A Mindful Brunch at Eleven Contemporary Kitchen

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Since this brunch was hosted in celebration of two foodie friends’
birthday, I mindfully chose to have a cocktail with friends! 😉

*NOTE*: Neither Chef Derek Stevens nor Eleven Contemporary Kitchen asked me to write this blog post. I am just a Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie (and Yogini), who enjoys sharing her foodie and yoga adventures with others. Photos were captured on an iPhone 5s, and were edited with Adoboe Photoshop CS4 Extended and Instagram.

Last month, a bunch of Pittsburgh Foodie friends and I gathered at Eleven Contemporary Kitchen in the Strip District to celebrate a few foodie friends’ birthdays! Since I haven’t been to Eleven in at least six years (and I have never brunched her), I was SUPER excited to check out the brunch menu (especially in the company of fellow foodies)!

I’m not quite all the way there yet, but I am slowly making a transition to (possibly) become a vegetarian. If you practice yoga, it’s definitely not a requirement, but something to think about. Some Buddhist philosophy is incorporated into the practice of yoga, and two of the concepts that have been incorporated are: easing the suffering of the world and non-violence. If you think about it, there is a lot of suffering that goes into killing animals for food (even when the chickens lay eggs).  I’m very interested in where my food comes from, how it was prepared, and what kind of life the animals had on the farms. Luckily, there are a few farms in Pittsburgh (for example: Churchview Farm) that I know treat their animals with respect. I tend to gravitate towards chefs like Kevin Costa (formerly of the Crested Duck, now Chef de Cuisine of Root 174), whom specially work with farms whom do not use GMO and do not inject hormones into their animals. Also, I have recently re-read Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet book, which did cover the cruelty that animals have experienced on farms. Ever since then, I have been reducing the amount of meat and eggs I have been consuming. Personally, it feels good to help ease the suffering of the world (even if it’s just a little, that still matters); plus, I find myself choosing healthier choices, once I eliminate eggs and meat from the equation. Although, I haven’t yet been able to cut fish out of my diet, as you will see here in this brunch.

Hence, the reasoning behind the mindful choices of this brunch. Onwards to brunch!

Eleven offers a Prix Fixe brunch options for $29, which includes: your choice of an appetizer and entree, and either fresh juice or a brunch cocktail. Obviously, I went with the brunch cocktail route. ❤ I selected the Pomegranate Pop, which contained Brut Reserva Cava, Pama and Pomegranate juice. This was THE perfect fruity brunch cocktail; if you are driving home (and stop after this one), the brunch food will totally soak up the alcohol for a safe drive home (trust me on this).

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A close up of my fun brunch cocktail!

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Coconut Almond Granola, with vanilla yogurt, mini, berries and apples. I must say, this ranks right up there with some of THE best granola I’ve EVER had! The granola was very tasty and high-quality. I LOVED the airy-ness of the vanilla yogurt, and I always enjoy blackberries and raspberries.

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Grilled Salmon Salad, with fennel, cucumber, pea shoots and lemon aioli. I’m not just saying this (I promise): this was THE best grilled salmon I’ve EVER had! Also, I really enjoyed the unique-ness of the salad. Instead of your typical mixed green salad, it was great to pair the salmon with the coolness of the cucumber, and the touch of bitterness of the fennel. Plus, lemon is always paired well with salmon, and who doesn’t like peas?

As far as the service: I really liked our main waiter, but honestly, the rest of the staff that interacted with us was very cold. There were very long pauses between courses (even the start of the courses), and the restaurant wasn’t that busy (considering the convention center had three different events going on that day).

Despite the lack-luster service (although waiter man, you rocked! I loved your quirky sense of humor), I did enjoy the food, and the company of my foodie friends.

 

Next post: Mardi Gras dinner at The Commoner 

 Afterwards: brunch at Montana Rib & Chophouse in Southpointe 

Cheers to Food & Fitness,

 

-Friendly Fitness Foodie

 

Eleven Contemporary Kitchen’s website

Eleven’s Facebook page

Eleven’s Twitter page

Big Burrito Group’s Instagram page

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Guest Blogger Mike Barbaro’s review of Rock ‘n’ Joe

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Rock ‘n’ Joe Coffee Bar, located in downtown Pittsburgh’s Cultural District.

Mike & I have been following each other for a few years now on Twitter. He is a hard-working Web Designer, with an appetite for exploring new foodie spots around the ‘burgh! Here is his bio and review:

Mike Barbaro is the founder and chief designer at Web Canvas Pittsburgh Website Design, and a foodie who is a member of the Millenial generation. He loves how many new, unique restaurants have been popping up all over Pittsburgh and is on a quest to try them all!

