Tiny hanging tea lights cast orange orbs onto the lavender-hued walls. Thatched wicker chairs gather around tables, round and tapered like the heels of giant boots. Though these decorative embellishments may seem bold, the Martinez family wants them to be fixtures of a much greater statement—a culinary statement, one that won Los Equipales the title of 2011's Best Mexican restaurant according to Weekly Alibi.
The Martinez family changes the menu every three weeks to focus on the specialties of a different state of their native Mexico. Homemade sauces such as sweet mole and spiced tequila cream marinate fresh fillets of red snapper, salmon, and spice-infused chicken. While waiting on sizzling plates of fajitas to cool, patrons can also ask servers about their private rooms, which accommodate up to 110 guests or 500 tapped telephones.
The Lescombes family knows wine. As sixth-generation winemakers, Florent and Emmanuel Lescombes embrace a family legacy that spans decades and three continents. St. Clair Winery currently cultivates 180 acres of grapevines spread across the Pyramid Valley's high desert, land that Florent and Emmanuel's father, H?rve, initially sought out because of the climate's similarity to that of his home in Algeria. The warm, sun-drenched days and relatively cool nights allow clusters of cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, zinfandel, moscato, and other varietals to fully ripen while maintaining their natural acidity. These grapes are then used to help create more than 70 different wines produced under several labels, including everything from crisp, citrus-tinged whites to lush, silken reds with hints of French or American oak.
But the Lescombes family wasn't content to only share its wines in St. Clair's tasting room, so it also founded a handful of southwestern-inspired bistros that pair them with regionally focused comfort foods. The menus feature dishes such as burgers with flame-roasted hatch chilies and open-faced tuna melts with avocado and cilantro-lime mayo as well as a number of wines available by the flight, glass, bottle, or thimbleful.
Back in the '80s, winemaking was just a hobby for artist and wine enthusiast Jim Fish. Today, some of his original hobby casks still serve as a reminder of how far he's come, as they stand surrounded by hundreds of gallons of newer wines. At Anasazi Fields Winery, Fish focuses on table wines made from locally-sourced fruits and berries such as plum, apricot, blackberry, and peach. And despite being fruit wines, they're dry and multi-faceted, a far cry from the sweet varietals some might imagine when they hear fruit wine.
The winery is open throughout the year, beckoning visitors inside for tastes and tours, events, or to buy a bottle, sold on the premises. Orchards and vineyards surround the property, all watered by a spring-fed irrigation system that dates back more 1000 years when Anasazi people farmed the valley.
Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, Back Road Pizza bakes and slices a menu of cheesy pizzas prepared with homemade dough and locally sourced ingredients. While each pie starts in the New-York tradition, Back Road adds a special cornmeal-coated crust filled with more flavor than plain pizza bases and a crunchy end to every slice. Savor mouthfuls of a specialty creation ($13–$25) such as the New Mexican, a fiery blend of green chile, red onion, and pepperoni, or the meaty Texan, conveniently hewn into handy wedge shapes or outlines of the Batmobile. Crafty consumers can assemble their own pizzas ($8.50+) using a list of more than 20 toppings and a highly focused imagination. Limited appetites can swap in a gluten-free crust ($10.50) for any pizza. Satisfy three-dimensional cravings with a folded calzone packed with up to three toppings ($8) or an oven-roasted chicken sandwich covered in green-chile aioli and baked open-face so chefs can see its smile and tell when it’s ready to serve ($9.50).
Pecos Flavors Winery opened fairly recently—in 2004, originally just as a Roswell-based tasting room—but it brims with New Mexico history. The facility's current tasting room, for instance, takes on the identity of a southern New Mexico ranch. Its bar is a century old, plucked from Hondo Valley. Nearby, a statue of Billy the Kid keeps watch, staring grudgingly at anyone who spills their glass.
Befitting its state pride, Pecos has an extensive selection of New Mexican wines. More than 80 different blends of regional wine populate the Pecos collection, including the winery's own varietals grown at a pair of Chaves County vineyards. Pecos offers a number of other New Mexico products, too, such as coffee, sauces, and chocolates, as well as beers gathered from in-state breweries.
Our Texas wines are more than a reflection of our personal dedication to making world-class wines. They represent our culture and desire to share all that means in one of life's finer pleasures. Handcrafted wines with true Texas spirit. Zin Valle - made in the place where the star touches the mountain. Salud!