OUT WITH KRISTEN

FOOD x TRAVEL x LIBATIONS
LOS ANGELES BASED

1 WEEK IN LONDON

SEVERAL WEEKS AGO I SPONTANEOUSLY FLEW ACROSS THE POND {SORRY HAD TO DO IT} TO VISIT MY BOYFRIEND IN LONDON WHO WAS THERE SHOOTING A MOVIE. I LITERALLY BOOKED MY TICKET LESS THAN 24 HOURS BEFORE HOPPING ON THE PLANE! WHILE OF COURSE I WAS EXTREMELY EXCITED, ME BEING THE CRAZY PLANNER THAT I AM I STARTED HAVING A MINI FREAK OUT SINCE I HAD ABSOLUTELY NOTHING PLANNED...ESPECIALLY SINCE MY BOYFRIEND WAS GOING TO BE WORKING ALMOST THE WHOLE TIME AND COULDN'T SHOW ME AROUND! SO I STARTED DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE - RESEARCHING ALL OF THE TOP PLACES TO EAT / DRINK  & SHOP IN LONDON!

MY FAVORITE APP FOR TRAVELING IS CALLED "CITY MAPS 2 GO" IT IS AN ABSOLUTE LIFE SAVER AND FREE! THIS APP IS ESPECIALLY GREAT IF YOU ARE TRAVELING WITH LIMITED DATA. BASICALLY AFTER YOU DOWNLOAD THE APP YOU DOWNLOAD THE CITY THAT YOU ARE TRAVELING TOO'S MAP {DO THIS BEFORE YOU TRAVEL AND USE WIFI BECAUSE IT CAN TAKE BETWEEN 5 AND 10 MINUTES}. AFTER DOWNLOADING THE MAP YOU THEN HAVE A COUPLE OPTIONS, YOU CAN FIRST CREATE A LIST WHICH YOU PERSONALLY ADD DESTINATIONS TO SUCH AS PARTICULAR SHOPS // LANDMARKS // RESTAURANTS THAT YOU HAVE READ ABOUT AND WANT TO VIST. EACH DESTINATION APPEARS ON THE MAP AS A STAR! IF THE APP DOES NOT HAVE THE RESTAURANT // SHOP SAVED IN THEIR DATABASE YOU CAN JUST ADD THE ADDRESS AND MAKE A NOTE OF WHAT IT IS! ANOTHER OPTION IS TO CLICK ON THE "DISCOVER" ICON AND SEE ALL THE PERSONALIZED ARTICLES FOR YOU FROM THE INTERNET BASED ON THE MAP YOU DOWNLOADED {FOR EXAMPLE; "10 MUST-VISIT ENGLISH RESTAURANTS IN LONDON"} AND THEN CAN SAVE EACH OF THE RECCOMENDED ARTICLES DESTINATIONS ONTO ONE OF YOUR LISTS. WHEN YOU CLICK ON MAP YOU WILL SEE ALL YOUR SAVED PLACES. THIS IS SUPER CONVIENENT IF YOU ARE WALKING AROUND AIMLESSLY AND WANT TO SEE WHAT RESTAURANTS // MONUMENTS // STORES ARE NEAR YOU THAT YOU WANTED TO SEE/TRY!


DAY 1

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THE SOHO HOTEL WAS SUCH A TREAT TO STAY IN! I AM A HUGE FAN OF ALL FIRMDALE HOTELS, THEY ARE SUPER CHIC AND YOU GET TOP NOTCH SERVICE! AFTER UNPACKING {I'M ONE OF THOSE OCD PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY USES THE DRAWERS AND CLOSET SPACE IN HOTEL ROOMS} , I OBVIOUSLY WENT OFF TO FIND MY SELF AN ICED MATCHA LATTE. I ENDED UP AT KOVA PATISSERIE RIGHT NEXT TO MY HOTEL! THE MATCHA WAS A FAIL {PROBABLY WOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH BETTER WARM} BUT I ENJOYED THE MATCHA TART! STILL ON THE HUNT TO FIND MY GO TO MATCHA LATTE IN LONDON. NEXT I STOPPED AT A CUTE LITTLE BAKERY CALLED "GAIL'S" AND GOT A MINI PISTACHIO, LEMON & ROSE CAKE. ACROSS THE WAY IS THE "HUMMINGBIRD BAKERY" WHICH WAS ALSO ON MY LIST OF PLACES TO TRY, I WAS A SUCKER FOR THE CUTE RAINBOW CUPCAKE TOPPER WHICH WAS VANILLA FLAVORED BUT I HEARD THE RED VELVET IS ABSOLUTELY DIVINE AS WELL AS THE CARROT! 

