Sunday, June 15, 2014

Cadillac Ranch and Midpoint Route 66, TX; Blue Swallow Motel, Route 66 Auto Museum and Albuquerque, NM

After seeing Billy Connolly's series on Route 66, I was pleased that we stopped at the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas.  The Cadillac Ranch is a series of 10 Cadillacs buried hood down into the ground in a vast flat open field, which visitors spray paint endlessly.  We were given spray paint and rubber gloves to do the job, but I learned that I am pretty useless with a spray can - the paint just sprayed into the wind.

To get an idea of the setting of the Cadillac Ranch, here is a photo of me standing in the field where it is located - what struck me was the vast nothingness, the likes of which I had never seen before:

After our tour group discovered their inner vandal, we drove on to the midpoint of Route 66 in Adrian, Texas:

At the Midpoint Café, we were served "Ugly" Pie and coffee for the bargain price of $5.  Here was their menu for the day: 

I had the chocolate cream pie - and words cannot describe how heavenly this pie was.  It was my favourite food of the whole tour, and worth every calorie:

The pastry was buttery and crisp, the chocolate filling was smooth but not too sweet, and the cream on top added a fluffy dimension to this delicious pie.  I now hanker after this pie, knowing that there is no way to get it.  I will have to experiment with chocolate cream pie recipes to see if I can come up with something close.  I am still swooning about this pie, as you can tell.

After stopping for pie and souvenirs, we crossed yet another state border, this time into New Mexico:

We stopped off for a photo opportunity at the famous Blue Swallow Motel at Tucumcari:

Further down the highway, we stopped to photograph this art work dedicated to Route 66, which resembles a car tail fin:

Lunch opportunities were pretty few and far between, so we stopped at a truck stop in Santa Rosa.  I opted for a tuna salad sandwich:

and a cereal bar:

The sandwich was not bad at all, and the cereal bar was very similar to one we can buy in Oz.  I also picked up a Moon Pie, because I was curious as to how it tasted:

The Moon Pie looked very similar on the packet to the Aussie Wagon Wheel, comprising marshmallow sandwiched between biscuits, then coated in chocolate:

They are made in Chatanooga, Tennessee.  I found this confection rather dry, with a low marshmallow to biscuit ratio, and the chocolate tasted compounded and not very chocolatey.  Still, love the name of the Moon Pie and love the concept.

After lunch, we went to the Santa Rosa Route 66 Auto Museum, one of the many Route 66 Museums we visited:

As expected, it featured automobiles (many of which were for sale) and auto memorabilia:

After our tour group had had its fill of automobiles, we trundled on into Albuquerque around 4pm.  Across the road from this lovely pergola in the Old Town Plaza:

Tim and I sampled gelati from a shop on South Plaza (whose name escaped me):

It was just the ticket to cool us down after a long, hot day on the road.  My gelato was cherry flavoured, I think.

In the evening, Tim and I went to Hacienda Del Rio Cantina for dinner:

Southwestern food is Mexican in style, and is absolutely delicious.  After a drought of good food for a few days, we were in heaven.  The state question in New Mexico is "red or green?"  This refers to the type of chilli you would like with your food.  If you are a bit of a chicken like me, the answer is "the mild one please".  However, you can hedge your bets by answering "Christmas!" This doesn't indicate a fevered response, but rather, that you would like both red and green chilli.

Our very friendly waiter brought us a basket of corn chips and salsa to start:

I couldn't pass up a margarita at $6 (so cheap!):

and Tim ordered a local beer: 

With our meals, we were presented with a basket of fluffy, pillow like bread rolls called sopapilla:
For main, I ordered the pork tamales (~$12), which came with black beans and rice on the side:

Tamales are made of corn flour and are steamed in a corn husk wrapper.  They were delicious!  I had never tried tamales before, but I would definitely have them again.
Tim went to town and ordered the Hacienda Combination Plate ($14), featuring a beef taco, a cheese enchilada, a chilli relleno (a stuffed, roasted pepper filled with cheese and fried in a thin batter) and a tamale:

This was good value and a great way to try a bit of everything - if you could eat it all!  I was stumped by my tamales, so I was glad I didn't order this feast.  However, I think it would be a great sharing plate.

The man at the table next to us struck up a conversation on hearing our Australia accents, and was very nice.  he was treating his young daughter to dinner there, and he told us that he used to work there.

I loved the food and hospitality at Hacienda Del Rio Cantina - a must visit if I get back to Albuquerque.

I-40 exit 60
Amarillo, TX
United States
Drive south to the frontage road (old Route 66), then turn left. Drive east one mile. Cadillac Ranch is on the right (south) side.

305 West Historic Route 66
Adrian, TX 79001
United States
Ph; +1 896 538 6379
815 E Route 66
Tucumcari NM
United States
Ph: +1 575 461 9849
2866 Historic Route 66
Santa Rosa, NM 88435
United States
Ph: +1 575 472 1966
302 San Felipe NW
Albuquerque, NM   87104
United States
Ph: +1 505 243-3131  


Mae Travels said...

Sounds as if your trip finally picked up quite a bit. We love stopping in Albuquerque on drives west, and have had good luck with food not far from the central plaza, as well as finding beautiful Indian pottery in one of the stores. Too bad they didn't find a better truck stop -- prepackaged sandwiches aren't the best America has to offer. Not even the best road food!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I loved Albuquerque! And so glad to hear that you got some decent food after the days before. That pie looks divine!

The Caked Crusader said...

Yum - love the look of those pillowy rolls. I love a good roll!

Kathy said...

Sounds as if you had a wonderful time! I’ve never been on Rt. 66…too bad there are not more food stops.

Kayte said...

Wow...a lot in this post! I giggled at the thought of you, foodie that you are, dining on a tuna sandwich and a moon pie! LOL. It's a good thing you got to try something more tasty while you were there...I have a weakness for tamales as well. Just something about them. I never knew that about the red/green/Christmas thing before...interesting and now I am educated in that regard. Looks like you enjoyed quite a lot of different things to see while you were on that leg of the trip.