Review of Attack’s Theatre’s DIRTY BALL

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*DISCLAIMER*: I neither own the rights to Attack Theatre nor the food trucks involved at this event. I’m just a blogger who wishes to share my experience at THE DIRTY BALL with others! :) Also, all photos were captured by me. I do not seek monetary gain for these photos.

This past Sunday, I attended Attack Theatre‘s ninth annual fundraiser, titled “The Dirty Ball”. The fundraiser was held at Jane Street Warehouse in the South Side neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Let me tell you: Attack Theatre couldn’t chosen a better venue for this event! It was PERFECT! :D

One of the co-chairs of the event (PGH NEWBIE) was kind enough to give me tickets to The Dirty Ball. Since they were free tickets, I assumed the tickets were general admission tickets (good from 8pm-12am). To my amazement, I discovered the day before the event that the tickets were “Dirty Donor Tickets”! :D What does this mean? Well, my best friend from college and I were admitted to the pre-reception, the velvet lounge AND the main stage events at The Dirty Ball! :D Also, we had V.I.P. parking (right in front of the food trucks)! :D

The pre-reception was VERY nice! Two performers from Attack Theatre performed a private performance for all of the “Dirty Donors”, as Chatham Baroque simultaneously played lovely music! The catering for the pre-reception was provided by E2. I learned E2 is a restaurant located in the Highland Park neighborhood of Pittsburgh. E2′s food can be subscribed as Mediterranean lighter fare. The food was FANTASTIC! Here’s what I had: a white bean salad with onions and artichokes, an anti-pasti salad with mozzarella slices and red bell peppers, a REALLY good noodle salad and a garden salad with goat cheese! Very healthy, too!

The next element of the pre-ception that I REALLY enjoyed: libations (lol)! Two mixologist were present at the pre-reception; one was from Tender Bar & Kitchen (located in Lawrenceville) and the other was from Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina (Lawrenceville/Garfield neighborhoods). Both of my drinks were prepared by the LOVELY female mixologist from Verde. The drinks matched the theme of the night (Pirates vs. Robots). My first drink was titled “Elizabeth Swann” (I don’t remember all of the components of the drink, but I know there was Clique Vodka and Chocolate Liquor), and the second drink was “Optimus Thyme” (Wigle Whiskey White Rye, Thyme, Lemon and other ingredients I can’t remember). Although I enjoyed both drinks, I preferred the “Optimus Thyme”. That has a nice, clean lemon-y taste, and wasn’t quite as strong as the Elizabeth Swann drink.

Once the clock struck 8:00pm, we moved downstairs to the main warehouse space, where the main events took place. There was a nice table of food (my friend and I hit up the table while they are still setting up. Thus, we grabbed two homemade cookies! I had one chocolate chip and one thumbprint cookie) in the center of the lobby. Slightly behind the food table was the libations station, with Clique Vodka and Yuengling featured as two of the events’ sponsors.

The Dirty Ball provided attendees with interactive games on big screen TVs! One of the games my friend and I played was “guess the celebrity butt” lol. Another game involved dancing in front of the camera. Then, the computer would translate your dance moves to either the Pirate or the Robot on the big screen monitor.

My friend and I also noticed a “Battle Royale” that took place between two remote-control robots. Eventually, several of the party-goers crowded around the main stage, awaiting Attack Theatre’s first performance of the night. Some spontaneous dancing broke out amongst the brave cosplayers:

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In regards to the costumes, one observation I noticed was DIRTY BALL participants didn’t have to follow the PIRATES vs. Robots theme. Really, anything goes! My friend and I spoke briefly to the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Attack Theatre, and that’s one aspect of Attack Theatre (and The Dirty Ball) that he really appreciates. He said that “you will notice, there are all sorts of costumes and dress. There’s no judgment”, and I really love that!

Next, my friend and I watch Attack Theatre‘s first performance of the night, which had a Pirate-themed plot. I must admit: this was my first time watching Attack Theatre perform, and they are one of THE BEST dancing troupes I’ve EVER seen! I would define their style of dance as both modern and contemporary, but Attack Theatre takes these dance mediums and puts its own unique spin on everything. If you ever have the opportunity to attend an Attack Theatre performance, I HIGHLY recommend it!

Later on, we walked over to the V.I.P Velvet Lounge! In the main area, there were champagne cocktails (which were INCREDIBLE! Those were provided by Perle) and oysters (from Nola on the Square). The main area expanded into a large “lounge” area, with the two mixologist, food provided by La Tavola and Hyde Park, robot mannequins, music and plenty of tables & chairs to sit and enjoy the entertainment!

