really enjoyed my guacamole salad which also went very well with the chips and salsa....

Unfortunately my meal went south from here...
 

 
The main course included a compuesta cup (kind if like a mini taco salad)  a folded taco, chile relleno and Mexican slaw....Don't ask me how my meal was, because it was so unmemorable I honestly don't remember. I had wondered if I lost interest in New Mexican food.....
 
My meal concluded with this very sad looking sopapilla
 

 
the final saving grace was this mince empanada a'la mode which actually was one of the better parts of the meal...
 

 
I did not enjoy my meal at La Posta De Mesilla... It actually beat out the Big Texan as the most disappointing meal of the trip...
 
After I left the restaurant and was heading back to my car I just had to snap a couple of photos of this "cactus sale" and the outdoor furniture surrounding it...
 

 

 
I returned to my hotel, called my girlfriend to tell her how the wedding went the night before....and called it a night.....more to come....
 
 
<message edited by wanderingjew on Fri, 08/2/13 8:52 AM>
 
#91
    Michael Hoffman

    • Total Posts: 17837
    • Joined: 7/1/2000
    • Location: Gahanna, OH
    Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Thu, 08/1/13 8:55 PM (permalink)
    Dale, Lisa and I are looking forward to the rest.
     
    #92
      Tex-Max

      • Total Posts: 103
      • Joined: 12/15/2011
      • Location: Saratoga County, NY
      Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Thu, 08/1/13 9:10 PM (permalink)
      Its sad that this may be your last trip report.  I really enjoy reading about your travels, baseball stadiums, road food and coffee.   I do look forward to the Review on Miss Myra's.  I have been to Birmingham twice since last summer but neither time was I able to get close to Miss Myra's.  Third times a charm...maybe Christmas.   I am just so curious about that white BBQ sauce.
      Looking forward to the rest of your report.  
       
      Tex-Max
       
      #93
        Ralph Melton

        Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Thu, 08/1/13 10:24 PM (permalink)
        I told WJ that our New Mexico trip didn't deserve a trip report, but I did jot down a few scribblings.

        Chris and Amy were getting married July 6 in Albuquerque, and we wanted very much to be there. My work schedule is tight, but July 4 counted as an extra day off. So we planned to fly to Albuquerque on Tuesday, July 2, go down to Cloudcroft to visit my parents for a few days, then come back for the wedding and depart on Sunday, July 7.

        Our troubles with this trip started on Wednesday, June 26. I looked at our flight confirmation, and discovered that our reservation had us flying back from Albuquerque on Saturday, July 6 - before the wedding began. I normally try not to swear, but I texted Lori a stream of simple profanity. Lori took on the job of rescheduling us, though it incurred an expensive change fee. But there were no flights back on Sunday; we had to reschedule for Monday.

        Then on the evening of Saturday, June 29, I came down with a fever. Over the next few days, I had phases of fever up to 103.8°F, and horribly embarrassing diarrhea. We went to an urgent care center on Monday to see whether I could get any relief, and whether I could safely fly. The doctor said it would probably last a total of 5-7 days from the first symptoms, I could fly if I felt up to it, and if Lori hadn't already come down with this, she probably was not going to.

        We weren't willing to risk flying early Tuesday morning as planned; we wanted some awake time to monitor my symptoms before flying. But we rescheduled (with another fee) to fly on Tuesday evening. I felt significantly better on Tuesday.

        Packing for the trip was a mess, because we were trying to pack for lots of contingencies and I wasn't much help. But the flight went smoothly. Since we landed near midnight, we got a hotel in Albuquerque instead of driving down then.

        Wednesday, July 3:
        We had a tasty brunch at the Frontier Cafe. I really like this picture of the sweet roll, but I don't actually find the sweet rolls wonderful to eat.


        We arrived at my parents' cabin and were welcomed pleasantly.

        That evening, though, Lori started getting feverish. She went to bed early, but it wasn't enough to avert illness; she came down with the same disease I had had.

        Thursday, July 4:

        Lori was horribly sick all day. We'd planned to go to the Mescalero Apache reservation for a roundup with rodeo and dancing - but we stayed home to take care of Lori all day.

        I did finish one project for Chris and Amy. In western Pennsylvania, it's traditional for weddings to include a cookie table, piled with an enormous variety of cookies made by the family and friends of the bride and groom. We would have loved to make a cookie table for Chris and Amy. But we couldn't bring enough cookies on the airplane, and we didn't want to impose on their family and friends. So we honored the cookie table tradition in spirit: my mother and I made a batch of sugar cookies in the shape of a picnic table.


        Lori was so sick that she didn't manage to stay awake to watch fireworks on TV.

        Friday, July 5:

        My cousin Allison had planned to visit my parents this day, but we called her and warned her not to come anywhere Cloudcroft lest she and her son encounter our germs.

        Lori was much recovered, so we drove back to Albuquerque. But once we got there, Lori felt sick enough that she just stayed in the motel room while I went off to dinner with the group of Roadfooders.

        Dinner was at Harry's Roadhouse near Santa Fe; it was very tasty.

        Saturday, July 6:

        We both felt healthy-ish today, which was a very good thing, because we really wanted to attend the wedding in good spirits.

