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Archive for May, 2009

Apparently, The Boy was so set on exploring the Penn Avenue Fish Company “all you can eat sushi” that he returned the next day to try it! He and a coworker hit the place around noon and it was JAMMED. They do have certain ‘rules’ to the fish fest. He said everything was made/rolled fresh. This was a good thing but it took awhile to get each new roll. Overall, he would definitely recommend it and really enjoyed the sushi. However, he was not prepared for how packed it would be (it was about 3/4 full the afternoon we had lunch there) – due to the crowd and time, he didn’t get quite as much delicious sushi as he would have liked to.

So try it out but get there before noon or after one to avoid the crazy crowds!

Tomorrow I depart for two weeks in Italy! Can’t even imagine what all I will consume. See you when I get back!

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So we are finally getting a bit of sunshine in the ‘burgh. The bright weather fits my mood as The Boy and I prepare to leave for Italy! The Boy even got me these lovely flowers to further brighten the week (testing the blackberry camera here): 

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He is actually in town right now, which means we were able to meet up for lunch yesterday. I was shuttling between clients and he was at his office so we ended up in the Strip District, at Penn Avenue Fish Company (2208 Penn Ave – Strip District). We have purchased seafood here before and heard about their ‘all you can eat sushi’. Sadly, we were a day off for the sushi. However, the menu held tons of other options.

Penn Ave Fish Co. is a quirky little joint – part seafood market, part lunchtime cafe. The space is large, bright, and decorated with various nautical/whimsical finds. Its very casual. Tables are strewn about and you order at the counter. The Boy settled on the fish tacos and I chose a tuna club, subbing avocado for bacon. There were lot of other sandwich options, a full sushi menu, soups, and a few salads.

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Yum! Both meals were served with coleslaw and my sandwich also came with chips. I had my tuna cooked medium rare (the girl at the counter mentioned it was sushi grade) and I should have gone even rarer! Ciabatta, lettuce, tomato, BBQ sauce, and avocado rounded out my sandwich. It was a little messy to eat but was fresh and light. I also surprisingly liked the coleslaw. It was crunchy cabbage lightly dressed – not the goopy kind. The Boy’s fish tacos were a mixture of steamed salmon and tilipia piled high with cabbage, some type of salsa, and a bit of siracha. He finished his two taco serving quickly and ended up with half my meal as well.

Our bill, which also included two bottled drinks snagged from a cooler, was $18. A touch pricey for lunch – however, I did have a huge piece of tuna on my sandwich. Penn Avenue Fish Company is only open for lunch and the place was fairly crowded. I am not sure it blew me away but I would call it pretty darn good, especially for Pittsburgh. (The Boy and I still consider our very favorite Strip lunch spot to be Enrico’s). I would love to return for the all you can eat sushi (Wednesdays!).

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Bon Voyage

Sorry for the limited amount of new posts – Mother’s Day weekend was busy busy. Lots of Pens hockey, food (a return trip to Ibiza and a delicious brisket cooked by my dad), and hanging out.  I am also getting ready for vacation…two weeks in Italy starting this coming weekend!

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This is the villa we will be staying in – near Montalcino, in Tuscany. We will also visit Sorrento and Rome. I am looking forward to delicious food and an amazing experience. If anyone has any travel tips, let me know. Planning has been daunting. I will likely post again before I leave – however, if I don’t, see you in two weeks!

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An old (eek, makes me sound, well, OLD) sorority sister and I decided to meet for dinner about a week ago. Due to logistics, the meet-up was going to take place in Southside. Both of us wanted something casual and have eaten just about EVERYWHERE in the area. What to do? Head to (fairly) new Giotto!

This place, located at 1610 E Carson used to be the Carson Street Deli. They have cleaned it up a bit and offer some seating (you order at the counter). A shiny oven and yeasty aromas make the place pretty appealing.

My partner and I eyed up the ‘by the slice’ selection. The slices were very big. An array of pizzas were available by the slice, including an interesting curry pizza. I believe the guy behind the counter also commented that he could add any toppings you wanted to a piece of plain.