As the night came to a close, I decided I needed a little more nourishment to balance out all of those wonderful adult beverages! Low and behold, the food truck round-up! Three trucks were present for the food truck round up at The Dirty Ball. Those food trucks were: South Side BBQ Company, PGH Pierogies and PGH Taco Truck.

For this event, I decided to purchase a taco from the PGH Taco Truck (which I’ve been craving for TWO YEARS! I was finally in the same location as the truck).

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I ordered the Thai Peanut Chicken with Chili Slaw taco. best. Taco. EVER! James, you are a taco GENIUS! :D

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I apologize for the quality of this photo. It’s VERY hard to capture a photo of a taco while actually holding the taco in the other hand (in the car, while it’s moving lol). Anywho- I consider this glorious plethora of food a site of BEAUTY! I loved the combination of the savory taste of the peanut with the spiciness of the slaw. James: I WILL be back for more tacos! :D

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Here’s another shot of the truck. :)

Well, there you have it folks! Next year, if you are a patron of the arts and you’re looking for a unique “night on the town” with either friends or a significant other, I HIGHLY recommend attending Attack Theatre’s Dirty Ball! :D

 

Cheers to good food, fabulous restaurants (and food trucks) and wonderful art!

 

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

 

Attack Theatre’s website: http://www.attacktheatre.com/

Attack Theatre’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AttackTheatre

Attack Theatre’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/AttackTheatre

Attack Theatre’s Instagram: http://instagram.com/attacktheatre

PGH Taco Truck’s website: http://www.pghtacotruck.com/

PGH Taco Truck’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pghtacotruck

PGH Taco Truck’s Twitter page: https://twitter.com/PghTacoTruck

PGH Taco Truck’s Instagram: http://instagram.com/pghtacotruck

PGH Newbie’s website: http://www.pghnewbie.com/

PGH Newbie’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/pghnewbie

PGH Newbie’s Instagram: http://instagram.com/pghnewbie

PGH Pierogi Truck’s website: http://polishpierogi.com/pierogi-truck/

PGH Pierogi Truck’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PghPierogiTruck

PGH Pierogi Truck’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/PGHPierogiTruck

South Side BBQ Company’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/South-Side-BBQ-Company/580170465381111

South Side BBQ Company’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Southsidebbqco

Tender Bar & Kitchen’s website: http://tenderpgh.com/

Tender Bar & Kitchen’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TenderBarKitchen

Tender Bar & Kitchen’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/TenderPGH

Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina’s website: http://verdepgh.com/

Verde’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/VerdePGH

Verde’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/VerdePGH

Clique Vodka’s website: http://www.cliquevodka.com/#

Clique Vodka’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cliquevodka?ref=br_tf

Clique Vodka’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/CliqueVodka

Wigle Whiskey’s website: http://www.wiglewhiskey.com/

Wigle Whiskey’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/wiglewhiskey

Wigle Whiskey’s Twitter page: https://twitter.com/WigleWhiskey

E2′s website: http://e2pgh.com/

E2′s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/e2pgh?ref=br_tf

E2′s Twitter: https://twitter.com/e2pgh

La Tavola Italiana’s website: http://www.latavolaitalianarestaurant.com/site/

La Tavola’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/latavolaitaliana

Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse’s website: http://www.hydeparkrestaurants.com/

Hyde Park’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hyde-Park-Prime-Steakhouse-Downtown-Pittsburgh-on-the-North-Shore/227907160666681

Hyde Park’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheHydePark

Yuengling’s website: http://www.yuengling.com/

Yuengling’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Yuengling

Yuengling’s Twitter page: https://twitter.com/Yuengling_Beer

Nola on the Square’s website: http://www.nolaonthesquare.com/

Nola’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nola-On-The-Square/173847479320227

Nola’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/NOLAOnTheSquare

Perle’s website: http://www.perlepgh.com/

Perle’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Perlé/183152325140826?ref=br_tf

 

 

 

Upcoming Post: The Dirty Ball Fundraiser

Every year, Attack Theater hosts a HUGE fundraiser called The Dirty Ball. THE DIRTY BALL includes: Attack Theatre performances, live music, art installations, fashion shows, libations and food trucks! This year will be my first year attending and I am SOOOOOO excited! :D The Dirty Ball is this upcoming Saturday, April 12th (2014), from 8:00pm- 12 midnight at Jane Street Warehouse (2120 Jane Street) in the South Side. Of course, I will be reviewing this event on my blog. :) The DIRTY BALL review should be up on the blog by Tuesday, April 15th at the latest. Interested in attending The Dirty Ball? Tickets are available for purchase herehttp://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=4883d68b7e4d39339c00f2eb7&id=9fad67cdc6&e=e5cb3c0464

Thanks everyone! I look forward to sharing my experience of this event with you! Also, The PGH Taco Truck will be there (I’ve been wanting a taco from them for almost two years lol). Hopefully, I’ll FINALLY have the opportunity to taste one of those delectable tacos. :)

 

Cheers to fabulous art, good food and cultural excursions! 