        We visited Jerky by Art, a carne seca shop for which I have a particular fondness.

        We ate lunch at Mary and Tito's, a New Mexican restaurant. The food was very good - the chicharrones were among the best I've had, the sopaipilla stuffed with carne adovada was very good, and the Mexican wedding cake was great.

        We went through Old Town Albuquerque briefly, then went off to the wedding.

        The wedding was wonderful. My cousin Allison has said that couples tend to get the wedding that is right for them, and this was certainly true of Chris and Amy. A smattering of details:
        - The vows featured pledges like Amy's "I promise to listen to your heavy metal podcasts, even when I've never heard of the bands"
        - The dinner was New Mexican food catered by Garcia's, and it was all splendid. (Though perhaps I wasn't completely healthy - after one plate, I felt almost completely unable to eat any more, as much as I wanted to.)
        - Chris and Amy's first dance was the Hokey Pokey.
        - Because Chris is a Latin teacher, the wedding cake was a reconstructed Roman recipe, made with spelt flour and sweetened with honey. I liked it.
        - It rained heavily late in the evening - but in the high desert, that felt like a blessing.

        It was a great wedding, and we wish Chris and Amy every happiness.

        Sunday, July 7:

        Lori was feeling under the weather again, though thankfully she didn't have a recurrence of the most distressing symptoms. After a very slow start and a snack at Golden Crown Panaderia, we went up to Santa Fe.

        We had lunch at Pasqual's - tasty but not the extraordinary splendor that Gregg had described.

        We shopped a bit near the Plaza, but Lori didn't have nearly the energy or enthusiasm for shopping that she normally would.

        We attended Mass at St. Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe.


        As we were walking back to our car, someone tried to sell us a very nice vase at a piddling price. As we were declining, someone called out that he had just stolen the vase and the storeowner chased after him. We later met the storekeeper, who had recovered the vase - he said that the robbery was an attempt to get drug money.

        We ate at Harry's Roadhouse, because New Mexican food seemed too risky for Lori - very good food.

        More troubles: When we got back to the motel, our keys wouldn't open the door to the room. Nor would the desk clerk's master key. As he was bringing out the machine to reset the lock, another guy came along with the magic touch to get things working again.
        That night, the toilet in the room clogged again; I was tired and I hoped that time would relieve it, so we went on to sleep.

        Monday, July 8:

        When we woke in the early morning, the toilet was still backed up. So I went to the front desk to get it handled. The guy said that maintenance didn't come until 8am, and he handed me a plunger. I plunged the toilet successfully, but this was not at all the service I wanted.

        We had trouble getting moving to check out, but we made it work by shoving everything haphazardly into our suitcases.

        We stopped at the front desk to complain about our troubles with the room: the lock, the toilet, the non-working phone, the broken hair dryer. The assistant manager on duty offered to knock a bit off our bill - but then we realized that he was taking 15% off a rate that was higher than the special rate we had gotten. Once we pointed that out, he was friendly about correcting the error, but it meant more delay.

        Stopped at the 66 Diner for a so-so lunch. Flew home without incident.


        We made it to the wedding, and that was what was most important to us. But aside from that, it was one of the worst trips I can remember.
         
        #94
          EliseT

          • Total Posts: 2849
          • Joined: 7/11/2001
          • Location: L.A, CA
          Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Fri, 08/2/13 1:24 AM (permalink)
          I want that gelato!!!!
           
           
          #95
            will_work_4_bbq

            • Total Posts: 400
            • Joined: 1/11/2006
            • Location: Birmingham, AL
            Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Fri, 08/2/13 5:20 AM (permalink)
            I hope you are both feeling better, Lori and Ralph!  You did make the most of a difficult situation!  I love the cookie tradition!
             
            #96
              buffetbuster

              Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Fri, 08/2/13 8:29 AM (permalink)
              WJ-
              Sorry to hear that you had a bad experience at La Post de Mesilla.  My experience there was better, but by no means do I think they have great food.  That really is one sad looking sopaipilla!  And packets of honey, instead of a squeeze bottle?  BOOOOOO!!!!!
               
              Hopefully you have much better meals in store for you in Las Cruces.
               
              #97
                wanderingjew

                • Total Posts: 7386
                • Joined: 1/18/2001
                • Location: East Greenwich/ Warwick, RI
                • Roadfood Insider
                Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Fri, 08/2/13 8:46 AM (permalink)
                Ralph
                 
                I have to commend you and Lori for making the best out of everything with your travel issues....I too have gotten sick while traveling on a few occasions and it's no fun...
                 
                Buffetbuster
                 
                I know I get a bad rap when I knock the occasional Sterns review but  the food at La Posta De Mesilla was just very disappointing...
                Thankfully my experience afterwards in Las Cruces (and El paso) were much better.
                 
                #98
                  FriedClamFanatic

                  • Total Posts: 1496
                  • Joined: 7/14/2008
                  • Location: west chester, PA
                  Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Fri, 08/2/13 3:01 PM (permalink)
                  Ralph Melton


                  I told WJ that our New Mexico trip didn't deserve a trip report, but I did jot down a few scribblings.

