My coworker, Pam, and I, have been waiting for months for the right weekend to get a trip to the Sun Dawg Café located on 37 North Main Street in the downtown Greensburg area. Pam’s husband Jason LOVES food and follows many food blogs and has been a great help in suggesting places with great tacos. Sun Dawg Café was one of his recommendations, so I was very excited for a lunch with Pam, Jason and their daughter Elena before work on a Saturday. After our first visit I learned that I missed some signature tacos I needed to try, so I had to go back!
Taco Visit One – Chicken Tacos:
Aside from our schedules, we also had to consider the hours of the café. They are only open Mon-Fri 8-4pm and Sat 8-2pm. Sun Dawg Café serves breakfast and lunch all day and has options for eat in, take out, call ahead, curb service and catering. So many different ways to get to a taco!
When we walked in, I immediately noticed the bright colors of the walls and the long narrow hallway. The front room had some seating and a wrap around counter to order food. I could not stop staring at the desserts that were displayed on the side of the counter. The smell of fresh pastries (like fresh chocolate donuts) filled the first room.
We all took a quick minute to look over the menu. Jason informed me that the tacos here are not an authentic or even a tex mex style, but a New Jersey/Caribbean style. Taco options included chicken, fish, vegetarian chorizo, falafel (ground up chick peas or fava beans), carnitas and shrimp tacos. Also of note is their breakfast taco! Two of the same tacos come per order. Pam and I both ordered the chicken tacos while Jason ordered the shrimp tacos. Now Pam and I messed up and both ordered the same tacos so we could not have a classic taco swap, however we made up for it in Part Two of this blog.
The narrow hallway led to additional seating at high-tops against the wall and to a bar seating overlooking the open kitchen area. I took a few peaks over to see our chicken on the grill while we waited at the high top.
The tacos came fresh from the grill. The chicken tacos were served on a grilled flour tortilla and were stuffed with fresh pico de gallo, cheddar cheese, black beans, jasmine rice and rum lime sour cream. My favorite part of the taco was the sour cream. The sour cream is made with a heavy molasses infused rum (Cruzan Black Strap from the Caribbean) and brown sugar. The grilled blackened edges of the chicken with a mix of the sweet sour cream were my favorite bites.
The jasmine rice was super sticky and sort of kept the taco together. Jasmine rice is originally from Thailand and it is commonly used in Southeast Asian cooking. It is a long grain variety of rice with a subtle floral aroma. When cooked (most likely steamed), its texture is soft and sticky and has a pearly white appearance.
I liked the rice in the taco, but I think it should be mixed in more with the other ingredients than just at the bottom of the taco. Less rice might be better too because its taste was consuming the taco, especially at the bottom where the shell folds. Overall, I think the chicken taco was healthy and consisted of fresh ingredients but the taste of the chicken taco was sort of bland I think the taco could be better with more seasoning, cilantro, and lime and less rice.
Jason tried many of the tacos here including the pork, shrimp, chicken, and blackened tuna (on special one day) and he said he liked them all. Pam said her favorite so far is the fish taco. But none of us had the vegetarian chorizo or the falafel yet. Next time, Pam and I already decided that we will order one of the vegetarian chorizo and the falafel to do a proper taco swap.
PART TWO – Chorizo and Falafel Tacos:
I wrote part one exactly one month ago. This past Friday, before my last shift ever at my job in Greensburg, Pam took me out for lunch again at Sun Dawg Café. Pam and I didn’t go into this trip unprepared like last time. Our minds were set on the vegetarian chorizo and the falafel (blended chickpeas or fava beans) tacos.
We walked into the cafe and confidently ordered the vegetarian chorizo and the falafel taco. The owner’s wife tried to persuade us to get the fish or shrimp tacos at the register but I couldn’t get myself to do seafood even though they were highly recommended by the owner’s wife and Jason.
Pam and I sat at the bar this time. We could see everything going on in the open kitchen. In front of me, there were at least two gallon sized tubs of fresh pico de gallo. Boy did I just want to take a handful of chips and dive right in!
After a short wait, Pam and I had the tacos in front of us. I first tried the vegetarian chorizo. The vegetarian chorizo consisted of a tofu base that is made at Sun Dawg Café with a spice blend. The taco was wrapped up in a flour tortilla and filled with fresh pico de gallo , cheddar cheese, black beans, jasmine rice, green onion and the rum lime sour cream. I would have never guessed the vegetarian chorizo was tofu if I hadn’t asked. Its consistency was similar to actual chorizo and had the same color as cooked ground beef. The tofu itself took on the flavors of the spices it was cooked with and it was less greasy than real chorizo. I agreed with the chef that I didn’t feel heavy after eating it.
Next, I tried the falafel taco. The corn shells used at Sun Dawg Café are from Casa Reyna in the strip. Now, I have had Casa Reyna chips at Mexi Casa in Dormont and their corn shells at Sun Dawg Café, but I have yet to make it to Casa Reyna’s own location in the Strip!
The corn shells are grilled instead of deep fried and the falafel taco is topped with an Asian slaw of slivered cucumber, carrots, and onions and finished with a spicy mayo. The outside layer of the falafel mixture itself looked liked that of a grilled turkey burger patty, but had a softer interior. The mayo reminded me of a sweeter version of a Thousand Island dressing with a tolerable amount of spice. The shredded veggies gave to taco a bit of a crunch to balance out the softness of the falafel.
I really enjoyed both tacos and I felt like both of the tacos were extremely healthy. I would get both of the tacos again over the chicken in a taco swap. Another taco I would be interested to try is the carnitas with jasmine rice, salsa verde, pickled red onion, feta and chipotle sour cream.
Lastly, I wish there was an option for three tacos. All the tacos come in groups of 2 and I wish I could have the option of buying a single taco or to add a third taco to the order.
Price: $6.50-$8.50 for two tacos (same style)