Pittsburgh Restaurant Week Summer 2014

Bacon Jam Flatbread
Bacon Jam Flatbread from Bistro 19 in Mt. Lebanon

*DISCLAIMER*: I do not seek monetary benefits from neither Bistro 19 nor Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina. I am just a Pittsburgh Foodie, who enjoys sharing her foodie adventures with others. These pictures were captured on my iPhone 4S and I used the Instagram app! 

*Website & social media links can be found below this post*

August 11th- 17th was Pittsburgh Restaurant Week! This bi-annual event is a time where Pittsburgh Foodies can visit restaurants in the ‘burgh and enjoy “Pre-Fixe” meals and prices, as well as new dishes for the restaurants. This year, I chose to dine at both Bistro 19 (located in the suburb of Mt. Lebanon) and Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina (in the Garfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh).

My Mom and I made reservations for dinner at Bistro 19 on Wednesday, August 13th at 5:00pm. We were the first ones at the restaurants. Bistro 19 has a very sophisticated, yet modern vibe. It’s a neighborhood favorite for sure!

Bacon Jam Flat Bread
Bacon Jam Flat Bread with Goat Cheese and Banana Peppers

I decided to stick with the full restaurant week menu at Bistro 19. The first dish was: bacon jam flat bread with goat cheese and banana peppers. Let me tell you- best dish of the NIGHT! 😀 Also, this was one of the best dishes I’ve EVER had from Bistro 19! Please PLEASE add this to your dinner menu, Bistro 19! Bacon + goat cheese + banana peppers = one happy Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie! 😀

Oven Roasted Chicken with Basmati Rice and Roasted Corn
Oven-Roasted Chicken on top of Basmati Rice and Roasted Corn

Dish #2: Oven-Roasted Chicken on top of basmati rice with roasted corn. The chicken was great, but the basmati rice and the roasted corn REALLY made this dish! I wish I could’ve just had the rice & corn, and not the chicken (honestly).

The third course was a seasonal sorbet (either peach or melon I believe?). Either way, I did not like the sorbet, but my Mom did (she ended up consuming the dessert). I had already had a dessert earlier in the day. Thus, I figured sorbet would be a good choice. I LOVE raspberry sorbet, chocolate sorbet, but I am not a big fan of peaches and I do not care for neither watermelon nor melon, nor peaches. I’m sure if you like melon, you would enjoy the sorbet! I just didn’t care for it.

Honestly, I was a little bit disappointed in Bistro 19. The bacon jam flatbread was GREAT, but the other two dishes were not that impressive. The service (well, at least our waitress) was okay, but I’ve experience better service at other restaurants. I don’t know what it was, but I enjoyed my previous two trips to Bistro 19 more than I did this time. 

Anywho…onwards to Verde! 

Bloody Maria
Bloody Maria from Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina

Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina is located in the Garfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh, right across the street from the Pittsburgh Glass Center and up the street from Salt of the Earth (which I still have to try sometime!). Garfield is close to Lawrenceville, Bloomfield, East Liberty and Friendship. My Mom and I made brunch reservations for the very last day of Pittsburgh Restaurant Week (Sunday, August 17th at 11:00am). We both enjoyed “people-watching” while we waited for the restaurant to open. I could tell this was a “hip” restaurants- lots of hipster-types waiting outside of the restaurant door (kids and dogs in toe). 

Verde had a $5 Bloody Maria/Mary special for Pittsburgh Restaurant Week. Especially since I’ve never tried one before, I decided to partake in this offer. WOW! This drink was INCREDIBLE! I remembered that at the Dirty Ball, one of the mixologist from Verde made both of my cocktails, and those were the two best cocktails I’ve EVER had! I knew this Bloody Maria would be good! I highly recommend it for brunch!

The bar area is absolutely SPECTACULAR! Very colorful and well-lit! seriously, I could see Esquire Magazine snapping photos of that bar; the photos would look so good in the magazine!

Buttermilk Pancakes
Buttermilk Pancakes with Cumin Maple Syrup and Fruit Compote

This was my Mom’s brunch (which I ended up eating half of lol): buttermilk pancakes with cumin maple syrup and fruit compote. Let me tell you: best. Pancakes. EVER! Seriously- I thought I died and went to heaven (b.t.w.- there better be pancakes in heaven lol). Sooooo good! So fluffy! The cumin maple syrup really complemented the buttermilk pancakes well! I appreciated the fruit compote on top, too.

Bacon
Bacon with Pico de Gallo

My Mom’s side: bacon with pico de gallo! I tried a small corner of the bacon; also very good! 😀

Sweet Potato Hash
Sweet Potato Hash from Verde

My side: sweet potato hash! What can I say; I have a love for sweet potatoes! I liked the peppers in there as well! The warmth of the peppers balanced out the sweetness of the sweet potatoes. Good presentation, too!