                  Chris and Amy were getting married July 6 in Albuquerque, and we wanted very much to be there. My work schedule is tight, but July 4 counted as an extra day off. So we planned to fly to Albuquerque on Tuesday, July 2, go down to Cloudcroft to visit my parents for a few days, then come back for the wedding and depart on Sunday, July 7.

                  Our troubles with this trip started on Wednesday, June 26. I looked at our flight confirmation, and discovered that our reservation had us flying back from Albuquerque on Saturday, July 6 - before the wedding began. I normally try not to swear, but I texted Lori a stream of simple profanity. Lori took on the job of rescheduling us, though it incurred an expensive change fee. But there were no flights back on Sunday; we had to reschedule for Monday.

                  Then on the evening of Saturday, June 29, I came down with a fever. Over the next few days, I had phases of fever up to 103.8°F, and horribly embarrassing diarrhea. We went to an urgent care center on Monday to see whether I could get any relief, and whether I could safely fly. The doctor said it would probably last a total of 5-7 days from the first symptoms, I could fly if I felt up to it, and if Lori hadn't already come down with this, she probably was not going to.

                  We weren't willing to risk flying early Tuesday morning as planned; we wanted some awake time to monitor my symptoms before flying. But we rescheduled (with another fee) to fly on Tuesday evening. I felt significantly better on Tuesday.

                  Packing for the trip was a mess, because we were trying to pack for lots of contingencies and I wasn't much help. But the flight went smoothly. Since we landed near midnight, we got a hotel in Albuquerque instead of driving down then.

                  Wednesday, July 3:
                  We had a tasty brunch at the Frontier Cafe. I really like this picture of the sweet roll, but I don't actually find the sweet rolls wonderful to eat.


                  We arrived at my parents' cabin and were welcomed pleasantly.

                  That evening, though, Lori started getting feverish. She went to bed early, but it wasn't enough to avert illness; she came down with the same disease I had had.

                  Thursday, July 4:

                  Lori was horribly sick all day. We'd planned to go to the Mescalero Apache reservation for a roundup with rodeo and dancing - but we stayed home to take care of Lori all day.

                  I did finish one project for Chris and Amy. In western Pennsylvania, it's traditional for weddings to include a cookie table, piled with an enormous variety of cookies made by the family and friends of the bride and groom. We would have loved to make a cookie table for Chris and Amy. But we couldn't bring enough cookies on the airplane, and we didn't want to impose on their family and friends. So we honored the cookie table tradition in spirit: my mother and I made a batch of sugar cookies in the shape of a picnic table.


                  Lori was so sick that she didn't manage to stay awake to watch fireworks on TV.

                  Friday, July 5:

                  My cousin Allison had planned to visit my parents this day, but we called her and warned her not to come anywhere Cloudcroft lest she and her son encounter our germs.

                  Lori was much recovered, so we drove back to Albuquerque. But once we got there, Lori felt sick enough that she just stayed in the motel room while I went off to dinner with the group of Roadfooders.

                  Dinner was at Harry's Roadhouse near Santa Fe; it was very tasty.

                  Saturday, July 6:

                  We both felt healthy-ish today, which was a very good thing, because we really wanted to attend the wedding in good spirits.

                  We visited Jerky by Art, a carne seca shop for which I have a particular fondness.

                  We ate lunch at Mary and Tito's, a New Mexican restaurant. The food was very good - the chicharrones were among the best I've had, the sopaipilla stuffed with carne adovada was very good, and the Mexican wedding cake was great.

                  We went through Old Town Albuquerque briefly, then went off to the wedding.

                  The wedding was wonderful. My cousin Allison has said that couples tend to get the wedding that is right for them, and this was certainly true of Chris and Amy. A smattering of details:
                  - The vows featured pledges like Amy's "I promise to listen to your heavy metal podcasts, even when I've never heard of the bands"
                  - The dinner was New Mexican food catered by Garcia's, and it was all splendid. (Though perhaps I wasn't completely healthy - after one plate, I felt almost completely unable to eat any more, as much as I wanted to.)
                  - Chris and Amy's first dance was the Hokey Pokey.
                  - Because Chris is a Latin teacher, the wedding cake was a reconstructed Roman recipe, made with spelt flour and sweetened with honey. I liked it.
                  - It rained heavily late in the evening - but in the high desert, that felt like a blessing.

                  It was a great wedding, and we wish Chris and Amy every happiness.

                  Sunday, July 7:

                  Lori was feeling under the weather again, though thankfully she didn't have a recurrence of the most distressing symptoms. After a very slow start and a snack at Golden Crown Panaderia, we went up to Santa Fe.

                  We had lunch at Pasqual's - tasty but not the extraordinary splendor that Gregg had described.

                  We shopped a bit near the Plaza, but Lori didn't have nearly the energy or enthusiasm for shopping that she normally would.

                  We attended Mass at St. Francis Cathedral in Santa Fe.


                  As we were walking back to our car, someone tried to sell us a very nice vase at a piddling price. As we were declining, someone called out that he had just stolen the vase and the storeowner chased after him. We later met the storekeeper, who had recovered the vase - he said that the robbery was an attempt to get drug money.

                  We ate at Harry's Roadhouse, because New Mexican food seemed too risky for Lori - very good food.

