Thursday, September 14, 2006

Restaurant Review: La Fontida in Durham, NC

Today after visiting a parishioner at Durham Regional Hospital, our family decided we were too hungry to wait until we got home to eat dinner (our noon meal), so we needed to look for something inexpensive. I had some taste for Mexican, so we headed back down Roxboro St. and turned onto Avondale, then left into an old shopping center looking for something like that.

And we found it,
La Fontida, a hole-in-the-wall Mexican between "Chopsticks" and Big Lots. It looked like authentic Mexican, including the handwritten signs on the door advertising camerawork for baptisms and christenings. Now when you enter, it's like going into old Mexico. I thought we'd have to order in Spanish, but the menu they gave us was in English. I heard no English spoken in the restaurant except by Amanda and me. The NC Health score, which I dutifully checked, was 98.

The salsa and chips were not too good. The salsa was mostly tomato sauce with some cilantro, vinegar, and jalapeno mixed in. No chunky tomatoes or anything like that.
They had an inexpensive lunch special for $5.25. Everything for lunch was $5.25! You could order an entree if you wanted for $8 - 10 range for chicken, pork, shrimp, or steaks. They also serve Mexican-style breakfast. I saw several drinking Mexican soft drinks and cervesas that you don't see here in the US. It seems that in this area of town and with the Latin customers there, that most of their business is Spanish-speaking.

Amanda and I ordered the lunch specials -- Amanda the chicken fajitas and I the Mexican style chicken with tomatoes, onion, and jalapenos. I requested "poquito jalapenos, por favor." The meals came quickly and were steaming hot. I liked the spices, but Amanda said there was something in the spice she didn't like. Amanda's more of a fan of what she calls, "American Mexican."
I was expecting authentic Mexican, but the homemade tortillas tasted like they came from the clearance section at Food Lion.

We both ordered water with lemon, and we got water with key limes, which reminded me of the way they serve water in restaurants in Liberia. Amanda said the key limes were for margaritas. I don't know how she knows about things like that.
Luke ate the tender chicken and tortillas, and I regretted asking the waitress to go light on the jalapenos, because they really were not that hot. I ate all mine. The rice was not overly spicy, in fact, there was very little seasoning at all in it. That was helpful because the chicken was encrusted with MSG-laden spices. The sweet little waitress overcharged us 50 cents each for lunch than the sign boasted.

I do not recommend
La Fontida in Durham, NC. I've changed this post from its original since I've thought about it some more. It's located right on I-85 Exit 177 at Avondale Road/Roxboro St. in the shopping center below the Wachovia Bank next to Big Lots.