The Menudo at La Fondita is some of the best I've had anywhere. It's on par with Lolita's in Petaluma, which says a bunch in my book.
It was ten in the morning on a Sunday, and I just got through canvasing the Sebastopol Flea Market for the last 2 1/2 hours and my stomach was talking to me. So I started cruising Sebastopol Road looking for a Taco Truck that might be serving Menudo. I spotted one and asked if they had Menudo this morning, the young lady said no then pointed to a restaurant not 30 yards away and said they had some.
I was greeted by another smiling young lady, and I asked for a bowl of Menudo and Horchata. Shortly I was given my Horchata, bowl of warm chips, warm refried beans with some cheese, and some red salsas. While I sat there enjoying the above average Horchata and chips I heard a slapping sound, and could see the head of a elderly woman who seemed to be swaying with the slapping sound, ahh there maybe something very good to come.
And there was. My bowl of Menudo arrived within five minutes with the usual accompaniments one expects, but does not always receive. Chopped onion and cilantro, wedge of lime, oregano, and of course corn tortillas. First thing I noticed was the deep rich red color with a slight amount of grease on the surface, this is a good start. Spooning through it I noticed the tripe is all honeycomb, excellent. There was also a small bone, and a few bite size pieces of tendon. I tasted a small sample and decided that most of the lime, onion and cilantro would be added, along with a small amount of oregano. Unlike other Mexican foods, I don't like my Menudo too fiery and did not add any heat. This Menudo not only look good, but was. The broth was rich, luscious, had that whole mouth feel that only comes from long slow cooking with items that contain lots of collagen, like pigs feet or calves hooves. Lots of chilies must have been used too. The use of 100% honeycomb tripe tells me they all about quality, nice and slightly chewy that's not too tough like you got a piece of grizzle, and not too soft that it's a soggy mess that slides down by itself. This is some of the best I've had, if not the best. I hope they can do this consistently, this being my first time here.
What made the Menudo even more enjoyable was the corn tortillas. Light, tender, and puffy like pita bread, what a delight. I asked my waitress if they were made in house and the reply was yes. I should have asked if they were made by hand as I suspected, regardless they were great.
Things were going so well I thought I should get something to take home. I would have liked to get a couple of Al Pastor tacos but they don't travel well, so I asked for a Al Pastor burrito, they had none, Carnitas then, that they could do.
I finished my meal, paid the lady $16 plus tip and made my way home feeling pretty good knowing I had found one more Mexican restaurant where I could get Menudo up to my standards.
What I did not know was the burrito was a real disappointment. The proportions were way off, tons of rice, not enough refried beans, and very little Carnitas. What meat was pretty tasty, and might have been good on a plate. Well that's ok, I'll be going back for only the Menudo.
707 526 0881
816 Sebastopol Rd
Santa Rosa, CA 95407
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