Brunch at The Vandal


Mom and I enjoyed this GLORIOUS brunch spread on one fateful Sunday in August (after I experienced some #MysoreMagic at The Shala of Pittsburgh Ashtanga Yoga)! The dish in the middle was a special side dish that is normally only on the breakfast menu: Frangipane with griddled sourdough bread and fruit preserves!

*NOTE*: Neither Joey Hilty, Csilla Thackray, nor The Vandal asked me to write this post.  I am just a friendly Pittsburgh foodie and yogini, whom enjoys sharing her foodie and yoga adventures with others! Photos captured on an iPhone 5s, and were edited with Adobe Photoshop CS4 and Instagram!

One fateful Sunday in August, I actually had “a Sunday off” (meaning I didn’t have to teach yoga). Thus, I decided to treat myself to my first EVER Beginner’s Mysore class at The Shala of Pittsburgh Ashtanga (in Lawrenceville), and brunch at The Vandal (which is conveniently right across the street from The Shala)!

Thanks to articles in Zagat, the New York Times, and even local publications such as NextPittsburgh and the City Paper, The Vandal has certainly become a “foodie” destination in Pittsburgh! Thus, the first time we stopped by for brunch this day, there was a 30-45 minute wait. Not a problem! I had been wanting to visit the Butterwood Bake Consortium for months! Thus, my Mom and I drove down and treated ourselves to dessert first!


I enjoyed the Vegan Chocolate Pudding with almonds! So good that if I didn’t already know this was Vegan, I wouldn’t have know the difference! I love the vibe at Butterwood- I felt like I was attending a fancy Victorian Tea (which harkens back to the days of when I loved the American Girl dolls! Samantha was my favorite)!

Once Mom and I had finished dessert, 30 minutes had passed and the co-owner Joey (Hilty) had acquired seats for us! While we waited I enjoyed DELICIOUS coffee (The Vandal gets it coffee from Parlor Coffee, based in Brooklyn) out of a quirky coffee mug! Soon afterwards, it was time for BRUNCH!


Course #1: Csilla’s Granola! Naturi Yogurt, nuts (almonds, pecans and cashews) in honey, and rhubarb (the summer flavor). INCREDIBLE! Just like last time, the Yogurt and Granola dish at The Vandal is my FAVORITE brunch dish! Every bite was enjoyable- from the savoriness of the nuts an rhubarb, to the sweetness of the honey and yogurt. Nice job, Csilla and kitchen crew!


Mom’s brunch course: Beignets with Blueberry Compote (the summer compote)! These were VERY good! Even though I haven’t been to Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans yet, this is what I would image the Beignets would taste like there!

There you have it, folks!

If you’re looking for locally-sourced, highly quality ingredients, good food, coffee, and conversation (I must admit, Joey does a good job being the host of The Vandal), The Vandal is your weekend brunch spot!


Next on the blog: Mom’s first dinner at Bar Marco!


-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie


The Butterwood Bake Consortium’s website

The Vandal’s website

The Vandal’s Facebook page

The Vandal’s Twitter page

The Vandal’s Instagram page

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week Dinner #2: G&G Noodle Bar


The front of G&G Noodle Bar’s menu!

*NOTE*: Neither G&G Noodle Bar nor S+P Restaurant Group asked me to write this post. I am just a friendly Pittsburgh Foodie an Yogini, who enjoys sharing her foodie and yoga adventures with others! Photos captures with an iPhone 5s, and edited with Adobe Photoshop CS4 and Instagram.

Tasha (The Food Tasters) and I were lucky enough to get a preview of the G&G Noodle Bar concept at the New Year’s day lunch at Grit & Grace! I knew I had to return to experience the menu in its glory! Thus, what better way to do so then the Summer 2016 Pittsburgh Restaurant Week?


I LOVE the Dim Sum at G&G Noodle Bar! I wanted to try the Edamame dim sum! I have tried it before in Lean Cuisine dinners (lol), but I wanted the REALY experience!


