Monday, September 28, 2009

We interrupt this restaurant blog... comment on food eaten on the street!

Yesterday we visited Little Italy Days (we being my friends Natalie and Steve) in Bloomfield.

The rain was no match for our foodie crew; so, umbrellas and raincoats in hand, we approached Liberty Ave ready for a marathon, not a sprint.

All tolled, we ate:
  • One mozzarella ball topped with tomato salad (from a restaurant that's about to open at the heart of Little Italy called Stagioni: Seasonal Fare with an Italian Flare). Don't worry, it's on my list!
  • An order of Squash Risotto (a bold move to serve on the street, but they aced it)
  • One slice of Tiramisu
  • Two scoops of coffee and Cream Gelato
  • One order of mixed fried greens
  • 1/4 pound of fudge
  • 3 meatball sandwiches
All I can say is, YUM! I needed a triple latte to even consider doing work after our feast...

...Until next week, eat well!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Week 6: Thai Me Up!

I distinctly remember my first experience at a Thai Food restaurant; I was a sophomore in high school on a field trip in Boston. Our group decided to break out of the hotel room at night and head down the street a few blocks to one of my friends favorite Thai places. This was absolutely, without a doubt, the most rebellious thing that I had done up until that point in my life...I can still taste the iced tea and remember the low tables with floor cushions instead of chairs.

But jumping forward about seven years, it's 2009, and I must admit, I don't frequent Thai restaurants.

I blame this on the fact that I have zero tolerance for spicy anything. If I enter a restaurant where it is necessary to give a spice index on a scale of one to ten, I immediately break a sweat, request a negative five (-5), and pray that there isn't an accidental mixing issue behind the swinging doors.

I must admit, however, once I actually receive my food, I love it! This seems to be true of so many fears in life...(but that's for another blog entirely).

So, now you know, I'm a wimp when it comes to the sensitivity of my taste buds.

I learned about Thai Me Up from my roommate: "Oh, man, Kel --- I was walking around our new neighborhood [the South Side], and I looked into this restaurant --- it was called 'Thai Me Up.' It's a bold name for a restaurant, but I like it!" So did I, and that's how Thai Me Up was added to the Sweet-Cakes and Milkshakes queue.

I went to Thai Me Up today for dinner after classes with my previous roommate, excited to watch the South Side prepare for potential protesters through windows of one of the only remaining restaurants that has not yet boarded its entry.

Here's what the meal entailed:

- Thai Iced Tea: AN ESSENTIAL
- Fried Won Tons for an Appetizer: Chicken won tons, deep fried, with plum sauce (which I believe is the same thing as what I call "duck sauce," or if it isn't, I sure couldn't tell the difference). These were hands down the highlight of the meal (and so healthy, too).
- Thai Fried Rice with Shrimp: no spice index necessary. The menu describes this as having "a special brown sauce," as opposed to just soy sauce . I don't know what its ingredients were, but it was very special indeed.

The Bottom Line:

( ) Witty name? - Check
( ) Window seating for G20 watching? - Check
( ) Non-Spicy options for the weak ones? - Check
(Despite the aggressive name of this restaurant, they'll be gentle)
( ) Price wise, does it fit easily within a students once a week budget? - Check

And as a side note...

In eating our meal, we saw three out-of-county fire trucks drive by, two state troopers ride past, and one group of cell phone protesters (or at least we think that's what they were protesting) walking down the street. I couldn't be more excited that the G20 is in Pittsburgh --- so, readers, go embrace it tomorrow. Enter Pitt's campus as an aware world citizen, and be sure to get some delicious food to celebrate Pittsburgh Welcoming the World!

Thai Me Up on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 21, 2009

Arrivedirci, Bruschetta's!

Readers, I received some sad news today --- Bruschetta's, my first "grown up person" restaurant excursion at Pitt over four years ago, has closed.

We'll certainly miss its beautiful outdoor patio, awesome Italian cuisine, and prime *date nite* oasis amidst the bars of Carson Street.

Now, we must press on --- to commemorate the loss of this Italian treasure, this weekend's blog posting will be all about Itailan --- loads of it! How can I find loads of Italian all in one place? Well, I can venture to the Little Italy Festival in good old Bloomfield. Start fasting, friends, this is a marathon, not a sprint...

So, two postings this week:

(1) Thai Me Up, which I'll be attending on Wednesday
(2) Little Italy Fest Feast

In the mean time....what type of restaurant do you think should replace the prime 19th and Carson corner lot that Bruschetta's used to own? Comment and let me know...we can start up the place together!

Bruschetta's (Closing August 15, 2009) on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 14, 2009

Week 5: Point Brugge

Mama McCormick came to town this weekend from Jersey, and as promised, we used your suggestions on a new restaurant to visit. My mom's favorite meal is brunch, so we decided to take Justine's advice and visit a French Bistro, in this case, we chose a French/Belgian Bistro in Point Breeze called Point Brugge.

Shamefully, I lived in Pittsburgh for four years before I discovered the quaint oasis that is Reynolds Street in Point Breeze behind Mellon Park. I now feel the need to make up for lost time by frequenting the Make Your Mark Artspace and Coffee Shop after a nice rest in the park on Sundays. What can I now add to my Sunday schedule? Having my taste buds melt in the heaven that is a Belgian Brunch at Point Brugge!

