On Mother’s Day Weekend, we ended up with an unexpected date night. My mother –in-law already had plans to watch Baby Beez while we were out on our roller skating adventure, but when we dropped her off that afternoon, she asked if she could please keep Baby Beez for an overnight. We didn’t have anything planned with the kiddo for the night, so what the heck, spending more time with her Grandparents is a win all around (they took her to Chuck-E-Cheese, by the way, so I’m sure she was very pleased that we acquiesced to this request). After living out our childhoods on the rink, we ran some boring grown-up errands (which included buying new couches. Yay new couches!) Since we hadn’t planned for an evening out ahead of time, we went with the old standby: FOOD!
For dinner we went to Alma, Regent Square’s innovative pan-Latin establishment. We’ve been there several times before, but this time the starters really stole the spotlight. I had an avocado and grilled chicken soup that was hearty but not too thick for the warm weather, and the fried yucca was amazing. I’d take that yucca over French fries any day. It was crispy on the outside but much denser than the common potato. It was hearty and filling.
Mr. Beez went for steak and was very pleased with his dish. Many of the dishes here are some variation on protein/rice/beans, but they are all skillfully seasoned and carefully prepared. I find that Alma doesn’t provide any surprises, but that its strength is in its consistency.
I had the vegetarian tangine with tofu. The vegetables, fruit and rice within the tangerine were a colorful mixture. They actually forgot the tofu initially and quickly brought it to me on a separate plate, but I didn’t even notice it was missing, because the dish was quite excellent without it. In fact, I didn’t think the tofu was really necessary (I certainly won’t turn down a serving of tofu, though, I like that stuff.)
We passed on the dessert at Alma in favor of exploring an establishment in Squirrel Hill. We visited the Cake & Cookie Spot. Its offerings are exactly like its name—cake and cookies. They are awesome.
Their signature offering, and my favorite of the ridiculously huge gluttonous order we placed, are cake shots. This is cake layered with filling and frosting. I feared that the cake might get soggy, but it did not. Not in the least. This cake was so light and fluffy and the fillings and icing so perfect. I picked the S’mores cake shot, but they had many, many flavors including red velvet, vanilla, grasshopper, etc. I need MOAR.
I also ordered a 7-layer bar, which was delicious and buttery and chocolaty and rich. So delicious, even the sea mammals are trying to steal the treats!
Mr. Beez and I also split a bunch of cookies. Like the other desserts, they were exquisite. He had ordered a brownie, and we discovered that they didn’t hear that part of our order, and Mr. Beez was heartbroken. I guess that just means I’ll have to make another visit back there soon! The Cake & Cookie spot is the perfect place when you’re having a hankering for skillfully baked but homey-tasting baked goods. It’s like a Pittsburgh cookie table in a storefront!
The following day was Mother’s Day, so we had plans to spend most of the day hanging out with my in-laws. I was hoping for an opportunity for a grown-up brunch, complete with cocktails, so the timing of Baby Beez’ overnight was impeccable. Mr. Beez and I were able to pay a visit to Club Café for a sophisticated, grown up brunch. The last time I was there I had the steak & egg croissant and it was awesome. I wasn’t in the mood for that on this visit, but I pressured Mr. Beez to try it out, and he loved it. The combination of the buttery croissant from Jean-Marc Chattelier’s bakery and the meaty steak is delicious and filling.
I started off with a salad that was perfectly dressed with arugula, walnuts and goat cheese. If only every meal started this way!
Next were the shrimp & grits. I love grits. Love them, love them, love them. These were dressed with turmeric and a little kick, and delightfully lightly charred shrimp. It was delightful. Absolutely delightful.
Club Café is a decidedly grown-up brunch spot. It’s laid back, not fancy, but it has an abundant cocktail menu and sophisticated dining option. It’s not as well known as some other big-name brunch spots, so that means there’s often a table open. Club Café s on my short list of places to bring out-of-towners when they’re seeking a taste of the ‘burgh.