Mexican with the Best Atmosphere in Santa Rosa


La Rosa Tequileria & Grille


Everyone who has lived any time in Santa Rosa knows of this restaurant. It is located in the square downtown and has the best dinner atmosphere of any Mexican restaurant in Santa Rosa and beyond. It is one of those places I think of as “special” to go to. It is perfect as a “date night” with someone special, as well as a great meet up place for friends to drink and party.


3I was sitting there in my booth looking out onto the square with the fresh breeze of the evening gently meandering throughout the dining area. I am sampling one of the “finest”of  their tequilas and thinking to myself, “It just doesn’t get better than this”.





As the name indicates, this Mexican restaurant specializes in TEQUILA. There are several combo tequila shooters you can try to make a choice from. Beware… by the 3rd shot are ya really tasting the essence of the liquid gold anymore? No matter, you are sure to have a good time at this place. bar_5


1The food is as special as the tequila. It’s Mexican with Sonoma County culinary twists to it. By that I mean it’s gourmet, and it tastes great. . My plate was a pork loin something-or-the-other. It was TASTY.

Here is the Dinner Menu.

Grab your best bud, plan your next family brunch, or just go alone and sit at the bar and see what happens! Just check this place out. It will remain on your list of special places to dine  in the city of Santa Rosa.

And by the way…NOT the best chips and salsa. I guess my quest still remains at large!



Best Salsa in Santa Rosa!


Los Arcos Mexican Taqueria

This is this restaurant’s motto:

“We feature items that will please all kinds of people.  From super healthy to lavishly good for your taste buds.”

And it’s true. This place has that combination of offerings that satisfy even the vegans. Veggies are yummy, but sad to say I never go out for Mexican searching for “healthy”, or “low-fat”. I am looking for flavor, all the time.

So what did I get? Actually something I don’t find all the time, nor was it on the menu, French Fry Nachos! At least that is what I call it.

Check out their website.


Image from Los Arcos Website

They advertise this gigantor burrito.

Prices are great, and best yet, they have THE BEST tasting SALSA I have found in Santa Rosa!

They are located in the Marlow Market Plaza at 1791 Marlow Rd, cross street Guerneville.

Check out their breakfasts. Awesome!

Thank you Chris for your hospitality. You are a great cook.

A Review of El Charro Restaurant


1El Charro Mexican Restaurant is located at 1529 Farmers Ln in Santa Rosa. It is across the street from Johnney Garlics in the corner of the strip mall. This place is always busy. I think the biggest attraction is the “FULL BAR”.





3The menu is extensive with lots of wonderful images of their food. There is breakfast, lunch, and dinner offered.






2The atmosphere is OK. It’s a little between a taqueria  and a full sit down dinner place, but with a sit down bar. The seating is comfortable. The place is clean, and the service is good if it’s not too busy. Have 2 margaritas while you wait so frustration doesn’t get the best of you.





4Now you might be asking… gee Annie, what did you think of the food? Well,  I have been to this place 4 times now, and I have had something different each time. I am not raving about it and I am not bashing it. I thought the best part were the chips and salsa. I had a chile relleno burrito, and it was just so, so.





Will I go back? Yes! It is close to my house and I like the bar atmosphere. It’s like I’m on a real date with my husband without having to spend too much.

So there ya go. Try it and let me know what you think.

Next week I am going to review a little joint over across town on Marlow Road called Los Arcos. Come back to see what I have to say about this “healthy” Mexican restaurant choice.

Chili Pepper Recipes Part 2


Anaheim Chiles

Baked Chili Rellenos


chili rellano


Guajillo Chiles

Guajillo Chili Sauce




Ancho Chiles

Ancho Chipolte Turkey Chili




Puya Chiles

White Bean and Onion Soup with Puya Chili Oil Croutons


onion soup


Serrano Chiles

Serrano Chile Salsa Verde


salsa verde


Enjoy your chili peppers!



Chili Pepper Recipes Part 1


I wanted to follow up my previous post with some practical recipes using some common Mexican Chiles.

Chiles de Arbol



chiles de arbol


Jalapeno Chiles

Smoked Gouda Chorizo Jalapeno Poppers


stuffed jalapenos


Cascabels Chiles

Cascabel Chile Tomato Sauce




Habanero Chiles

Smack My Ass Shrimp Scampi




Poblano or Chile Ancho

Poblanos Stuffed Cheddar Chicken




Pasilla Chiles

Chicken Tortilla Soup


tortilla soup


Follow the next post for some more great Mexican chile recipes.

Got Peppers?


Chile Peppers are a staple in Mexican cooking.

It is the fruit of the plant Capsicum.

Have you ever been working with chilies and your skin begins to burn? Use diluted bleach to wipe away the pain.

How about cooling the mouth off after eating a spicy chili? Drink tomato juice, lemon water, or milk. The acids counteract the alkalinity of the capsaicin.

Let’s review the 12 most essential chili peppers used in Mexican cooking. Lola’s Market in Santa Rosa will have all these chilies and more.


