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Two words: carne adovada

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Have a comment about the restaurant reviews? Send it to Rene Kimball at rkimball@,or go to, click on the review and add your take.

Hole-in-the-wall restaurants have not been equated with dubious food quality for quite some time, if you read many restaurant review sources. Lately, it seems well established that low rent makes for low overhead which often makes for a worthy dining experience, and Patricia’s Café continues that tradition with mouth-watering, home-style New Mexican chow at tasty prices.

The first rule about ordering at Patricia’s is to order something with red chile. The second rule about ordering at Patricia’s is to order something else with red chile. The bowl of Pork Posole ($4.50) packs a fiery and salty punch. There’s no need to hunt for meat in this soup — big chunks of pork share space with soft hominy blossoms, all steeped in a vibrant red-orange broth.

Ask anyone about the menu at Patricia’s, however, and you’ll hear two words only: carne adovada. You’ll find it in several versions, from a Carne Adovada Plate ($6.95) with griddled home fries and almost-squishy pinto beans, to a hand-held breakfast burrito ($3.75) ready for a takeout breakfast or lunch.

While there’s nothing at all wrong with Patricia’s green chile, the red adoration continues with an egg-enhanced breakfast Carnitas Plate ($6.75), with or without sautéed onions — I recommend “with” — plus a smothering of red sauce. You’ll find that same red sauce — or green, of course — as an option on Cheese Enchiladas ($5.95).

Adding to the dining experience on many days is a corner-perched folk band, usually crooning their heartfelt Christian songs to a toe-tapping audience and applause from both diners and kitchen staff. With music like that, everyone seems energized by their own personal devotion, even if merely for the chile.

All over town one can find carne adovada, and one can have very good carne adovada in a few spots. Add Patricia’s to that list, and hurry right over.

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