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Restaurants & Bars

Tortas (or cemitas) in Pittsburgh

alaskanjackal | Jan 19, 201602:00 PM     6

Recent transplant to PGH and I'm starting to really miss Mexican food. Having found amazing, authentic Mexican all across this country in places I never expected to find anything resembling an authentic taqueria (from a schoolbus taqueria in Puyallup, WA to a hole-in-the-wall in Augusta, GA, not to mention great options in places like NYC, Chicago, and other cities), I became used to the idea that a good Mexican was available anywhere in the U.S., and certainly in every major city. I never even thought to check on PGH's Mexican scene before moving--I just assumed there would be at least a couple of choices.

Boy, was I wrong. The options in PGH are not just slim: they're nonexistent.

The tacos at Reyna's street stand in the Strip District are excellent (the restaurant downstairs is another story), and coming in (for my tastes) a very close second is Edgar's around the corner. For San Diego-style carne asada burritos, El Burro Comedor on the Northside is as close as it gets. But everything else I've tried in the city is either some modern pseudo-fusion take on faux-Mexican or, at best, gloppy-cheese Tex-Mex. And all the CH threads on the topic are a decade old.

Where are my tortas? Where are my cemitas? Tamales? Sopes? Anything?

Right now I'm craving a torta, and my Googling is proving fruitless. Any hints at a possibility of an option are coming up as dead-ends--old threads discussing now-closed restaurants, etc. I was briefly encouraged to find this recent news (http://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburg...), but it seems even that didn't last long enough to let me try it.

So, a couple of questions:

1) Is there anything, ANYTHING even REMOTELY resembling a real taqueria (or anything featuring authentic Mexican food) anywhere within a reasonable drive of da 'Burgh? Any place I can get my torta fix?
2) What is it going to take to kick-start this region and get it interested in and supportive of REAL Mexican cuisine?

Heck, I moved to Pennsylvania from Alaska and had better Mexican food there than I've found here, and even the last place I lived before this (a small hamlet in Lancaster County) had a great Mexican option almost walking distance from my house. Help this California-bred boy out, please!

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