Pizza Pie in New York!

John's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon
New York City is know for many different cuisine, but Italian flavors rank very high in the Big Apple.  On Friday night before seeing a Broadway show (The Addams Family)  we decided to try a well known Pizza spot in the city called John’s Pizzeria in Midtown West. 

John’s Pizzeria is a very busy spot with a lot of seating and quick service.  Our show started at 8pm and we had a bit of a late start to dinner, but John’s catered to us very well in the short time we had to eat.  We ordered a 8 cut pie with sausage and peppers. 
The Pizza came out very hot, the topping portions, cheese and sauce were perfect all around.  The best thing was when you took a bite, you didn’t have the annoyance of toppings falling off, which for me is a big deal.  The size of the slices were perfect and between the both of us was a perfect amount to fill us up before the show. 
When it comes to price it was the perfect split,  especially with our drinks and tip.  I definitely recommend John’s for service, taste and price!  Also, make sure to let your server know you are headed to a show nearby, which in my opinion helped time our table so we could enjoy our food and have plenty of time to walk over to the show. 
John’s also has beautiful architecture as well so you can not only enjoy the company but the view from all around.

Thank you John’s for an enjoyable dinner and a fun start to our evening!

Good Morning New York City!

Pershing Square on Urbanspoon

This past weekend TastebudB and I took a weekend trip to New York City.   This was my first visit to the Big Apple and I was excited to try all the good food you hear so much about!   We arrived very early in the morning, dropped off our bags at the Intercontinential Barclay and went walking the streets and came across Pershing Square. 

Pershing Square is located right across the street from Grand Central Station on 42nd Street.  I know we try to find you all more reasonable places to eat that won’t kill your wallet but lets face it, its New York City, everything is expensive but the good thing is that the food is very good! 

I ordered fresh squeezed orange juice, French Toast with Bacon and it came with a little side of some fruit.  Now, I already have my favorite place for French Toast here in Pittsburgh and no one has ever made it better than the Dor-Stop.  But,  the French Toast at Pershing Square was an excellent delight.  You can’t see in the picture but their are three pieces of French Toast, it was hot, thick and very delicious.  The bacon was not overlly salty and cooked well and the fruit added a nice touch to the rest of the breakfast. 

 Tastebud B ordered a Spinich, Bacon and Cheddar Omelette that came with homefries and wheat toast. The eggs were cooked gently into a thick omelette base and was very good and filling.  Both of our choices were a great way to start our adventure around New York 
And if you are a tourist stopping in like we were,  you will fit right in because the general crowd was a mix of people just in for breakfast, tourists and even some business men and women were having meetings or meeting up with fellow co-workers before work.

If you are in this area of town for breakfast I very much recommend this place!  Go check it out!

An Italian Retreat at Mia Madre Trattoria

Mia Madre Trattoria on Urbanspoon

Mia Madre Trattoria in Avalon, PA (few miles north of Downtown Pittsburgh) was the home for our first of two summer wine exchanges.   After just one visit we knew a wine exchange was in order for this one of a kind restaurant. We fell in love with the welcoming feel as if we were family, and trust me, they will make you feel right at home.  And, most importantly,  we loved the home cooking straight from family recipes and that awesome Italian sense of taste and cooking from the heart.   We wanted our friends, family, and Pittsburgh Tastebud members to have the same awesome experience we had so on June 14th, 2011 the wine exchange took place and Mia Madre Trattoria impressed us more than expected!

Once again they brought us in and catered to us like family.  The staff was organized and ready for our big group all coming in at one time. The biggest thing for me was the staff always had a smile on their face no matter how busy. The food was cooked well, tasty, melted in our mouths and was so properly done that you wouldn’t have known that had to cook for a large group of 38 people. 

We (The Pittsburgh Tastebuds) highly recommend Mia Madre Trattoria for your night out or event.  They are very accommodating, friendly, welcoming, and lets face it, it is the best Italian food in the area.  All of our guests raved about the food and plan on returning back. 

When you go to visit make sure you ask for Al and say hello!

Menu Suggestions:  Get the Greens & Beans or Banana Peppers for an Appetizer.  For dinner I suggest the Eggplant Parmigiana or Veal Marsala and for dessert the Tiramisu.   Those are just my suggestions and don’t let it hold you back from looking over the whole menu, you can’t go wrong with any of the menu options.

