My earliest memory of dining on New Mexican food in Albuquerque is at Padilla’s. Many years ago, when we would visit Albuquerque (we lived in Texas then), my brother-in-law would take us to Padilla’s for a meal. The 1960-70ish style restaurant is located in a small shopping strip in the UNM area. This is a favorite of the locals. Frequently, during the lunch hour it’s very busy and people wait patiently for the opportunity to dine on New Mexican goodness. This past weekend, the same brother-in-law, who now lives out of state, was in town visiting so we gathered at Padilla’s for a family dinner.
Having spent decades eating Tex Mex, I really prefer New Mex to Tex Mex. For me it’s all about the flavor of the chiles (I like both red and green)… and the soft, pillowy sopaipillas. Padilla’s serves up some of the best. Their menu items have all the favorites such as chile relleno, burritos, huevos rancheros, tacos, tamales, carnitas, and quelites (green leafy veggies). For our family, the enchiladas are always a favorite as well as the carne adovada. The carne adovada is served as a special on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I love anything blue corn so I usually get the blue corn enchiladas with carne but I’ve had their bowl of green chile which made my mouth plenty fiery hot. If you can’t make up your mind there’s always the combo platter, which has a taco, tamale and enchilada. I just learned that Padilla’s sells their tamales by the dozen, frozen or ready to serve. I’ll be ordering tamales from Padilla’s this holiday season!
Now, more on the sopaipillas…these are some of the best in town…soft, pillowy, and not thin-skinned. Just the sight of them brings on a surge of endorphins. When the basket of sopaipillas is brought out, the “ooohhhs and aaahhhs” start up as we all get that oh-so-good feeling inside. Padilla’s serves stuffed savory sopaipillas but I love to eat mine drizzled with honey. My MO is to fill myself to the max with sopaipillas as a dessert. Padilla’s sopaipillas are rectangular and a little larger than some other places. In order to get the honey in between the layers, I open it up right in the middle instead of at a corner. Rocking the sopaipilla back and forth as I drizzle helps distribute the honey evenly throughout so I can enjoy the sweetness with every bite. When it comes to sopaipillas, no one is shy to claim the last one!
If you haven’t dined at Padilla’s yet make it a point to go for your next New Mexican meal. And better yet, next time a friend or family member visits take them to Padilla’s and let them experience New Mexican goodness.
Last visited: August 11, 2014