Having served in the U.S. Navy for many years, I have traveled around the globe. Exotic destinations, fascinating cultures and of course; AMAZING FOOD!
Spending a good portion of my enlistment on the west coast, Mexican cuisine is a staple in everyday life out there. From mom 'n' pop bodegas, to hole in the wall Mexican eateries and lets not forget the usually surprising taco trucks. Mexican food is everywhere out west.
So needless to say I am a fan, however moving back to the Pittsburgh area, I find the choices for latin cuisine wanting. There are many big corporate chain restaurants that serve "Mexican style" food. (Not really. Their menus are a pathetic attempt at the exciting flavors and bizarre food combinations that TRUE Mexican food offers)
So while I was attending 3 Rivers Comicon 2 weeks ago, I took a break from signing autographs and stepped outside for air. The vibrant facade ornamenting the restaurants front really catches your eye. I thought to myself, " I have to try that place. I've been looking for a Mexican place to eat..." So today, I took my wife and fellow "foodie" on a date. Destination? Old Mexico Mexican Restaurant in Century III mall.
Our first impression as we walked in was of how tidy the place was. Festive and fun, but it was also very clean. I don't mean in a bleach aroma kind of way. I mean, you can tell that the facility is well maintained. No dust, no stale beer smell, just warm and inviting.
We were greeted promptly and sat at our booth. Our server Alberto came to our table with fresh and hot tortilla chips and two types of salsa. The regular house salsa and a cilantro and lime salsa. Which is amazing! He took our drink orders and let us view our menus.
My beautiful bride, not having really been in a REAL Mexican restaurant before, was asking questions about some of the menu items. I explained what was what and she was able to decide. Pictured above is her order. A Carnitas Chimichanga with beans and rice. Carnitas is closely comparable to pulled pork. Just with way more flavor and preparation. The tender meat melts in your mouth as the crunch of the chimichanga adds a fun texture that blends smoothly with the guacamole, salsa, beans, rice and sour cream.
I ordered the carne asada burrito with white rice, cheese, tomato and lettuce covered in a spectacularly seasoned queso fresco sauce. Carne asada is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Carne asada is a well seasoned flank steak cut into strips, there is no substitute. The flavors and spices danced in my mouth. Everything blending together to form a taste bud fiesta.
One bite, and I was back in Oceanside California, sitting at a cantina, eating burritos, drinking cervezas, hanging out with my Marines and watching the pretty girls as they roller skated by at the beach. The memories and good times flashed through my mind with every single mouthful I took. Now THIS! IS REAL MEXICAN FOOD!!!
Look, I love Pittsburgh. Born and raised here. But when it comes to authentic cuisine, a vast majority of the Three Rivers residents haven't a clue. People, Old Mexico Mexican Restaurant is the REAL DEAL! Go! EAT! ENJOY! I will most definitely be back!
Old Mexico Mexican Restaurant - 5 STARS *****
CEO Spike Bowan is the Pittsburgh based Actor/Director/ Author/ Creator of the Alternate History Genre/Fiction saga "War in the Backyard".
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