Isabella’s of Iraan: Fine Dining in the Oil Field

First of all, this is about Iraan, a tiny town in southwestern Texas, not Iran, the Country Formerly Known as Persia.  Although, really, who doesn’t enjoy a good kabab?

Welcome to Isabella's, in beautiful downtown Iraan.

Welcome to Isabella’s, in beautiful downtown Iraan.

We had a quick trip out to Iraan again last week, and went to lunch with one of the locals. He took us to Isabella’s, one of a handful of eateries in this tiny town. Pickings are so sparse here that when you search for restaurants via Google, you get a lot of  “serving the Iraan area” hits that turn out to be in the two nearest towns…each 50 miles away.

Welcome to the restaurant, and fear the spear!

Welcome to the restaurant, and fear the spear!

Isabella’s is so much like the ubiquitous TexMex places located all over the Permian Basin region that I can almost recite the menu and find my way to the women’s restroom with my eyes closed. Enchiladas, tamales, frijoles and rice, bowls of freshly made salsa, baskets of hot fried tortilla chips, and 60-oz glasses of iced tea (Sweet or unsweet? Are we becoming the South?) Eric ordered his favorite, chile rellenos, and our guest ordered chicken nachos, mounded with jalapenos. Being more or less from this part of the world, I get a hunger for the red chile gravy enchiladas that even the best Houston taqueria can’t satisfy, so that was my order.

A wall of honor for local vets.

A wall of honor for locals in serving in the military. And my college.

Our guest Alex had lived in this town for about three years, and worked for the major employer in town, so our meal was frequently augmented by about a dozen different people speaking or back-slapping him as they passed by our table. The food was great.

It goes with the territory.

It goes with the territory.

If you’re not from a Very Small Town, population 1200, located hours away from a city of any size, you have only a few options for a social life. Other than work, you can meet people at church, or you can get involved in the primary entertainment of West Texas and rural towns everywhere: following the high school students. All 125 of them. Even though there are only 1200 people in town, and 125 students in high school, the football stadium holds 3000, and is usually packed. By the way, the Iraan Braves are 10-0 this season, making them champs of District 7A. Congratulations and on to the playoffs!

God, country, and football.

God, country, and football.

District Champs

Categories: Food, Travel

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