April, Foodspotting's Head of Community, went on Southwestern Hoilday Road Trip a this year during her December vacation and got help from you on places she should eat. Here are some of her food highlights.
One could argue that it’s harder finding food on a road trip than if you were staying in one place over a vacation. For one thing, you never know where you’ll be when you get hungry. Thanks to Google Maps, you can try to predict lunch and snack time, but there’s a good chance you’ll get hungry in the middle of nowhere. Knowing that we were departing with a very helpful guide and Foodspotting, I was confident we’d have some incredible meals. And the Southwestern road trip did not disappoint. The trip was mostly Mexican or Tex-Mex with bright breaks of outstanding not-Mexican.
Where we went: Palm Springs, Tucson, Marfa, Austin then Van Horn, Truth or Consequences, Sedona, Palm Springs, San Francisco, with many stops in between!
Here are the highlights...
The first stop was an out-of-the-way BBQ join in Salinas City. The rib sandwich? Meaty, saucy—worth it. The brisket was great too.
People love Cheeky’s bacon flight and rightfully so, but for me it was the side order of crispy waffles with salted butter that made this an extra-special breakfast. It was like a fancy Ego waffle. The rotating menu of brunch classics make Cheeky’s a place you should visit if you’re in the neighborhood.
While it’s true that the colorful assortment of dishes at Cafe Poca Cosa weren’t a new discovery for this trip, it was food so memorable that we sped towards it. The menu changes nightly, but one constant is the Chef’s Choice—a plate with three dishes from that night’s menu, selected by the chef.
Deming, New Mexico is a small-ish town near another very small town, Hatch—home of the world famous Hatch chile. The restaurant shares a room with a meat deli, so we weren’t sure what would be placed before us. We got excellent beans (with hot dog!), along with an fabulous representation of Tex-Mex: green enchiladas, chile colorado, and chile rellenos.
5. Pizza Foundation (Marfa, TX)
Remote west Texas might not sound like someplace you can get a good slice, but then again Marfa, TX isn’t typical. This little artist town has a ton of personality and also some very delicious food. We enjoyed a chill evening of pizza with the locals at the Pizza Foundation.
Although we were in Austin for a handful of days, regrettably we only had breakfast tacos one morning. El Primo Taco Truck is one man in one truck, busily cooking, taking orders, and serving up tortas, and the best darn breakfast tacos that we’ve had the pleasure of trying in Austin. Get the chorizo? As if there’s a question. (Yes, get it.)
It’s always a good sign to be asked “Your first time here?” when you’re walking towards a restaurant entrance only to be told “Well then, you’re in for a treat.” when you answer in the affirmative. This tiny restaurant starts thing off with a welcome soup once you sit down. Good mole, great green sauce too.
BellaLuca was a great break from Mexican although they managed to make a beautiful dish fettuccini featuring the speciality ingredient of the area, the Hatch chile. We also enjoyed their wedge salad, which was a welcome insertion of green into an otherwise beige, brown, and red diet. We only wish there was room left for dessert! The perfect after dinner apéritif instead was a soak in a local hot spring tub.
The next great piece of morning history from this road trip was the highway-friendly breakfast burrito. The restaurant was a small slice of local personality, with residents discussing news and reading the paper.
What does one order in Pie Town, New Mexico? Pie, of course! Our slices did not disappoint but if we had to pick a favorite, it’d be the Chocolate and Chile, Pinenut Pie. And the green chile stew was the perfect complement to the high-altitude chill in the air.
While finding someplace to get our morning meal proved to be a challenge, our final pick did not disappoint. It was a little unwieldy in the car but the breakfast pita had a unique flavor thanks to feta, bell peppers, and an olive tapenade sauce.
Cheeky’s owner has a few other restaurants in Palm Springs and for our return trip we visited the newest, Jiao. The Asian street food menu was a delight at this point in the trip, especially that fresh Mizuna Salad. We also chewed and sniffed our way through most of the shishito peppers.
Where to begin with this final entry in our road trip food experiences? Their Horchata had ground peanuts on top along with a cherry and was unlike any we’ve had previously. The tortillas and pupusas were homemade so while we had to wait, it was worth it 100%. Our only disappointment? That the next time we want more of their incredible pupusas, we have to get down to Santa Barbara again. Did someone say road trip pt. 2?
So what do you think? Anything you want to try? Biggies we missed? Thank you for your suggestions, Foodspotters! Next time you hit the road, don’t forget to pack Foodspotting and you won’t go hungry.