Dim Sum #2: General Tso’s Cauliflower! Originally, my favorite dim sum was the Pork Belly Bites, and then the Chicken Confit Wings. Thanks to the New Year’s day lunch, this is my new favorite dim sum! My date really enjoyed this dim sum as well!


Course #1: Crispy Wonton Salad! Iceberg, orange, cucumber, sesame, and a ginger miso vinaigrette! This salad was nice and light! The perfect first course to hold me over until the next dishes arrived!


Course #2: Vegetable Ramen! Daikon, Crispy Tofu, bok choy,  hot & sour mushroom broth, udon noodles. PERFECTION! The broth was MARVELOUS, and the crispy tofu balls were cooked PERFECTLY! I love all of the vegetables as well!


My date’s Course #3: Green Tea Creme Brulee! Also including ginger pears and mint! This was surprisingly good and refreshing!


My Course #3: Five Spice Sticky Buns with Coconut cream cheese! So good I felt like I was floating on a cloud!😀

Well there you have it, folks! Whether you want to visit G&G Noodle bar either after a theater show for dinner, during the work week for a Power Hour lunch, or for a Sunday, I definitely suggest dining here!


Next post: Brunch at The Vandal (and a special-shout out to the Butterwood Bake Consortium)!


-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie


G&G Noodle Bar’s website

G&G Noodle Bar’s Facebook page

G&G Noodle Bar’s Twitter page

G&G Noodle Bar’s Instagram page

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week’s website

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week’s Facebook page

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week’s Twitter page

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week’s Instagram page


Pittsburgh Restaurant Week Summer 2016 Dinner #1: Revel and Roost


First Course at Roost: Grilled Baby Romaine! Compressed Heirloom Tomato, house-made pancetta, cucumber relish, rosemary crouton, and garlic parmesan dressing.

Every summer brings Pittsburgh Restaurant Week‘s second series of the year (usually during either the second or third week of August).

A few of my foodie friends (Tasha of The Food Tasters, Terri of the Parmesan Princess and Robert of the Allegheny Inn) all raved about Revel and Roost! Thus, I decided Pittsburgh Restaurant Week would be the perfect opportunity to try it!

As you can see, I REALLY enjoyed course #1! High quality ingredients for a nice light salad!


Second Course: Pan Roasted Grouper! Braised Leek, herbed vegetable relish, fried dauphine potato, crispy asparagus and carrot, shaved fennel salad, picked shallot, tomato and eggplant coulis.

I really liked this dish! This was my first time trying Grouper (I like that it was cooked in a “Tempura” style); plus,  I LOVED the presentation of this dish. Very elegant!


Third Course: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake! Bacardi Butter sauce, and a butterscotch crumble.

I’m very glad that I chose the Pineapple Upside Down-Cake for dessert! They also offered a New York Cheesecake, but I feel like you can get cheesecakes at most restaurants. I’ve only seen a small handful of restaurants offer a Pineapple upside-down cake! This was a great dessert choice, not overly sweet, but just sweet enough to still be a dessert.😉

Well there you have it, folks! The time you’re in downtown Pittsburgh, I suggest checking out Revel and Roost, located inside the Hilton Garden Inn at Market Square!

Next post- Pittsburgh Restaurant Week Summer 2016 Dinner #2: G&G Noodle Bar!


-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie


Revel & Roost’s website

Revel & Roost’s Facebook page

Revel & Roost’s Twitter page

Revel & Roost’s Instagram page

Dinner at The Vandal in Lawrenceville


The Vandal‘s FABULOUS Summer dinner menu (which was carefully crafted by Executive Chef Csilla Thackray and her team of chefs)!

*DISCLAIMER*: Neither Joey Hilty, Csilla Thackray, nor The Vandal asked me to write this blog post. I am just a Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie (and yogini), who enjoys sharing her foodie adventures with others. Photos captured on an iPhone 5s, and edited with Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended and Instagram.

