Last week a friend who, like myself, has been obsessed with food for most of his 50+ years insisted that I try a couple of neighborhood bars (ok, one was a biker bar) in El Paso. L and J is literally across the street from a cemetary and is an El Paso tradition dating back to the late '20's. Kiki's is another city landmark, more recently from the late '70's. Both are well known and have been featured in Savuer, Texas Monthly, numerous national television shows and magazines. Both are considered in several publications as among the ten best in the state.
They are both dumps. Nondescript neighborhood joints that you would drive past if you didn't know their reputation. Perhaps even have second thoughts about parking your car and leaving it. I can't imagine a tourist (yes, a tourist in El Paso!) would even know about them and if they did they certainly wouldn't stop! But both are well known landmarks in the area. From Chili Colorado to Caldo de Res to Machaca to Green Chili Crabmeat Enchiladas these are both remarkable finds and among the best in the entire state.
I've been eating my way across Texas for almost thirty years and both represent two of the best "finds" that I have stumbled across anywhere. Well worth going out of one's way to have dinner at. I must note that L and J stops serving at 8:00pm although the pool table is open later.