For some reason, or reasons - maybe I've just been too busy - it has been YEARS since I've paid a visit to Morenita Market and Taqueria, located on Douglas Blvd. in Roseville, CA. I got up on this beautiful Saturday in November, and decided to do the right thing... and I paid a visit to Morenita Market and Taqueria, to enjoy an outstanding brunch of authentic Mexican cuisine.
As with all restaurant reviews I publish, I have no affiliation with the restaurant reviewed, and there is no monetary gain on my part, as I am simply a person who likes to eat, and I love to write-up, and publish my dining experiences.
Photo: Early Saturday afternoon, November 23, 2019, I paid a visit to Morenita Market and Taqueria, located on Douglas Blvd., in Roseville, CA.
The restaurant is under new ownership since my last visit, nearly five years ago, and has undergone significant changes. Gone is the "Tijuana loncheria" atmosphere, for a more, "upscale" atmosphere. It's a very different dining experience today than I've enjoyed in previous visits, but like life... everything is dynamic.
Photo: As you enter the restaurant, you'll see a few offerings of snacks, and other offerings, but your attention will be directed to the counter, where you place your order. You can still grab a beer or a soda from the cooler, and the bottle opener is still on the wall, as it was "back in the day," the last time I visited.
Morenita Market and Taqueria operates in what I call the "taqueria format," as you make your choice from the menu, pay for it at the counter, take your seat anywhere you choose, and when your order is ready, it will be brought to you. In the case of this fine restaurant, your order will be brought to you with a smile.
Photo: The dining room is open, and is furnished with tables and chairs. The order counter can be seen, behind the partition, in the center of the photo. I find the name Morenita Market and Taqeuria very interesting, as the "market" part is very tiny.
"Market" accounts for a small counter of Mexican pastries, a rack of chips and other snacks, a case of vitamins, over-the-counter medicine, pills - a very curious "mix" with everything - a rack of candy, and a cooler of soda and beer. I would say "Taqueria" would be a more accurate description of this fine restaurant.
The "third world" atmosphere is mostly gone, and the staff all speak fluent English, so the "charm," along with the "loncheria" atmosphere from the previous owners is now history. When you enter Moremita Market and Taqueria, you don't have to leave your English at the door like you did under the previous owners.
Photo: There is no printed menu, as the menu is posted behind the counter. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served, and you can order anything on the menu, any time you visit. Case-in-point: During my visit today, at 1:30 in the afternoon, I ordered "Chorizo and Eggs" from the "Desayunos" ... or breakfast menu. No problem at Morenita Market and Taqueria, as the restaurant and staff are flexible.
Photo: The "Chip Bar" is located next to the order counter. Unlike most Mexican restaurants, this isn't a "chip and salsa" bar, as there is no salsa... you "make do" from bottles of Valentino and Tapito hot sauce. The chips are kept warm under a hot lamp, and you scoop your tortilla chips with tongs, and put them in a little paper dish thing. There are little plastic cups, complete with lids, for you to put the salsa - or lack of salsa - into, to carry back to your table. I simply took the bottle of Valentino sauce back to my table, to enjoy with my tortilla chips.
Photo: The "open" kitchen from previous days is gone, but you can still look behind the counter, and watch the staff prepare your meal.
Photo: Meet my friendly server, Maribel, who delivers my breakfast of '"Chorizo and Eggs" with a smile, in only about fifteen minutes after I placed my order. Great, fast service!
I got a laugh, as I had to coax her to allow me to take her photo, as she was concerned about the photo, as she said she hadn't put on makeup today. I got a laugh out of that! She's a beautiful person, with or without makeup, a great conversationalist, and a professional server, with, or without makeup.
Photo: Thanks, Maribel, for taking my photo, as I prepare to enjoy my amazing breakfast... actually it's brunch. Perhaps the quart of Modelo beer is working on me, or maybe the photo was taken at the wrong moment, but this photo is not flattering to me in any respect!
Photo: From the "Desayunos" - breakfast - side of the menu, I ordered "Chorizo and Eggs." I didn't ask what was included with my breakfast, and honestly, I was surprised. My breakfast is shown with chips and hot sauce from the "chips" bar, near the counter.
When you order "Chorizo and Eggs," normally the sausage and eggs are scrambled together, so when I placed my order with friendly Maribel, I requested my chorizo and eggs to be separate, and that's how my breakfast... or should I say, "brunch" arrived. Silly me, as I didn't request my eggs to be cooked over easy - my de facto standard - so my eggs arrived scrambled. No worries, as the eggs, chorizo and everything else was simply delicious!
