As promised, write-ups of two more spots I visited recently:
Chica Loca Taco - Copeland, Shadyside
My boyfriend Ben and I made our way to Chica Loca Taco late one recent Friday night. Chica Loca Taco is located in the old Mercurio’s gelato space (Mercurio’s moved to 5523 Walnut Street). The Chica Loca space (733 Copeland) is actually somewhat unchanged, which is kind of weird. You order at the same counter and they still have gelato. However, the taco operation is now housed in the back of the space and you can see the staff and cooking equipment back there as you order.
We had a chicken taco, a fish taco, and two carne asada tacos. We also had quacamole and chips. The quac and chips were stellar – thick crunchy chips paired with guacamole that was literally all avocado. Our tacos, however, were only so so. While I really enjoyed the fish taco, the others fell way short of my expectations. They were really dry and had little taste. To be fair, we declined an offer of salsa, not sure if we had to pay for it or what the deal was. Perhaps the salsa could have rescued these things. I am not sure I will be back. Maybe if I am craving a fish taco and some guacamole, I would consider. Otherwise, Ben and I plan on hitting up Smoke, a Homestead taqueria I also mentioned in this post. Lindsay of Human Vacuum visited and loved it! Must get there!
Tin Front Cafe – 8th Ave, Homestead
On yet another late Friday night, my boyfriend and I were actually trying to make our way to Smoke but ended up at the Tin Front Cafe (Smoke is currently only open until 7PMish) on 8th Ave in Homestead. I had been intrigued by the Tin Front Cafe since it’s opening a year or so ago. My parents had gone for breakfast and given it a pretty good review. The cafe has an all vegetarian menu.
I was pleasantly surprised by the space. It was cozy and had an art deco-like vibe and felt very laid back. The cafe is also attached to the Annex Cookery store. The cafe also has a small patio with outdoor seating. We sat inside with a few other couples as the sky was looking a little threatening.
The menu was small but filled with options like macaroni and cheese, ratatouille, risotto, braised greens, vegetarian lasagnas, salads, etc. There is also a full bar within the space. I ordered the butternut squash lasagna and Ben ordered the ratatouille over polenta. Both meals came with better than average salads – mixed greens, dried cranberries, parmesan cheese.
In the end, the meals weren’t particulary exceptional - but they were hearty and enjoyable and didn’t leave me feeling overly weighed down or overindulged. Also, the service was kind and caring and made me want to root for this little place. Additionally, the prices were pretty reasonable – I don’t think any entree exceeded $13 or so. Also if you are vegetarian or veggie-leaning (such as myself), I think this would be a super spot! I want to go back here.