Solstice, bright spot for Greensburg fine dining

Birthdays can be so much fun to celebrate. For the Pittsburgh TasteBuds, attending a birthday dinner at a restaurant we’ve never been to before is even more fun. Recently we had the pleasure of celebrating a dear friend’s birthday at Solstice in Greensburg. As a result, PghTasteBudA has found the first Greensburg restaurant that he would actually go back to!

After arriving early, we decided to indulge in a pre-dinner drink. Many creative options appear on the drink menu. As seen in this picture, I had a Blueberry Muffin Martini. The drink was sweet and buttery, too rich for me to have a second. After the martini, we switched to wine for the remainder of the occasion.

The table ordered a cheese tray to pick at while our entrées were made. I’m not a thorough lover of cheeses, but everyone at the table enjoyed the plate. Both TasteBudA and the birthday girl had a caesar salad as a lead-in to the main course, which they raved about.

Ironically, TasteBudA and the birthday girl also ordered the Crabcakes for a main dish. As I recall, there was nothing left on their plate following the meal. Though he’s never been to Maryland, “Land of the Crabcake,” he proclaimed they were exactly what you’d expect a crabcake to be – not overly bready with a nice complimentary seasoning.

I had the Cioppino, a dish that I hold dear to my heart as our Christmas Eve dinner tradition. I wish I’d have had more bread to soak up the rich broth. In fact, the dish was too meaty and large to finish. And if it weren’t a fish stew that I wouldn’t trust myself to properly reheat, I’d have taken it in a doggy bag.

The meal was a huge success. Everyone loved their food and the company. The meal ended with the birthday girl getting her flourless chocolate cake, which looks more like a brownie on the plate, but is her favorite dessert at Solstice. Kudos to the kitchen for taking the time to make her dessert plate a little extra special.

The service was great and I look forward to going back again to try another spectacular item from their menu.
Solstice Restaurant and Lounge on Urbanspoon

Subway Sub of the Month – Chipotle Chicken & Cheese

Chipotle Chicken & Cheese sub from Subway
on 6″ 9-grain wheat bread

For June 2011, Subway is featuring the Chipotle Chicken & Cheese as their Sub of the Month.  In its second consecutive month of chicken-based featured subs, this month Subway offers a sub can be ordered any time of the year, though this month at a special price.

Whereas the May Orchard Chicken Salad was a health-conscious offering which Subway’s Nutrional Information easily depicts, this month you need to breakdown the sandwich into its components to see the full details on how this sub stacks up into your daily food intake.  To me, the numbers are a little surprising, but in reality the sandwhich stacks up very similar to the 6″ Buffalo Chicken with regular Ranch dressing.

Nutritional Value
June 2011 Feature
6″ Chipotle Chicken
& Cheese
The Breakdown
6″ 9-grain wheat bread +
grilled chicken strips + chipotle sauce +
montery jack cheese + veggies
(b + chx + s + chs + v)
210 + 80 + 100 + 50 + 15
2 + 1.5 + 10 + 4 + 0
40 + 0 + 1 + 0 + 3
5 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0
8 + 16 + 0 + 3 + 0

The above table uses only the initial amount of Chipotle Southwest sauce added to the chicken prior to its cooking and uses montery jack cheese as my recommended cheese considering the spicy flavor profile of the sandwhich.  Other cheeses will vary by  +/- 5 calories, and +/- 1g in fat and protein.

If you are looking to indulge in this “feature” flavor, then this is the month to do it as it is being offered as a  $5 footlong.  However, if you’d going to Subway as a health-conscious meal, I recommend the 6″ Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki without cheese, where you’ll save yourself 75 calories and 13g of fat on the 6″ sandwhich.

In July the Sub of the Month will be the traditional Italian B.M.T.(R) offered as a $5 footlong.

Subway on UrbanspoonFind a Subway near you on Urbanspoon!

Mike and Tonys Gyros-Southside

My first stop to find the best gyro in Pittsburgh was Mike and Tony’s on East Carson Street on the Southside. When entering, the place itself doesn’t look like much and it is what I like to call a typical hole in the wall. But, the food was really good!

I ofcourse had a gyro with everything on it: Lettuce, Tomato and Gyro sauce and a side of fries. The service was excellent, the food came out fast and the gyro was really good. All I know is that the other locations have big shoes to fill.

Mike & Tony's Gyros & Shish on Urbanspoon