I certainly appreciate the flexibility of my server Maribel, and the kitchen staff, for preparing my brunch of "Chorizo and Eggs" with the chorizo separate. Thanks!!!
The meal was "plated" on a rectangular plate, which is definitely a "first" for me in a Mexican restaurant. Since "Chorizo and Eggs" was the order, my brunch started with chorizo, and a helping of scrambled eggs. The chorizo was perfect, and ... what really can you say about scrambled eggs except they were perfectly scrambled?
My meal included a generous helping of Mexican rice, and refried beans. The rice was good, but not all that memorable, but the beans... oh the beans! Delicious! I could taste the LARD in the beans... take me back to a loncheria in Tijuana! If you're a lover of refried beans, the way they taste in Mexico, Morenita Market and Taqueria will be your "go to" restaurant.
For a breakfast offering, I was totally surprised to see macaroni and bean salad to be included with my meal, yet I remember enjoying this same side dish at many loncherias, during past trips to Tijuana, Ensenada, Mexicali, and other Mexican cities. So... I counted my blessings and simply enjoyed. To round out your meal, you get a stack of six fresh, hot, corn tortillas, which will put a smile on your face, especially when you roll them up, and dip them into the beans. Muy sabroso!
Morenita Market and Taqueria has changed drastically since my last visit, YEARS AGO, but the food is still great, the prices are low, the staff is friendly, and the atmosphere is welcoming. You simply can't go wrong when you pay a visit to Morenita Market and Taqueria, located in Roseville, CA.
Saturday, December 15, 2012, was a foggy, chilly day, where the high temperature struggled to reach 45, and the sun never came out from behind the clouds. Such a great day to take a hike to enjoy a steaming hot bowl of menudo at Morenita Taqueria and Market!
Photo: La Morenita could best be described as a "Mexican grocery store with a small taqueria," as the restaurant seems to be a side business. They sell almost any variety of Mexican branded items distributed north of the border, including Mexican-bottled Coke. If you've ever enjoyed a bottle of Mexican Coke, you know the difference!
Photo: The "dining room" consists of six small tables in the middle of the restaurant. There is a tv playing Mexican soap operas to add to the atmosphere. You grab a beer from the cooler to the left, and in the center of the photo, on the wall, there's a bottle opener where you open your bottle of beer, and the cap drops off into the container. For those "not in the know," in Mexico, all bottles beverages require a bottle opener, as twist-off bottles don't exist.
Photo: Mom toasts tortillas, dad is in the background, and daughter, Greselda smiles for my camera. The kitchen is open to the restaurant, which makes it easy to snap photos. Mom and dad don't speak English, but Griselda does, and she's very friendly, and a really great person. The family is from the state of Jalisco, in Mexico. The restaurant has a menu posted above the order counter, but it's sparse, and is only a general guide to what they do. They will gladly prepare custom orders for you, and very reasonable prices. Like most Mexican restaurants, menudo is only served on weekends. I cannot say enough good things about this restaurant, as it has become my favorite place in Roseville!
Photo: There is nothing like a steaming hot bowl of menudo to warm you up on a foggy, 45-degree day like today! Oh, the "ballena" of Carta Blanca beer helps ward off the chill, along with the corn tortillas, and the chips and salsa.
Photo: La Morenita serves menudo, Jalisco-style, which does not have hominy. The staff at La Morenita is from the Mexican state of Jalisco, so the cuisine reflects upon that particular genre of Mexican cuisine. Note the abundance of perfectly cooked tripe in the menudo; a bowl of this keep you full for the rest of the day. During my visit, dad came over to my table and asked me if I wanted seconds, on the house, but one bowl was all I could eat! I politely declined his kind offer, and left Griselda a generous tip.
Photo: Griselda took a photo of your author doing what he does best: Enjoying lunch at Morenita Taqueria and Market!
Photo: Sunday, February 9, 2014, La Mornita is undergoing extensive remodeling, as the most of the groceries have been removed, and what remains has been located to the front of the store. It appears as they will be concentrating on tortillas and salsa. Thankfully, the beer and soft drinks haven't changed. I talked to the staff and they told me remodeling should be complete in about a week, so I promised to stop by in a couple of weeks, bring my camera, and do a new article on their remodeled operation.
Photo: Mom and dad in the kitchen, hard at work, preparing my order. Unlike many restaurants, at La Morenita, if what you want isn't on the menu, all you have to do is ask, and the friendly staff will prepare your food to order.
