Yoga + Cocktails (and Brunch) at Bar Marco


Bar Marco‘s BEAUTIFUL Union Hall event space (located on the top floor of the building that houses Bar Marco)!

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

One Fateful Sunday, I was lucky enough to teach a one-hour Power Vinyasa Yoga class in Bar Marco‘s Union Hall space! One-Third of the ticket sales went to Food Revolution Pittsburgh Cooking Club (Bar Marco founded the Pittsburgh chapter! The original chapter was created by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver)! FRPCC works with the students at Obama Academy in East Liberty. The Club teaches them how to grow, harvest, and cook their food. They also bring in local chefs to help teach the students! I also co-hosted (along with Bar Marco) a cocktail-hour after class (where students had the choice between either a Mimosa or a Bloody Mary. The cocktail was included within the class price).



I was so lucky to teach in such a beautiful space! Thank you Andrew, Justin and Kevin for providing me with this opportunity!



Students enjoying Savasana before class ends! Stay tuned for Yoga + Cocktails II, which will be held at Bar Marco’s Union Hall once again! Details (as far as a date and time) TBA!

After yoga class and cocktail hour, I met my Mom and brother for brunch at Bar Marco! Here was the fall brunch menu:




Mom’s handsome brunch: Brioche French Toast, and fresh-squeezed orange juice! The Brioche French Toast had a pumpkin mousse, pecan and maple syrup. I tried a bit- INCREDIBLE!



My enjoyable brunch: Buckwheat Pancakes! Served with apple butter, granola, bacon, and maple syrup! Sooooooo good!


In my opinion, Bar Marco makes one of THE best brunches in the city! Whether you’re either just visiting Pittsburgh or live here, I highly encourage you to attend brunch at Bar Marco! Also: please stay tuned to either my Twitter (@lauraelizabethj) or Instagram account (@friendlypghfoodie) for upcoming yoga classes I am teaching!


Next up on the blog: Dinner at Altius!




-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie


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My latest two dinners at Bar Marco


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!


The Summer Dinner Menu at Bar Marco in Pittsburgh! 


The Summer Dinner Menu, second shot.


Close up of this looker of a menu! 😉


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


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! 


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


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!


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!


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)! 


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”!


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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My first two brunches at The Vandal


The ever-changing brunch menu at The Vandal in Lawrenceville.

*NOTE*: Neither Joey Hilty nor The Vandal asked me to write this blog post. I am just a friendly Pittsburgh foodie, who enjoys sharing my foodie adventures with others. Photos captured with an iPhone 5s, and edited with Instagram and Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended.

This month and in October, I experienced my first two brunches at The Vandal, located on 38th Street and Butler in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

Ever since I tried one of The Vandal’s dishes at Station‘s Cocktails and Construction event, I knew I had to dine at this restaurant.

Chef Joey Hilty (formerly of Bar Marco) and Emily Slagel (owner of Mid-Atlantic Mercantile boutique) set out to a bring casual, ingredient-driven restaurant to Lawrenceville.

Pictured above was the brunch menu for my first brunch visit in October. The Shala was hosting its first ever Bhakti Hour, where students and teachers alike discussed the Yoga Sutras and chanting. Since The Vandal is right across the street from The Shala, my golden opportunity arrived!


Close up of my beverages (coffee [which was REALLY good] and vanilla lemonade [I’m officially a fan now]), and the first course: granola with vanilla yogurt and sliced apples!

The Coffee was INCREDIBLE; just as good as the coffee I had at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association, for my brother’s wedding food tasting. Also, I really liked the sweet taste of the vanilla with the tartness of the lemonade.


Close up of my tasty breakfast granola at The Vandal! Homemade granola and yogurt is the way to go, folks! I really liked the apple slices too!


The Vandal’s logo (Hang Out or Take Out).


Mom’s brunch: biscuit, egg, bacon and kale. I tried a bite of this dish- I must say it was REALLY good!


My main dish for the October visit (and my Mom’s main dish for our December visit): Beignets with Paw-Paw sauce! These were just as good as the Beignets that I had at Bouchon in Las Vegas! 

Fast forward to last Sunday: my Mom and I were in Lawrenceville for the last day of the Joy of Cookie Tour. We arrived early due to parking, but our arrival was a little too early (meaning none of the cookie tour stops except The Shala, which I always enjoy visiting, where opened). Thus, we decided to visit The Vandal for a second brunch!


I had to get the coffee again! This time, the name of the restaurant was on the cup! 🙂


My second brunch at The Vandal included sourdough bread, ricotta cheese and lomo! All toast should be this good!


Close up of the GLORIOUS toast during the second brunch trip to The Vandal!

Another aspect of the restaurant I really appreciate (and is important to me) is the friendliness of the staff.

During the first visit, Joey asked my Mom and I: “What have you been up to today? What will you do next? Where are you ladies from”, and I discovered that Joey (and one of his chefs) and I are both from the South Hills (he represents Bridgeville and I rep Upper St. Clair). The other chef (forgive me for not knowing your name) was also very amicable, as well as the lady with the long black hair and glasses (forgive me for not knowing your name as well).

All in all, in two visits, The Vandal has become one of my new favorite restaurants in Pittsburgh! I can’t WAIT to see what The Vandal has in store for 2016!

Cheers to Food and Fitness,


-Friendly Fitness Foodie

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Good Company, Good Food & Good Drinks at Bar Marco

Menu Bar Marco
Friday, June 19th’s Bar Dinner Menu at Bar Marco

*DISCLAIMER*: I do not seek monetary benefits from neither Bar Marco, nor any of these Pittsburgh Bloggers. I’m just a Pittsburgh Foodie, who enjoys sharing her Foodie adventures! Pictures were taken with an iPhone 5s, and were edited with Instagram and Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended.

Last Friday, I had the WONDERFUL honor of dining with Tasha (of The Food Tasters), Terri (Parmesan Princess), Alberto (PR/Events Manager of Gaucho), Robert (Downtown Pittsburgh Concierge), Nadine (Pittsburgh Mommy Blog) and Michael Pellas and Jessica Fink (husband/wife team behind the Why We Live in Downtown Pittsburgh blog)!

We decided to meet for dinner and drinks at Bar Marco, located in Pittsburgh’s Strip District neighborhood. I had been there one time for brunch, but never for dinner. I was looking forward to spending a fabulous evening with good friends and good food!

*TIP*: every evening from 5-6pm, Bar Marco does a “Happy Hour”, where you can order all Bar Menu food and drinks at half price! The Pittsburgh Bloggers and I DEFINITELY utilized this strategy for our meet-up!

Menu Bar Marco
Close up of the Bar Menu at Bar Marco!
Bar Marco's Dessert Menu
Bar Marco’s Dessert Menu

The dessert menu looked REALLY good! Next time, I will have to get the chocolate and coffee flourless cake!

Drink Bar Marco
My first drink of the night at Bar Marco! This drink contained: sparkling wine, lemon and lavender!

This was DELICIOUS! The waitress brought an extra one of Terri’s drinks, and was kind enough to give it to me. 😛

The Food Tasters' Signature Cocktail
The Food Tasters’ signature drink of the night, which contained: orange liquer, lemons. ginger, and other ingredients that I do not remember lol. X)

The Food Tasters’ donated generously to Bar Marco’s Food Revolution Club in 2014. Thus, for the night, Bar Marco crafted a drink in her honor! This was INCREDIBLE! 😀

Shrimp Empanada from Bar Marco
Shrimp Empanada = HEAVEN

Alberto and I both shared shrimp empanadas, sitting on a bed of cilantro cream. Soooooooooo scrumptious! Loved this dish; heaven on a plate!

Confit Chicken Bar Marco
My main course: Confit Chicken, with rice grits, black beans and corn, and plantain. Best dish of the night!

Here’s my main dish: confit chicken! Let met tell you: one of the best chicken dishes I’ve EVER had in my entire LIFE! Also, one of the best dinners of my life! I also enjoyed the rice grits, black beans and corn, and plantain (my first time trying plantain)!

The main aspects of these dishes that I really appreciated: I experience a glimpse into the Executive Chef’s (Jamilka Borges) upbringing and cuisine! She’s originally from Puerto Rico; thus, I really felt that I was tasting the dishes that her grandparents and parents made for her, the recipes conducted from Jamilka’s childhood memories. What a delight!

Whether you visit Bar Marco for brunch, dinner, the wine room experience, or just a few drinks, you will NOT be disappointed! There’s a reason why big foodie sites (such as have featured this revolutionary restaurant!

Speaking of revolution: Bar Marco no longer accepts gratuity, since all of its staff is now full time & salaried, with health care and paid vacations. In my opinion, every restaurant around the world should follow in Bar Marco’s footsteps; happy employees equals a happy restaurant!

Also: if you do leave any extra money on the table, all of the proceeds go towards Bar Marco’s Pittsburgh Food Revolution Club, which teaches children in East Liberty about farming, growing and cooking food. Make sure to leave some money behind for this AMAZING food club!

In short: Bar Marco, I love you!

Three Cheers to good food, fabulous art and cultural events,

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

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