At first glance, La Fondita appears to be little more than a food stand, albeit a stylish one. Inside, stainless-steel counter surfaces gleam, illuminated by contemporary lighting fixtures shaped like little stars. You could eat at an indoor or outdoor counter, seated on a stool, or at one of the picnic tables in front. But the best place to have your meal is in the back, where the property abuts a landscaping business. Walk past the statue of an elephant and turn left. There, overlooking a pond, you'll find two picnic tables. While you eat, you can gaze at the tranquil waters, which reflect the reeds and flowers that grow alongside.
Before claiming your table, though, you must order at the counter. Try one of aguas frescas (fresh fruit drinks), available in watermelon, tamarind and hibiscus. You also can get horchata (an almond, rice and cinnamon drink), Mexican sodas and beers.
From the roster of tacos, you'll enjoy the savory carne asada (grilled steak), wrapped in a soft corn tortilla and served with a sprightly topping of chopped onions and cilantro. A chorizo taco, made with pieces of Spanish sausage, is intriguingly spicy. A taco de pescado (fried fish taco with chipotle mayonnaise and shredded cabbage) is a favorite, reminiscent of the fish tacos served in California. A chicken burrito, stuffed with chicken, rice, beans, lettuce, pico de gallo and crema (lime-spiked sour cream) has more chicken than rice and beans, which themselves are superior.
If you're up to indulging in fried foods, try one of the sopes, described on the menu as "little hand-pressed corn boats" stuffed with refried beans, lettuce, pico de gallo, crema, cheese and a choice of fillings. Worth a trip to the East End is the medianoche, a Cuban sandwich grilled in a press and filled with roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, mustard, mayonnaise and pickles. Pozole rojo, a pork, hominy and chile dish between a soup and a stew, qualifies as a delicious meal in itself.
For dessert, arroz con leche, rice pudding, is quite heavy on the rice, although creamy. Best is the silky flan, a vanilla custard both refreshing and soothing.
At La Fondita, you won't find anything fancy (there are no restrooms since this is considered a takeout place). But if you're craving authentic Mexican food on a beautiful summer's day, the search ends here.