In the border town of Douglas, La Fiesta is a modest one-room cafe with especially good Sonoran-style food. Its tables are covered with red oilcloth; its placemats and napkins are plain white paper; its décor is standard-issue Mexican: sombreros, papier maché parrots and chili peppers.
The menu offers chimichangas, burros, tacos, enchiladas, and flautas, as well as a whole category of vegetarian plates, including potato tacos, cheese soup and bean soup, and green corn tamales.
The salsa that comes with chips at the beginning of the meal packs vivid chile flavor, essence of vegetable. It is fairly hot, but in a sneaky way. Its heat intensifies slowly, and by the time entrees arrive, you are sipping your horchata over your tongue to soothe it. The horchata is thick and creamy, very sweet.
Most entrees come with rice and refried beans, the beans creamy and rich with lard. We like the green chicken enchiladas, a rolled trio covered with viscous chile that has bracing tomatillo tang. The beef burro is a big one, especially good with a spill of brilliant red chile. We are less fond of chilies rellenos (really more New Mexican than Arizonan), in which the pods’ flavor is elusive and the batter around them thick. On the other hand, carne asada with green chile salsa is the southwest classic in fine fettle.