NEXT STOP - CARNABY STREET + REGENT STREET

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ON THE WAY TO CARNABY STREET I STOPPED BY A CUTE BOUTIQUE CALLED "GLASSWORKS" ON MARLBOROUGH ST. AND GOT THE CUTEST SUNGLASSES FOR COACHELLA! THE STORE IS ADORABLE AND HAD SOME GREAT PIECES BUT THE SALES GIRLS WERE THE HIGHLIGHT, IT'S CRAZY WHAT A DIFFERENCE CUSTOMER SERVICE DOES TO ONES EXPERIENCE. I ALSO WANDERED INTO LUSH ACROSS THE STREET WHICH HAPPENS TO BE THE LARGEST ONE OF THEM ALL! A BIT OVERWHELMING ACTUALLY BUT THE TUB IN MY HOTEL ROOM WAS TOO AMAZING NOT TAKE BATHS IN SO I STOCKED UP ON SOME BATH BOMBS!

LIBERTY LONDON {FOUNDED IN 1875..CRAZY} IS ONE OF THOSE STORES I'VE ALWAYS DREAMT ABOUT GOING TO EVER SINCE THEY CAME OUT WITH THAT FABULOUS COLLAB WITH ANTHROPOLOGIE. ONLINE SHIPPING FROM THEIR WEBSITE IS A LITTLE EXPENSIVE TO THE U.S SO I'VE ALWAYS JUST ADMIRED FROM AFAR. WHEN I FOUND OUT MY HOTEL WAS LESS THAN A 10 MINUTE WALK AWAY I WAS ECSTATIC! 

THEY CARRY LITERALLY EVERYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE FROM HOME GOODS TO HIGH-END CLOTHING BRANDS. I ENDED UP GETTING SOME LIBERTY BRAND COFFEE AND WHITE CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY BISCUITS FROM THEIR GOURMET GROCERY SECTION. IT WAS SO HARD NOT TO INDULGE IN THE REST OF THE LUXURY GOODS LIBERTY HAS TO OFFER BUT IT WAS FUN TO WINDOW SHOP!

FUN FACT: LIBERTY LONDON IS ON THE CORNER OF REGENT STREET WHICH IS THE WORLD'S FIRST RETAIL SHOPPING STREET!

AFTER A FULL 4 HOURS OF SHOPPING IT WAS TIME FOR A WINE BREAK! I HEARD GREAT THINGS ABOUT THIS LITTLE MICHELIN STAR FRENCH WINE BAR RIGHT IN CARNABY CALLED "ANTIDOTE". IT WAS BUSY AND A BIT CROWDED BUT I COULDN'T RESIST THE PARISIAN VIBES. THE SERVICE WAS TOP NOTCH, I REALLY WANTED TO SIT INSIDE SO THE GM MOVED SOME THINGS AROUND SO I WAS ABLE TO SIT AT THE BAR NEXT TO THE LARGE WINDOW. I ORDERED A GLASS OF THE "ATANASIUS" WHICH WAS A MEDIUM BODY RED. IT WAS EXPENSIVE I CAN'T LIE ABOUT THAT {AROUND 15 POUNDS} BUT THE EXPERIENCE WAS WORTH IT!