For a coffee connoisseur like myself, I get a little over excited when I hear that a new coffee shop is coming into town!  As a Downtown Pittsburgh resident, I have several options close by to explore. Too often Starbucks and other corporate chains get boring, not to mention over-crowded in large cities like Pittsburgh. So, a refreshing new spot like Rock N Joe Coffee Bar is just what we needed!

Rock N Joe opened on January 7th at 524 Penn Avenue in the heart of our Cultural District. After walking by in the past months, I saw signs announcing the opening. I was naturally anxious to try out the place. Not only was I excited for a new place to get my caffeine fix, but the place looked awesome, as it included retractable windows for warm weather months. About one week after they opened, I was fed up with my Starbucks for the week so I decided to give Rock N Joe a try. I have to say, my experience was wonderful! So what made it so great?

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Rock ‘N’ Joe’s storefront

The Coffee:

What would a great coffee shop (or in this case coffee bar) be without a great product, right? When I visit a new shop I always get a plain old regular coffee first. This is a true test of the product. I have to say that I was very impressed with the taste and quality of the coffee. Next up, a latte.

The atmosphere:

Being a website designer I spend a ton of time in coffee shops working from my Macbook Pro. Formerly, Crazy Mocha in South Side Works had the best seating arrangement perfect for laptop geeks like me. Since then they have relocated. Rock N Joe fills this void nicely as their upstairs balcony seating is perfect for work. It is secluded just enough to keep a quiet workspace and even features a fireplace to keep you warm in the winter. As I mentioned above, the warmer months will feature retractable windows and outdoor seating giving it a Paris cafe type feel.

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The music:

My favorite thing about Rock N Joe is that, hence the name, they play light rock/pop music. This keeps the energy of the place quite vibrant and aids the caffeine in keeping me awake after a long night of website programming. This also caters towards all age groups since the music varies from a wide variety of songs. It is not boring coffee shop music, but also not too loud.

The location:

The Cultural District has so many great food and drink options nowadays. Having a place to grab a cup of coffee like this adds to the energetic vibe of the neighborhood. It is only a few minute walk from the Gateway T Subway Station so the access to public transit is a plus.

As you probably guess, I recommend Rock N Joe Coffee Bar to any coffee lover who is looking for a new, unique place to check out other than the mainstream corporate chains. So perk yourself up and stop on in!

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Mike Barbaro’s website (Pittsburgh Website Design)

Mike Barbaro’s Twitter page

 

 

Return to Amazing Cafe

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Vegan Mocha (with Almond Milk) from Amazing Cafe!

*Note*: Neither Karen Conley, Sean Conley, Amazing Yoga nor Amazing Cafe asked me to write this blog post. I am just a Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie & Yogini, who enjoys sharing her foodie adventures with others. Photos captured on an iPhone 5s; edited with Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended with Instagram.

I’ve been waiting to return to Amazing Cafe for 10 months! Ever since my last brunch visit to Amazing Cafe (which, if you were anticipating Tulum Tacos, the Blue Zone Smoothie and a brownie from Gluten-Free Goat Bakery, please click this upcoming link: first brunch post on Amazing Cafe), I am been anticipating the opportunity to brunch at this local establishment once again. Thanks to Susie Popovich‘s Pop-up Rocket Yoga class (which was INCREDIBLE) in the South Side, my brunch dreams came true.

As you can tell, I started off my brunch with a vegan Mocha. I must admit, there was an adjustment period to enjoying this Mocha, due to all of the regular sweeter Mocha’s I’ve had in my life. Once I got past that moment, I really appreciated this healthier version of a mocha!

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Couldn’t resist another snap of this beautiful Mocha! 😉

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The whole reason why I convinced my yoga buddies to go to brunch with me: The Smile! This is a vegan French toast with maple cashew cream and seasonal fruit. Ever since Amazing Cafe opened, customers have been RAVING about this dish!

Once again, I did have to get over the fact that there was neither any butter, regular milk nor maple syrup involved in the making of this French toast. Once I did, I enjoyed the lightness of the toast, the creaminess of the maple cashew cream (it tasted so good; you would never know it was vegan unless someone already told you lol), the crunchiness of the granola, and the sweetness of the fruit. So worth the wait (and the presentation of this dish was BREATH TAKING)!

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Close-up of my beautiful brunch!

I floated out of the cafe on a cloud of happiness (well, you know, in my imagination).

 

Well there you have it, foodies! Whether you live in either the South Side or the North Hills, Amazing Cafe is certainly worth the trip!

 

Next post: a mindful and healthy brunch at Eleven Contemporary Kitchen.

 

Cheers to Food & Fitness,

 

-Friendly Fitness Foodie

 

Amazing Cafe’s website

Amazing Cafe’s Facebook page

Amazing Cafe’s Twitter page

Amazing Cafe’s Instagram page