Breakfast Burrito
Burrito Desayuno (with chorizo!) from Verde

My main course for brunch: Burrito Desayuno (Breakfast Burrito) with chorizo! Also inside: scrambled eggs, black beans, spanish rice, pico de gallo and onions. Oh yeah baby; the good stuff! Even better- I ate half at the restaurant, and had the other half at lunch the next day. Let me tell you: even better on the second day! If you ever have to take home leftovers from Verde, you’re in for a treat the next day! 😀

Well folks, that’s my review for Pittsburgh Restaurant Week 2014!

Three cheers to good food, fabulous art and cultural events!

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week’s website

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week’s Facebook page

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week’s Twitter

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week’s Instagram page

Bistro 19’s website

Bistro 19’s Facebook page

Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina’s website

Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina’s Facebook page

Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina’s Twitter

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More Summer Foodie Adventures

S'mores Dessert
S’mores Dessert from Butcher & The Rye in Downtown Pittsburgh

*DISCLAIMER*: I do not seek monetary benefits from any of these restaurants, restaurant owners, food trucks and dishes. I am just a Pittsburgh foodie, who enjoys sharing her food adventures! All photos were taken with my iPhone 4S, utilizing Instagram.

*Links to websites and social media below this post!*

I apologize for the lack of posts! I’ve been busy being a social butterfly and going on foodie adventures! Here’s the second installment in my “Summer Foodie Adventures” series!

Caesar Salad with kale instead of romaine lettuce
Butcher & The Rye’s Caesar Salad (with a twist!)

Towards the end of July, one of my FAVORITE comedians (Bill Maher) performed his stand-up show at Heinz Hall. My Mom and I decided to treat ourselves to dinner before the show. This was my first dish of the night: Butcher & The Rye‘s Caesar Salad! Kale was used in place of romaine (which I LOVED)! Also, there was a lovely piece of bread hiding underneath, with anchovy/caesar salad dressing! 😀

Cauliflower
Cauliflower dish from Butcher & The Rye

The second dish (and main course) of the night was Butcher & The Rye’s Cauliflower dish (which was THE best cauliflower dish I’ve EVER had)! The cauliflower was cooked to perfection! There was also brown butter, roasted farro grain, baby carrots, pine nuts, harissa yogurt and romanesco! 😀

S'mores Dessert
Closeup of S’mores Dessert from Butcher & The Rye

Of course, I had to get dessert! I ordered the S’mores dessert (which sounded too good to pass up)! The S’more dessert features: bourbon marshmallows, chocolate rope, brown butter ice cream and graham cracker soil! My favorite parts were the chocolate rope and the brown butter ice cream! ❤

S'mores Dessert
Another shot of the S’mores Dessert from Butcher & The Rye

Here’s another glamor shot of the FABULOUS S’mores dessert! 😀

Warm Ricotta Donuts
Warm Ricotta Donuts from Sienna Mercato

Recently, I visited Sienna Mercato for the first time (right after another show). I was so hungry that I forgot to take photos of the MAIN dishes (lol), which were: gyro-inspired meatballs with pita bread and yogurt sauce, tater tots and fried pickle chips. I REALLY loved the main course and the tater tots!

For dessert, I ordered these beauties above: warm ricotta donuts! I didn’t capture a photo of the fudge dipping sauce, but the combination of the light ricotta donuts with he decadent chocolate fudge was absolutely HEAVENLY! 😀 Customers can order the Warm Ricotta Donuts on the first level (which I believe is called the Emporium)

Warm Ricotta Donuts
Another shot of the Warm Ricotta Donuts from Sienna Mercato

Last week, my Mom and I planned a Strip District adventure on one of my days off from work. We stopped by Marty’s Market for the first time (which is a foodie’s DELIGHT), and we visited old favorites (such as: Penn Mac, Enrico’s, Mon Aimee Chocolat and the Pittsburgh Public Market).

Right outside of the Pittsburgh Public Market, there was a min-food truck round-up, featuring PGH Crepes and South Side BBQ Co. Since I have sampled food from the PGH Crepes cart before, I decided to be adventurous and order some food from the South Side BBQ Co. food truck.

Brisket and Pork Sandwich with honey-glazed potatoes
“Redneck” sammich (Brisket and Pork) with honey-glazed sweet potato from South Side BBQ Co. food truck

Here’s what I ordered: the “Rednecksammich (Brisket, Pork, french dressing and cole slaw) with honey-glazed sweet potato! Let me tell you: this lunch was some of the best food I’ve had from ANY and ALL food trucks in Pittsburgh! Plus, the two guys running the truck were super friendly (and good conversationalist)! One of the owners of the truck is holding lunch for me as I snapped a picture. They were so excited that I was taking photos of the truck!