Chiles de Arbol

chilies de arbol

  • heat index 15,000-30,000 Scoville units
  • primarily used in powdered form to make sauces, but can also be used in soups and stews.



jalapeno pepper

  • heat index 2,500–10,000 Scoville Units
  • most widely used chile pepper



cascabel pepper

  • heat index 1,000-3,000 Scoville units
  • Cascabel is perfect for adding a touch of heat to soups, salsas, stews and sauces



habanero pepper

  • heat index 100,000–350,000 Scoville units
  • often the main ingredients in bottled hot sauces



poblano pepper

  • heat index 1,000-2,000 Scoville units
  • commonly used in mole sauces, dried, it is called a chile ancho



pasilla pepper

  • heat index 250-4,000 Scoville units
  • great with fruits, duck, seafood, lamb, mushrooms, garlic, fennel, honey or oregano


anaheim chili

  • heat index 500-2,500 Scoville units
  • called the California or Magdalena chili
  • commonly used in salsas, and can be roasted and stuffed to make rellenos



guajillo pepper

  • heat index 2,500-5,000 Scoville units
  • used in pastes, butters or rubs to flavor all kinds of meats, especially chicken
  • used to make the salsa for a sweet taste with a surprisingly hot finish



ancho chili

  • heat index 1,000-2,000 Scoville units
  • Ancho along with Pasilla and Guajillo make up the “holy trinity” widely used in mole sauces



puya chili

  • heat index 5,000-8,000 Scoville units
  • great pureed, mashed or diced, and then made into a sauce



serrano chili

  • heat index 5,000-25,000 Scoville units
  • a very meaty pepper and is not suitable for drying
  • perfect for salsas, sauces, relishes, garnishes
  • A smaller version of the jalapeno


Join me next week when I will give away recipes using each of these chiles. Stay tuned!

Review of LA PLAZA Mexican Restaurant



Say you are on the south side of Santa Rosa and its lunch time. Hungry for Mexican food? No problem. I am going to recommend you try LA PLAZA. And by the way it’s good for breakfast and dinner too.

The general feel of the place is casual sit down as well as take out. insideAnd OMG! I’m just reading the menu and there is drive-thru to boot. Warning! Ya better know what you want before sashaying up to the drive-thru because there is A LOT on the menu. Check out the menu.

foodI happened to have had the chicken chimi and the quality of the shredded chicken was awesome, and there was plenty of it. They give you complimentary chips and salsa, nothing to write home about, but tasty.

This is the second Mexican joint I have been to that has eliminated there soda fountain service. Price of soda must be going up!

As a head’s up this place is on the left side of Santa Rosa Ave south of Bed, Bath, and Beyond shopping area. Take the Hearn/Yolanda exit.


Fastest, Cheapest, and Tastiest Mexican Meal Ever!

taco burger

Taco Burgers

I couldn’t possibly have this blog and NOT share one of the most popular meals I have ever had in my arsenal of 20 minute dinners. And…it’s Mexican, sort of. Think of it like a Sloppy Joe south of the border. Back when I lived in Corona in So Cal I went to Del Taco , much like Taco Bell but better. Back in the 80’s Del Taco  served the “Taco Burger”. This recipe was inspired by that meal.

These are the ingredients:

  • hamburger
  • onion
  • taco seasoning
  • hamburger buns
  • taco bell sauce (please don’t use anything else!)
  • Velveeta cheese slices
  • shredded lettuce (only shredded will do, just buy the bag kind if you are not up for shredding.)

Cook up your taco meat with the onion and taco seasoning. Get all your fix-ins ready to assemble.


wax paper

Take a piece of wax paper large enough to wrap the bun in. Assemble all the parts, taco meat on bottom, then taco bell sauce, a slice of cheese, then the lettuce. Wrap the whole burger up tight in the wax paper. Then put the burger in the microwave for 30-40 secs and wait about 5 minutes before you eat it. YUM! You will want another so prepare for that reality.

This is one of those meals that people will not forget. They will be going…”Can you make those like Taco Bell burger things with the lettuce”.

Puerto Vallarta Mexican Restaurant Review


puerta vallarta menu cover

I have lived in Santa Rosa for 3 years now and I have driven by this restaurant many times with the notion I would try it out one day. Well that day is today and I am here to say that maybe there was a reason I didn’t get around to checking this place out.

Let’s concentrate on the good first. It’s easy to get to. It is located in northern Santa Rosa close to the Kohls at 3333 Cleveland Ave. There is plenty of parking in the back, and it is next door to Trader Joe’s. They have a full bar, and an extensive menu with lots of fish choices.

Now for the bad. Yucky chips, and OK with a big K on the salsa. I ordered  an ala carte taco which was inline with what you would get in a grade school cafeteria. The Chili Relleno was OK but my favorite dinner item was the albondigas soup.

albondigas soupIt was homeade with big chucks of carrot and tasty meatballs. On the side they served diced raw onions , cilantro and lime wedges. It was a very large helping and if I am in the area I would not hesitate to drop in for a takeout of this meal size soup. Especially on a cold rainy day!

The atmosphere was less than desirable, and the service matched that. I rate this Mexican restaurant experience a 4 out of 10.

Mexican Candy. Sweet, salty and spicy!


mexican fiesta

Mexican Candy has a unique combination of flavors. Sweetness of sugar and hotness of chili are often combined to produce a flavor different from anything else. The super sugary, gooey, and sweet American traditional candy flavors are not as typical in Mexico. For example, where in the US would you find corn flavored candy? It certainly is not an ingredient in “candy corn”.

Despite the “strange” ingredients, Mexican candy is mostly made by the Vero Mexican Candy Co, and is becoming an important and popular international export product. Among the highest in demand is candy made with Tamarind.

tamarind fruit

Tamarind Fruit Pod

Lollipops are enormously popular in Mexico. They can range from the traditional fruity and sweet to savory and spicy. They often will combine the two where the first initial taste is hot followed by a cooler sweeter flavor. The experience of eating this type of candy can bring on various reactions.

The following video is a lengthy but good demonstration of Mexico’s most popular candies.

Follow me next week as we go back on the road for another Mexican Restaurant critique.