pittsburgh restaurant week – part 3

So before I finish up with our final stop during Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, a quick review of an unofficial stop we made. Unofficial because they were not part of Restaurant Week and not even a restaurant, but a new place we checked out.

After my terrible race on Saturday, we got home and I walked the dog while Keith worked out and then were were going to lunch. Upon checking twitter, I saw that PghTacoTruck would be at the Coffee Buddha from 12-3. It was almost 12, a quick google showed that the Coffee Buddha was only about 20 minutes away and I deserved tacos, damn it.

Keith wasn’t too into the idea of driving that far and asked if we could just go to Emiliano’s, but I pouted and he relented. We popped over and got in line and about 20 minutes later had some tacos! I got the ground angus with queso fresco, cilantro and onion and the spicy jerked chicken with avocado crema. Keith got the ground angus with cheddar jack and the grass fed steak with kimchi.

tac

They aren’t lying about the spicy jerked chicken, it was almost too spicy for me and I love spicy. The avocado crema was great though and helped cool things down. The ground angus was fantastic. Keith always makes fun of me for not wanting to branch out, but sometimes simple is best and that taco knocked it out of the park. I only tried the kimchi part of Keith’s taco and it was…weird. Not bad and pretty much exactly what I would have expected, but I don’t know if I am a fan of kimchi.

I got us some drinks inside to go with our tacos and the Coffee Buddha is just the cutest little place. I got Keith lemonade and got myself a dry rhubarb soda. Both really good! Definitely hit up PghTacoTruck if you see it, I think I will definitely make a pilgrimage back to the Coffee Buddha for it and next time I’ll bring Daisy! They have leashes and waterbowls on the porch for dogs. How cute!

Okay, enough about tacos. (Never enough about tacos.)

Our third and final stop for Pittsburgh Restaurant Week was Tamari. This was actually the only choice Keith made. We headed there after the baseball game on Sunday. (Well, actually the game was still going on, but it was in extra innings and we had a reservation.)

Tamari is Latin-Asian fusion and in Lawrenceville. Keith had wanted to try it for quite a while so we made our way over.

For their restaurant week special, they had a specialty sushi roll for $20.13. Since it was market price, I don’t know how much we saved, if anything, since we usually don’t order things without prices.

Tamari has small plates, and those places always confound me. I always want to order too much food and Keith has to reel me back in. We decided to get three things and if we were still starving, we could order more. We started with some ceviche with taro chips. It was delicious, but a pretty small portion and we ate it before I could take a picture.

Next we had a lamb quesadilla. It was a bit bigger, but a little bland. I laughed at Keith for dipping his pieces in soy sauce, but then I tried and that actually improved it quite a bit! Also ate too fast to take a picture and if you don’t know what a quesadilla looks like, shame on you.

Our final plate was the specialty sushi. It was shrimp tempura and asparagus with tuna and something else on top, covered with a spicy miso sauce and pico de gallo.

sush

(Also super dark in there, which is why I wasn’t too snap happy.)

It was delicious. The pico de gallo was unexpected yet totally awesome. I’m not sure I’d spend $20 a roll normally, but if it was $15 or so, I’d definitely order it again and again.

We left, for the first time during restaurant week, not sickeningly full, but perfectly satiated. Although a little pricey, I’d definitely go back to Tamari and try some other dishes.

PGH Taco Truck on Urbanspoon

Tamari on Urbanspoon

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pittsburgh restaurant week – part 2

Our second stop during Pittsburgh Restaurant Week was Alma Pan-Latin Kitchen in Regent Square. We had been talking about trying Alma for a while, but never made it.

We went on a Thursday night and it was actually the day I got my grades for the summer and found out I had gotten straight A’s! Woo! So it then became my celebratory dinner. To start things off right, I did something I never do and ordered a drink. Anytime I see a caipirinha on the menu, I have to order it, and Alma had two. A blackberry and a passionfruit.

cai

I chose the blackberry and it was good, but I probably should have tried the passionfruit for something a bit more exciting.

Alma was offering a 4 course meal for $30. Alma is a little on the pricey side, so I think I figured out we saved at least $20. We probably wouldn’t have gotten as much food either, so probably more.

