Brunch at Spoon

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Mom’s tasty birthday cake (yes, I tried a bite) from her birthday brunch at Spoon!

*NOTE*: Neither Brian Pekarcik, Jamilka Borges nor Spoon Pittsburgh 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 taken on an iPhone 7s, and were edited with Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended and Instagram.

Back in April, I treated my Mom to her 65th birthday brunch at Spoon (located in East Liberty)! I also encourage you to read my first post on dinner at Spoon here. Here’s what I had for brunch:

 

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Main CourseSmoked Salmon with watercress & grilled romaine. Also: fingerling potatoes, dill vinaigrette, beets and quail eggs! Absolutely FABULOUS! Great job, Jamilka! 😀

 

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Side Dish: THE best bacon I’ve EVER had (from Heritage Farm)!

 

Well there you have it, folks! I have added Spoon to my favorite brunch spots list; I will definitely return for brunch soon! Whether you either live in Pittsburgh or are planning a visit soon, I highly suggest visiting Spoon in East Liberty for brunch!

 

Next post: brunch at Onion Maiden

 

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

 

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Sunday Funday at Yellow Bridge Brewing Company

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Potato Pancake Fritters and Red Cabbage slaw from Swing Truck at Yellow Bridge Brewing Company. This was REALLY good!

*NOTE*: Neither Yellow Bridge Brewing Company, Steel City Chimney Cakes, nor Swing Truck asked me to write this post. I am just a friendly Pittsburgh foodie and yoga enthusiast, who enjoys sharing her food and yoga adventures with others. Photos captured on my iPhone 6s, and edited with Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended and Instagram.

Please also note that the Swing Truck food truck is no longer in operation, but I still wanted to speak about the delicious food that foodie colleague Bobby Fry made!

Yellow Bridge Brewing Company is located in Delmont, Pennsylvania (just 30 minutes east of the city of Pittsburgh). The Brewery’s staff is very friendly, and of course the beer is very tasty! I hope they are still offering Bloody Mary’s on Sunday, because the Bloody Mary I had on this particular Sunday was FANTASTIC!

I also really appreciate that Yellow Bridge Brewing Company is an advocate for food trucks! This particular Sunday, there was a food truck round up with Swing Truck and the Steel City Chimney Cakes! If you’re wondering what a Chimney Cake is, this is a sweat yeast dough treat, often rolled in sugar. Trust me when I say you will want one (or two)!

 

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Swing Truck Food Truck!

 

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Steel City Chimney’s sign!

 

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Brunch Dish #1: The Steel City Chimney’s and Swing Truck collaborated on this dish: Fried Chicken strips inside of a Steel City Chimney Cake! I must say, this was some of THE best fried chicken I’ve EVER had (good job, Bobby!). This was paired perfectly with the lightly fried dough with cinnamon sugar!

 

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The Food Tasters’ Brunch Dish #1: My friend Tasha (of The Food Tasters and Eat Local/Shop Small) ordered a ham bechamel Steel City Chimney Cake (another collaboration between Swing Truck and Steel City Chimney Cakes)! I must admit I took a bite, and wasn’t disappointed!

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Brunch dish #2: Pork Tacos! Tasha and I shared these; I must say, they ranked right up there with tacos from the PGH Taco Truck and Tako!

 

So there you have it, folks! If you are craft beer fan, I high suggest stopping by Yellow Bridge Brewing Company for a pint! I also encourage you to follow Yellow Bridge Brewing Company on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay updated on the latest food truck happenings at Yellow Bridge!

 

Next up on the blog: brunch at Spoon!

 

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

 

Yellow Bridge Brewing Company’s website

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Steel City Chimney Cakes’ Facebook page

Steel City Chimney Cakes’ Instagram page

 

Dinner at Apteka

*NOTE*: Apteka did not ask 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 captured on an iPhone 7s, and were edited with Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended and Instagram.

Back in February, I was lucky enough to attend a Yoga Nidra + Reiki workshop at the Yoga Hive in Garfield with one of my best guy friends! After class, we decided to venture over to Apteka in Bloomfield for dinner! Apteka started out as a pop-up in Pittsburgh, featured in several Pierogi competition (and it won several of those competitions).

Apteka is know for its Eastern European food (especially the Pierogies) and everything is Vegan! My friend and I were very eager to dine here! When you walk in, you place your order at the counter (and pay then, too). If you’re a party of less than six, hopefully fate is in your favor and a table is waiting for you (considering Apteka is VERY popular; there was even a line out the door)! Thankfully for my friend and me, fate was in our favor. 🙂

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Course #1: Zupa z dyni! Pumpkin Soup, fennel and a seed cracker. THE best Pumpkin Soup I’ve ever had in my entire LIFE! Even though there was (obviously) no cream in this soup, the soup still had this creamy and comforting quality. I LOVED dipping the seed cracker in the soup, enjoying the soft texture of the soup clash with the crunchy texture of the cracker.

