412 Food Rescue and Brazen Kitchen’s Vegan Churchview Farm Dinner 2016

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The beautiful dinner table at Churchview Farm for the Summer and Fall 2016 Farm Dinners!

*NOTE*: Neither the Churchview Farm, Leah Lizarondo (Brazen Kitchen), nor 412 Food Rescue asked me to write this post. I am just a Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie and Yogini, whom enjoys sharing her foodie adventures with others. Photos were captured with an iPhone 5s, and edited with Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended and Instagram.

The Day before Labor Day, my Mom and I attended Leah Lizarondo‘s (Co-Founder of 412 Food Rescue, Brazen Kitchen Food Blogger, and Editor at NEXTPittsburgh) Vegan Churchview Farm Dinner! One of the many cool things about this dinner: all of the ticket sales went to the 412 Food Rescue!

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Another lovely angle of the Farm Dinner table at the Churchview Farm!

The evening started with a welcome Raspberry Cocktail, and a stroll around the farm! I was pleasantly surprised to see two of my FAVORITE yoga teachers at the dinner! Thus, I introduced them both to my Mom, and spent time talking to my two teachers before the dinner began.

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First Course: Toast from Five Points Bakery, Vegan Cheese (four different kinds), and jam. This was also paired with a variety of Beers from Bierport in Lawrenceville!

The bread was INCREDIBLE, and I really loved the jam! I loved two of the cheeses, but in particular the cheddar cheese! It had this wonderful smokiness to it, and made me forget I ate Vegan Cheese. The 412 Food Rescue‘s Director of Operations did a FABULOUS job making these Vegan Cheeses!

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Second Course: Vegan Caprese, with tomatoes and basil from the farm!

I loved both the Tomatoes and Basil from the Farm, but honestly, I did not like this Vegan Caprese Cheese at all. Even so, I definitely appreciated all of the effort that Leah endured to make it, as I’m sure making your own Vegan Cheese is not an easy task!

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Third Course: Celery Root Soup, with cilantro lime chimichurri. This was also paired with beer from Spoonwood Brewing Company (which I loved)!

One of my favorite dishes! This was a light and healthy, almost creamy soup. Even Leah said it was one of her favorite dishes that she made for this dinner!

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Fourth Course: Fresh Spring Rolls (with leftover produce from Pittsburgh Juice Company)

Another one of my favorite dishes of the night! Anytime I order Spring Rolls at either the Cheesecake Factory, a Thai or Chinese restaurant, I particular liked the ones like these (with the clear wrapping filled with vegetables). Love Love LOVED this dish!

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A close up of this GORGEOUS dish!

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Fifth Course: Pasta Sampler from Onion Maiden, and charred shishito peppers from the farm! Paired with beer from Grist House Brewery, which was delicious!

Another favorite dish! Onion Maiden cooked the past to perfection (I am so excited for their restaurant to open next year), and the Churchview Farm produced THE best peppers I’ve tasted in my entire LIFE!

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Sixth Course: Vegan Bahn Mi! Paired with Beer from the East End Brewing Company!

I loved the bread, the vegetables and the creamy spread-y stuff taking the place of the Chicken Liver Mousse, but I did not like the Tempeh.

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Dessert Course: Vegan Ice Cream Sampler (with Ice Cream from Pittsburgh Ice Cream Company, and Coconut Lime Sorbet from Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream), Gluten Free Donuts (from the Gluten Free Goat Bakery), raspberries and husk cherries from the farm, and tea from Tupelo Honey!

Definitely my favorite course! I particularly loved the Coconut Ice Cream from Millie’s Homemade, the muffin from the Gluten Free Goat Bakery, and the raspberries and husk cherries from the farm! Heaven on a plate!

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A close up of this handsome dessert sampler!

Well there you go, folks! Whether you’ve never been to a Churchview Farm Dinner, or go every year, I HIGHTLY recommend that you go for at least one of next year’s dinners! I promise you, you won’t regret your decision!

 

Next blog post: dinner at Poros!

 

 

 

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

 

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My latest two dinners at Bar Marco

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Here I am, enjoying a special off-menu dessert on my “30 & Fabulous” birthday at Bar Marco!

*DISCLAIMER*: Neither Justin Steel, Kevin Cox, nor Bar Marco asked me to write this post. I am just a Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie and Yogini, whom enjoys sharing her foodie adventures with others. Photos captured with an iPhone 5s an an iPhone 7. Photos edited in Adobe Photoshop Extended CS4 and Instagram.

