The drive along old Route 66 from the Texas Panhandle to the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico is a pageant of natural splendor and unabashed roadside kitsch: garish trading posts juxtaposed with stunning rock mesas, come-hither billboards rising up in turquoise skies, long-abandoned house trailers scattered in measureless fields, and crumbling sections of the old roadbed that lead nowhere but into the past. If such amazements stir one’s appetite, that’s a good thing. While much of this stretch of road offers nothing good to eat, Amarillo, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe are rich with Roadfood that is as diverse as the scenery, from goofy meals to great ones, and from humble food carts to sophisticated southwestern restaurants. Here are 11 Roadfood faves. (And yes, Santa Fe actually was on the original alignment of Route 66.)
A vintage lunch counter serving true New-Mex green chile stew, warm fruit cobblers, and soda fountain specialties, Model Pharmacy is a taste of old Route 66.
The Frontier is great New Mexico quick-eats: huevos rancheros, green chili stew, tacos, & burgers. Cinnamon rolls are legendary. Vegetarian options abound.
Garcia's is a fun, friendly place (7 locations in Albuquerque) that serves some of the best New Mexican food, especially breakfast, available any time.
Pasqual's is Santa Fe's favorite corner eatery, serving bright, modern versions of New Mexico classics. Corned beef hash is some of the best in the West.
Brilliant southwestern flavors fuse with the cuisines of the world in the stylish Santacafe, one of the best Santa Fe restaurants.