I made Don take a little detour on our western road trip. We didn't exactly have a dining adventure in Los Alamos, but we picked up some lunch there.
Why Los Alamos?
In a town that now has a population of over 17,000, you'd think we could have come up with something better. But it was drizzling and there was some frustrating traffic and we were hungry. So we trusted the good reviews for this hole in the wall joint and headed over for carryouts.
Well, sort of. But there were a lot of regulars rushing in and out. Some looked like office workers carrying lunch for a crowd. That's usually a good sign.
Through Screen Doors
I like a place with screen doors. The green one lead into the tiny ordering place. The other door opened to a small, crowded patio.
Placing My Order... Quickly
I was very brave and snapped a quick picture, which does not capture the bustling activity in the crowded kitchen. Oh well.
Don and I headed out of town and found a lovely spot in a State Park, with a self- pay fee-box, to pay for our park usage.
Burrito #2 in a Cave
That evening we arrived at our Kokopelli Cave Hotel and toted our burrito in a paper bag and a couple backpacks down the rocky pathway to our cave house entrance.
We stopped earlier and bought some salad fixings and wine and thought we'd heat up that second burrito for a taste treat. After each taking a bite we had the same reaction. "It tastes metallic!" We were convinced the burrito was atomic and put it in the trash.
Don was working in a chemical lab in St. Louis when we were first married. He and a few co-workers had some fun with a White Castle burger one day. Don came home and laughed about how they put the burger in a container and purged it with a little nitrogen to make it airtight. Their experiment was to see if any "self-respecting mold" would grow on the ultimate junk food.
So hopefully no ex-lab worker got a job at The Chili Works! Science geeks can have a very funny sense of humor.
Route 66 in New Mexico
Earlier this month Don and I spent one night in Tucumcari on the old Mother Road. There were so many neon signs and intriguing options, it was hard to decide where to dine.
This place with the stucco sombrero seemed like a fine choice, until I walked inside. Only one man was dining and the waitress, who was also running a flower shop seemed overwhelmed. We moved on.Lounge at the
Pow Wow Inn
Our host at the Blue Swallow Motor Court recommended this restaurant & bar at a nearby 1960's motor inn. Only on Route 66 will you find a blend of "Native American themed" motel with a "lizard themed" cocktail lounge!
The Lizard Lounge
We decided to sit right down at Yogi's bar and enjoy some of the locals, since we were already talking. Don had a local draft and I had the "Blue Swallow" margarita, named for the iconic motel, where we were staying. I'm not sure why it looked green. The Lizard Effect?
We enjoyed some of the ambience around us. There was a whole wall of history nearby.
And a peek into the restaurant revealed some pretty curious painted walls near the booths. The artwork made it look like people were sitting in the empty booths. Wish I'd taken a photo.
Chatting With New Friends
Rudy wasn't old enough to actually remember, but knew the history since he now lives next to the replacement tank. Rudy said the tank exploded in '51, flooded the town and caused one death. He looked at the picture wall with me and pointed to happier memories. "I used to work at El Rancho Bar!" He had fun pointing out the long gone buildings he remembered fondly.
Uncle Pat's Memories
"Uncle Pat" pointed to the photo of "Sands-Dorsey Drugs" in 1956.
"I was just trying to hold the elevator! Those doors close too fast!"
One More Friend
Don and I were honestly touched by the sincere pride these folks revealed when talking about their small town. They wanted us to be sure to visit the museum before we left town. "And don't forget to drive by the old theatre." And before leaving the lounge, they made sure I had a visit with the mechanical lizard, that came to life with the push of a hidden button!
We had a lot of fun over 1 drink, but figured we should move on to experience one more Route 66 joint.
It was dark and the neon was all aglow when we arrived at Del's down the street.
The place has been around since before I was born, but the inside updates made it less iconic. We were tired of chitchat and ready to eat. I got a salad bar and chili. Don got the raspberry chicken with mashed potatoes. All tasty enough, but we were no longer needing a dining adventure. Eat and run... back to the Blue Swallow for a good night's rest... with "100% Refrigerated Air!"
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.