Friday, September 04, 2009

Backroad Pizza - Day 1 - Labor Day Trip to Tif's

Earlier this week I was watching Diners, Drive-In's and Dives and they covered Backroad Pizza in Santa Fe, NM. Since I knew I was coming down to Tif's this weekend, I decided to see if I could make it to Santa Fe (since I was leaving in the afternoon) and try it out. An adventure!

Trip south was pretty good, until I came up over the pass. Its always exciting to see what Northern NM has to offer. Sometimes the mountains stop the weather and you top the pass and its all clear blue skies. No such luck! I could see big storms in the south. The kind where you can see the rain falling to the ground in big black strips! But there was blue spots too and the road is all curvy, so you never know. I'd be heading for the storm, then head towards the blue, then back again. This kept up for about 30 or 40 minutes - and then I could see lightning and it was pretty obvious, by the cars heading towards me with their wipers going; that I was going to hit it. So when the first few drops hit; I pulled over and put my gear on...

OK... had to give those folks that know me a minute to recover. Yes - even though it wasn't *pouring* yet; I actually pulled over and suited up. Everything... helmet, pants and the jacket! Good thing too because in another mile or so it started raining. Not hard. Not the kind that makes you want to pull over and hide; but the kind that makes you glad you have a helmet on (so you can see) and a suit (so you are dry). The drops weren't too hard, and then the rain started hitting a little harder... That was when I noticed it was actually striking the ground and bouncing - and that it was little white balls. Yup - it was hailing. But not the golf-ball size stuff, more like peas. Not too bad really. Just enough to make you know you are alive! This lasted for 30 or 40 minutes... probably Springer down to north of Las Vegas. And from there it was clear all the way into Santa Fe.

As I got close to Santa Fe I toyed with the idea of heading into Albq.... but given I really wanted to try this place out, I decided better to stop while it was light out and I could actually rest up and stuff, rather than just pushing on.

So - I looked the place up online (yes laptops come in handy on the road) and it was about 10 minutes from my hotel. Woo hoo! I went there and it was pretty busy. I was standing in line with this family (grandparents, parents, little kids) and the dad says "I saw this place on food network so we decided to try it out!" and I said, "Me too!" and we talked a bit about Harleys and stuff. Then I ordered (walk up, not at your table) and went to sit outside and wait for them to bring me my food. I had my gear on and figured it would be warmer outside. Well... there was no place to sit. All 8 tables or so were full! I'm standing there looking around and this woman sitting at a table for four with her husband said, "Good luck!" and I said, "Yeah, looks like they are all full." The man then said, "You can sit with us if you want." And so I did!

Yes... more waiting for Kristi to recover from falling off her chair! ;)

So I sat with them and I asked them if they had ever eaten here before. "No, we say it this week on the food network!" Wow! :) The wait was probably 30 minutes or so at least; just because the place was so busy. So we just sat there are drank beer and talked. Their food came about 15 minutes before mine. They said the meatballs were very good - worth coming back for! I had a small pizza with homemade sausage (which has green chilies in it) and black olives. Plus a dinner salad and a Nut Brown Ale. It was all very good. And while the small was only 12 inches, and I hadn't eaten much since breakfast (other than some dill pickle sunflower seeds while I was driving down the road), it was hanging off the plate and so I brought 3 slices back to the hotel for breakfast! :) So - all in all I would definitely recommend this place. And because we had so much time to talk, they told me about 3 other good places:
  • Horseman's Haven Cafe - little dive cafe with good breakfast in Santa Fe (just down the road from my hotel) if you like hot green chili. I'll probably pass since I'll be having pizza for breakfast!
  • Buckhorn Tavern, San Antonio, NM - another little dive, with probably the best green chili burgers around - and they have good homemade fries too. Not on my trip on the way down to Tif's (since I'm taking 40), but definitely on the way on the trip back. And being south of Socorro... I might hold out and go there for lunch!
  • Gabriel's - north of Santa Fe. Great Fajitas and they make the guac at the table.

So... I'm all set for Road Food in this area! Woo hoo!

And since Kristi gave me homework when I'm out on the road... info to prove I actually *talked* to these people and not just about food!
  • Leroy and Melanie
  • He is from this area (grew up here his entire life) and she is from South Africa
  • They are going to their family cabin for the week
  • He worked at Pizza Hut when he was in college
  • He is a liquor salesman
  • They go skiing at Wolk Creek and stay in Pagosa Springs
  • They want to do a cruise to Alaska (not a motorcycle trip!)

There - I'm such the extrovert! ;)