Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pizza Club December 2011

Pittsburgh Pizza Club wrapped up their second year with a treat of wine, beer, and upscale pizza at Pino's Contemporary Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar. You can find them online here.

They were decorated for the season really helping set the spirit of the holidays.

We lucked out by our meeting schedule being on a Wednesday, as it turns out Wednesday is the night that bottles of wine are half price. The rest of the table split a bottle of Malbec while I enjoyed a glass of East End Brewery's Snow Melt.

Pino's has an extensive menu of "smaller plates" as well as flat bread pizza and traditional pizza. Since we were feeling adventurous, we decided to try one of each.

We started with scallops and sweet potatoes. (because I often forget, I didn't get a picture of this delight). I am in by no way an expert on this kind of dish, but I can say it was a great combination of tastes blending together with a seasonal spiced sauce drizzed on the plate. It was a great start to our meal.

For pizza starters, we went with the Chicken Flat Bread. It had a pesto cream sauce and was topped with roasted red peppers and grilled chick. Not going to lie, it was a great start and I wish there was more of it. Pino's flat bread pizza are 6 slices and 10 inches in diameter.

We finished the night ordering off the pizza menu. We decided to indulge in the Christardi. This is a red sauce pizza with homemade sausage, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, fresh basil, and mozzarella and ricotta cheeses. As you can see, Pino's was not shy about topping their pizza at all. Overall the pizza was good. It was not too saucy, the center ended up a bit soggy because of all the cheese and tomatoes.
Overall, Pino's averaged a rating of 8 out of 10.

This outing was a bit pricier than many of the other pizza clubs. The total bill for a bottle of wine, beer, appetizer, and 2 pizzas was about $76. Including tip the total per person was $31. I would definitely recommend both the pizza and dinner selections for anyone interest in a cozy neighborhood outing with good food, but casual atmosphere.

Happy Holidays from the PPC!

Pino's Contemporary Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Planet's Greatest Smoothies & a GIVEAWAY!

Not long ago, a few fellow steel-town foodies and I were invited to check out the newest addition to Shadyside's Walnut Street, Planet Smoothie. I was pretty pumped because I've never reviewed a smoothie bar on this blog before!

Unfortunately I learned that Planet Smoothie is actually a national franchise and not a Pittsburgh-based establishment, but I really liked the concept of it complementing X Shadyside and their personalized workouts, training programs and boot camps.  John Byrnes, the owner of X Shadyside, decided it would be a great idea to open up a Planet Smoothie in the same building as his gym and, after trying some of the smoothies from their energy and weight loss smoothies, I tend to agree!

I've tried "health" smoothies before and they definitely lived up to the stereotype that health-foods don't really have as much desirable taste.  But at Planet Smoothie I was blown away by how much FLAVOR was packed in to every sip of these smoothies -- even the low-cal options! We each had the opportunity to try eight mini-smoothies during our tasting which was great.

It allowed us to really test out all of the unique flavors and "blasts."A "blast" is a flavorless shot added to certain smoothies on the menu (or by request) that help enhance the healthy aspects of the smoothie without altering the taste.  Blast options at Planet Smoothie include:
-Fat Burner

Especially paired with a workout (for those who are X Shadyside members or want to stop by after their own workout) I think these options are really great and I couldn't even tell the difference when a blast was added to my smoothie.

So here's the breakdown of the flavors I tried:

Acai -- this one was made of organic acai, apples, strawberries and bananas.  We were told that there is no sugar or corn syrup added to these smoothies and that all the flavor that hits you as you take a sip is completely natural and comes from the freshness of the fruit that Planet Smoothie uses.  I thought that the strongest flavor in this one was definitely the Banana and I was expecting a bit more prominence from the Acai, but it was still a completely delicious smoothie!

Frozen Goat -- Nope. No goat cheese in this one, despite what I was expecting (that's a good thing...). This smoothie featured coffee, bananas, cocoa, vanilla, milk and yogurt and featured an energy blast.  I loved the layers of flavors in it.  My first sip was delicious and chocolatey, and then immediately after the chocolate I got hit in the face with the flavor of coffee, followed by a hint of banana. It definitely made for a complex experience that certainly energized me!

