Pittsburgh Guest Blogger Event

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Today’s post comes from Lou of Pittsburgh Happy Hour, and is part of a special day of shenanigans from other Pittsburgh Bloggers. You can see my post over on Small Town Dad, where I review Bend, Brew & Brunch II at Spoonwood Brewing Company. I must thank Alex from Everybody Loves Alex, for coordinating this SUPERB blogger event!

In the last few months, Pittsburgh’s Justin Servino of Cure opened his second restaurant in Lawrenceville called Morcilla.

If you have not visited Cure, it is basically a rite of passage for all Pittsburgh foodies. Not only do they offer different private dining events throughout the year with a focus on butchering and food preparation, they offer some of the most high quality cuisine in all of Pittsburgh. I have enjoyed some truly memorable meals at Cure throughout the years.

Morcilla has a different vibe than Cure. Although the restaurant is new, the menu does not seem as neither carefully crafted nor well balanced. There are so many different dishes to try, that it is nearly impossible to sample everything. That didn’t stop me from giving it hell! I have listed each dish I tried for you, as well as my thoughts and an approximate calorie count below.

morcillamojama

Mojama: dried tuna, chilli oil and pine nuts.

~300 calories. This was probably one of my least favorite dishes from Morcilla. Due to being a leaner meat, dried tuna is not always a crowd pleaser. We also wish the slices were thicker, so that we could have experienced more of the tuna flavor.

morcillasuryannoham

Surryano ham: (Edwards of Surry, VA) pecans and pecan oil. 

~370 calories. It is worth noting that this is the cheaper ham on Morcilla’s menu. (We still loved it.) For only $18 more you can try the Iberico ham – supposedly the finest in the world!

morcillacecina

Cecina: cured dried beef, radicchio, cara cara orange and tarragon.

 ~270 calories. The dried beef was quite good, the other items were a little bitter through.

Chorizo: dates, Cabrales cheese, vanilla. ~450 calories. This dish was quite tasty, and we fought over it. It was odd to see vanilla paired with chorizo, but it worked very well.

morcillacrabbutterchurro

Crab butter and Tarragon Churro: la fondue de idiazabal.

 ~600 calories. This was among our favorite dishes from the evening. Perhaps it was the novelty of a savory churro, or the warm embrace of crab flavored butter – but this is a must try.

Sobrasada: smoked spreadable salami, dehydrated apple, hazelnut. ~280 calories. I’ve heard of sopressata, but never sobrasada. It is a raw cured sausage made with pork, and it was fantastic.

Foie Gras:  membrillo and black pepper. ~400 calories. This was the only dish we had to order twice- it was a knockout. The mebrillo added a nice texture, and did a great job of balancing the wonderful flavor of the foie gras. This dish must be ordered at Morcilla at all costs, including offending any potential friends who may think foie gras is a faux pas.

Ox tail:  caramelized onion and Mahón cheese. ~250 calories. This dish was recommended by our good friend Sean from Allegheny Wine Mixer. Surprisingly, it was served warm, unlike many of the other small plates we tried. Also a must try.

Queso de Cabra: smoked goat cheese croquettes and spiced membrillo~300 calories. One of the more pedestrian dishes of the evening. I believe this one could be skipped. It just didn’t provide much in the way of excitement.

morcillasopablanco

Sopa Blanca: leek and potato soup, smoked chorizo and fried egg.~650 calories. Also not to be missed, easily one of our favorite dishes of the night. Served in a flavorful broth and perfectly balanced by the fresh ingredients.

morcillapulpo

Pulpo Escabecheoctopus, new potato, potato espuma, pimenton, extra virgin olive oil. ~600 calories. My dinner guest said that on his previous visit this dish was probably about twice as big. It was still quite flavorful and delicious and should be ordered by all octopus fans.

Total calorie count:  approximately 4470 / 2 = 2235. Add in adjustments for wine consumed, my total calorie count for the evening came to about 2,585 calories. According to the My Fitness Pal calculator, I only need to walk about 35 miles in order to burn off my dinner! I have no regrets.

