Here's the deal: We're looking for Sun Bowl-related celebrity sightings in El Paso: Barry Switzer, Condoleezza Rice, maybe even The Stanford Tree.
We need photo proof. So e-mail in your celebrity sighting photos to email@example.com and we'll pick our favorite to win two tickets to the Sun Bowl. We'll also, obviously, post some photos on this blog.
Now that we've gotten the Chico's debate out of the way, here are some more of the recommendations El Pasoans e-mailed for out-of-town visitors. Feel free to add more in the comments; I know our Sun Bowl visitors will appreciate it.
Seeing and Doing: Wyler Aerial Tramway, Magoffin Home, Hueco Tanks, White Sands and Carlsbad Caverns. Eating: Papa’s Burgers, Roscoe’s burgers, Mo’z BBQ, H&H Car wash, KiKi’s, and of course Cattlemans. -- Ruben Candelaria
The best thing to do in El Paso is to take a drive to old Mesilla. The pecan trees are beautiful. -- Kris Mena
Eat at L&J's restaurant, the steak taco's are awesome. -- Marc S. Schultz
Out of towners should just take a day out on the town. Rent a car and drive around. El Paso is fairly simple to navigate, with the one major freeway cutting through the city. Stop and random places and converse with the locals. I always hear how visitors are so surprised at how friendly us El Pasoans are, and it is very true. -- Rene Trejo Jr.
Visitors must see Scenic Drive. You get a great view of three states and two countries. -- Jesus S. Carreon
Eats and Drinks: For the Clubby Crowd I'd recommend the Union Plaza District, for the more Upscale Clientele it would have to be The Dome Bar and Cafe Central and for the Casual Crowd it would have to be The Tap and El Pisto. Plus all these great places are in Downtown El Paso! -- Hector Regalado
Take out-of-towners to eat breakfast at L&J’s to enjoy the best Mexican food in town; I especially recommend their Huevo Rancheros. To work off that scrumptious breakfast, take them on a brief tour of the Historic Concordia Cemetery to visit notorious outlaw John Wesley Harden's grave and other famous people of El Paso’s past. Drive them to Wyler tramway to get a great overview of El Paso. A visit to El Paso wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Cowtown Boots or Tony Lamas. For something different and spooky, the Magoffin Home, Sunset Heights Grocery and Monteleone’s restaurant are some of El Paso’s haunted history places. -- Valerie Provencio
As far as eating, I would recommend a local business, Como's Italian Restaurant, located on N. Mesa. It is just a couple of blocks away from the Sun Bowl, so will be very convenient for the out-of-towners going to the game or staying nearby. -- Lauren Ferris
I recommend that out-of-towners looking for real Mexican food go check out Mi Tierra Buffet on McRae. They also have the Mariachi/Ranchero singers that used to perform at Pueblito Mexicano in Juarez. So they can get a little of the old school Juarez vibe without having to go there. -- Eric Sanchez
I'd recommend any out-of-towner to start by going for a drive on Scenic Drive, stopping for a bite to eat at either Avila's or Julio's Cafe Corona. And since going to Juarez is out of the question, tourists can go to Xicali's on North Loop or to Pro's Ranch Market for a near-Mexico shopping experience. -- Erika Marquez
I'd recommend a shopping trip, not to Cielo Vista or the Outlet Mall, but to Mercado Mayapan. Good Stuff for a great cause. The Mission Trail holds a near and dear place in my heart, so I'd have to include a drive down Soccorro Road on the list (don't miss out on the art galleries in San Eli either). -- Gabriel Trejo
Places to See and Eat: Cattleman's Ranch & Steak House is a great ranch with many animals. Beware of the rattle snake pit — yikes! Biggest steaks most out-of-towners will ever see. Good luck trying to finish the Cowboy steak. Edge of Texas Restaurant. It's just cool to say you ate at the Edge of Texas, literally. Plus great food. Carlos and Mickey's (not the one at the airport, the other one). Gotta love the crowd this place draws, not to mention the great music, and those HUGE margaritas. Keystone Heritage Park. El Paso's conservation efforts at its best. Beautiful place too. Mesa Street Bar and Grill. Just an amazing restaurant. Fine dining at its best. The Dome. Great place to sit back and have a drink, and enjoy the sights. -- Cynthia Ortiz
Thanks, everybody, for all the suggestions. I'd say our visitors should be able to easily leave full and happy.
