At Rosa’s, carne asada is a bold choice!

Rosa's Carne Asada Plate is bold and delicious!  Nathalie Taylor photo
Rosa’s Carne Asada Plate is bold and delicious! Nathalie Taylor photo

Nathalie Taylor
Special to the Village News

“Bold” is a word that comes to mind when I think of México. Although my only experience with the country has been from one end of Baja California to the other, I remember its boldness in natural beauty, the bold colors in architecture and signage, and the bold food. Bold is also how I would describe the first carne asada burrito that I created, then tasted, at Rosa’s Mexican Restaurant.

The words “carne asada” actually mean “grilled meat,” which doesn’t sound too interesting. However, at Rosa’s, the carne asada goes way beyond plain grilled meat. Before the meat is placed on the grill it is seasoned with salt, pepper, and “a touch of something else,” owner Leonor Vazquez said with a smile. That secret ingredient – that “touch of something else” — must be what gives it the boldness.

Leonor further explains, “This is the way we made carne asada at home.” “Home” for this hard-working, soft-spoken businesswoman was the Sonora region of México, which is known for its beef dishes. As a young girl, Leonor remembers eating carne asada on weekends when the entire family would get together.

We can’t all travel to México to discover age-old recipes, so Leonor does it for us. When she visits her family in Sonora, and her husband’s family in Monterrey, she can’t help but gather new ideas to enhance her already-zesty dishes. The food at Rosa’s is a mingling of flavors from both regions. Leonor works hard to keep her recipes authentic and traditional.

So how did they create a carne asada burrito in Sonora? It all started with a flour tortilla. Then came the layers of meat, guacamole, pico de gallo, beans, and onions. A few squeezes of lime would coax out the flavors. In Sonora, the tortilla of choice was flour. However, in Monterrey, where her husband was raised, they mainly used corn tortillas with carne asada.

Rosa’s carne asada can be ordered as an entrée, or enjoyed with burritos, tacos, tortas, and other dishes.

I ordered the carne asada as an entrée, and accompanying the dish were refried beans, rice, and grilled onions. Pico de gallo was also served with it, and was made with cilantro, tomato, onions and garlic. The pico de gallo recipe was born of the Monterrey region.

Guacamole was an important element of the carne asada plate, and at Rosa’s it is made with locally grown avocados as a base. Diced tomatoes and onions are added, along with a bit of garlic and salt. The thick, but creamy, guacamole is well-blended with a few chunks of avocado in the mix.

A garnish of orange slices and lime provided a citrus splash.

Carne asada is flavorful enough to eat alone as an entrée, but I decided to spice things up a bit and make a burrito with a flour tortilla. The first thing I did was slice the carne asada into strips, then, following Leonor’s example, layered the meat on a flour tortilla, then added guacamole, pico de gallo, refried beans, and onions. A few squeezes of lime made the flavors pop. I had made my first Sonoran-style carne asada burrito and it sparked memories of México. Yes, I could almost hear the Mariachi music or see the bold colors of Baja…

Rosa’s Mexican Restaurant is located at 1075 S. Mission Rd., “A” in Fallbrook. The telephone number is (760) 728-8006. Open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

A refreshing complement to the carne asada is the house-made Horchata, a milky rice drink with a touch of cinnamon.
A refreshing complement to the carne asada is the house-made Horchata, a milky rice drink with a touch of cinnamon.

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