 

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

 

Attack Theatre’s website: http://www.attacktheatre.com/home

Attack Theatre’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AttackTheatre

Attack Theatre’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/AttackTheatre

PGH Taco Truck’s website: http://www.pghtacotruck.com/

PGH Taco Truck’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pghtacotruck

PGH Taco Truck’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/PghTacoTruck

PGH Taco Truck’s Instagram: http://instagram.com/pghtacotruck

Update and Explanation

Greetings, devoted Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie fans!

I just realized that I haven’t posted any new content in four weeks. I apologize for the lack of new posts! Right now, I am participating in South Hills Power Yoga’s 200 Hour Power Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training. Everything is going WELL with the training! It’s definitely taking up the majority of my free time, but I am enjoying every minute of it! :D

Truth be told, I’m a firm believer in meaningful content. If I haven’t either dined at a scrumptious restaurant, viewed inspiring art or attended a cultural event, I can’t share non-existent adventures with you. Although, I am debating either more yoga-centered posts and/or posting about my experience as a yogini-in-training. Please let me know if you would be interested in either (or both) topic(s)! :D

Never fear, blogging fans! I will return soon with something exciting for you to read (and, of course, Instagram pictures to view)!

I hope everyone is doing well! It’s SLOWLY warming up in the ‘burgh! Thank GOD spring is here! I’m already thinking about summer and the Three Rivers Arts Festival. :)

 

Thanks for your patience and continued support!

 

Cheers to good food, fabulous art and adventurous cultural excursions!

 

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

 

South Hills Power Yoga’s website: http://southhillspoweryoga.com/

South Hills Power Yoga’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/South-Hills-Power-Yoga/121104764622333

South Hills Power Yoga’s Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/SHPowerYoga

South Hills Power Yoga’s Instagram photos: http://instagram.com/southhillspoweryoga

 

Breakfast at Square Cafe in Regent Square

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*DISCLAIMER*: All of these photos were captured by me. I do not claim neither ownership nor monetary benefits from Square Cafe and its food and beverages.

*I will post social media and website links below this post.*

 This past Monday, my Mom and I had brunch at the lovely Square Cafe in the Regent Square neighborhood of Pittsburgh. I discovered this restaurant thanks to Rick Sebak and WQED‘s “25 Things I Love About Pittsburgh” special. This restaurant was included as one of the 25 things that Rick Sebak loves.

My Mom and I both dined there for breakfast once last year, and we decided it was time for our return visit.

Last time, I ordered Square Cafe’s seasonal lemon ricotta pancakes (which were absolutely FABULOUS)! This time, I decided to order some other dishes from the menu:

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My first plate was the “Square Cafe Protein Breakfast” (which is also gluten-free, for those health-conscious diners), which included: scrambled eggs and turkey sausage. I must admit- usually, I am a HUGE fan of scrambled eggs. These eggs were good, but (sadly, I must admit) I had better (MUCH better). The turkey sausage was all right, but it tasted a bit burnt.

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Now, the coffee is ALWAYS wonderful! I ordered the endless coffee (yet again). In my opinion, part of the coffee’s lovely taste is due to the ceramic mugs. Someday, I will have to buy one of these mugs (I love the unique shape and coloring)!

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Last (but certainly, not least) the piece-de-resistance: one pumpkin walnut waffle pancake (another seasonal pancake). As a lover of anything pumpkin, I can assure you- this pancake was HEAVENLY! Everything from the texture, to the presentation and the taste was PERFECT! In my opinion, Square Cafe really serves up a good pancake! I wish I had ordered a plate of these pancakes (lol).

Another aspect of Square Cafe that I love is its ambiance. I LOVE all of the bright colors Square Cafe uses in its advertising and decor. Just by observing fellow customers, you can tell this place is a neighborhood gem. I noticed all sorts of customers: from a family, to college students re-uniting over spring break, to “ladies who lunch” meeting up at their favorite local place. All of the wait staff is EXTREMELY friendly and knowledgeable of the food (and these two elements always speak wonders about the restaurant).

I will warn you that Square Cafe is a little bit pricey (especially if you are on a budget). Thank GOD I had a Groupon (that saved us $20). On the other hand, I think one could dine at Square Cafe on a budget- just don’t go crazy with the side orders.

