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:
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
In 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.
Seating 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Maybe 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.
Given how much development there has been in the neighborhood and the fact that beautiful apartments are being completed literally across the street from us, it might seem like the worst time to step down. But, honestly, we’re tired.
Abay Restaurant was the host restaurant of the very first Pittsburgh TasteBuds wine exchange in December 2009, back before we even called ourselves the TasteBuds. The wonderful experience we shared with our close friends during that holiday dinner inspired us to create the Pittsburgh TasteBuds as an event experience to introduce wine novices like ourselves to wine and to take advantage of the wealth of BYOB restaurants that Pittsburgh has so many of.
Abay opened their restaurant to us and welcomed us into their family. We took great pleasure in our experience that Abay is one of only two restaurants that we’ve hosted more than one wine exchange at. Our 13th wine exchange was also held at Abay in February 2012.
Part of the reason people have such strong opinions about restaurants is because they are personal to them. The dining experience is an emotional one. Guests have had first dates with us as well as celebrated new jobs, anniversaries, graduations, and birthdays. We’re humbled to have been a part of all of those life achievements. We’re equally humbled to still have a 4 star rating on Yelp and a 90% rating on Urbanspoon.
The restaurant has and will continue to flourish as a cultural beacon in the east end of Pittsburgh until the very end. Please take a moment to post a kind note on their Facebook or Twitter.
Many have asked “when’s the next wine exchange” and although TasteBudA was twisting my arm to take the summer off – I think it’s important to keep the tradition of the bi-monthly wine exchanges alive. So, we’ve agreed on a happy medium.
Our next wine exchange will be a little more casual at Pho Van in the Strip District. We’ve been meaning to get to a Vietnamese restaurant for some time, since we raved about our first experience. This will be a perfect venue for a more casual experience. The average meal at Pho Van is well below the cost of our typical wine exchanges, so we’ll not be preparing a menu, but simply taking reservations for the crowd. With the date only 3 weeks away, we hope that you’ll be able to join us for a casual night in the strip district.
As our 21st Wine Exchange fast approached, we felt the need to find a stellar place to host a fitting “21st Birthday” themed wine exchange. We found that place in Girasole. Take a photo tour of our dinner and join us for our next wine exchange on Monday, April 15, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. to discover why we fell in love with this cute little Italian restaurant just off of Walnut Street in Shadyside.
Interested in the wine exchange event on April 15? Here is the menu for the event:
Mini filo cups with mushrooms and gruyere cheese
Polenta pizza topped with an assortment of meats, cheeses and vegetables
Antipasto bar with salamis, provolone and fontina cheese, roasted peppers, olives and artiichokes
The Pittsburgh TasteBuds are pleased to announce that Lola Bistro will be the host venue of the 20th Pittsburgh TasteBuds Wine Exchange.
20 Questions Wine Exchange
hosted at Lola Bistro Tuesday February 19, 2013 starting at 7:30pm $30 Fixed Price Menu Paid as $5 online RSVP and $25 on restaurant bill. (price includes tax, gratuity and corkage) Make your RSVP here and join our Facebook Event to spread the word!
this will be a surprise from the chef
Seared Sea Scallop
Chervil salad with argon oil and black currant gastrique
(Choice of one:)
Braised Beef Short Rib
Herb polenta, rapini and tangerine jus
Chicken Pot Pie
with a house made pastry bowl
Moroccan Vegetable Stew
with Israeli cous cous
Available A la Carte
price includes tax, gratuity and corkage
Disclaimer: The Pittsburgh TasteBuds advise that all attendees are accountable for their own responsible drinking. Participation in the wine exchange is optional.