                  More troubles: When we got back to the motel, our keys wouldn't open the door to the room. Nor would the desk clerk's master key. As he was bringing out the machine to reset the lock, another guy came along with the magic touch to get things working again.
                  That night, the toilet in the room clogged again; I was tired and I hoped that time would relieve it, so we went on to sleep.

                  Monday, July 8:

                  When we woke in the early morning, the toilet was still backed up. So I went to the front desk to get it handled. The guy said that maintenance didn't come until 8am, and he handed me a plunger. I plunged the toilet successfully, but this was not at all the service I wanted.

                  We had trouble getting moving to check out, but we made it work by shoving everything haphazardly into our suitcases.

                  We stopped at the front desk to complain about our troubles with the room: the lock, the toilet, the non-working phone, the broken hair dryer. The assistant manager on duty offered to knock a bit off our bill - but then we realized that he was taking 15% off a rate that was higher than the special rate we had gotten. Once we pointed that out, he was friendly about correcting the error, but it meant more delay.

                  Stopped at the 66 Diner for a so-so lunch. Flew home without incident.


                  We made it to the wedding, and that was what was most important to us. But aside from that, it was one of the worst trips I can remember.

                  Nothing worse than being on vacation and SICK!..but you troopers handled it well.  Oh.wait..there is something worse......having the job as "taste-tester" at Burger King....but you guys came close.
                   
                  I love the Cookie idea!  We went to a wedding a few years back and they had a bunch of cookies (store-bought, I think), but I didn't know he tradition.  something to move East
                   
                  #99
                    CajunKing

                    • Total Posts: 6317
                    • Joined: 7/6/2006
                    • Location: Live at Saint Clair
                    • Roadfood Insider
                    Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Sat, 08/3/13 3:43 PM (permalink)
                    R & L - I am glad you battled through It sounds like a great wedding, sorry to hear that you both had "The Bug".  At least your actual travel went ok. 
                     
                    WJ - Your meal from La Posta De Mesilla looked worse than a meal from Chi ChisVery plain and ordinary and that sopapilla anenemic, and honey from the packet (which is honey flavored corn syrup) I will agree with BB.  BOOOOO on them, life's to short to eat fake honey.

                     
                      buffetbuster

                      Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Mon, 08/5/13 1:34 PM (permalink)
                      WJ-
                      Hopefully, you got to Chope's, which I missed out on during my one visit to Las Cruces.  Would love to read about that place.
                       
                      Ralph & Lori-
                      What a nice touch bringing the idea of the cookie table to the wedding.  That is very thoughtful.
                       
                        wanderingjew

                        • Total Posts: 7386
                        • Joined: 1/18/2001
                        • Location: East Greenwich/ Warwick, RI
                        • Roadfood Insider
                        Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Tue, 08/6/13 6:46 PM (permalink)
                        buffetbuster,
                         
                        Unfortunately I could not make it to Chope's. They were closed during my entire stay and did not open until Tuesday afternoon and I was already on the road heading back towards Albuquerque.
                         
                          buffetbuster

                          Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Tue, 08/6/13 7:52 PM (permalink)
                          WJ-
                          Same thing happened to us, being in Las Cruces on a Sunday and a Monday.  Anyway, looking forward to your next segment.
                           
                            wanderingjew

                            • Total Posts: 7386
                            • Joined: 1/18/2001
                            • Location: East Greenwich/ Warwick, RI
                            • Roadfood Insider
                            Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Tue, 08/6/13 8:02 PM (permalink)
                            Monday July 8
                             
                            I started my morning at Milagros Coffee Y Espresso. The name of the place really caught my attention thinking it would be very "New Mexican" in terms of vibe. They offered a good strong dark roast and a surprisingly decent lighter roast along with my obligatory muffin. My only gripe about the place is that they only offered a small in house cup with a free refill, and each refill afterwards was 50 cents each. Don't get me wrong, the price was very reasonable but it would have been more convenient to offer a larger in house cup, I would have been more than willing to pay more. The Barista suggested I try High Dessert Brewery later on. Wow, I didn't even know know Las Cruces had a brewpub... I just assumed they didn't.
                             
                            My first stop after breakfast was Dripping Springs.... An abandoned ranch, resort and in it's final years a sanitarium. Apparently the place was running until the 1940's when it went bankrupt and was eventually abandoned. Although some of the structures still stand, the area itself is known for its incredible natural beauty and the local critters that inhabit it..
                             

                             

                             

                             
                             

                             
                             

                             
                             

                             
                             

                             
                            I took the leisurely 3 mile round trip trail  before it got too warm later in the day..
                             
                            I did see some deer (but was unable to get photos)  and some lizards (I also saw a road runner on the way to the springs) apparently if you are lucky (or unlucky) you can spot the occasional mountain lion, however I didn't see any..
                             

                             

                             
                             
                            Here are some of the structures that are still standing along with a description of the springs
                             

                             
                             

                             

                             

                             
                             

                             
                             

                             

                             
                             
                            After my morning historical nature walk, I built up an appetite. Over the past weekend buffetbuster suggested I check out El Paso. The Roadfood reviewed Smitty's had been mentioned but it appears the reviews on line are not very good. According to the bbq blog full custom gospel bbq, El Paso isn't exactly Austin....hell its not even Dallas or Houston either when it comes to bbq.... however according to the blog if you really have to stop for bbq (or feel the need to do so)  in El Paso then this is the place to go..
                             

