My wife and I recently drove to the Houston area a few weeks back for the high school graduation of one of my nephews. Well, he was actually home-schooled, so there were only five graduates. It was however, a very stirring and heart-felt event with the parents (teachers!) of each child giving insight as to the experience of teaching their own children. All of these kids are models of good upbringing and Christian values and we could use more like them to tackle the messed up future they will surely inherit…but I digress.
On the drive out, we kept our eyes peeled for Mexican restaurants and spotted several along the way that seemed interesting. Driving back at around 2pm, we were certainly getting hungry.
With a Mexican produce market adjacent to the restaurant, we stopped at Julio’s in Rosewood because the place looked authentic, which peaked our interest.
Early afternoon is a slower period for most restaurants and we were quickly seated with chips and hot sauce served almost immediately. The chips were thin and very crispy. They were served with two salsas – a green, almost creamy avocado with just a hint of spice. This was served chilled while the second salsa was warm with a smoky tomato flavor and more kick.
I scanned the menu in the hope of finding a single order where I might be able to sample several items – after all, when am I going to be in Rosewood again? A combo plate is the obvious choice so I ordered one with a crispy taco, enchilada and a tamal but I also asked for a half order of nachos – one of my favorites. I also ordered extra corn tortillas and BJ ordered ‘Leon’s Quesadilla.’
I like quesadillas, but don’t order them often these days since everybody makes them and they are fairly difficult to screw up.
The nachos arrived and I was surprised to see that they had spread refried beans on each chip, but then poured a liquid-queso on them for the ‘cheese’ part – not the way I like my nachos. Yes, the queso was tasty and these were better than the kind of nachos you’ll find at any ball park, but not by too much. If you’re going to dress each chip with beans, take the time to put some shredded cheddar on each one and then bake them. This seemed an unnecessary shortcut for a good Mexican restaurant.
My taco arrived while I was still working on my nachos. It had plenty of lettuce, tomato and cheese and the ground beef was seasoned well. The second plate came with plenty of chili con carne and cheese smothering a single enchilada and a tamale and I used the extra corn tortillas to scoop up the gravy. The enchilada was good. The tamal was okay except that there wasn’t enough filling. The outer layer was quite thick and while some people probably like them that way, to me the filling is the whole point. The outer portion is almost a container – like with link sausage.
The interesting thing was that BJ’s chicken quesadillas looked like an order of soft tacos. There were three flour tortillas folded over into individual sized quesadillas with home made flour tortillas which were cooked the same as you’d prepare a traditional quesadilla. In sampling this, I was taken back by how good the chicken was – it had a very nice smoky flavor that stood out even with the various salsas and toppings added – they were delicious.
So if you ever find yourself passing through Rosewood with the urge for some Mexican food, Leon’s Quesadillas at Julio’s would certainly be my recommendation.