We knew exactly where it is. We’d walked by many times. In the last three years, we’d read many glowing reviews of the restaurant and its cuisine of the Tierra Caliente. For some reason, we often planned to eat there but something would always come up to prevent it.
On Saturday May 14 2011, we had an opportunity to accomplish our mission. We were staying just a few blocks away.
We’d just come from the underwhelming Festival de Cerveza and the afternoon was very hot. After a short rest in our room, we walked down to the Fonda. We made every effort to slowly walk on the shady side of the street.
The restaurant's cool interior welcomed us with our choice of seating in one of the two patios or in the dining room. I simply asked for a table “donde el aire es más fresco.”, and our wish was granted.
We ordered a pitcher of limonada and I a mezcal de Tzihuaquio. The mezcal came with coarse grained salt and lime slices. It was good, but I prefer that of La Mesa de Blanca. We were brought an attractive but very mild salsa as well as a bowl of brothy beans. The beans were simple, earthy and delicious.
|Frijoles caldudos and salsa
The menu was presented and I knew right away that I’d like the food. The menu was divided among entradas, especialidades and platos fuertes. I’d read of the toqueres, a corn griddle cake, so we ordered some for an appetizer.
|Toqueres and tortillas
They arrived quickly in a cloth lined basket alongside excellent hand made tortillas. There was also a bowl of jocoque, a yogurt like cream with a few curds in it. It was the perfect accompaniment to the rough corn goodness of the toqueres. (I thought of blinis.) They were so good that I’m planning on making them at home.
We looked over the menu of especialidades and I decided on “frito”, which is short for pork backbone cooked in a spicy adobo; and Doña Cuevas chose mole de pollo.
In the interludes, I explored the restaurant. There are two main dining rooms and two patio dining areas. The back patio has a lovely water feature, but the sun was too strong to linger there, even with umbrellaed tables.
The restrooms were in an attractive alcove with hand washing sinks.
We happily wiped our plates clean of sauces and I nibbled the meat from the bones.
There’s a short dessert menu, but we were too full to be tempted by the typical, homey sweets such as flan, chongos, cheesecake, pastel or peach half in syrup. (I’m always puzzled by the last item. To whom does it appeal? A kid!)
Our bill was $277 pesos, plus tip.
Here’s the scorecard:
• Food: ****1/2
• Service **** Just a little too quick on the draw to write an order, but very attentive. I would have preferred a somewhat more relaxed pace.
• Ambience: **** Spanish Colonials at home. Pleasant but unpretentious.
• Price: $-$$ A bargain.
• Restrooms: didn’t go in, but the hand washing area was attractive, clean and properly supplied.
• Live music advisory! A trio of folk musicians, “Caracuaro” entered just as we were leaving, and really, they were quite good. They were asking at each table whether they would like a song.
Abasolo No 455
Tel: 312 16 66
Opens 8 a.m. closes 6 p.m. Closed Mondays. Serves breakfast also.
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