Friday, January 27, 2012

California Taco Shop Love

Almost daily, PID and I drive by this tiny, hole in the wall, shack of a building on Rt. 51 with a sign outside that reads California Taco Shop. For months I thought this place was closed. But as I drove this past weekend, I caught a flicker of neon reds and blues out of the corner of my eye.  California Taco Shop was indeed open for business.

I had been on my way to meet PID at the gym when I saw the sign in the window and after a rigorous workout, we were both in the mood for a filling lunch to get us through the day. I immediately suggested my exciting new find and we pulled into the empty parking lot with our fingers crossed.

Inside, an adorably festive six-table dining room was waiting for us.  It was quaint, but still a pleasant surprise from the deceptively drab exterior.

An extremely friendly young man greeted us and took our order, taking the time to carefully explain to me how a torta was like the Mexican version of a Primanti's sandwich and guaranteeing that I would quickly become addicted to their fish tacos. I was also extremely excited to see that they serve...wait for it...breakfast burritos!

I decided to take him up on his offer and ordered FOUR tacos -- one fish, one beef, a carnitas and a grilled chicken. I called it a focus group.

PID ordered a chicken enchilada,  chicken burrito and a beef taco (he couldn't be trusted to not steal mine).

I am now fully convinced that angels placed this tiny little taco shop less than a mile from our house.  My carnitas was, without question, the most perfectly cooked shredded pork I've ever inhaled. It had a deep, smokey flavor that I wasn't even remotely expecting. The beef and fish tacos were equally outstanding,

Carnitas taco, $3

Chicken/Beef tacos, $3

And the promise of fish taco-addiction? No hoax. The filet was lightly breaded and fried, sealing in a deliciously buttery, flaky fish which could not have tasted any better with the freshly chopped tomatoes, cilantro, green tomato hot sauce and homemade guacamole.

Fish tacos, $3

PID's burrito was enormous and made with fresh chicken breast and fresh cut veggies. It was the perfect ratio of meat-to-veggies-to-rice-to-beans.

Chicken burrito, $6

But the real star of the show was PID's chicken enchilada. I had a tiny bite just to try it. Then had another. Then politely requested another and finally had to remind myself that I had four tacos to finish. So much flavor. Perfect balance of heat and sweet. I dreamt about that enchilada.

Chicken Enchilada, $3

Restaurant Information:

Address: 2760 Saw Mill Run Blvd (across 51 from the Dairy Queen)
Phone:  412-885-5600
Reservations: Not taken or needed.
Hours: Mon-Thurs, 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
             Friday, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
             Saturday, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. (closed Sunday)

Cliffs Notes:

2 beef tacos @ $3.00
1 fish taco @ $3.00
1 grilled chicken taco @ $3.00
1 carnitas taco @ $3.00
1 grilled chicken burrito @ $6.00
1 chicken enchilada @ $4.00

Tax:                        Food tax  @ 7% (Allegheny County only) @ $1.75

Tip:                           $5.00
Total for two:          $26.75

Overall Opinion:

I think PID and I are in a bit of trouble.  Not only have we discovered the world's most delicious taco shop north of the Texas state line, but the pleasant man at the counter let us in on a little secret...they start DELIVERY on February 1st.  DELIVERY.  When PID and I first met, he used to tell me his adorable business ideas like the self-stirring pot and how he was the one who really invented TIVO. But the one he had always been the most ambitious about was opening a Mexican restaurant that delivered. I'm so sorry that PID has been beaten to the punch, but I have to admit I'm so happy that we have a taco-craving fix whenever we want it! (My tummy and my wallet may not be as approving, however).

We ate like kings (and had a few leftovers) for only $27.  We took our food home to enjoy, but I wouldn't be opposed to dining in their bright, fun little dining room sometime. The staff was incredible and the food was to die for.  This place is a win for the dive joints of the world.  Ole!

California Taco Shop on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. My family and I have watched for it to open and went the week it open. We all loved the food there, the fish taco is amazing. So far all of the people that work there are so friendly and explain everything to you. My daughter loved the jalapeno burrito. Both of my daughters love when we go back, it's nice to have such little gems in the South Hills.


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