Towards the end of August, the Second City Comedy Troupe (who has graduated several Saturday Night Live alumni, including: John Belushi, Tina Fey, and even Jason Sudeikis) came to the Pittsburgh Public Theater! My Mom and I have wanted to see them for years. Thus, we decided to buy tickets to the 5:30pm show on Saturday. Mom has never been to Bar Marco for dinner. Thus, one fateful Saturday evening (after the theater), we went to Bar Marco for dinner!

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The Summer Dinner Menu at Bar Marco in Pittsburgh! 

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The Summer Dinner Menu, second shot.

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Close up of this looker of a menu!😉

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While my Mom and I waited for our food, I enjoyed this light (and beautiful) Peach Fizz cocktail From Bar Marco!

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My Mom and I both ordered this Focaccia appetizer dish, made by Bar Marco’s Pastry Chef Dianne! I must say, this comes pretty close to being as good as the Focaccia bread from The Hyeholde. Nice work, Dianne! 

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Mom’s main course of choice: Orecchiette with San Marzano, saffron and shrimp! This was VERY good (yes, I took a few bites lol).😄

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My main course of choice: Gemeli! Basil Pesto, green bean and potato. LOVED this dish! I literally felt as if I was transported to Italy! Nice work on the pasta, Justin and Dianne!

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Mom & I shared this dessert: All Chocolate Everything! Did I already mention how much I love Dianne the Pastry Chef?😀

When my best friend asked me what I wanted to do on my birthday this year, I said: “attend the Farm-to-Table Harvest Tasting, and then go to Bar Marco for dinner (especially since she has never been there to dinner before)”. So to the Harvest Tasting and dinner we went!

I was lucky enough to meet Bar Marco’s Event Coordinator, Andrew Heffner, at the Farm-to-Table Harvest Tasting! He and I worked for over a month-and-a-half on my “Yoga + Cocktails” event at Bar Marco’s Union Hall, which raised funds for the Food Revolution Pittsburgh Cooking Club (which Bar Marco founded). Thus, it was very nice to meet this person whom I had been e-mailing for months!

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Course #1 for my Birthday dinner: Caesar Salad! I must say, this was THE best Caesar Salad I’ve EVER had! A lot of other Caesar Salads I’ve had just have the anchovies within the dressing, but I LOVED that this Salad had anchovies on top of it (and the anchovies were WONDERFUL)! 

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Course #2: Butternut Gnudi! Brown Butter, Walnut, Cheese (I forget what kind. This dish has been slightly altered on the newest version of the menu), and a fettucinni sauce! As I told both Dom (Bar Marco’s Sommelier, whom I met on this night) and Justin Steel (Co-Owner and Executive Chef- I also met him that night), these were like “little clouds of heaven”!

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I bought some Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream from the Farm-to-table Harvest dinner. By the time my friend and I made it to Bar Marco, it had melted. X) The Bar Marco crew was nice enough to keep it in its freezer, until before we left. Before I had learned the ice cream had melted, I had asked if Justin could scoop out some ice cream and put it in two bowls for my friend and me. 

He happened to have some of the Chad’s Vanilla (one of my FAVORITE flavors) on hand, and Justin was nice enough to scoop some into two bowls, and add some peanuts and a peanut moose, as a special “off-menu” birthday treat! He even visited my friend and I at our table and explain this dish in depth. I was touched (also, what a great way to finally meet him)!

I forgot to mention: the moment I walked in, Dom offered my friend and I a sampling of he Prosecco they had on hand (which, I am a Prosecco fan, so that was great)! Dom spoke to us all night, and explained each dinner dish. Top that with meeting Justin and having a custom dessert for my birthday, I would say this was a VERY good night!

Well there you have it, folks! Two incredible dinners at Bar Marco! If you get a chance to visit this revolutionary restaurant (my favorite restaurant), please do! You will NOT regret it!

 

Next post: Leah Lizarondo and 412 Food Rescue’s Churchview Farm Dinner 2016!

 

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

 

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Brunch at The Vandal

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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

 

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

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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?

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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

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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

 

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

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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!

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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!

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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

 

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Dinner at The Vandal in Lawrenceville

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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.

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Another look at The Vandal’s Summer menu!

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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!

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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)!

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Close up of this BEAUTY!

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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!

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My main course: Vandal Cheeseburger! Cheddar, pickles, marrow, tomato mayo and fries. PERFECTION! Thrillist.com 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!😉

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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

 

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Brunch with Foodie Friends at Station

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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!

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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!😉

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Hello lover!

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

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

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

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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!

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Truly a sight of beauty!

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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!

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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)!

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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)!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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

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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

 

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