Before we get to the many El Paso suggestions readers sent in for out-of-towners, I thought it was important to settle one important debate first: To Chico's or not to Chico's?
Several readers put Chico's Tacos on their suggestion list for Sun Bowl tourists from Oklahoma and California. But just as many wrote in to specifically warn visitors away. A sampling:
I say the best thing for visitors who come to the Sun City to do is enjoy some Chico's. -- Tammy Rodriguez
Chico’s is good every once in a while (especially if you need to flush your stomach) but that is not Mexican food. -- Danny Assad
As far as eating, I'd say eat at ANY Mexican restaurant, other than Chico's Tacos. I dislike the fact that Chico's is an out-of-towner's idea of "El Paso style Mexican food." We house some of the most amazing authentic Mexican food joints, so try that. Not Chico's. -- Rene Trejo Jr.
We can't forget to stop at Chico's for a nice double and a hot dog after your long night of partying on Cincinnati street. -- Amy Benavides
Well, I definitely think that any one who comes in to El Paso needs to have the Chico's Tacos experience. You can't find those anywhere but here! -- Patty Noriega
OK, allow me to settle the debate. But, first, my Chico's Tacos story (every El Pasoan has one, right?)
When I moved to El Paso, one of the first recommendations I received was to eat at Chico's. So, I went one weekend, making the mistake of not taking a spiritual adviser.
Without an adviser to guide me in the way of Chico's, I took one look at those tacos floating in red liquid and decided the cooks were having a little fun with this Kansas boy. Without taking even one bite, I threw them in the trash and went to McDonalds.
When I got back to work on Monday, co-workers were appalled that I would throw away precious Chico's Tacos: "They are SUPPOSED to be in that liquid! They are delicious! You didn't even try them?!"
For years after, whenever I ended up at Chico's (which was quite often; my in-laws love it), I would refuse to try the tacos, always ordering a grilled cheese or a bean burrito, instead.
But after living in El Paso long enough, the siren song of Chico's got to me. I made a single order and fell in love. I now need a Chico's Tacos fix at least once a month, just like a native.
Which leads me to my ruling in this case:
Chico's Tacos are for El Pasoans. They are not for tourists. You shouldn't even be allowed in the doors of Chico's until you have lived in El Paso for at least three years.
Sooner and Cardinal fans, heed my warning: El Pasoans who steer you to Chico's Tacos mean well, but, trust me, stay away. This young lady agrees:
We already have 25 entries for our Sun Bowl ticket contest (see previous post if you missed it). Lots of great El Paso suggestions are coming in, and I'm looking forward to sharing them with you on Sunday.
Until then, here's a early peek at the El Paso Convention & Visitors Bureau commercial that will be running during the Sun Bowl telecast.
Our lucky winner will get four, count 'em, FOUR, tickets to the Sun Bowl, plus a parking pass.
How to enter: We want to continue to help out visitors to our city. So, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me your best recommendations for out-of-towners. What should they be seeing, doing and eating?
All e-mails need to be in to me by Sunday, Dec. 26, at 2 p.m.
I'll take all the e-mails, put the names in a hat and draw for a winner. The winner will be announced on Sun Bowl News at 8 p.m. Sunday night.
Plus, we'll publish all the best recommendations right here on Sun Bowl News, and hopefully help some visitors out.
So shoot me an e-mail now: email@example.com
We're pretty sure El Paso's going to see former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the Brut Sun Bowl. And why not? She's a huge sports fan and booster of the Stanford Cardinal football team. So much so, that the Cardinal head coach Jim Harbaugh had her in the coaches booth during Stanford's game against Cal this season. Rice, who returned to Stanford this year after serving in the Bush White House, adds a cool factor to all the growing buzz about this year's Sun Bowl game.
Here's an update on this earlier post:
Confirmation from Stanford and Sun Bowl officials that the former Secretary of State is Sun Bowl bound.
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