Rosita’s is a friendly sit-down cafe with festive south-of-the-border décor. It is a small place with a small kitchen and every dish is made from scratch, so there will be a wait for your meal. Appetizer corn chips are quite amazing, nearly as three-dimensional as a sopaipilla, fried so they puff up and become airy triangles with fragile skin. An order arrives almost too hot to handle; they come plain or as the foundation for the house specialty called panchos – a circle of chips topped with frijoles, melted cheese, guacamole, and jalapenos. Panchos are like nachos, but the chips’ refined texture and their perfect poise between breakable and bendable give panchos character far more satisfying than any bar grub.
The same quick-fry technique makes Rosita’s taco shells an ideal crispy-chewy wrap for beef or chicken with plenty of garnishes; flat tostadas are made the same way; and even taco salad includes the fine, fluffy chips.
Proprietor Rosemary Florez-Lerma credits her mother-in-law with the recipes that make Rosita’s food stand out in an area with an abundance of Mexican restaurants (legacy of field workers who came to pick beets). The cinnabar-red, garlic-charged salsa that starts every meal and chunky pico de gallo that dresses up any dish with a stunning spicy punch are especially memorable. If you arrive nursing a hangover, be sure to avail yourself of Rosita’s garlicky menudo – the sure cure, according to folklore. It is thick with puffs of posole and strips of tripe, sparkling with fresh-squeezed lemon. It’s great stuff; even if your head isn’t throbbing, chances are it will make you feel better.
(Rosita’s has a 2nd location in Scottsbluff at 710 W. 27th)