1810 Tavern in Bridgewater

1810 Tavern in Bridgewater
1810 Tavern in Bridgewater, PA

Some may complain that Beaver is “too far away” or say “what would anyone in Beaver know ’bout fine dining” – to that we scoff. The drive was just a little over half an hour away to the neighboring town of Bridgewater and we found that 1810 Tavern is serving exquisite meals in a cozy tavern dining room.

Pictures below are not only of our meals, but also of our friends who we joined for the occasion.  The waitstaff was great with suggestions and very attentive to our table, as well as her other tables in the bustling dining room.

The menu changes frequently, so I won’t go into too much detail as to the ingredients in each dish.  I will say that the pictures certainly do the meals justice.

Calamari served with chopsticks
Our friends passed around creatively served calamari
Smoked Salmon Tacos from 1810 Tavern
PghTasteBudA had Smoked Salmon Tacos as an appetizer
The entree for PghTasteBudA was a filet with sweet potato mash.
Lamb from 1810 Tavern
One friend had to have the lamb, and if you can believe it, it was tastier than it looks too!
Chilean Sea Bass
Pesto ravioli atop a beautiful cut of Chilean Sea Bass
Dessert at 1810 Tavern
Not sure how TasteBudA found room for this in his stomach, but he couldn't resist ordering dessert.

1810 Tavern has many reasons that it would be worth a visit, aside from the great food, the bar boasts a great beer selection and often has live entertainment.

We’d like to promote that fine dining does exist outside of Allegheny County and now is a wonderful time of the year to make the drive through the beautiful southwestern PA roads to visit 1810 Tavern.  Go. Do it.

For our wine dinner crowd, we absolutely loved the atmosphere and will be in talks with the event manager at the possibility of hosting a wine exchange in their private event space on the second floor.
1810 Tavern on Urbanspoon

Riley’s Pour House

Potato Pancakes
Potato Pancakes

As we continue to explore the south-west areas of Pittsburgh, Riley’s Pour House popped up as a cool Irish restaurant worth checking out. Following a summer happy hour, where we fell in love with the vibe, we returned on a late summer evening to sit outside and get some Irish grub.

Because we had done our research on the place, there were a few must-order items which we had to try.  We started with the potato pancakes, served with sour cream and apple sauce.  This was a good start to our meal and like any good Irish appetizer, went well with our first beer of the night.

Guinness Fries
Guinness Fries

TasteBudB enjoyed just a couple of the potato pancakes, because the Guinness Fries caught his eye on the menu.  The beer-infused sauce was poured over a basket of french fries and hit the spot.

Fish and Chips
Fish and Chips

Our friend, Matt, accompanied us this evening and he ordered the Traditional Irish Fish & Chips. Though we didn’t collect any official feedback from Matt, there were no complaints coming from his end of the table.

Chef Lloyds Own Irish Cod Cake Platter
Chef Lloyds Own Irish Cod Cake Platter

For my main course, I decided to go with the chef’s signature dish – Chef Lloyds Own Irish Cod Cake Platter. The cakes themselves were divine.  Served with homefries (also excellent), the center of the cakes were creamy, but flaky.  If the menu wasn’t riddled with so many other great options, it would be the only thing I’d order each time we go.

Reuben Sandwich
Reuben Sandwich

TasteBudB has been on quite the kick for marbled-rye bread, so he didn’t hesitate to order the “We are Reuben” sandwich. The sandwich was piled high with corned beef brisket and served with chips. The sandwich was so filling that he wasn’t able to finish it, eating only half.

Riley's Pour House on UrbanspoonSo, as the food came and the beers flowed, it was a great relaxing night on the back patio of Riley’s Pour House.  Congratulations to the new owners, who have revitalized the restaurant and made it a true gem on Main Street in Carnegie.  The restaurant has entertainment brought in from time to time, so we’ll be sure to come back for some cool Irish tunes on a future visit.

Wine Exchange Scouting at Arpino

Roman Cheese Balls
Roman-Style Rice Balls are a cheesy, rice ball lightly deep fried and served with a marinara sauce.

