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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Tina's



Muffuletta
Tina's is the latest of many new bars in the Pittsburgh hipster cool kid scene. When Amazon moves here Tina's will be ground zero for the resistance. Everyone we encountered at Tina's just seemed so hip. I also have to start by mentioning that the service and cocktails were top notch.

After nearly seven years of happy hours, one thing is certain. We are no longer cool. We have basically completed our transition from 20-something fun people to full grown adults with mortgages and pregnancy scares that are old enough to ride the Jackrabbit.


During our visit to Tina's I noted to the bartender, Elliot, that the muffuletta seemed non-traditional due to the inclusion of a sesame seed roll. Well, Elliot, I apologize. It turns out that I am incorrect and sesame seeds may be incorporated into a muffuletta.

The muffuletta at Tina's was pretty good, but I think it could have used another inch of meat. In my heart a real muffuletta should have almost as much meat as bread. Overall every item we tried from the menu was fairly decent. To quote Michael,  "the pickle was great with a good length but lacking in girth."

The style and format of the menu at Tina's reminded me of the menu at Mix Tape. Think lots of fancy noir style graphics with food listed in a haphazard manner. Quite charming.

Stupid Millennials




Now Tina's used to be this old neighborhood jaunt called Tea Bags. Tea Bags had a certain charm as it was a total dump. I think my old friend Christy put it best when he said that the Pittsburgh bar scene used to be filled with places that a decent woman would not step foot in where men liked to drink to excess and spit on the floor. Much like our mid twenties, those days have passed and very nice places like Tina's are filling the void.



Thursday, March 22, 2018

Le Lyonnais


Wild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Pate and Tres Fromages

Le Lyonnais offers one of the best new happy hours we've visited this year. Their happy hour menu should be celebrated throughout Pittsburgh for its elegance and style. The specials are really attractive for both food and wine. Surprisingly, they even have a Jaegermeister special? I dare you to find me one happy hour menu in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that includes both Jaeger shots and chicken rillettes. Go on and try. I'll bet four rounds of Jaeger shots that you can't pull it off.

I've heard some complaints from others about the service at Le Lyonnais. While I had a pleasant experience, I could see how things could be rocky as we were delivered two incorrect appetizers. This actually worked to our benefit though as they let us keep the appetizers free of cost.


Crotch Cheese
My personal favorite happy hour food items were the tres fromages and the veal and pork meatballs. The cheese selection was great  and I really enjoyed the spiced yogurt that accompanied the meatballs. Others seemed to love the poutine, but I find it simply outrageous that a restaurant offering food from Lyon would serve poutine.

Make no mistake, THIS IS CULTURAL APPROPRIATION. Here is an article some asshole wrote about how calling poutine Canadian is cultural appropriation because it is specifically from Quebec. Similarly, I am outraged when individuals fail to refer to one of my favorite foodstuffs as a hamburger sandwich and identify the disputed origin as Texas. It's as if the cretins know nothing of culture and don't care about the lovely people from Texas.



In addition to the $3 Jaeger shots, they also offer steeply discounted wine, $3 domestic beer, discounted cocktails and a variety of other great appetizers. Bon appetit, or as they like to say in the culturally unique Lyon region of France, bon appetit!



Le Lyonnais Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Mix Tape




Mix Tape is the most peculiar little spot that I've visited in many months. Here are some of the various oddities you can expect to experience.  Tips are not accepted, bean bags are used as actual chairs by semi-grown adults, orders are only taken at the bar, the menu is very limited, there is an outrageous selection of board games, and reservations are not possible. 


Mix Tape is a socialist experiment hell bent on serving healthy vegan food in a nurturing environment. The night we attended Mix Tape there was a dream board workshop. I'm disappointed to say that after nearly 60 days I have accomplished none of the items on my dream board. My trip to Mix Tape will always serve as a reminder of how I am a massive failure as a human bieng.

