Here we are at part 2 of my “Food for the Eatin'” series. Restaurant lists abound, and an experience can vary there due to service, the crowd, all kinds of different things. And of course, “best of” anything lists are a product of subjective taste, and therefore incredibly variable. But what the heck, my friends and I are continuing to share our favorite Pittsburgh dishes with you. And since I can’t find the time to sit and write out 10 favorites (dude, that takes well over an hour), hopefully I’ll get more of these done if I just do 5 at a time. Anyway, a the rubric for qualification is: you love it. Subjectivity all the way.
Here we go, round 2:
1. My favorite milkshake: Burgatory. When the burger fad was in full blossom a couple years back, I scientifically examined the various milkshake offerings, and readily concluded that they are the B-E-S-T at Burgatory. Burgatory does offer boozy milkshakes, but I don’t even bother with the booze. With all the sugar and fat and what have you, I don’t even feel the booze, so why bother. Also, a full milkshake is too much for me, so I usually split it with my kid (they give you the milkshake glass plus the mixing cup, so it’s plenty for two), and giving booze to a four year old is frowned upon. Also, when I opt for the shake that has espresso in it, I keep that all to myself, because dear lord no I am not caffeinating this already-insane child. Burgatory shakes are thick, with big chunks of the mix-ins, and topped with super-dense and indulgent whipped cream. They offer a special flavor each weekend, too, including the annually looked-forward to ScareHouse shake, for which they donate the proceeds to the Mario Lemieux Foundation. It’s hard to say what my “favorite” is there, because they’ve all been flat-out amazing, but the Burnt Almond Torte and the Coffee & Donuts shakes have a special place in my heart.
2. Mr. Beez eagerly added the Rock Shrimp Tempura at Umi to this list of favorites. Umi may well be the best restaurant in the city, the flavors, omg the flavors. Talk all you want about other sushi places, but Mr. Shu’s dishes are absolute perfection. Every time I think about Umi, hearts and starts fire off in my brain. You don’t even KNOW. I do love the rock shrimp tempura there, but my altogether favorite dish there is the miso blackened cod. It’s so delicate, so butter. It’s an absolutely beautiful dish.
We went to Umi for my birthday this past year. Umi’s about taste and quality, not about quantity, so even after laying down a fat chunk of change, you aren’t going to leave stuffed. But seriously. Worth it.
3. The Bleu Cheese Souffle at Spoon is a pick from my foodie friend Christine.I personally haven’t eaten it, but when I emailed her to ask for her favorites, she responded like BOOM about the souffle. And she’s a picky, picky woman, so her recommendations are very reliable.
4. The Steel Trip’s pick in the ever-contentious pizza wars is Fiori’s Pizza. Although Mineo’s has many an outspoken devotee, Fiori’s has a massive devoted following (I am a member of the small minority who picks an entirely separate pizza joint, not even within the City limits as my favorite, but we’ll get to that later). I have eaten at Fiori’s and agree they make a good pie.
5. My heartbeat quickens and my mouth waters even when I think about the Mac & Cheese dog from D’s Six Pax & Dogs. It’s a frickin’ good dog topped with frickin’ good mac & cheese at a frickin’ awesome neighborhood bar right outside Frick Park. Frickin’ amazing.