just back from a fantastic vacation. we visited: the white sands (my vote for 'best dunes' award over mich/ind and oregon), the base missle park, old mesilla, deming, and columbus/palomas, mexico.
we ate a big breakfast at LUCY'S on mesa in el paso and headed to white sands and then up to alamogordo. stopped in a nice health food shop downtown alamogordo for smoothies and picked up some spicy smoked/chile dusted sunflower seeds for the road. for good eats in alamogordo looked like you need to ask--we weren't hungry but nothing stood out.
after the missle base stop we went down to mesilla around 8:00pm and found nothing open so beware late eaters. we drove around las cruces and finally found the nice looking mexican restaurant THREE BROTHERS(?) which was very unremarkable, in fact the only bad meal of our trip. ps-the holiday inn at university/el paseo is a nice place to stay, it has an indoor pool and little shops inside.
DOUBLE EAGLE: in mesilla. had good herradura margs at the bar. the interior is not to be missed, great old bar and paintings. as a tourist i wouldn't eat there or at MESON DE MESILLA either, you dont go to the southwest for continential food.
LA POSTA: in mesilla. looked kitschy, turned out to be great! best margaritas of our trip by far, on the rocks and the mix is correct not sweet. the meal was excellent as well, such great sauces on my enchilada plate, a thick smoky red chile, a spicy green chile and a cooling crema served over rolled enchiladas. my spouse had a fine tamale plate. sopapillas for dessert. afterward, i also had a sipping mescal for a digestif-smoky good. despite my worrisome peeks into the industrial looking kitchen, the food is made with care and pride. a place that really lives up to the hype. wow!
also, get your morning joe at a new indoor/outdoor coffee shop on avenida de mesilla in what looks like a former little gas station. ok coffee, but excellent apricot scone.
deming: nice town. drove around but couldn't find anything but more coffee.
columbus: now this is my idea of an old western town, very desolate and interesting. just got water at the local store on the main drag, passed on some tamales. oh you anted some ice? the old glass doored ice cooler was filled with packages of paper plates/cups-ha! nice looking roadhouse cafe there but we didnt try it.
palomas, mexico: just over the border from columbus. we drove over in the rental car--shhh! and it was of course fine. pretty church. the spring dust was kicking up in the afternoon and to me it was like out of a western movie scene. we found THE PINK STORE which is a large gift shop and also a restaurant. good tamales and cervezas. afterwards, i sat on the street curb brushing the dust off but really enjoyed it.
the drive back to el paso along the border on nm route 9 is beautiful and devoid of people, one car passed us, so not to be missed for vacationing new yorkers. also, it was cool to top 120+ mph on a few stretches, been awhile since i did that! thanks new mexico and mexico we'll be back.