Several years ago, we discovered a cozy little spot on Murphy Street called El Patio. Behind the Amtrak Station in one of the restored Murphy Street buildings, they had a small dining room and a nice patio for dining al fresco, and they were open all day.
Not long after we’d gotten used to eating at El Patio for late lunches and early dinners as we sometimes do, they moved to a different location and we didn’t know where they went. But since August, they have been in a new spot and we recently found them again.
We stopped for lunch the other day, and were reminded why we enjoyed eating at El Patio in the past… great food with dependable hours. We’ve also learned that they started out where Rene and Mora Nancy Vargas opened La Calavera behind Brown Dog Gardens in the old Raspa Co. building.
The new location has a large dining room decorated in a rustic theme with heavy wooden tables and chairs, a meeting room for groups and of course, a large patio. When we were there on a Tuesday, the spacious kitchen had numerous cooks who even ran food to the tables when the waitresses were occupied, to keep the food from sitting in the window.
Our food arrived quickly and we’d barely had a chance to fill up on the chips and tasty salsa served while we waited. My husband had a chicken fajita burrito that he said was excellent, with chunks of all white meat chicken fajita, grilled peppers and onions. I had the chile verde taco plate – and shared one of my three tacos as well as some of my beans and rice. The portion was large – I couldn’t have eaten the whole thing, and I was hungry.
Chile verde is a Mexican comfort food. It’s a stew made with roasted green chiles, tangy tomatillos and succulent chunks of pork. I’ve lately developed an appreciation for a good chile verde dish. I’ve been a huge fan of green chile sauce since buying a chile verde burrito from a street vendor on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona on a long-ago trip with my husband and our daughters.
Ever since then, if I can order green sauce on an enchilada, I will. I’ve moved on from ordering my usual green chicken enchiladas at restaurants to now trying out the chile verde, if it’s on the menu. The chile verde tacos at El Patio are delicious.
El Patio is open Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. They accept major credit cards, and are BYOB-friendly. Located at 2700 West HWY 90 across from Big Bend Brewing Company, you can find their menu on their Facebook page “El Patio” and call them at (432) 294-3800.
Easy Slow-Cooker Chile Verde
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cubed
5 (7-ounce) cans green salsa
1 (4 ounce) can diced jalapeno peppers
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until fragrant – stirring constantly. Add the cubed pork, and cook until browned on the outside. Transfer the pork, onions, and garlic to a slow cooker, and stir in the green salsa, jalapeno peppers and tomatoes. Cover and cook on High for 3 hours, then reduce it to Low and cook for 4 to 5 more hours. Serve with tortillas, as tacos, or in bowls as a stew with rice.