The weather was glorious today in Pittsburgh. 75 and sunny – can’t ask for much more than that…
Last night the Boy and I did a late dinner at Dish. Despite just returning from Italy, we can’t get enough. Dish is actually a really great little Italian/Sicilian place in Southside, located on 17th Street. The menu is small but each dish is well prepared. We also love the cozy bar area. The place gets packed though – make reservations! We stuck to wine and apps. The Boy had grilled octopus with potatoes and I had eggplant with mozzarella, drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Yum.
This morning, we got back to the basics. In other words, pancakes.
Bananas were put into the batter and a massive fruit plate served on the side.
After breakfast, a trip to the Strip District was in order. Again, we hit up some favorites – Palate Partners, Stan’s Produce, Pittsburgh Popcorn, 21st Street Coffee, PennMac, and a new addition, the Firehouse Farmer’s Market. Pittsburgh Popcorn (above) always has interesting new flavors. Today’s specials were Vanilla Almond Crunch and Dill Pickle. A sample of the Vanilla Almond Crunch proved to be a bit too almond-y for us. However, a small ‘Chicago Mix’ sounded delicious. ‘Chicago Mix’ refers to cheddar corn and caramel corn mixed together. Sounds weird but its really good – the salty sweet thing. I have even had the original in Chicago and I think Pittsburgh Popcorn’s might be better – not as greasy.
Check out all the Strip District produce as well as tasty chevre from a local farm purchased at the farmer’s market. There may be some Italy purchases sneaking into the photo as well (honey and limoncello cream).
The rest of the day I prepped for The Boy’s laid back bday celebration. I made an angel food cake and fresh melon sorbet (will post recipes later). I also made some crostini for munching pre-dinner. I made chevre, tomato, and basil crostini and a few chevre and honey crostini. We also had some olives and prosecco.
Dinner was at Umi, a member of the Big Burrito group here in Pittsburgh. I have dined at several of their restaurants but had never been to Umi. Umi is primarily a sushi restaurant and is located at 5849 Ellsworth Ave, in Shadyside. It is basically above Soba, another Big Burrito joint. You walk up two sets of stairs to reach Umi.
We started out meal with warm sake. I had never had sake before and found it to be OK, different. I wanted to try it though, and am glad I did.
We decided to order a few things and share. We had miso soup, an incredible miso marinated black cod dish, and an assortment of sushi. The sushi included a spider roll, a mint and whitefish roll, and various nigiri.
Overall, everything was really good. For example, I had a spider roll at a chinese restaurant recently and the whole thing just seemed goopy and soggy. The Umi roll was much better – the soft shell crab tempura was crisp, the ingredients well balanced. The whitefish and mint roll was a surprise hit, tasting clean and light. The nigiri was quality.
However, we really just felt the place was pricey. Each piece of nigiri (which were noticeably smaller than what I normally see when eating sushi) was $3.50. I kept thinking back to my trip to Chaya– the quality seemed the same. Granted, the service and atmosphere at Umi was considerably nicer. Maybe we are just not ready for upscale sushi? Again, the food really was delicious and the server brought us a sample of another sake at the end of the meal. Yet, I think if I get a sushi craving in the near future, I would choose Chaya.
After dinner, we returned home to cut into the angel food cake.
Perfect, particularly with the melon sorbet and some extra strawberries and melon. Happy birthday to The Boy!