Summer Events

As the Pittsburgh TasteBuds we pride ourselves on finding great restaurants with delicious food and working with them to bring our group for wine exchange dinners at a convenient price for all. But, we have learned that the one thing we are missing are trips to local Pennsylvania wineries. Below are scheduled dates for winery trips.

June 1st: In June we are planning a trip to Lago Winery in Jamestown, PA…right by Pymatuning Lake. We are having discussions with Lago to see if we can work any deals with them, but you will be able to sample wines, buy bottles and drink them on site, buy cheese and meat platters and they have awesome wood fire flat bread pizzas. Afterward, come take the short drive down the street to Conneaut Lake Park to ride the all famous Blue Streak roller coaster for just 3 dollars per ride!

July 20th: In July we will travel to Narcisi Winery. This will be the The Pittsburgh Tastebuds first trip to Narcisi. Updates to come!

August: We are looking to visit Arsenal Cider House & Wine Cellar. Official date and updates to come.

Please remember to watch for updates here on our website, facebook and twitter.

North Hills Food Truck Roundup 2.0

North Hills Food Truck Roundup 2.0

North Hills Food Truck Roundup 2.0
Food trucks gather behind Coffee Buddha on Perry Hwy on March 30, 2013

Today was the second installment of the food truck roundup at Coffee Buddha in the north hills.  The sun was out and so were the people. Hundreds of people flocked to the back parking lot of the hipster coffee bar to get food served from the side of trucks. In addition to pack leader PghTacoTruck who calls Coffee Buddha home 4 days a week, they were joined today by Oh My Grill, Franktuary, BRGR Truck, Sweet Treats truck, Dozen Bake Shop, PghPierogi truck and Fukuda.

Tacos from PghTacoTruck
Gourmet street tacos from PghTacoTruck at the North Hills Food Truck Roundup

We arrived right at noon and took advantage of our early bird timing to get pierogis and hot dogs before heading into CB for coffee drinks.  The pierogis were only $2.50 for a trio of potato and cheese.  Though they fell a little short for TasteBudA on flavor, who typically only eats only his mom’s legendary pierogis, they got us going for the day.  The girl working the Franktuary truck was very excited that their 2013 debut was at this event.  TasteBudA got sauerkraut on a standard dog, while I opted for the fresh chopped onion.  Each dog was only $3 with topping.

Inside Coffee Buddha, the motif took advantage of the name buddha and had many ceramic and artwork to thematically set the mood.  I got the signature “Heartmender” which in reality is 2 shots of espresso.  TasteBudA got the Peanut Buddha Latte.  The latte had a little nut crumble atop the frothy cup. I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to be a peanut butter flavor or a peanut brittle flavor.  Regardless, it perked up TasteBudA enough before we got in the longest food truck line at the event – the PghTacoTruck line.

PghTacoTruck Menu
PghTacoTruck Menu offered a little something for every taste

The menu for the PghTacoTruck was perhaps the most extensive of all the trucks in the roundup, offering everything from a standard taco to vegetarian (maybe even vegan) options.  WIth such a variety, it was tough to decide.  PghTasteBudA got the Korean Steak with truck kimchi for $5. I got the Juicy Pork with sweet thai slaw for $4 (both pictured above).  While I’ve had poor success using raw corn tortillas at home, the taco truck knows what he’s doing.  The tacos were served on a double tortilla base which was perfect to stand up to the juicy meat fillings.  We’d highly recommend the PghTacoTruck to anyone in the north hills throughout the week.  They can be found at Coffee Buddha every Wed-Sat from 12pm-8pm.  Follow @PghTacoTruck on twitter for special event appearances and variations in schedule.

PhotoBlog: Girasole in Shadyside

As our 21st Wine Exchange fast approached, we felt the need to find a stellar place to host a fitting “21st Birthday” themed wine exchange. We found that place in Girasole. Take a photo tour of our dinner and join us for our next wine exchange on Monday, April 15, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. to discover why we fell in love with this cute little Italian restaurant just off of Walnut Street in Shadyside.

Appetizer – Mussels. There was actual strips of freshly cooked bacon in the broth which added a slightly smoky accent to the mussels.
Black Truffle Ravioli
Black Truffle Ravioli – My ravioli were served with a creamy sauce with fresh tomatoes throughout. The ravs were tender and delicious.
Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli
Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli – TasteBudA got the ravioli with a creamy marinara sauce with his meal. He raved about the dish so much, that you can find it on the wine exchange menu.
Caramel Mocha Gelato – Though at first, TasteBudA thought they brought the wrong flavor, he did not read close enough to know that it was caramel and chocolate with a hint of java flavor.

Interested in the wine exchange event on April 15?  Here is the menu for the event:

Mini filo cups with mushrooms and gruyere cheese

Polenta pizza topped with an assortment of meats, cheeses and vegetables

Antipasto bar with salamis, provolone and fontina cheese, roasted peppers, olives and artiichokes

Girasole Salad – spring mix, carrots, tomatoes, kalamata olives, chick peas, gorgonzola, sunflower seeds, sunflower vinagrette

(Choice of one:)

spinach and ricotta ravioli in a tomato cream sauce

mussels with roasted red peppers, tomato and basil

braised port and honey short ribs over creamy polenta

View the Menu and RSVP at:

Cider House Rules

The 1st ever Pittsburgh Mead and Cider Festival will be held Saturday April 27, 2013 at the Old Iron City Brewery from 1pm-4pm

Ok, I’ll admit it. I’ve never actually seen Cider House Rules, but I can say that Arsenal Cider House in Lawrenceville really does rule! Though were had visited in its first year of operation, we recently returned with some great friends to find that the selection has grown and so has the popularity.While the Cider House itself only sells the cider by the growler, visitors can sample up to four different variations of cider for free (valid 21+ ID required).

There were a couple “still” varietals which resembled an apple wine, but more “carbonated” options which were more beer-esque (think of the 16 oz. Hard Cider you can buy at the beer distributor).  TasteBudA was drawn to the apple-fruit fusions of plum and peach, while I found the apple-mead selections to be less complex and enjoyable.

The four of us indulged in the sampling before deciding we were enjoying what we were tasting and wanted more.  So, we required a growler to continue our afternoon.  Growlers, like with beer, are refillable and you can get a punch card to earn frequent-filler-rewards.

The decor is completely dedicated to the history of the Lawrenceville Arsenal located right across the street on 39th street.  As we sat for a while and chatted, the number of folks who came in to simply refill their growlers was astonishing.  Not only did we lose track of time and enjoy and entire growler in-house, but we refilled it and took a fresh growler to go.

Arsenal Cider House and Wine Cellar on UrbanspoonLike Arsenal Cider House and Wine Cellar on Facebook for information on the local bars and restaurants where they have Arsenal Cider on tap.  And keep an eye out for the 1st ever Pittsburgh Mead and Cider Fest which will be held Saturday April 27, 2013 at the Old Iron City Brewery from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.