In the off chance that your are actually curious, my faux pepperoni roll was quite good and my livin' la vida mocha smoothie was also just fine. (Also, you cannot play MEME THE GAME by yourself. It is a 3-4 player game.)

Dream Boards

I highly doubt that bars like Mix Tape will ever displace the dive bars of this world. However, I think that they have accomplished a unique feat in that they have created a bar that seems perfect for people who do not like bars. This is what a safe space looks like.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Or the Whale

Or the Octopus
This review must be prefaced with the statement that this restaurant is prohibitively expensive, and they know it. If they have not priced themselves out of the Pittsburgh market, perhaps I am just unaware of what good food costs. I worry that I am almost certainly becoming my father. A man that thinks all sandwiches should cost less than 6 dollars because he has failed to keep up with the times. I have to constantly remind myself that good food is expensive and the cost can be justified.

That's just the thing about Or the Whale though - the food is great. The above pictured octopus with fingerling potatoes was in fact so good that I went out and purchased my own fingerling potatoes to make at home, fell asleep cooking them, and nearly died of asphyxiation.

 I've never had octopus served with chimichurri sauce and potatoes. It was exquisite and prepared flawlessly. The octopus had just the right amount of char and a great mouth feel. 


Or the Trout
The smoked trout rillettes are really the only bargain item on the menu at a paltry $11. I thought it was quite nice that the dish arrived with a small salad to help me justify my existence. After all, I spent over $50 on two drinks and two appetizers. (I mean, god damn, I could buy like 70 pounds of bananas with that coin.)  Maybe that doesn't sound bad to you, but I think it is outrageous.

Here is a list of some menu items and their respective prices so you have an idea of what you are getting into.

Seafood Tower - $180
16 oz Ribeye - $65
Duck Burger - $45
Side Salad - $9

Getting old sucks, everything seems expensive.  Also, I'm pretty sure that Or the Whale has the most expensive hamburger in the city. Please prove me wrong in the comments.


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Zone 28

Garage Door Access!
Zone 28 recently opened in the far east part of town near Oakmont. Let me tell you, for a kid friendly joint they threw a hell of a grand opening party. Here are some of our favorite magical moments from the opening.



Appetizers! And lots of them. Zone 28 offers a full menu and has two separate bars. The End Zone and the Railhouse.  (If you've ever been to State College you would know that their local establishment called the End Zone is quite a different beast. NSFW.)


Costumed characters! They have a remarkably well crafted beer list for a bowling alley. Their sports bar is the perfect place for dads. Honestly, they should change the name of the sports bar to, "Dads Only."


SNACKS! So many snacks.

RIBS!



This lady won a golden ticket.

This friendly janitor met the Pittsburgh dad! Everyone loves the Pittsburgh dad!

Add caption
And Santa made an appearance! Overall, an awesome place. In addition to bowling and the restaurants they have a full arcade, laser tag and bumper cars!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Threadbare

Threadbare Cider

Threadbare Cider is easily one of the most exciting places I've visited in 2017. The new space  belongs to the owners of Wigle Whiskey. Threadbare is actually located just right down the street from the Wigle Barrel House - I guess the price of real estate is going up in Spring Garden!

One of the more enticing features of the space is the marvelous job they've done of exposing the production facilities. The massive renovations to the old building allow patrons an intimate view of the innards of the cider facility from the comfort of the dining room.

The cider house stands as a tribute to Johnny Appleseed. (Would you believe that the rapscallion is both real and associated with Pittsburgh?) Threadbare currently offers three separate varieties of cider: a dry, a dry-hopped and a farmhouse.  While I enjoyed sampling all three ciders, there was no contest for my affection. The dry cider almost resembled a dry white wine in it's robust magnificence. I'm no cider expert - but I've had a lot of Jack's Hard Cider in times of desperation and need. Threadbare is considerably better the typical American ciders you see on tap at many bars. Their products are absolutely comparable to the offerings at Arsenal Cider.


