UPDATE 2012: CLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS
UPDATE: Jorge, owner of La Fonda Boricua was on Bobby Flay's Throwdown for Arroz Con Pollo and won!
Last night I dropped into a favorite spot: La Fonda Boricua. La Fonda features the kind of home-style PR cooking I imagine my abuela would make, if I had an abela and not a bubby. There is no printed menu, just what they have that day although they usually have the same stuff: stews, baked meats, seafood salads, rice, and beans.
When I go, I usually sit at the long blond wood bar, listen as regulars wander in, say a quick “Hola”, order some flan to go, or get their pork, beans and rice and sprinkle some home-made hot sauce over the top. (But only a capful at a time, it’s that hot. When asked, the owner Jorge tells me that the sauce is mostly water, a little white vinegar, a few kinds of chile peppers, whole peppercorns, and garlic). A stream of servers carrying large pots filled with savory stews of pork, beef, goat, and oxtail make their way to the front window, where food is placed in hot trays for any passing patron to see. (I had a taste of C.’s oxtail last night; tender, fatty, a little spicy, delicioso!)
I usually get an order of beans with rice and an avocado salad I saw another patron order once that of course is not even on the verbal menu. They use the larger, smooth-skinned, and bright green variety that have a bit of sweetness to them. I don’t know how they do it but their avocados are always perfectly ripe, I mean perfect! The beans are vegetarian and they usually have five or six kinds per day. The kitchen is right in back, a semi-open affair, always with sacks of rice waiting to be opened and cooked. They make the rice the way I preferred it as a child: with lots of butter, so each grain is shiny with greasy goodness.
The beans, I prefer the red variety, are probably made with some industrial/commercial grade adobo; I’ve never asked about the specific seasoning. Yup, the queen of getting every ingredient listed never asked for the full ingredients. After they told me the beans were vegetarian and in a tomato based sauce with spices, I just ate them! And I haven't had a problem thus far.
La Fonda Boricua is not a long dining experience, it’s more of an order, eat, and leave but it’s always yummy.