Hola amigos hoy es de 10 de mayo. (Translation, Hello friends, today is May 10th). And that means just a few days ago was Cinco de Mayo, which for many is a great reason to get in touch with their inner Mexican food (and drink) loving selves. And. Well. Who are we to buck tradition and refuse an excuse to sample a little something south of the border, on the eastern end of Front St? Plus as luck and good timing would have it, May 5th also marked the FIRST day that the newly renovated porch at Rosa's would be opening. Win! Win!
First the newly refinished porch
Previously, yeah Rosa's had a porch, but it for some reason it took an effort to go outside and the diners’ conversation kind of went like “if you really want to opt for al fresco dining then ok…we can go outside.” In short, it was an option, but not the most welcome in some opinions. But the new porch is a bright, airy and fresh extension to the restaurant. The dark wood railings make you feel safe and enclosed while the aptly spaced columns allow the natural light to flow. The rustic natural-wood-look tile and the cool hanging lights all add to the feeling of bringing the outside in. In short, a successful renovation that will be a popular option for Rosa's diners.
Now the food.
Fitting for the occasion, Rosa's were offering up a special menu add to that, to compliment the new porch, they were also featuring new menu items (this day kept getting better). We spent a bit of time pouring over these and came up with a few delicious sharing options.
Mango Guacamole with Rosa's Traditional Nachos
The flavours of this freshly made guac played together harmoniously…lightly salted avocado with hints of red onion, cilantro and lime, while the mango provided a sweet accent to a usual all time favourite. Though this first appetizer was gone with a quickness and thoroughly enjoyed, the one thing missing was a touch of jalapeño heat. (though that may be a personal preference)
Simply put, the special barbacoa tacos were good! Soft shell tacos covered with spicy, slow-cooked beef topped with shredded lettuce and cheese. The hard shell tacos might be a better choice as the soft tortillas didn't stand up that well to the plentiful toppings, making these a bit messy to eat (a fork was required).
Southwestern Egg Rolls
A brand new Cinco de Mayo special menu item, probably partially influenced by sister restaurant, Chopsticks fusion. (So new in fact that our server had to check with the kitchen for the description) A deep fried egg roll wrapper, filled with black beans, corn, onions cheese and a good amount of chili spice. A fun and flavourful appetizer that did not need the dipping sauce that came with it…a chipotle aioli (I think) that didn’t quite hit the mark.
A sharing portion of bite sized treats filled with chicken and cream cheese, served with sour cream for dipping. Oh and did we mention cheese…because there is plenty of it on the inside. If you end up being the one ordering this appetizer, with a table of friends, you won’t go wrong. These are on the regular menu so you'll have plenty of time to order them.
Kara (who is responsible for the Kara’s Kitchen portion of the menu) advised us to save a bit of room for the Texas Brownie that was coming next. And when it did, the trio at our table fell silent, while the little girl the next seat over sat there wide eyed, all of us in absolute awe. (read the description slowly for effect) A Texas-sized, warm, rich, chocolate fudge brownie covered with ice cream, whipped cream and sprinkles. If you go to Rosa's with a friend or two who remotely likes any of the aforementioned items, you will be doing yourself a disservice if you do not experience this dessert.
Seeing as how they were the winners of the 2015 Fish Sandwich competition, they had multiple successful competitors in the 2015 and 2016 City Food Festival Chef Competitions, there's a new menu, a new porch and talented, friendly staff…there seems to be a lot of good energy at Rosa's these days. And the best part about it is, they aren’t settling. They are constantly tweaking and steadily improving on what already was a good thing. (more changes/updates are on the way) For family friendly dining, a night out with friends or a casual lunch or dinner Rosa's completely fits the bill, and with the range of options on the menu, you cannot make just one visit. Safe bet, we’ll be back…soon!!