One of the highlights of our cross-county drive was a stop in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It turned out to be the correct choice over stopping in El Paso Texas which desite its size is still a scruffy border town at heart.
We stayed at the Best Western Mission Inn on South Main St. There was lots of parking for our 35 ft. U-Haul truck because the hotel restaurant was closed except for morning free breakfasts. The clerk let us take up two parking spots in front of the lobby so that we would be close to our room. The room was clean and decorated in a cheerful Southwest style. The pool was drained, so call ahead if this is important to you.
The real treat was dinner at the La Posta de Mesilla Mexican restaurant in the nearby historic Old Mesilla Plaza (2410 Calle de San Albino, Mesilla NM 88046). We had mixed hopes about the food. This restaurant is in the heart of the tourist district and advertises heavily in the local tourist mags.
A short cab ride took us to a 100-year old building that reminded us of the best Old Town had to offer under the management of Diane Powers. Every wall was covered in Mexican something-or-other, but it worked. Even though we were there in the middle of the week, late in the afternoon, the place was packed. We had to camp out in the cantina to wait for a table. Not that that was a bad thing. Quick friendly service, just right margaritas and warm chips with fresh salsa. Within minutes were were found by our waitress and taken to our table.
Quite a menu. We selected a combination of the easiest things for a Mexican restaurant to get right, and at the same time get wrong: frijoles refritos, chile relleno, chicken tamale, shredded beef enchilada and Spanish rice. I know, sounds boring, but if a restaurant can’t get these right, almost nothing else matters. We grew up on this stuff in San Diego where the Mexican food is influenced by Baja California. The Mex-Tex and other Mexican-American variations we found in Florida just didn’t cut it.
Well, we gave everything high points. This was the closest to what we came to regard as authentic as we have had in a long time.