A Weekend in El Paso, Texas

My sister moved to El Paso a few months ago and I finally had the chance to visit her this semester! It’s a 13 hour drive from Houston and about a 2 hour plane ride. It’s pretty crazy to take a plane just to travel from one point of Texas to the other but that’s the second largest state in the country for ya. We started planning this trip as soon as I received my class schedule and could figure out a good time to spend a weekend there. Here’s how I spent 48 hours in El Paso!

Saturday

Ardovino’s Desert Crossing

We started the day by driving to New Mexico (about 30 minutes from my sister’s place), and visiting Ardovino’s. This picturesque property had a desert country setting and was beautifully maintained. They have a year-round farmer’s market that’s been held for 16 years! Vendors were selling baked goods, jams, meat, and handmade items. We strolled over to the patio area to begin brunch.

Ardovino's Desert Crossing

Ardovino's Desert Crossing landscape

Our waiter informed us that some of the vendors supply the restaurant with their local food, which is pretty neat! So even though we ended up not buying much at the market, knowing that we were helping in a small way was nice. We ate homemade donut holes, vegetable crepes, and a caramelized grapefruit. But the star of the show was hands down the banana bread french toast!! I wish I got ~high quality~ shots of all the food, but we were so hungry! As we filled ourselves up with this delicious food, there was a live guitarist playing in the patio and we also had a view of trains winding around Mount Cristo Rey.

food

train winding around Mount Cristo Rey

Everything was so good and it was a great start to the trip!!

La Vina Winery

After brunch, we headed to La Vina Winery, which is New Mexico’s oldest winery. We did a $5 wine tasting and we were able to sample 6 different wines of our choice! It was my first time visiting a vineyard and I enjoyed tasting the wines they had. We were able to keep the tasting glass, which was a nice souvenir!

La Vina winery indoor

La Vina winery outdoorIn the summer months, they have live music on the patio!

La Vina winery vineyards with view of mountains

Scenic Drive

While driving back from New Mexico to El Paso, there’s Scenic Drive which offers some of the best views of El Paso. You get to see over the whole city and be in the mountains. It was really pretty!

Franklin Mountain State Park

mountains

Did you know that El Paso is the only major city in Texas to have mountains? They’re also in Mountain Standard Time, making it the only major city in Texas to be in a different time zone!

view of city from mountains

So by now, the post-wine and post-brunch sleepiness is coming on. We came back to her apartment and had a nice siesta. It was a nice break in the day from the afternoon activities.

Dinner: Cafe Italia & Gelato

For dinner, we tried some Italian food at Cafe Italia. We were able to dine al fresco once again. Especially coming from humid Houston, I really loved being able to sit outside to eat with the nice weather. The flatbread and pizza were so yummy and tasted so fresh. We also tried their lasagna, which was very good as well. 

View from our table! Almost too good to be true. #nofilter

Later, we were able to walk over to Gufo Gelato for some dessert. My sister had the pink guava and I tried the stracciatella, which is just milk ice cream with pieces of dark chocolate. They change their flavors frequently, but they had some interesting ones such as Thai Tea! Both my sister and I sampled it, and it was delicious! They’ve got more on the menu like coffee and desserts.

gelato sign

gelato flavors

Sunday

We explored this shopping area in the Monticello area where a few shops looked to be converted shipping containers. It’s kind of difficult to explain, but there were so many little shops to see!

It was all very artsy and unlike any other place I’ve shopped or eaten at before!

Hillside Coffee & Donuts

We had breakfast here where I ate Irish oats and my sister had their oatmeal waffles. Both were such a great way to start the day! Their donut selection was pretty vast, but we settled on cake and hibiscus donuts. My sister had their hazelnut vanilla caramel latte while I tried their flat white.

hillside coffee menu

A better look at their menu.

Upper Valley Farmer’s Market

We were trying to figure out what to do next and I saw online an El Paso mural at Substation that I wanted to take pictures at. The website did not appear to have much going on, mainly the mural. So we thought we would take a few pics and head out. But when we arrived, there was a huge farmer’s market happening! There were food trucks, kids activities, and so many vendors! It was such a surprise. We bought some handmade jewelry, handmade soap, and a few hand-sewn blouses.

handmade soaps

coasters

handmade earrings

handmade bag

handmade bowties

Malolam

We were in a rush at this point to finish eating lunch and dropping me off at the airport. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of the food at Malolam. We tried the elote and Dorito’s nachos, both were incredible! They also had live music and it was such a lively atmosphere. If that’s what its like during the afternoon, I can’t imagine how it is at night!

Would I Go Back?

Definitely!! I think many people may believe that El Paso doesn’t have much to offer, but based on this visit I cannot wait to explore more and especially try all the foods. El Paso should be next on your list of weekend getaways!

El Paso mural

 

See you soon,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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