Well, there you have it, folks! In my opinion, Square Cafe is worth trying at least once (and more)! I’ve heard that Saturday and Sundays are particularly busy (there’s usually a line out the door). As far as I know, I don’t think Square Cafe accepts reservations. Thus, if you have a day off from work, I would HIGHLY recommend going for either breakfast or lunch at square cafe.

 

Happy Dining,

 

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

 

Square Cafe’s website: http://square-cafe.com/

Square Cafe’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SquareCafe

Square Cafe’s Twitter page: https://twitter.com/TheSquareCafe

 

 

Quick Post: Third Visit to Grit & Grace in Downtown Pittsburgh!

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*DISCLAIMER* I am neither an owner nor a shareholder of Grit & Grace. I reserve all monetary benefits and rights of these dishes TO Grit & Grace. These photos are just amateur photos, captured by me (on an iPhone, utilizing Instagram lol).

*I will post the website link and social media links at the end of this post*

Well folks, I think it’s safe to say that one of my new FAVORITE dinner spots in Downtown Pittsburgh is Grit & Grace. I’m not going to describe the restaurant TOO much (since I already have in the following two posts: http://healthkicklady.net/2014/01/20/pittsburgh-restaurant-week-winter-2014-dinner-1-3/ and http://healthkicklady.net/2014/02/16/valentines-day-dinner-in-downtown-pittsburgh/). If you haven’t read these two posts yet, I HIGHLY recommend that you do. :)

Recently, I read an review in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette of Grit & Grace; the article stated that Grit & Grace was bringing a taste of San Francisco to Pittsburgh. I never really thought of this before, which surprised me (given my trip to San Francisco in June 2013). Now that I have time to reflect on this observation, I’m beginning to understand. 

Grit & Grace’s unique selling point is their dim sum! Anyone who has ever watched Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations already has an image of dim sum in their head (trust me- I did, too). This image includes little dumplings filled with wonderful food, being served in bamboo baskets that are carried to each table by the waiter or waitress. Grit & Grace has taken the definition of dim sum (“small bite”) literally and has given dim sum an American twist.

First case in point- see image above this post, which is country pate dim sum. What a fascinating spin on country pate (which I think of as being very French)! Although the presentation was impeccable, this particular dim sum was good, but not great (I hate to say it). Never fear, dear readers! More dim sum is on the way! 

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Of course, I had to order my FAVORITE Grit & Grace dim sum: pork belly! Thanks to Anthony Bourdain, I was fearless when I tasted this dim sum the first time I dined at Grit & Grace. I must say: this is THE BEST dim sum that Grit & Grace serves! It tastes like you’re eating fatty bacon. Sooooo good! Absolutely HEAVENLY! :D 

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Next: crispy brussels sprout dim sum! My Mom order this dim sum first, and I (of course) had to have a taste. I was hooked from the start! Usually, I’m not a fan of brussels sprout, but I LOVED the way that Grit & Grace prepared this dim sum! If brussels sprout were alway cooked like this, I could eat them ALL DAY!

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Lastly: round two of the pork belly (I couldn’t resist)! ;-) 

During this visit, I tried two of the three homemade condiments that Grit & Grace offers at each table. The first one I tried had tomato and chili in it- this paired really well with the brussels sprout dim sum. Then, I sampled the onion & fennel condiment; this one paired nicely with both the brussels sprouts and the dim sum.

So, there you have it, folks! My advice to you: if you live in Pittsburgh, and you haven’t dined at Grit & Grace yet, what’s your excuse? Visitors: when you arrive in Pittsburgh, you MUST dine at Grit & Grace! Reservations can easily be made either by phone or by using OpenTable.

 

Happy dining,

 

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

 

Grit & Grace’s website: http://gritandgracepgh.com/

Grit & Grace’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grit-Grace/150557605154918

Grit & Grace’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Gritpgh

Valentine’s Day Dinner in Downtown Pittsburgh

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*DISCLAIMER*: These photos were captured by me. I do not neither claim ownership nor monetary gain from these dishes and these restaurants.

I will post Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and website links at the end of this post.

 

This Valentine’s Day, I actually had plans for a change (lol). X) Plans began after work, at Grit & Grace in Downtown Pittsburgh. My Date and I ordered SEVERAL items from the menu, but we started with three dim sum (pictured above). A dim sum is considered to be a small bite of food. The first dim sum (in front) was duck heart. The dim sum to the right was salmon tartar (which was soooo good) and the dim sum in the back was sweet bread (this didn’t even taste like sweet bread; this dish had more of a fried chicken taste). 

Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of the next menu item (as I had just arrived from work, my date and I were both VERY hungry): smoked brisket sandwich (shared between the two of us). It was absolutely HEAVENLY! The smoked brisket sandwich consisted of: kohlrabi kraut, thousand island sabayon, pickled red onions, corned beef tongue (my date and I believe this ingredient really made the dish INCREDIBLE) and horseradish cream, served on a baguette. I HIGHLY recommend this dish!

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My favorite dim sum of the night (also, i sampled this dish last time) was the pork belly dim sum (pictured above). This tasted similar to a fatter bacon. I was dancing around in my seat- THAT’S how good this dish made me feel! :D

Other dim sum that were not photographed (due to my hungriness): chips & dips (which contained chicken liver mousse) and kimchee (soooooo good! This has kale beat by a LONG shot)! 

Next, my date and I ventured over to Meat & Potatoes (one of my FAVORITE restaurants!). I tried the “Love Potion No. 9” cocktail. Of course, the bartender could not reveal ALL of the ingredients to me (after all, the equation to love is a secret), but I learned this cocktail contained St. Germaine and Prosecco (such a good combo)! Also, I enjoyed a glass of merlot wine from California. 

For dessert, my date and I shared a chocolate mousse (who am I kidding?!? He took one bit- I DEMOLISHED the rest of this dish).

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Shot #1

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Shot #2- such a good dessert! I was floating on a cloud of chocolate happiness! 

Thanks so much for reading my post! I hope all of you had a WONDERFUL Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re single or not, it’s a good day to inform your loved ones (whether it’s either your significant other, your parents, siblings, friends or your pet) how much you appreciate and love them.

 

Happy eating & dining,

 

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

 

Grit & Grace’s website: http://gritandgracepgh.com/

Grit & Grace’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grit-Grace/150557605154918

Grit & Grace’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Gritpgh

Meat & Potatoes’ website: http://meatandpotatoespgh.com/

Meat & Potatoes’ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MeatAndPotatoesPgh

Meat & Potatoes’ Twitter: https://twitter.com/4meatnpotatoes

Meat & Potatoes’ Instagram: http://instagram.com/meat_potatoes

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week Winter 2014 Food Blogger Brunch at Meat & Potatoes

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*DISCLAIMER* All of these photos are my own. I do not claim monetary benefits on Meat & Potatoes’ dishes.

This past Saturday, I attended the Pittsburgh Restaurant Week Winter 2014 Food Blogger Brunch at Meat & Potatoes! :D I was SO grateful to have this opportunity! I have wished to attend one of the blogger events since the start of Pittsburgh Restaurant Week. FINALLY, the stars have aligned just for me, and my schedule cooperated.

There were 19 food bloggers in total; all of us were seated at the Private Chef’s Table at Meat & Potatoes (which, I would tell you where it is, but then I might have CIA agents chasing after me…). This room was impeccably designed! I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and networking with the other bloggers.

ANYWHO… on to the FOOD! :D 

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Dish #1: Oatmeal- bacon lardons/braised apples/spiced walnuts. Tied with one (possibly two) other dish(es) as my FAVORITE dish of the blogger brunch! I loved that Meat & Potatoes provided a healthier brunch option. Despite the healthy connotation of this dish, the chefs used high-quality ingredients to prepare this meticulously crafted breakfast.

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While the food bloggers and I waited in between dishes, we munched on toast with homemade butter and raspberry jam! Both Meat & Potatoes and Butcher & The Rye have the best bread EVER! Plus, the raspberry jam was sooooooo good!

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Dish #2: Short Rib Hash- poached eggs/potatoes/horseradish hollandaise. This dish is tied for first place! Totally mind BLOWING! Next time I visit M&P for brunch, I will definitely be ordering this dish! :D

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Dish #3: Chicken & Waffles- fried chicken/cheddar jalapeño waffle/bourbon bacon syrup. I couldn’t WAIT for this dish! :D During the Summer 2012 Pittsburgh Restaurant Week (at Meat & Potatoes), I sampled a similar dish (fried chicken livers with a cheddar jalapeno waffle and the bourbon bacon syrup). Meat & Potatoes has now added the Fried Chicken Livers to the “snack” portion of the dinner menu, and the cheddar jalapeno waffle and bourbon bacon syrup is a permanent fixture on the brunch menu, now toting a piece of Fried Chicken breast. This dish, was, of course- INCREDIBLE! I felt like I was transported to the south. I could see either The Pioneer Woman or Trisha Yearwood serving me this dish on one of their Food Network shows. This dish represented America on a plate.

