Attending the first Pittsburgh Restaurant Week blogger dinner was one of the highlights of my summer. I met lots of cool people who were just as enthusiastic about the Pittsburgh dining scene as I am, I got to chat with the chef about his thoughts, and I had some excellent grub. When Restaurant Week Winter 2013 was announced, I was thrilled to see the food blogger dinner on the agenda again.
This time the dinner was hosted by Alma Pan-Latin Kitchen. I have eaten at Alma before, and my previous impression is that their fare was tasty and satisfying, but did not find the restaurant to particularly stand out. This time around, they really brought their A game (I guess that’s what will happen when you’re hosting a dining room full of amateur critics), and we had a really excellent meal.
The evening started out with a cocktail hour hosted by PG Plate. The wine was flowing and the conversation was cheerful. I got to meet some new people and it was an all around nice way to kick things off.
Alma’s owners, Jamie and Heather, shared with us the trials and joys of owning their own restaurant, and their experiences bringing new varieties of cuisine to often-change-resistant Pittsburgh (btw, they also own Abay, which is delicious and excellent, and it’s been far too long since I was last there…)
Mr. Beez and I were thrilled to partake in the price fixe menu that Alma was offering in celebration of restaurant week.
I started off with the Brazilian chicken and rice soup. It was excellent. I eat a lot of soup but I’m not usually enthusiastic about it. Soup is just soup. But this soup was very hearty and full of rich flavor. I hope this is (or will be) part of their permanent menu.
The theme for the night was apparently FLAVOR, and my entree was full of it! I had pork line with mashed white sweet potatoes and a plantain chip. The meat was expertly seasoned, and every bite was lively. I usually like to try new things every time I visit a restaurant, but the pork was so delicious that I would absolutely rather order it than anything else.
Mr. Beez had the chicken, which also had vibrant flavors. Although Alma is a Pan-Latin restaurant, the food was not spicy (which is great for me, I can’t take the heat), just flavorful and tasty.
For dessert, Mr. Beez opted for the molten chocolate cake with cinnamon ice cream. That dessert was GOOD, and it was just the right size so that you got a satisfying serving of it, but no so large that you got all sugared up and lost the effect.
I had the fresh made raspberry sorbet. It was a great sorbet, but not a chocolate cake. I was in the mood for sorbet, and loved the sorbet when I started eating it, but then Mr. Beez gave me a taste of his chocolate cake and I was all full of envy of his selection.
Mr. Beez and I had such a lovely evening chatting with Quelcy of With the Grains, and her special one, Gabrielle of Primped in Pgh, and Alex of Everybody Loves You. I would have absolutely loved to mingle and meet more people, but the space was a little limited, so that was hard to do. Alma did a lovely job of hosting all these food snobs. Every review I’ve read so far has been rave.
Tomorrow is the very last day of this Restaurant Week, so you better get out there quickly if you want to catch the specials! There will be another one in the summer, but on these cold January days, summer is oh so far away.