Saturday, November 19, 2011

SMOKE Barbeque Taqueria (Homestead)

If I had to choose just one word to describe Smoke Babeque Taqueria, that word would be "divine."

So far, I have only been to Smoke twice, but I've been more than impressed both times.  Especially for someone who doesn't normally get terribly excited about tacos.  My first visit was prompted by a conversation with fellow food blogger friend Señorita Cibulka, who invited the ultimate Smoke fanboy, Burgh Gourmand, along.  The little hole-in-the-wall establishment with just three tables made such an impression on me that when, two weeks later, another food blogger friend, Suburghia Foodie, mentioned she was going to be in the area, I suggested Smoke as the place to grab a bite together.

On my first visit, BG recommended the Pork Taco and the Brisket Taco, and I went along.  Because the dude is a cook, after all.  And I think it is generally a smart idea to trust a cook's judgment, at least when it comes to food.

Pork Taco at Smoke BBQ Tacqueria
Pork Taco
Apricot Habanero Sauce and Caramelized Onions ($3.50)

Brisket Taco at Smoke BBQ Tacqueria
Brisket Taco
Sauteed Onions, Hot Peppers, Barbecue Mustard Sauce ($4.00)

And that was definitely a smart move.

On my second visit, I wanted to try two other varieties, the Chicken Taco and the Veggie Taco.

Chicken Taco at Smoke BBQ Tacqueria
Chicken Taco
Avocado Cream, Pickled Onions, Fresno Hot Sauce ($3.50)

Veggie Taco at Smoke BBQ Tacqueria
Veggie Taco
Black Beans, Roasted Poblano & Corn Relish, Crispy Potatoes, Chili de Arbol Sauce ($3.00)
(N.B.: The sauce is really spicy!)

Each of these tacos was unique and flavorful.  The owners, Jeff Petruso and Nancy Carranco, who recently moved from Austin, Texas, make everything themselves - the meat, the tortillas, the drinks. Everything.

And ooooh, the tortillas.  So soft, with a hint of sweetness.  Handmade daily.  Just perfect.  Best tortillas I've ever had.

For now, there are only five taco options, which means I have just the Ribs Taco left to try.  That said, Smoke is planning to expand their menu, a fact that excites me.

During each of my visits, I also ordered a side and a drink.  The first side I tried was the Jalapeno Apple Slaw, which was like coleslaw, only far, FAR better.  And don't you just love how the sides are served in mugs?

Jalapeno Apple Slaw at Smoke BBQ Tacqueria
Jalapeno Apple Slaw
Roasted Jalapenos, Apples, Creamy Dressing ($2.50)

The second side I tried was the Mac n Cheese, topped with the optional housemade bacon.  This was also a BG-recommendation.  I used to think I hated mac and cheese, because when I think mac and cheese, I think Kraft Dinner.  But again, a smart gal listens to the one who knows a thing or two about cooking.  Sure enough, I was blown away.  Smoke's is seriously the best mac and cheese I've ever had in my life.  And the housemade bacon?  Divine.  If you get the Smoke Mac n Cheese, you must get it with bacon.  Must.

Mac and Cheese with Bacon at Smoke BBQ Tacqueria
Mac n Cheese, with Bacon
Roasted, Garlic, Shallots, Mascarpone Cheese, Sharp White Cheddar, Bacon ($3.25)

For the fresh housemade drinks, both times I went with something I had never tried before.  The Horchata is a slightly sweet rice drink with cinnamon, and I liked it.

Horchada at Smoke BBQ Tacqueria
Horchata ($3.00)

The second time I got the Agua Fresca, which is a refreshing fruit drink.  The flavor of the day was honeydew, and I was pleased with it.

Honeydew Agua Fresca at Smoke BBQ Tacqueria
Honeydew Agua Fresca ($3.00)

Austin's loss = Pittsburgh's gain.

Needless to say, I will be back.  This place is worth the drive to Homestead.

Check out related blog posts by Señorita Cibulka and Suburghia Foodie, and also another nice write-up by The JQS.

UPDATE 12/21/2011:  New post here on a visit after the new menu was unveiled.

Restaurant info:
SMOKE Barbeque Taqueria
225 E 8th Ave, Homestead, PA 15120
On twitter:
Bonus: BYOB, Cash only

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