06 March 2012

Where to eat vegan: Yo Rita - Pittsburgh, PA

After getting lost on the way to yoga on Penn Avenue I found myself on E Carson street. Funny thing is, I already knew the name and thus didn't feel the least bit lost. South Side, and in particular E Carson street, is a bit of a vegan and vegetarian gem. Jammed with tattoo shops, yoga studios, vintage shops and restaurants, E Carson is a little on the grungy side - but that's just the way I like it.

After stretching out my stomach in the (painfully) slow Yin class at Breath Yoga Studio I shuffled down the street for some tacos and salad at Yo Rita. I had read online that they were willing to accommodate vegans and while their menu asked for "no substitutions" to be made, my server assured me that my requests to leave off the dairy would be happily fulfilled.

Their menu is limited but well varied with several options for both meat eaters and veggies. Chips and two salsas - a chunky mild and a smooth medium - are brought to the table within minutes of sitting down. I started with a small but interesting salad of greens, jicama, radish, carrot and salted pumpkin seeds with an agave vinaigrette. The saltiness of the pumpkin seeds and the sweetness of the dressing provided a really nice contrast and all the crunchy greens and veggies made me feel all healthy and stuff after my yoga class.

Then came the taco! Served on soft white tortillas and a bed of cabbage, there are all kinds of fillings offered. Portobello mushrooms, crispy fried tofu, potatoes? Yum! I opted for the Velvet Underground that was running as a special that night. Their online menu doesn't seem to be up to date as the Velvet Underground is ON that menu but was only a verbal special when I went. Also - where was that Brussels sprout taco last night!

I digress. Roasted beets, sweet potatoes and scallions made up the simple but flavorful taco I scarfed down. Of course, to be made vegan they had to hold the aji amarillo crema and the aged cheddar. Would it have been better with some sort of cashew crema and or vegan sour cream and cheese? Well duh. And Yo Rita..if you're reading this... get on it!

But seriously, the food was all well prepared, fast and cheap. The tattoo style logo sets the tone without the rest of the inside decor going over the top. Service was super friendly and I look forward to sweating it out at yoga and eating a veggie taco again next time. Oh but...could I get some guac with dem tacos please?

Lacey Walker | @quinoaween | Blog | Flickr
Maryland Lacey is a food photographing, French speaking, English teaching, travel enthusiast. She's been known to cut a rug. She's also been known to spend all day in bed eating vegan waffles and talking to her cat Hibou.

Photo credit: Lacey