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Dessert #1: Fruit & Coffee- bananas/coffee ice cream/charred citrus/ricotta/compressed blackberries. This dish was presented elegantly (I LOVED the wooden bowl), and had all sorts of flavor combinations. I enjoyed the coffee ice cream, bananas and the compressed blackberries. Although the ricotta was present, I did not taste it in the dish. I didn’t care for the charred citrus fruits. Overall, I believe this is a good dish, but could use a little bit of editing (at least for my taste).

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Dessert #2: Raspberry Donut! The piece-de-resistance! The last part of the three-way tie for first place! This dish was HEAVENLY! In my opinion, skip the “fruit & coffee“, and go for one (or two) raspberry donuts! Everything about this dish (from the dough, to the vanilla glaze, to the raspberry jam inside) was incredibly luxurious and satisfying. A guilty pleasure I would gladly pursue any day (or time) of the week!

There you have it, folks! I HIGHLY recommend visiting Meat & Potatoes for brunch. In my opinion, that would be the PERFECT stop on either a Saturday or Sunday, either before or after a show.

Happy dining, foodies!

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week’s website: http://pittsburghrestaurantweek.com

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PittsburghRestaurantWeek

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week’s Twitter page: https://twitter.com/PghRestaurantWk

Meat & Potatoes’ website: http://meatandpotatoespgh.com/

Meat & Potatoes’ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MeatAndPotatoesPgh

Meat & Potatoes’ Twitter: https://twitter.com/4meatnpotatoes

Meat & Potatoes’ Instagram: http://instagram.com/meat_potatoes

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, Winter 2014: Dinner #1 & #3

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*DISCLAIMER* All of this photos were captured by me. I do not claim monetary profits from neither the dishes nor the restaurants.

Well folks, it was that time of year again. The semi-annual event, that is similar to Christmas for Foodies of the ‘burgh: Pittsburgh Restaurant Week! :D During Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, several restaurants offer “pre-fixe”, multi-course dinners, or a more reasonable price. Also, new dishes are premiered, in honor of the new year.

My first “Pittsburgh Restaurant Week” meal of 2014 was at Braddock’s American Brasserie (located inside the Renaissance Hotel, in Downtown Pittsburgh). When I stepped into the restaurant, I felt as if I was transported to the whiskey rebellion era, but in a more sophisticated setting.

My Mom was my fearless dining companion. We both decided to choose the Pittsburgh Restaurant Week menu at Braddock’s. The first dish was: Applewood Bacon, Potato & Red Cabbage Pierogi on top of a bed of black-eyed peas (pictured above). Honestly, this was THE best pierogi dish I have EVER tasted! The black-eyed peas were the perfect compliment as well. DEFINITELY the culinary highlight of the night!

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Dish #2: Petit Filet, with potatoes and winter vegetables, on top of a bed of TWO different types of grits (one being cheddar)! The filet was cooked to perfection, and just the right size for me. This was my first time sampling grits, and they were WAY better than I expected.

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Dish #3: 21st Amendment Raspberry Cobbler! This dessert was SO good, it made me temporarily forget my longing for a chocolate-induced dessert! The Raspberries were scrumptious, the crumble part of the cobbler was the perfect reward for finishing the dessert! Lastly, the cinnamon ice cream scoop, perched on top of the dish was the piece-de-resistance of the meal.

Dinner #3: Grit & Grace

Grit & Grace is a brand new restaurant, which occupies the former Taste of Dahntahn space on Liberty and Fifth Avenue. Grit & Grace stems from the same creative team behind BRGR and Spoon. Their Pittsburgh Restaurant Week deal was: “order four dim sum (Asian appetizer), receive the fifth one free” for $20.14 (before tax and tip). I was sooooooo excited to try dim sum (since Anthony Bourdain is a HUGE fan). WOW! The appetizers were incredible, and healthier than I expected as well! Here is a picture below; I particularly loved the pork belly dim sum and the shrimp & kimchee dim sum. The ambiance is elegant, yet casual; the food is spectacular and the restaurant staff is VERY amicable and knowledgeable. I HIGHLY recommend trekking to downtown for either dinner or a late-night bite at this establishment!

Dim Sum at Grit & Grace

Dim Sum

I will be posting the Pittsburgh Restaurant Week Food Blogger Brunch at Meat & Potatoes review very soon. Stay tuned, foodies!