As we began looking for a wine exchange location for October 2012, it was about time we ventured into the south hills for a venue.  Being new to the area, it felt only natural to start with some of the great BYOB locations which participated in Pittsburgh Restaurant Week.

On a cool fall night, we made reservations for Arpino Trattoria in Scott Township.  As the name suggests, this quaint restaurant serves up Italian food from a kitchen inspired by the area of Arpino, Italy.

Inside the Roman Cheese Balls
A peek inside the roman-style rice ball.

We started our meal with the Roman-Style Rice balls, something we’d never seen on an Italian menu before.  They were served in a small pyramid in a bath of homemade marinara sauce.  TasteBudA commented at how much he loved the marinara sauce, while I particularly liked the texture and slight cheesiness of the contents.

Following the appetizer, we each had entrees which were served with bountiful side salads.  The house vinaigrette added such brightness to the salad that I even ate my olives.  (Just to be clear, I love the taste of olives and the brine, but rarely actually eat olives themselves, unless in a martini or the like.)

House Salad from Arpino
The house salad from Arpino Trattoria was bursting with fresh ingredients

For our entrees, I ordered the Linguine Pomodoro ($17) with the addition of Shrimp ($4 add-on).  The dish came with vibrantly colored cherry tomatoes.  The dish was tossed in a light garlic sauce and topped with nicely sized shrimp.  Not that Arpino is the only restaurant to do this – but why are the tails very rarely removed from shrimp when served in a pasta dish?  It adds an unneeded step for the diner and I think restaurants should contemplate making their dishes easier to consume.

Shrimp Linguine Pomodoro
Shrimp Linguine Pomodoro
Zucchini Rollatini
Zucchini Rollatini

For his entree, TasteBudA ordered the Zucchini Rollatini as a throw-back to his former waitering days at Don Parmesan.  When served, he realized that this dish wasn’t exactly the way it had been done from his previous restaurant, but it was a pleasant surprise.  He expected the entire dish to be piping hot through the center, but Arpino took a creative twist with it.  The entree was cooked first, and then the addition of the cold cheese was added.  It gave the dish a contrast with each bite.  TasteBudA was quite pleased that he got even more marinara with this dish.

Arpino Trattoria (Manor Oak Village) on UrbanspoonAs for a wine exchange location, the restaurant seats about 40 guests and is BYOB.  Thanks to our pleasant experience with the wait staff and chef, we are happy to be hosting out October 2012 Wine Exchange at Arpino.

Rise and Shine, Let’s go to Bob’s

Bobs Diner in Carnegie
Got an ole fashioned cup of joe at Bobs Diner in Carnegie

While we certainly enjoy trying the hip new spots that like to be creative, we also enjoy visiting the local, old-school locations, especially at breakfast time. While passing through Carnegie around 8:00 a.m. this weekend (don’t ask why), we saw quite a crowd of cars in the parking lot of Bob’s Diner. Figuring “if a crowd loves it, then let’s see what the buzz is about,” we went in and found a nice breakfast atmosphere. It was a Saturday morning and the locals were discussing the H.S. football game from the previous night and the staff was pleasant and attentive.  After getting some coffee, I decided to go for the gusto and get the mixed grill.  Or rather it was lack of a decision that lead me to order , since I just couldn’t make up my mind and I wasn’t awake enough to rationalize.  The mixed grill was good, but nothing special.  In fact, I wish there was breakfast sausage in it instead of smoked summer sausage.  I found it filling and very much enjoyed the Mancini’s Italian toast that accompanied it.

Upon the writing of this review, I’ve now discovered that Bob’s Diner has 3 Pittsburgh locations with one more opening in the south hills on Painters Run Road soon.  If nothing else, it is a locally-owned and operated establishment, so pay them a visit if you’re out for breakfast and take in some hearty breakfast food (and even take the time to do some people watching like we did).

Bobs Original Mixed Grill
Bobs Original Mixed Grill (served all day) - Scrambled eggs, home fries, onions, green peppers, sausage, bacon, ham, and cheese, cooked together and piled high with your choice of toast $7.95