I love fall – and fall foods!
September, October, and November are prime months for my eating – having been on Weight Watchers for almost 2 years, and coming to learn which foods are good for you AND filling, I know that this time of year is best for two of my favorite staple foods – winter squashes and apples.
My favorite winter squashes include acorn, spaghetti, and butternut – and of course, I love anything made from pumpkin: pumpkin butter, pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin cookies…
Apples, though, have definitely become a huge part of my regular diet. Two years ago, I went to Trax Farms in Finleyville for their annual Fall Festival, where they have apple sampling – about 12 different varieties of apples, all to be sampled (with or without caramel dip, of course) – and I never realized how different the different varieties of apples tasted until then.
I eat at least one apple every single day – my favorite is Pink Lady, but sometimes I change it up with Fujis or Galas.
I have even tried making slaw out of apples. I love the Hungry Girl cookbooks, and one of her most famous recipes is “I Heart Apple Slaw”, made from Granny Smith and Fuji apples, broccoli slaw mix, fat-free yogurt, honey, and Splenda.
Super sweet and savory slaw!
When I visited Smoke Taqueria in Homestead (yes, again), I knew what I was going to get – the chicken taco, plus their jalapeno apple slaw, which I have been saying for weeks that I really, really needed to try, since I was such a fan of “I Heart Apple Slaw”.
I met another food blogger at Smoke that day – Burgh Gourmand. His tweets from restaurants around Pittsburgh – and his other commentary – always have me intrigued, so I was anxious to have a meal and conversation with him.
Burgh Gourmand had visited the taqueria within the last week, so he had been recognized by the owner by the time I arrived (which was not long after). We were immediately presented with menus and told that there was a special taco available that night. I was thrilled – THRILLED – to hear that the taco was a chicken and…APPLE taco! Woo hoo! Perfect for fall! I ordered one in addition to my pre-selected chicken taco and jalapeno apple slaw. Burgh Gourmand opted for the chicken and apple taco, brisket taco, and macaroni and cheese. To drink, I ordered a horchata (YAY! They had it this time!), and Burgh Gourmand ordered the agua fresca flavor of the day – pineapple.
Our drinks arrived, and I immediately put my straw in to taste the horchata I had been wanting to try since my last visit. Horchata is a corn drink, but doesn’t taste like corn, just like the Chicha Morada I had at Chicken Latino – and at Smoke, they add lime zest to the mix, which gives it a margarita-ish flavor (no alcohol, though, of course!)
Oh, wow. That mac and cheese was amazing! I had a student who visited Smoke recently, who said in her extra credit report that the mac and cheese was great, but now I KNOW that it is, without a doubt.
The jalapeno apple slaw was also delicious – I wasn’t sure how spicy peppers and apples would go together, but they work well together – it was spicy, but nicely balanced with the sweetness of the apples to give it a tasty flavor.
I’m in love.
Smoked chicken, smoked bacon, apples, cheese, cilantro, jalapeno mayo…a fresh, warm, soft, made-from-scratch tortilla…how could I not want to marry this taco?
My chicken taco was also delicious – yes, I preferred the chicken and apple, but I have to say that smoked chicken is much, MUCH tastier than regularly cooked chicken, which can be extremely boring and bland.
The food was amazing, the conversation was great, and I was CRAVING that chicken and apple taco the next day. I wrestled in my head for hours that next day, debating on whether I should call and place a take-out order…but I did not :-(
Thank goodness Smoke Taqueria isn’t far at all – but this could throw a wrench into my diet! Looks like I’ll be eating a lot of winter squash to compensate…
205 E. Eighth Ave.
Homestead, PA 15120
528 Trax Rd.
Finleyville, PA 15332