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NaBloPoMo Day 23: Seasonal Specials with Potential but Room to Grow @TheYardPGH @mad_mex

NaBloPoMo Day 23: Seasonal Specials with Potential but Room to Grow @TheYardPGH @mad_mex

Autumn is my favorite season for all the reasons, but especially because of the food. I’m a sucker for pumpkin and cinnamon and apple everything. Roasted veggies appear on all the menus, and various establishments roll out their take on “gluttonous Thanksgiving meal.”  Mad Mex’s Gobblerito is probably the most beloved Autumn food in Pittsburgh.  I do like it, but there are enough things about it I would like to change to make it fit my specific tastes, that I am not obsessed with it the way most of the rest of the city is.

In general I don’t write negative reviews of places. There is enough negativity in the world that I don’t feel the need to pile it on any further. In this case, however, I do generally like both of these restaurants and often go and am very happy with other things I’ve ordered. The dishes I’ve had at each have the foundation of a really, really good dish.  As is, the dishes are just okay. But after a few tweaks, I think they could be delicious.

Last week my friend, Christine, took me to The Yard for my birthday, because I’ve been eager to try their “Turk’d Up” sandwich. The Yard serves local brews and all kinds of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. The Turk’d Up is their version of a Thanksgiving Dinner grilled cheese. It’s got turkey, corn, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, and is served with a side of cranberry cobbler.

The Yard Turk'd Up

My chief issue with most Thanksgiving themed dishes is that they involve slices of turkey rather than chunks of turkey, carved off the bird. It probably is unwieldy for a restaurant to have lots of for-real Thanksgiving turkey for its dishes, but slices of turkey just do not add up.  The bread was also much too thick and inadequately buttered on the outside for this kind of dish. Thin bread, generously buttered and grilled on the outside would make this sandwich delicious.  Also, I am one of those disgusting people who loves to turn my Thanksgiving inner into a goopy mess, so I would love it if cranberry sauce were served in the sandwich (instead of or in addition to the cobbler on the side), and if the whole thing were soaked with huge ladles-full of gravy. Yummmmm.  As the dish was, it was a nice, heavy, comfort food kind of lunch, but with better turkey, thinner buttered bread, cranberry sauce and a ton of gravy, this would be great.

Tonight Baby Beez ad I grabbed dinner at Mad Mex.  At first I planned to order the Gobblerito and do some kind of Turk’d Up vs. Gobblerito post. When I saw the Shishito Pepper Burrito on the menu, however, I opted for that instead.  The burrito features roasted butternut squash, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, feta cheese and is topped with delicious roasted shishito peppers. The default protein in the burrito is grilled chicken, but I subbed in tofu.

Shishito pepper burrito

I love the concept, as well as the mix of flavors. The peppers are just on top, not inside the burrito, but I liked the independence of the peppers’ texture, when I would put a bite of pepper together with a bite of burrito in my mouth. This burrito’s downfall is that there is about 5 times as much rice in there as there is anything else. At times I felt like I was just eating a rice burrito.  I’m not sure if Mad Mex would go for this, but if you could order it with no rice (or with very, very little), I think it would be a really excellent seasonal dish.

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