Monday, April 30, 2012

They see me rollin'...

During a recent trip to Giant Eagle, PID and I noticed that Pillsbury biscuit and crescent roll products were on sale at three for $5 so, of course, we snagged six. What this means is that we had quite the unnecessary excess of reduced fat crescent rolls. I half expected the Dough Boy to pop out and poke US in the belly button.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Taste-E Squared

After being thoroughly inspired by E2's kickstarter program, we realized we should probably (definitely) give their hyper-local menu a try.

Monday, April 23, 2012

TOP-News: National Dine Out Week w/

National Dine Out Week is THIS week, April 23-29!  Every time you share the news or use a certificate this week, you not only support your local community, you facilitate a donation to the American Red Cross. There are a TON of great coupons available in Pittsburgh!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Less-Words Wednesday: Chili with the Works 2012

This past Saturday, a few F.O.R.T.S and I spent our morning running the Genesis 10K. That's 6.2 miles.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Proud to be an American (Brasserie)

Months ago, PID and I celebrated Light Up Night by dining at Braddock's American Brasserie.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sinfully Good Sushi at Sinobi 2 Go

What started out as a small express eatery in Indiana, PA grew into a larger full-scale restaurant in Tarentum and shrunk back down to a tiny "To-Go" deli-style sushi shop on the less-traveled side streets of Market Square. But the size of Sinobi To Go is no indication of the enormous flavors it puts forth.

With no intention of searching for a reviewable lunch spot, I took a walk outside yesterday afternoon to enjoy the beautiful day. Suddenly I found myself on the side streets of Market Square staring at a new storefront: Sinobi Sushi To Go. It's rare that I can resist the calling of sushi, so I stopped in to check it out.

Sinobi's Market Square spot is definite designed for takeout. One small four-top, a seatless highboy and a few stools at a small counter top are all that grace the floor.  The sushi shop is manned by a very pleasant woman and one sushi chef, and each dish is made fresh to order, so expect a slight (worth it) wait during peak lunch hours.

Diners can choose from a small yet satisfying menu or order a roll of their choice.  I decided to go with the Lightning roll and Bulgogi Festival dog.

Bulgogi Festival $3.00

I was ever so slightly underwhelmed with the hot dog.  Being a huge fan of Franktuary's unique dog options I was excited to give this new Asian twist a try.  The dog itself was store bought and microwaved in front of me, but doused with a Kim Chi/Korean Barbecue mixture which certainly helped the cause.  While the idea of Asian Dogs is a good one, I admit I'm more looking forward to the Asian Tacos which the chef told me *might* be coming soon...

Lightning Roll $9.50

My Lightning roll, on the other hand, perfectly hit the spot I didn't know I had. Tuna and asparagus adorned with spicy crabstick and a delicious mystery sauce gave my lunch just the kick it needed on this beautiful afternoon.

Restaurant Info:
Sinobi 2 Go
Address: 435 Market Square
Phone: (412) 251-5510
Reservations: None. Very little seating.
Price: $$

Cliffs Notes:
1 Bulgogi Festival Dog @ $3.00
1 Lightning Roll @ $9.50
Tax (7% in Allegheny County): $0.87
Tip @  $2.00
Total for 1: $15.37

Overall Opinion:
I'll definitely be back (for the sushi) and would absolutely recommend a trip for native and working downtowners.

Sinobi 2 Go on Urbanspoon
Pin It

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Kickstart E2's Party Dungeon With Us!

Here at Taste of Pittsburgh we've decided we're too.....well, let's be honest. BORING. We absolutely love food but you know what? We love our city, too!  So it's about time we start doing more than just stuffy restaurant reviews (ok, so those are going to continue and I probably shouldn't call them stuffy...) and start sharing stuff we love. About food. About Pittsburgh. About both. About life.

What's inspired us to do this? The folks over at E2 and their ambition to "Kickstart" something they (and we) believe in.  So here is our inaugural "issue" of STUFF WE LOVE:  E2 and their mission to live local while throwing a heck of a party at the same time.

This afternoon, we finally did our part and pledged to help this project along.  Will you?

Pin It

Monday, April 9, 2012


A few weeks ago, Mrs. P and I ventured to the Farm to Table conference. As if we didn't get enough to eat as we bounced from booth to booth, we decided to head across the street for lunch at Tonic Bar & Grill downtown.

The colorful walls were a modern contrast to the raw brick which gave the space warm, industrial feel. I'd eaten here a few years ago, but Mrs. P was a first timer.

The upstairs dining room/private party room
We decided to celebrate the occasion with a few midday cocktails. I began with a twist on a classic, Tonic's version of a Hurricane. Mrs. P opted for a Sunburn. Though together our drink names would have made an off-vacation, they certainly were a welcome addition to our day.

Sunburn: $8.50, Hurricane: $9.50
Their menu boasted a wide array of appealing options making both of our heads spin. But we bought more time by ordering the Roasted Garlic & Red Pepper Hummus served with pita wedges and fresh cucumber.

Roasted Garlic & Red Pepper Hummus $8

The Hummus was unique chalked full of hearty garlic and red pepper chunks making for a delicious spread which paired excellently with the cool cucumber slices. It was a deliciously healthy start to our meal!

After begging the waitress for more time to review the menu repeatedly, we finally landed on our entrees: Mrs. P with the Samurai Burger and I with the Chicken Pad Thai.

Mrs. P raved on and on about her burger and finished it more quickly than I'd seen her finish any meal before. The wasabi mustard and crispy wonton took a classic turkey burger to a whole new level.  The sweet potato fries were the perfect blend of crispy and creamy, adding a...well, sweet twist to her meal.

