Road Food: La Fonda

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I spent the weekend across the border at La Fonda—the famed Baja beachside hideaway and the fortuitous location of a friend’s wedding. This was my first visit, and won’t be my last. Not so much for the charming, no-frills hotel—perched on the cliffs above a wide, sandy beach somewhere between Rosarito and Ensenada—as for its restaurant. Known mostly for moonshine tequila (poured liberally) and a ridiculous buffet brunch (banana pancakes and meatballs—together at last), this place does everything right.

Sure, a fresh sunburn and $3 margaritas that can take off your arm hair can skew one’s perspective. But there’s no denying flaky-fresh flour tortilla chips, carnitas and strip steak slow-smoked in the parking lot, hand pressed corn torillas, a brutally unforgiving use of heat and spice, and a sexually suggestive banana daiquiri garnish (see below). This is the closest I’ve found to the best of L.A.’s taco truck cuisine, with a waaay better view.

The trip is an easy three-hour drive down, but nothing kills a good mescal buzz like that two-hour wait at the border on the return (not to mention some sand-flea bites I still suspect could be from a small dog). Still, for Mexican food this good, I’ll be back.