5 Tips for the South Side Soup Crawl

5 Tips for the South Side Soup Crawl

5 Tips for the South Side Soup Crawl

The South Side Soup Crawl is an annual event to benefit the Brashear Association in the South Side neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Being prepared for the afternoon ahead is critical for aspiring soup crawlers to get the most from there experience. As a multi-year veteran of the event, here are 5 tips to success for the South Side Soup Crawl.

1. You CAN DO IT

Don’t let the distance between two soups get between you and finding the best. The host locations for the crawl will have you making the the approximately 16 block trek along East Carson Street from 10th street to 27th, with several stops off the main street. Look at the crawl as an opportunity to get those FitBit steps in reach your step goal all the while sampling soup. It is quite manageable to make it from one end to the other (and back) within the 3 hours of the crawl. If you have to, treat it like a challenge. See how quickly you can do it all.

2. Plan Your Route Wisely

The list of host locations has been announced, so if you have an extreme planner in your group like we do, be sure plan your crawl route wisely. Side streets will be less crowded and may make for a faster route, but don’t forget the trusty saying “the straightest distance between 2 points is a straight line.”
Check out the list of participating restaurants and host locations.

3. Don’t forget to VOTE

The soup crawl uses a text-voting solution from JA Interactive which is quite wonderful. There are multiple categories. Follow the instructions closely to vote. The winners will be sent to you after the results are tabulated and you can savor in the satisfaction knowing that your voice was heard.

4. Look for Discounts & Offers

The restaurants aren’t just participating for the philanthropic aspect of the event, though that is the heart of the event. They also want to entice you to visit them after the event. Many will distribute coupons or offers for free appetizers, drinks for after the event or to be redeemed through the month of February. Be sure to leave room in your pockets to collect these offers and support the restaurants that you loved most.

5. Reputation Isn’t Everything, Be Open Minded

Have you been to some of the restaurants and not absolutely enjoyed it? That doesn’t mean there soup may not be out of this world. Branch out and attack the list of soups like they are all new, exciting offerings. What if a Mexican restaurant did an Irish Stew … for one day only … just because they can. It’s exciting creativity like that which has been able to capture the popular vote in the past. If you were to avoid the restaurant just because you thought you wouldn’t like it, then you would be a very a good judge.

Enjoy the Soup Crawl and let us know if you have any other tips to add.

Great Lakes Sharpshooter

My Man-Date at Pan with Great Lakes Brewery

Pan is a hot new spot with a menu that leaves a lot to explore. When I saw that they were having a $25 Four Course Beer Paired dinner, all I had to do was find a date. I decided to have a wife-swap night with one of my favorite gal pals and I stole her husband for the night. I can only assume that TasteBudA and her had a nice non-beer dinner somewhere else.

The first and second courses were paired wonderfully! We think the third course and fourth course pairings were inadvertently swapped, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying them. See the dishes below and be sure to keep an eye out for future pairing dinners at Pan. I know I will be!!

  
    
   
Of course it didn’t hurt that my date won the major door prize! A 12-pack of Sharpshooter.  

A Christmas Story

6th Annual Pittsburgh TasteBuds Holiday Wine Exchange

December 2014 Wine Exchange

As per our annual tradition, where the Pittsburgh TasteBuds really got started, we are gathering our friends and followers for the 6th Annual Holiday Wine Exchange.  This year, the venue is going to Sake Asian Cuisine and Sushi Bar in South Side Works.

Just like when Ralphie and his family go out to eat when the home-cooked turkey plans go awry in the movie A Christmas Story, we will be dining at our first sushi restaurant for a wine exchange.  Brush up on your movie knowledge before the exchange, if for no other reason then to get you in the holiday spirit.

Don’t forget to bring a new, unwrapped toy for the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.


 

Pittsburgh TasteBuds Wine Exchange
Your $5 RSVP will be your pre-paid corkage fee for the event. The wine exchange menu is available below and includes tax, tip and corkage.

