Some Like It Hot

The Lone Star State, Texas, is known for its size and its spicy food and we were excited to experience both of these for ourselves. Texas is a massive state and I was overwhelmed by how long it took to get to the western edge of Texas. I did enjoy the drive since there are no interstate troopers to monitor my speed and I liked seeing the ranches, mountains, and fields upon fields of tumbleweed. I didn't enjoy the food as much - I was so looking forward to trying authentic Tex-Mex and spicy salsas.

After spending a fun night in Frisco, outside Dallas, with recently relocated Chicago friends, we headed west on Interstate 20. Six hours later, a roadside sign welcomed us to Midland, Texas, former home to George W. and Laura Bush. The friendly representatives at the Welcome Center suggested we head to La Mision for spicy Tex-Mex. We eagerly ordered tacos and enchiladas, which ended up being a cheesy and greasy disappointment. I thought I might be able to improve the flavor with spicy hot sauce, but was told that the mild salsa on the table was their only hot sauce. I pushed my plate away and sipped my margarita (I deserved it - I drove over 4 hours that day!), plotting to try for a spicy meal again at dinner.

After another stretch of I-20, we arrived in Van Horn, which is about two hours east of El Paso and an hour and a half south of New Mexico. Very hungry, we drove through the small little town and settled on Chuy's, where John Madden stops every year. Nate ordered the John Madden special -diced grilled chicken, peppers and onion and I ordered the catfish version of it. I liked the tortillas which were a combination of rice and corn, but was disappointed when I discovered they weren't homemade, but from a distributor like most of their food items. There is a restaurant chain out of Houston with the same name so I was expecting Van Horn's Chuy's to distinguish themselves by being unique and homemade. I was also let down when I asked for hotter salsa for my tacos. For the second time that day, I was told the mild salsa on the table was as hot as it gets.

I have a feeling that I have not tried the true Texas-style heat. I will need to return to this state and maybe head south instead of west to get authentic spicy Tex-Mex. Some like it hot, including me, and western Texas wasn't turning it up enough.....good thing I was headed to New Mexico in the morning!

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