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Friday, July 31, 2015

Arsenal Lanes

Grilled Cheez
In my heart, nothing screams Pittsburgh like bowling alley food.

Amidst all the articles and blogs claiming we are the new Mecca of haute cuisine, I'm honored to review a grilled cheese at a smelly bowling alley in Lawrenceville.

If you haven't been to Arsenal Lanes, it is certainly worth the visit. Bowling alleys are increasingly harder to find in urban areas, particularly older lanes that are well maintained. Arsenal Lanes has many strange rules you ought to know about.

You can only purchase pitchers of beer if you are a league bowler. Roughly half the lanes are reserved for league bowlers, so don't just expect to waltz in and go bowling because the staff will treat you like garbage.

Smoking is no longer allowed. (I know that this is becoming increasingly common but it just doesn't feel like a bowling alley without the thick wafts of smoke.) If you start bowling at a particular time that does not please the staff you will be rushed out to make way for hoards of hipsters who are most likely doing designer drugs before cosmic bowling.

 As for the bowling alley restaurant you have your choice of: hamburgers, pizza, chili, fried chicken, grilled cheese, appetizers and hot dogs. Although the food may not be featured in any magazine, the prices are a reminder of a simpler time when you were allowed to chain smoke Pall Malls in any bowling alley throughout these great United States. A hot dog will run you $2.95 and the grilled cheese is really priced to sell at $3.25.

My grilled cheese was absolutely drenched in butter and entirely delicious. The clever re-purposing of the hamburger bun stole the show. You could probably order every item on the Arsenal Bowling Lanes menu and spend less than dinner for two with drinks at a number of downtown eateries. Bon appetit! 


Arsenal Bowling Lanes
http://arsenalbowl.com/
Address: 212 44th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201



Thursday, July 2, 2015

Biergarten - Hotel Monaco


Prost
You pay for a nice view, but I have to say that the view at the Biergarten is fantastic. Although the space is very small, it provides an entirely unique view of downtown Pittsburgh. Because our city has so much open space around the edges, most roof top views provide you with the feeling that you are isolated. Biergarten is situated right in the heart of the city so the view actually creates the facade that you are in some type of booming metropolis rather than the 62nd largest city by population in the United States.

Now when I say you pay for it, I mean it. The cheapest beers at Biergarten will cost you around $7 or $8. And don't think you can get off easy ordering a Miller Lite, because there isn't much of a discount. Considering the ABV of many of the German beers, you are better off going with a Spaten Optimator or Paulner Hefewiezen in order to optimize your buck. Also, don't count on happy hour discounts as none exist.

Salad
This cucumber salad with onions and pickled eggs came with a delicious tangy vinegar dressing. It was the perfect dish to stimulate my desire for thick German beer. Also, it was appropriately priced at $5. If you want to sit down and eat at Biergarten, be sure to arrive early. We were the first ones on the roof when it opened and every seat was probably filled within 15 minutes. The cost to reserve a table is exorbitant. I believe they wanted roughly $1000 to reserve a table for 12. OUTRAGEOUS! I could probably buy a liquor license in Homstead for that price.


Sauerbraten

The large tables at Biergarten are shared, similar to what you see at any German beer hall. Some fat hog sat down next to me and ordered the sauerbraten and proceeded to send it back two times because the meat was too fatty. I'm guessing that she was not familiar with brisket. This sauerbraten dish consisted of vinegared beef brisket, mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. I thought it was fantastic. Although fatty (as brisket should be) the meat was extremely tender. The portion was awfully small for the $14 price point, but I've already explained that you will be paying dearly for the wonderful view. 


Currywurst

This is my friend Eric. Eric ordered the Currywurst and smoked mussels. I believe he had a pretty nice evening until he got stuck in one of the Hotel Monaco elevators on his way out of Biergarten and was stranded for almost an hour. (The elevator situation is not ideal.) I have scarcely seen him since and I'm pretty sure he blames me for his misfortune.

Overall, Biergarten is a must visit. Arrive early and enjoy a glass of wine at no charge in the Hotel Monaco lobby from 5-6. This will help defray your beer expenses later in the evening.


