Sometimes out here in Far West Texas, we have the craziest swings of winter weather. Recently in Fort Davis, we’ve experienced fall and winter daytime highs in the upper 70s and lower 80s with a hard freeze that very same night.
For example, a couple weeks ago, the weather forecasters told us it would get down to only 27 degrees. It actually dipped down to nine degrees in some spots here in the Davis Mountains, only to climb back up to sandals and short-sleeves temperatures with plentiful sunshine during the day.
Below are some examples of our weather lately.
This past Saturday was no exception. Having been in the 20s and 30s at night last week with a forecast of snow that never happened, Saturday’s weather was for sunshine and a high in the mid-60s. When it’s a Saturday in January with that kind of weather, my favorite thing to do is to hop in the car and head down south. And that’s how we spent this past beautiful, not-so-wintry Saturday.
It’s been a while since we’ve jumped on Highway 17 from Fort Davis to drive along the big bend of our great state of Texas, and I notice things I’ve never seen, each time we go. It’s hard to take in all the beauty at once.
Our initial plan was to visit Santa Elena Canyon down in Big Bend National Park, and go to the Terlingua Ghost Town for dinner. We stopped in Presidio for lunch at El Patio, since we had planned on heading straight to Big Bend National Park and didn’t want to be hungry, even though I packed plenty of snacks for the day.
Between stopping to look at the Hoodoos (enormous rock totems found between the highway and the Rio Grande in Big Bend State Park), checking out what was left of Contrabando movie set (only one building and the composting restroom), and driving around Terlingua for a while, we decided to forego Santa Elena and hang around the Ghost Town for the evening.
We watched the sun set from the Ghost Town, and it was absolutely stunning. We’d been wanting to try out the new restaurant, Taqueria El Milagro, for quite some time, and happened to get there between rushes of customers.
Taqueria El Milagro is owned by Mimi Webb Miller, who also owns the fantastic boutique hotel La Posada Milagro, walking distance from the taqueria. On my very first visit to Terlingua a little over ten years ago, we walked around the lovely hotel and I took pictures of it that have remained emblazoned in my mind ever since.
Perfectly picturesque in every way, that attention to detail carries over into the taqueria, which opened about a year and a half ago.
It’s an open-air patio restaurant, with heaters that keep you warm and comfortable while you eat. The menu is authentic Mexican fare, but also has loaded hot dogs, Mexican French fries with cheese and pico de gallo, and other interesting items that are all made to order, fresh and tasty.
We started with chips and delicious homemade salsa.
Next came elote, also known as “Mexican Street Corn,” roasted corn on a stick that’s been rolled in mayonnaise, powdered cheese and chile powder. I think that could’ve been a meal in itself.
On a side note, not in the newspaper, lines from one of my all-time favorite movies kept running through my head the whole time corn was on the table…
Then the plates of tacos… we ordered chicken, asado (beef) and pastor (pork), but you can also have fish, barbacoa, nopalito (cactus) or beans as your filling. A handful of colorful salsas to go with.
It was all so fresh and enjoyable. I even had the wonderful opportunity to meet and visit with Ms. Mimi, who was having dinner with friends. We couldn’t have asked for a better meal to end our far West Texas scenic drive, and I look forward to going back.
Taqueria El Milagro is open Thursday through Sunday, from 5-10 p.m. Credit cards are accepted. Bring your own adult beverages. Located on the right-hand side when you’re driving into the Ghost Town, to-go orders can be made by calling (432)371-2060.
Elote – Mexican Street Corn
6 ears corn, shucked and cleaned
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 c. grated cotija cheese
freshly chopped cilantro
lime wedges, for serving
Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high. Grill corn, turning often, until slightly charred all over, about 10 minutes.
Brush corn with a layer of mayonnaise and sprinkle with chile powder, cotija, and cilantro. Serve warm with lime wedges.
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 pound (about 3.5 cups) whole kernel corn – canned, frozen or cut off a previously cooked cob
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese or queso fresco
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt, sour cream or mayo – your preference
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
juice of 1 lime
Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
Melt butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add corn and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden and caramelized. Add garlic, and sauté for an additional 2 minutes until fragrant.
Remove from heat and add the corn to a mixing bowl. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.
Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to five days.