Weird coincidences make me happy.
I got a follower on Twitter one day by the name of Wendy Cibula - funny, considering that her last name was one letter off of mine, and I figured that's why she added me. The next day, I got an email from her, saying that I popped up as a suggestion to follow on Twitter, she thought it was funny that our last names were so similar...
...and after seeing what I do, that by total coincidence, she and her husband own a Mexican restaurant!
I had never been to the Franklin Inn, but a teacher that I worked with in the past lives in the North Hills and had RAVED about it, since she is a frequent visitor. She said that it is her and her friends' go-to place for a fun night out. In addition, Food Collage and FoodBurgh had written reviews on their visits (Food Collage wrote about them twice!), and I had read them all and became quite intrigued by the hype.
I had to get there soon. But when? Pittsburghers know how the layout of the metro area seems - the city is the United States, the North Hills is Canada, and the South Hills is Mexico (in disproportionate geographic terms). The Franklin Inn is all the way in the North Hills, and for me, that's like driving from Mexico to Canada (and I'd have to cross TWO bridges! Blasphemy!)
Luckily, my mom suggested that we go on our way back from our annual shopping day in Grove City, which we do every year on the first day of buck season (since us Western Pennsylvania people don't have school, and she takes that day off since she can never get Black Friday off).
|Note: Look for this sign when going to the Franklin Inn!|
It wasn't easy getting there, thanks to some bad iPhone GPS directions - however, we were both pretty hungry upon our arrival, since we shopped all day, stopped at Wendell August to get some engraving done, and stopped at Mojo Running and Multisport to get fitted for some new running shoes before our next 5K on December 10th.
|(They're closed on Sundays)|
Thank goodness we found them, because there was so much yummy food to eat there!
|House-made chips and salsa|
We were immediately served house-made chips and salsa, which I could NOT stop eating - I got the "Stop eating the chips!" exclamation from my mom several times (she still yells at me). They were not at all greasy, and the salsa was not spicy (which I wouldn't have minded if it were, but lots of people prefer not spicy), but it was flavorful.
I made sure to order a cup of the award-winning Aztec chili, as I wanted to see why it was so commended. The recipe won first place at Northway's Fire & Ice Chili Cook-off just this year, 20 years after winning first place in a similar contest. Read more about it here.
|The award-winning Aztec Chili|
Yeah, I can see why! This was one of the best chilis I've ever had. I love chili, especially in the colder months. I've had chili in many other places, plus I've made many versions of chili myself at home - and nothing...NOTHING...tops this Aztec chili. It has the perfect amount of spice and southwestern flavors that made my taste buds tingle. My mom tried it and love it as well.
Oh, and they're really good with the tortilla chips, too. Not that I kept eating them or anything...
For my main entree, I couldn't resist the Chicken Enchiladas with Poblano Mole - yup, just like I had at Las Velas and Gran Agave. This mole sauce was much thicker than the others that I had, and much less spicy, but more chocolate-y - and it was fabuloso! If you're the type of person who prefers sweetness over spice, this mole is perfect for you (I'm a fan of both, really!)
|Chicken Enchiladas with Poblano Mole, House Salad with Jalapeno Vinaigrette, Black Bean and Corn Salad|
For my sides, I chose the side salad with house dressing, a jalapeno vinaigrette, and the black bean and corn salad. Both were great - the jalapeno vinaigrette was spicy, but added a lot of flavor to my typical green salad, and the black bean and corn salad was my favorite. Black beans and corn make for a great combination of flavors, especially with red onions and Mexican-inspired spices.
My mom decided upon one of the "Mexican Combinaciones", for which she chose the chicken soft taco and chicken chimichanga, plus rice and the black bean and corn salad as her sides. She agreed with my opinion on the black bean and corn salad, and she commented that she liked the fact that she could taste her chicken instead of its flavor being completely overpowered by Mexican spices and sauce.
|Chicken Soft Taco, Chicken Chimichanga, Rice, Black Bean and Corn Salad|
I think it's pretty evident that we enjoyed our meals...
|My empty plate|
|Mom's empty plate|
Despite consuming a large amount of food ("large" being a very mild term for the feast that we had just devoured), Wendy had suggested to me earlier in the day that we try her husband's famous Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream - he had just made a new batch that day, but she warned me that it tends to go fast. Fortunately, it was not gone yet, and my mom and I decided to split a bowl between the two of us.
Ay. De. Mi. This ice cream was so rich, so creamy, so decadent - I don't think that any ice cream in a carton could ever be as wonderful as this. Handmade ice cream is always better, but this...THIS...is a definite dairy delight!
I now understand why that teacher raves about the Franklin Inn - it has a casual, friendly atmosphere with flavors of Mexico in the food as well as the decor (without looking like Mexico threw up in it, like at Patron). It's hard to believe that someone with a last name so close to mine owns such an awesome business, even though I wish it were closer! I guess I can't have it all, considering that Smoke BBQ & Taqueria is so close.
A very big "Feliz Cumpleaños" to the Franklin Inn on their 33rd birthday today. Here's to 33 (and more!) years of fabulous, flavorful Mexican food!
Franklin Inn Mexican Restaurant
2313 Rochester Rd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15237 (North Hills)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FranklinInnTwitter: https://twitter.com/#!/FranklinInn
The Franklin Inn does catering! Pick-up only. View their catering menu.