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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Hough's - Sweetwater Brewing Night





Special thanks to guest correspondents, Simon and David! 

Sweetwater put on a great show on Wednesday at Hough's. There were over 40 people in attendance and they had some fantastic snacks including pulled pork tacos and some delicious seared ahi tuna. Phil from Sweetwater told us that they are planning on expanding this year to the Pittsburgh region from their home town of Hotlanta.



Sweetwater beers are unfiltered  so you can expect to see more draft offerings as opposed to bottles. The pilsner was the crowd favorite but we expect that the 420 ale with its hoppy flavors will have a great following as well. Look for their blueberry beer to launch soon!

I can't wait to see what Sweetwater has in store for us in the coming months.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Mitchell's Bar and Restaurant

Cheez
SO I have some great things to say about Mitchell's. First of all Matt Mitchell is the man. The restaurant has been in his family for four generations and he brings an exciting new energy to the space. Secondly, the specials are pretty great for a downtown bar. During happy hour on Thursday you can enjoy half off the appetizer menu, bar trivia and $3 craft bottles. Considering that some of the craft bottles were in the range of 9% ABV, we all got a little toasty. (Bell's Two Hearted, some nice Belgium's and a number of IPAs.)

Mitchell's menu has a number of  standard bar offerings. Nothing was flashy, but everything was well prepared. I really enjoyed my hand-breaded friend cheese. Also, Mitchell's placed free food all over the bar throughout the evening including soft pretzels, onion rings and fried zucchini. Overall Mitchell's is a top-rate bar for a cheap downtown happy hour. Although it is possibly not well suited for the cosmo-drinking Sex in the City crowd, it is certainly my type of joint.

Burger Model
Can Rashan has Cheezburger?


Mitchell's Restaurant, Bar and Banquet Center on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Howl at the Moon

WOLF WOLF

Howl! Not only is it a fantastic poem by some beatnik, but now it is also a piano bar downtown. Howl was kind enough to invite our entire group to check out their place for their soft opening in April. It was really a great space and we also loved the staff!



Expect to see some talented artists perform! My neighbor Annie was among the many vocalists and pianists featured throughout the night. Most of the music was modern rock with a few classics tossed in for good measure. I've heard that the place has been swamped the last few weekends, so you might consider a reservation.

Food Model Riesa
On the night of their opening Howl offered us a wide variaty of tasty treats such as chicken skewers, egg rolls, fried mac and cheese, crab stuffed mushrooms and all sorts of other standard party foods. It is not clear from their website if they regularly offer food or if this was a one-time special offering.



Here's a bucket of drinks! In addition to a full bar, Howl has all sorts of crazy cocktails that are perfect for girls in their early twenties or extravagant moms out for a night on the town. (I enjoyed trying the bucket drink, but I just can't drink the sugary stuff anymore because I have the gout.)




Howl at the Moon on Urbanspoon

Archie's

Wingz
Let me tell you something, Archie's has stepped up their wing game. The last time I tried wings at Archie's I was not entirely impressed. I thought the wings were pretty average.

However, upon my last visit I am thrilled to report that the wings were arguably some of the best in the Southside. Some of the flavors I enjoyed included spicy thai, spicy parmesan, cajun, hot and spicy ranch. All were fried to perfection and perfectly sauced!

Archie's real selling point is that you can enjoy 35 cent wings Monday through Thursday. (They jack up the cost on the weekends for all the tourists.) I believe this is what they call a lost leader. Boss man Archy gets you in the door with cheap wings and profits on your need for alcohol. Because, let's be honest, you can't eat chicken wings and not have a beer.


 Archies on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

MUSIC TO MY BEERS!

COORS
GUYS!

This is your final reminder to enter for the Music to my Beers Coors Light competition to win a season pass to every concert at Stage AE through October 1. All you have to do is Tweet, Instragram or post on Facebook using hashtag #MusicToMyBeers along with your favorite summer song. Mine is absolutely Me and Julio Down by the School Yard by Paul Simon. You can also enter at http://musictomybeerspgh.com/

Also, if you win, you have to take me to at least one concert.

HAPPY SUMMER