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

 

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Special Review of The Ravenous Pig

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My AMAZING lunch from The Ravenous Pig: Shrimp & Grits!

*NOTE*: Neither The Ravenous Pig nor its owners asked me to write this blog post. I am just a humble foodie and yogini, who enjoys sharing her foodie adventures. Photos were captured with an iPhone 5s; edited with Instagram and Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended.

Before my Mom and I ventured to Winter Park, Florida (near Orlando, Florida) in April, I did extensive research on its “foodie scene”. The Ravenous Pig popped up on several Orlando and Winter Park best restaurant lists. The Ravenous Pig is a James Beard nominated Gastropub, with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients and local purveyors. “The Pig” also has a hefty craft beer and cocktail list (including craft beer selections from its sister restaurant, Cask & Larder).

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Here’s a close up of my Shrimp & Grits lunch, which included: cape canaveral shrimp, Anson Mills grits, green tomato chutney and chorizo oil.

This was only my second grit experience, but these were THE best grits I’ve EVER had! Of course, the shrimp was on-point as well. I also really loved the tomato chutney!

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My Godmother’s lunch was The Tacos: crispy rock shrimp, cilantro, avocado, pickled jalapeño, and cabbage slaw.

I was lucky enough to try a bite of one of these tacos- oh baby, oh baby! These might’ve just been the best shrimp tacos I have ever tasted! 😀

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Another glam shot of my Godmother’s lunch!

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Mom’s lunch- Pub Burger: Aspen Ridge Natural Angus Beef, caramelized onion, buttermilk blue cheese and truffle fries.

I also tried a bite of the burger- very good, but I particularly LOVED the truffle fries. What can I say- I guess I have a taste for decadence. 😉

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Here’s a close up of Mom’s delightful pub burger!

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The dessert of champions- Trio: grand marina ice cream, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate cherry sherbet. The perfect way to end this lunch!

If you are visiting either Orlando or Winter Park, I highly recommend checking out The Ravenous Pig! Special shout-out to our funny waiter Stephen!

Next post: brunch at B52 in Lawrenceville!

 

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

 

The Ravenous Pig’s website

The Ravenous Pig’s Facebook page

The Ravenous Pig’s Instagram page

 

 

Dinner at Wild Rosemary

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The first appetizer of the evening at Wild Rosemary: beets with feta cheese!

*NOTE*: Neither Wild Rosemary nor its owners 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 were captured on an iPhone 5s;  they were edited with Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended, and Instagram.

Last month, my Mom and I celebrated her birthday at Wild Rosemary (located in my neck of the woods, Upper St. Clair). I made the reservation WAY in advance (back in February), since I heard that Wild Rosemary books FAST, and has a loyal following.

Several people (from my hair dresser to the eatPGH ladies themselves) have RAVED about this place. Thus, it was time to give Wild Rosemary a try (and fulfill my Mom’s birthday request)! I made the reservation for 5:30pm on a Thursday night (Thursday being one of my two days off from work. Wild Rosemary usually does two seats: one at 5:30pm and the other at 8:30pm); l am so glad that I chose the earlier seating. When 6:00pm rolled around, the parking lot was PACKED- seriously not another spot left.

When you walk into Wild Rosemary, it has this lovely comfortable and homey (yet sophisticated- think Nancy Meyer’s movie set with an Italian influence)- I loved that. Shortly after we sat down, we were presented with a homemade flatbread and hummus (which were both fabulous, by the way) to nosh on, while we reviewed the dinner menu.

Although you may look at the dinner menu ahead of time (which changes one to two times a month. Although, the Scallop dish is a permanent fixture on the menu; the Branzino dish has been on the menu since at least April.), the appetizers (which I’m sure are ever-changing as well) options are presented to you at the table.

As you can tell, I chose to go with the beets and feta cheese dish:

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I loved the simplicity of this dish! I’m not sure if the beets were either raw or lightly-cooked,  but they were some of THE best beets I’ve ever had! The feta cheese paired with the beets transported me to a quaint cafe in the Mediterranean (in my mind, of course). Perfect!

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One last money shot of the beets and feta cheese! 😉

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My main course: Greek Isle Branzino with oven-roasted blistered asparagus, and Sundried Tomato Oil.

This was THE best fish dish I’ve EVER had! I really enjoyed a nice bite of the fish, asparagus and sun-dried tomato all together on my fork.

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Look at those beautiful vegetables!

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Hello my friend- you were my delicious dinner! As Bourdain would say: “your sacrifice was not made in vain” (especially since I ate almost all of you, not including the head, tail and bones).

I also had a “rocket salad”- which was an arugula salad a few vegetables and light dressing. Also very good! Since I ate this in between the beets and the fish, I scarfed it down so fast that I forgot to take a picture. X)

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Mom’s birthday dinner- lamp chops with onion, rosemary, lemon and pita bread. I tried a bite of the lamp- HEAVENLY !

