I interrupt this regularly scheduled Thirsty Thursday post to give you a somewhat related drinking/eating post.
Lately I’ve been LOVING the local Pittsburgh Food Scene. On Fridays the hubs and I regularly dislike cooking at home, so we have been trying out a number of dining establishments across the city. This has led to some of the best meals of my life. Often people ask me where they should go to eat in Pittsburgh, so here is the Shot of Brandi* certified list (in somewhat of a particular order).
1. Point Brugge: If you like a small, neighborhood place with a nice beer list and $18 for a pound and a half of mussels (above) – this is your place. It’s in our hood (Shadyside/Point Breeze) and our #1 fav not-to-expensive joint. Other recos: cheese plate, Germelli pasta, charcuterie board, Mediterranean platter (above) and Pimm’s cup (above).
2. Salt of the Earth: One of the best dining experiences that I’ve ever had. I got the steak and have been dreaming about it ever since. We sat at the bar overlooking the kitchen. At first, it was awkward to watch the chefs cook – then, it was amazing. They are so calm, cool and collected, that I wanted everything that they were making and wanted to be their friend. Not only is the food amazing, but the cocktail menu is awesome. The head chef, Kevin Sousa, owns other Brandi* favs like Union Pig & Chicken and Station Street Hog Dogs – oh and he is also from my “hometown” or, er, home zip code of McKees Rocks (this means we are both bada$$es)
3. Eleven: You can’t really go wrong with any Big Burrito restaurant, but Eleven is my favorite. I want to marry every dish that I get from here. Register for their birthday rewards and get $30 off your meal around your birthday – it’s now an annual Smithkowski birthday tradition.
4. Meat & Potatoes: This was a toughie – I really wanted to put it in 3rd. This place is SUPER tasty. I’ve loved all of my dinners (get the brussels sprouts app – trust me) and their brunch is AWESOME! One warning though – they have a DJ at brunch, so it can be rather loud. That’s what pushed this to 4th.
Some other honorable mentions
· Family Favorites: Shout out to my friend Nick at Sausalido and Joey at Sarafinos. My all-time favorite BYOB’s
· Unexpected Surprise: Phipps Conservatory Café – they grow a lot of their produce at Phipps and the iced tea is delish. It’s super casual too – we went in our workout gear after a long walk.
· Best.Salad.Bar.Ever: Hello Bistro – owned by the Eat ‘N Park people. They have a vat of Ranch dressing on hand!
· Last Meal Worthy Ice Cream: Dave & Andy’s in Oakland (one of the ONLY reason I stop on Pitt’s campus!)
· Cupcakes: This was tough, but I gotta go Vanilla Pastry Studio. I’m still upset that they left my hood.
· Donuts: Peace, Love & Little Donuts. Editor’s Note: I’ve never had donuts from the place in Crafton, so I can’t compare!
· Best Beer Places: D’s Six Pack & Dogs. Where else can you go into a cooler and pick your own bottle? They also let you mix and match six packs on the way out. Runner Up – Sharp Edge. Honorable mention – Bocktown.
· Breakfast: Square Café – not only are their omelets amazeballs, but their coffee selection is fab. This past winter I tasted the baklava pancake – YUM-AZING! Random runner up – Whole Foods omelet station!
· Coffee: Coffee Tree Roasters – My weekly treat is a maple syrup latte.
· Cocktails: Harvard & Highland has cocktails on tap (a Kevin Sousa joint above Union Pig & Chicken) and Industry Public House in Lawrenceville (I like the Rhuby, Rhuby, Rhuby).
· Pizza Restaurant: Dinette. Sharable flat bread pizzas with $1 Yuengling cans!
· Late Night: Ritter’s Dinner. Hand’s down best marinara sauce ever. Greek omelets aren’t too shabby either.
Pittsburgh Dining Bucket List (aka places that are on my list!)