DINNER AT THE IVY

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THE IVY IS QUITE THE INSTITUTION FROM WHAT I'VE HEARD AND WAS A MUST TRY FOR ME, NOT ONLY FOR THE GREAT UPSCALE BRITISH CUISINE I'D READ SO MUCH ABOUT BUT FOR THE EXPERIENCE IN IT SELF! THERE ARE MULTIPLE LOCATIONS ALL AROUND LONDON BUT WE DECIDED TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL. THE IVY IS ONLY ABOUT A 8 MINUTE WALK {15 IN HEELS} FROM THE SOHO HOTEL AND OUR DINNER RESERVATIONS WERE AT 9:15 BUT WE HAD SOME TIME BEFOREHAND TO WALK AROUND AND EXPLORE. ON THE WAY WE WALKED THROUGH AND STOPPED IN CHINATOWN AND THE THEATER DISTRICT, I LOVED THE HUSTLE AND BUSTLE OF THE STREETS! THE ENERGY AND HISTORY ALONE MADE THE "LONG ROUTE" WORTHWHILE.

UPON WALKING IN THE RESTAURANT YOU GET AN INSTANT FEELING OF TIMELESSNESS; DARK WOOD, MOOD LIGHTING AND LEATHER SEATS. THE CENTER BAR INSTANTLY CAPTIVATES YOU BUT THE CHARMING BARTENDER IS EVEN MORE APPEALING HAHA. WE GOT THERE A BIT EARLY SO OUR TABLE WASN'T READY YET, WE DECIDED TO GRAB A SEAT AT THE BAR AND ORDER A {FEW} COCKTAILS. THIS IS WHERE I WAS FIRST INTRODUCED TO MY NEW FAVORITE COCKTAIL CALLED A "CLOVER CLUB". I'D HAD SOMETHING SIMILAR RECENTLY AT THE NOMAD HOTEL IN LOS ANGELES CALLED A "PINK LADY" BUT THIS WAS ABSOLUTELY DIVINE AND CONSISTED OF ALL MY FAVORITE INGREDIENTS.

"THE IVY HAS BEEN A FIRM FIXTURE ON LONDON’S DINING AND SOCIAL SCENE SINCE ITS FOUNDATION IN 1917. WITH ITS SHIMMERING CENTRAL BAR AND SIGNATURE HARLEQUIN STAINED-GLASS WINDOWS, THE RESTAURANT IS THE EPITOME OF GLAMOUR, SERVING SEASONAL MENUS FEATURING IVY CLASSICS ALONGSIDE MODERN BRITISH DISHES." - THE IVY
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"CLOVER CLUB"

TANQUERAY NO.10 | RASPBERRY | LEMON | EGG WHITE | MARTINI EXTRA DRY

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A FEW COCKTAILS DEEP WE DECIDED TO ORDER SOME CAVIAR TO THE BAR WHILE WE WERE WAITING, IT WAS AFTER ALL MY FIRST NIGHT IN LONDON! I LOVED THAT THEY HAD THEIR OWN LABEL OF OSSETRA AND THE PRESENTATION OF ACCOMPAGNEMENTS WERE HARMONIZED BEAUTIFULLY ON THE PLATE.

WE ENDED UP GETTING THIS GREAT CENTRAL BOOTH RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROOM FACING THE BAR. WE ORDERED QUITE A BIT OF FOOD BECAUSE WE REALLY WANTED TO GIVE EVERYTHING A TRY! WE ENDED UP HAVING THE MUSSELS, THE SHEPARD'S PIE, CARROT AND PEA SHOOTS, THE STEAK TARTAR AND CEASAR GEM SALAD. WE WERE TOO FULL FOR DESSERT BUT THE BAKED ALASKA LOOKED FAB AND HAD SUCH A FUN PRESENTATION!

EVERYTHING WAS DELICIOUS BUT THAT SHEPARD'S PIE IS SOMETHING THAT I STILL TO THIS DAY CANNOT GET OUT OF MY MIND! IT WAS LITERAL PERFECTION. ALSO, THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT ENGLISH PEAS, SO SWEET AND DELICATE, I COULDN'T GET ENOUGH OF THEM! 

