Café de Olla
Cerdo en Verde
Tortas de Carne
Refritos con Huevo
Costillas de Res a la Parrilla
Located far from the tourist sector, about three-quarters the distance from Condesa to Museo Frida Kahlo, there is no doubt that some of Fonda Margarita’s fame is due to Anthony Bourdain’s spotlight during an episode of No Reservations, but for those arriving to the small Colonia del Valle Cafeteria the rewards far outweigh any inconvenience of getting there or waiting, the space packed with locals for nearly fifty years turning out the sort of food one simply cannot find in kitchens constrained by the Department of Health Stateside.
Truly a ‘no reservations’ space, patrons arriving to a line of varying length and jostling for seats at large communal tables in an orderly fashion each time a previous party departs, it was just prior to 8:30 Thursday morning that a party of two arrived to partake in the daily rotating menu displayed above the line of clay cazuelas filled with simmering Meats.
Decorated sparsely in Icons and statues, a guitarist and singer performing traditional tunes for tips just inside the door, it was next to an unexpectedly English-fluent local couple that seats were located soon after entering and with only two servers acting as busser, server and cashier a short wait with dirty plates in place commenced, a wet rag soon used to clear the table just prior to taking orders including a few every-day items plus two of the daily stews that are only offered in limited quantities.
Featuring half-orders of most dishes, the ability to try several different items welcomed at such a low cost, it was with flames blazing that several women and men worked with fervor scooping, flipping and plating items immediately as the server placed his order verbally, the Cinnamon –laced Café de Olla, tap Water and ceramic dish of smoky Salsa soon joined by three half-orders plus a full two-egg omelet formed with mashed Black Beans and aromatic spices that was great on its own and even better with a splash of Poblano Peppers on a warm Tortilla Shell.
Cash only for obvious reasons, the idea of ‘technology’ saved for little but the lightbulbs at Fonda Margarita, it was with bowls of Green and Red that the menu progressed alongside bone-in Rib flaps grilled to juicy tenderness, her Pork in fragrant Tomatillo Sauce with the faint taste of Anise full of melted fat while his Tortas de Carne ate something like Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage in texture with the flavor profile dominated by Onions, Garlic and Tomatoes.
Thoroughly impressed by the idea of such a place, quite the departure from the Pujols, Bikos and Dulce Patrias of the trip, it was with three freshly fried Churros that the meal came to an end, each crispy doughnut priced at just under one USDollar heavily strewn in Cinnamon and Sugar after being fried in Pig Fat every bit as those at El Moro making for one fine ending to the meal.