500 Tacos: Rosie’s Tamale House

A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Rosie’s Tamale House
13436 Texas 71 W., Bee Cave (map), 512-263-5245
Hours: 6am-9:30pm Mon; 4:30pm-9:30pm Tue; 6am-9:30pm Wed-Thu; 6am-10pm Fri-Sun
Breakfast: 6am-noon daily except Tuesday
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 06.28.15
Way before the Hill Country Galleria and the subdividing of western Travis County, Rosie’s was about the only place somebody would cook breakfast for you between Austin and Lakeway. But in the 25 years I’ve been coming to Rosie’s, I’ve never had breakfast here. My family and I were always content with Velveeta enchiladas in brown chili gravy, with crispy tacos, fajitas and chips and sauce. And bringing our own cooler full of beer. The crispy taco is the same you’ve had at every other Tex-Mexican restaurant in town. So for breakfast, I’ll veer toward pastor, migas and carne guisada. How Americanized is Rosie’s? We heard George Jones, Buck Owens and “Dueling Banjos” on the PA. Yes, I’ve never had breakfast here. There’s a reason for that.
The taco: The Suicide
Authenticity is less important than abundance at Rosie’s. In that respect, the Suicide is its breakfast taco spirit animal, a sloppy conglomeration of eggs, bland breakfast sausage, greasy orange chorizo, crispy bacon, homefries and refries. The chorizo gives it a vaguely Mexican flavor, and I’ll give points for freshly scrambled eggs, but this could be a breakfast taco anywhere. In the middle of what used to be nowhere, that used to be enough. ($3.75)
 Willie’s Plate: You come to Rosie’s for Willie’s Plate, named for the Mr. Nelson in all of us: A brown gravy beef enchilada, guacamole on shredded lettuce, a pool of queso and a beef taco with a crispy shell from a box. It’s a song you never get tired of hearing. ($9.65)
 Three more for breakfast: Rosie’s is the kind of place where people talk about chicken-fried steak more than tamales. The mid-America brown gravy comfort of carne guisada plays into that same conversation, with beef tips that’d be at home next to mashed potatoes as easily as a flour tortilla ($3). Expect no Tex-Mex spark from migas here, just scrambled eggs and yellow cheese with damp corn tortillas sprinkled with tomato and jalapeño for very little show and even less go ($3.50). The al pastor was worst of all, like yesterday’s stiff pork chop painted as orange as Chinese barbecue ($2.75).
 Tortillas: Boilerplate commercial flour and doubled-up white corn tortillas from bag to plate.
 Salsa: Rosie’s red sauce tastes like you put a can of tomatoes, some garlic salt and jalapeño juice in a blender. No matter. I’ve eaten gallons of it over the years.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)