 

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Course #2: Pierogi Small Plate! Also: sauerkrat, mushroom, celeriac, apple, potato and horseradish. Sooooooo good! Definitely one of THE best plates of Pierogies I’ve EVER had! Although I’m glad I ordered the Small Plate, because the three Pierogies were very filling!

 

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Dessert Course: Piernik! Dark Gingerbread and Plum Butter! I swear, if you didn’t know about the ginger and plum butter, you would’ve thought you were eating a decadent chocolate cake! I loved the Spicy-ness of the ginger, paired with the sweetness of the Plum. I was pleasantly surprised with this healthy take on cake!

 

Well there you have it, folks! Whether you’re either a Vegan, Vegetarian, or a meat-eating Carnivore, I know everyone can find a dish (or two, or three) they will enjoy at Apteka! Just make sure to arrive early, to help increase your changes of getting a table!

 

Next up: Sunday Funday at Yellow Bridge Brewing Company, featuring Swing Truck and the Steel City Chimney Cakes!

 

 

 

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

 

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Apteka’s Facebook page

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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

 

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Pittsburgh Restaurant Week Winter 2017 Dinner at Avenue B

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The AMAZING Pittsburgh Restaurant Week menu at Avenue B!

*NOTE*: Neither Chris Bonfili nor Avenue B 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 captured on an iPhone7s, and were edited with Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended and Instagram. 

Back in January, I was lucky enough to dine at Avenue B, located in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh! Avenue B is one of the restaurants that my friend and foodie colleague Bobby Fry (Co-founder of Bar Marco, The Livermore and Food Revolution Pittsburgh Cooking Club, and current owner of The Swing Truck Food truck) recommended to me as one of THE best restaurants in Pittsburgh! Thus, I decided to take Bobby’s advice and go to Avenue B for Pittsburgh Restaurant Week!

Although the restaurant week menu looked FABULOUS, I decided to order a few dishes off the menu:

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My side dish: charred Brussel Sprouts! I must say these were THE best Brussel Sprouts I’ve EVER had!

 

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Main Course: Roasted Organic Chicken with Chestnut Spatzle, Kale and a Carrot Emulsion! Best non-friend chicken dish I’ve EVER had—-ANYWHERE! The chicken was perfectly cooked and prepared (and just tasted wonderful! Like chicken is supposed to taste.). I am a big Kale fan, so if you include it in a dish, I’m happy! I really loved the Carrot Emulsion (something I don’t often see on menus), and my first time trying Spatzle went well! I enjoying gathering a piece of the Chicken, Kale and Spatzel on my fork and dunking it in the Carrot Emulsion! Nice job, Chef!

 

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Considering Mom and I also thoroughly enjoyed the bread plate before our dinner came, we passed on dessert, but certainly LOVED our dinner!

I was very impressed with Avenue B! Friendly service, fantastic food and plating, good atmosphere and wonderful music! I will return to Avenue B, and highly recommend dining here!

 

Next up: brunch at Round Corner Cantina

 

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

 

Avenue B’s website

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Pittsburgh Restaurant Week’s website

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Pittsburgh Restaurant Week Twitter page

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My First Two Visits to Pork & Beans

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The front of Pork & Beans‘ menu.

*NOTE*: Neither Richard DeShantz, Keith Fuller, nor Pork & Beans 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 captured on an iPhone 7s, and edited with Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended and Instagram.

Pork & Beans (Richard DeShantz’s latest restaurant! This time, he has partnered up with his buddy [and former owner of Root 174] Keith Fuller) opened up in October 2016 in downtown Pittsburgh (not too far from the 6th Street/Roberto Clemente Bridge). Ever since then, I have been WAITING to dine at this restaurant! Luckily, my first opportunity presented itself in late December, when one of my best friends from high school returned home for the holidays. 🙂

First, I must say Richard and Keith created such a cool environment for Pork & Beans. Once you walk in and are seated at your table, you feel as if you have entered into THE best Southern-style picnic!

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Meal #1 at Pork & Beans (Clockwise from upper left-hand corner): Collard Greens, Vegan Pulled Pork, and Burnt End Beans (with grilled sourdough bread, picked onions, cabbage and pickles).

This was my first time I tried Collard Greens, and I absolutely LOVED them! I even brought the leftover Collard Greens home, and enjoyed them as part of my dinner the next day. 😉

The Vegan Pulled Pork was pretty darn good! It tasted very similar to regular Pulled Pork. Knowing Keith Fuller had a few Vegan dishes on the menu at Root 174, I had a hunch he added this to the menu (which this particular  night, the Vegan Pulled Pork was a special). I really enjoyed spreading the Vegan Pulled Pork on the Sourdough bread, with a few of the pickled vegetables on top.

