Tuesday, November 8, 2011

...Las Palmas Taqueria, Carniceria y Supermercado (Brookline)

Social media is a powerful tool.

I saw this article by China Millman in the November 6th edition of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which basically relays that fact that restaurants are using social media to generate buzz about their menus, specials, and events - a smart move for any business. 

From @BurghGourmand
When a restaurant tweets a picture of a menu item, or posts it on their Facebook page, I am personally more intrigued.  I take a lot of pictures when I visit a venue, and I tend to post a lot here on my blog - which I know some people may find annoying - but those pictures usually tell more than any of the words that I use.  If it looks appetizing, you'll want to eat it - and isn't that what the restaurant business is all about? 

From @BurghGourmand
Following food bloggers on Twitter and Facebook has also made me more aware of the restaurant scene in Pittsburgh and what local restaurants and even retail stores have to offer.  Seeing their photos and opinions on certain places makes me more adept to what I should try myself - even if the review is bad, I want to try the place, simply because I'm more interested in forming my own opinion.

If you follow Burgh Gourmand (AKA James), you know what I mean.

From @BurghGourmand
Ugh, some of the things that he tweets makes me wish that iPhones were scratch 'n sniff (or scratch 'n taste)!  One of the places that he frequents is Las Palmas in Brookline, which has a taco stand set up on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  Tortillas are cooked right before your eyes, with a variety of meat options (usually cooked in the store, due to space limitations), and a self-serve toppings bar, including pico de gallo, avocado cream, cilantro, salsas of different heat levels, tomatoes, and more.  It is similar to the taco stand at Reyna Foods in the Strip District.

But better.

First, each taco is $2 - you can't beat that, especially since you can pile on as many toppings as you want, and the quality is 4,302,530 times better than Taco Bell (just an estimate).  Second, the tortillas are doubled-up, giving you more bang for your buck; moreover, this ensures that your taco will not fall apart, even with a piling of veggies and sauces (although you may need a fork to eat some, otherwise your taco will be more of a tostada).  Finally, the ingredients are simple, yet flavorful and authentic.  Not that I don't like the tacos at Smoke Taqueria, and I am intrigued by the uniqueness of the menu at Yo Rita (which I have yet to try), but I have learned through this process that sometimes the simplest ingredients make the most savory meals.

James took me to Las Palmas to experience the taco stand and to explore the supermercado itself.  

 The tacos did not disappoint.  Just as expected, they were delicious.  I generously piled on pico de gallo, avocado cream (ok, not too generous with that - too many calories), salsa, and of course, cilantro.  

The taco stand itself. Toppings bar to the left.

I got a fork.  I indulged.  I grinned from ear to ear while I ate, and frowned down to my feet after they were devoured.  I will definitely have to experience these tacos again.

Las Palmas tacos - carne asada & chorizo - best $4 you can spend in Brookline!
To drink, we got Coca-Cola, Mexican-style - served in glass bottles, and made with real cane sugar.  Definitely better than the American version.  It reminded me of being in Mexico, where you are charged more if you leave the venue with the beverage (because they take the bottle back to be recycled, which saves money).

Coca-Cola, served in a glass bottle, made with real cane sugar
James and I then explored the store:

Yuca is even cheaper here - $.99/lb.!

 Quite the variety of peppers, like Reyna's, but theirs aren't stored in metal garbage cans...
 Mmm, TONGUE!  I know what's on the menu for the next fiesta...
 Bought these, because I thought they were cute.  I'm thinking of making a Thanksgiving-type macaroni salad out of them...
 Laugh if you wish, but I'll bet this is awesome soap...
 Ok, some of these seem a bit outlandish.  I'm especially intrigued by the tomato soap...
 Nothing like gorilla boogers to get your hair looking its best...
 I love how the lid models what this product can do to your hair...
 Interesting product placement (James's observation, not mine!)
 I know that this character is supposed to be tamarind - but James thinks it looks like Mr. Hanky, the Christmas Poo.  I can't disagree...
By the way, this is what tamarind looks like, for real.  Kinda like those things that fall off of trees...
 Any girl can be charmed with a chili pepper-flavored mango lollipop, while roasting a whole chicken on a stick...

 James and I both tried this - pop made with molasses and (non-fermented!) hops.  Verdict?  Gross...
 Inca Kola was much better.  It tasted like bubble gum at first, then more like cream soda.  They serve this at a lot of Peruvian restaurants, including Chicken Latino...

On a personal note, I have to say that exploring new stores and restaurants with James has been an enlightening experience, to say the least.  His knowledge of the Pittsburgh restaurant scene and food has helped me beyond words, and it is always an outstanding adventure.  

I look forward to many, many more adventures.

Las Palmas Taqueria, Carniceria, y Supermercado
700 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226 (Brookline)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Las-Palmas-Carniceria-y-Supermercado/199039860122197

Las Palmas Carniceria on Urbanspoon

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