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Rosie’s Diner, Cardigan Fields

Submitted by on March 4, 2014 – 8:11 am4 Comments

It is a truth universally acknowledged that when faced with jalepeno poppers on a menu, one must order them. Immediately if not sooner.

Unsophisticated as “stuff fried with cheese” may be, there is something about biting into a crisp shell of breadcrunbs to discover molten cream cheese infused with the tingle tang of jalepeno juice that never fails to appeal to me. Which is why today, I made a pilgrimmage to Rosie’s – the latest chain to hit Leeds. By now you will all be familiar with my philosophy on restaurants: food must be made fresh on the premises, ideally with locally sourced ingredients according to what is in season – because life is too short to eat something poorly masquerading as food which has merely been reheated by some homogenous chain.

A chain Rosie’s may be, but the food is made fresh onsite and they source their ingredients locally. The next time you head for Cardigan Fields (where previously I got my jalepeno popper fix at the ever fabulous Viva Cuba – well worth cycling 20 minutes away from LS1 for in my humble opinion. Their tapas is nothing short of sublime) at the cinema, bowling alley or perhaps stumbling out of the nearby “superclub” (no, not supper club, super club. *grimace*) you will no longer be limited by such grotesque options as Frankie and Benny’s or Bella Italia *weeps*

Open twenty four seven and modelled on a traditional or should I say stereotypical American diner, Rosie’s offer a staggering array of breakfast items (everything from porridge and smoothies to pancakes, waffles and fry ups) as well as steaks, burgers, hot dogs, ribs, fried chicken and the much lauded “blooming onion.” The food was served in baskets and accompanied by 50s rock and roll greats (such as Elvis and songs from the Grease soundtrack) and the ambience was all shiny vinyl booths, stools and long formica counters or a bus to sit inside.

My companions and I decided “when in Rome” and proceeded to gorge ourselves on “stuff fried with cheese” to start with. Two helpings of jalepeno poppers with proper soured cream in my case (look I’m not proud of this. It was entirely in the name of science so shurrup) and mozzarella sticks and crab cakes for the others.

We then sampled a round of milkshakes which could very well have inspired a reaction worthy of John Travolta in Pulp Fiction. Served in adorable milk bottles with colour coded straws, we went for mint chocolate chip, butterscotch and strawberry. All utterly lovely – made with really good quality ice-cream and not a hint of synthetic flavour.

Despite many reactions to Rosie’s being that the service isn’t great and the food takes a long time to arrive, I can assure you that our waiter was both incredibly attentive and very smiley and that had our next course taken much time to arrive, our brains would have caught up with our stomachs and told us not to be so utterly stupid as to eat any more food. But the service was super speedy for food that was clearly freshly prepared and so I also sampled a veggie hot dog and sweet potato fries with ribs, sweetcorn and cajun fries for the others.

Being a vegetarian, I naturally pay attention to how a menu is balanced. The following options were meat-free
1/7 burgers
1/8 hot dogs
7/8 side dishes
3/7 starters
2/3 salads

Which is acceptable for a cuisine dominated by giant hunks of BBQ meat. Then of course there are a good range of breakfast items and desserts – fellow vegetarians will sympathise with being faced with no other option than to have a pudding for dinner *happy sigh*

Regrettably I am allergic to mushrooms and soya, so the vegetarian burger was out for me but the hot dog was amazingly cereal based instead of tofu. Unfortunately it was disgusting, I really wouldn’t recommend it. Not just because American mustard is not very nice but because the hot dog was as hard and knobbly as Darth Vader’s codpiece. I gave it to my teething son along with the sweet potato fries as they were sadly under-seasoned and therefore baby friendly! There is a children’s menu by the way under the section “Rascals.”

It would have been nice, instead of offering one veggie hot dog to have made available the various range of different fillings and sauces that the meat versions had. The American mustard and ketchup combination was definitely not for me and it’s a shame that such an uninspiring topping was all there was. Vegetarians like crushed nachos and cheeses and soured cream and guacamole too…)

The cajun fries by comparison to the sweet potato fries had too much garlic salt in the spice mix but when dipped into the leftover soured cream were much improved. The ribs in Jack Daniels sauce were all devoured by the carnivores and the sticky sauce proclaimed well worth ruining a manicure for.

Given the choice between getting my jalepeno popper fix at Rosie’s or Viva Cuba, I’ll be honest, I’d have to pick the latter but it was an overall enjoyable experience with lovely staff, fun decor and if you’re not a Vegetarian With Issues or are remotely health conscious I suspect you will really enjoy Rosie’s. Beats the hell out of the rest of the “food” available on the Cardigan Fields complex anyway!

For me, I think I’ll stick to @theyummyyank whenever I’m in the mood to consume some indulgent American treats. Just as soon as I am able to eat again! *pats belly*

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  • Rich Daley says:

    Are you sure Rosie’s is a chain? I was under the impression that, although it has aspirations of becoming a chain, it is the first of its kind.

    • LianneMarieMease Lianne Marie Mease says:

      I’ll be honest, it was the description on the website that gave the impression of it being a chain – diners plural – if it isn’t then they really should celebrate that fact as an independent at Cardigan Fields is definitely a good thing in my opinion!

  • Lisa says:

    I’m a bit reluctant to go, as American style restaurants mostly disappoint me. Seeing the photo of the milkshake in a mini milk bottle already makes me think it isn’t authentic. The most authentic milkshakes are served, unbelievably enough at OK Diners along the A1. Big glasses with the extra shake in the metal cups they are made in. I know American food is trendy ( does this mean I am trendy too :-) ) but I am getting bored with everyone trying to jump on the bandwagon. Whatever happened to embracing ones own culture?

    • LianneMarieMease Lianne Marie Mease says:

      I also had a coke float which was served in a proper soda glass but I forgot to take a picture! They offer root beer which I’ve always wanted to try. Is it as nice as ginger beer?
      With regards to American food as a concept, I always wonder why more restaurants aren’t more specific? There’s no such thing as a typical “Italian” food for example because there are so many regional variations on the common dishes according to where different ingredients grow and that’s as it should be in any country!

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