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La Fondita Mexicana

By David Kennedy
Published: Thursday, July 27, 2006, at 03:27PM

My wife and I found this place a few years ago when we took our dry cleaning to a place over on 6th & Union. (Yes, that's west of the 110.) We couldn't help but notice this restaurant across the street fronting a tire dealership(!). It is a definitely an odd combination. Since a buddy of mine actually runs a tire dealership, it came up in conversation periodically. For no other reason, we had to try it.

Turns out the food was excellent. Not superb. But, at the inexpensive prices, definitely worth the trip. The patio was nice, if spartan. The staff was friendly and easygoing, but not overbearing. It was definitely a casual place and very kid-friendly. No need to worry about taking the twins here. Parking was easy. More importantly, we loved the carne asada. Not overcooked; juicy, tender and flavorful. We came here often with friends and family.

Recently, we noticed some changes. The menu was expanded. Fortunately, the food was as good as ever. But, the most noticeable change was the patio. Clearly, the owner spent some money to improve it. Again, nothing fancy. Better seating and tables. Lots of plants to offer shade, yet allow light. A heat lamp for the winter. But, what struck me more than anything was the attention to detail. For example, the rough brick exterior of the building which abutted the patio was now covered with corrogated metal. Where the metal was mounted, small bottle caps were affixed. This small detail was emblamatic of the changes. The owner didn't have to do that. He could have built cheap, but he didn't. The way the work was done bespoke of pride in the place and simple ambition. I like ambition.

If you're in the mood for some excellent carne asada, I'd highly recommend heading over to La Fondita Mexicana at 6th & Union. Just look for the tire dealership.

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