Tag Archives: Beer

Meat and Potatoes

19 Aug


Meat and Potatoes
649 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

A few months ago (yes, months….I am trying to reawaken my blogginess so I will be blogging retrospectively for a few posts) Mo and I were invited to dinner with another couple to Meat and Potatoes. We consider this couple to be great friends of ours. Since they are from the area and have lived here for a while, we also love having their recommendations for bars and eateries around town, they have great taste. Prior to going to Meat and Potatoes (M&P), I only knew of its existence in downtown Pittsburgh passing it while walking to various festivals at the point. I also had it on the radar for a potential brunch spot, Morgan loves brunch.

This night at M&P we had reservations for dinner. It was late in the spring and still cool so the porch was not open but I am told the porch is an excellent spot during warmer evenings. The dining room itself is small.  Tables for smaller parties circle the large bar in the center of the room.  I think a space by the kitchen exists for larger parties. Walking into the restaurant I felt as though I was back in Atlanta at a hip, gastropub. There is a low, rumble of the conversations in the small space but its not too loud. Vintage Edison style light bulbs give a soft glow in the dimly lit dining room. Chalkboard diagrams of beef cattle indicating the location of various cuts of meat on the animal and announcements of daily specials adorn the walls. The hip feel is gallery_interior8very laid back and grown-up, perfect for young professionals looking for a chill spot for a drink or for a small group of friends looking to share a delicious meal.

Now that we are seated, I must say there are definitely a few things that stood out from my experience. First, the drink menu or the “libations” menu as M&P has entitled matches the theme and decor of the restaurant perfectly. One will quickly notice a modern take on vintage themed cocktails that make you feel as though you are living during the prohibition era. A Sgt. Pepper’s Old Fashion or a Glenshaw Sour make you want to go see if there is a bathtub full of mash or a still out back. Not only that, they serve a huge selection of familiar and craft beers in a can (something even I felt dirty comprehending) complete with a M&P koozie should you wish to pay a little extra. They also offer two options of absinthe for those really looking to drink a vintage, mystical beverage. I had a draft beer and a cocktail; however, I regret not taking the absinthe route.

The other thing that stood out was that Meat and Potatoes is definitely an adequate name for the establishment, its not just Beef and Potatoes. Chef Richard Deshantz is really highlighting a variety of meats-beef, lamb, duck, chicken, and fish. Whats more, he is highlighting cuts of beef that you may be quite unfamiliar such as chicken liver, pate, sweetbreads, and, my new favorite, bone marrow. If you don’t go to M&P for anything else, go to have the experience of the bone marrow appetizer. There is nothing more primitive than literally scooping cooked marrow from the bones of cattle. Once referred to as “God’s butter” this natural substance is very fatty and quite flavorless. The dish is served with salt, red onions, capers to help season the marrow on fresh, crusty bread. It has a very buttery mouth feel and when properly seasoned is surprisingly yummy. You just have to get past the visual of spreading holding a bone in one hand and spreading the marrow onto the bread with another. Definitely worth the try!

For the main dish, I had the Wagyu Flat Iron steak. Others had the pasta bolognese and the lamb burger. We all agreed, my dish was the best. The whole preparation, the cook, and the seasoning was something to be remembered. The wasabi mash potatoes on the side are amazing. I thought they would be really spicy, not at all just a great, rich flavor.

I do want to go back to try the ribeye for two and to try the brunch. So next time you need a great dining experience, give Meat and Potatoes a try.

Meat & Potatoes on Urbanspoon

The Church Brew Works

2 Jul

The Church Brew Works
 3325 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15201 • www.churchbrew.com

If you are a native of Pittsburgh, I am going to assume that you have at least heard of, if not actually experienced The Church Brew Works. For all those times you got in trouble for eating during church, now you can eat AND drink in the restored landmark, St. John the Baptist Church. This restaurant receives my first post as it was one of the first places we ate at when we came to Pittsburgh looking for houses once I was hired. A wonderful colleague and her finance treated us to a memorable experience at The Church Brew Works. As soon as you walk into the brewpub you are taken back by the beauty and the detail inside the main dining room, the former sanctuary. As you stand in the back of the sanctuary your eyes are drawn down the main aisle to the beer altar at the front of the church. The microbrews served in-house are all brewed in these beautiful copper tanks. Its both beautiful and functional. Your party is seated at pews inside the main dining area. The left side wall is covered with chalk boards with information about the beers that are in rotation for that day, including ABV%s and IBUs (for the true connoisseur). One of the things I loved most about The Church Brew Works is that they cater to people like me who have a hard time deciding. So instead of having to choose one beer to try, they have a sampler that

