Some like it hot, but we prefer it to be flavor-packed. Amarillo, Texas is chocked full of intriguing dining options, so we knew our trip would be delicious. One of the reasons we chose Amarillo as our first Texas blogging city, was that it lies smack dab on Route 66. There is a section of the Mother Road, which aligns with 6th Street, that has embraced its historic roots. On this roughly one-mile-long stretch, you will find an assortment of shops, eateries, antique stores, and bars. We also found a place to get our Tex-Mex fix on Route 66 at Braceros Mexican Bar & Cantina.
We want to thank Visit Amarillo and Braceros Mexican Grill for their hospitality. Rest assured all opinions are our own.
Heading South of the Border
When we discovered that Braceros has been in business for over 15 years, we knew that they had to be solid. In the restaurant business, 10 years is a magical number that many never achieve. For this visit, we were excited to have lunch with Kashion Smith, who is Deputy Director at Visit Amarillo. After our greetings, I headed off to get photos of the restaurant, while Kashion and Crystal had a chat. It sure is handy being a traveling couple, since we can cover two tasks at once. Crystal was able to make note of some details that she learned from this life-long Amarillo resident.
Brightening Up the Table
I returned to the table to find them in deep conversation. We snacked on some chips and salsa, while we perused the menus. Soon, our server returned to see what we had decided. Kashion led off the ordering with a dish we had never seen. Her Veggie Plate was filled with an assortment of grilled vegetables. Toss in some grilled shrimp and you have a color wheel of deliciousness. The smell of the freshly grilled ingredients was intoxicating. Kashion assured us that it tasted as good as it looked. Obviously, she was no rookie when it came to getting her Tex-Mex fix on Route 66.
Going Old School
Braceros has some pretty good looking lunch specials, that had caught our attention. Crystal likes to stick to the tried-and-true dishes, that she can easily recognize. Of course, sharing bites has opened her eyes to some new tastes. Today she would choose to go mainstream with the Chicken Enchilada & Chicken Taco plate. The addition of refried beans (or Charro if you prefer) and Arroz Mexicano (Spanish rice) round out this lunch special. It definitely equates to a filling meal that had a nice assortment of flavors and allowed Crystal to get her Tex-Mex fix on Route 66.
Sizzling and Savory
The lunch special menu was calling out to me, as well. When I spotted the Soft Fajita Tacos plate, my mind was made up. With a choice of chicken or beef, I decided to sample their steak version. Once again, my plate was accompanied with a choice of beans and their delectable rice. The tacos were absolutely spot on. The steak had a nice flavor, which was accented by the perfectly caramelized onions and grilled peppers. Excellent lunch choice.
A Sneak Peek
Being travel bloggers does come with a few perks. Most visits we make will land us a chance to meet the owners of the restaurants we choose. On this particular visit, we were greeted by Jaime Santillán, who hails from Zacatecas, Mexico. After a short conversation, he asked if we would like to sample a dish that he was considering adding to the menu. When he delivered the plate of tacos, they made a striking presentation. The blue corn tortillas are stuffed with Huitlacoche (also called Mexican truffles), which is an edible corn mushroom. This delicacy is accented with a deliciously tangy cheese. Since Crystal doesn’t like mushrooms of any sort, it fell on me to enjoy, err… sample this dish for the team. I already wish that this was available at a restaurant in our hometown.
Get Your Tex-Mex Fix on Route 66
Braceros Mexican Grill is certainly a notable landmark on the old Route 66 path. What our visit showed us was that places like this have a menu so large, it would take weeks of visits to even make a dent. If you visit their website (Link in the first paragraph), you will find that their menu is layered with amazing culinary creations. Toss in one of their specialty drinks, from their in-house bar, and you can easily create your own fiesta. We now understand why they had a steady crowd in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday.
Spending Time with the Mother Road
Now that we had our Tex-Mex fix on Route 66, it was time to check out some of the other businesses along this section of the Mother Road. We bid our goodbyes to Jaime and Kashion, and headed back out into the bright Amarillo day. The food and conversation had been so enjoyable that we were a tad bit behind schedule. Never mind a few minutes, we were not going to miss this opportunity. We spent about an hour exploring the shops and conversing with locals. When the demands of our next stop became a reality, we bid our farewells, for now. It looks like further exploration will have to be done on a future visit.