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

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.

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