Photo: Friendly Alicia poses with my order, which was not on the menu... see next photo. Complimentary chips and salsa are included with each meal. As for the beer, a quart of Mexican beer is only priced at $4.00, as you simply grab the beer from the cooler, grab a frozen mug from the Ice Cream Sandwich cooler, pour, and enjoy.
Photo: Today, I enjoyed a "brunch" of two eggs, fried over easy, rice, refried beans, corn tortillas, chips, salsa, and a large "Tecate" beer. The main course of eggs, rice, beans and tortillas is not on the menu, but if you're familiar with Tijuana loncherias, you'll note this is a favorite breakfast in Mexico. So, I ordered, and La Morenita delivered. By the way, I'm in here all of the time, so the staff know how I like my eggs cooked.
Photo: Saturday, January 16, 2015, and I take a peek into the kitchen, as dad, and daughter, Griselda, work in the kitchen. La Morenita features an open kitchen, where you can actually see the staff at work. This charming restaurant is as near to a loncheria in Tijuana that can be found north of the border.
Photo: Appetizers: Chips, two varieties of salsa, guacamole, and a quart of Pacifico beer. Does it get any better?
Photo: Seriously, this is a breakfast that I live for, or maybe I'd die for! This breakfast isn't on the menu, but the staff at La Morenita are more than happy to fix whatever you want, as long as they have the ingredients on hand. I specifically asked for eggs over easy, rice, beans, corn tortillas, with fried chorizo, not mixed in with the eggs, and the friendly staff at La Morenita cooked my breakfast exactly to order. That's service! In addition to the chips and salsa, I asked for guacamole, and they provided a bowl, free of charge. The price of this meal, including tax and a quart of Mexican beer, came to just slightly over $10.00; what a bargain! I gave my friendly hostess, Griselda, a $5.00 tip. I have nothing but great things to say about La Morenita!
La Morenita is a family owned and operated restaurant, and in the last year, has become my favorite Mexican restaurant in Roseville. It's the closest to a Tijuana loncheria that you can come to in Roseville. If you're looking for great food, custom-made orders, and friendly people, La Morenita is the restaurant of choice. I can truly say that it has become my favorite Mexican restaurant in Roseville.
Now, let's take a look at previous visits...
Morentita Market and Taqueria is a very unique operation, and during the 13-plus years I've lived in Roseville, I've never seen another operation like it. The "place" wears two hats, 1) a market, featuring Mexican grocery items, and 2) a taqueria. Morentita Market and Taqueria has carved themselves a niche into the market/dining scene of Roseville, as they're a "one-of-a-kind" operation in Roseville...
Photo: Morentita Market and Taqueria is very low-key from the outside, but they offer plenty of parking, and a small outdoor dining area along busy Douglas Blvd. The market is located to a busy auto repair business, so if your car is being fixed, Morentita would be a good place to enjoy lunch, while you wait.
Photo: Mom and dad in the kitchen. Mom doesn't speak any English, and Dad speaks passable English, and I speak passable Spanish, so we meet in the middle. The kitchen is the order counter, so as you order your food, you can look into the kitchen, and if you're inclined as I am, you can easily take photos.
Photo: My breakfast on Saturday, July 14, 2012 of two eggs over easy, guacamole, refried beans, corn tortillas, a ballena of beer, along with chips and salsa. Beans and eggs aren't on the menu, but I talked with "dad," and he agreed to fix this for me. So if you want something at La Morenita that's not on the menu, just ask! The price for the breakfast, six corn tortillas, a ballena of beer and sales tax came to only $9.09! How can you beat that?
Photo: This family enjoys a fine meal on this Sunday morning, July 01, 2012, in the "dining room," such that it is, at Morentita. You dine among shelves of Mexican canned and bottled goods... as for me, I love the ambiance!
Photo: Morentita Market and Taqueria maintains a bank of three phones, dedicated to providing inexpensive calls to Mexico. You pay by cash at the register, or a pre-paid calling card. The phones are early 1970's vintage, touch-tone, large, bullet-proof, clunky phones... the kind AT&T provided in every household during that era. However, these phones are red... maybe refugees from the Soviet Union? Anyway, in this photo, Dad calls home to Mexico, using one of the bank of phones, while the rest of the family explore the wonders of Morenita Market.
Photo: As I sit at my table and wait for my order of menudo to arrive, I wonder, "Am I in a grocery store, a restaurant, or a taqueria?" Morentita is definitely a unique operation in Roseville. On this Sunday morning, I noticed many empty shelves... restocking time Monday morning? Quien sabe?