The Last Mango -- This was my third smoothie of the day and the third one that had banana in it (it also featured mangos, peaches and orange sherbert). These bananas were starting to become the unwanted star of the show.  I was hoping I'd taste a bit more mango, but instead I mostly tasted orange and banana.  This wasn't my favorite, but for folks who like the taste of oranges and hadn't already had 2 banana smoothies, I'm sure it would be great!  I just think they either need to make the mango flavor more prominent or give it another name.

Leapin' Lizard -- My first smoothie with a fat burner blast and I was expecting to notice a change in flavor because of it, but definitely did not! The peaches and strawberries paired EXTREMELY well together and made the smoothie taste incredibly fresh. This was my favorite smoothie of the day so far...

Chocolate Elvis -- Exactly what you think it'll be and exactly as delicious, this smoothie featured cocoa, peanut butter, bananas (yep, again!!) yogurt and non-fat milk. This time, I tasted the bananas on a much more subtle level which was good.  The peanut butter had the strongest presence which made a lot of sense. One of my very best FORTs who accompanied me to the event tasted this smoothie and immediately swooned.  I have a feeling she'll be going back for more!

Planet Pro -- This was our opportunity to try a protein based smoothie that's great before or after (or both....) your workout.  I wasn't excited about it because I'm not much of a workout smoothie drinker, but I was completely pleasantly surprised when I took a sip!  The smoothie is blended with a full meal replacement packet which tastes....wait for it... just like a vanilla cupcake!  Not a knock-off weight loss shake vanilla flavor.  An actual delicious, smooth vanilla flavor.  You can choose any two fruits you want to mix into this smoothie. Mine had strawberry in it and I swear to you I felt like I was eating a strawberry cupcake. And, as some of you may know, I know cupcakes.

Key Lime Sorbet -- On the way out after our tasting event, a sorbet machine caught my eye and I had to stop and ask if I could sample the Key Lime flavor that they were featuring that day.  This may not have been a low-cal smoothie, but I couldn't resist.  This was, by far, the best sorbet I've ever had! So even if you're not in the market for a post-workout smoothie (or a health smoothie at all), you can stop in and give their awesome sorbets a try!  This proved to me that they cater to any crowd by offering delicious options across the board.

I did just want to point out a few things that I didn't try that definitely caught my attention on their menu:

1) In the fall, they feature a Pumpkin Smoothie.  WHAT?! This I've got to try.
2) More than 30 of their smoothies have 300 calories or less.  What a great and delicious way to squeeze a sweet treat into your diet!
3) There is a smoothie called the "Hangover Over."  What a great marketing decision that I can't wait to check out next Sunday morning....let's hope it lives up to its name!

Overall this event got me pretty excited about the smoothie scene in Pittsburgh.  I can't wait to go back and try more flavors!

Location Information
Planet Smoothie Pittsburgh
Address: 5608 Walnut Street just below X Shadyside. 
Phone: 412-925-6650
Reservations: Only for private parties (which they offer!)
Mon - Sat: 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Sun: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.


Do you want your own opportunity to show your love for all things smoothie?  Here's your chance!  I'm giving away a small Planet Smoothie t-shirt, a coupon for a free kids size smoothie and a FREE TWO WEEK MEMBERSHIP to X Shadyside!

Each comment you make below on THIS blog will gain you an entry.  You can earn up to 6 entries!  Here's how:

1) Simply comment on this blog post, letting me know which Planet Smoothie flavor you'll try first OR which blast you would add to your smoothie.
2) "Like" Planet Smoothie Pittsburgh on Facebook
3) "Like" Taste of Pittsburgh on Facebook
4) Follow Planet Smoothie on Twitter
5) Follow Taste of Pittsburgh on Twitter
6) Write a blog post about Planet Smoothie and leave the link as a comment!

Be sure to leave comment for very entry you make below and leave a way for me to contact you so I can let you know if you've won!  I'll take a look to validate any claims of "liking" or following before I announce the winner.

This giveaway will close on Sunday, October 9 at 4 p.m. so get your entries in before then!  I will choose the winner via random drawing at

*Planet Smoothie supplied me with a few delicious samples free of charge in order to facilitate this post, however all opinions expressed within this review are honest and my own.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wanna be a Pittsburgh Food Star?! LAST DAY TO ENTER!

Hey friends! So I'm late on the uptake in posting this to ya'll, but I've recently entered a contest to become the "Next Pittsburgh Food Star" and I'm hoping some of you will enter too!

To read more, view the post in it's entirety on my other blog, Life is Cake 

Sunday, August 28, 2011


This month, mama and papa TOP surprised PID and I with a visit to the 'burgh for my birthday! A welcomed treat with added stress -- their gift to me was dinner on them at a restaurant of my choice.

I'm used to choosing restaurants on a whim!  So I was under a bit of pressure to find a place that would be worthy of the folks who so graciously blessed me with a passionate love of all things food. Part of me wanted to badly to take them to Spoon -- one of my favorite places in the city.  They'd already enjoyed another of my favorites, Willow.  So I went with a restaurant choice that was new to all of us and we all ventured to Shadyside to eat at Soba!

Papa TOP and PID are tellin' me they're too hungry to wait for pictures!

Shockingly, given the amount of time PID and I spend in Shadyside, neither of us had ever dined at Soba.  I have always been a fan of the Big Burrito Restaurant Group so I was very excited to give this place a go!

Soba is located amongst the eclectic shops and pubs of Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside. Perfect for a pre or post-dinner stroll and even better for a post dinner night cap. The restaurant offers two floors of seating with indoor and outdoor options and an attractive lounge surrounding the bar for a very versatile dining experience. The decor is modern yet comfortable and really sets the mood for a delicious dinner out.

The four of us agreed to start with the calamari:

Soba's Calamari
The aioli was perfect: not too tasteless, but not too heavy.  It married nicely with the fresh flavor of the cilantro and the crisp of the calamari.

From there, we were torn between the amazing looking options on their menu. In my opinion, the size of a menu can make or break a restaurant.  Too many options and guests feel anxiety trying to choose, then often spend the evening dealing with food envy as they watch their companions swoon over the option they almost went with!  Too small of a menu and guests might feel as though the kitchen is limited and they are being forced to make a decision.  At Soba, the menu was just right. A variety of small plates, entrees, desserts and even wine, but not so much that we could not figure out what to do.

PID went with the Korean Flank Steak. Seared to perfection and served on an outstandingly surprising shrimp pancake bed, this dish was one that will keep us coming back (I can't wait to order it for myself next time!).  The fresh peach kim chi was a welcomed addition and provided for a cool surprise between bites.

Korean Flank Steak

 Papa TOP ordered the pork tenderloin.  One thing that I love about Soba is that the dishes and menu are constantly changing to complement the seasonal fruits and vegetables. His pork came with fresh broccolini and zucchini -- perfect for summer.  Checking their menu today it looks like this dish comes with corn and potatoes which I'm sure would be delicious. My favorite part of papa TOP's dish was the pork belly which literally melted in your mouth.  Definitely worth ordering!

Pork tenderloin with pork belly

Mama TOP ordered the Pad Thai.  It was a great mash-up of chicken, shrimp and tofu and the flavor of the sauce was wonderful. The helping was quite large and the heaping pile of cilantro on top didn't really add much to the dish and mama TOP couldn't quite finish her meal. We took it home and ate it for lunch the next day and it just didn't have the same flavor. Though we didn't hate it, I think - given the opportunity - we wouldn't order the Pad Thai here again.

Pad Thai

I was in the mood for fresh sushi, so I went with two small plates to make up my meal!  I was inspired by the chopsticks and stone holder set on the table before we arrived.  The Spicy Tuna Maki and Yellowtail Sashimi were absolutely delicious.  Though the maki didn't stand out to me as anything too different from the other sushi restauarnts in town, the sashimi went above and beyond my expectations. The watermelon carpaccio and jalepeno rings were a surprising pair that added huge flavor to this tiny dish. I definitely recommend it!

Spicy Tuna Maki

Yellowtail Sashimi

Three out of four of us were beyond pleased with our main dishes, and though our bellies were nearly full - we couldn't help but give a few desserts a try.  Every dessert is $8 which makes it much easier to decide on your favorite without worrying about the price.

