Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Taste of Americana: The Route 66 Restaurant, Santa Rosa, NM

You've been driving since dawn, fueled by little more than a bruised apple, a handful of pretzels, and a cup of sugar-laden gas station coffee.  With your eyes on the road ahead, the rest of the world fades until you suddenly become aware of a gnawing hunger that demands to be satisfied.  You scan the roads and rest stops, stuffed with the usual fast food fare. Convenience is king when you're on the road, but some places are worth taking a few minutes to slow down, pull over and enjoy - the Route 66 Restaurant, in Santa Rosa, NM, is one such place.

Always in search of the quaint and the classic, Matt and I uncovered this little gem on our cross-country trip from Oklahoma to Las Vegas. The first thing we noticed about the Route 66 Restaurant was the retro signage and the sea-foam green classic car in the parking lot. The inside was just as picture-perfect, with red vinyl-covered bar stools cozied up to a low bar, and matching booths along walls covered with Route 66 memorabilia.

We grabbed one of the few booths not occupied by regular customers and began to peruse their lengthy menu, which offered everything from standard, diner-style burgers to home-cooked, full-plate Mexican dinners.  I went classic diner fare with a bacon cheeseburger (I did try to order something different, for a change, but my choice - the bacon and egg sandwich - wasn't available for lunch) while Matt ordered beef enchiladas with salsa verde.

The atmosphere was perfect, if a little kitschy, and the food was pretty great, too. My burger had the toasted bun that I've come to expect, and the bacon was extra thick, almost like Canadian bacon. Matt's Mexican entree really stole the show, though, since it was accompanied by some particularly delicious refried beans and a generous serving of seasoned rice. They even provided some nachos and salsa to tide us over while we waited.

I'm glad we took the time to steer ourselves away from the usual fast food and give this local place a try - we took a chance on this kitsch and classic American diner and it paid off in delicious dividends!

p.s. This is the first of several 'on the road' entries that will be trickling in over the next few weeks. We're still traveling, but the main camping portion of the trip is done so I'm hoping to get internet (and time!) to write more soon!

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