SIDE NOTE REGARDING THE TARTARE; I GUESS I AM SOMEWHAT AMERICANIZED WHEN IT COMES TO TARTARE IF I AM BEING HONEST. I LIKE ALL THE PAZAZZ THAT NORMALLY ACCOMPANIES A TARTAR AT A RESTAURANT, WHETHER IT'S THE QUAIL EGG ON TOP OR THE ADDITION OF MINCED ONION, SHALLOTS AND HERBS, ETC. I TRULY ENJOY THE FLAVOR BURST THAT FOLLOWS AFTER THE FIRST BITE. HOWEVER AFTER MY EXPERIENCES IN LONDON, I REALIZE THAT THE TARTAR'S ARE MUCH MORE STRAIGHT FORWARD HERE AND REALLY JUST DICED RAW MEAT, MORE OLD FASHIONED WHICH I CAN TOTALLY APPRECIATE AND ADMIRE HOWEVER I COULD ONLY HANDLE 3 OR 4 BITES BEFORE IT WAS TOO MUCH.

AFTER THE IVY WE WERE EXTREMELY FULL SO BED WAS CALLING OUR NAME, DAY 1 IN LONDON WAS GREAT! STAY TUNED FOR DAY 2!

WEEKEND IN PITTSBURGH


This past week I took a trip to good old Pittsburgh, PA where I have both family and friends. Pittsburgh will always have a place in my heart, however.. {just} a long weekend is the perfect amount of time to indulge in what the city has to offer.


FRIDAY NIGHT

NICE DINNER AND {LOTS OF} WINE.


WE STARTED OFF THE NIGHT WITH DINNER RESERVATIONS AT A NEW LAWRENCEVILLE HOT SPOT "POULET BLEU". THIS RESTAURANT IS THE NEWEST ADDITION TO THE RICHARD DESHANTZ RESTAURANT GROUP. THEY ARE ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR SOME OTHER FAVORITE RESTAURANTS OF MINE SUCH AS "BUTCHER AND THE RYE" & "täkō".

RDRG WAS JUST NOMINATED FOR OUTSTANDING RESTAURANTEUR OF THE YEAR AWARD BY THE JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION.


 

WHAT TO TRY {AND WHAT NOT TO}

LIBATIONS

GIMLET - A LITTLE TOO SWEET FOR ME PERSONALLY, BUT THE PRESENTATION IS ADORABLE!

WINE

Bordeaux Blend, Chateau Saincrit, Bordeaux Superieur, France, 2014 ............................ $11 / $45

Bordeaux Blend, Chateau Picque Caillou, Pessac-Leognan, France, 2014 ........................ $19 / $89

IF YOU HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING MY INSTAGRAM THEN YOU ALREADY KNOW WHAT A HUGE BORDEAUX LOVER I AM. TO MY SURPRISE THEY ACTUALLY OFFER TWO BORDEAUX BLENDS ON THEIR WINE LIST. UNSURE OF WHICH ONE TO ORDER MY WAITER WAS KIND ENOUGH TO OFFER ME HALF POURS OF EACH SO I COULD TRY! I WASN'T A FAN OF THE SAINCRIT BUT THE PICQUE CAILLOU {THOUGH PRICY} WAS BOTH BOLD AND DELICIOUS AND PAIRED NICELY WITH MY MEAL.

FOOD

BAGUETTE

WHO DOESNT LOVE A CLASSIC FRENCH BAGUETTE WITH LOADS OF SEA SALT BUTTER AND CHIVES?

BRAISED OXTAIL FRENCH ONION SOUP

THIS WAS ACTUALLY MY FIRST TIME HAVING A BEEF STOCK BASE FRENCH ONION SOUP AND I HAVE TO SAY... IT WAS ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! THE OXTAIL WAS BRAISED PERFECT AND MELTED IN MY MOUTH. 

BEEF TARTARE

SUPER FLAVORFUL! IT WAS BOTH BUTTERY AND DELICATE AS TARTARS SHOULD BE.

MUSSELS

THESE WERE PROBABLY MY FAVORITE THING OF THE NIGHT!  THE FENNEL/WHITE WINE/GARLIC SAUCE WAS ABSOLUTELY DIVINE. THE PORTION WAS A GREAT SHARING SIZE.

