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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Jean Louis - Dormont


Jean Louis
Jean Louis - Pork Bread Mushrooms Sweets

Jean Louis was one of the best culinary treats that I had the pleasure of experiencing this year. I know what you might be thinking: why would you expect exquisite French cuisine in Dormont?

But you should! Chef Vincent Capuano trained extensively in France but he has all the sensibilities and quirky qualities you could expect from any chef raised in McKees Rocks.  His approach to French dining is totally lacking in pretension. He came across as warm, honest and humble. But his food was remarkable and displayed the qualities that you might expect from a much more unyielding chef.


Octopus

Our first course was octopus which was extremely fitting as it was the very first dish that Chef Vincent learned to cook. I love octopus and this was some of the best octopus that I have ever tried. It was remarkably tender, well seasoned and served with gorgeous accoutrements. If you could only try one dish at Jean Louis, I would say try the octopus. Based on the article that the City Paper ran it would seem that everyone agrees with me. 


Crab Cake

 

Our next dish was this spectacular crab cake. It was entirely unique from any crab cake I've tried as it was not breaded or heavily fried and the dish itself really featured the richness and quality of the crab.  It was almost like a delightful warm crab salad. They used jumbo lump crap from Ecuador. It is worth noting that jumbo lump crab meat is not usually used in crab cakes because it is the more expensive part of the crab. Thanks Jean Louis! 


Pasta With Musrooms

Our next course was the burrata pappardelle with these remarkable mushrooms. When I expressed interest in the mushrooms Chef Vincent actually sent out his sous chef with this absolutely gorgeous box of assorted fresh mushrooms. I'm a huge mycology guy, that's to say - I get really excited about fungus.

Did you know that Kennett Square in Pennsylvania is the mushroom capital of the world? Those lunatics produce over 500 million pounds of mushrooms a year, nearly half the US crop.  With recent changes in legislation in Oregon and other parts of the country I would say that Pennsylvania has a great opportunity to cultivate all sorts of mushrooms.


Foie Gras

Throughout the evening we really found the presentation of each dish to be spectacular. This foie gras is the perfect example. I personally adore foie gras. The rich texture lends itself to so many delightful applications.

I find it outrageously silly that there is a move to ban foie gras in some parts of the world such as New York. Despite what the psychos at PETA might think, not all production of foie gras is unethical. In fact many farms are quite transparent about how they treat the geese that are used in the production of foie gras and I would venture to say that if you have a problem eating foie gras you probably shouldn't be eating meat at all. (Disclaimer, I have no disrespect whatsoever for vegetarians. Personally I subscribe to Kantian ethics when it comes to the treatment of animals. The only thing that I find infuriating is when people decide that it is more ethical to eat some animals or some parts of animals than other animals. What a bunch of fucking hypocrites.)

Some of the other dishes we really enjoyed included the scallops and the desert pastries. Personally I would say you can skip the pork belly. It's quite obvious that the staff here takes great care in selecting quality ingredients. Overall this is a remarkable restaurant. I would highly recommend stopping by to pay Chef Vincent a visit.







 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Fet Fesk - Round Two



The Precious

Fet Fisk has previously been a traveling act, but for a while earlier this year they found a temporary home at Pear and Pickle in Troy Hill. Back in October I had the opportunity to check out Fet Fisk at Dish Osteria for a spooky meal comprised of various offal. It was just fantastic.

I had the pleasure of visiting Fet Fisk again at Pear and Pickle in early 2020. I was scheduled to dine with them again in March, but unfortunately their regular dinners been on hiatus due to COVID. I've been telling anyone who will listen that I believe Fet Fisk is one of the most unique culinary experiences that Pittsburgh has to offer.

Some of my favorite dishes from the evening included the soft omelet with gravlax, the fish head soup, the fishmongers lunch with smoked mussels, scallop, octopus and salt cod. It was just a wonderful array of perfectly prepared seafood. We honestly tried everything on the menu.

As our oysters arrived I asked if it was possible to have some mignonette or cocktail sauce. The waiter came back and told me that the chef said that any additional sauce was forbidden! I know that a lot of people might be offended, but I personally think it is great when the chef tells you how to enjoy something exactly as it is intended.

Within the last few weeks Fet Fisk has opened their Royal Market featuring some really amazing looking smogasboards.  They should also have some additional offerings as they get acclimated to their new space, how exciting.