The Chocolate Pretzel Stack was by far my favorite.  The salty-sweet flavors were a perfect combination and the crunch of the pretzel chips with the smooth texture of the cream was an amazing contrast.

Chocolate Pretzel Stack

We also ordered the Lemongrass Pot-du-Creme to give ourselves a variety between fruit and chocolate tastes. The strawberry-tamarind sorbet shined in this dish -- the cool bite added a kick of flavor which hit you right in the back corners of your mouth.

Lemongrass Pot-du-Creme

Finally, I received a welcome birthday surprise with a candle smack in the middle of a trio of ice creams made in-house. The chocolate, strawberry and lime ice creams were by far some of the best I've ever had. I found it pretty difficult to share the strawberry with anyone, but I found a way.

Strawberry, Lime and Chocolate Ice Cream Trio

Restaurant Information:
Address: 5847 Ellsworth Ave
Phone: 412-362-5656
Hours:    Sunday -Thursday, 5p-10p
              Friday/Saturday, 5p-11p
Reservations: Recommended.  We used Open Table!

Cliffs Notes:
The parents TOP generously took care of this meal in honor of my CENSORED birthday, but I can give you a run down without the drinks, tip and tax!
Appetizer:     Calamari @ $9
Entrees:         Korean Flank Steak @ $28
                     Pork Tenderloin @ $25
                     Pad Thai @ $19
                     Spicy Tuna Maki @ $9
                     Yellowtail Sashimi @ $14
Dessert:        Chocolate Pretzel Stack @ $8
                    Lemongrass Pot-du-Creme @ $8
                    Ice Cream Trio @$8

Overall Opinion: 
Soba was definitely my type of place.  A fusion of Asian and American flavors combined with a very beautiful atmosphere made it the perfect choice for a birthday dinner. Though the Pad Thai was a little lackluster, the desserts were impeccable and the service was fantastic. After dinner we took a walk down Ellsworth and grabbed a few cocktails at a nearby pub which made for a perfect evening with PID and the Parents. Thank you to Mama and Papa TOP for a wonderful birthday and thank you to Soba for a delicious meal. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Dining on a Dime: Ibiza Tapas & Wine Bar

For those of you who missed our announcement, we're proud to let you know that we've been asked to write for CBS Pittsburgh's Best of Food & Drink section on their website!  We'll be sharing these posts with you here, but you can always find them and more useful local information at first adventure took us to all the way to Ibiza!

On a budget? Let’s face it, we’ve all been there… and many of us still are. Whether you’re a student paying your way through school, an entry level professional learning the self-sustained ropes, or a parent of three looking to sneak away for a date night – the money we have to spend on a dinner out may not always match our appetites. With a strict budget of $40, we ventured to the South Side for a tapas treat at Ibiza Tapas and Wine Bar (cue record scratch of disbelief). It was a bold move for a budget meal, but we were on a mission.

Full article...


Monday, July 25, 2011

Mango-ing Green

Oh, hello Regent Square.  It was such a pleasure to meet you on Friday! 

Yes, that's right.  I just had my first dinner in Regent Square since moving to Pittsburgh more than eight years ago.  Judge me all you want.  I'm right there beside you.

(And I call myself a food blogger....)

Well, Pittsburgh...I am proud to say that I have finally expanded my culinary circumference while ALSO eating a dish I have never eaten before!

PID, a few familiar FORTs and I ventured to the area on a Friday evening in hopes of heading to check out the relatively new Alma for dinner. A risk and a failure.  Alma does not take reservations for parties under eight and a two hour wait greeted us in the unbearable moist heat of the evening. While we were slightly bummed to miss out on what we were all so excited to experience, we were far from discouraged. (Alma, we'll be back to check you out shortly...) We walked a few blocks down South Braddock Ave. (Note: don't walk this. Just don't do it. It's too darn far and it was too darn hot.) and tried our luck at a few more (also relatively new) places to no avail. Until a neon noodle beckoned to us.

