I just got back from an outing on the southern plains, mainly in west Texas, but also through northeastern New Mexico, southern Colorado and the Oklahoma panhandle. I don't expect great food on the plains, but I avoid the national chains. Dairy Queen, McDonald's, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut are ubiquitous. Here's a report on some restaurants I tried. Some have already received comment in this forum. I wish that chowhound.com had a forum devoted to the plains.
Santa Anna, TX. Dub's Bar-B-Q. A BBQ/burger joint in a small town on U.S. 84 southeast of Coleman. The chopped beef sandwich I had was ok. I took it to go because the place was dark and dominated by a huge TV tuned to some sit-com. I hate to sit in a restaurant and watch TV.
Abilene, TX. John Allen's Steakhouse. On S. Treadaway. Harold's was closed, so I gave this place a try. I ordered some brisket that was lightly smoked, not particularly tender. I was not impressed. They served a vinegary cold mashed potato side dish that I thought was tasty. The steaks carried by me looked pretty good. I'd probably return to try one. I enjoyed the restaurant. If you're passing through town on I-20 and ready for dinner it's worth a shot. If you're not a Texan you'll feel like you've been to Texas.
Lubbock, TX. Josie's. On University just north of Texas Tech. I tried this place for breakfast because of a chowhound comment. I liked the restaurant better than I liked the food. The Josie's Special breakfast burrito was good. I didn't like the chorizo in the other one I ordered.
Canyon, TX. Fat Boy's. On the north side of town just across the street from West Texas A&M. I was looking for a little lunch. Pepito's Mexican restaurant was packed. I looked at the menu and took a pass. Standard stuff. I settled on Fat Boy's - another BBQ/burger place. Decent chopped beef sandwich.
Rocky Ford, CO. Taqueria Mexico. On the east side of town on U.S. 50. I had spent half an hour looking for breakfast in Pueblo, CO, with no luck. The only possibility, which I didn't try for a reason I can't really explain, was an old downtown diner (City Diner?). An hour later in Rocky Ford there was a happy ending to my breakfast quest. I had a potato, egg, chorizo and pepper burrito smothered in some kind of spicy gravy. Rice and beans on the side. Very good.
Kenton, OK. The Merc. Old-fashioned general store in a tiny town near Black Mesa. I didn't eat there, but talked for a while with the friendly owner Allan Griggs. He has a kitchen and will make you a hamburger or serve up some ice cream. An enjoyable stop in beautiful country.
Dumas, TX. Taqueria Los Mismos Tacos. On U.S. 287 on the north side of town. I stopped because it looked from the outside like a possible gem, that is, a little worn around the edges. A Mama y Papa place. They were in the dining room alone watching TV when I walked in. The TV determined that my order would be to go. The chorizo taco and the asado taco that I took with me were both very good. Beware the traffic cops in Dumas.
Amarillo, TX. Taqueria La Miguel. East Amarillo Street. I wasn't tired of tacos yet - I am now. Tacos Garcia had received a positive mention, but it was closed. So I found this place nearby. Very good chips and salsa. Pretty good asado and picadillo tacos. If I lived in Amarillo I'd go there once in a while. I ran across Taco Garcia's new location on Ross St. the next morning. Not open for breakfast.
Spur, TX. The Dixie Dog. On Texas Hwy 70. You can't miss it in Spur. A nice place to sit down for lunch. Burgers, hot dogs, patty melts, chicken fried steak. Good fries. Worth a stop.
It's apparent that I didn't exactly eat well as in "balanced and healthy" at these places. Rocky Ford, CO gets the prize for the best restaurant meal on this trip.