Black N Bold XLV Limited Edition Coffee


Many businesses in town are doing specials related to the upcoming Steelers SuperBowl. La Prima has packaged a special Black N Bold XLV coffee which has me wishing the SuperBowl season never ends. As titled, the coffee is very bold and dark, but extremely smooth. I had La Prima has a stand at the Pittsburgh Public Market (@PghPubMarket on Twitter). The very kind worker was happy to grind the rich beans for at home brewing. I am sure to return and get more of this blend before the big day on Sunday.

La Prima Espresso on UrbanspoonThis is not the first time I’ve caught La Prima turning heads. I’ve been asked to ship La Prima coffee to co-workers in DC after they experienced the premiere coffee at Simpatico Espresso downtown.

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Valentines Day Treat

Valentines Day is quickly approaching us.  We are planning our romantic dinners, trips, surprises and what kind of delicious treat to by our sweetheart.  Usually the first thing to come to mind are boxed chocolates, but this year why don’t we change it up a bit with something a little different: Cupcakes! And I know the place to get them:  Dozens Bake Shop in Lawrenceville 

Dozens Bake Shop is offereing a limited edition cupcakes, in a box with a bow for Valentines.  The box of cupcakes comes with four different flavors and they are taking pre-orders now.   With three locations: Lawrenceville on Butler, Oakland on Craig st, and Downtown on Liberty Ave, you don’t have any reason why you couldn’t place your order and pick up your Sweetheart Box with their convenient locations. 

You should still pay Dozens Bake Shop a visit even if you don’t need cupcakes.  Dozens has established itself as not the typical old fashioned bakery. But, they are a new style, Urban Bakery.  Something that Pittsburgh needed that cities like Chicago and New York have already been enjoying for years.   Yes, they have good pastries and cakes, but go in, sit down and have a homemade soup and sandwhich for lunch.   Stop in before work, grab a coffee and a pastry.  Or maybe, relax and enjoy a Roasted Turkey Pot Pie…homemade, with a turkey cooked right in the oven, just like on Thanksgiving!

Dozens also grows their own herbs, makes their own jams for their homemade pop tarts, yup, you heard me, homemade pop tarts.  I had the opportunity to try one and in the words of Rachel Ray “Yummo!”  And what a smart business mind by growing his own herbs, saving on cost big time not only for himself but also for his customers. 

If you visit their main location in Lawrenceville, ask for James.  He is the owner and mastermind behind Dozens.  In his own words, he says he “let’s the ingredients speak for themselves.”  A true artist of food. 

Dozen Bake Shop on Urbanspoon

Convivial Columbus!

Union Cafe in Columbus,OH Short North district has become one of our favorite restaurants.  The atmospher is a good time, flat screens all around playing music videos, drinks of any style and food so good that it is sinful. You may even have people coming around with shots, which may not be a typical thing to do, but just adds to the good time you will have at Union Cafe.   I really wish we had a place similar in Pittsburgh.  Yes, we have places kind of like it, and multiple choices of all kinds of restaurants, but Union Cafe is just a lot of fun and a totally different experience.

The Short North District reminds me of our East Carson Street but a little smaller.  Shops, restaurants, bars, clubs and an overall fun night life for all.  That being said, its probably not the best place to take the kids.

I noticed that Union has a lower rating on Urbanspoon, but if you don’t know what you are walking into then I can see why.  We personally giving it 2 thumbs up!

I had the Lobster Ravioli.  I have to admit it was one of the best Lobster Raviolis I’ve ever had.  Sometimes other places make the Lobster mushy because it sits for a while, but this Lobster had the perfect bite and crunch to it.  The garlic roll added a nice touch. 

White Mocha Martini
The next time you are visiting Columbus make sure you visit the Union Cafe and and the Short North District, I promise, that you will not be disappointed. 
Union Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wheeling Coffee Shoppe, Biscotti worth the stop

This past saturday we ventured across PA state lines along I-70 toward Columbus. Prior to the drive, it was decided that we would use Urbanspoon to find a worthwhile stop for a morning coffee. Wheeling Coffee Shoppe was one of the few offerings that caught our eye. This quaint little corner coffee shop offers a large selection of drinks and has inside seating. It was apparent that everything on and off the menu was made with love. And the locals that were sitting around the shop all seemed to be in good spirits.

My usual morning drink is an Espresso Americano, so it was an easy choice from the menu. The beans were very good, though I didn’t take notice as to their origin. The mosy impressive item, by far, was the biscotti that I got. Now, perhaps biscotti aren’t one of my specialties, but I could tell the shape and texture of them were different than what I am used to. First off, it was shaped-flatter offering more surface area for any drizzles or toppings. After just one bite I was willing to say it was the best I’ve ever had. It was dry, as biscottis are supposed to be, but it wasn’t hard. I wasn’t compelled to start dipping it in my Americano. Also, on this biscotti, the chocolat drizzle wasn’t overly sweet, so it was a great breakfast snack for the road.

