Sunday, 9 June 2013

Day 9 Amarillo to Santa Fe

Burger Reviewed: Casa Chimayó
Restaurant Reviewed: The Big Texan - Silver Moon

The Big Texan

After witnessing the worst thunder storm I'd ever seen in the night, we started the day by going a mile backwards for breakfast at The Big Texan steak house.

The Big Texan has one of the big iconic signs on Route 66 and is still well recognised in America, its now primarily known for there Man Vs Food 72oz Steak challenge.  

You have to have a big stomach and some spare cash to tackle this steak, failure results in you having to pay $72. Once you accept the challenge you're taken to the middle of the restaurant, where you sit under a countdown clock. We saw a young boy taking on the 72oz challenge.

I imagine his folks paid the $72. (You can watch this online if you're ever bored.)

I didn't fancy the challenge and went for a rib-eye that I could eat at my own leisure, and without the risk of spending our hotel money for the night if I'd failed.

It was a long wait for food to come up. Initially we thought it was the more relaxed southern way, but the table next to us who arrived and ordered a good 15mins after us were served at the same time. 

My rib-eye steak was over cooked and had an very unusual dense texture. Around some of the edges, where it had caught less of the heat, the texture and flavour was standard, but nowhere near a melt in your mouth Hawksmore rib-eye. I wouldn't fancy eating 72oz of it that's for sure.

The Mac 'n cheese was creamy, very creamy, but it reminded me of the 'packet stir and serve' mac 'n cheese from when I was a teenager, cooking cheaply.

The mash was a ball of thickly mashed potato covered in country gravy. This was the best part of the otherwise forgetful meal.

Overall Rating 3/10
The Big Texan Steak Ranch on Urbanspoon

Cadillac Ranch

On the side of Route 66 there are 10 Cadillac's wedged upside down in the ground. Why? Why not.

 Route 66 Midpoint

Silver Moon 

Now in New Mexico - The red or green state. That's the question you're asked after any order I was told, is to confirm what chili you want with your meal.

It wasn't long before we pulled in to a restaurant and I had to try their Mexican food. I imagined a poor Mexican dish here to have been better then anything I've tried before...Wrong.

The service was fine and they did ask 'red or green' when I ordered my beef enchilada.

The speed of the meal was rapid, almost microwave fast, the comparisons didn't end there. The beef was horrible, dry and what I imagine Quorn beef to taste of - nothing. There was no flavour to any of the dish,  it was like a bowl of slop.

Overall Rating 1/10

Route 66 splits at Santa Rosa and you can go via Albuquerque or Santa Fe. We had Bobcat Bite in Santa Fe on the list, so we went that way.  

Bobcat Bite

This is heartbreaking...

I had Bobcat Bite's on my American burger list long before I saw them on the " top ten burgers in America" in Carl's Drive In, St.Louis, but seeing there name here got me excited again.

When we were in the Silver Cafe (above) I went to check the distance to Bobcat Bites, so I went on their website....
Hold on....Says here they close today at 5clock, forever.
They're closing today in an hour, forever? 
A place that's been open for 60 years! 
That's been on my list for over a year! 
Closing in an hour. Forever. When I'm 2 hours away.
Off we sped. (At the legal road limit the whole way) 

I had belief in my heart that with it being the last night they'd be open a bit longer...and they were! In we went. People were sitting down, most had closed.

Then a face I'd recognised came out. It was Bonnie Eckre, who was the joint owner with her husband John. Then the killer blow. She said she would love to cook for us, but they've run out of everything.

We spoke briefly, and they had a 3 hour wait at some points over the weekend, so I would have been pushed to get a burger anyway. The good news is that Bonnie and John are reopening a new restaurant in Santa Fe in August. Hopefully one day I'll return to them, but I left happy knowing that they'll be back at least.

After leaving the disappointment of no burger we headed to our hotel for the evening. My disappointment was slightly  subdued, Santa Fe was a complete surprise. It was wonderful, dusk was approaching & it made the scenery even more dramatic.  I'd expected Texas to be quite desert-y but what we saw there was lush in greenery compared to here. 

It being the Mrs birthday, I booked us in to a hotel lol, instead of the standard motel we'd stuck to for most of the trip. We checked in to Las Palomas and a quick shower & change later,  we took a walk into the main square which was basically a movie set.  A green space filled with people just chilling, fairy lights (reliably informed) adorned the trees & the whole place had this feel as if no one had ever rushed anywhere.  Heaven. The buildings seemed more suited to the Mediterranean, and not something we'd expected in America. 

Casa Chimayó

Burger: Chimayo Tortilla Burger
Price: $10
Twitter: @CasaChimayo

After the uproar yesterday in Marina O'Loughlin Guardian piece, when a pork burger was considered a burger, I'm sticking my neck out reviewing a patty wrapped in a tortilla as a burger. But I am. They called it a burger.

The great relaxed town atmosphere continued and we ate outside with a panpipe player playing. It's a family owned and operated restaurant with the recipes from the owner’s mother who grew up in Mexico.

I thought the patty would have been wrapped in the tortilla but this wasn't the case. It was pretty much just sitting near it. The patty had been cooked close to 'medium well' but still managed to keep some of its juices. It has been seasoned well and had a good beefy, fatty flavour. The cheese had a good coverage and was melted well, with the chili underneath giving a heat and earthiness to the patty. 

It's not going to score highly as the tortilla wasn't wrapped around the patty, but the restaurants food was good and quality of service was excellent. The friendly staff had spoken to us throughout the meal and upon finding out it was the Mrs's birthday came out singing happy birthday and with a candle in her dessert.

Overall Rating 5/10

Casa Chimayó on Urbanspoon

Accommodation: Las Palomas - £103.19 which include a cooked breakfast. 


Distance covered today 290m

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