allows you to sample 10 of the beer that are available that day. The beers come served on a chart so you know what you are drinking. It also allows you to taste, feel, and see the differences in beer styles. I found the beers to be pretty good. I enjoyed the Thunderhop IPA, as I enjoy most IPAs. It was nice and hoppy! The food was nothing memorable. I don’t exactly remember what I had, I think the Buffalo Burger. The food quickly gets over shadowed by the elaborate atmosphere and the emphasis on the beer. I do remember that the service was slow and they brought out half the table’s food first and the second half ten minutes later. I have two big pet-peeves when I am dining out. 1) When our order is delivered in shifts, with half the table waiting for the other to get the food while the half with the food waits politely, staring at their hot meals, for the foodless half to receive their food. There is always a back and forth between friends, “Go ahead and eat.” “No we don’t mind waiting.” “Please it will get cold.” The most mannered usually wait, reluctantly, while the hungrier ones will take any green light to begin digging in to their entrees. 2) My other pet peeve is when my entree is brought out seconds after I received the first course. I find this to be very annoying. I dine out not because I hate to cook or because I am lazy. I dine out because the experience is fun. When I receive my courses very close together I feel rushed and it takes away from the experience, with the food and with my company. This did not happen at The Church Brew Works; I now digress. The service at The Church Brew Works was sub-par but the restaurant is very big and it seemed as though our waitress was working a lot of tables. Overall, I found the experience to be enjoyable, the beer to be delicious, and the food to be comforting. As we were preparing to become New-burghers, this experience was a gentle nod from the city saying she will take care of our food needs once we arrive.

Church Brew Works on Urbanspoon

Pittsburgh Food Surprises

2 Jul

Pittsburgh has its own unique culture when it comes to food. I have been living in the city for approximately one month now and I have begun to notice a few things. Some of which I still have no clue as to why they exists.

  1. Pierogies are everywhere! I will admit I have yet to try one of these delicious looking dumplings but they are very popular in this city. These boiled and then, I believe, fried dumplings seem to be usually stuffed with potato, onion, and cheese. They exists on many an appetizer menu and have even influenced pizzas (The Pierogi Pizza) at many local pizzerias.
  2. Pittsburgh makes a great french fry. I am not sure why so many restaurants feature a hand-cut, lightly salted french fry but they do. I have seen french fries as an appetizer at an Italian eatery. Yes, prepare your appetite for the veal parmesan by indulging in hand-cut, fried potatoes. There are restaurants that put them on sandwiches and even salads. I have yet to have a bad french fry in Pittsburgh.
  3. Beer and wine are extremely difficult to purchase. I thought the blue laws in the South were silly; however, the rules and regulations in Pittsburgh are simply confusing. So far, I know that you can’t buy any alcohol in the grocery store. I know that beer is sold in its own store (usually with some obvious title like “The Beer Cave” or “Beer and Lottery Store” separate from the liquor and wine (“The Wine Shop” or “Liquor”). So when I want to purchase anything I have to make multiple stops to the appropriate store. There may be exceptions out there but I haven’t found it. Finally, I know that if I want to have some Dog Fish 90 Minute IPA in my refrigerator I have to buy enough beer for a small army. I am used to buying beer by the 6-12 pack not the case or the keg. I don’t drink beer that fast or that often to work through a case of beer. Additionally, we are busting at the seams as it is in our “giant” two-bedroom apartment so I am not sure where I will store cases of beer. I guess under the bed in the suitcase.
  4. Red Lobster is more popular here than anywhere I have lived. So I drove by Red Lobster in Monroeville the other day and the line was out the door. Craving shrimp I pulled in to inquire about the wait. “50 Minutes”. When I left Alabama, one would be hard pressed to find 50 people who ate Red Lobster that entire week. I guess the cheese biscuits are very popular.
These are all the surprises I have for now, I will continue to let you know what I find interesting in this wonderful city’s food culture.
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