Rollie's Mexican and Bolivian Cafe and Bakery
14071 Newport Avenue
Tustin, CA 92780-5172
I really wanted to like this place. I really, really did. The woman behind the counter was so nice and friendly. We chatted about the food she made and the ingredients and love that she put into it. She proudly told me that she hand makes all the corn tortillas for their large tacos. She said that they order the finest chorizo from a specialty company up in Los Angeles. She spoke about her food with a smile on her face and a gleam in her eye. Therefore, I really, really wanted to like this place....but.....well......I just didn't.
I ordered two of their large tacos with the fresh homemade tortillas ($2.50 each). I ordered one with carne asada and one with chorizo. I asked if the chorizo was served with egg or potato and she told me that it came with potato. I tried to order it without potato, but she told me that it was a very small amount of potato and it really enhanced the flavor of the chorizo. I agreed to try it with the potato. I also ordered three of their small "street tacos" ($1.00 each). I got two of them with carne asada and one with lengua (beef tongue). I ordered V a carne asada burrito ($5.99). I also decided to try one of their Salteña empanadas ($2.50) because I had heard good things about them.
While I was waiting for the food to be prepared, I walked over and browsed through the bakery cases that were full of Mexicam sweet bread. I asked if the breads were baked fresh that day and she told me that they had. I chose an elotito ($0.65), which is a cinnamon-flavored sweet bread that is shaped like a small ear of corn.
I got my food to go and took it home. When I arrived at home I eagerly unwrapped all the food. I couldn't wait to try all this delicious food that the nice lady behind the counter was bragging about.
First I decided to try the Salteña Empanada. I sliced it in half and V and I each took a piece. The filling consisted of ground beef, egg and peas. The filling was sweet...a little too sweet for me and V. Neither one of us really enjoyed the flavor of the empanada, so we didn't eat it.
I unwrapped my large tacos and immediately saw that the "chorizo" taco was really just a cubed potato taco with chorizo grease. I was very annoyed by this. The woman behind the counter had sworn that there was only a small amount of potato in the taco. All I saw was potato. I took a couple bites of this overly-greasy potato taco and then threw the rest away. A taco has to be pretty bad for me to throw it away. I then tried the carne asada taco. One thing I found interesting about the tacos here was that instead of being served with the traditional toppings of fresh cilantro and onion, they were topped with cilantro, grilled onions and grilled bell peppers. I was not a fan of this. The salsa was also tomato based and seemed like something you would eat with chips at a cheap Americanized Mexican restaurant. I didn't like the carne asada taco either, but I forced it down.
The street tacos were small, but probably worth the dollar I paid for them. The carne asada and the lengua tasted pretty much the same. It was basically just meat, covered in salt and cooked on a flat-top grill. I ate the lengua taco and then took the meat from the carne asada tacos, seasoned it up and threw it into a flour tortilla with some cheese and made a quesadilla. I ate it with some Del Taco hot sauce and it was the best part of my meal.
V said that her burrito was basically just a bean burrito. She couldn't really find any carne asada in her burrito. When she finally came across a piece, she ate it and said that it just tasted like salt.
V moved on to the elotito pan dulce that I bought for her. Keep in mind that the lady working at Rollie's said that the bread was baked fresh that day. This pan dulce was SO stale that it was as hard as a rock. V tried to bite through it a couple of times but was unable to get her teeth through it. Needless to say, she threw it away.
Overall, this restaurant might be ok if you are looking to grab some quick $1 street tacos and you don't really care what they taste like. You are much better off going to Alberto's or The Original Taco Factory which are 1-block away in either direction. I might return to this place one day to try their Bolivian food, but I will not be returning for more Mexican food.