                             

                             
                            The Rib Hut
                             
                            I checked out their menu on-line and they had beef ribs.....Something I didn't have a chance to try when I was in Amarillo... I took the 45 minute drive to El Paso... arriving and seeing a busy parking lot with pick ups seemed promising..
                             

                             
                            I ordered the beef rib special. I made one mistake...
                             

                             
                            I should have asked for sauce on the side...The photos I saw from reviewers on the web displayed the ribs naked with sauce on the side. I simply assume that it came that way...
                            These ribs were charred and had a nice smokey flavor, however I'll be honest they although they were far from tough, J Mueller's ribs they are not.... The sauce was very reminiscent of Dreamland in Tuscaloosa AL in both texture and taste...The slaw and beans were just ho-hum.....
                             
                            I had to get a photo of this as i left..
                             

                             
                            I would return to Rib Hut if I ever found myself in El Paso again (and ask for sauce on the side) but I would never deliberately seek  Texas bbq and make El Paso my first stop...

                            If I had an extra day I would have spent it in El Paso, unfortunately I didn't. Apparently El Paso does have an independent baseball team, The El Paso Diablos. There was a game that evening but I was not going to trek back for it.....
                             
                            I drove back to Las Cruces and decided to kill the afternoon at
                             
                             
                             
                            The New Mexico Farm and Ranch Museum...

                            Which offered both inside and outside exhibits, including cow milking (although I arrived too late for that)

                            I'm going to highlight the unique indoor exhibits..
                             
                             
                             
                            How else would I know I was in New Mexico..
                             

                             

                             
                             

                             
                             

                            There are some interesting murals as well depicting pre and post european era New Mexico.
                             

                             
                            The 100 year license plate display really caught my attention.
                             
                             

                             
                             
                            Apparently there was in interesting display about irrigating an Elephant's Butt..
                             
                            There were many other displays including farm machinery, trucks and re-creation of a farmers house in the early 1900's... As I left the interior to check out the exterior displays, I ran into this guy...
                             

                             
                            That's right- a great horned owl..
                             

                             
                             
                            Apparently the oldest steel highway bridge is also on display..
                             

                             
                             

                             
                             

                             
                             

                             
                            besides some retro farm equipment there were several animals on display including horses, cows sheep and goat
                             

                             
                             

                             
                            However the first thing that caught my attention was the view...
                             

                             
                            Leaving the museum around closing time..... dinner time was fast approaching...and I knew where I was heading..
                             

                             
                            Las Trancas Restaurant
                             
                            Mentioned in the Stern's 500 Places to Eat Before it's Too Late book. This place had captured my curiousity, apparently like Mary and Tito's in Albuquerque they are well known for their stuffed sopapillas.
                            Although I was in the mood for something different..
                             

                             
                            The salsa was blistering hot but flavorful and really got the endorphins going...
                             
                            I started out with a chile relleno appetizer..
                             

                             
                            which was nothing short of superb...  The only one that matched it is the one I'm going to have tomorrow morning...
                             
                            After perusing the menu I realized that I hadn't had any posole on the trip..
                             

                             
                            What a surprise.. with chopped raw onion and lime wedges to add and squeeze at will. The bowl of desert goodness, redolent of corn was liberally loaded with fork tender pork and an addicting flavorful broth with spicy undertones 
                             
                            And that's not all....my meal concluded with what was clearly the best sopapilla of the trip..
                             

                             
                            warm, light, puffy and airy with just a little squirt of honey from the squirt bottle...

                            Although it irked me that they charged me for the sopapilla- they're not free...
                             
                            Despite all of that Las Trancas was truly a gem and one of my favorite stops of the trip..
                             
                            After dinner, I stopped at High  Desert Brewing, a very casual brew pub with a nice menu selection and enjoyed a refreshing rye ale....
                             
                            My final stop of the evening was a place I happened to pass by several times and it caught my curiousity..I checked the reviews on line and just knew I had to check it out..
                             

                             
                             
                            Caliche's Frozen Custard
                             
                            I know, I did plenty of eyebrow raising seeing a custard stand outside of the great lakes or mid west states. But I went anyway...
                             

                             
                             
                            besides how can I turn down a place that's home of the green chile sundae..

                            I was too stuffed to try anyway....
                            I went with a plain vanilla custard....
                             

                             
                            the custard itself was fine- however the salted pecans brought it to a whole new level....
                             
                            After dessert, I was full and ready to head back to my hotel which luckily was just over a mile up the road..
                            I had a big drive back to Albuquerque the next day so I called it a night...
                             
                            I'll conclude the final chapter within the week...
                            <message edited by wanderingjew on Wed, 08/7/13 7:37 AM>
                             
                              ChiTownDiner

                              Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Tue, 08/6/13 8:36 PM (permalink)
                              Now we're all left wondering how the green chili sundae tasted!
                               
                                ann peeples

                                • Total Posts: 8317
                                • Joined: 5/21/2006
                                • Location: West Allis, Wisconsin
                                Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Tue, 08/6/13 8:47 PM (permalink)
                                Besides the great food photos, I love the pics of the surrounding areas! Thanks, Dale!
                                 
