Visit to food contest veterans Triangle Bar and Grill

Classic Italian Hoagie
Classic Italian Hoagie from Triangle Bar and Grill, a miniature version of the Battleship

Recall when The Pittsburgh TasteBuds were judges for Pittsburgh’s Best Hoagie contest through WPXI?  During that competition, one of the favorite hoagies was from Triangle Bar and Grill.  And, way back when the Pittsburgh TasteBuds first got started, I remembered sampling some chili from Chili With The Works at South Side Works, where we’d given them an honorable mention.

Triangle Bar & Grill on UrbanspoonSo, on a lazy Sunday afternoon recently, TasteBudA and I ventured out for a lunch and wound up at Triangle Bar and Grill “Home of the Battleship”, which is a monstrous Italian Hoagie measuring 24-inches in length.  With such a reputation, there was no doubt in my mind that I’d have to get the Italian Hoagie, though I opted for a much smaller version of the Battleship.  This super meaty sub struck a nice balance between the oregano and dressing which can make or break a good hoagie.  Add in some shredded lettuce, tomato and paper-thin sliced onions and this is a great sandwich!  If only they’d served bloody mary’s, I’d have gotten one to compliment the lunch meal on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Triangle Bar and Grill - Fried Jumbo
TasteBudA got the Friend Jumbo Sandwich

TasteBudA got a sandwich that reminded him of growing up in the ‘burgh – a Fried Jumbo Sandwich.  For those not accustomed to Pittsburgh-ese, jumbo means bologna.  Also very meaty, the sandwich seemed to hit the spot.

Sure, Triangle Bar and Grill may be well off the beaten path, but we were far from the only people ordering on a Sunday afternoon in the summer.  The place is quite popular for takeout and worth a stop if you’re in the area.

TasteBuds attend Pittsburgh Food blogger dinner during restaurant week

Blogger Dinner at Porch at Schneley
Fixed-Price Three-Course Meal offered during all of restaurant week

During Pittsburgh Restaurant Week Summer 2012 celebration, the Pittsburgh TasteBuds joined fellow bloggers from across the city for the second food blogger dinner from the new Pittsburgh Restaurant Week program. This dinner was at the Porch at Schenley. Attendees were able to choose from either the restaurant week special, or the full restaurant menu.

The Porch at Schenley
Front of The Porch at Schenley

The Porch at Schenley is a member of the Eat n Park Hospitality Group of restaurants.  Nestled at the entrance to Schenley Park from Forbes Ave, diners can take advantage of both the lovely view and the free park wi-fi connection.

If, like me, you’ve hesitated in the past going to the Porch because you have it in your head that it will be anything like Eat N Park, then hopefully this post will change your mind as it has mine.

Chef Kevin Hermann produces wonderful food, most of which is locally sourced.  I’d describe the menu as “fine dining with a farmer’s touch.”  It is clear that the chef and the restaurant management take great pride not only in what they produce on the plate, but how it got to the plate.

For the meal, I got the restaurant week menu.  Here’s a peak at the three-courses.

Porch Restaurant Week - Entree
Chocolate Blueberry Pie with sweet cream and hazelnut brittle
Porch Restaurant Week - Appetizer
Keystone Farm Beef Tartare with wild flower, capers, picholine olives and tomato gastrique
Porch Restaurant Week - Entree
Cunningham Farm Pork Saltimbocca, wild sage, Porch prosciutto, roof top tomatoes, sweet corn and heirloom beans

Each item on the menu was some combination of flavors that I have never had before, though all enjoyed.  Throughout the meal, I sipped on Engine House wine (a new winery open in the Strip District).

After our meal, as an exclusive food-blogger dinner opportunity, we received a tour of the roof-top garden and beehives where Chef Kevin tends to his own crop of ingredients.  It was quite awesome to eat an impressively assembled meal and then say “oh, here is where he grew the tomatoes that went into that dish.”

It was a great night and I think the Food Blogger Dinner will remain a staple-event in the Restaurant Week Celebration for seasons to come.  Here are some additional photos from the event:

Crispy Sweet Corn Cake, Butter Poached Crab Meat & Roasted Chili Coulis (TasteBudA's Appetizer)
Various Pre-Dinner Snacks
Various Pre-Dinner Snacks put out for all bloggers to enjoy during a Harvest Happy Hour hosted by Buy Fresh Buy Local


The Porch at Schenley on Urbanspoon


Eggs n’at, a Pittsburgh-Proud Breakfast Spot

Student’s at Robert Morris University have something we don’t have. A breakfast joint that would even make YaJagoff’s toes curl in delight. Just down the road from RMU in Moon Township, Eggs N’at wears their Yinzer-ness on their sleeve and it works for them.

Doormat at Eggs n'at
Doormat at Eggs n'at "Welcome Ya' Jagoff"

Pulling into Eggs N’at, TasteBudA had no idea where I found this place. Parking in the back of the building among three cop cars, the first thing that came to mind was “Gee – they must have good donuts.” But as soon as I set food on the doormat leading up to the deck, it was quite clear that it would be a fun breakfast experience. The place was bustling at 8am on a Saturday morning, so we decided to sit at the counter. We were immediately greeted with pleasant service and a hot cup of coffee.

Breakfast Omelette at Eggs N'at
Breakfast Omelette at Eggs N'at served with slices of fresh tomato

Browsing the menu, I immediately got excited over the traditional breakfast fare, not because of the entrees, as much as the side – fresh sliced tomatoes!  I decided on an omelette with marbled rye toast to accompany my tomatoes.  Overall, the dish was a good solid breakfast.  The omelette was well made and filling; the buttered rye toast was a nice change from a traditional sourdough or Italian bread choice.  The tomatoes were a pure delight – fresh and juicy.  Though they happened to have been in-season at the time of our visit, they are offered year-round, so I don’t know if it was the freshness that drew me in or not.  As you can see, I got four slices – expecting only two, it was a very pleasant surprise.  Oh and the best part was it was the entire plate was a mere $7.50.

Eggs Benedict
Eggs Benedict from Eggs N'at in Moon Township

Going for broke, TasteBudA opted for a house specialty Eggs Benedict, which came with a side of Kelly’s homefries.  The dish tasted as good as it looks, according to my TasteBud cohort.  He certainly didn’t leave any evidence left on the plate.

Eggs N' at on UrbanspoonSadly, Moon Township is not in our normal rotation of breakfast destinations, so who knows when we’ll make it back again.  But it may now be my mission to see what other breakfast destinations in Pittsburgh will allow me to add some freshly sliced tomatos to my breakfast orders.

TasteBuds head to Conneaut Lake Park

Conneaut Lake Park Entrance
Conneaut Lake Park Entrance

Conneaut Lake Park is still open! After a recent visit to Lago Winery in Jamestown, the TasteBuds made the short drive to Conneaut Lake Park to ride the Blue Streak.

Sure, the park may be in need of a fresh coat of paint, but the historical significance and the passion by the local community to keep the park running provide enough charm to keep riders coming back and keep Conneaut Lake Park open. Rides at the park are pay-per-ride, very reminiscent of a carnival. Not every ride in the park is open, but the classic Blue Streak is still in commission. As an amusement park buff, TasteBudA has always wanted to ride the Blue Streak, the 6th oldest wooden coaster in all of the United States.  Check out our photos below from this very memorable experience.

Are you a rollercoaster tycoon too?  Help contribute to the restoration of Blue Streak.

Mini Golf at Conneaut Lake Park
Miniature Golf is open at Conneaut Lake Park
Blue Streak Tickets at Conneaut Lake Park
Pay-per-ride, the Blue Streak is just $3 per ride.
Blue Streak Station Cars
The cars of Blue Streak are nearly identical to those on the Thunderbolt at Kennywood.
TasteBudB and TasteBudA on Blue Streak
TasteBudB and TasteBudA on Blue Streak.
Blue Streak Hill
The angle at which you are drawn up Blue Streak is quite intense.
Blue Streak Hill Down
But not as intense as the decline, where you practically fly out of your seat.
Conneaut Lake Park Sign
Conneaut Lake Park and Camperland sign in the parking lot. Park for free and pay per ride.
Lago Winery - Tasting Bar

A touch of Italy in western Pennsylvania

Lago Winery - White Pizza
Wood-fired pizza, made white

When one thinks of western PA they normally don’t think fine wine but over the years Pennsylvania has started to make itself know across the country as a place where a fine wine can be bought. And, for the locals, wineries are becoming a staple for a place to enjoy a weekend afternoon for lunch and tastings.

Lago Winery - Tasting Bar
Lago Winery buzzing on a summer Saturday Afternoon

With this we want to introduce to you Lago Winery in Jamestown, Pa: not far from Conneaut Lake and Pymatuning State Park.

If you are coming from Pittsburgh it’s just a ninety minute drive up I-79 and is well worth the drive.  The drive during the fall months would likely be beautiful with all of the autumn scenery.

When you enter the main dining and entertainment area you are greeted by the friendly and knowledgeable staff who will provide you tastings of different wines for just a dollar a piece. Since it is a small winery the selection isn’t very big but you can tell that they take a lot of time and pride into each wine. From sweet blush wines to dry red’s there is something for everyone.

Lago Winery - Cheese Platter
Meat and cheese platter.

Also, they have a nice menu of wood fired thin crust pizzas and a meat & cheese platter.  The pepperoni on the platter was even heart-shaped, how cute.  Feel free to have a seat outside and enjoy a nice summer breeze and a cool band playing while enjoying some cheese and a glass of wine.

All wines can be purchased by the glass and bottle and don’t be afraid to take a bottle home for your next dinner party or game night with friends…we left with a few bottles ourselves!

Subway Sub of the Month – August 2012

The Subway Sub of the Month for August 2012 is the Black Forest Ham, Egg and Cheese with Spinach.  This isn’t a revolutionary offering from Subway, but it does ensure that you can order breakfast all day long.  Do you have to get spinach on it? Not at my local Subway.  They’ll honor the $5 footlong price on any egg and ham combination you order.  The real question is what bread to get it on.  My suggestion is to order it on flatbread for that true breakfast taste, because it will be the most reminicient of an english muffin.

Want to make a “Skinny version” of this sandwich, try our pick:

  • Opt for Egg Whites instead of the traditional whole Egg.
  • Flatbread gives you a smidge of fiber, but Italian bread will save you 80 calories per footlong.
  • Skip the Cheese if you can stand it, or if you must, get shredded and ask for a half serving.

Plus, this month’s offering is perfect for all of the school students who will soon be returning to classes for the fall.  During August, while they are enjoying sleeping long hours into the afternoon.  No matter what hour they walk into their local Subway, they’ll be able to get a breakfast footlong for only $5.

Next Month, it appears Subway is going to go off-book and offer “$5 Footlong Faves”.  More details on exactly what that entails will hopefully be available before September 1st rolls around.