I’ve had some good eats lately, both in Pittsburgh and while traveling. What is “good” or “best” is completely subjective, but these things have completely knocked my socks off.
Sweet Potato Blue Cheese pierogies from Ohio City Pasta in Pittsburgh. Now that Baby Beez is back in ballet on Saturdays, an after-dance stop at the Pittsburgh Public Market is usually on the agenda. Ohio City Pasta has a stall there, vending pasta and pierogies to take home as well as hot cooked dishes. These sweet potato blue cheese pierogies are beyond. They are starchy, buttery and sweet, but that blue cheese gives them a little funk in an excellent way. I have an enthusiastic appetite, but 4 pierogies filled me up nicely.
Honey and Cinnamon Latte from Restaurant Beatrix in Chicago. This is the coffee drink of my dreams. The sweetness is so subtle, and the espresso so smooth. It was a few blocks away from our hotel, and I snuck back over several times to pick up more of these beautiful lattes. I just could not help myself.
Pasta with fresh vegetables and langoustine at Harvest Moon Cafe in Sonoma, California. Setting aside our dinner at the French Laundry, this pasta dish at Harvest Moon Cafe was my absolute favorite meal of our trip to wine country. Saying that I am picky with pasta is not quite the right description, but I usually just do not care for pasta dishes. But every once in awhile, I am treated to a pasta dish that impresses me, and does it ever impress me. This pasta was all things summer in one delicious meal. The vegetables, including corn, were sweet, crisp and crunchy and the pasta was deliciously hearty. Although it is nice that Harvest Moon is a local/seasonal kitchen that focuses on the produce that is available and best, it is sad to know I could not just show up at the cafe again and expect this dish to be offered. I suppose it will have to live on in my memory.
Grilled Oysters at Hog Island Oyster Co. in Napa. After being entirely squicked out by oysters for many years, I gave them a try a couple years back, and quickly acquired that acquired taste. More recently, I was introduced to grilled oysters and they changed my world. Grilled oysters have a denser texture, alleviating the texture issue for anyone who is afraid of slimy foods. They are also grilled with various sauces, which adds a kick of flavor. Especially if you like oysters (or even if you don’t), try them grilled. It will change your world.
Mushroom Bread Pudding from Out of the Fire Cafe in Donegal, PA. Even if you don’t have a visit to Seven Springs booked, it’s worth the drive to get dinner at Out of the Fire. I had dinner there with my friends during a girls weekend in the spring, and it was one of the most fun and delicious meals I have had in ages. The mushroom bread pudding is so unique and decadent, it is by far the star of the menu. It is kind of like stuffing, but covered in a rich bechamel sauce. Unlike so many other mushroom dishes where the mushrooms are flavorless bits of sponge, these mushrooms have real flavor. Bonus–if you are like me and your heart breaks to see food thrown out even though you are stuffed, go ahead and bring the rest of this home in a doggie bag. It reheats very well and I bet would make great breakfast alongside some eggs.
Brisket & Mac and Cheese from Blowfish BBQ. Pittsburgh has had quite a few new bbq options lately. We discovered Blowfish by accident, and it absolutely blew us away. Blowfish is a mobile operation. You can find out their location from their twitter feed, or, if you are like me and can’t handle keeping track of one more thing in your life, just remember: they are at the Brew Gentlemen in Braddock every Friday NIght. As I write more and more in this post, I’m running out of adjectives. And anyway, you know what BBQ brisket and mac and cheese taste like. So I’ll just say this: Best.
Leona’s Ice Cream Sandwiches. I have to admit, my obsession with Leona’s is twofold: (1) they are delicious and I like to have them in my belly; (2) finding them in stock or with flavors I have not yet tried is always a crapshoot, so there is a thrill-of-the-chase element in working to get my next ice cream sandwich fix. A number of their sandwiches feature cinnamon, ginger or speculoos, which is just about perfect in my book. They go perfectly with a hot cup of coffee, which is why Zeke’s coffee shop in East Liberty is one of my favorite places to stop for this treat. I especially like that the fruit flavors in the ice cream are fairly mild. I had a ginger cookie and plum sandwich recently, and the plum was nice and subtle, not beat-you-over-the-head overwhelming plum, which was lovely. I did reach out and ask Leona’s if there’s any possibility for them to publish info about what flavors are stocked where. They replied “no can do,” so it looks like the hunt will continue.
Breakfast burrito from Kelly-O’s in Pittsburgh. As a Southern California girl, I take breakfast burritos very seriously. Very. Seriously. For the record, the breakfast burrito of my dreams is served at Primo Burgers in my hometown. Several places in Pittsburgh now serve breakfast burritos, but none have proven to be “the one.” Every once in a while, I have a breakfast burrito CRISIS, and I need one immediately. I had such a crisis last week, and Kelly-O’s breakfast burrito, while not a Primo Burger breakfast burrito, did hit the spot. I recommend ordering it with extra salsa. I snagged one through carry out around 10am that day, and was stuffed all the way through dinner.
And now, a completely gratuitous picture of the now-5-year-old Baby Beez, who is hoping for a win for the Bucs this afternoon. Let’s Go Bucs!