Well, that was until I met taco-loving friends, and awesome taco places like Smoke BBQ Taqueria started popping up in Pittsburgh.
Recently, Burgh Gourmand wrote a raving review of Casa Rasta in Beechview (near Dormont) which made me unusually hungry for tacos. Yesterday, we (along with Señorita Cibulka) had made plans to go shopping in the Strip District and then back to my digs for a home-cooked meal a la Chef BG (more on this in my next post), but a little detour down to Beechview for some tacos was too tempting to pass up.
To be honest with you, I had no idea that Beechview existed before this. If you didn't either, Beechview is just a stone's throw from Dormont.
Casa Rasta took over a small space just two months ago that used to house a pizza shop. The owners, Laura and Antonio, are super down-to-earth and all-round awesome. You gotta love their genuine passion for their food.
We started with their weekend special, Ceviche Tostada.
|Ceviche Tostada ($3)|
At Laura's suggestion, I added some Valentino sauce to the Ceviche Tostada, which was a wonderful idea. The ceviche was fresh, clean, and flavorful - it is by far the best $3 ceviche you can get, anywhere. (I think it's worth way more.) The tostada is crispy and just perfectly sturdy for the ceviche. No sogginess, no breaking apart randomly. I didn't think there could be so much science to the perfect tostada, but it is true.
|Ceviche Tostada with Valentino sauce ($3)|
I also got two tacos, the Steak Taco and the Pulled Pork Taco. Both consisted of chunks of well-seasoned meat on top of two soft corn tortillas that I believe were baked. The tacos were divine on their own, but I also added a bit of salsa which made the tacos even more amazing. And the tortillas had just the perfect consistency. I never used to care for tortillas (which is probably the reason why I never cared for tacos), but if places like Smoke and Reyna in the Strip District changed my feelings about tortillas in recent months, Casa Rasta absolutely cemented it.
|Steak Taco ($2.50)|
|Pulled Pork Taco ($2.50)|
For beverages, several varieties of Jarritos Soda are available. I tried the pineapple one which I liked.
The shop wasn't busy when we were there, and Laura and Antonio were so kind to offer us samples of items, all of which were great. First we got some quesadilla bites with cheese and a Mexican herb called "epazote" that I had never heard of before. It was very interesting.
|Quesadilla Bites with Cheese and Epazote|
Then, two sweet items: Chocolate Truffles with Ancho Chili and Blueberry Goat Cheese. Can you say YUM?!?
|Chocolate Truffles with Ancho Chili|
|Blueberry Goat Cheese|
All in all, I loved Casa Rasta. Delicious food prepared lovingly by a friendly, down-home couple - that's what Pittsburgh's all about!
I started this post with a confession that I never used to care for tacos. Needless to say, I am now a convert.
2102 Broadway Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15216
On Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CasaRastaPgh