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 Fine Plates Dinner at Nine on Nine

For a midweek, light dinner before a Pittsburgh CLO show of Wedding Singer, Nine on Nine fit the bill wonderfully.  

It’s not always necessary to have a big dinner, so while trying to stay light ordering 3 “Fine Plates” as our meal was an affordable pre-show dinner.

The Salmon Pizza ($10) is a four piece dish of salmon, roasted tomato, cilantro, fresh jalapeño slice and red onion drizzled with wasabi aioli. It’s almost like a topped nacho in composition. The jalapeño adds a zip to each bite. 

The Swordfish Carpaccio ($13) has the most delicious pickled mushrooms EVER! It’s entirely possible that these mushrooms could be their own dish. 

The largest mussels that we have ever eaten are featured in Zuppa di Mussels ($14). The unique preparation incorporates a sauce of tomato, olives, capers, artichoke and pastini. Usually I would describe mussels as cooked in a bath of wine and broth, but these are very different. Great actually. Imagine pasta and mussels in one dish where all you want is bread to sop up the goodness.

All in all. Dinner for two, including wine, for under $60 before tip is an affordable, refined meal before a show in Pittsburgh’s cultural district. 

Pittsburgh Mommy Blog at Sukhothai Bistro

Four Pittsburgh Restaurants Pittsburgh Mommy Blog visited to get over the winter blues #PghGBE

Today’s post comes from Nadine of Pittsburgh Mommy Blog, and is part of a special day of shenanigans from other Pittsburgh Bloggers. You can see my post over on Don’t Forget to Eat!, where I discuss the dinner we had while in Jacksonville, Florida at BB’s restaurant.


Over this past winter, I found myself in a “blah” place that is unusual for me. Usually, I embrace the carpe diem philosophy and all the fun it entails. But, I’m ashamed to say–I was a bit bored this year. In order to make the winter months pass a little faster, I decided to explore new (to us) local restaurants that would a) introduce my kids to world cuisines and b) would be kid-friendly enough to take my 3- and 4-year olds. Here are four of the restaurants we visited and what we thought of them:

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Lupi and Leo’s, lunchtime buzz of Route 30 in Greensburg

Visiting Lupi and Leo’s in Greensburg was like a throwback to a visit at Stoke’s Grill on McKnight Road before they made the unfortunate decision to add a bar.

Lunchtime at Lupi and Leo’s probably gets a good response as this sandwich and soup spot thrives as a non-chain option along the overly corporate Route 30. For my first visit, I decided to divide in and get both a cup of soup and a sandwich.


The soup was a thick and creamy White Chicken Chili. While tasty, it was quite heavy and I immediately started to regret getting a full sized sandwich. It would have paired nicely with a salad because fresh veggies would have been a refreshing contrast. L&L promotes that the soup recipe is super secret, definitely a homemade favorite.


After a gut-busting soup, my sandwich arrived with CURLY FRIES! The roasted turkey sandwich was deliciously grilled to give the sandwich a nice grilled cheese crispness. The roasted turkey and cole slaw were a match made in heaven and could be served as their own side dish.

Hands down, when you visit, try the sunflower oat bread! It’s available on The Rachel, Chicken Salad Sandwich, Peanut Butter & Pickle Sandwich and sometimes on the Grilled Cheese of the Day.

The biggest unanswered question … Why is the logo a pair of shoes?
Maybe that answer can be solved on the next visit.

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.

BYOB Scouting at San Lorenzo in Lawrenceville

TasteBudA and I dined with a couple of friends in Lawrenceville at a new restaurant, San Lorenzo Ristorante. Excited at the prospect of a new BYOB restaurant, I decided to go off-diet and understand what this restaurant is really made of.

The restaurant is bigger than it appears from the outside, probably seating 40 comfortably. We were greeted promptly and sat at a quiet table. Our waitress immediately asked if we wanted our wine bottles opened. Of course, we did.

Browsing the menu, we opted for a trio of appetizers to share at the table before setting sights on the entrees. Calamari, meatballs and greens-and-beans.

The Calamari rings were cooked with a mixture of olives and capers in a tomato-wine broth. The broth was good, but unfortunately very salty. The meatballs were the size of tennis balls so the appetizer portion of two pieces was fine to cut and split at the table. On the contrary of the calamari, the meatballs were lacking something. They were good, but lacked the seasoning or flavor you would want to be wowed. The greens and beans were okay. Unfortunately Matteo’s set the bar very high with that dish and while San Lorenzo prepared a good dish, I wanted the slightly spicier portion from Matteo’s.

Our entrees, pictured throughout, arrived piping hot and we descended upon them and conversation let up.