Friday, October 14, 2011

…Smoke Taqueria (yet again!)

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!)

The slaw and mac and cheese arrived next, and we each offered to have the other try our choices.  

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.

Then the tacos arrived.  I started with the chicken and apple taco, since it sounded so interesting.  

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…

Smoke Taqueria
205 E. Eighth Ave.
Homestead, PA 15120

SMOKE - barbeque taqueria on Urbanspoon

Burgh Gourmand

Trax Farms
528 Trax Rd.
Finleyville, PA 15332

Hungry Girl


  1. I love pink lady apples, they are my fav. Daves Baba just gave us 2 huge apples that were so good and the lady who gave them to her wont tell us where she got them. i would love to try everything you had. all sounds great!

  2. I thought about going back to Smoke a day later too. It's sooo good!