The Green Mango is a hole in the wall amongst golden palaces.  With restaurants quickly becoming the talk of the town popping up left and right, it blends in to it's brick facade save the glowing bowl of steamy Pad Thai in it's window.  It was the only place that could seat all six of us immediately, so we jumped on the offer.  Admittedly, I originally didn't approve.  Though I've yet to meet a food I dislike, I've never found myself particularly fond of Thai cuisine. Until now.

Amongst us, we ordered three appetizers of beef rolls, spring rolls and Somosa for the table

Spring Rolls with homemade duck sauce

Samosa: Lightly fried pastry stuffed with potatoes, onions, tofu and Thai spices

and  two "Drunken Noodles," a classic Pad Thai, Spicy Green Curry, Sukiyaki Soup and Spicy Pineapple Curry with beef for our entrees.

Classic Pad Thai

One of the Drunken Noodle dinners (with shrimp)

Spicy Green Curry (with beef)

Sukiyaki Soup

Spicy Pineapple Curry (with beef)
I went in with one opinion of Thai food and one alone....and that opinion culminates on a porcelain throne later the evening.  But tonight I experienced Thai done right. Sure, there were a few watery eyes and cleared nasal passages - but that's just the nature of the beast.  Each and every one of us couldn't wait to tell the other how they chose the best item on the menu.  I will say, that although I entered the skeptic, I walked out standing behind my Sukiyaki Soup as the best of the evening. It's not often I think of soup as a meal, but it certainly was. With all of the glass noodles, perfectly translucent, mixing with the crunch of the green onion and the taste of the chicken and shrimp, I could barely even finish it all. Not to mention the mirin and soy flavors accumulated by the tofu, I didn't want to leave a single bite behind. My first attempt at Sukiyaki was a success!

Restaurant Info:

The Green Mango
Open for lunch and dinner 7 days/week
Regent Square
1109 S. Braddock Avenue
Regent Square, PA 15218
Tel. 412-244-3310
Penn Center East
3462 Wm. Penn Hwy
Pittsburgh, PA 15235
Tel. 412-824-9500
The Waterfront Mall
142 West Bridge Street
Homestead, PA 15207
Tel. 412-476-9100
Reservations: We walked right in on a Friday night when everything else had a line out the door. But maybe give a call ahead just to make sure.
Price: $$

Cliffs Notes/Overall Opinion
After being granted a small taste of everyone's dish, I knew that my an-Thai shell had been cracked. For only $9.50 (well, plus about $1 worth of Spring rolls that I snuck) I had a wild-with-flavor dinner with my wild-with-flavor friends. And the kicker?  Because The Green Mango is BYOB, not one of us spent over $20 on ourselves for the entire, delicious dinner out.  WINNING.

Here's our lesson(s) of the day: Don't automatically walk on by a "hole in the wall" on a mission to eat at the neighborhood's newest and most exciting hot spot.  AND don't disregard cuisines altogether just because you once had a mediocre experience. You never know what you might find!

The Green Mango on Urbanspoon

The Green Mango  Restaurant Reviews

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Home Cookin':Attack of the Homegrown Zucchini!

It's about that time of year when home-gardeners back yards are overcome with a jungle of Zucchini plant leaves.  Some years are better than others when it comes to how well the vegetables themselves grow.  For PID and I, saying this this was an "on" year was a bit of an understatement.

This was our first pick of the season. For the record, that is a massive apple.

We knew we had a lot of Zucchini to use and not a lot of time to use it before a) it went bad or b) we had to pick another one. So I took it upon myself to create a full Zucchini themed dinner.  I was inspired by a Martha Stuart cookbook which was given to me by a dear FORT...but I made a few adjustments to make these dishes my own. PID seemed to enjoy it -- let's hope you do too!