AUSTRALIAN WAYGU (ON SPECIAL)

THE NAME SHOULD SAY IT ALL, EACH PIECE OF WAYGU WAS COOKED TO PERFECTION {MEDIUM RARE} AND QUITE TENDER AND JUICY. I PAIRED IT WITH PEPPERCORN SAUCE WHICH IS A PERSONAL FAVORITE OF MINE. 

NOTE: ONE THING I DID NOTICE AND LOVE WAS THAT EACH APPETIZER WAS SERVED WITH A SIDE OF BREAD BUT EACH WAS PREPARED DIFFERENTLY AND IN TRUE FRENCH FORM, THE GRILLED CROSTINI SERVED WITH THE MUSSEL DISH WAS MY FAVORITE.

ROASTED CHICKEN

I REALLY DISLIKED THE CREAMED SPINACH {PASTE} THAT WAS PLATED ON THE DISH. THE TEXTURE OF THE PASTE WAS FINE BUT I DIDNT FEEL AS THOUGH IT HELPED COMPLIMENT THE CHICKEN IN ANYWAY, IT WAS SUPER BITTER. NO COMMENTS ON THE POTATO PAVE.

THIS DISH WAS ALSO SERVED WITH A RANDOM "BLANQUETTE" {JUST A FANCY WORD FOR A CHICKEN IN CREAM SAUCE} WHICH INSTEAD OF SERVING ON THE SIDE I WOULD JUST POUR IT RIGHT ON TOP TO ADD MORE FLAVOR TO THE DISH. IT FELT LIKE AN AFTERTHOUGHT AND I DIDNT THINK IT QUITE WENT TOGETHER. IF ANYTHING THEY SHOULD JUST SERVE CHICKEN BLANQUETTE ON THE MENU BY ITSELF.  ALL AND ALL THE CHICKEN WAS COOKED FINE IT WAS JUST NOTHING SPECIAL. WHEN I SEE CHICKEN ON THE MENU AT A FRENCH RESTAURANT I EXPECT THAT ROASTED HERB AND BUTTERY CHICKEN FLAVOR AND MOST IMPORTANTLY THE SKIN! THIS FELL SHORT. 

BURGUNDY ESCARGOT

I AM A TRUE ESCARGOT LOVER {AND POSSIBLE ESCARGOT SNOB}. IF THEY ARE ON THE MENU I WILL MOST LIKELY ORDER IT AND UNFORTUNATELY, THESE DIDNT QUITE DO IT FOR ME. I WANTED MORE BASIL/PESTO {CLASSIC} FLAVORING AND INSTEAD, I GOT AN UNDERWHELMING CITRUS FLAVOR.

ALIGOT POTATOES

I HATE TO BE HARSH BUT WE LITERALLY COULDN'T EVEN EAT THESE. OUR WAITER WAS KIND ENOUGH TO TAKE THEM OFF THE BILL. ALIGOT POTATOES ARE LITERALLY JUST MASHED POTATOES WITH CHEESE, BUT THE TEXTURE AND CONSISTENCY OF THESE WERE COMPLETELY OFF, THEY WERENT LIGHT AND AIRY BY ANY MEANS. MAYBE OUR BATCH WAS WRONG? {LETS HOPE}


GRAPPERIA

http://www.grapperiapgh.com

THIS IS PROBABLY ONE OF MY FAVORITE BARS IN THE CITY, EVERY TIME I AM IN TOWN I HAVE TO COME HERE. GRAPPERIA IS AN ITALIAN BAR LOCATED IN LAWRENCEVILLE. THE ATMOSPHERE IS  COZY AND WELCOMING AND THE BARTENDERS ARE EXTREMELY KNOWLEDGEABLE WHEN IT COMES TO WINE AND LIQUORS. MOST OF THE TIME THEY ARE BUMPING OLD SCHOOL HIP HOP WHICH IS YET ANOTHER REASON WHY I LOVE THIS PLACE. THE EXTENSIVE {REASONABLE PRICED MAY I ADD} WINE LIST, AS WELL AS THE ABUNDANCE OF GRAPPA COCKTAILS, MAKES THIS THE PERFECT LATE NIGHT DESTINATION WITH FRIENDS.