I am not sure why, but I went for a cheese-less pizza – just a thick layer of sweet, baked tomato sauce and a sprinkle of whole basil leaves. The slice is tossed back into the oven for a few minutes before serving. The crust was thin and crisp, yet chewy. However, I can’t help but think a full just-baked pizza would be the ideal way to eat this – by the slice just didn’t seem as fresh.

The side salad was an extremely generous size and the perfect accompaniment to the pizza. So good! Giotto is owned by the same family as Girasole – the Giotto salad is very similar to the salad offered at Girasole. Delicious vinaigrette, sunflower seeds, gorgonzola, olives. Yum.

A drink, large slice of pizza, and side salad ran me a little under $10. As previously mentioned, I think I would try a full pizza next. The place also offers a few sandwiches. Stop by and check it out. Looks like they will be setting up some outside tables as the weather warms.

Edit: As of fall 2009, Giotto is now known as Blue Grotto. (Clever one letter change for the sign for the large ‘GIOTTO’ sign gracing the building). I am not sure exactly what happened here but I believe the place still serves pizza. I do not know if it is still affiliated with Girasole in Shadyside. If any one has any information or an update on the service/food, let me know!

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I ended up at a few new places over the weekend. A happy hour, a date night, and a gossip session sent me to the following locations:

I) Hofbrauhaus – Southside Works – 2705 South Water St.

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A group of coworkers invited me along to an impromptu happy hour last week. We ended up at the newly opened Hofbrauhaus. This place is huge! Tons of indoor and outdoor seating. We sat outside on the upper patio. Beer comes in liters or half liters. I had a half liter of the Hofbrau Hefe Weizen, a light wheat beer. There is a full menu – all German inspired of course. Our table sampled the pretzels with bier cheese. Not sure I would rush here for the food but the ample outdoor seat and jovial atmosphere make this a fun place. I think it will do well in the ‘burgh.

II) Kassab’s – 1207 E Carson St. (Southside)

I have been to Kassab’s a few times before – its close to The Boy’s place and is a BYO with no corking fee. The menu is Lebanese based. I love their hummus and the mint dressing on the salads.

Last Friday The Boy and I headed to Kassab’s with a bottle of red in hand. I had the falafel sandwich and he had the mixed grill with chicken and kafta (ground lamb mixed with herbs and onions, grilled). The falafel sandwich was yummy. Warm pita, well seasoned (not greasy) falafel. The Boy did not say much about his dish, but he ate most of it, so I am assuming it was pretty good! The place can be a little hit or miss (see my previous review here) but the price point, quick service, and BYO keep us coming back.

III) Buffalo Blues – 216 S Highland Ave (Shadyside)

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Some friends in desperate need of venting met up with me at Buffalo Blues over the weekend. I have often passed this place but never made it inside. The bar has ample TV screens – a Pirate game and a hockey playoff game were being shown as we sat down at a table in the bar area. We all ordered beers. A turkey sandwich, french onion soup, and french fries were also ordered.  I did not taste the sandwich or soup – however, the sandwich looked fresh and the soup was piping hot and laden with gooey cheese. The recipient gave it a ‘Pretty good!’. I did sample a few french fries – they appeared to possibly be fresh cut. Even if they were not, they seemed freshly fried. Everything was reasonably priced, including the beer.

We were there around 10PM on Saturday night – the crowd was a little odd – alot of guys hanging around the bar area. The place closes at midnight on the weekends and 10 or 11 during the week. Its not much more than bar food but seems a decent place to catch a game.

(pics from websites – camera died this weekend – it might be on its last legs)

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According to the PG, Richard Chen is a goner.  The restaurant that is.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09120/966662-46.stm

I dined here twice when it was newly opened. I was enamored by the steamed black cod. However, The Boy and I quickly realized this would not be a regular spot due to the price point. I am a bit disappointed the East End is losing this gorgeous eatery but I cannot say I am really surprised. Just too expensive and different for the ‘burgh crowd at the moment.

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