My first course was a Cilantro Zucchini Chicken Salad with a Lime Vinaigrette.  This was a simplistically delicious dish that didn't take a lot of time to create.  Here's what you'll need for 4 healthy servings:

1 medium Zucchini -- sliced thin
2 large boneless chicken breasts 
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup + 1 tbs olive oil (I used Roasted French Walnut Oil from the folks over at A Taste of Olive - YUM!)
1/4 cup cilantro -- chopped
1/2 cup red onion, sliced thin in rounds
2 cups fresh spinach leaves -- chopped
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts -- whichever you prefer
Salt & pepper

Here's what you'll do:

1) In a large bowl, whisk together your lime juice, oil, and a heft helping of salt & pepper and add your zucchini slices, allowing to marinate 
2) Here's where you can make a call based on the amount of time that you have available: Either heat your tablespoon of oil on medium, season your chicken breasts with salt & pepper and cook until browned (about 8 minutes per side).  OR!!!!  You can do what I did and slice your chicken breasts in to thin slices and season each one individually with salt and pepper before heating your oil on medium and cooking the slices until browned (about 4 minutes per side). The upside to the latter? It takes less time. I personally liked crispier chicken slices, but I know some (/most) may not.  Doing it the former way makes for much juicier chicken.
3) When your chicken is finished cooking, rip the pieces or breasts apart with your hands until you have small chunks.
4) Toss the chicken in the bowl with the zucchini, vinaigrette, pecans, cilantro, onion and spinach. 
5) Serve and enjoy!
This dish was a PERFECT summer meal.  It was crisp and cool and had the perfect amount of citrus-y zing to it.  As I mentioned -- I loved the contrast of the crispiness of the thinly sliced chicken against the spinach and zucchini-- but some may enjoy a juicy bite!

The second meal on the menu last night was a Lemon Wine Risotto with Peas and Zucchini.  So um....lest I remind you that I write a RESTAURANT blog for a reason.  I am not a trained (or talented) chef and I think it goes without saying that I'd never made a risotto before.

Let me start by giving a piece of novice advice:  If you do not have 35 solid minutes to dedicate to NOTHING but your risotto...if you don't have the patience or stamina to stand and stir the entire time... then you should not even attempt to make a risotto.  This dish slightly resembled the girl my best guy friend dated in high school: high maintenance, but in the end -- beautiful.

Here's what you'll need for 6 servings:

2 cups chicken broth
2 1/2 cups water
4 tablespoons of butter
1 large zucchini -- cut into small cubes
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (you can find it at Giant Eagle -- but it can also be substituted for medium grain white rice)

1 cup thawed frozen peas
1/2 cup dry white wine, like Pino Grigio
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper

Here's what you'll do:

1) In a large skillet, heat your water and chicken broth on low heat and keep it warm
2) Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in another large saucepan over medium heat and add your zucchini cubes -- toss and season with salt & pepper -- cooking and stirring often 8 minutes.  When your zucchini is complete, use a slotted spoon to transfer the zucchini cubes to a plate lined with a paper towel and cover.

 3) Reduce heat to medium-low and add your onion, cooking about 5 minutes or until soft, then season with salt & pepper
4) Re-raise the heat back to medium and add the rice -- cooking until the edges are translucent (about 3 minutes).  Then add the wine and cook another 2 minutes to combine.
5) Begin adding your broth liquid to the rice, 1 cup at a time, cooking the rice and stirring constantly until the entire cup is seemingly absorbed before adding the next. This should take you about 25 minutes.  Important: DO NOT STOP STIRRING!  I know most people have non-stick it may not be as big of an issue for you...but as an unmarried young professional who has never had a reason to register for anything or a surplus of money to spend on a new set, I'm stuck using family hand-me-downs which were crafted prior to Teflon times.

6) Once all the liquid has been incorporated in to the rice, immediately add the peas and gradually add your lemon juice - stirring all the while, then add the zucchini and stir again with the final tablespoon of butter and another flavoring of salt & pepper.

7) Serve with the grated Parmesan cheese on top and be prepared to NOM.

So there you have it.  My wrangle with the Attack of the Homegrown Zucchini. I didn't have time for dessert, but if I did i PROBABLY would have made these suckers -- which I attempted for my other (slightly underdeveloped) blog, Life is Cake. They didn't make this post because -- duh -- no zucchini. I didn't want to mess with my Iron Chef-esque status in Battle Zucchini (*said very excitedly...*)!

And so I say unto you in the words of some guy from TV's uncle....


Friday, June 24, 2011

Say Uncle!