$30 Per Person
Paid as $5 Online RSVP and $25 Dinner Bill at Restaurant

What’s Included:
· Appetizers (Tango Spicy Tuna, Stuffed Jalapeno, Edamame, Shumai,,Summer Roll, Harumaki, Yakitoti, Crab Rangoon)
· Soup, Salad
· Entrée (Select from choices below)

Entrée Selection:
· Two Sushi Rolls Dinner
Signature Roll (Shrimp Tempura topped with spicy crabmeat and black caviar)
Dragon Roll (Eel and cucumber topped with tobiko and avocado)
· Sashimi Dinner
· Sushi Dinner
· Teppanyaki (New York Steak, Shrimp, Chicken, Salmon, or Scallop)
· Thai Mango (Chicken or Shrimp) (Fresh sliced mango in spicy and sweet mango glaze.)
· Thai Seafood Combo (Jumbo shrimp, scallops, bell peppers, shiitake mushrooms, eggplant, asparagus, sweet peas served in special Thai brown sauce)
· General Tso’s Chicken

** Entrees requiring a protein selection (ie: Beef, Chicken, etc) will be fulfilled at the restaurant.


 

What is a Wine Exchange? A wine exchange is a dinner at a BYOB restaurant in which attendees (optionally) bring 2 bottles, one to accompany their meal and the second to be exchanged in a white elephant gift exchange at some point during the meal. The method for selecting exchange wines changes each event to correspond with the theme of the event. The average participant typically exchanges a bottle ranging from $10-20.

Arni Sto Fourno - Mediterrano

October 2014 Wine Exchange at Mediterrano

Arni Sto Fourno - Mediterrano
As we look forward to fall harvest flavors, we are about to return to a north hills favorite, Mediterrano. This time Chef Swiger is preparing a feast to be served family style among all our closest friends and followers. If all goes as planned, weather-included, our lamb will be roasted outside of the restaurant on a spit resulting in a delectable flavor.

The entire menu is as follows:

Appetizer Sampler
Hummus and Grilled Pita, Stuffed Grape Leaves, Spanakopita

Soup & Salad Course
Potato-Fennel-Leek Soup and Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Balsamic Glaze

Dinner Course, Served Family Style
Roasted Lamb on a Spit served with a Rich Lamb Gravy and Tossed with Gemeli Pasta, Topped with Kasseri Cheese
Roasted Tomatoes Stuffed with Organic Grains, Grilled Zucchini, Squash, and a Blend of Cheeses, with Cinnamon Infused Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Green Beans with Tomatoes, Onions, and Garlic
Rice Pilafi with Toasted Almonds, Pine Nuts, and Orzo

Soft Drinks/Coffee/Hot Tea included
More Info >>

RSVP using the following Register button:

Register

Sip N Spin

Sip ‘n Spin, a wine exchange workout

Club CycleIn the recent couple months I’ve finally found a spinning studio that I enjoy in the Pittsburgh area, Club Cycle in Dormont.  Club Cycle is a locally owned business where spinning and club music collide.  Live DJs spin music during a 45 or 60 minute cardio workout.

On Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at 5:45 p.m. Club Cycle will be hosting its second Sip ‘n Spin session.  This class is similar to our Pittsburgh TasteBuds Wine Exchanges, but instead of eating along with an exchange of wine, you are burning calories. Newbies can enjoy their first class for only $10 if they sign-up online.

Sip N SpinSeating is limited to 20 people, but the registration system does keep track of a waiting list, so don’t hesitate to join it!  Bring a bottle of wine valued around $15 and come exchange with the funnest spinning group in Pittsburgh.

Fingers crossed that DJ Kurve is the DJ because not only does he mix the music live for the class, but there are also videos to help distract the fact that you are working out.

 

Riley's Pour House

Riley’s Pour House hosts first Irish Wine Exchange dinner

Riley’s Pour House is a secret place nestled along the Main Street of Carnegie. While the location has dawned many names over the years, the Riley’s invited in the TasteBuds to host the 26th Wine Exchange Dinner. The event was the first-ever dinner featuring traditional Irish-cuisine.