Brisket and Pork Sammich with Honey-Glazed Sweet Potato
“Redneck” Sammich (Brisket, Pork, French Dressing and Slaw) with Honey-Glazed Sweet Potato from South Side BBQ Co. Food Truck

Close-up shot of my GLORIOUS lunch! As Bourdain would say: “Oh yeah, baby; the good stuff”! 😀

Next, my Mom & I dined at Meat & Potatoes before a matinee show of SPAMALOT at the Benedum Center. We were both so excited for brunch! Besides attending the food blogger brunch in January, I haven’t been to Meat & Potatoes for brunch in a while (I usually go for dinner). I’ve been thinking about M&P’s brunch for MONTHS. Thus, it was time to plan my inevitable return for brunch at Meat & Potatoes.

I was greeted by one of the hostess and the co-owner of Meat & Potatoes and Butcher & The Rye, Tolga Sevdik. In my opinion, Chef Richard DeShantz picked the perfect business partner for his second and third restaurants. Tolga pays attention to every detail of the restaurant: from who’s walking in, to whether the tables are cleared and ready for the next guests, to insuring that the bar is clean and presentable. I’ve seen Tolga assist the hostesses by seating customers at the table, and even bring out dishes and pour drinks for customers. Tolga does everything and anything to make sure that those two restaurants are running smoothly, and the hard work of both Richard and Tolga is evident with the constant success and busy-ness of the two restaurants.

Chicken & Waffles from Meat & Potatoes
Chicken and Waffles with Brunch Punch from Meat & Potatoes

Anyway, on to brunch! I ordered Chicken & Waffles (which I have been craving for WEEKS), with a cheddar jalapeno waffle and bourbon-bacon maple syrup. Let me tell you: from the moment I started eating this dish, I wondered if I had made it to heaven (even if just for a short time). The dish is that good- trust me! Don’t eat breakfast beforehand, though. Do what I did and save your appetite (as you can see, it’s a generous portion). Also, I ordered the brunch punch (pictured in the upper right hand corner of the photo), which was a white sangria punch. Soooo good! 😀

Chicken & Waffles
Closeup shot of the Chicken & Waffles from Meat & Potatoes

Closeup shot of the LOVELY Chicken & Waffles dish- southern comfort food at it’s finest on the east coast (and in the ‘burgh)! 😀

Pusadee's Garden
Pusadee’s Garden in Lawrenceville

My most recent foodie adventure occurred this past Sunday; my Mom and I drove out to Lawrenceville, seeking out what I’ve been told to be the most authentic and some of the best Thai food in the ‘burgh! The result: Pusadee’s Garden

I wish I could’ve taken photos of the outdoor garden seating area, but I didn’t want to disturb my fellow diners. I really felt like I was transported to Thailand; the garden was so peaceful and idyllic. 

Street Noodle #2 from Pusadee's Garden
Street Noodle #2: Egg Noodles, Bok Choy and Shrimp Tempura

I was so happy to read the menu! I noticed dishes that I’ve NEVER seen on a Thai menu before in Pittsburgh! I could tell this was an authentic Thai restaurant. The women who worked at the restaurant were speaking a different language (I assume the native language of Thailand?); that also assured me that this was an authentic gem of a restaurant.

The dish above was called “Street Noodle #2“, which featured egg noodles, bok choy and shrimp tempura. Everything about this dish was perfect! The noodles were scrumptious, the shrimp had a light coating (hence the Tempura) and tasted so fresh! Plus, the bok choy added an interest taste dimension to the elements of this dish. I must say, Pusadee’s Garden wins my vote as the best and most authentic Thai food in Pittsburgh! 😀

Street Noodle #2
“Aerial” shot of Street Noodle #2 from Pusadee’s Garden

Once again, I HAD to order dessert! I chose the coconut ice cream (which had a very interesting texture! I think coconut milk was used to make the ice cream). I loved the taste contrast between the creaminess of the coconut milk ice cream with the crispy-ness of the toasted coconut pieces on top of this dish!

Coconut Ice Cream
Coconut Ice Cream from Pusadee’s Graden

That’s all of for my summer foodie adventures (for now)! Stay tuned, foodies! This week is Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, and I will be posting about my dinner at Bistro 19 and my brunch at Verde! 😀

Happy Dining,

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

Butcher & The Rye’s Website

Butcher & The Rye’s Facebook page

Butcher & The Rye’s Twitter

Butcher & The Rye’s Instagram page

Sienna Mercato’s website

Sienna Mercato’s Facebook page

Sienna Mercato’s Twitter

South Side BBQ Co.’s website

South Side BBQ Co.’s Facebook page

South Side BBQ Co.’s Twitter

Meat & Potatoes’ website

Meat & Potatoes’ Facebook page

Meat & Potatoes’ Twitter

Meat & Potatoes’ Instagram page

Pusadee’s Garden’s website