A Mexican fiesta

. January 25, 2013.
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La Fuente
1930 Whittaker Road
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
Phone: 734-961-6644
Fax: 734-961-6646
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am-10pm;
Fri 11am-11pm; Sat noon – 11pm; Sun noon-9pm

La Fuente Mexican restaurant is located in an unassuming strip mall off Whittaker Road in Ypsilanti. Thus, my family of four was pleasantly surprised by its interior when we walked in on a recent Friday night. Large and open, La Fuente boasts tables, booths, parrots dangling from the ceiling, floors covered by Mexican tile and walls adorned with Mexican beer signs.

I felt like I had arrived at a Mexican street market, or at least, the Mexican pavilion at Walt Disney World. My son, seven, had a similar reaction. “This looks like Grandma’s house in Las Vegas!”

A festive atmosphere

The booths were inviting, covered by mini-roofs with terracotta tiles. However, they were all taken, so we sat at a table. “Booths are way more comfy,” my son complained. “I’m not even relaxed!” I laughed. And we stayed put. We perused the menu while we waited for chips and salsa. There were 30 combination platters and nearly 50 specials including fajitas, quesadillas and sides. Combination plates were priced at $9.50 while specials ranged from $9 to $17. 

Generous portions packed with flavor “It’s all the same food,” commented my husband, as we tried to decide between tacos, chalupas and more. “Just different packaging.” 

I settled on the Burrito A La Porky, a giant burrito stuffed with rice, beans, pork and cheese covered with green sauce. My husband chose the chicken chimichanga special, two tortillas filled with chicken and beans, deep fried, then topped with lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream and guacamole.

My four-year-old daughter selected a child’s plate for $5 (drink not included). A burrito, taco, enchilada or quesadilla were options along with a cheeseburger or chicken fingers, the two latter items were my son and daughter’s choices.

Hunger pains

By now, everyone around us had gotten chips and salsa, but we were still waiting. Maybe this was testament to La Fuente’s busyness.
In any case, we were hungry. My son brought out his Magic 8 Ball and queried it. “Will we get chips soon?” “Don’t bet on it,” the 8 Ball answered.

We eventually flagged down our server for chips. They arrived warm, crunchy, served with plenty of salsa brimming with onion, cilantro and spices. We got a second basket quickly, too, after we finished the first.

Our food arrived shortly. I loved the crunchy, crispy ends of the pork in my burrito, which had nice proportions of rice, beans and meat. Its green sauce was spicy, yet not too hot. I took home half of my giant portion for lunch the next day. My husband’s meal was no match for his appetite, though. Both chimichangas, which he declared “not bad”, were devoured in no time. He even made it through the generous helpings of sour cream and guacamole that adorned his meal.

What about the kids? They were happy with their burger and chicken fingers, even if not culturally broadening dining selections! Despite an inordinate wait for
chips and salsa, overall, La Fuente delivered good Mexican food in a fun, busy atmosphere.

THE SHORT COURSE
Kid-friendly
Yes
To avoid wait Go early on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s a big restaurant, though, so, even arriving later, you shouldn’t wait long.
Noise level High
Bathroom amenities Men’s and women’s restrooms do not have changing stations
High chairs Yes
Got milk Yes
Kids’ menu Yes
Anything healthy for kids Stay away from fried or refried choices. (Pay no attention to what I ordered my kids!)
Food allergy concerns The restaurant cannot guarantee whether ingredients from outside sources are nut-free. As always, call ahead with specific questions.

Katy M. Clark is a freelance writer from Saline.