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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Coughlin's Law Kitchen and Ale House

Crispy Chicken BLT

The phrase, "Coughlin's Law" refers to some of the sayings from the 1988 classic film, Cocktail. Here is a list of Coughlin's various laws from the film:

“Drink or be gone.”
“Anything else is always something better.”
“Never show surprise, never lose your cool.”
“Never tell tales about a woman. No matter how far she is, she’ll hear you.”
“Bury the dead, they stink up the joint. As for the rest of Coughlin’s laws, ignore them. The guy was always full of shit.”

Coughlin's Law is just about the coolest spot to open in Pittsburgh within the last year. The space itself has a very modern feel and almost seems out of place in Mt. Washington as it is probably the only piece of new construction in the neighborhood since the 1950's. 

The best item I tried was the kung pao shrimp, freshly breaded and fried with a spicy sauce and a nice portion of hot chiles and peanuts. As the appetizers are $2 off during happy hour, this dish will be my go-to for my next visit to Coughlin's Law.

I enjoyed my crispy chicken BLT, but it was just a little underwhelming. The beer batter style breading was too heavy and I was not a fan of the brioche bun. Brioche buns do not hold up well when they are used with greasy sandwiches. The bread deteriorates and you are left with a bit of a soggy mess. Leave the brioche to the French, Coughlin!

"...brioche is simply too delicate to support a half-pound puck of griddled ground beef. It's not structurally built to encase a burger; it's by definition light and airy. Burgers release a large amount of juice and fat (at least the good ones do anyway), and a brioche bun will completely sog through and fall apart before you're even halfway through it." -LA Times Food Writer, Dan Myers, "Putting your burger on a brioche bun is a terrible idea."

I have to add that the vinegar based cucumber salad that accompanied my sandwich was amazing. Nice and light and packed with flavor - a perfect summertime treat.

Happy Hour Menu

Two items that you can't beat at Coughlin's, the view from the back deck and the happy hour menu. Nothing says happy hour like $3 well drinks, discounted appetizers and cheap cocktails. (Also, on Thursday you can enjoy $5 mules!)

I'm very excited to see how these guys progress as they work on the new establishment. The folks running Coughlin's Law are some of the nicest in the city and I'm certain that Coughlin's Law will be a huge success.

Coughlin's law kitchen and ale house Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Warren

The Warren
Let's talk about downtown drink prices. THEY ARE TOO DAMN HIGH. Much like the rent in New York, drink prices in downtown Pittsburgh are out of control. They've steadily climbed over the last several years and these days it is hard to find a decent pint for under $5.

Enter The Warren. Cocktails are affordable and many beers are in the $2-$5 dollar range. The Warren is apparently the creation of Spencer Warren and the folks from Penn Ave Fish Co. I'm told that Mr. Warren is relatively well known throughout the city, but I've personally never met the man. However, I've certainly enjoyed his work over the years. He's the mastermind behind some of the happenings at Butcher and The Rye, Firehouse Lounge, Round Corner Cantina, täkō and Meat & Potatoes and also he's apparently Pittsburgh's Busiest Bartender. Considering how often I frequent Meat & Potatoes it is remarkable that we have not crossed paths.

You can even read this great profile of him in Next Pittsburgh where they run through his typical week. He sounds very important. 

The frog legs weren't bad, but the chimichurri was severely lacking in garlic and tasted like urine. Mr. Warren should go meet with Tony Falcon from Gaucho Parrilla - that dude knows his chimichurri.

It was great to see frog legs on a Pittsburgh menu! Some of my dining partners were apprehensive, but they all agreed that frog legs just taste like fishy chicken.

The sushi was the best part of our visit. According to our server they offer discounted sushi from the cooler after 3 pm and then again later in the evening. All of the rolls that we tried were fantastic and also well priced. This is a very welcome addition to downtown Pittsburgh as the closing of the downtown Penn Avenue Fish Company location has created a sushi desert of sorts within the golden triangle. Thanks Penn Avenue Fish Co! You've totally redeemed yourself with this wonderful new bar.

One of the nicest additions to the evening was a free rose tasting nextdoor at Penn Cove Eatery. (The establishments are connected and Penn Cove sells the same sushi boxed for takeout as well as a great selection of wine and beer.) I honestly am not sure that I knew just how much I enjoyed rose until I took the time to sample a few with our awesome host, Lee.

The Warren should basically be your go-to spot in downtown Pittsburgh. It's hip, affordable and totally approachable in a casual sort of manner. I wouldn't suggest going with a large group - I'm pretty sure our server was ready to strangle us.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

La Palapa

La Palapa used to be located closer to 19th and East Carson, but they've recently moved into the building next to Mallorca where Ibiza was once situated. The old La Palapa was very small and they did not have a bar. The new location offers tons of seating, including a spacious back patio and a full bar with some very nice bartenders.

I only visited the old location one time. I ordered the dinner for two and the waitress politely explained to me that my order was meant for two people. I just smiled and said, "yes, I know." I didn't share any of it with my other dinner guests nor had I ever intended to. A dinner for two option on a menu helps deflate the stigma that accompanies ordering two separate meals by yourself, but not if the waitress doesn't play along.

I can't really say that they have sacrificed any of the quality in the move down East Carson. Not only were our happy hour empanadas outstanding, but the bar also offers a two for $5 empanada special on Thursdays. With those prices you literally have no excuse to go back to Taco Bell, ever.

The empanada I enjoyed was crispy and brimming with some freshly seasoned beef and a delicious mole sauce. The history of mole sauce is largely unknown but much like many of the tales from the bible it is believed to involve religion, poultry and uncanny happenstance. You can read more about the hotly and holy debated origins here.

Nacho Model

La Palapa is essentially a must visit for happy hour. Their $5 margs kick Mad Mex's ass. We only had one problema with La Palapa and that was the runny queso. Runny queso is sadder than prom night at the trailer park in Tijuana. Someone should write a country song about runny queso. I guarantee it would be better than 90% of modern country.

La Palapa Cocina Gourmet Mexicana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato