The last time I saw Santa Rosa was in the rear-view mirror as I left in 2019, the air acrid and yellow from a huge wildfire that triggered evacuations on all sides of our neighborhood. So it’s with excitement and a little trepidation I’m returning three years later to scope out what’s changed, what’s stayed the same and what might just not exist anymore.

The first thing I notice is the heat. If the Bay Area’s thermostat is at 6, Santa Rosa’s always seems cranked up to 9. The second is that most of my favorite haunts are still kicking, minus a couple (farewell, Local Barrel and your generous bingo nights) and plus one major addition for Mexican-food lovers.

Mitote Food Park bills itself as the “very first Mexican food park in Northern California.” It’s located in Roseland, a historically Latino neighborhood where vivid murals decorate the buildings, and parades of VW bugs and tricked-out pickups sometimes take over the main drag.

“Roseland is an area that’s been basically on the back burner for the city of Santa Rosa,” says Octavio Diaz, a main partner at Mitote whose family owns several restaurants, including Agave Uptown in Oakland. “Predominantly, it’s Latino and minority-owned and rented homes. The high population is driven by Latino businesses and Mexican markets and food trucks and little shops.”

On any given day, half a dozen or more food trucks are circled at Mitote, each highlighting cuisine from different states, from the Yucatan to Jalisco and Michoacan. It’s an eye-opener for people looking to expand beyond the usual asada and pollo tacos.

Lucha Sabina’s Luz Torres delivers an order of tacos to customers at Santa Rosa’s Mitote Food Park. The food truck offers a dozen different taco varieties, plus quesadillas, molotas, tortas and more. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group) 

The molotes from Maria Machetes, for example, the Diaz family’s food truck devoted to Oaxacan food, are fried pastries filled with potatoes and chorizo doused in an intensely earthy red sauce. It’s like Mexican samosas, savory and spicy and almost saved from being a gut bomb with a snowfall of fresh sprouts. Other trucks specialize in mushroom dishes, churros, birria and quesadillas that appeal to both meat lovers – there’s deshebrada, a shredded beef akin to ropa vieja – and vegetarians, with fillings of huitlacoche, nopales and flor de calabaza.

I grab a deliciously unhealthy cup of esquites, piping-hot corn kernels topped with …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

      

The best things to do in Santa Rosa in 2022 include a new Mexican food-truck park

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