The first Saturday of August, I took one of my best friends from high school to dinner at The Vandal. When I walked in, the Co-Owner and  Proprietor Joey Hilty asked me: “what brings you to The Vandal”? I told him: “my best friend (*insert her first name here*) from high school just got a new job and is moving. I wanted to celebrate by taking her to one of my favorite restaurants in Pittsburgh”! Celebrate we did!

Although I had been to brunch at The Vandal twice (and now three times), this would mark my first dinner experience at the restaurant.


Another look at The Vandal’s Summer menu!


The first course was this off-menu treat from Joey, Csilla and the kitchen staff that my friend and I shared (and both enjoyed): Lamb Grape Leaves! Sooooo good!


Course #2: Summer Salad (confit carrot, pickled green beans, old goat cheese, vin). This was REALLY good!  I love that The Vandal sources most of its ingredients locally (and they are high QUALITY ingredients)!


Close up of this BEAUTY!


My friend’s main course: Friend Green Tomatoes! Carmen sweet pepper gele, goat’s milk custard, and lemon shishito-oil. I tried a bite- FABULOUS!


My main course: Vandal Cheeseburger! Cheddar, pickles, marrow, tomato mayo and fries. PERFECTION! recently named The Vandal’s Cheeseburger as one of THE best burgers in Pittsburgh. Now, I can understand why.❤ The Vandal gets their buns from Mediterra Bakehouse (my second favorite Pittsburgh bread making bakery. First one is La Gourmandine), and the meat comes from Butcher on Butler (also in Lawrenceville, whom sources its meat from Elysian Farm and Hop Brew Farm). Plus, those heavenly fries paired with the Tomato Mayo? Oh yeah, baby! You are talking my language!😉


A sight of beauty!

Well there you have it, folks! Whether you’re visiting Lawrenceville either for brunch, lunch or dinner, PLEASE go to The Vandal (and say hi to the owner Joey for me)!


Next post- Pittsburgh Restaurant Week Summer 2016 Dinner #1: Revel and Roost!


-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie


The Vandal’s website

The Vandal’s Facebook page

The Vandal’s Twitter page

The Vandal’s Instagram page

Brunch with Foodie Friends at Station


The GORGEOUS Bloody Mary I enjoyed during brunch with foodie friends at Station!

*NOTE*: Neither Curtis Gamble nor Station asked me to write this post. I am just a Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie and Yogini, who enjoys sharing her Foodie and Yoga adventures with others. Photos captures with an iPhone 5s, and edited with Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended and Instagram.

The first Sunday of July (3rd), I gathered with a few foodie friends to celebrate a blogger’s birthday, brunch and life. My fearless brunch companions were Tasha of The Food Tasters, YaJagoff! Podcast, the Allegheny Inn and Eat Local Shop Small; Robert of Downtown Pittsburgh Concierge and the Allegheny Inn, and Amanda of Bold Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Podcamp. This particular Sunday, we were celebrating Amanda’s birthday!😀

If you didn’t get a chance to read my review of Station’s Cocktail and Construction event, please do so by clicking here.

What better way to do so than with brunch at Station (Curtis Gamble‘s Modern American restaurant that opened last August in Bloomfield). I had been to Station once for its Cocktails and Construction Preview party last year, and have been DYING to return for brunch (especially after the eatPGH ladies and Heidi of The Steel Trap wrote raving review of Station’s brunch)!

So here we are during the 4th of July holiday weekend! I received a warm welcome from Justin (General Manager at Station)! Such a nice guy; he did a great job with helping to coordinate this blogger meet-up!


Since I knew I would be having savory food at brunch, I ordered a Bloody Mary! During the month of July, all Bloody Marys and Mimosas were only $5 during Sunday brunch! Don’t mind if I do!😉


Hello lover!


I had to take a picture of the $5 Bloody Marys and Mimosas deal in July!😉


The main courses offered during the month of July at Station’s Sunday brunch!


