The La Luz Gem — Nuckleweed Place


Nuckleweed Place

Nuckleweed Place

East of U.S. 54/70 between Alamogordo and Tularosa in New Mexico is a little town called La Luz.  It’s a charming little community with an interesting old church.  But La Luz was not really our destination for lunch this fine Sunday afternoon.  Instead, we headed up the beautiful Laborcita Canyon for a place Ursula read about in New Mexico Magazine.  It’s not fancy.  In fact, it’s a restaurant contained within a mobile home.  The food, however, is exquisite.

This hidden gem nestled in a picturesque canyon in the foothills of the Sacramento Mountains is called Nuckleweed Place, and it’s well worth the detour to get there.

Looking Out Upon the Tularosa Basin and White Sands

Looking Out Upon the Tularosa Basin and White Sands

Before continuing with this review, let me apologize for the photographs of the food.  I did not have with me that day my usual restaurant review camera (Panasonic ZS6), as we were headed toward the Three Rivers Petroglyph area and I instead had taken my primary landscape camera (Canon G1 X).  Just goes to show the importance of using the proper tool for the job at hand.

Nuckleweed Converted Mobile Home

Nuckleweed Converted Mobile Home

Transitioning from the Nuckleweed’s modest exterior into it’s rather neatly appointed interior is almost a shock.  You step into a formal entryway.  To the left is a professional restaurant-grade stove and oven beneath an equally impressive restaurant-grade range hood.

The Entryway

The Entryway

An Unexpected Professional Kitchen in an Unlikely Setting

An Unexpected Professional Kitchen in an Unlikely Setting

And then you step into the main dining room — the first of two:

The Main Dining Room

The Main Dining Room

Nuckleweed Place 01

Fun Tables and Chairs

But you may want to forgo the dining room for the views outside on the back dining deck:

The Back Porch Dining Area — What Views!

The Back Porch Dining Area — What Views!

As for the menu, well, it may at first appear a bit limited but once you taste the food you’ll see why — Nuckleweed concentrates on doing a few things very well rather than a lot of things mediocrely.  The breads come fresh from the oven, and I could immediately tell that the bleu cheese dressing was homemade (I even compared bleu cheese dressing recipes with the owner as we chatted after lunch).

Bread Fresh from the Oven

Bread Fresh from the Oven

Homemade Bleu Cheese Dressing as Good as My Own

Homemade Bleu Cheese Dressing as Good as My Own . . . Okay, maybe better

Ursula opted for the Cod sandwich, which presented to her a very nice portion of fresh-tasting cod expertly battered and served upon more freshly baked bread.  A surprising twist was the homemade tartar sauce that accompanied it.

Out-of-This-World Cod Sandwich with Homemade Tartar Sauce

Out-of-This-World Cod Sandwich with Homemade Tartar Sauce

I opted for the chicken-fried steak with real (not from a box) mashed potatoes and a very tasty cream gravy.  I was not disappointed.  The steak was so tender that you could easily be forgiven for at first thinking that it might be made from ground beef.  The flavor belies that notion.  This is Grade-A cow and so tender that it practically falls apart.  No knife needed here.

Chicken-Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes, and Cream Gravy

Chicken-Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes, and Cream Gravy

It’s my understanding that this place is really known to the locals for its Sunday brunch.  Oh, well . . . perhaps next time.

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4 Comments

Filed under Photography, travel, Wine & Food

4 responses to “The La Luz Gem — Nuckleweed Place

  1. A restaurant inside a mobile home? Who knew? Looks great!

  2. Rögnvald

    Ha. “Grade A cow.” Good one.

  3. Pingback: Three Rivers Petroglyphs — Part 1 | R. Doug Wicker — Author

  4. You sometimes find the best restaurants in the oddest of places. A personal favourite, now sadly gone, was an excelllent sea food restaurant in a container aboard a pontoon. From the outside, the place looked like nothing, but the food was excellent.