Saturday, May 30, 2020

Sheetz Unviels New Hop Dog Beer with Neshaminy Creek Brewing

HOT DOG
This post was brought to you by Sheetz in collaboration with Pittsburgh Happy Hour.

Just last week Sheetz unveiled their brand new beer, "project hop dog." This was the second time I had the opportunity to attend the unveiling of a Sheetz collaboration, and they really are a ton of fun.


Sheetz worked with Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company to produce this remarkable hot dog inspired beer. I would describe the hop dog as being salty and subtly hoppy with a great finish that really does remind you of a hot dog. While they claim it doesn't actually taste like hot dogs, I swear that it does!


My favorite part of the launch event was when one of the members of the Sheetz family referred to Sheetz hot dogs as "death dogs." Ha! 


I love Sheetz food, but instead of their hot dogs I usually go with an MTO chicken sandwich with about 14 different toppings. My go to toppings are pickles, banana peppers, jalepenos, sauteed onions, raw onions, lettuce, tomato, boom boom sauce, habenero sauce and extra cheese. It's a real mess but totally worth it.


For the next few weeks you will be able to get a hop dog at most Sheetz locations throughout the state while supplies last. For a full list of participating locations, visit www.Sheetz.com/beerproject. I highly recommend grabbing a sixer if you like IPAs as this unique beer will not be around long.


Launch Event
Thank you to Sheetz and Neshaminy for putting together an amazing event! They've provided some additional information below.



About Sheetz, Inc.
Established in 1952 in Altoona, Pennsylvania, Sheetz, Inc. is one of America's fastest-growing family-owned and operated convenience store chains with more than 20,000 employees. The company operates 600 store locations throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio and North Carolina. Sheetz provides an award-winning menu of M•T•O® sandwiches and salads, which are ordered through unique touch-screen order point terminals. All Sheetz convenience stores are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, Sheetz is committed to offering employees sustainable careers built on an inspiring culture and community engagement. For more information, visit www.sheetz.com or follow us on Twitter (@sheetz), Facebook (www.facebook.com/sheetz) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/sheetz).

About Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company
Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company is an award-winning craft brewery and taproom located just north of Philadelphia in Croydon, PA where they use their DIY ethic to make great tasting beer that challenges both their drinkers and brewers. Founded in 2010 by Jeremy Myers, Rob Jahn, and Steve Capelli, Neshaminy Creek has grown exponentially over the years and expanded distribution across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and New York. In 2017, Neshaminy Creek opened their brewpub, The Borough Brewhouse, in Jenkintown, PA which features a full bar, kitchen, and exclusive beers from Head Brewer, Jason Ranck. For more information, visit www.neshaminycreekbrewing.com, like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/neshaminycreekbrewing), follow us on Twitter (@ncbcbeer) and Instagram (@neshaminycreekbrewingco).

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Restaurant Week 2020 - How I Roll


Some of my treasures.

Restaurant week is amazing. For years Brian has been putting together a heck of an event and this year he brought back the special food blogger dinner. Three courses at Bonfire in the Southside prior to the start of restaurant week: the raw deal (tuna tartare with pureed black beans) wagyu meatloaf and a fancy hazelnut chocolate crunch dessert.

Overall it was an absolutely fantastic meal, but I do not understand why you would use wagyu beef to make meatloaf. C'est la vie.

We also stopped by Or the Whale. Their prices have become more reasonable since they opened and they served up some fantastic seafood chowder along with fire roasted chicken with broccoli and potatoes.

Also pictured is Piper's Pub Sunday Supper. A generous serving of roast beef with mashed potatoes, yorkshire pudding and roasted brussels. (They actually serve this meal every Sunday and it was not part of Restaurant week.)

Finally, the Carlton has become my absolute favorite option for restaurant week. I visited for both lunch and dinner as unlike many other participating establishments they serve a different lunch and dinner menu for restaurant week. I'm talking shrimp, I'm talking short ribs, I'm talking kung pao  chicken. Pure bliss.

I also dropped by the Capital Grill, but their salmon was just OK. I simply adore those fancy uniforms the waiters wear though.