An extended look at the menu for Sunday Brunch at Station!


This was one of the dishes that Tasha order that everyone shared: Fried Brioche Pudding! This came with Creme Fraiche, Powdered Sugar, Pomegranate Curd and Honey. INCREDIBLE! One of the best dishes at brunch!


Truly a sight of beauty!


Another dish that we all shared: Olive Oil Poached Cobia (which is a type of fish)! Creme Fraiche, Country Seed Bread, Coriander Mustard and Pickles! I love this fresh take on toast at either brunch or breakfast!


The Birthday Lady’s brunch: Farmer’s Breakfast! BBQ Lentils, Egg, Chicken Sausage, and Canadian Bacon. This looked FABULOUS (and Amanda said it was REALLY good)!


Tasha’s main course: Crispy Fried Chicken Thigh! Grits, Chicken Jus, and an One hour Egg! Tasha said it was one of THE best chicken dishes she’s EVER had! I tried some of the chicken, and I must say that I agree!

I didn’t get a good picture of Robert‘s main course, but he ordered the Shaved Pork Shoulder on Brioche (fashioned like a burger)! This arrived with an Egg Patty, American Cheese Wiz, and Potato Chips! I tried some of the Potato Chips- best I’ve ever had!  I could tell they were made in-house! Robert said the Shaved Pork should was very tasty (especially on the Brioche bun)!


My first course at brunch: Housemade Yogurt! This was paired with Sunflower seed granola, and dried plum. This dish is tied with The Vandal for the best yogurt and granola dish I’ve had at ANY restaurant!

I forgot to take a picture of my main course (which is sad because it was beautifully plated): Crispy Tofu! This dish came with Green Curry Coconut, Vegan Scramble, and Petite Greens! I love Vegan dishes that are so good that if you didn’t already know it was Vegan, you would think it’s just a “regular” dish. This was definitely the case, but nothing about this dish was ordinary! Elegantly plated- I loved dipping the perfectly cooked Crispy Tofu in the Green Coconut Curry, and also adding some of the Vegan Scramble to my fork for THE perfect bite! Great job, Curtis and crew!


One of the dessert dishes all of us shared: Popcorn Panna Cotta! This was plated with Caramel Corn and Salted Caramel! Tasha and I had this dish at Station’s Cocktail and Construction party and absolutely LOVED it (so much so that we had a second one at the party)! Everyone at brunch loved it as well! This is tied with Meat & Potatoes’ Panna Cotta for THE best Panna Cotta in the city!


Another dessert dish that we all shared: Lavender Pound Cake! This was paired with Coconut Pudding and Pineapple! This dish was truly exceptional! The Pound Cake was nice and moist, and the Lavender was not overpowering (which is great! It should be subtle). Dipping some of the pound cake in the coconut pudding made you feel like you were floating on a marshmallow cloud! So tasty! The pineapple was the perfect fruity punch to this dish!


I love Station’s logo! Simple yet so effective! Right away, you know by looking at it that this is Contemporary American Restaurant!


Thanks again to Curtis, Justin, Jesse (our waiter extraordinaire) and staff for a truly WONDERFUL brunch! Top-knotch hospitality, good vibes and incredible food! Plus, I was surrounded by lovely company! How could I ask for more?

Whether you either live in or near Pittsburgh or will be visiting soon, PLEASE make sure you get to Station for either dinner or brunch! Trust me when I say it’s one of THE best restaurants in Pittsburgh!


Next post: dinner at The Vandal!


-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie


Station’s website

Station’s Facebook page

Station’s Twitter page

Station’s Instagram page

Brunch and Lunch at Smallman Gallery


Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies from Josephine’s Toast (one of the four restaurant incubators inside the Smallman Galley)!

