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Thursday, March 06, 2008

El Patio - Review #1

El Patio #2 Drive In Mexican Food
1001 N. Magnolia Ave.
Anaheim, Ca 92801
(714) 826-0691
Open 24 hours

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I was up in Anaheim looking for a quick lunch and remembered reading about El Patio. Every place I have come across the name on the Internet it was positively rated. So I gave it a try. There's nothing fancy about the way El Patio looks and with "drive in" as part of the name you might not expect a concrete block bunker with bars on the window. This is the definition of "drive in" that I came across in Hawaii. It really means you can drive up to it and park in front. So after looking at the other buildings nearby I realized that this was the much praised spot. Well, I love my little hole-in-the-wall places.


Inside it isn't any fancier. Just seven small booths in a little dining area and a counter for ordering. The menu is big with over 20 combinations, none of which are over $5.95. They had #19, the taquitos combo on special for just $3.25. They cover all the standard fare - tacos, burritos, tortas, sopes, enchiladas, chile rellanos. While I was there lots of people came and went, mostly getting lunches to go. The shredded beef tacos seemed like a popular choice with the regulars. But the chile verde plate caught my eye. Everything is made to order here. So it takes a few minutes to get your order, but it was piping hot upon arrival, which was good on the cold rainy day I went.


You can see they serve it up on a plastic tray with a bottle of their hot sauce, fresh tortillas and escabeche. The escabeche was about the freshest I have had. If you've seen the review for Pepe's here, then the set up might look familiar. In a lot of ways this place is similar to Pepe's in what they offer and the style of food is pretty similar. But having had the chile verde plate at both places I have to give the nod to El Patio. The plate I had was melt-in-your-mouth tender. The pork was very flavorful. The green chile sauce it was cooked in had just the right amount of heat and a lot of flavor. They had a big pot filled with hunks of pork cooking away when I ordered so I know they are making this stuff fresh in the shop.

Beans and rice were well made, but standard takes on the stuff. As usual, I found the rice a good foil for the hot sauce, which is a thin, tangy and pungent concoction.


Beverages include soft drinks, milk, orange juice and the full complement of Juicy Whip products including horchata, tamarindo, and jamaica as well as their takes on drinks similar to Orange and PiƱa Colada Bang. For good flavorful Mexican standards at bargain prices, I give them 4 Speedys.

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