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SATURDAY

COCKTAILS ON COCKTAILS ON COCKTAILS


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WE STARTED OUR DAY {A BIT HUNGOVER MIGHT I ADD} IN THE STRIP DISTRICT. IF YOU ARE NOT UBERING I SUGGEST SUCKING IT UP AND PAYING TO PARK AS ITS NEVER AN EASY MISSION TO FIND {FREE} PARKING IN THE AREA.

FIRST STOP - MIMOSAS AT SMALLMAN GALLEY 

https://www.smallmangalley.org

WE DIDNT QUITE MAKE IT FOR BRUNCH AS WE HAD HOPED. WHEN WE GOT THERE THINGS WERE KIND OF WINDING DOWN FROM THE BRUNCH RUSH SO THE 4 RESTAURANTS WERE OUT OF A LOT OF THEIR ITEMS. ALL I REALLYYY WANTED TO DO WAS TRY THE NEW FRENCH RESTAURANT CONCEPT "BRUNOISE". I RECENTLY STARTED FOLLOWING THEM ON INSTAGRAM SO I WAS INTRIGUED TO TRY THEIR FOOD, BUT WHEN I GOT UP TO THE REGISTER TO ORDER I WAS SO OVERWHELMED WITH AWFUL CUSTOMER SERVICE AND BLATANT RUDENESS, WE ENDED UP LEAVING.

DONT GET ME WRONG, SMALLMAN IS AN AWESOME SPOT FOR COCKTAILS AND BITES. THE AMBIANCE IS REALLY COOL AS WELL AS THE WHOLE "GALLEY" CONCEPT (CLICK ON THE LINK ABOVE AND CHECK OUT THEIR WEBSITE FOR MORE PHOTOS & INFO). THIS PAST EXPERIENCE  WILL NOT AFFECT MY PERCEPTION OF SMALLMAN, I JUST WILL NOT BE RUSHING TO BRUNOISE AGAIN ANYTIME SOON.. LOL


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SECOND STOP -

BRUNCH AT KAYA

 

THIS WAS MY FIRST TIME AT KAYA AND IT DEFINITELY DID NOT DISAPPOINT! THE AMBIANCE IS VERY BRIGHT AND WELCOMING AS WAS THE FOOD + COCKTAILS. ISLAND CUISINE IS NOT SOMETHING I CAN SAY I HAVE HAD A LOT OF BUT THIS SETS THE STANDARD PRETTY HIGH!

OUR WAITRESS WAS ALSO VERY SWEET AND HELPFUL WHEN IT CAME TO DECIDING WHAT TO ORDER ON THE {OVERWHELMING, IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE} MENU.

MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE THING WAS THE JERK PULLED PORK QUESADILLA + CORN/LENTIL BEIGNETS (ALTHOUGH I FEEL THEY WERE MORE LIKE HUSHPUPPIES THEN BEIGNETS).

THE SPICY CUCUMBER MARGARITA WAS NICE AND REFRESHING {A LITTLE SWEET BUT THE PERFECT AMOUNT OF SPICY}

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THIRD STOP - AFTERNOON PICK ME UP AT DE FER COFFEE & TEA

https://defer.coffee

THIS SPOT WAS SUPER COOL, MUCH BETTER THAN THE LAST COFFEE SHOP THAT WAS HERE A WHILE BACK...  BESIDES THE COOL INDUSTRIAL INTERIOR, I LOVE THAT THEY SUPPORT AND PARTNER WITH LOCAL BUSINESSES AND SUPPLIERS!

THEY HAD A PLENTIFUL SELECTION OF DIFFERENT COFFEES AND TEAS AND THE BARISTAS DEFINITELY KNEW WHAT THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT. I ENDED UP BUYING A BAG OF THE "ELIZA FURNACE" ESPRESSO BEANS - HINTS OF CHOCOLATE + BROWN SUGAR + CARAMEL. REALLY SMOOTH AND RICH, I  HIGHLY RECOMMEND TRYING IT! THEY ALSO RANDOMLY SERVE COCKTAILS! NOT REALLY A PLACE I EVER SEE MY SELF DRINKING AT BUT TO EACH HIS OWN! 

