PhotoBlog: Brasserie 33

Brasserie 33 is a somewhat newer establishment on Ellsworth Ave in Shadyside. Thanks to a Groupon, we visited recently and had some mixed reviews. The atmosphere is lacking air conditioning, so be cautious about overly hot days when you’d want to enjoy a cool dinner. There is outside seating for warm days and likely provides a nice casual dinner experience. Our visit was during one of the latest heat waves, so we decided to dine indoors.

TasteBudA never turns down a chance for mussels, so it was clear that was on his menu. I decided to have the Frise Salad. We’ll let the pictures do the talking. Overall, it wasn’t a bad meal, but as a new establishment, I’d give them some time to work out some kinks.

Mussels
The mussels were served with a side of frites. Some of the mussels were huge!
Sweet Bread
Something I wouldn’t normally order, but did enjoy. Though it looks heavy, it was more of a thin broth. As it turns out, I received the last of them.
Frise Salad
Other than the eggs, it was almost as if the salad was assembled upside down. All of the bacon was on the bottom.
House Salad
TasteBudA got the house salad with the balsamic vinaigrette.
Solstice Restaurant in Greensburg PA

Sun-Day Wine Exchange announced in Greensburg

Over the summer, the TasteBuds are headed to the ‘burbs.  In July 2012, the next wine exchange will be headed east of Pittsburgh to Solstice in Greensburg, PA.  With a beautiful deck and a refreshing summer menu, we’ll be having a day all about Sun – on a Sunday, in fact.  Learn more about wine exchanges through our simple FAQs.

July 2012 Wine Exchange
hosted at Solstice Restaurant and Lounge
Sunday July 29, 2012 starting at 6:00pm
$30 Fixed Price Menu
Paid as $5 online RSVP and $25 on restaurant bill.
(price includes tax, gratuity and corkage)
Make your RSVP here and join our Facebook Event to spread the word!

HORS D’ OEUVRES
Mini Vegetable Strudels
Red Curry Shrimp “spoons”

SALAD
Solstice Caesar Salad “Family Style”

ENTREE
(Choice of one:)
Prince Edward Island Mussels
One pound served classic style with toasted bread and Belgian Style Frites & Basil Mayonnaise.
Mediterranean Pasta
Extra virgin olive oil, garlic, basil, fire roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, olives, zucchini, feta cheese.
Asiago Crusted Chicken
 Roasted garlic, pancetta, basil, tomatoes, white wine, sautéed vegetables, garlic potatoes.

DESSERT
Available A la Carte

Have a suggestion for a location West of the city?  Please suggest one for later this summer (late Aug/early Sept).

Menu Tastings at Bocktown – Can you taste success?

Impressed by your own palette? Always choose the chef’s tasting at the restaurant? Like to live on the wild side?  or maybe even have a steel (city) gut?
Bocktown Beer and Grill is looking for you!  From June 11 through June 24, the chefs are going mad and getting wacky.  For the sake of the future of the Bocktown restaurant menu, they need your help deciding which options make the cut.  Items will likely change daily, so stop by more than once for the chance to try as many items as possible.  Based on the description of the event, there no telling what you might end up thinking.  You could leave with reactions from “what mad scientist thought of this?” to “that’s the best dang thing I’ve ever had!”  Regardless, public taste tests are always a fun time, so stop by either Bocktown location in Robinson or Monaca to try it out.

Message from Bocktown:

Our next two weeks will be filled with menu testing and surveys at both locations. Please come on by beginning Monday, June 11, to tell us what you and your taste buds want to see on our next menu. We will be featuring new wing sauces, unusual fry toppings, potential Dahn the Hatch items (entrees,) fresh, fun sandwiches and a few new Snacks N’at for you to analyze. If you want to rally for the reuben, campaign for the carnivore, or pimp the shrimp, we will need to see you!

The surveys will be at your table and will have room for additional feedback and comments. We look forward to this research and development project and value your most important input!

Subway Sub of the Month – Oven Roasted Chicken with Spinach

Chicken and Spinach is the June 2012 Subway $5 Featured Footlong
Chicken and Spinach is the June 2012 Subway $5 Featured Footlong

Subway is keeping it simple for June 2012. The $5 Featured Footlong for this month is the Oven Roasted Chicken with Spinach sandwich. While this doesn’t spark a lot of excitement in my taste buds, it is likely a very strategic selection for Subway.

Based on the pricing at some of the local Pittsburgh-area Subway locations, the Oven Roasted Chicken is already a $5 Regular Footlong, so the fact that it is being marketed as the Feature Footlong when you add spinach is where I feel this month is a local flop for the $5 special.

Hand-crafted Subway Sub
Try your Chicken and Spinach sandwich toasted - with the spinach put through the toasting oven too!

Trying to make something of it, I got my sandwich toasted when I did my taste test and tried something that has never been done before – according to the sandwich artist that crafted my sandwich. I had the spinach added to the sandwich prior to toasting. Sure the spinach wilted a little, but the moisture of the chicken gave the spinach a “steamed” effect and was actually quite delicious.

However, this month also marks the comeback for the popular Avacado add-on that was such a success previously. I know that many locations had a hard time keeping the Smokehouse BBQ Chicken in stock. Maybe this will mark the beginning of the $5 falling to the wayside despite the catchy jingle which made it what it is today. “Five. Five. Five Dollar Foot Long …. ”

Up next for July – everyone’s favorite: Buffalo Chicken!

Don’t get sold out! Buy advance tickets to The Dark Knight Rises.

Gourmet Ballpark Food available at Miller Park in Milwaukee

Step Up to a Full Plate Booth sponsored by Food Network
Step Up to a Full Plate Booth at Miller Park sponsored by Food Network

On the TasteBud’s latest excursion outside of Pittsburgh, we ventured to the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin to see the Pittsburgh Pirates play against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Milwaukee is known for their beers, brats and cheeses, so it was much to my delight that I came across a Food Network booth at Miller Park (named one of America’s Best Pallparks) which went beyond those key ingredients to give me some variety in my weekend.  This “Step Up to a Full Plate” booth, took some spins on some classics.  PNC Park would be very fortunate to be a part of a program like this.

Menu included Buffalo Mac N' Cheese and Bacon Sloppy Joes
Menu included Buffalo Mac N' Cheese and Bacon Sloppy Joes

Buffalo Chicken Mac N’ Cheese and Bacon Sloppy Joes were the two options offered during the Brewers/Pirates series, each for only $7.50.  Feeling confident I knew what the Buffalo Chicken Mac N’ Cheese would taste like, I opted for the Bacon Sloppy Joes.  The sandwich wasn’t large but was quite delicious.  Adding bacon to the traditional sloppy joe sandwich gave it a nice smoky, almost barbequed, flavor.  The addtion of the pepperjack cheese gave it a little spicy, heat kick.  And the fried onions – not from a can – added a fried, crunch.  Sure it might sound like there was a lot going on in the sandwich, but it was a delicious take and something that you certainly wouldn’t expect to get at a ballpark.

Gourmet ballpark food like this should be available at ballparks across America.
Gourmet ballpark food like this should be available at ballparks across America.

Happily, the Pirates won the night I ate this sandwich.  Perhaps if it was offered at PNC Park, I wouldn’t be such bad luck when I attended the games locally.  Because, of course, I’m a good luck charm after I’ve had some good food.

 

 

 

PhotoBlog: Pittsburgh’s Best Restaurant Party

The Pittsburgh TasteBuds attended Pittsburgh’s Best Restaurant Party on June 4, 2012 at Heinz Field.  At the event, Cure won “Best in Show” as voted by the attendees of the event.

Pittsburgh TasteBuds attend Best Restaurant Party
Pittsburgh TasteBuds attend Best Restaurant Party (TasteBudA and TasteBudB)
Displays of sweet, savory and everything in between were featured at the event
Displays of sweet, savory and everything in between were featured at the event
Arpino Trattoria was awarded best BYOB in Pittsburgh.  The TasteBuds will have to have an exchange there soon!
Arpino Trattoria was awarded best BYOB in Pittsburgh. The TasteBuds will have to have an exchange there soon!
Restaurants lined the club level of Heinz Field for the event.  Over 50 restaurants were represented.
Restaurants lined the club level of Heinz Field for the event. Over 50 restaurants were represented.