*Note*: Neither Smallman Galley, Provision PGH, Aubergine Bistro, Carota Cafe nor Josephine’s Toast asked me to write this blog post. I am just a Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie (and Yogini), who enjoys sharing her Foodie adventures with others! Photos captures with an iPhone 5s, and edited with Instagram!

First: if you didn’t read my first article on Smallman Galley, please make sure you do: Dinner at Smallman Galley. This previous blog post goes in more depth about how the Smallman Galley came into being, and also Carota Cafe!

Either towards the end of May or early June, my Mom and I visited Smallman Galley in the Strip District for lunch. Since my Mom had not been to Smallman Galley yet, I had to make sure that she experienced this lovely establishment. The two of us mainly dined from Provision PGH and Josephine’s Toast!


My first lunch course from Provision PGH: Simple Greens! Seasonal Lettuces, Snap Peas, and Roast Shallot Dressing! This was sooooo good (and so healthy)!


Mom’s lunch (also from Provision PGH): Burger! Beef Pattie, Simple Greens, Parmesan Frica, Umami Aioli, Smoked Mushrooms, Cheddar and Challah! I tried a bite of this burger (and it was FANTASTIC)! These fries were INCREDIBLE! They might just be as good as the fries I had at Les Halles Park Avenue in New York!

The owner of Provision PGH (Stephen Eldridge) was very nice to us! He’s very engaged in Social Media as well. I thought it was nice that he even took the time to speak to my Mom about how he makes his fries (which we both loved- I probably consumed half of them lol) and his Umami Aioli sauce!


My “in between” course: Cookie du Jour (Seeded Dark Chocolate Chip) from Carota Cafe! The owner of Carota Cafe (Jessica Lewis) is also very nice, and engaged in Social Media!


While I enjoyed my Seeded Dark Chocolate Cookie from Carota Cafe, I also delighted in a lovely cup of coffee (with Almond Milk) provided by Commonplace Coffee! I’m so glad that the Smallman Galley sells and serves this coffee. It’s very close to being the best coffee I’ve EVER had in Pittsburgh!


My Second Lunch Course: Smashed Avocado Toast! Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Toasted Flax Seed, and Fresh Cilantro! Ever since Jacqueline Wardle opened up Josephine’s Toast, I’ve been wanted to try this toast (and this lunch was my chance). I must say I liked this toast a LOT better than the Avocado Toast I had at B52! Nice work, Jacqueline!

The very last Sunday of July, I met Robert of Pittsburgh Concierge and the Allegheny Inn, and Tasha of The Food Tasters, Eat Local Shop Small, The Allegheny Inn and Ya Jagoff! Podcast for brunch at Smallman Galley! Both Tasha and Robert were dining at Smallman Galley for the first time! Thus,  I was excited to hear about their opinions!


Robert’s Brunch dish: Two Eggs in a Whole with Cheddar and a Side of Bacon! This looked and smelled sooooo good! Robert really enjoyed it! Jacqueline (of Josephine’s Toast) was nice enough to bring this dish over to Robert and chatted with us for a while. She is so nice! Jacqueline also does a great with keeping in touch with restaurant patrons through Social Media!


Tasha’s First Brunch Course (also from Josephine’s Toast): Cottage Cheese Toast with Peaches, Seeds and Honey! Tasha was really raving about how much she loved this dish! It looks so pretty!


Tasha’s Second Brunch Course: Burger from Provision PGH! Robert and I DEVOURED the fries (too good to resist), and Tasha took the Burger home for dinner!😉


My brunch dish of choice: Shrimp & Grits from Aubergine Bistro! I made it my personal mission to have a brunch dish from Aubergine Bistro, since that was the only restaurant from Smallman Galley that I still had to try. The owner (Rafael Vencio) is originally from the Philippines and moved here to the United States at age 19. He has worked as a chef all over the United States (in Pittsburgh, most prominently The Hyeholde and Legume). I must say his take on Shrimp & Grits was pretty wonderful! Good job, chef!


