Catalina State park, Rosa’s Mexican Restaurant — Tucson

006We have tried many Mexican restaurants in Tucson over the years and rarely remember them. Rosa’s (on East Fort Lowell at Campbell) we will remember. There’s a reason it’s been around since 1970 and why it was packed during lunch on a Monday. The food is really good and although I’m no expert, I’m told its quite authentic too. I rarely find carne seca – which I associate with the famous El Charro restaurant here – but Rosa’s made a darned good carne seca. It’s different than El Charro’s – with grilled onions and peppers that gives it a slightly different flavor and makes it a little less dry beef. The refried beans were different than others I’ve had too – starting with the color, a rose-colored red. Creamier. Good flavor. And the guacamole was also creamier, paler, more seasoning. The salsa was runny but packed a punch. Good limeade too. And tacos that have deep-fried shells. We’ll be back.

For years, we have hiked at Catalina State Park (the photo above with my son Noah and sister-in-law Heather is from around 2008, the one below with my husband is from around 2009) which has a very easy, very scenic loop through classic dessert terrain (I can still hear my mom’s voice telling us which plant is saguaro, agave, ocotillo, pale verde or cactus paddles). Sadly, a young guy from Minnesota was missing when we arrived – he hadn’t been seen since the previous morning when he set off on a solo hike. Television trucks were camped out in the parking lot and an occasional police van drove past us on the trail. A helicopter flew low above us. Last year, I hiked at the park on my own for the first time and remember being a bit nervous. I stuck to the main loop trail which has lots of hikers and ended up meeting a woman who I hiked half of the trail with. We woke up this morning to the welcome news that the hiker had surfaced north of the state park and was ok. Today returned to the park and took a four hour hike to Romano pools. Classic dessert scenery. 009


Filed under Arizona, Tucson

3 responses to “Catalina State park, Rosa’s Mexican Restaurant — Tucson

  1. Mike

    I second you on Rosa’s. Now you have to go to Desert Rain Coffee in the Oro Valley Hospital. I know that sounds less than inviting, but it’s awesome. Go before 3 (it closes) and get a latte. Tell the guy there, John, that you’re my sister.

    • betsyrubiner

      Didn’t realize at first that it was you commenting and thought “that’s crazy – mike loves that coffee place too.” we haven’t made it to the hospital coffee shop yet (should have after our grueling hike yesterday)….

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