Thursday, July 17, 2014
Fonda Santa Rosa
A co-worker once asked me that if I had to choose just one type of food to eat the rest of my life what would it be. My natural response was Mexican food. I mean I grew up eating pretty much nothing but Mexican food. I always loved my mom's cooking and I have very fond memories of both my grandmothers' tantalizing cuisine. So when ever I find a place that comes close to replicating it I am more than happy to give that establishment my patronage. Luckily I have found such a place in Fonda Santa Rosa. My wife actually discovered the restaurant when we were looking for a place for dinner. She found out that Fonda Santa Rosa was owned by the same people who are responsible for Tamales Dona Tere, a favorite place of ours for breakfast. Naturally we were intrigued and as it turned out we loved the place.
FSR however has not really worked into heavy rotation of our places to go out to eat. Not for any real rhyme or reason. Therefore, my latest trip to FSR was with my mom. She is currently living with us and it was just her and me for dinner. After weighing some options close to the house and trying to determine what type of cuisine we wanted for dinner, I remembered that FSR was not too far away and quite delicious. I also figured that my mom being a Mexico City native would appreciate a taste of home.
Of the multiple time that I have dined at FSR I have never experienced a full or busy restaurant. This night was no exception. The dinning area consist of several tables in an L shape around what is an open and very visible "kitchen". This area was occupied by a large family at one end and a couple of gentlemen at the other. As we walked in we were greeted and invited to sit anywhere we liked by a friendly waitress. My mom and I sat kind of in between the two parties. The fact that it was so quiet gave the place a much more intimate feel.
While looking over the menu my mom and I had a hard time deciding what we wanted. The choices were so many and they all sounded tasty. So to help give us some more time we decided to order some guacamole to start as well as some aguas frescas to drink.
The guacamole was served in a small plastic molcajete with some freshly made tortilla chips. Not only were the chips fresh, but the guacamole was also exceptionally fresh. I think it may have even been made only after we order it. The flavor of the guacamole was quite exceptional. It was well seasoned as well as very balanced. The flavor of the avocados was dominant with undertones of sourness from the lime and spiciness from the chile. It was just the right consistency, not being so smooth that it would seem derived from an avocado paste.
The aguas frescas were a mixed bag. My mom got the Jamaica (hibiscus) and I got the pineapple. My mom's was just right. It had the flavor that I have come to expect from that drink. It was naturally tangy balanced out with sweetness derived from the added sugar. My drink was not quite as flavorful as I would have expected. It seemed quite bland and insipid. I was hoping to get a bolder pineapple flavor. My mom also made the comment that the pineapple tasted as if it was on the verge of going bad.
While looking at the menu we also noticed that they offered agua mineral. Since we both hand not had one in a while we ordered one for each of us. They brought us the typical 12 oz glass bottle of Topo Chico which we both loved.
At that point my mom and I had finally made up out minds about what we were going to have for dinner. My mom decided on the Molcajete Mixto which is basically a small molcajete filled with a combination of beef, chicken fajitas and chorizo in a spicy sauce with tender cactus, Panela cheese, onions, and cilantro. It was served with rice and refried beans on the side as well as a compliment of corn tortillas.
My mom absolutely loved this dish. She was enthralled with the presentation as well as the flavors of the different meats. She quickly ate up the tender cactus and enjoyed making tacos from the meats and the plethora of corn tortillas given to us to accompany our meal. She also remarked that the chorizo tasted like real authentic Mexican chorizo. She was also impressed with the quantity of food. She had enough to eat her fill and take some home.
For my dinner I chose the Tampiqueña, which is a plate consisting of juicy grilled tender beef accompanied by mole enchilada, fire-roasted Poblano pepper rajas, fresh guacamole, Mexican rice and refried beans. The beef was a thin piece of steak resembling a cecina. It was excellently seasoned and tender as advertised on the menu. It was great for eating with the tortillas. The enchilada was sublime. It was some of the best mole I have had in a long time. My overall plate was portioned just right so that I ate everything without feeling as if I had over eaten.
As we were wrapping up dinner, my noticed the coffee and asked if it was cafe de olla, which is a coffee prepared with cinnamon and piloncillo. The waitress informed us that it was indeed cafe de ollo and asked if we wanted to sample it. My mom accepted. As soon as she sniffed the coffee my mom's face was an expression of absolute joy. The coffee was beyond good. It was delectable with the spiciness of the cinnamon and the sweetness of the piloncillo. It was so good, I ordered one to go. I was unable to finish the coffee that evening, but saved it for the next day. It was excellent even the next day drinking it cold. My mom also mentioned that if it was this good, after having sat all day on a warmer, imagine how good it would be when it was freshly made.
The waitress told us about the buffet during the weekends from 11AM to 2PM. They have pretty much all of their menu available for you to partake. It sounds delicious but dangerous. I could easily see eating myself into a food stupor. I highly enjoy this quaint little restaurant and would encourage anyone who wants a taste of truly authentic Mexico City cuisine!