Wednesday, March 07, 2007

New Mexico Reviewed..

We left New Mexico a little over a week ago. I was going to write a long review on the weather, the coursing, the eats, the touristy stuff and I realized I pretty much was doing that as we went along. Except for the eats, (and a couple other odds and ends). So briefly:

The Campos was apparently the place for us, this year, which is surprising, because we missed it completely last year. We more than made up for it this year, visiting at least 5 times. Might have been 6. The owner, Mr. Campo, is a former chef at the Double Eagle in Old Mesilla, near Las Cruces. He was delivering something to Deming several years ago, liked it, and started his own place. The menu is a fantastic fusion of New Mexican/Southwest/Cajun/Italian... If you can impress JoAnn Van Arsdale (with the Ceviche Zacatecas in this case), you're doing well. Very well, indeed. My favorites ended up being the Skilletini- a sizzling iron utensil filled with pasta, Italian and Cajun sausages, ham, and other tasty, heavily seasoned goodies, and the San Franciscan- one of the best "California" sandwiches I've ever tasted... smoked turkey, cheeses, tomato, green chiles and avocado with a spicy sauce, on very thick and chewy sourdough bread.

When going to The Campos it's best to ignore the ambience. There isn't any, other than the giant gourd on the north wall that's painted to look like a penguin. But we don't go there to be impressed by their interior decorator. The exterior, on the other hand is this masterpiece, which the painter (who's name I didn't get), was working on the whole time we were in Deming. The Campos doesn't have a website.. in fact, none of the places in town do, but you can find some great comments on all of them at

In no particular order, we also went to our old standby, Palma's Italian Grill, a couple of times. Absolutely the best bread dipping sauce around... with excellent fresh bread. The Lasagna was still good, and the Tuscan Salmon was as good as we remembered it.. and still a steal at $9.95. And on Saturdays, the owner/chef still strolls around the dining tables with his wireless microphone, karaokeing Sinatra. You don't find that in the "big city".

El Mirador, is one of the many Mexican restaurants in town, and one that we hadn't visited before, but there always seemed to be lots of vehicles there during their two meals, breakfast and lunch. We had one of each, and they were real good- especially the huevos ranchero. Can't give a review on the menudo, but it looked good as it went by to the table behind us. The restaurant, (or one of the four that the same family owns in Deming), was featured in a 2002 issue of Bon Apetite, but I couldn't find anything online.

A name that always popped up in the polls on who has the best green chile cheeseburger, was the local (or regional?) fast food chain, Blake's Lottaburger, and since, coursing our dogs aside, green chiles are a big reason we keep going back to New Mexico, we thought we'd better give it a try. And it was damned good for fast food!

The night before the Pack Hunt, we met a couple of other hound folk, and Dutch and his family, at the Holiday Inn, so we finally were forced to eat at the Prime Rib Grill. I forget what I ate. It was a Holiday Inn, after all.

And on a memorable Saturday night, we drove to Silver City to meet with Dutch, Cherie, and Buddy, and Susan Trow (visiting from Canada), and we drove to even further altitudes to the Buckhorn Saloon & Opera House, in Pinos Altos. Entering into the saloon portion, built in the 1860's, we were warmed by a huge potbelly stove. We went to our linened and silvered table and enjoyed some of the best steaks anywhere- we had he special, New York Strip, smothered in melted cheese and, what else?, green chiles. It was all the more tasty, as it turned out, Susan wanted to buy! We relented. You never have to twist my arm much.

Our last week was in Roswell, and I can't tell much about the local cuisine; we ate at Chili's one night because we had gotten some gift cards for Christmas, and the Golden Corral on another night because, well... we just think the GC is a cut above most other steak buffet places. You ought to try it sometime.. especially for the dessert bar! I almost forgot- we did eat at a small chain steakhouse, The Cattle Baron, following the Saturday hunt. A memorable salad bar, and for some reason, I chose to have blackened Halibut- at a steak place. Was good, though. We also met for the draw on Saturday and Sunday at a former Denny's, now christened, The Cover Up Cafe. Very good breakfasts and free coffee with a meal.

That pretty much covers the food end.. we also enjoyed the "Dine In" nights at the Escapees RV part- every Thursday evening, volunteers put together some good home cookin', with salads, desserts, and drinks for a ridiculously low price. They also have ice cream socials every Sunday, and breakfasts on Saturdays if we could get up in time.

Deming also got us our cheapest oil change ever for the RV. $30 at Tinley Tee Tire Co. Also, helpful repair services can be had if your RV or big rig breaks down in the area at E&M Truck Service in Deming, and REMCO towing and Service in Roswell.

Speaking of Roswell, I also met another "living legend" of the New Mexico houndmen : David Hise. "I got rabbit dawgs, coyote dawgs, bear dawgs, hawg dawgs... I hunt everything. You wanna go chase some rabbits?" So we did, and I ended up breaking Rally good. But like another well known convert earlier, David began to trust the GPS when he was judging the hunt. I got made the huntmaster for the two final runs- promised a hare in 30 yards- and was wrong. It was 40.

We stopped, finally, at another Escapees park, in Lakewood, NM- there's a post office, and not much else, but it looks like you can walk out of the park and chase jacks. Something to remember for next year. The next morning, we cruised into Texas. And that's enough writing for now.

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