For starters, there was an option of empanadas or fried plantains. Keith and I both got the empanadas and they were good, but probably my least favorite part of the meal. The empanadas had pork and olives and I kind of hate olives, but they were still tasty.

emp

Course two was soup or salad. They had a quinoa salad and gazpacho. Keith wanted the quinoa salad, so I decided to go out on a limb and try the gazpacho.

quin

gaz

I am glad I did because I LOVED the gazpacho. It does not photograph nearly as well as Keith’s salad but it was soooo good. They apparently use a coconut milk base, which I was kind of afraid of but it was soo good. It had a slight kick to it and lots of veggies floating around in it. I never in a million years would have thought I’d like cold soup, but my mouth is almost watering thinking of it. Keith’s quinoa salad was okay, I wasn’t a huge fan. He liked it better than my gazpacho though. He said it tasted like gin. (He’s crazy.)

Third course was the main event. There were quite a few options that I cannot remember. Keith got the brisket and I got the scallops.

brisk

scall

I have an unfortunate habit of liking whatever Keith orders better than what I order. But for the second time during this meal, I thought mine was so much better. The brisket was over rice and while it was good, it didn’t blow me away.

My scallops were served with veggies and rice and covered in this amazing lime and garlic sauce that I could have eaten plain. I want everything covered in that sauce. Even though I was quickly becoming uncomfortably full, I cleaned my plate.

And we still had dessert!

Keith ordered an avocado pudding and I got the chocolate cake. The warm chocolate cake.

avo

choco

I was pretty blown away by the avocado pudding. It tasted like avocado…but better! And sweet! A little tart. I only had the tiniest of bites because I had that amazing dessert in front of me.

Warm chocolate cake, cinnamon ice cream. It was SO GOOD. It is almost criminal that I wasn’t able to finish it. I ate about half and couldn’t force myself to eat anymore.

I’m pretty sure Alma was my favorite stop of the week. Everything I ate was just incredible. Huge portions, fresh ingredients, delicious results. It is a little bit pricey, I don’t think it could ever be a casual dinner place for us, but I’d definitely head back for a special occasion. Like more straight A’s!

pittsburgh restaurant week – part 1

So last week was Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, I’m not sure what year we are going on with this…at least 3? It is run by someone new these days so I can’t find when it started but for the past two years they have done a Summer week and a Winter week.

In the beginning, the deal was participating restaurants would offer something on their menu for the price of the year. We first went in 2010 and got some awesome deals at Ibiza and Nakama for $20.10. I think they must have had trouble keeping up with that because while some restaurants did offer a $20.13 special, there were many $30/$35 specials.

I obviously like the $20.13 specials the best and think that it’s a great opportunity to get customers in that wouldn’t normally pay your higher prices. Once they discover how delicious you are, they’ll come back! But what do I know?

This time around, Keith and I were talking about where we wanted to go and I mentioned that we should try totally new places. We typically always hit up Verde, but we had been not too long ago and I thought it would be fun to try something new!

Our first stop was Burgh’ers in Harmony on a Tuesday night and were completely starving by the time we got there. The GPS also put us behind a sketchy old warehouse and said that we had arrived. It only took a few more minutes to actually find it and we were seated immediately despite the small restaurant size.

Burgh’ers’ special was 1 appetizer and 2 burgers (with fries) for $20.13. The burgers are about $10 a piece so you were esentially getting a free appetizer. Not a bad deal.

We ordered the seafood tacos for our appetizer and we inhaled them so quickly I didn’t think to take a picture. They were really good though. Big pieces of salmon with really fresh pico de gallo and jalapeno slices and some sort of delicious sauce.

I loved that all of the burgers at Burgh’ers were named after Pittsburgh neighborhoods. Keith got the Morningside which had bacon and an egg on it. I got the Harmony which had cheddar, caramelized onions, jalapenos, horseradish and BBQ aioli. When I saw a fried pierogie was an available topping, I paid 95 cents to add that to my burger. Go big or go home, right?

image1

The burgers were awesome. My pierogie was a fine addition although I think the Harmony needed either horseradish or BBQ aioli, I’m not sure I really like that combination of both. The buns were great, really fresh, really soft so that even though the burger was the size of my head, I could still bite down. The fries were also awesome. They have a few different options for fries, but we just had their plain fries and they were great. Fresh, well salted, crispy.

Harmony is a bit far out there from us, especially with the stupid 910 detour that is ruining my life, so I’m not sure when I will make it back up there, but if you ever find yourself up that way it is definitely worth a stop.

Burgh'ers on Urbanspoon