Winter & Spring Foodie Adventures

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Elysian Pumpkin Beer, Miso Kale Salad and Vegan Chilli from Franktuary‘s new downtown Pittsburgh location!

*NOTE*: none of these restaurants asked me to do a mini-review of their food. I am just a humble Pittsburgh Foodie and Yogini, who enjoys sharing her foodie and yoga adventures! Photos captured with an iPhone 5s, and were edited with Adobe Photoshop CS4 and Instagram.

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The Miso Kale Salad also had roasted root vegetables, pickled red onion, and crispy sage. VERY good! I’ve also had this salad at Franktuary‘s Lawrenceville location (with Falafel balls).

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Tasha of The Food Tasters and Ya Jagoff! Podcast and I were both lucky to attend G&G Noodle Bar’s New Year’s Day lunch! This was also back when the restaurant was called Grit  & Grace. Brian was testing out a few menu dishes to see if the conceptual transition at the restaurant would work. The dim sum (Starting clockwise, from the upper left hand corner): 1) kimchi, 2) sweet and sour cauliflower (my new favorite Dim Sum at G&G Noodle Bar), 3) Pork Belly, and 4) Potstickers (which premiered for this lunch)!

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I also enjoyed the Steamed Bun with chicken, kimchi and chill aioli. Very tasty!

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Tasha LOVED this Chicken Meatball Ramen dish (a special dish for New Year’s day)! I tried some of the broth and it was INCREDIBLE! Now, G&G Noodle Bar has Pork Ramen Noodles and Beef Shank Ramen Noodles.

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Fortuitea Cafe is an all-vegan (and made from scratch), quaint and friendly cafe, located in the Quail Acres Shoppes in Washington PA. During the winter time, I really loved this Almond Walnut Taco Salad (with taco meat made from almonds, walnuts, and sun-dried tomatoes), served with mixed greens, fresh salsa, sour cream, black beans and corns. I did the creamy cashew lime dressing and I chose a spinach taco shell. Sooooo good! You won’t even miss the meat in this dish, because the vegan taco meat tastes just like beef meat.

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This spring, I was pleasantly surprised by this Vegetarian Tikki Masala dish from The Commoner at Kimpton‘s Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh. Yummy!

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The bourbon & rye wall at Butcher & The Rye is a beautiful sight (no matter what time of year).

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My Mom and I both enjoyed this Potato Leek Soup at Butcher & The Rye before Alton Brown‘s show at the Benedum Center.

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Towards the end of May, my friend Erica and I went to this place in Dormont called Mekong. Mekong is know for its Pho (Anthony Bourdain’s “death row” meal). Thus, I had to try the Shrimp Pho with beef broth. Words can’t describe this dish’s beauty!

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I attended Bend, Brew and Brunch III (hosted by Spoonwood Brewing Company, Pure Power Yoga and Fitt City) in the beginning of June. Of the beer samplers I enjoyed after class was White Hot Rate! This was a Belgian Wit, with hints of orange, coriander, habanero and white pepper.

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The second beer taster of the morning was the Killer Diller IPA! This craft beer was lightly sweet, moderately bitter, with citrus, floral and fruity notes.

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My favorite of the morning was the Blackmore! This is a black ale with an iced coffee taste. YES!

 

There you have it, folks!

 

Next post: lunch at Smallman Galley!

 

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

 

Franktuary’s Twitter page

G&G Noodle Bar’s Twitter page

Fortuitea Cafe’s Twitter page

The Commoner’s Twitter page

Butcher & The Rye’s Twitter page

Spoonwood Brewing Company’s Twitter page

Fitt City’s Twitter 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

 

 

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

My First Dinner at The Commoner in Hotel Monaco (a Kimpton Hotel)

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The “Pennsylvania Negroni” from The Commoner! Bourdain would be proud! 😉

*DISCLAIMER*: I do not seek monetary benefits from neither The Commoner nor Hotel Monaco nor Kimpton. I am just a Pittsburgh foodie, who enjoys sharing her foodie adventure with others. Photos captured with my iPhone 5s; edited in Instagram and Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended.  

FINALLY, after the restaurant opened in December 2014 (and the eatPGH ladies RAVED about it in a blog post review that they wrote), I had dinner at The Commoner (nestled away in downtown Pittsburgh’s business district, inside Hotel Monaco) with one of my best friends from college!

Pictured above is my beverage du nuit: The “Pennsylvania” Negroni! Ever since Bourdain ordered a Negroni on the Rome Layover episode, I’ve been wanted to try one of these bad boys. Let me tell you: I am so glad that I did! This is one tasty (but strong) cocktail! Yum YUM YUM!

Crispy Brussel Sprouts
Crispy Brussel Sprouts from The Commoner = PERFECTION!

Course #1: Crispy Brussel Sprouts! These were one of the highlights of dinner! Move over regular Brussel Sprouts- the crispy ones win! You almost forget that you are eating a vegetable. These were absolutely DIVINE, and almost as good as the crispy brussels sprout dim sum at Grit & Grace!

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Close-up of the Crispy Brussels Sprouts!

As Bourdain would say: “BEAUTIFUL”!

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Broccoli Wood-Fired Flatbread from The Commoner!

Main Course: Broccoli Wood-Fired Flatbread! best. Flatbread. EVER! Soooooooo tasty and healthy! My friend took a bite or two, but I easily (and happily) demolished this monster flatbread all by myself. 😀

Close-up of the Broccoli Flatbread
“The colors, Duke; the colors!”

I loved all of the vibrant colors of the vegetables on the flatbread! This made me REALLY want to dive in, and consume the flatbread!

Sticky Toffee Pudding
The best Sticky Toffee Pudding I’ve ever had in my entire LIFE

The piece de resistance: Sticky Toffee Pudding! I’ve had sticky toffee pudding from Gordon Ramsay’s Pub & Grill, and Habitat (both highly-regarded restaurants), but THIS sticky toffee pudding surpassed them all! You MUST (MUST, I say) order this (whether you’re going for brunch or dinner) at The Commoner. You will not regret it (trust me); make sure to bring a dinner companion to help you polish off this beauty. 😉

Sticky Toffee Pudding
Is it wrong to be in love with a pastry (and ice cream)? ❤

Well, there you have it, folks! The Commoner has moved up high on the list of Pittsburgh restaurants I would recommend! Whether you’re either a yinzer, or a tourist from out of town, you MUST dine at The Commoner at the Hotel Monaco!

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

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

The Commoner’s website

The Commoner’s Facebook page

The Commoner’s Twitter page