Looks like I'm beginning to make this whole blog thing a monthly affair.  But that's okay, right? Right? Right...

So this month's post is review is one I've been wanting to share for a very long time! There's something special about Uncle Sam's Gourmet Subs.  We had one on campus at Pitt and it was a once weekly -- if not far more frequently -- affair all four years of my college career without fail. It was one of those places that when friends, parents, future students or really anyone came to visit, you just had to take them to try the best sub they surely will have ever eaten.

It wasn't until a few years ago that I even knew there were THREE other Uncle Sam's out there! I've officially eaten at three of the four locations (on numerous occasions...) and it's finally time to share my thoughts.

This week, PID and I finished an eight week diet plan.  (Update on that: I lost about 9 pounds and PID lost 14. Way to go, us!) To celebrate, we made the trip to Robinson to review (and revel in) the deliciousness that is Uncle Sam's Classic Sandwich Bar.

The Robinson location is by far my favorite of the three and I'll tell you why: they serve beer. While I'll say everything I've ever eaten at Uncle Sam's easily stands on it's own as a delicious meal, it often goes down so smooth with an ice cold brew. There's just something about a good sub and a good swig that's worth writing home about.  So good, it's not for the weak of heart.  Like the sign says: Ice Cold Beer, No Cry Babies.

The other thing I like about this location is the old school-diner feel.  Everything from the bar-stools to the nostalgic photograph collections on the wall, to the handwritten chalkboard specials make the experience about more than just eating.

But the eating here is nothing to scoff at, either! We ordered our usuals: for PID the Ultra Philly Cheesesteak

and for me, the Chicken Cheesesteak

For starters, everything is made fresh, right in front of your face.  The meat was cooked beyond perfectly. And, lucky us, the rolls were the freshest we've ever tasted at Uncle Sam's -- like they'd just come from the oven. Though I personally request my sandwich to consist of nothing but chicken, cheese and hot sauce, I still have big expectations of the taste of this sub, and it was delivered!

The final thing I can't get enough of at Uncle Sam's is the fries.  There's something about a skinny fry, crisped to perfection, that make my mouth water.  Sometimes I'll mix up some ketchup and hot sauce to dip them in, but they are perfectly fine all by themselves.

Restaurant Info:
Uncle Sam's

‪210 Oakland Avenue
‪Pittsburgh, PA 15213-4064
‪(412) 621-1885
10:30am - 8:30pm Mon - Fri
11:00am - 8:00pm Sat
11:00am -6:00pm Sun
Waterworks Mall
‪936 Freeport Road
‪Blawnox, PA 15238-6172‬
‪(412) 781-3460
10:30am - 9:00pm Sun - Thurs
10:30am - 10:00pm Fri- Sat
Squirrel Hill
‪5808 Forbes Avenue
‪Pittsburgh, PA 15217-1602
‪(412) 521-7827
11:00am - 8:30pm Mon - Sat
11:00am - 6:00pm Sun
225 Summit Park Dr
Pittsburgh, PA 15275
(412) 788-4782
10:30am - 9:00pm Mon - Thurs
10:30am - 9:30pm Fri - Sat
10:30am - 8:00pm Sun
Reservations: Don't take 'em and typically don't need 'em, but expect to wait a bit for a table if you go during a weekend lunch rush!
Price: $
Note: Waterworks, Squirrel Hill and Oakland locations are CASH ONLY.  Squirrel Hill and Oakland do not serve beer.

Cliffs Notes:
Ultra Philly Cheesesteak @ $7.35
Chicken Cheesesteak @ $6.95 (you can chicken-ize any sub option for $0.65 extra)
2 diet cokes @ $1.35
Tax (7 % in Allegheny County) @ $1.19
Tip @ $2.00
Total for two: $20.19

Overall Opinion:
I've been thinking it for years and now I've put it in print: best. subs. in. Pittsburgh. With a staff that you can't help but want to make friends with and a product that you can't help but want to order seconds of, this place certainly has it all.  If you haven't tried Uncle Sam's yet, please, PLEASE do. If you have, go relive the magic as soon as possible. 

Uncle Sam's Sandwich Bar on Urbanspoon

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