When I used to work in Kensington for a real estate company back in the late 1990's, my broker used to rave about Ponce's Mexican Restaurant. Next to DiMille's Italian, Ponce's was his go-to spot for lunch. So, yeah.... basically it took me about 11 years to actually visit the restaurant that has been there since 1969.
When a former student leader and friend, Edward, visited us from Pittsburgh, PA, we decided to have a weekday lunch at Ponce's. We were excited to catch up with Ed. We were the first to arrive for lunch as the tables were empty. Rosa [found her pic on the website] greeted us and immediately showed us to our table. She was very friendly as if she was welcoming us in her home for lunch.
We started off with complimentary bowls of fresh tortilla chips and red & green salsa. We ordered a couple sides of guacamole [$5.50] to start to pair up with the chips.
The guacamole was very creamy and was garnished with a little cotija cheese. It was really good and had a nice, fresh avocado flavor.
[Edward's action shot of him 'dipping']
It was a cold winter day, so to warm me up, I ordered a cup of their albondigas (meatball) soup [$2.95]. My friend, Jennifer, got me interested in albondigas soup years ago after I ordered my first one at Marietta's in La Mesa. It felt like a meatball soup day.
My cup of albondigas soup arrived steaming hot. You can tell a little bit from the picture that it was steaming. The broth was perfect, not too overwhelming with the taste of spice and the flavors were very subtle. I loved every sip, slurp, bite, etc. of this soup. The meatballs were juicy and flavorful. Next time I come here, I'm ordering a bowl just for little ol' me. It was absolutely delicious. I prefer this albondigas over Marietta's and Miguel's, which I find both a bit spicy for my taste.
I took advantage of their great lunch specials [no more than $7.95] and ordered Lunch Special #3.... chicken enchilada topped with sour cream, rice and beans [$6.95]. The number #3 is the only plate that came with both rice and beans since the other lunch specials came with two items, as opposed to my one chicken enchilada.
Holy guacamole. My plate was fairly large in portion and I was happy. Ohhhh, the chicken enchilada was covered in their mild enchilada sauce and melted cheddar cheese, which I absolutely LOVED. It was so yummy. The rice was fluffy and the beans were cooked to the way I like it.... creamy. I love creamy beans from Mexican restaurants. Writing about this makes me want to get up and go to Ponce's, which I just may do after I talk about dessert.....
We ordered bunuelos with vanilla ice cream [$4.95] to share to satisfy our sweet craving after a very savory lunch. Bunuelos is a fried tortilla dusted with cinnamon and sugar. They drizzled sticky honey on top to add more sweetness. The bunuelos itself appeared to be pre-fried, so it was not crispy as much as I wanted it to be. I ate the vanilla ice cream instead, which is my favorite simple ice cream flavor.
My tummy was full and happy after our lunch with Edward, who is doing very well in law school over yonder. I was excited to hear about his food experience at Primanti Brothers because those sandwiches look like a deliciously sinful treat that I will one day enjoy if I make it to Pittsburgh.
Another new restaurant was on the books and I immediately tweeted about Ponce's the minute we stepped out of the restaurant. Thanks, Ponce's, for delivering the best albondigas soup in town and a pretty darn good enchilada sauce.