Not even two full days into the new year I had my first 2019 taco. I picked a place off my PGH taco list that was recommended to me by several friends for its authenticity and overall high quality of tacos. I had this place marked in my notes for months and I couldn’t think of a better time to try them than at the start of the new year. I took my friend Dan, who was also off of work, and we drove together to Coraopolis for some hyped up tacos.
The place I had picked was La Poblanita located at 801 4th Avenue. At this location, the taco stand is stationed outside, attached to the Mexican grocery store that is a converted gas station. La Poblanita also opened up a second location inside the Mall at Robinson.
When Dan and I arrived, I noticed that the setup was very similar to that of Las Palmas in Brookline. (See my Las Palmas post here!) We first went inside the grocery store where we ordered and paid for our tacos. After making our taco choices, we handed our taco order slip to the cook outside.
Taco options (listed beside the register) included pollo, fajitas de pollo, lomo (ribeye), al pastor, chorizo, asada, carnitas (fried pork), lengua (tongue), and tripas (tripe). They also sold quesadillas. I chose the al pastor, pollo, and asada tacos while Dan went with the carnitas and pollo tacos. I did order one more taco than Dan but hey, I was hungry. Plus, I think Dan regretted not ordering a third.
While we waited for our tacos, I noticed the cook grooving to a stereo with flashing bright lights located behind him on the shelf. I loved it. The music was great to listen to while outside. I was also jamming to the beat as I watched the cook whip up some delicious looking cheesy goodness quesadillas. For $4, it was a steal. The quesadilla was stuffed with chicken and cheese and was toasted to perfection. I would totally get that when I return.
After two quick orders were filled before us, our tacos were up. Just like at Las Palmas, we were presented with smoking hot meats weighing down a grilled double corn shell.
I dressed my tacos the following way:
- Al pastor: Pico, onions, cilantro, mild salsa verde, lime wedge.
- Asada: Pico, onions, cilantro, mild salsa verde, lime wedge.
- Pollo: Pico, onions, cilantro, guac dressing, lime wedge.
Out of the three tacos I tried, the chicken was my favorite. I would give it a 3 out 5, but almost a 4. I would definitely get this taco again. I docked a few points as the chicken was slightly dry. The guac sauce filled in for some of the chicken dryness and it was just a great combo. I am a big fan of chicken and gauc together. This taco was so fresh and light; the pico enhanced the refreshing vibe of this taco. When you have quality toppings like this, you realize that you don’t even need to have cheese as a topping.
I gave the carne asada a 2 out of 5. The corn shell and garnishes were top notch like for the chicken taco. My only complaint was that some of the meat were too fatty and dry. I wish there was a little more flavor originating from the ends of the meat.
Now for the al pastor, I can’t really rank because I realized after getting to Dan’s car and taking a few bites of the loaded taco, that it wasn’t actually al pastor filling. It was chorizo. Mexican sausage is not usually my go-to, but it was good for a chorizo taco. Still a little heavy for me and a little greasier than other fillings, but it did not stop from finishing the taco. I would give this taco a 2 out of 5 because I was not upset that I ate it.
Dan was brave enough to use the hot salsa roja on his tacos. He said he was getting over a cold and wanted to clear his sinuses. By the end of the meal, he said that the salsa did the trick. Dan preferred the fried pork over the chicken taco. He stated “the chicken was a touch dry for my liking.” As for the pork, Dan said it was “delicious and had a smidgen of a crunch.”
I think the next time I visit La Poblanita, I am going to try the chicken quesadilla and the carnitas taco. I know I won’t have room for a second taco with that massive quesadilla, but I do have to actually try the al pastor taco, too. I’d also bring a water like I did this time to save a few bucks from buying one inside.
Overall, the tacos here were excellent. La Poblanita reminds me that good tortillas, fillings, and garnishes are what make a taco stand out. After trying La Poblanita and seeing many comparisons to Las Palmas, this will be very difficult to compare. From memory, I do think Las Palmas has a better carne asada taco. I am also going to have to introduce Dan to Las Palmas because I am curious to know his take and reaction to one of my favorite spots for authentic tacos. I now can add La Poblanita to that list of great authentic tacos in the Burgh as well.
Price: $2.50 per taco (same incredible price as Las Palmas), although $3 for tripe and tongue tacos