Returning to Cadillac Ranch for brunch

“I Resolve to Brunch More in 2014.” – PghTasteBudB.  Yes, I said it, but I haven’t exactly carried through. In hopes to get back on track, TasteBudA I met a couple of friends on their way to IKEA for brunch last Sunday.  Last summer we had a wonderful outdoor brunch at Cadillac Ranch in the Settler’s Ridge development, so I figured it’d be a great place to take these two newbies for brunch on their way to Robinson.

Cadillac Ranch Kettle Chips – thinly sliced potatoes, served with our garlic cream sauce, bleu cheese crumbles and topped with scallions and a balsamic drizzle. A signature item!

During brunch on Sunday there are $5 Bloody Mary cocktails, which make for a nice relaxing way to start a Sunday of shopping.  We each seem to have ordered something different with no complaints of the food around the table.  The conversation flowed great and the $5 Bloody Mary’s may have helped with that.  After gabbing about bowling, traveling, relationships and more we departed and went our separate ways shopping.

Egg Wrap at Cadillac Ranch
Egg Wrap – Scrambled eggs, tomatoes, green peppers and cheddar cheese. Served in a tortilla with a side of salsa, hash browns and fruit.
Crab Cake Benedict at Cadillac Ranch
Crab Cake Benedict – Fried crab cakes served over English muffin and spinach. topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. Served with hash browns and fruit.

Cadillac Ranch All American Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

BT Brunch on Mount Washington, starting 2014 strong

TasteBudA and I are trying to brunch more in 2014.  So, we started off 2014 with a weekend brunch with a couple friends at Bigham Tavern in Mount Washington.  Being near the Chatham Village side of Mt. Washington instead of along Grandview Avenue makes dining at Bigham Tavern (BT) a little more special because you have the sense that the people around you came for the food (and drinks) and not as part of a Pittsburgh sightseeing tour.

Right off the bat, brunch started off great with a $6.50 BT Ultimate Bloody Mary made with Absolut Peppar, garnished with meats, cheeses, pepperoncini and your typical olive and fruit.  The drink was amazing.  The clever addition of meat and cheese take this drink from being a beverage into being a starter for my brunch meal.

Bloody Mary from Bigham Tavern
BT Ultimate Bloody Mary from Bigham Tavern in Mt. Washington for brunch

Browsing the menu, the thing that caught my eye the most was the Breakfast Flatbread for $7.50.  Being a “flatbread” can sometimes be vague so I asked the server about the thickness of the bread.  Discovering this was not a thin crust pizza, but rather a handtossed dough, I decided to go for it.  This “breakfast pizza” had sausage gravy in place of tomato sauce, and was topped with scrambled egg, bacon and cheddar cheese (pictured below) You have to figure that for a dish like this the sausage gravy would make or break the dish.  It was great.  The bacon was cooked not too crispy, as per my preference and the dough was light and fluffy.  As a hungry boy, I was able to finish the entire thing on my own, but could picture it as a brunch starter to share.

Breakfast Flatbread at Bigham Tavern
Breakfast flatbread at Bigham Tavern in Mt. Washinton for brunch

Bigham performed beyond expectations and was a great start to our Brunch Tour of 2014.  I’d like to brunch at least once a month, whether in Pittsburgh or the cities we’ll be visiting in 2014.

Bigham Tavern on Urbanspoon

In 2014, Pittsburgh TasteBuds have plans for Columbus OH, Jacksonville FL, Tucson AZ, Cancun MX, and New Haven CT.  Feel free to leave suggestions on where we should head in those cities in the comments below.

Coca Cafe, a balance between breakfast and lunch

Coca Cafe is a local brunch hot spot with a more modern, food-forward menu than the likes of traditional breakfast fare like Pamela’s or Dorstop. On a sunny weekend morning, we ventured to Lawrenceville to discover what all the buzz was about. If it wasn’t so humid a day, I’m sure we would have asked to sit in the small outdoor seating area, but on this occasion was opted to stay indoors.

Cafe Americano in a festive zebra print mug

Upon entering and getting my coffee, it was clear that this was a very artistic cafe – my Espresso Americano even came in a zebra-print mug. The Sunday Brunch menu offers a mix of breakfast and lunch options.  I treated my coffee as my breakfast and opted to go straight for lunch.  My Turkey Rachel Panini came with a nice side salad.  It was a very balanced plate with pleasant flavor highlights.  The coleslaw in the panini was amazing.  It made the sandwich a hit in my mind.  The turkey and cheese was warm which counterbalanced the cool, moist coleslaw.  The brightness of the salad and the orange (yes, I eat my garnish) completed a nice meal. I left quite satisfied.

Turkey Rachel Panini

Coca Cafe on UrbanspoonOverall, I think my experience was much like my experience at North Star Cafe in Columbus, Ohio.  The atmosphere was very pleasant and the menu hit the right spots for me.  I will warn you that the prices will appear a little on the expensive side, but are well worth it in the ingredients and service.

Square Cafe

Square Cafe on UrbanspoonTasteBud B told me he’d never been to Square Cafe before, so I decided to share the experience with him.  We were fortunate to be seated right away because it is a weekend morning hotspot, especially when the weather cooperates and there is outside seating.

I had a very delicious crepe with brie inside, drizzled with honey and covered with fresh fruit.  Very light flavors, but a filling meal.  The food was excellent and the service was great.  Square Cafe put some thought into this dish too – instead of the typical heavy fruit syrup, the honey was sweet and light.  The fruit was very fresh.  Compared to a few weekends ago when TasteBud B chose the better meal at Bistro To Go, today I seemed more pleased with my meal.

TasteBud B went with a very hearty breakfast with some very creative flavors – at least on the menu.  What hit the plate was a slightly different story.  The Square Breakfast with chicken apple sausage, oatmeal raisin pancakes, and scrambled eggs.  The eggs were cooked perfect – and needed no additional seasoning or condiment.  Unfortunately the sausage was dry and the pancake, as you can see was covered in both powdered sugar and a whipped topping.  The whipped topping melted into a milky mess on top of the hot pancake and he just ended up pushing it off to the side.  It was as if the pancake wasn’t cooked completely.  Much like a par-cooked cookie, the middle was a little doughy, which only added to the heaviness of the pancake.

On a bright note, his Cafe Americano was well brewed and only $1.80!  Oh, and how can I forget my Caramel Latte which was phenomenal.  The atmosphere was young and bright.  Great for a morning breakfast spot on a spring day.

Square Cafe on Groupon, March 27, 2011