Photo: Friendly Greselda places my order of menudo on my table. Immediately after I was seated, she brought a bowl of chips and salsa, and the condiments for menudo. I didn't even check out the menu, as when I walked in, I asked her if they serve menudo on Sundays - doesn't every great Mexican restaurant offer menudo on weekends? - and she said they do, so I ordered a bowl of menudo. Of course... I like beer with my menudo... heck I like beer with almost anything, so I just walked over to a cooler, grabbed a bottle of Tecate beer, and told Griselda to add it to my tab. Muy sabroso, y no problema!
Photo: Ah yes, me, Eric Rench, your urban menudo commando, about ready to partake in one of my favorite breakfasts, as I pose, with a shelf of Mexican grocery items in the background. Greselda, who is a daughter of the owners of the market and restaurant, took my photo. Note that I'm wearing a Roseville tee shirt, which is quite appropriate, since I'm in Roseville.
Photo: What a breakfast! Chips, salsa, beer, in-house-made corn tortillas, and... menudo. My friendly hostess told me that the menudo is made the night before, and just slowly cooks in the pot all night until it's ready for serving in the morning... such is the way of menudo.
Photo: Saturday, January 05, 2013. My favorite breakfast, reminiscent of a Tijuana loncheria! This breakfast isn't on the menu, but when I made my request to Greselda, she said, "No problem, dad will be happy to make it for you." Two eggs, over easy, corn tortillas, rice and refried beans. Avocado slices and anjo cheese for garnish. Breakfast doesn't get any better. The price for the entire meal, including the Ballena of Pacifico beer, came to less than $10.00!
Photo: My breakfast on Saturday, December 03, 2012 at La Morenita. Three eggs, fried over easy, beans, chorizo, and corn tortillas, garnished with a slice of anjo cheese. Dad apologized profusely for not serving guacamole, as he said they were out of avocados, but I told him, "No problema." This breakfast is the kind served at a Tijuana loncheria, and it's fantastic! Muy sabroso!!!
Photo: Saturday, February 10, 2013, finds Greselda, mom and dad hard at work in the kitchen. You place your order at the window to the kitchen, which makes for ideal photography. Although Greselda is friendly, she's definitely camera shy!
Photo: For lunch on February 13, 2013, I decided to have something a bit different, so I chose a full carnitas plate. Carnitas wasn't on the menu, so I asked Greselda, and she enthusiastically told me that they could serve me carnitas. They were out of Pacifico beer, so I had to settle for a Corona. For the first time today, I was served salsa cruda, in addition to the house salsa. There are six corn tortillas in the stack! Lunch at La Morenita will definitely fill you up!
Photo: March 09, 2013... Dad is in the kitchen, doing what he does best... cooking the best Mexican food in Roseville! Note the menu posted above the counter, which is for "short" order items. Combination dishes are posted on the wall; check out the next photo.
Photo: Combinations and featured items are posted on the wall; I love the combination of photos and handwriting. Today, I ordered a #4, which is an "Orden de Mojarra," which was advertised as "Tilapia." No, it wasn't tilapia, as it was simply a deep fried mojarra, which is a bait fish common to the Gulf of Mexico.
Photo: My hors d'oeuvres I enjoyed before my order arrived: Chips, salsa cruda, smoky red salsa, and a ballena of Carta Blanca beer.
Photo: Lunch of a whole, deep fried mojarra, advertised as tilapia, beans, rice guacamole, six corn tortillas, chips, salsa, and a ballena of Carta Blanca beer. Muy sabroso!!!
Photo: Prior to lunch, on March 30, 2013, I enjoyed hors d'oeuvres of a quart of Carta Blanca beer, served in a frosted glass, two varieties of in-house made chips, and garnishes, which were placed on the table, prior to my order of birria.
Photo: I ordered from the menu #7, "Orden de Birria," which includes birria, refried beans, rice, corn tortillas, two varieties of in-house made salsa, and tortilla chips. On the side, I grabbed a quart of Carta Blanca beer from the cooler, and Dad obliged by bringing a tall, frosted mug to the table. La Morenita has morphed into becoming my favorite Mexican restaurant in Roseville.
Photo: Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013, I enjoyed a delicious carne asada torta, rice, beans, two varities of salsa, and an ice cold Carta Blanca beer. Delicious!
What a unique place to enjoy great Mexican food? When you walk into Morentita, it reminds me of entering a combination grocery store/taqueria, which are common in small-town, Mexico. It is way too cool to enjoy a bowl of menudo, sitting next to shelves filled with Mexican canned items, and to walk over to the cooler, and grab a cold Tecate beer at your leisure. I think I'm in love... with Morentita Market and Taqueria.
Marke and Taqueriat
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