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FOURTH STOP - BAR MARCO

https://www.barmarcopgh.com

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THIS PLACE..

HAS EASILY BECOME MY NEW FAVORITE BAR TO DRINK WHEN IN PGH. JASON {LOOK FOR THE GUY WITH THE BEARD} IS AN AMAZING MIXOLOGIST AND ALL HIS CUSTOM "BARTENDERS CHOICE" COCKTAILS BLEW MY FRIENDS AND I AWAY. HE MADE ONE FOR ME WITH HONEY SYRUP, LEMON, ROSE LIQUOR AND GIN AND IT WAS LITERALLY ME IN COCKTAIL FORM. 

THERE IS AN ART GALLERY ON THE SECOND FLOOR AS WELL AS A PRIVATE DINING ROOM IN THE BASEMENT WHERE THEY OFFER A 5 COURSE MEAL + WINE PAIRING FOR $125 P/P. DEFINITELY DOING THIS NEXT TIME IM IN TOWN.


FIFTH STOP - DINNER AT MUDDY WATERS OYSTER BAR

http://muddywaterspgh.co

WE WERE ALL CRAVING OYSTERS AND HEARD THIS WAS THE SPOT. MUDDY WATERS IS LOCATED IN THE VERY TRENDY "UP AND COMING" EAST LIBERTY NEIGHBORGOOD OF PGH.  WE ENDED UP MISSING HAPPY HOUR {WHICH I'VE HEARD IS ONE OF THE BEST IN THE CITY} BUT DECIDED TO TRY A BUNCH OF OYSTERS FROM EACH COAST ANYWAY $$$. THE ROYAL MIYAGI'S AND HALF MOONS WERE MY FAVORITE. I REALLY LOVED THE  IDEA OF MIGNONETTES  SERVED IN THE LITTLE GLASS EYE-DROPPERS. BESIDES THE BASIC PEPPERCORN THERE WAS A TANGY, SLIGHTLY SPICY JALAPEÑO ONE AND THEN A SOY SAUCE/PONZU ONE {WHICH TO BE HONEST I FOUND A BIT TOO OVERPOWERING} BUT NONETHELESS CREATIVE! TO DRINK WE ORDERED A COUPLE "BEES KNEES" {WITH GIN.. IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY NOTICED THE TREND}. FOR FOOD TO START WE TRIED THE INFAMOUS FOIS GRAS DEVILED EGGS, THESE WERE REALLY TASTY! LOVED THE PLAY ON SWEET AND SAVORY, ESPECIALLY THE SMOKED TROUT ROE ON TOP FOR THAT EXTRA BITE OF FLAVOR. NEXT WE HAD THE FRIED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH BOURBON GLAZE, WHICH TASTED JUST AS GOOD AS THEY SOUND! FOR DESSERT WE HAD TO GO WITH THE BANANA FOSTERS BREAD PUDDING. THE BANANAS ON TOP WERE A PERFECT DEEP CARAMEL HUE, THE BREAD PUDDING IT SELF WAS RICH AND SILKY. I WOULD COME BACK JUST FOR THIS {AND THE OYSTERS OF COURSE}.


SIXTH STOP (I PROMISE WE ARE ALMOST DONE) - COCKTAILS AT SPOON

http://spoonpgh.com

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THIS WAS A GREAT SPOT TO "RALLY THE TROOPS" IF YOU WILL, IT'S RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO MUDDY WATERS! GREAT SERVICE AND EVEN BETTER COCKTAILS ! THE AMBIANCE IS A LITTLE "MEHH".. KIND OF REMINDS ME OF A HOTEL LOBBY BAR/RESTAURANT BUT I DIG THE PEACOCK BLUE TUFTED BOOTHS. IV'E HEARD FROM SEVERAL PEOPLE THE FOOD IS QUITE ENJOYABLE, I HOPE TO TRY IT NEXT TIME I AM IN TOWN! 