 

Pittsburgh Happy Hour’s website

Pittsburgh Fine Drinking Society’s Facebook page

Pittsburgh Happy Hour’s Twitter page

 

I encourage you to check out the other bloggers involved in the Pittsburgh Guest Blogger Event, listed here:

Harvest + Bloom // Yes, Wear That! // jelly jars // Glam and Graffiti // To The Streets // In Pursuit // Pittsburgh & Pearls // Beezus Kiddo // Goodness Madness // Last Minute Panic // Steel City Intrigue // Crank Crank Revolution // Amanda Narcisi // Pittsburgh is Beautiful // From Cats to Cooking // Yum Yum PGH // Breelicious Bites // Parmesan Princess // Coffee & A Blonde // The Steel Trap // Wavy Alabaster // everybody loves you… // Eat with Emily // Don’t Forget to Eat // Sloping in the Sky // From Farm to Turntable // Secrets in the Wall // Red Pen Mama // Feedback Soup // The AP Collection // Blog Or Die PGH // Pittsburgh Happy Hour // Friendly Fitness Foodie // Small Town Dad // Josh’s World // Geeky Sweetie // Sean’s Ramblings // Lunges, Long Runs and Lattes // Try it and You May! // lil Burghers // Orange Chair Blog // Ya Jagoff // Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents // Melissa Firman

 

 

 

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Birthday Dinner at Cure (Year Two)

CureScrubBlackberry Scrub beverage from Justin Severino‘s Cure restaurant, located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

*NOTE*: Neither Justin Severino nor Cure asked me to write this review; I am just a Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie, who enjoys sharing her foodie adventures with others. Photos captured with an iPhone 5s, and edited with Instagram and Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended.

Last year, I enjoyed my birthday dinner at Cure so much, I decided to continue on the tradition to this year’s birthday.

I saved my one and only visit to Cure for this very birthday dinner. If you are not familiar with Justin Severino’s (Owner and Executive Chef) Cure restaurant, I encourage you to read my post from last year: (Last Year’s Birthday Dinner at Cure). It truly was a magical experience at Cure, being surrounded by pig memorabilia, art by Tugboat Printshop, rustic wood tables, chairs and fabulous food!

CureSmallSalumi

Course #1: Small Salumi plate! I must say, Cure makes THE best charcuterie in the ‘burgh (Crested Duck is a very, VERY close second). If you read my birthday dinner from last year, all of the same fixings are on this plate, and are as wonderful as ever. 😉

 

CureFocaccia

In-between course: homemade focaccia bread with cheese, olives and lardo! The focaccia bread came VERY close to being as good a the focaccia  bread at The Hyeholde (which has the best tasting focaccia bread I’ve ever had in my entire life), and spreading the lardo with the cheese and olives on the bread transported me to heaven (even if it was just for a few minutes).

 

CureMushroomSoupCourse #2: mushroom soup! Not as good as the butternut squash soup that my Mom ordered at last year’s dinner, but this was still THE best mushroom soup I’ve ever had! The presentation was incredible (the bowl came out with just a few ingredients, and then the waiter poured the soup into the bowl).

 

CureSouffle

Course #3: dark chocolate soufflé cake with pistachio butter. Cloud Nine chocolate paradise. ❤

 

CureSouffle02.jpeg

Close-up shot. As Bourdain would say: “oh yeah, baby; the good stuff”.

 

Next post: my first two dinners at Bill’s Bar and Burger (Pittsburgh location)

 

Cheers to Food & Fitness,

 

-Friendly Fitness Foodie

 

Cure Pittsburgh’s website

Cure Pittsburgh’s Facebook page

Cure Pittsburgh’s Twitter page

Cure Pittsburgh’s Instagram page

 

Birthday Dinner #1 at Cure

Butternut Squash soup
Butternut Squash soup from Cure

*DISCLAIMER*: I do not seek monetary benefits from neither Justin Severino nor Cure. I am just a Pittsburgh foodie, who enjoys sharing her culinary adventures. Photos were captured with an iPhone5s, and were edited with Instagram and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

*Website and social media links below this post!*

Cure is owned by Justin Severino (who is also executive chef of the restaurant). Originally from Ohio, Justin Severino later relocated to Western Pennsylvania and also lived and worked in Santa Cruz, California from 2004- 2007 (Valentina, 2012). An element of the west coast that Justin has brought to Pittsburgh: using local and national ingredients and knowing where your food comes from (how was it grown, raised and prepared?).