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My dessert! This reminded me of a “Millionaire’s Shortbread”- shortbread on the bottom, next chocolate (I could tell that Wild Rosemary used REALLY good quality chocolate), then caramel and nuts. As you can probably tell, I had the option to dip my luscious dessert into mascarpone whipped cream (which I happily accepted). 😉

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Never mind me- I’ll just be here enjoying chocolate, caramel and mascarpone whipped cream!

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Mom’s dessert (and birthday cake): coconut cake! This reminded me of a coconut Angel Food Cake- very light, after Mom’s heavier dinner entree. Good choice, Mom!

Well there you have it, folks! Pittsburgh: if you are looking for a dinner with high-quality ingredients, friendly staff and a cozy atmosphere, look no further than Wild Rosemary!

 

Next Post- *Special Review*: The Ravenous Pig in Winter Park, Florida

 

Cheers to food & yoga,

 

 

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

 

Wild Rosemary’s website

Wild Rosemary’s Facebook page

Dinner at Smallman Galley

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Ginger Peach Toast Pie from Jacqueline Wardle’s Josephine’s Toast (one of the four restaurants of the Smallman Galley)! 😀

*NOTE*: Neither the Smallman Galley nor its chefs asked me to write this blog post. I am a friendly Pittsburgh foodie & yogini, who enjoys sharing her foodie and yoga adventures with others. Photos captured with an iPhone 5s, and edited with Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended and Instagram.

The Smallman Galley opened in November 2015, and has already received praise from Zagat and The New York Times. This restaurant incubator (located in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, what I call the ‘burgh’s international food hub) was founded by two U.S. Navy Lieutenants. The name Smallman Galley references both the street where the restaurant sits, and also the kitchen on a ship (a nod to the two owners’ days at sea). Having dined at food halls all over the world, these two gentlemen aimed to bring the food hall experience to Pittsburgh.

These two Navy Lieutenants also wanted to provide chefs with the opportunity to start up their own restaurants over the course of 18 months. After those 18 months are over, the goal is for each chef to have acquired investors for either his or her restaurant concept, and to open a brick-and-mortar space in Pittsburgh. Then, a new crop of chefs with be introduced to the Smallman Galley.

I visited the Smallman Galley for the first time on the last Wednesday in March, after an event at Wigle Whiskey. I wanted to try the food at the Smallman Galley for MONTHS; thus, my golden opportunity had FINALLY arrived!

How do you order food at the Smallman Galley? Walk up to the restaurant of your choice, place you order at the cash register, pay (and don’t forget to place a tip in the tip jar), and return to your seat. You will receive a text from the restaurant, informing you of when your food will be ready. The restaurant will call you, instructing you to pick up your food at the designated restaurant counter when it’s ready.

Since I aspired to dine from more than one restaurant in one night, I started the night with dessert. 😉 My dessert (pictured above) was a Ginger Peach Toast Pie with mascarpone whipped cream from Josephine’s Toast. WOW; this was INCREDIBLE! I really liked that I mainly tasted the peach and ginger within the pie; I didn’t feel like I was eating layers and layers of bread. The flaky layers of toast emulated layers of crust in a pie- PERFECTION! Of course, mascarpone is always a wonderful taste. ❤

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I had to get a better shot of those BEAUTIFUL layers of peach and toast crust!

I’m excited to return to Jacqueline’s restaurant endeavor sometime soon (ESPECIALLY  for brunch)! I’m already debating whether I would order either the Brioche French Toast, Smashed Avocado Toast with Flax Seed, or the Almond Butter Toast with preserves. ❤

Of course, I also had to order dinner food for dinner! I was torn over so many delectable dishes, but I finally decided on the Squash Grilled Cheese from Jessica Lewis Carota Cafe.

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My HANDSOME dinner for the evening- Squash Grilled Cheese, which contained: roasted squash, manchego cheese, oregano pesto, seedy bread with carrot “ketchup” and pickles. There’s also a small root salad on the side.

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Closeup of the Squash Grilled Cheese sandwich! As Bourdain would say: “you know you want it”! 😉

I thought my Mom made the best grilled cheese in the world. Well, she has be demoted to second-best grilled cheese (love you, Mom), and Jessica’s Squash Grilled Cheese has earned the coveted #1 spot! The squash tasted a lot like butternut squash (I LOVE butternut squash soup); also, I love cheese (this was my first time trying manchego cheese. It was very good!). Even since I tried the Hyeholde’s pesto during childhood, I have been a pesto fan. Pair that with an artisanal bread and root vegetables, and I’m in heaven HONEY! This was one hell-of-a-good sandwich, and I REALLY liked the carrot ketchup!

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One more money shot of the Squash Grilled Cheese (with the carrot ketchup and root salad)!

I also want to return to Chef Lewis’ restaurant! I really like her theme of the vegetables being the start, and meat (if used in the dishes) is presented more like a side dish. I can tell that Jessica is continuing what she learned at The Commoner, by sourcing as many local ingredients and proteins as possible. Carota Cafe works with several local farms, including Clarion River Organics and Churchview Farm (to name a few).