Samurai Buger & Sweet Potato Fries $15.50 total

I was slightly underwhelmed with my Pad Thai.  It was too sweet for my taste (I'm a spicy Pad Thai fan, myself) and wasn't bursting with flavor as I had hoped.

Pad Thai with Chicken $14
Next time I go I'll be sure to choose from one of the many other appealing options instead.  Mrs. P was blown away by their burgers, so maybe that's the direction in which I'll head!

Restaurant Information:

Address: 971 Liberty Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone:  (412) 456-0460
Reservations: Gets busy at lunch and I'd recommend it.  An upstairs room is great for privately reserved parties.
Hours: Mon-Wed 11 a.m. - 12 a.m.
            Thurs-Sat 11 a.m. - 2 a.m. 

Cliffs Notes:

Hurricane @ $9.50
Sunburn @ $8.50
Diet Coke @ $2
Roasted Garlic & Red Pepper Hummus @ $8
Samurai Burger @ $13.50
    w/Sweet Potato Fries @ 2.00
Pad Thai @ $9
   w/Chicken @ $5

Tax:                        Food tax  @ 7% (Allegheny County only) @ $4.03
Tip:                           $13
Total for two:          $74.53

Overall Opinion:
I was neither impressed nor unimpressed.  I'll definitely never recommend the Pad Thai to anyone, but I wouldn't recommend that they avoid the restaurant altogether! The upstairs loft looked like an excellent venue for a small private party and their cocktail list was quite impressive, so Tonic may be the perfect place for your next happy hour or birthday party. Mrs. P couldn't get enough of her Samurai burger and would certainly encourage diners to give their burgers a try. 

Tonic Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon
Pin It

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Capital of Pittsburgh

As you know, we typically try to review restaurants owned and operated out of Western PA, but when Capital Grille reached out to us to let us know that they were launching their new spring menu, we couldn't resist the urge to check it out.

Located a convenient 1.5 blocks from my "day-job" on the corner of Fifth and Wood Streets downtown, Capital Grille is an account person's dream. The ideal location for client meetings or new business dinners, Capital Grille boasts a menu fit for any hungry diner looking for a tasty, upscale experience.

The dim, rustic interior emanates a boy's club mentality while the friendly wait staff and refreshing spring menu lightened the mood and aroused the feminine foodie within.

This lunch marked a very special occasion indeed, for in our many years of togetherness, PID and I have never been blessed with the opportunity of lunching together amidst the work-week. We both recently accepted new positions with new companies, allowing us to be closer together, but our lunch at Capital Grille was the first time we were able to take advantage of this proximity! And happily, it was a positive experience all around.

Capital Grille launched a seasonal tasting menu in January and saw great success, especially during the lunch hours. As manager Rick McMaster put it, "It's ideal if you only have an hour or so of time but still want to experience fine dining."

And experience we did.

Given a choice of three starters, three entrees and three sides (all for $18), we in no way felt limited in our options.

PID went with the server-recommended Shrimp & Pequillo Peppers with a Clam Chowder starter and Truffle Fries.

His soup was average. PID devoured it in moments, but PID loves Clam Chowder.  I wouldn't necessarily call it exceptional in comparison to other clam chowders, but it certainly was tasty.

Clam Chowder

The truffle fries were, quite possibly, greater than you can expect. Doused with just the right amount of truffle oil and garnished with a dusting of Parmesan, these fries were the very definition of addictive. 

Truffle Fries
The shrimp, on the other hand, was nothing short of exceptional. A generous portion for lunch, the shrimp was served with deliciously roasted red peppers and Spanish Bomba rice, a firmer grain often served with Paella.   The flavors were excellent and I caught PID scraping the bottom of his pan on more than one occasion in an attempt to enjoy every last bite.

Shrimp and Pequillo Peppers

I decided on the Lobster Roll with an Asparagus Soup starter and French Green Beans. 

This was my first Asparagus Soup and I have to say I may have found my new favorite.  PID thought it tasted a bit too salty, but you know me and salt. I have a salt-tooth for sure. I gobbled it down in only a few spoonfuls.

Asparagus Soup
Sadly, my green beans were much too al dente, borderline undercooked. But well seasoned, I must say that.

French Green Beans, pictured with Assorted Mixed Vegetables

My Lobster Roll was out of this world.  I tend to gravitate towards Lobster Rolls when I see them on menus, but this one stood out from the crowd with a strong hint of tarragon to give it a unique kick and real, enormous chunks of lobster to greatly improve the overall taste.


Restaurant Information:
Address: 301 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15222
Phone:  412-802-9120
Reservations: Recommended for larger lunch parties and strongly suggested for dinner. Make reservations on their website or on
Monday – Friday
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Dinner
5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Monday – Thursday
5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Friday – Saturday
5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Cliffs Notes:
Clam Chowder, Truffle Fries and Shrimp & Pequillo Peppers @ $18
Asparagus Soup, Lobster Roll and French Green Beans @18

Tax:                        Food tax  @ 7% (Allegheny County only) @ $2.52

Tip:                           $10
Total for two:          $47.52
Overall Opinion:
I'm an account person and I have to say, I'll absolutely be taking my clients here at some point. The waitstaff was incredibly friendly, our food came in an extremely timely manner, and we were beyond pleased with everything aside from the green beans. I absolutely deem this place worthy of your downtown dinner options. And give their affordable, convenient spring menu a try.  It's so much more than a pre-fixe. It's thoughtful and delicious menu planning.

*Capital Grille supplied PID and I with a Spring Menu lunch free of charge in order to facilitate this post, however all opinions expressed within this review are honest and my own.

Capital Grille on Urbanspoon
Pin It

Share this!