- Family tradition shouldn't be abandoned, but it should evolve -- otherwise, millions of Americans would spend December in a sleigh, grinding down a Phoenix highway towards Xmas at grandmother's house. Respectfully evolving, La Fonda Del Gusto. Run by a husband/wife team, Fonda's a low price point ($2-$16) Mexican joint built into the same space the wife's aunt's resto occupied for 15 years; now revamped with multi-colored walls and five kingly elevated booths, they're serving a selection of the aunt's standbys, husband/wife collaborations and, soon, seasonal Southern-Mex "peasant food" from the husband's nonetheless well-fed youth. Aunt-grub includes classic carne asada-, barbacoa-, chicken-, chorizo-, and El Pastor-stuffed tacos, burritos, tortas, and enchiladas, plus a selection of Huaraches -- the Mexican pizza, not the Mexican sandal, because why order that when you could eat it at home? Meanwhile, the collabs are higher end, like seared red snapper w/ Veracruz sauce, shrimp sauteed in spicy tequila-lime butter, and grilled Atlantic salmon w/ roasted poblano cream; peasant grub's repped by "Albondigas de Jalisco" (savory meatballs in rich tomato/herb broth) and deep-fried quesadillas stuffed with Mexican zucchini flowers and veggies, and topped with braised pork carnitas -- or "little meats", so now you know your Spanish nickname too. As for alcohol, La Fonda is strictly BYOB -- so feel free to go crazy, because the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh.
- © Thrillist 2013