                                  buffetbuster

                                  Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Wed, 08/7/13 7:36 AM (permalink)
                                  The photo that got me was the chile relleno appetizer at Las Trancas.  You posted that right before I was headed out for dinner last night.  After seeing how delicious it looked and knowing there was no chance of getting anything like it around here, I stayed in and ate raisin bran.  So thanks for that WJ!
                                   
                                  Love those murals photos!
                                   
                                  We also made a pit stop at Caliche's for frozen custard, but I don't remember seeing the green chile sundae sign.  Now I am really curious what that tastes like.
                                   
                                    wanderingjew

                                    • Total Posts: 7386
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                                    Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Wed, 08/7/13 7:38 AM (permalink)
                                    ChiTownDiner


                                    Now we're all left wondering how the green chili sundae tasted!

                                    If they had "red chile" I may have re-considered
                                     
                                      wanderingjew

                                      • Total Posts: 7386
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                                      Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Wed, 08/7/13 7:42 AM (permalink)
                                      buffetbuster...
                                       
                                      Look on the bright side- Raisin Bran is just loaded with fiber....
                                       
                                      I didn't think the custard at  Caliches was anything special, but apparently I just happened to select the right topping.
                                       
                                        ChiTownDiner

                                        Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Wed, 08/7/13 7:43 AM (permalink)
                                        And Christmas?
                                         
                                          buffetbuster

                                          Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Wed, 08/7/13 7:45 AM (permalink)
                                          Needless to say, my sundae at Caliche's did not have salted pecans on it, but the mango more than made up for it.
                                           
                                          Looking forward to the rest of the report!
                                           
                                            agnesrob

                                            • Total Posts: 1790
                                            • Joined: 6/4/2006
                                            • Location: Park Ridge, NJ
                                            Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Wed, 08/7/13 7:56 AM (permalink)
                                            Just outstanding pictures! I feel like I was traveling (and eating) right along with you! Thanks for posting this report!
                                             
                                              billyboy

                                              • Total Posts: 2363
                                              • Joined: 1/23/2005
                                              • Location: New York City, NY
                                              Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Fri, 08/9/13 2:44 AM (permalink)
                                              WJ, the hits just keep on comin'!  Love those shots from Sophia's.  Hopefully I'll have some photos to add soon.  I need to update my Photobucket account before I can upload more pictures and the camera I was using on the trip didn't work out so well and as a result some of my photos are less than stellar. 
                                               
                                              Dayna didn't make it to Sophia's either as she decided to sleep in as well.  I did bring her some of those fantastic blue corn pancakes though and she really liked them.  I was digging them too but I also really enjoyed Patti's breakfast sandwich on that grilled bread with egg, bacon, greens and pico de gallo.  I tried some of CTD's burrito and it was tasty too.  I was really impressed with their thick, chewy bacon and the side of home fries I ordered.  They had some type of sweet/spicy rub on them that made them really addictive!  I too was worried about getting a seat when I saw how busy it was (it really is a TINY place!) but you were on the job and snagged us a table outside.  Well done, WJ!  Glad we were able to share another meal with CTD and Patti before they headed back East. 
                                               
                                              Sorry about La Posta being such a dud but those photos of Old Town Mesilla really do remind me of Old Town ABQ. You definitely took full advantage of travelling and hiking while you were there.  I wish Dayna and I had done more of that.  Your photos have me longing to go back and just travel from town to town and taking a day to explore each one! 
                                               
                                              Hey Ralph!  Dayna and I went to the Frontier with Wanderingjew and loved it!  I loved the whole feel of the place, the ordering system with the lights and the abundance of items smothered in red and/or green chiles.  I had the sweet roll too but it definitely was the "weak link" of the meal.  Not a destination worthy roll by any means but I'm glad I tried it.  Love your summary of the wedding!!  It was so right for them.  I love their vows, the blue and orange kazoos, the Hatch green chile wine,  all of the watermelon agua fresca (that Amy had pressed!), local beers, being to to connect (and reconnect) with fellow Roadfooders and I'm totally in love with that house Amy's aunt built!!  Dayna and I are so glad we were able to spend time with you and Lori.  I'm so sorry there were many snags in your journey that week but hopefully there will be more fun times ahead...!!
                                              <message edited by billyboy on Sun, 08/11/13 9:58 PM>
                                               
                                                wanderingjew

                                                • Total Posts: 7386
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                                                Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Sun, 08/11/13 7:45 PM (permalink)
                                                Billyboy,
                                                 
                                                I completely forgot that Dayna didn't join us at Sophia's Place... That was such a busy week I had to think twice (or more) about who went where..
                                                BTW, I don't think Ralph joined us at Frontier Restarant
                                                 
                                                  wanderingjew

                                                  • Total Posts: 7386
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                                                  Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Sun, 08/11/13 9:03 PM (permalink)
                                                  Tuesday July 9
                                                   
                                                  Another morning started at Milagros Coffee Y Espresso, this time I didn't get anything to eat....You ask why? That's because it will be another rare occasion that I'm actually eating a full breakfast...
                                                   