Wheeling Coffee Shoppe on UrbanspoonWest Viginia sports the slogan “Wild and Wonderful.” And being this was my first adventure eating in this state, I can say that The Pittsburgh TasteBuds might need to cross state lines more often to see what Wild and Wonderful things other states have. I look forward to finding out if there are actually any signature dishes from WV!

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Super Bowl Party Food Bracket – Pittsburgh vs Green Bay

The final cities have earned their way into Super Bowl 45.  The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers will face-off in Texas on February 6 for the Lombardi trophy.  While both cities compete in the ultimate football showdown, we will be having a piece of each city in out Super Bowl Party menu.  However, being from Pittsburgh, the menu will obviously favor out home team.  Full gameday menu and recipes coming soon!

Oakland Restaurant Week, January 24-28, 2011

Today kicked of restaurant week in New York City.  Last week, Washington, D.C. hosted their own as well.  Restaurant week is a great time of the year for any foodie looking for a deal on a top-notch meal.  Last year, I was fortunate enough to be in Washington, D.C. for theirs and enjoyed a 4 course meal at a downtown restaurant for less than $30! 
Pittsburgh does have a restaurant week at the end of May coordinated by Pittsburgh LocalFoodService.  In fact, last year, we went to River Moon Cafe  and Josephine prepared a wonderful 3-course dinner offering for only $20.10.  I look forward to another week of great dinner deals in 2011.  (Unfortunately, River Moon Cafe is now closed so that Josephine may enjoy retirement.  We miss you Josephine.)
If you are a fan of the restaurant week concept, the Oakland area of Pittsburgh is having a mini-restaurant week with nine participating restaurants for this work week of January 24 through 28, 2011.  Each of the participating restaurants are offering 5 days of $5 lunch meals.  Check out the Oakland Business District website for participating restaurants and more information.

The Northsider Cupcake – Tribute To The Clark Bar

Pittsburgh’s northside has a rich history, much like the cupcake that bears its name. At the Priory Fine Pastries, the Northsider is a tribute to D. L. Clark and the Clark Bar Company. This yellow cupcake has a peanut-butter-cream frosting on top and in its center. The cupcake is finished with a light chocolate drizzle and some Clark Bar pieces. It is scrumptious! With the nutty notes in the cupcake, the hazelnut coffee I ordered to accompany my dessert was a perfect pairing.

After reading deeper into the history of the Clark Bar, Clark bars were produced and made popular through their company which was located in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, now a part of Pittsburgh’s northside.

This was my first time eating in the bakery shop located on East Ohio Street, just a short walk from Bistro To Go. I had however, ordered desserts for the Summer Luau Wine Exchange back in August and they were a huge hit as well.

Priory Fine Pastries on UrbanspoonIf anyone is in need of high quality baked goods, check out Priory Fine Pastries for their specialty items, like the Northsider, or speak with someone like I did in August to do a custom offering.

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Bistro Bliss on the Northside

Bistro To Go is a quainty little stop along East Ohio street in Pittsburgh’s northside. Its popularity is evident by the crowds that I see walking in and out on a cold winter’s day. Each weekday has several different featured hot lunch specials which are displayed in a display case upon entering. Today, despite the cold, I opted for some bistro specialties. Much like other popular chain bistros, like Panera Bread, Bistro To Go offers a “Pick a Pair” option, where you have a choice of half a sandwich, half a salad or a cup of soup.

For lunch today, I opted for a Pick a Pair of “Mr. Pepper” Bistro Sandwich and the “Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad” served over a bed of greens. The lunch satistifed my lunch hunger and hit many of my top taste profiles.

The Mr. Pepper sandwich tastes nothing like its cousin Dr. Pepper. It is a turkey and peppered bacon sandwich with onion, provolone cheese, roasted tomatoes, spring mix lettuce with balsamic vinegar on a three cheese roll. The peppered bacon shines through on the sandwich. The use of a spring mix over traditional iceburg lettuce was a nice touch. I didn’t taste much of the balsamic, though it must have been there because the sandwich wasn’t dry. Overall, it was good, though I would have preferred a softer bread around this sandwich.

Bistro To Go on UrbanspoonFor the salad, I very much enjoyed this creamy chicken salad over the bed of greens. The ultimate ingredient, though, were the almonds. After having this salad, I am adding toasted, sugared almonds to my list of favorite salad toppings – also on the list is bacon bits, and warm raisins.

Last night we had a snowstorm, which one Tweeter, @BoringPGH, coined as the SNOWtoriousBIG. Today, as I take my car to Lockhart Tires for new tires to navigate the snowy roads.  What better way to spend an hour than stopping by the Bistro for lunch. I think the Priory Fine Pastries is in order for dessert!

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