OUT WITH KRISTEN

FOOD x TRAVEL x LIBATIONS
LOS ANGELES BASED

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}.