                                                  My final stop in Las Cruces will be at 
                                                   

                                                   
                                                  Nellie's Cafe
                                                   
                                                  Which was not open either Sunday or Monday, so I'm glad they were open for breakfast...
                                                   
                                                  I'll admit I have to give kudos to a place that will offer complimentary chips and salsa at breakfast time !
                                                   

                                                   
                                                  And that salsa certainly packed a wallop!
                                                   
                                                  I thought it would be a shame to leave Las Cruces and not have an other opportunity for a chile releno...
                                                   

                                                   
                                                  Therefore I decided to leave no stone unturned and asked for a chile releno appetizer (at breakfast) and I'm so glad I did....Between Las Trancas and Nellie's there is no doubt that both were the best I've ever had... And it didn't stop there....
                                                   

                                                   
                                                  My huevos rancheros, served "Christmas style" like the chile relleno was lip searing hot, but oh-so flavorful........clearly with Nellie's I've had back to back Highlights...My only regret is that I didn't have the opportunity to try Chope's before leaving Las Cruces. 
                                                   
                                                  I left Las Cruces after taking one last late morning walk around Old Town Mesilla. I did stop at The Chocolate Lady for a refreshing horchata, something else I did not have yet on my trip... Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me, so no photos... 

                                                   
                                                  On the way up to Albuquerque... I just had to make this stop before lunch- 
                                                   
                                                   
                                                   
                                                   
                                                  Just to say I've been there...
                                                   
                                                  Speaking of lunch... I'm sure you're all wondering why I haven't had a green chile cheeseburger yet...
                                                   

                                                   
                                                  well...wonder no more...
                                                  Unlike others, I believe that green chile cheeseburgers are just a tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny (do I have enough "tiny's?) small part of New Mexican Roadfood, therefore I thought that one shot in a weeks time is sufficient .... 
                                                  The Buckhorn was quite busy when I got there, so I took the opportunity to grab a seat at the bar...
                                                  Of course you can predict what I ordered...
                                                   

                                                   
                                                  I almost regret asking to take "the other stuff" off my burger... It was a fine burger.... But once again, no bells, whistles, gregorian chants or angels dancing around my head.... 
                                                   

                                                   
                                                  The fresh cut fries were certainly an added bonus..
                                                   
                                                  Like some who say "their first was their best" I think still goes for me...My favorite Green Chile Cheeseburger is still the Owl Cafe in Albuquerque
                                                   
                                                  Arriving in Albuquerque earlier than expected I had some time to stop by my old Apartment in the Northeast Heights neighborhood. When I lived there after college just over a quarter of a century ago, it was called Villa Del Oso...Well it looks like they've done some renovations since I had last visited in 1996. And the place is now called Monterra Apartments...
                                                  As I drove though my old neighborhood, I was surprised to see this place across the street from my old apartment  was still around after many years....
                                                   
                                                  As I headed towards the Sandia Mountains I arrived at
                                                   

                                                   
                                                  The Sandia Peak Tramway...
                                                   
                                                  Billyboy and Dayna arrived shortly thereafter..
                                                   

                                                   
                                                   

                                                  Even the view at base level was captivating..
                                                   
                                                  We headed onto the tram with many other folks. And it was a 15 minute and nearly 4000 foot climb up the mountain...being suspended by tiny tiny wires that had Billyboy holding on to Dayna for dear life..
                                                   

                                                   

                                                   

                                                   
                                                   
                                                  There photos were taken during the ride up...
                                                   
                                                   

                                                   
                                                   

                                                   
                                                   

                                                   

                                                   
                                                  And here we are at the peak over 10,000 feet above sea level..
                                                  We actually observed a thunderstorm a brewing on the east side of the mountain range...Since the wind was starting to pick up... we decided to take the tram back down...
                                                   
                                                  This was the first time in 25 years that I've had the opportunity to visit Sandia Peak.. I'm hoping I don't have to wait another 25 years to do again..
                                                   
                                                  I had the opportunity to check into my hotel before dinner. My hotel, the Doubtree was smack dab in the middle of downtown Albuquerque... 
                                                   
                                                  Buffetbuster and Mariton were slowly making there way back to the Duke City from the Four Corners.. 
                                                  We were trying to decide where to go for dinner....Although Sadie's had been mentioned, Buffetbuster is not a fan... so I had to dig deep into the cobwebs of my mind to search for an alternative....
                                                  One name (actually two) popped into my head but it was...
                                                   

                                                   
                                                  Padilla's Mexican Kitchen
                                                   
                                                  located in non descript shopping plaza just north of the University that I thought of first...
                                                  Billyboy, Dayna, Buffetbuster, Mariton and I all arrived around the same time..
                                                  I couldn't get over how busy Padilla's was for a tuesday night and you can tell it's a real locals place..
                                                   

                                                   
                                                  Not very noticeable on the sign, but you'll see their I love chili" monikor on the menu..
                                                   

                                                   
                                                  We started out with a very good guacamole appetizer that Billyboy ordered for the table... I understand that Billyboy was never a big fan of Guac, however since his visit to New Mexico, he has become a convert..
                                                   

                                                   
                                                  Warm sopapilla's arrived as well for everyone to share...
                                                   

                                                   
                                                  I ordered the blue corn carne adovada enchilda's  "Christmas Style"... not as spicy as I've had in the past but just as flavorful....
                                                   
                                                  We were all curious about dessert. There wasn't much of a selection on the menu but we were wondering what "Natillas" was ....we ordered one for the table to share....
                                                   

                                                   
                                                  The best way to describe it is that it tasted like horchata pudding.... I enjoyed it and would certainly try it again...