Friday, February 21, 2020

SYN Bar & Bistro

Taco Pizza and Pizza Taco

Pappa always told me, son, "You gotta chase that unicorn." Syn is a unicorn, a beautiful creature simply not destined for this world. Until I visited Syn I had absolutely no idea that Mexican-Italian fusion was a thing. According to Allrecipes there are actually a ton of Mexican-Italian fusion dishes I had never even considered such as spaghetti tacos and Italian nachos, barf.

When I walked into Syn it was nearly empty and I asked the bartender if he would prefer an hola or a buon giorno. He stated that a simple hello would suffice. I was underwhelmed by his lack of enthusiasm. The space is enormous. It used to house the old Sharp Edge Bistro. I have to say, I'm glad that the various Sharp Edge locations throughout the city are closing. They are dated and the food is gross.

I walked into Syn expecting an opportunity to write a terrible review. After all, it is difficult to master one variety of cuisine, let alone Mexican-Italian fusion. I spent about an hour trying to figure out what to order that would really fuck them up. I went with the Mexican Pizza and the Pizza Taco.

I was shocked. The pizza was fantastic. Great crust, lovely Mexican toppings. Second only to the Italian taco, just a wonderful treat filled with meat, cheese and that Sunday gravy.  They really blew me away, I was astounded by how good the food was. It is worth mentioning that their happy hour is also pretty decent:

Monday - Friday
4:30-6:30
$4 Margaritas
50% OFF ALL Craft Drafts
$5 Glasses of Wine
$5 Chips & Queso


Ghosts


This is where they hide the ghosts.








This is where they keep the donuts.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sly Fox

Don't get the chips.
Sly Fox is a dump. Their beer is just awful, their food is gross and you need a door code in order to use the restroom. If I wanted to use a door code to access the restroom I would hang out in a public park in Europe. Shame on you Sly Fox.

Pictured above are the world famous Sly Fox "chips and salsa." For only $5 (or $2.50 during happy hour) these delicious chips could be all yours. We are talking about some Costco bargain chips served with roughly 2oz of flavorless salsa and way too much sour cream. I cannot earnestly recommend these chips and salsa, even at the happy hour price point. 




Happy hour at Sly Fox really isn't a bad deal as all of the appetizers and beer are discounted. However, everything kind of sucks so it isn't really a good deal either. Rashan had this sausage for $9. He said it wasn't awful, but I thought it was odd that they couldn't be bothered to bring him silverware or napkins with his meal.

The hefeweizen I tried tasted like bubblegum and the stout I tried was similarly lackluster. I think they should just stop making beer and sell Miller Lite.

The saddest thing about this whole ordeal is that Sly Fox is apparently opening a second Pittsburgh location right by my house. I hope that they learn how to make beer before they open the doors.

I usually agree with City Paper. Their review of Sly Fox says, "Go to the Sly Fox at the Point for the craft beer that’s been around since 1995. Don't expect much from the food." I would politely add that you should also not expect very much from their craft beer.


Sunday, January 12, 2020

Mad Mex - Shadyside



Three sizes of inconsistent margarita specials.
When your grade school teacher told you that math would be important throughout your life, she was not a liar. Mad Mex in Shadyside runs a daily happy hour from 4:30 until 6:30 that features margaritas and discounted drafts. I immediately noticed that the margarita pricing was wildly inconsistent.

I've done the math for you below so that you won't have to bother, but it makes the most sense to order the smallest size margarita. The special has diminishing returns as you order the larger sized margs. The three different sizes of glasses and the advertisement for the special are pictured above. It's worth noting that they don't even tell you the size of the "Big Azz Margarita" - but I'm pretty certain that is a 22 oz glass. What a fucking scam.

$3 12 oz   - 25 cents per ounce
$5 16 oz - 31 cents per ounce
$7 Big Azz margarita - 22 oz - 32 cents per ounce

My friend Paul provided the plausible explanation that even with this knowledge some folks might still be inclined to order the larger size so as to be considerate of the staff. I personally recommend that you just order two 12 oz margaritas at a time so that you are getting the best rate.

A few notes about Mad Mex, they offer half off all drafts during happy hour. Unlike several clown bars around town whose beer selection consists of 42 different IPAs, Mad Mex usually has at least a few different styles of beer to choose from. 

I highly recommend the boneless chicken wings. Mad Mex is one of the few places in town that has a bonafide de-boned chicken wing as opposed to a sauced up chicken tender.


Mad Mex Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato