Brunch at Round Corner Cantina

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Brunch dessert: the truly INCREDIBLE Churros and Ancho-Cocoa Drizzle sauce from Round Corner Cantina! These might’ve just been THE best churros I’ve EVER had!

*NOTE*: Round Corner Cantina didn’t ask me to write this post. I am just a friendly Pittsburgh foodie and yogini, who enjoys sharing her foodie adventures with others! Photos captured with an iPhone 7S; edited with Adobe Photoshop CS$ Extended and Instagram.

One fateful Sunday in February after some #MysoreMagic at The Shala of Pittsburgh Ashtanga Yoga, my Mom and I wandered down Butler Street (in Lawrenceville) to Round Corner Cantina for brunch!

I had been to Round Corner Cantina one time before (for their New Year’s Eve Party in 2015), but I wanted to return to actually dine there (especially for brunch, which I have heard is pretty spectacular at Round Corner Cantina).

 

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Mom’s Brunch: La Gourmandine Brioche French Toast! This came with Benton’s Bacon, Ancho Maple Syrup, Chipotle Whipped Butter, and Berries! I must admit, I tried a bite, and it was one of THE best French Toasts I’ve EVER had! Plus: look how beautiful this dish was plated!

 

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My Brunch: Breakfast Tacos! Refried beans, Rice, Salsa Verde, House Made Corn Tortillas with a sprinkling of Cheese! The refried beans and salsa verde paired beautifully together, and I loved the rice! Plus, the homemade tortillas were some of THE best I’ve ever had! This dish has been added to the list of one of my favorite tacos in Pittsburgh!

 

Whether you either live in Pittsburgh year-round or are just visiting, I highly suggest visiting Round Corner Cantina (especially for brunch)!

 

Next up: dinner at Apteka!

 

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

 

Round Corner Cantina’s website

Round Corner Cantina’s Facebook page

Round Corner Cantina’s Twitter page

Round Corner Cantina’s Instagram page

Yoga + Cocktails (and Brunch) at Bar Marco

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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).

 

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

 

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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:

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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!

 

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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

 

Bar Marco’s website

Bar Marco’s Facebook page

Bar Marco’s Twitter page

Bar Marco’s Instagram page

 

 

Brunch at The Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

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The entrance to the Ace Hotel in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh! Surprisingly, the sun provided perfectly lighting for me on this warm Sunday in November!

*NOTE*: Neither the Ace Hotel, Ace Hotel Pittsburgh, the Whitfield, nor Tom Totin asked me to write this blog post. I am just a Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie and Yogini, whom enjoys sharing her foodie and yoga adventures with others. Photos were taken on an iPhone 7s, and were edited with Adobe Photoshop CS4 and Instagram.

One fateful Sunday in November, Tom Totin of the Cookspeak Tom podcast invited me to be a guest on his podcast! Before the podcast, we decided to meet for brunch at the Whitfield, which is inside the Ace Hotel of Pittsburgh!

The Whitfield was one of two restaurants from Pittsburgh (the other being Morcilla by Justin Severino and his business partner and wife Hilary Prescott Severino) nominated by Bon Appetit magazine as one of the Best New Restaurants of 2016! The Pastry Chef of the Whitfield was also nominated for a James Beard Award this year! With all of this fuss, I new I had to dine there myself to be my own judge.

 

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The brunch specials! I went with the Rosemary Vanilla Latte, although I had it with almond milk (which was DELICIOUS)!

 

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Here is my GLORIOUS Rosemary Vanilla Latte, which I thoroughly enjoyed during brunch!

 

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(*Sorry for this crappy photo! The one bad thing about a sunny day is that is creates a lot of shadows.*)  Course #1: Pumpkin Bread with a Pepita Crumble and Spiced Chevre. THE best pumpkin bread I’ve EVER had, and the Spiced Chevre was HEAVENLY!

 

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Tom’s Main Course: Whitfield Breakfast! A “riff” on Egg’s Benedict, this breakfast contained: Poached Eggs, a Housemade English Muffin, Smoked Pork, Hollandaise, Chimichurri and Beet & Potato Rosti. Wow! Tom was nice enough to let me try a bit; this was VERY good!

 

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My Main Course: Buttermilk Fried Chicken Salad! A tribute to the “classic” Pittsburgh salad with fries, this salad contained: Mixed Greens, Cucumber, Tomatoes, Red Onion, Fries, Ranch and Aged Provolone. The fried chicken was soooo goood! The fries and the cheese paired perfectly with the fried chicken!

