Re:High Plains Drifters
Wed, 07/13/11 4:10 PM
Thursday June 16, 2011 cont. Our destination was a novelty attraction in Alliance, Nebraska known as Car Henge. As you have undoubtedly surmised, this is a replica of Stone Henge, only made with old cars. As we got close, our GPS decided we needed to explore some unpaved roads. Thanks GPS! Eh, at least it was a rental. Car Henge was easy to find and was actually free, although both of us did make a donation at the little visitor's center. Built out in the field, it is a little spooky looking. All of the cars are covered in gray spray paint, to mirror the stones in England. Just a little further into the field is a giant salmon and dinosaur sculptures. You just never know what you are going to see here next, including two cars stacked on top of each other, end to end (the yellow really made them stick out), another car being used as a time capsule by the local high school and just a steering wheel and column buried, all by itself. You won't walk away from Car Henge thinking it is the coolest thing you have ever seen but for those who enjoy the oddball and unusual or have an appreciation for Folk Art, this place is well worth the visit. Our destination for the rest of the day was the town of Scottsbluff, but we made a quick stop in the small town of Melbeta. A restaurant called Al's Cafe in Melbeta was listed in the 2008 Roadfood book. But the review has since been taken down from the Roadfood website and it was not listed in the 2011 book, which made us suspect that they had gone out of business. And indeed it has. Even though the name Al's Cafe is still on the window, it is now a rock shop. Considering the person running Al's was 92 when the review was written, that is no surprise. Hopefully, she retired, instead of, well, you know..... First stop in Scottsbluff was Rosita's for lunch. We arrived just about noon and the place was quite busy. The front dining room where we were seated had a row of high-backed booths and a few tables. Another dining room lies in the back. The fact that the people running the place along with a good portion of the customers were speaking Spanish was a good omen. As soon as we got seated, they asked what we wanted to drink. I hesitated, because we hadn't had a chance to look at the menu yet and Mexican restaurants often have wonderful things to drink. I explained that to the young man and he asked what kind of drinks we were thinking about and I mentioned horchatas. He told us even though they are not on the menu, they would be happy to make horchatas for us. These had to be the milkiest white horchatas I have ever seen and were the perfect compliment for the food ahead of us. Meals here start out with homemade tortillas and salsa. The tortillas were still hot and fresh. The salsa was seriously spicy hot, but full of so much flavor, it was impossible to stop eating it. Besides the salsa, Johnny was also slathering butter on his tortillas. He told me, "If there is butter on the table, I am putting it on something!" Strange that I have known Johnny my entire life and had no idea he was from Wisconsin! So how did I know the tortillas are homemade? When I walked to the rest room, I looked in this unusual, brightly colored window and watched a woman making them by hand. By the time I went back to the table to get my camera and returned, she was gone. Too bad, because that would have made a great photo! After we placed our orders, the waiter told us to help ourselves to the soup. Underneath the tv was a little table with homemade chicken vegetable soup. Even though the broth was thin, it very much tasted of chicken and was delicious. As an appetizer, we ordered the chips, which came with a little side of cheese. These chips were light, airy and crunchy. As much as we enjoyed dipping them in the cheese, we were thinking honey might have been a better accompaniment, since these reminded us so much of mini-sopaipillas. My lunch was two cheese enchiladas and an ala carte taco. The enchiladas were small and thin, but with the cheese and sauce on top, these were excellent. The rice on the side, which is usually a throw away dish I don't pay much attention to, were much tastier also. The taco was a little light on the inside stuffing (meat, cheese, tomato and lettuce), but like the chips, the puffy outside shell was light and crunchy. Johnny's lunch was almost identical, only he got it as an enchilada and taco combo. But, he also tacked on a tamale on the side. The tamale was in it's husk and came with a brown sauce, which Johnny said was more like a gravy. I thought it was some kind of bean sauce. Anyway, the tamale was meaty and we suspect that it was a pork/beef combination. Without the sauce, the tamale would have been on the dry side. We didn't seem to have any one person waiting on us during our time here. The teenage waitress was pleasant, but not terribly efficient. The man who sat us and took our horachata order was frequently at our table, checking and chatting with us and he seemed to be the man in charge. He took special interest in us, probably because of the photo taking and that we told him we read about the place on Roadfood. Even though neither Johnny or I are big fans of Mexican food, we really enjoyed Rosita's. So much so, we inquired about their breakfast hours, since we saw a sign advertising the morning meal. Unfortunately, they are only opening for breakfast on Sundays for a while to see if there is any customer interest in this. We wished the man good luck! Once back outside, I had more time to check out the art outside. They had a fairly large sculpture of a guitar player and a horn player guarding the parking lot. And in the far corner of the roof was the rest of the band. Rosita's 1205 E. Overland Drive Scottsbluff, NE 308-632-2429 Much more to come.....
<message edited by buffetbuster on Thu, 07/14/11 3:14 PM>