Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Old Place by the Graveyard

Today I had the opportunity to eat at one of the oldest places in El Paso, L & J Cafe.  I asked a local for directions..."its the old place by the old graveyard."  Oddly, enought those directions worked just fine.  L & J, has been around since Ft. Bliss soldiers rode horses & tied them to the hitching post in the front.  So in Texas style I walked in & sat myself down at the bar.
The menu was full of great things, I decided that the chile verde plate was calling to me but I asked for a recommendation since it was my first time there.  My waitress said the steak tacos were great but the chile verde was an excellent choice.  She then went & let one of the owners know that it was my first time here.  The owner came over to welcome me & asked where I was visiting from.  I let her know that I was from Washington, DC area & she smiled & let me know she went to Obama's speech yesterday.  "He is a very good looking man (said between giggles).  I have always wanted to go to DC.  If I make a delivery for you, will you show me around?"  I asked her if she was the woman I heard screaming "I love you" to the president...the whole group around us started laughing as she smiled w/ that Latin sass, "Yes it was!"  I told them that they were welcome in DC anytime & gave them a few places I consider "must sees" on a bar napkin.
My chile verde looked & smelled amazing.  My waitress looked at me & said, "you want tortillas don't you?"  I shook my head yes as my mouth was already savoring the pork & potatoes.  The flavors reminded me of the food my Nana made me as a child. I cleaned my plate like any good grandchild would. 
I had noticed in the desert menu that sopapillas were listed.  I knew in the back of my head that I wanted them but also knew that meant extra time at the gym.  Just as if I was a regular my waitress looked @ me & said, "Did you save room for dessert...sopapillas?"  I smiled & told that I hadn't had any since my Nana made me some, over 15yrs prior.  She smiled, put in an order & told me she couldn't wait to see the happiness on my face when I took my first bite.
They were perfect.  Fresh, hot, cinnamon & sugar dusted, with a pot of local honey for me to drizzle.  I had a starry look on my face, remembering yrs past eating these sweet pastry pillows with my Nana.  And true to her statement my little tattooed covered waitress watched me relish that first bite :-) Food that harkens memories of loved ones is always a good thing.  Now I can associate great Mexican food w/ El Paso and the friendly smiling staff at L & J Cafe.  This place is a must!

L & J Cafe on Urbanspoon


  1. The chili con queso dip will bring tears to your eyes. It is so good you will ask a loved one to put some in your coffin when you pass.

  2. You are a very good writer. I just went there tonight, whoops, yesterday, and it was the same old thing: good food and beer at great value. If I had family or friends visiting, this is one of the joints I would bring them to. About the green sauce: My hair felt like I stepped out of the shower. I was sweating like a maddog. And if one is in El Paso, Lucy's at Kings X is also a winner. And I might add that the prices are excellent.

    1. Thank you so much for your compliment and for the recommendation for Lucy's. I have not been there but the next time I am in El Paso, I will head that way.