Silver Dollar Pancake
Pictured above you can see some of the various offerings from the Threadbare brunch menu. My favorite item was the silver dollar pancakes, but the breakfast pizza and cheese plate were a close second. I should also note that they offer a variety of gluten free dishes as they are attempting to placate the no-beer crowd. I'm looking forward to visiting again! It was an excellent experience.


Sunday, November 26, 2017

An Autumn of Happy Hours

Draai Laag



I think Draai Laag is one of the coolest breweries in Pittsburgh. Their beers are remarkably unique and a testament to how far Pittsburgh has come since the days of Iron City and Rolling Rock. (Side note, Iron City is no longer brewed in Pittsburgh and Rolling Rock is no longer brewed in Latrobe. Iron City is now made at the site of the former Rolling Rock brewery in Latrobe and Rolling Rock is made in Newark, NJ by Anheuser–Busch InBev which is based in Belgium.)

Draai Laag, however, is actually brewed in Pittsburgh. Their beers are developed through a spontaneous fermentation process and are probably unlike most beer you've had in your life. (Unless you are a fancy beer snob.)

Their taproom in Millvalle offers some fantastic food. Pictured above are the "Bomb Mi" Tacos - a take on the classic Vietnamese sandwich and the walking taco - your standard taco ingredients haphazardly thrown in a bag of Doritos. The walking taco is basically the perfect food for the modern slob on the go.

Check out Draai Laag and be a part of the Pittsburgh beer renaissance!  (You can even walk home with a taco.)



Full Pint Wild Side Pub



I've been familiar with Full Pint's beer for many years.  They've been making some excellent products at their brewery in North Versailles for quite some time, but they just recently opened their Wild Side Pub in Lawrenceville. It actually has a separate dining room and bar, I walked into the dining room and was pretty confused at first.

My favorite Full Pint beer is their Belgian white that they market as White Lightening, but I also like the Milk Plus milk stout and the Rye Rebellion imperial stout. At their Wild Side Pub they offer a nice happy hour discount on their drafts as well as a number of flatbreads and sandwiches.

I ordered the Mexican pizza with chorizo, brown ale queso, provolone, jalepeno and onion. It was not shabby, but it's hard to imagine that anyone would go out of their way to eat at the Wild Side Pub with the plethora of dining options available in Lawrenceville.


Full Pint Wild Side Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato




Burgher's Lawrenceville




Burgher's just opened in  a very shiny new space in lower Lawrenceville. Their original location is in Harmony and I can only imagine that they are looking to expand further. I've been told for years that they have some of the best burgers in the city and I've always wanted to check them out.

Somehow, I blew it and didn't manage to order a burger. Burgher's offers a very nice happy hour menu which included sharp discounts on their fried chicken and their everything bagel dog.

I couldn't tell you exactly why I ordered the "everything bagel dog." Let's call it a morbid curiosity. Boy, was it delicious. I don't think I've ever enjoyed the combination of cream cheese and avocado, it is heavenly. The bacon also added a nice texture in addition to the "everything" seasoning.  I never knew I could like hot dogs, thank you Burgher's of Lawrenceville.

I should also note that their fried chicken is a steal at $2 a piece during happy hour!

Burgh'ers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

TRES RIOS



The historic South Side of Pittsburgh does not want for Mexican options. There's La Palapa, Doce Tacqueria, Steel Cactus and Emiliano's. Emailiano's is actually the owner of Tres Rios.

I love the taco shells at Tres Rios. They offer a think homemade softer shell that is quite unique. Tres Rios is meant to be a more upscale option. Some of our favorites were the barbacoa, the duck tacos and the ceviche.

By the way, in case you wanted me to rank the Mexican restaurants in the South Side, here you go:

1) Doce
2) Emiliano's
3) La Palapa
4) Tres Rios*
5) Steel Cactus

*It should be noted that although Tres Rios appears next to Steel Cactus in my rankings, they are magnitudes apart in terms of quality.


Tres Rios Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato