Stanton is “one of the Lost Cities of Orange County, a place so theoretically unremarkable that most lovers of food couldn’t name a single restaurant in it,” says Das Ubergeek. But here you can find Fonda La Meche. A fonda is a very specific thing: “the Mexican equivalent of a Midwestern cafe called ‘Pop’s Place,’ a place with cheap food, a step up from homestyle cooking,” explains Das Ubergeek.

Pambazo de papa y chorizo is a small bite native to Mexico City: a soft bolillo roll dipped in red chile sauce, filled with potato and spicy sausage, then pressed and grilled. La Meche’s version has a good, smoky, earthy chile sauce and surprisingly fluffy bread.

La Meche also has outstanding cecina, air-dried beef cured with salt and chiles. It satisfies some primal caveman instinct, says Das Ubergeek: “slightly salty, tough and yet tender.” Another beefy delight: mole de olla, Mexican beef stew in a pot, which has tender hunks of beef chuck and big pieces of zucchini in rich, chile-flecked bouillon. “This is the soup you want on a cold, rainy night; this is the soup you’ll crave when you’re under the weather,” says Das Ubergeek.

The true stars of this place are the tortillas. “Handmade from fresh masa, these are nearly twice as thick as supermarket tortillas, but a few shades lighter and orders of magnitude better in taste,” says Das Ubergeek. “They managed to be soft—they folded perfectly despite their unusual girth—but still toothsome.” You can buy a dozen for $3.50.

In short, “Fonda La Meche is exactly what it should be: a place to get just-like-Mami’s cooking. It isn’t fancy, it doesn’t cater to people who look like me, and the cooking is honest and straightforward,” says Das Ubergeek.

Fonda La Meche [Orange County]
7483 Katella Avenue, Stanton

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