Well there you have it, folks! If you choose a restaurant (or restaurants) that uses good qualify (and local) ingredients and cooks from the heart, you can’t go wrong! Also make sure to bring a dining companion (or companions) along with you!


Next blog post: brunch with Foodie friends at Station!


-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie


Smallman Galley’s website

Smallman Galley’s Facebook page

Smallman Galley’s Twitter page

Smallman Galley’s Instagram page


Winter & Spring Foodie Adventures


Elysian Pumpkin Beer, Miso Kale Salad and Vegan Chilli from Franktuary‘s new downtown Pittsburgh location!

*NOTE*: none of these restaurants asked me to do a mini-review of their food. I am just a humble Pittsburgh Foodie and Yogini, who enjoys sharing her foodie and yoga adventures! Photos captured with an iPhone 5s, and were edited with Adobe Photoshop CS4 and Instagram.


The Miso Kale Salad also had roasted root vegetables, pickled red onion, and crispy sage. VERY good! I’ve also had this salad at Franktuary‘s Lawrenceville location (with Falafel balls).


Tasha of The Food Tasters and Ya Jagoff! Podcast and I were both lucky to attend G&G Noodle Bar’s New Year’s Day lunch! This was also back when the restaurant was called Grit  & Grace. Brian was testing out a few menu dishes to see if the conceptual transition at the restaurant would work. The dim sum (Starting clockwise, from the upper left hand corner): 1) kimchi, 2) sweet and sour cauliflower (my new favorite Dim Sum at G&G Noodle Bar), 3) Pork Belly, and 4) Potstickers (which premiered for this lunch)!


I also enjoyed the Steamed Bun with chicken, kimchi and chill aioli. Very tasty!


Tasha LOVED this Chicken Meatball Ramen dish (a special dish for New Year’s day)! I tried some of the broth and it was INCREDIBLE! Now, G&G Noodle Bar has Pork Ramen Noodles and Beef Shank Ramen Noodles.


Fortuitea Cafe is an all-vegan (and made from scratch), quaint and friendly cafe, located in the Quail Acres Shoppes in Washington PA. During the winter time, I really loved this Almond Walnut Taco Salad (with taco meat made from almonds, walnuts, and sun-dried tomatoes), served with mixed greens, fresh salsa, sour cream, black beans and corns. I did the creamy cashew lime dressing and I chose a spinach taco shell. Sooooo good! You won’t even miss the meat in this dish, because the vegan taco meat tastes just like beef meat.


This spring, I was pleasantly surprised by this Vegetarian Tikki Masala dish from The Commoner at Kimpton‘s Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh. Yummy!


The bourbon & rye wall at Butcher & The Rye is a beautiful sight (no matter what time of year).


My Mom and I both enjoyed this Potato Leek Soup at Butcher & The Rye before Alton Brown‘s show at the Benedum Center.


Towards the end of May, my friend Erica and I went to this place in Dormont called Mekong. Mekong is know for its Pho (Anthony Bourdain’s “death row” meal). Thus, I had to try the Shrimp Pho with beef broth. Words can’t describe this dish’s beauty!


I attended Bend, Brew and Brunch III (hosted by Spoonwood Brewing Company, Pure Power Yoga and Fitt City) in the beginning of June. Of the beer samplers I enjoyed after class was White Hot Rate! This was a Belgian Wit, with hints of orange, coriander, habanero and white pepper.


The second beer taster of the morning was the Killer Diller IPA! This craft beer was lightly sweet, moderately bitter, with citrus, floral and fruity notes.


My favorite of the morning was the Blackmore! This is a black ale with an iced coffee taste. YES!


There you have it, folks!


Next post: lunch at Smallman Galley!


-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie


Franktuary’s Twitter page

G&G Noodle Bar’s Twitter page

Fortuitea Cafe’s Twitter page

The Commoner’s Twitter page

Butcher & The Rye’s Twitter page

Spoonwood Brewing Company’s Twitter page

Fitt City’s Twitter page