Private Party at Rileys Pour House
TasteBuds host first Irish wine exchange dinner at Rileys Pour House in Carnegie

Chef Lloyd developed a special menu for the Pittsburgh TasteBuds dinner crowd to feature the best of his Irish dishes.  Sharable appetizers included BLUE BAY MUSSELS and CHERRY STONE CLAMS with redskin potatoes, garlic and cream. Served with a garlic cristini and BAKED KERRY CHEDDAE HOUSE MADE COLCANNON topped with butter and fresh parsley, served with sweet soda bread.  Immediately, as you might expect, guests commented on the presence of potatoes in both dishes – a staple ingredient in Irish cuisine.  Many of the guests had never had Colcannon before.  To my knowledge, Riley’s is the only place in the Pittsburgh area that serves Colcannon.  Everyone was very surprised how well the potatoes and cabbage blended together into a unified flavor.  The mussels and clams served in a cream sauce offset the heavier-appetizer nicely.

For a second course, each guest was able to choose between a shanty salad or coleslaw.  Both are offered on the regular Riley’s menu.  There was additional surprise among the crowd when a slice of potato appeared in the shanty salad.

Pictured below are the delicious entrees that were prepared.  Each dish came out looking picture perfect.  First, the ½ SLOW ROASTED CHICKEN that was served with roasted red skin potatoes, and sweet soda bread.  This was indeed HALF of an ENTIRE fresh chicken.  Every guests who ordered the chicken asked for a to-go box to take the chicken with them to savor later.

½ SLOW ROASTED FRESH CHICKEN

The BAKED SALMON FILET was served with steamed cabbage, carrots, and redskin potatoes. Some saw the dish as the “healthy” option, but were not disappointed by lack of flavor.  It was interesting to see the large cabbage wedge appear on each plate.  Steaming the cabbage is definitely an at-home preparation that I look forward to trying myself.

Baked Salmon Filet from Rileys Pour House
Baked Salmon Filet

The EPICURIAN SHEPHERD’S PIE was traditionally prepared with ground lamb and ground Kobe beef, onions, celery, peas, carrots in a rich brown gravy. The mixture was topped with house-made colcannon.  The dish was very savory and delicious.  It was clear that Chef Lloyd took additional care in preparing each individually portioned dish.

Epicurian Shepherds Pie
EPICURIAN SHEPHERDS PIE

Unlike most wine exchange dinners, dessert was included as an added bonus for each guest.  A selection of desserts finished each guest’s meal on a sweet note.  The crowd was excited when Chef Lloyd emerged from the kitchen so praise could be given for his stellar performance.

In my opinion, Chef Lloyd has become a small celebrity in Carnegie.  His name is placed atop the brunch menu available at Riley’s Pour House during limited hours on Saturday mornings from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  I, for one, look forward to trying his signature pancakes. Riley’s is not just a local watering hole, but a restaurant that can produce great food at the hands of Chef Lloyd.
Riley's Pour House on Urbanspoon

TasteBuds Pick: Best New Restaurant 2013

October 2013 Wine ExchangeMaybe we’re still on the high from a great wine exchange event last night, but I think it’s safe to say that the TasteBuds Pick for Best New Restaurant in 2013 is Matteo’s in Lawrenceville.

Last night, we gathered with friends, new and old, for our 23rd Wine Exchange at Matteo’s where we enjoyed one of Lawrenceville’s newest gems. Matteo’s staff and kitchen went above and beyond to ensure that we had a wonderful time. The wine exchange left folks learning about the parts of a boat and hopefully also introduced folks to new wines and varietals.

Pork Osso Bucco
Pork Osso Bucco
Bruschetta Tilapia
Bruschetta Tilapia
Matteos Pumpkin Tortelloni
Pumpkin Tortelloni
Extra Sauce for the Osso Bucco
There was even some extra sauce for the pork osso bucco, so it was offered to us tableside.