I’ve heard all sorts of things about Justin Severino from Pittsburgh chefs, magazines and food bloggers. When food blogger & married couple D&T in the Burgh mentioned Cure, I knew I had to visit this establishment for dinner.

The opportunity finally arrived to me on my birthday (November 5th). My birthday happened to fall on a Wednesday (one of my days off from work). I had been eyeing up the menu at Cure for weeks, debating if I should take a chance a request a reservation. Three weeks beforehand, I decided to take a chance and request a reservation through Cure’s website. A few days later, I received a response, and my reservation was confirmed.

I loved the atmosphere from Cure from I moment I walked in the door. Lots of wood panels on the walls; boars’ heads on the one dining room wall, shrubs on the other dining room wall, and little pig statues all over the place. Also, good lighting and good music.

The dish picture above was my Mom’s first course: butternut squash soup. The butter squash soup contained: butternut squash (of course), morcilla sausage, fried egg, smoked avocado, peanut and basil. I did sample a spoonful of my Mom’s first dish- best butternut squash soup I’ve EVER had!

Salumi plate
Small salumi plate from Cure

Here’s my dish #1- small salumi plate: ciccioli (rustic country pate made from pork that cannot be used for neither sausage nor salami), soppresatta,  lardo (cured pig back fat, bottom left-hand corner), duck speck and nduja (spreadable pork- orange, in the bottom right corner), grain mustard, black mustard and cornichons (Valentina, 2012). Let me tell you- best cured meats I’ve had in my entire LIFE and the best dinner dish of the night! I was a little disappointed in myself for not ordering the BIG salumi plate (lol). X) Everything was great, but my Mom and I particularly liked the nduja (especially spread on the bread slices with some mustard).

Strawberry Scrub with Pittsburgh Seltzer Works
Strawberry Scrub with Pittsburgh Seltzer Works from Cure

Who says you have to consume alcohol to have fun? I really loved this strawberry scrub drink with Pittsburgh Seltzer Works. Honestly, one of the best beverages I’ve had in my entire LIFE (it was so good, I had two). Also, very pretty! ❤

Spaghetti Carbonara
Spaghetti Carbonara from Cure

Here’s my Mom’s main course- spaghetti carbonara: salty pork bits, peas, egg, roasted garlic, soffritto and pecorino romano. As you can tell by the words and the image, not your typical spaghetti carbonara (so much better!). The smell of this dish was ethereally bacon-y! When my Mom couldn’t finish consuming this dish, I was all too happy to finish it. Soooooo task- I was sorry I didn’t order it! X)

Copper River Salmon
Copper River Salmon from Cure

Here’s my main dish- Copper River Salmon– hibiscus cured, ginger yogurt, rosehip honey, roasted cucumber, marcona almonds, orange, fernet, cilantro. The salmon was INCREDIBLE; I’ve had smoked salmon, grilled salmon, but never hibiscus cured salmon. All of the flavor combinations gave this dish a very exotic taste. I definitely sense a hint of asian influence.  I loved cutting up the salmon, forking a slice of cucumber on top, and dipping it all in the ginger yogurt and orange marmalade. Once in a while, I was lucky enough to include a marcona almond in a bite.

Salmon
Close-up of the salmon
Dark Souffle cake with pistachio butter from Cure
Dark Souffle cake with pistachio butter from Cure

Eventually, it was time for dessert; my Mom and I chose the same thing for dessert. Dessert was…(*drum roll*): dark chocolate soufflé cake with pistachio butter, sea salt, vin cotto and xxvo. The sweetness of the dark chocolate with the salty-ness and savory-ness of the pistachio were the perfect team. The dark chocolate soufflé was light, yet almost fudge-y (like a molten lava cake). It was, in every sense of the word, a perfect chocolate dessert dish. 🙂

Dark Chocolate Souffle cake
Close up of the dark chocolate soufflé cake

Friends, if you ever have the chance to dine at Cure in Lawrenceville, you must go! You will not regret it, and you will be wowed at every second.

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

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

Valentina. (2012, June 24). Review: Cure. Retrieved from: http://www.pittsburghmagazine.com/Pittsburgh-Magazine/July-2012/Review-Cure/

Cure’s website

Cure’s Facebook page

Cure’s Twitter page

Justin Severino’s Twitter page

D&T in the Burgh’s blog

D&T in the Burgh’s Twitter page