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.

Lin’s Asian Fusion on South Side

Lin's Asian Fusion on UrbanspoonScouting for new Wine Exchange venues that we haven’t already been to can prove to be a little bit of a challenge. TasteBudA is currently on the hunt for a great place to invite our dinner group to in April and on Friday we went to Lin’s Asian Fusion on the South Side to see if it was up to the TasteBuds standards to host us.

Since the South Side isn’t exactly a hot bed of BYOB restaurants, Lin’s Asian Fusion has been overlooked by us for quite some time.  After TasteBudA was impressed by their soup offering during the South Side Soup Contest, he felt it was worth a dinner excursion to get a full sense of the restaurant.  Inconsistent reviews of the restaurant on Yelp and Urbanspoon left us wondering what side of the restaurant we’d experience.

Upon arrival, we were greeted nicely and promptly sat.  Our waitress was pleasant and quickly got us our beverages.  Since this was on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, so we omitted bringing wine knowing we had a big day ahead of us, but felt we could gauge the venue for our event anyway.

We started with Vegetable Gyoza, which was a cross between a mixed vegetable pierogi and a pot sticker.  It was nice and light and probably the closest you could get to a fresh spring roll, which is what I was ultimately craving.

Vegetable Gyoza from Lins Asian Fusion
Vegetable Gyoza from Lins Asian Fusion

Hungry for a mixture of meats, I waivered between the Ma La Trio and the Mixed Basil.  The waitress had never had the Ma La Sauce, so she recommended the Basil as a lighter sauce.  Yes, the basil sauce was light and not up to the default spiciness that I’m accustomed to from Nicky’s Thai Kitchen or the Silk Elephant.

Mixed Basil - Lins Asian Fusion
Mixed Basil Entree

TasteBudA got the Pepper Steak with Onion which comes in a brown sauce.  The dish wasn’t overly saucy, but the vegetables looked delicious as the popped off the plate.  Tastewise, the dish was just okay to TasteBudA’s standards.  Living on the northside, this beats China Taste by a long shot, but wouldn’t be special enough to invite our wine dinner crowd.

Pepper Steak with Onion
Pepper Steak with Onion

In the end, I don’t think we’ll be having a wine exchange at Lin’s Asian Fusion. The food was just okay and while the service was great, I felt somewhat rushed out the door. When you get that rushed feeling, it makes you wonder how a restaurant would handle a casual wine dinner crowd who are never in a rush.

Let the search for the April 2014 Wine Exchange Venue continue …

China Taste

China Taste on Urbanspoon

Tastebud A here and all I have to say is one word about this place….Yuck!
This past Saturday, TastebudB and I were hanging out and decided to order some food. We ordered from China Taste on the Northside.
I ordered General Tso Chicken with Fried Rice. The Chicken had nice flavor, but the sauce was sweet…General Tso is suppose to be Spicy! If I wanted a sweet chicken meal I would have ordered a Sweet and Sour Chicken or something with Duck Sauce. The Rice was probably the worst part about it. It was white rice that may have had a yellow dye which gave it this neon yellow glow. It wasn’t the best and I have had much better Chinese take out (I will try again soon and post)
I honestly can’t remember what Tastebud B had…I know he had a sort of Chicken Veg. meal, maybe he will post his thoughts but I know we were both unhappy. We will do Chinese take out again someday and hopefully it will be a better experience. Tastebud B has yet to go to Chan’s Tea House in Westview. It is amazing. We will go there soon and post so we can direct everyone to a good place for Chinese Food.