My standards for Belgian food are high after visiting Antwerp and Brussels (sadly, not Brugge) last summer. Point Brugge crushed the standards --- CRUSHED THEM! Here's the run down (read at your own risk, you'll easily become addicted to this place):

  • We arrived just after 11AM on Sunday before attending "A Fair in the Park" that afternoon. Be prepared to wait, Point Brugge's most popular meal time is Sunday Brunch (according to our server, at least). But fear not, you can wait outside with a nice fresh squeezed orange juice or mint lemonade.
  • We felt the need to order an appetizer (that's right, I wanted a pre-breakfast before real breakfast) --- a Leige Waffle topped with pears and peaches, and garnished with the fruit trifecta of pineapple, cantaloupe, and honeydew.
  • For my main course, I ordered Steak, Eggs, and Frites (the proper way to say French Fry -- ask any Belgian) with a garlic mayonnaise for dipping. HEAVEN!
  • My mom ordered an omelette filled with steak, onions, sharp provolone, and mushrooms. We shared --- gotta love mother/daughter bonding!
  • The atmosphere is amazing with multiple levels and outdoor seating available; it's crowded but not overly noisy.
  • If you're there during a more appropriate hour of the day (or if you're feeling a little adventurous one Sunday Morning), they also have Belgian beer and fresh squeezed cocktails available.

The Bottom Line
Visit Point Brugge for Sunday Brunch and:

(A) You won't need to eat for the rest of the day
(B) You may need a nap to recover
(C) You can be sure that your judgement of "deliscious" will hit a new standard

When we finished our meal, my mom said, "Geez, it's so great when you find a restaurant that does everything right!" The Belgians have mastered food, and Point Brugge has mastered Belgian cooking!

And for the price --- well, it's kind of pricey to eat like a king, so I'd deem this a "wait until your parents are in town"-priced place. Or, probably on a student's once-a-month budget.

Bon App├Ętit!

Point Brugge Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Where to next?

Hello Readers,

My mom's in town from Jersey this weekend and we're looking for a new eatery for Saturday night before going to the IMPROV.

Here's your chance to dictate my next posting...

Write in the comments where you think I should go and why -- Thanks for your input!


Kelly the budding Foodie

Monday, September 7, 2009

Week 4: Oh Yeah!

Today is bonus day. What's bonus day? It's the Sunday of a three day weekend, when the day before was Saturday, the day after is fake-Sunday (when you have to worry about to-do lists, etc). Bonus Day is where you can do whatever the heck you a free bonus!

What did I do with my bonus day this Labor Day weekend? Well, I woke up this morning with my new favorite Regina Spektor stuck in my head ("You Don't Know Me" with Ben Folds), the rehearsal version, so you can kind of hear them talking and having fun in the background. Based on this song, you can tell that I was in a whimsey, fun mood that is common on bonus days. I decided to go to my favorite coffee shop, Enrico's Tazza D'Oro, in Highland Park (sadly, this cannot be a subject of my blog as it breaks the rules that require me to visit new places). En route, I passed Oh Yeah!, a coffee-waffle-ice cream place in Shadyside on Highland; it has caught my eye before, but this time I stopped in (because it was bonus day, I could go wherever my whims took me).

I entered Oh Yeah! ready to abandon all sense of what was healthy and go all out --- this place served coffee, waffles, and ice cream together for a reason, and I was determined to find out why!

I ordered a Belgian Waffle with a brownie mix-in, topped with coffee and cookie dough ice cream. Suddenly the name of this establishment became very clear to me --- the only thing that I could think while taking a first bite was, "Oh, YEAH!"

But the food isn't the only thing that this place has going for it:

- The staff is really witty and sarcastic, adding some banter to your visit --- excellent!
- The decor includes books that you can "rent" during your visit, and liscense plates from what I believe was every state in the union (note that you can give them a book of yours to keep on their wall for a free coffee --- adorable).
- And it's convenient! There are power strips everywhere for your laptop needs, and free unlimited wifi (if you're into that kind of thing --- that is mixing business with waffles). I was in this case, I believe that the environment allowed me to go into a completely clear mental state and allow me to have a breakthrough on my Simulation homework. So, I left well-fed and well-studied!
- If the weather is nice (record streak of sunny days in Pittsburgh right now), you can sit outside at the picnic tables and people/car watch on the bustling Highland Ave.

Bottom Line

I've had the best waffles in the world in Belgium, and this place took me back to that experience --- different type of waffles, but same *warm inside* feeling. Just go! --- who knows? Maybe the mental clarity that you have when you leave will suddenly allow you to get that big promotion!

Oh, and the cost --- I actually was too busy paying attention to how deliscious my waffle was to notice the total...very embarassing for me. I can say that my coffee and waffle were less than ten dollars (because that's all of the cash that I had on hand). This place is well with in the budget of a college student's once a week spending limits (although your love handles may hate you if you go once a week).

Oh Yeah! Ice Cream and Coffee Co. on Urbanspoon