Last (but certainly not least) THE glorious burnt end beans! Besides my Mom’s baked beans, these were THE best beans I’ve EVER had (and very hot)!

 

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A close-up of the VERY tasty Collard Greens!

In summary: the first visit to Pork & Beans was a MAJOR success! I left absolutely loving the atmosphere, customer service and food! I easily convinced my Mom to go to Pork & Beans in the beginning of May (before the Chris Botti concert).

 

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Meal #2 at Pork & Beans (left to right): Pickled Vegetables, Pulled Pork, and Broccoli Salad!

I absolutely LOVED the Pickled Vegetables (especially taking a fork-full of the Pulled Pork, and adding a few of the pickled vegetables to the bite)!

I must be honest: the Pulled Pork was okay, but I’ve had better Pulled Pork from Whole Foods.

The Broccoli salad was good, but not great (not as good as the broccoli salad my Mom used to buy from Giant Eagle).

So dinner #2 is complete, and I am feeling underwhelmed. Fear not, there’s still hope!

 

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Mom and I both ordered the new dessert: Bourbon Pecan Pie (from Piebird, and up-and-coming business that will be located in the Strip District), with a scoop of Leona‘s Vanilla Ice Cream on top!

Now THIS was really good! The Pecan Pie might just be better than my Mom’s Pecan Pie (sorry Mom), and how can you go wrong with Leona’s Ice Cream? I have enjoyed most of their Ice Cream sandwiches, and the few pint flavors I’ve tried thus far. This was the highlight of dinner!

I’m not sure if my Mom and I just caught the restaurant on an “off-night” or what, but I still have hope and confidence in Pork & Beans. As long as they keep that same quality they had during the first few months they were opened, I know Pork & Beans will be another successful Richard DeShantz restaurant.

 

Next up: Pittsburgh Restaurant Week Winter 2017 dinner at Avenue B.

 

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

 

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Dinner at Altius

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Course #1 at Altius: Heron Point Crab Toast! Wild caught colossal crab, grilled artichoke cream cheese, basil aioli, rustic baguette and petite herbs.

*NOTE*: Altius did not ask 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 captured on an iPhone 7s, and were edited with Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended, and Instagram.

A few days before Christmas, my Mom and I went to see a show at the Pittsburgh Public Theater (about Rocky Bleier, who was a Pittsburgh Steelers! He was even narrating the play). Before the show, Mom and I dined at Altius for dinner on Mt. Washignton! Chef Jessica Bauer’s first Restaurant, Bistro 19 (in Mt. Lebanon) was so enjoyable (and Altius had received lots of praise), we decided to dine at Altius! Plus, the view from one of the windows at Altius is BREATH-TAKING!

 

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Another view of this very TASTY crab toast! Oh baby, oh baby! 😉

 

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Course #2: She Crab Bisque! Golden crab roe, Sherry creme fraiche, and honey roasted peanuts. I must say, this was pretty incredible! Pretty darn close to being just as good as the Sherry Bisque at The Hyeholde!

 

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A close-up of this HANDSOME dish!

 

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Main Course (which was also one of the specials that night): Red Snapper (my first one!) on top of a red of risotto, with porcini mushrooms and broccolini. Everything laid in a lobster broth! Can you say decadent? This dish totally blew me away!

 

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A close up of this beauty!

As you can probably tell, the food was truly impressive. Plus, the view of the city!!!

On the other hand: the fancy restaurants and white tablecloths do not impress me. There was a dress code–when I go to a restaurant, I just want to wear a nice top and jeans (and sometimes I dine in my yoga clothes! Ask Bar Marco or The Vandal lol!). I like a more rustic dining decor (a la any Richard DeShantz Restaurant, Bar Marco, The Vandal, and Justin Severino’s restaurants).

I especially enjoy most when the staff says more than “hello”, and “here is the explanation of this dish”. I like to get to know the wait-staff, sommeliers, barista, and owners of the restaurants. I want real conversation.

If you like a classic look, a dress code, and you don’t want the wait-staff to talk to you, then this restaurant is right up your alley.

It probably goes without saying that when you dine on Mt. Washington, you are “paying for the view”. That being said, I definitely view Altius as more of a special occasion restaurant (birthday, anniversary, etc).

Is the food good? YES! Is the staff professional? YES! I definitely suggest (whether you’re from Pittsburgh or are visiting) that you dine at Altius at least one. Who knows, you might just fall in love with the place. ❤

 

Next up on the blog: Dinner at Pork & Beans!

 

 

 

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

 

Altius’ website

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