I was very impressed with the food and the ambiance of the Whitfield and the hotel! The Whitfield has quickly joined the list of one of my FAVORITE brunch spots! Whether you’re looking for either a casual Sunday brunch or a reason to celebrate life, I highly suggest dining at the Whitfield! Make sure you make a reservation (since this is a popular spot)!

 

Next on the blog: Yoga + Cocktails (and brunch) at Bar Marco!

 

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

 

Whitfield’s website

Whitfield’s Facebook page

Whitfield’s Twitter page

Whitfield’s Instagram page

Tom Totin’s Twitter page

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

 

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

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

 

Station’s website

Station’s Facebook page

Station’s Twitter page

Station’s Instagram page

Brunch and Lunch at Smallman Galley

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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!

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

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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! 😉

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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

 

Brunch at B52 in Lawrenceville

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B52’s logo (pictured on the front of its menu)!

*Note*: Neither Omar Abuhejleh nor B52 asked me to write this blog post. I am a Pittsburgh Foodie and Yogini, who enjoys sharing her foodie and yoga adventures with others! Photos captured with an iPhone 5s, and were edited with Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended and Instagram.

The first full day back from my vacation in April, I decided to take an additional day off from work to practice Ashtanga Yoga at The Shala of Pittsburgh Ashtanga Yoga and go to brunch at B52 in Lawrenceville! I first fell in love with the food of B52 at the Back of the House event last fall (which I was lucky enough to attend, thanks to winning tickets from The Food Tasters). Leah Lizarondo (a.k.a. The Brazen Kitchen) was kind enough to introduce me to Omar and his food. B52’s dish at Back of the House (a rice and salmon dish) was THE best dish I had at the whole event! Thus, when B52 finally opened up in Lawrenceville, I made it my mission to pay a visit for brunch!

B52 is a vegan cafe that combines its love for Palestinian and American cuisine to produce house-made baked good, chocolates, a full-service expresso bar, and all meals of the day (including brunch, which was my meal of choice on this Saturday)!

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B52’s brunch menu!

Even though I didn’t take a picture of it, I REALLY enjoyed the “bottomless” coffee with almond milk!

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Brunch dish #1: Thick Cut Toast with Avocado, Preserved Lemon, Tahini sauce and black Sesame Seeds.

This Avocado Toast was one of THE highlights of brunch! Since Omar also owns Allegro Hearth Bakery in Squirrel Hill, I knew the bread was going to be good! This bread reminded me of a Texas Toast. The avocado tasted INCREDIBLE, and I loved the addition of the Tahini Sauce and Black Sesame Seeds!

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Brunch dish #2: Tofu Scramble with Latke, Shiitake Mushrooms and Greens!

I LOVED the Latke (this part of the dish very much reminded me of hash browns), and I appreciated the meaty taste of the Shiitake Mushrooms paired with the crunchiness of the greens. The only thing I didn’t love was (ironically enough) the main part of the dish: the Tofu Scramble. I’ve noticed throughout my journey of trying different types of tofu that I am be discerning towards tofu. I will say that once I brought my leftover tofu home and added some black pepper, sea salt and Sriracha sauce, the tofu tasted MUCH better! Thus, maybe that’s all that tofu needed.

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Mom’s Brunch dish (and the second highlight of brunch): Thick Cut Toast with Almond Butter and Raspberry Preserves!

As you can probably tell, Mom was nice enough offer me a few bites of her toast. oh. My. GOSH! This toast was INCREDIBLE! You already know that I am in love with the thick cut toast at this point. The almond butter was EVEN better than the typical Almond Butter that I buy from the grocery store, and the raspberry preserves were absolutely PEFECT! So in love with this dish!

After brunch, I bought some chocolates, a brownie and a chocolate chip cookie (all vegan) to take home and enjoy! My Mom’s treasure of the day was this jar of preserved lemons! She’s still figuring out how will she will use her treasure, but luckily, these preserved lemons are good for MONTHS!

Thank you B52 for an enjoyable and healthy vegan brunch, as well as all of the treats that I brought home!

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A shot of B52’s door (as well as a snapshot of my reflection in the doorway)!

 

Next post: Winter and Spring Foodie Adventures. Stay Tuned!

 

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

 

B52’s website

B52’s Facebook page

B52’s Twitter page

B52’s Instagram page