                                                  I'm so glad that Padilla's is still going strong after all these years, and it was just as good as I remembered..
                                                   
                                                  At this point we all sad our goodbyes...
                                                   
                                                  I returned to my hotel which was just a short 5 or 10 minute walk from a brewpub which I last visited back in 2008...Chama River Brewing... Since I had an early flight the  next stay. I stopped for just one beer.
                                                  The tasting room located in the historic Sunshine Builidng looks like it could be in someone's basement... The only food item served is microwaveable pork rinds... I left after my one beer, returned to my hotel for a good nights sleep...
                                                   
                                                  Wednesday July 10
                                                   
                                                  Before heading back to airport, I made one last stop...The same place where I was Travelin Manned 3 days earlier.. Michael Thomas Coffee Roasters... I got there shortly after they opened at 6:30 AM...since I was about 10 minutes away from the airport, it allowed for a leasurely stop before my 8:40 flight... I am so glad I stopped here,this was definitely the best coffeehouse of the trip...The dark roast was "Pacific Northwest" perfect and the hunk'a moist banana bread was good too..
                                                  Unfortunately my brief layover in Chicago only allowed for a quick slice of pizza. There were some weather delays and as a result my flight landed back in Rhode Island almost 1/2 an hour late. I was home by 5:30pm..
                                                   
                                                   
                                                  <message edited by wanderingjew on Mon, 08/12/13 9:06 AM>
                                                   
                                                    wanderingjew

                                                    • Total Posts: 7386
                                                    • Joined: 1/18/2001
                                                    • Location: East Greenwich/ Warwick, RI
                                                    • Roadfood Insider
                                                    Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Sun, 08/11/13 10:01 PM (permalink)
                                                    I kept my promise and completed this trip report.. As you are all aware due to apparently a lack of interest by others... this will be my last...
                                                     
                                                    <message edited by wanderingjew on Sun, 08/11/13 10:09 PM>
                                                     
                                                      Texascajun

                                                      • Total Posts: 115
                                                      • Joined: 3/5/2012
                                                      • Location: Lone Star, TX
                                                      Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Sun, 08/11/13 10:46 PM (permalink)
                                                      Great, Great report as always WJ. I really hope you reconsider not doing anymore. I always look forward to your trip reports as I'm sure lots do. I can understand time issues (working 12 and 16 hour days) but you have a gift for writing and photography. Your trip report out west is my all time favorite where I learned what a smokejumper was and learned about basque restaurants. Thank you for this and all the great reports .  
                                                       
                                                        mr chips

                                                        • Total Posts: 4715
                                                        • Joined: 2/19/2003
                                                        • Location: portland, OR
                                                        Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Mon, 08/12/13 12:21 AM (permalink)
                                                        I do hope u reconsider about trip reports. It is always fun to read about your adventures.
                                                         
                                                         
                                                          buffetbuster

                                                          Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Mon, 08/12/13 6:05 AM (permalink)
                                                          Since we were all flying home on the Wednesday, it was wonderful that we could reconnect for one last meal before our trips were finished.  Thanks to WJ for taking my rejection of his Sadie's idea in stride.  I have been there twice, didn't like it at all and had no desire to go back for a third time.  He still came through, as his suggestion of Padilla's was an outstanding choice.  Both Mariton and I loved our plates of carne adovada

                                                          and chile relleno.

                                                          BTW, that was the first time any of us had tried natillas and Dale's describing it as horchata pudding was spot on.  I will be looking for this in future trips.
                                                           
                                                          One of the highlights of this trip for me was meeting Dayna for the first time and getting to spend some time with billyboy,

                                                           since we had only met once before.  What'cha eating there Bill?
                                                           
                                                          When I mentioned that Mariton and I were making one last stop at the Doghouse, the rest of the group said they would be happy to join us.  I have tried to eat here on several occasions in the past, but something always went wrong, like a flight delay or they ended up closing early.  M and I were the first ones to arrive and we were disappointed to see the great neon sign wasn't on, though it was already dusk.  We asked the car hop and she said she would be happy to turn it on.

                                                          That is a great sign!  While flipping through the channels last night, I saw Doghouse on tv during an episode of Breaking Bad.  I ordered the foot long chili dog

                                                          and the chili here turned out to be scorching hot.  Luckily, we (Billyboy was the only one brave enough to try it) had some cool shakes to wash it down with.
                                                          <message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 08/12/13 6:08 AM>
                                                           
                                                            leethebard

                                                            • Total Posts: 6081
                                                            • Joined: 8/16/2007
                                                            • Location: brick, NJ
                                                            Re:Magnificent Memories in the Land of Mañana and................... a Piece of the Panhan Mon, 08/12/13 6:32 AM (permalink)
                                                            This is one hell of a report. Great area of our country for food and scenery!!!
                                                             
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