{COCKTAILS FROM LEFT TO RIGHT}

I GET DRUNK BUT I SEE GOOD

CHECK MY SPELLING

RIVIERA SIDE {WITH GIN}

  CAST IRON


SEVENTH {AND FINAL} STOP  - FESTIVE COCKTAILS AT HIDDEN HARBOR

http://www.hiddenharborpgh.com

HIDDEN HARBOR IS A FAIRLY NEW BAR IN SQUIRREL HILL THAT MY FRIENDS WANTED TO CHECK OUT. WHEN I HEARD IT WAS "TIKI" THEMED I WAS INSTANTLY DOWN TO GO.  WHEN WE GOT THERE WE WERE GREETED BY THE SWEETEST HOSTESS. AT FIRST GLANCE IT WAS THE PERFECT AMOUNT OF CROWDED {BUSY BUT NOT ANNOYINGLY HARD TO GET A DRINK BUSY} AND FINDING A BOOTH WASN'T TOO HARD AS IT WAS A BIT LATE IN THE NIGHT. WE ENDED UP DECIDING ON THE "JAGUAR SHARK" {PICTURED} BECAUSE JUST LOOK AT IT..DEFINITELY WORTH THE 20 BUCKS.


SUNDAY

PACKING AND BRUNCH...OF COURSE

SURPRISINGLY AFTER A FULL DAY OF DRINKING I WAS NOT HUNGOVER THAT MORNING AND WAS READY TO PARTAKE IN A LITTLE SUNDAY FUNDAY BEFORE MY FLIGHT. I DECIDED ON UNION STANDARD, DOWNTOWN.  IT'S BEEN OPEN FOR ABOUT A YEAR NOW, AND I HAVE BEEN WANTING TO GO EVER SINCE! JUST FROM FIRST GLANCE, IT SEEMS TO BE WAY MORE OF A LUNCH//DINNER SPOT THAN FOR SUNDAY BRUNCH. IT WAS PRETTY QUIET WHEN WE WALKED IN, NOT MANY FULL TABLES.. WHICH IS FINE SINCE I WAS REALLY THERE FOR THE FOOD {AND BRUNCH COCKTAILS} NOT A SCENE. OUR SERVER WAS SUPER ATTENTIVE AND FRIENDLY AND GAVE US A NICE BIG BOOTH. I ORDERED A "QUEEN OF THE NIGHT" COCKTAIL AND IT WAS INCREDIBLY GOOD! I LOVE COCKTAILS WITH EGG WHITES. WE GOT A DOZEN OYSTERS TO START AS WELL AS THE "ASSORTED BREADS AND PASTRIES" {I RECOMMEND GETTING TWO OF THESE FOR A PARTY OVER 4 PEOPLE} . I ALSO ORDERED THE RICOTTA TOAST WHICH CONSISTED OF ROASTED GRAPEFRUIT, PISTACHIO CRUMBLE, PEAR AND, CHIA SEEDS. I WOULDN'T SAY I LOVED IT BUT IT WASN'T BAD BY ANY MEANS. WE WERE SUPER BUMMED THEY WERE OUT OF THE BOURBON FRENCH TOAST, IF I GO AGAIN I WILL DEFINITELY HAVE TO TRY THAT. FOR MY MAIN MEAL I ORDERED THE SCRAMBLE; ARUGLA, MAITAKE MUSHROOMS, CREAM CHEESE, HAM, CRISPY ONIONS, SHOESTRING POTATOES AND CHIMICHURRI. DEFINITELY A LOT GOING ON BUT THE FLAVORS SEEMED TO COMPLEMENT EACH OTHER PRETTY WELL. MY FAVORITE PART WERE THE MUSHROOMS MIXED IN WITH THE CRISPY ONIONS. THERE WAS A BIT OF SWEETNESS FROM THE HAM {I'M ASSUMING THATS WHERE IT CAME FROM} AND I'M PERSONALLY NOT THE BIGGEST FAN OF "SWEET EGGS" {EX. SYRUP ON EGGS FLAVOR} BUT IT WAS ONLY IN A COUPLE BITES. I WOULD DEFINITELY COME BACK HERE FOR DINNER {AT AN UPSTAIRS TABLE NEXT TO ONE OF THE GORGEOUS BIG GLASS WINDOWS}.