Happy eating & dining,

Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week website: http://www.pittsburghrestaurantweek.com

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/PittsburghRestaurantWeek

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/PghRestaurantWk

Braddock’s American Brasserie website: http://braddocksrestaurant.com/

Braddock’s American Brasserie’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/braddocks.american.brasserie

Braddock’s American Brasserie’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/BraddocksRenPgh

Grit & Grace website: http://gritandgracepgh.com/

Grit & Grace’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grit-Grace/150557605154918

Grit & Grace’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Gritpgh

Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie’s Top Ten Best Restaurant Dishes of 2013

Here we go, folks! My “top ten” list (a la David Letterman) for the best restaurant eats of 2013!

*DISCLAIMER*: All of these photos were captured by me, The Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie. I do not claim neither ownership nor monetary profits over these dishes and food items.

I will list the links to the restaurants’ websites, and Twitter accounts below.

10. Friend Chicken Livers: Meat & Potatoes

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Although M&P calls this a “snack”, this portion size is DEFINITELY enough for either an appetizer or a meal. These Fried Chicken Livers equal foodie BLISS! If you like chicken (and approach this dish with a bit of an opened mind), then you will not be disappointed. Worth the $7! Plus, the spicy brown mustard (which tastes homemade) is INCREDIBLE! :D

9. Red Beans & Rice: Conflict Kitchen

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All I have to say is: the creative geniuses behind CONFLICT KITCEN never disappoint! This red beans & rice dish was the best rice dish I’ve ever had. PERIOD. This photo (and menu item) was captured during this summer’s “Cuba” reign.

8. Red Velvet French Toast: Flip Cafe (Edinboro, Pennsylvania)

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There are very few people who love breakfast more than me. Honestly, it doesn’t get any better than breakfast food (well…except for dessert…). In my opinion, it’s worth the two hour drive from the ‘burgh to visit this gem of a cafe! Flip Cafe is located along the main drag of Edinboro, PA, home to the “Fighting Scots” and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania (my undergraduate alma mater). First: you can never go wrong with red velvet. Second: this is tied with Meat & Potatoes for the best french toast dish I’ve ever tasted! :D

7. Spread from “Wednesday Night Wine Flight: Holiday Wine & Cheese” with Carol “Dear Heart” Pacuzzi of Pennsylvania Macaroni Company

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Once a month (usually, the first Wednesday of most months), the “Wednesday Night Wine Flight” patrons gather inside the Cabaret at Theater Square (in Downtown Pittsburgh) for a wine sampling, hosted by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. Every December, the Wine Flight team invites Carol “The Cheese Lady” from Pennsylvania Macaroni Company, to select the finest Penn Mac cheese to pair with the wine. If you’re not sure of which wine flight to attend, you don’t want to miss this one! The wines are always superb, the conversation is engaging and the cheeses are just perfection! This was my third year attending; it’s always one of the highlights of the year!

6. Deep Fried Brownie: Butcher & The Rye

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Butcher & The Rye is the second installment from the creative minds of Chef Richard DeShantz and his business partner, Tolga Sevdik. This wonderful palace of food has only been opened since the end of October, but it has already developed a loyal fan base. This picture was taken this past Saturday (December 21st). My Mom called 11 days in advance, hoping to snag a 6:00pm reservation. Unfortunately, she was unsuccessful at her attempt. Did that deter us? Heck no! This past Saturday, we arrived in downtown a little after 5:30pm. We entered the restaurant, waited 5-10 minutes, and were seated! :D Luckily, there was a large group reservation cancellation. Sometimes, timing really IS everything! Anywho: this was our dessert, the deep fried brownie! As you can see, there were pieces of a waffle cone, two scoops of chocolate sorbet ice cream, caramelized bananas, a banana-like sauce, crushed-up nuts, and of course, the deep-fried brownies. If you are a choco-holic (similar to me), you will LOVE this dish! Just make sure you are exercising for the next few days! X) Although, this dish is TOTALLY worth it! Heaven on a plate! :D

5. Soft Scrambled Eggs: Bar Marco

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EVERYONE has been buzzing about Bar Marco (Bon Appetit magazine named BAR MARCO one of the best new restaurants of 2013! They were the only Pennsylvania-based restaurant on the list! Pittsburgh Pride, baby!). Thus, I HAD to sample their menu! My Mom and I decided to visit this establishment for brunch, on a cold (yes, cold) October morning. This was soooo worth the trip! These were the best scrambled eggs I’ve EVER consumed! The potatoes were WONDERFUL! Don’t get me started on the fresh-squeezed orange juice- just magical! My only question to you, dear reader: if you haven’t stopped by Bar Marco yet, what is your excuse (especially if you live in Pittsburgh)?

4. Grilled Cuban: Oh My Grill!

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The food trucks are gaining popularity in Steelers Nation! This past summer, I was lucky enough to attend a “food truck round-up” in the South Side of Pittsburgh. I had lunch from the Oh My Grill! food truck (based north of the city, but they travel to the city from time-to-time). This grilled cuban sandwich was literally one of THE best grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve ever sampled! It comes pretty close to being as good as my Mom and Grandmother’s (always a good compliment). Plus, the guy who waited on the customer was incredible FRIENDLY. Good food and top-notch customer service: how can you beat that?

3. Baked Camembert: Butcher & The Rye

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Although I’ve only dined at Butcher & The Rye twice, I was smart enough to order the Baked Camembert both times (and share with my lovely dining partner). Forget baked brie, camembert is where it’s at! I felt as if I was floating on a cloud of joy! The combination of the phyllo dough, cinnamon apples and some of the best bread EVER (Meat & Potatoes has great bread, too) equals a winning combination! Pittsburgh diners & foodies: I URGE you to convince your dining partner to share this dish with you. You have Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie’s guarantee of excellence! :D

2. Brunch at Franktuary: Franktuary (Lawrenceville location)

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One of the best brunches of my entire LIFE! Similar to Bar Marco, Franktuary offered potatoes (soooo good!) and fresh-squeezed orange juice. The main course: french toast bread with a jalapeno blueberry sausage and scrambled eggs on top. Also, this meal was paired with a side salad. Perfection on a plate!

1. Chocolate Pot Du Creme: Meat & Potatoes

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Last, but CERTAINLY not least: Chocolate Pot Du Creme from Meat & Potatoes!! I had this dish during the second day of Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, Summer 2013. Let me tell you, this was THE best chocolate dish I’ve ever had- ANYWHERE! Whomever creates these impeccable dessert at M&P: I love you; I bow down to you. You are a culinary GENIUS! :D

Honorable Mentions:

Peace, Love & Little Donuts (Strip District)

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If they have the maple donuts, please try them!! The maple donut is one of the best donuts I’ve EVER ordered. No joke!

Tonic Bar & Grill (Downtown)

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(Appletini! J.D. from Scrubs would be proud!)

The drinks are strong, the food is scrumptious and the service is excellent! Easy access from both convention centers in Downtown Pittsburgh. Once again: if you haven’t been there yet, what’s your excuse?

Round Corner Cantina

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The one (and only, boo! I must go back there) time I’ve dined at Round Corner Cantina in Lawrenceville, my friend and I shared the guacamole & chips, and I ordered a “Cantina” margarita for myself. The guacamole was THE best I’ve ever had, and the chips were pretty close to being the best as well. I can honestly say that the “Cantina” margarita was the tastiest margarita EVER! Especially during the spring & summer months, it’s nice to venture over, grab a margarita, sit in the outdoor patio dining area, and “shoot the breeze” with your fellow diner(s). So much fun! A gem in Pittsburgh (one that is no-so-hidden anymore)! :D

Good & Evil Chocolate

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Not exactly a “Pittsburgh” food item, but: 1) the chocolate was manufactured in Pennsylvania and 2) it is being sold at Mon Aimee Chocolat in the Strip District. Make sure to look for this by the counter at the front of the store. If you see some, BUY THEM! The price is a little steep, but worth every penny! This is the best chocolate I’ve EVER tasted! Christopher Curtin (owner of Eclat Chocolate and business partner to:), Anthony Bourdain, and Eric Ripert traveled to another country to discover these rare white cocoa beans. They have turned these beans in to the “Good & Evil” chocolate. There are only two LIMITED productions per year. Thus, if you know this chocolate is in a city near you, I encourage you to purchase it ASAP! You won’t be sorry! 

Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas, yinz!

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

Meat & Potatoes’ website

Meat & Potatoes’ Twitter: @4meatnpotatoes

Conflict Kitchen’s website

Conflict Kitchen’s Twitter: @conflictkitchen

Flip Cafe’s website

Flip Cafe’s Twitter: @flipcafe

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s website

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Twitter: @culturaltrust

Butcher & The Rye’s website

Butcher & The Rye’s Twitter: @butcherntherye

Oh My Grill’s website

Oh My Grill’s Twitter: @OhMyGrill

Franktuary’s website

Franktuary’s Twitter: @Franktuary

Upcoming post: holidays/end of 2013!

Hi everyone:

Please “stay tuned” to this blog and my Twitter account (@lauraelizabethj). Before Christmas (December 25th), I will be doing a “Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie’s Top 10 Best Restaurant Dishes of 2013post (complete with Instagram photos)! I will be posting it sometime within the next week. Thanks for your patience, cooperation, and your support!

Happy eating, dining & culturing!

Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie