I wouldn’t want to take my life’s possessions stuffed into a Uhaul into Mexico. Maybe it’s just me.
There’s one difference, Bill. Mexico is next door whereas Italy is across the ocean. That opens up the option of sampling a little Mexican chow in . . . MEXICO. If you are driving west on I-10 through Tucson (or are willing to take about a 4-hr detour south from Phoenix), that’s quite feasible. If on I-10, just make a little left turn onto I-19 at Tucson and in about an hour you’ll run out of highway in Nogales. Turn right into the parking lot (after paying the man $5) and walk across the border to either La Roca ("the Rock"–actually in a cave in a rock cliff face) or Elvira’s (more traditional, better food). The parking lot guy can give you directions and it’s a short walk.
As to pizza, I couldn’t agree more and I was going to say something similar. Having grown up in the East, I’ve never had a really competitive pizza out west. Some decent ones but nothing like I remember growing up, so I personally wouldn’t go out of my way to get any pizza out west.
I’ll leave you to decide that. It’s just that Phoenix is a big, hot, traffic-choked sprawling city and NO FOOD (really, none) is good enough to make me go through it. But that’s just me. I hate bumper-to-bumper creepy-crawly traffic. I avoid LA too and it’s certainly full of good food.
I think you’re cramming too much, but be that as it may, I see the logjam at BBQ in the Texas hill country. From There, I’d say head NW to hit the culturally rich and tasty area of NM. This should eliminate a 1000 miles of N/S driving, Roswell, etc.
Trust me on Az.part. You could add in Arcosanti if
you insist on invading the valley of the sun.
Re Phoenix: Everything is available there, as it is THE synthesized city, clones assembled into a (w)hole, BUT if you insist,you should not miss Az/Mex at Caroline’s or some such place. Mex in the west is like Italian in the east.
Every locale, Tex, NM, Co.,Az.Ca, has it’s own spin or regional variation on the cuisine.
Your pizza is just another import, no matter how good.
hi frank – ya know bill is pretty much hitting the nail right on the head by saying i dont understand the great expanses of the west since ive never been there! i’m just going by my atlas here…anyway, let me clear things up a little tho so i can help you help me [:)]. i’m still not sure of my route through NM, but i’m 90% sure it will end going through shiprock (from santa fe) then into either AZ and/or CO briefly (what do you think would be the best route for monument valley via 262 to 163?). from there ill go to kayenta, tuba city, flagstaff, sedona and from then on i have yet to figure out the rest of my route, but i do plan on taking the 10 onto CA (pappy & harriet’s here i come!). i figure ill bypass the grand canyon since ill be living in socal, and could save that for another road trip. also regarding the pizza place in phoenix, ill already have been eating a ton of mexican, and again ill be living in LA, so itd be nice to compare and contrast since i’m from NY and Ed Levine had rated it the top pizza in the nation. anyway, sorry about all the confusion (i’m just a TAD overwhelmed, but in a good way), but i thank you all again for your help, cuz i sure do need it. ciao
Hey, stop insulting my former home! Only we who lived there get to do that.
If it turns out that you do end up in eastern New Mexico, the one can’t-miss is the Foxy drive-in in Clovis (720 W. 7th, 505-763-7995). This was my college hangout, and home to the best tater tots in the world. I’m also fond of the chili dog, which has a rather whimsical presentation: the hot dogs are quartered lengthwise, fried until curly, and then placed on a hamburger bun and covered with a chili that’s cooked solid enough to hold its shape when it’s scooped onto the bun. It’s basically a hot dog on top of what’s known in some parts of the south as a "chili bun." Bonus: it’s directly across the street from the legendary Norman Petty Studios, where Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and many others recorded.
Pat’s Twin Cronnie in Portales (100 N. Chicago, 505-356-5841) has the best iteration I’ve ever had of a regional specialty, the peanut butter shake. (Portales, where I went to college, is primarily a peanut-farming community, and the legume looms large round these parts.) My personal favorite is the chocolate peanut butter shake, which basically tastes like a frozen Reese’s.
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend traveling all the way out to the Clovis/Portales area just to sample these places, but if you find yourself there, at least you’ll have someplace to eat.
Frank, I’M GUESSIN’ HERE, but I’m going to assume U76 doesn’t really comprehend the vast blank spaces of the west, many filled with neither spectacular(or any) scenery nor food, or people, for that matter.
unocal76: ……….. lets see your starting from NY and then down to NO and I-10 and El Paso and back up to I-40 and Albq. and Santa Fe and then your back down to I-10 and bypassing places like the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Scottsdale. My friend you are all over the map and I’m beginning to think you’re pulling our leg. …… This is your dream vacation? sounds more like a nightmare to me ……. hahahaha you’ll skip the Grand Canyon but drive 800 miles for a pizza whereas you just came from the land of great pizza.. Yep your just having a little fun with us are you not.?
Perhaps you should just rent the movie "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre " you could be Humphrey Bogart stay in NY, smoke another joint eat a great NY pizza and dream about your next adventure where you driving down to Rio de Janeiro for a corned beef and pastrami sandwich………….. regardless have a nice trip, Bye!
I was with you until El Paso. My scenery to food meter would want to get to the mountains rather than be there(personal experience), but I’m puzzled as to why you want to drive 3000 miles to eat Pizza in Phoenix, a mexican food signature city. You’ll encounter pretty good to spectacular mex food pretty much from the moment you cross into Tx. all the way to your new digs. No I wouldn’t go to Phoenix just for Pizza. I lived there 4 years and it seemed like 20. Traffic’s terrrible, no scenery, just not worth it. It’s like Riverside, only at lot further from the Ocean. You’d love the Sedona to Prescott to Jerome route coming from the north, I guarantee. Az. from I 40 to the Mogollion Rim is spectacular, then dropping down into the low desert. Great fun.
Missing Phoenix is not only recommended, but easy. There are several ways. My own is to get off I-10 onto I-8 at Casa Grande, then take AZ 85 at Gila Bend up to Buckeye where you hit I-10 again to continue west.
so you think i should skip pizzeria bianco in phoenix, as was one of my intentions in stopping there (that and hitting the airplane graveyard)??
dkp – thanks for all the great info…and dont you worry i just know NM is beautiful, one of the states im looking forward to most. to answer your first question, i am going so far south cuz those are the places that really fuel my engine…let’s see that far south there’s new orleans (one of the few places ive already been to), cajun country (!), austin, texas hill country (boasting the top 3 bbq joints in the state), san antonio, el paso, and on and on. this is my dream trip, and now it’ll finally transpire. i feel like a kid in a candy store [:D]
I don’t think anybody has put down the beauty of New Mexico. The problem is you don’t see much of that beauty from the interstates. You have to go north from I-40 to see the best parts of New Mexico.
P.S. Just noticed you are going the other way. No problem, just read my last post backward. And yes, Arizona is beautiful, but don’t beleive these guys that tell you New Mexico ain’t!!!
Well, as an old New Mexico resident (over 30 years) here is my recommendation. Since you are coming from New York, why go so far south? If you come through St. Louis, you have two options. Stay on I-70 to Denver, then I-25 south to Albuquerque. Once you get your first view of the Rockies just east of Denver, the rest of the trip in to Albuquerque is beautiful country. Lots of mountains, pines, some desert, high mesas, and the bluest skies you will ever see. Yes, I would recommend either Bobcat Bite for lunch, or Tecolote’s for breakfast (they close about 2). Also in Santa Fe, in the DeVargas Mall on the north side, try Diego’s. Great New Mexican.
Albuquerque has a lot to see, in spite of what you might hear. Of course, you need to go to the Frontier on Central for their cinnamon rolls. And, check out the Sandia Peak Tram; longest and highest in the country.
Your other option out of St. Louis, and this might be fun is I-44 through Missouri to Oklahome City. Check out http://www.motherroad.com for information about old Route 66. You can travel considerable portions of it all the way through these two states plus New Mexico, Arizona and California. Another source is highway66 magazine.com.
Have a great trip.
I’d focus on the western part of NM; the east is the Plains, which is frankly rather, well, plain. I’d suggest heading out around Abiqui, the "Georgia O’Keeffe" country for terrific landscapes, good eats at the Abiqui Inn Cafe, funky eats at Bode’s General Store.
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