My biggest goal (regarding the Smallman Galley) is to also dine from Rafael Vencio‘s Aubergine Bistro and Stephen Eldridge‘s Provision PGH! Watch out, gentlemen; I’ll be dining at your restaurants soon (probably for brunch)!

Well there you have it, folks! Whether you’re either a yinzer or a tourist, I HIGHLY suggest dining at the Smallman Galley for either breakfast, lunch or dinner!

 

Next up on the blog: Mom’s birthday dinner at Wild Rosemary!

 

Cheers to good food and mindful eating in the ‘burgh,

 

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

 

Smallman Galley’s website

Smallman Galley’s Facebook page

Smallman Galley’s Twitter page

Smallman Galley’s Instagram page

Josephine’s Toast Facebook page

Josephine’s Toast Twitter page

Jacqueline Wardle’s Twitter page

Josephine’s Toast Instagram page

Jacqueline Wardle’s Instagram page

Carota Cafe’s Facebook page

Carota Cafe’s Twitter page

Carota Cafe’s Instagram page

 

 

Brunch at Montana Rib and Chop House Southpointe

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My main course at brunch: coconut shrimp with fries and raspberry dipping sauce. SCRUMPTIOUS! 😀

*NOTE*: Montana Rip & Chop House Southpointe did not ask me to write   this review. I’m just a Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie and Yogini, who enjoys sharing her foodie and yoga experiences. Photos were captured with my iPhone 5s; photos were edited with Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended and Instagram.

Towards the end of February, one of my best friends from high school and I went for brunch at Montana Rib and Chop House in the Southpointe neighborhood of Washington County. I had been DYING to go here for months, as both my blogger friends Tasha of The Food Tasters, and Terri of the Parmesan Princess & Between the Eats both RAVED about this place!

The atmosphere here is casual- I definitely got that “nice Sports Bar” type of vibe from Montana Rib & Chop House. Our waitress was extremely nice and funny! I swear, each dish came out 10 minutes after we ordered them! I was very impressed by the promptness of the dishes arriving at the table.

Pictured above was the main course of my brunch (which I actually ordered from the lunch menu). The coconut shrimp was VERY good! Pair that with the raspberry dipping sauce- oh baby, OH BABY! 😉

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Another FABULOUS shot of my coconut shrimp dish- look at the crunchy-ness of that coconut-battered coating!

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Building anticipation by posting a picture of a side salad. This salad was an average salad. I had to order a salad, so I could feel better about myself, before I consumed the next dish.

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Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich = chocolate & ice cream HEAVEN!

The piece de resistance was this MASSIVE Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich! The two brownies were cooked and served to perfect. Pair that with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream, tons of whipped cream and fudge sauce, and you have one happy lady! ❤

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This shot gives you a better idea of this Godzilla-Sized dish! 

Well there you have it, folks! Whether you live either right in Southpointe or all the way on  the East End of the ‘burgh, I highly suggest stopping by Montana Rib & Chop House in Southpointe for either brunch, lunch or dinner!

 

Next blog post: brunch with foodie friends at Sonoma Grille!

 

Cheers to Food & Fitness,

 

-Friendly Fitness Foodie

 

Montana Rib & Chop House Southpointe’s website

Montana Rib & Chop House Southpointe’s Facebook page 

Montana Rib & Chop House Southpoine’s Twitter page

Mardi Gras dinner at The Commoner

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Shrimp Étouffée with creole sauce and white rice! Soooooooo good!

*Note*: Neither Kimpton, Hotel Monaco nor The Commoner asked me to write this post. I am just a friendly Pittsburgh foodie and yogini, who loves sharing her foodie and yoga adventures with others. Pictures captured on an iPhone 4s, and edited with Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended and Instagram.

Tuesday, February 9th, one of my best friends and I dined at The Commoner (Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh’s restaurant) for her birthday. Ironically enough, it was also Mardi Gras; thus, she I and had the opportunity to consume special Mardi Gras dishes (reminiscent of New Orleans)!

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My side dish: Curry Roasted Carrots & Peanuts! This was THE best carrot restaurant dish I’ve EVER had (and vegetarian friendly)!

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My main dish (which was a special dish for Mardi Gras): Shrimp Étouffée with creole sauce and white rice. I loved to dip the shrimp in the creole sauce, along scoop up a bite of white rice. This dish was perfect!

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Of course, you know it’s a rare occasion when I pass up on dessert! 😉 For dessert, I ordered the Warm Apple Buttermilk Spice Cake with maple roasted walnuts, maple frosting and apple cider ice cream. Since I tried the Sticky Toffee Pudding (best I’ve ever had) the last few visits, I wished to sample a different dessert.

I loved the fruit-ness of the apple, with the savory-ness of the buttermilk & maple frosting, and the fatness of the walnuts. Pair that all with apple cider ice cream and you’ve got a match made in heaven! ❤

 

Next up on the blog: brunch at Montana Rib & Chophouse in Southpointe

 

Cheers to Food & Fitness,

 

-Friendly Fitness Foodie

The Commoner’s website

The Commoner’s Facebook page

The Commoner’s Twitter page

The Commoner’s Instagram page

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