Category Archives: Eating Out

Fish Bar

Hi all, its been a while! I’ve been in Chicago for about three months now, and culinary school has started for me. Chicago is an amazing city and I love it here. I have also gotten a job at Honey Butter Fried Chicken and I have learned a lot from there. I have still been cooking and baking at home, but I didn’t get the chance to pick up some photo-worthy dinnerware until two days ago. I can’t really give a solid reason as to why I haven’t been blogging (its many reasons, really), but I’m back with a review on the Fish Bar!

Gumbo - Blue crab, andouille sausage

Gumbo – Blue crab, andouille sausage

This was my and J’s (my boyfriend) second time here, and we came here knowing that we wanted the gumbo again. The gumbo is incredibly flavorful, spicy and full of chicken flavor. It has great sausage chunks, some seafood (I believe), and rice. Its perfect for a cold day. I would highly recommend the gumbo, perhaps even getting it again should we go back.

Soup of the Day - Lobster Butternut Squash Bisque

Soup of the Day – Lobster Butternut Squash Bisque

The lobster bisque was the soup of the day, and it was finished with butternut squash. I am a big fan of crustaceans in general, and the soup shouted “LOBSTER” to me. It had butternut squash in it as well, so it ended on a sweet note, and they seem to like their soups spicy so there was that as well. There were no garnishes for this soup, which is very traditional of lobster bisques, but I would have appreciated perhaps a couple of cubes of butternut squash or lobster.

Lemon Rings - Lemon, onions, jalapenos

Lemon Rings – Lemon, onions, jalapenos

We ordered lemon rings to share. Last time, we ordered tater tots, which are fingerling potatoes with herbs and olive oil. J opted for lemon rings to change things up a little. Lemon rings are deep fried lemon slices, onions and jalapenos. The lemons were very bitter, of course, but with a tang that you would expect from a lemon. I suspect the dish is as an accompaniment to beer, as I could see the bitterness working out. We did not order any drinks, so we were not a big fan of the lemons. Too bitter for J’s taste and I don’t really like lemons or limes. However, the onions and the jalapenos were very good and we ate all of those. The jalapenos can get a little spicy, but paired with onions they were amazing.

Crabby Patty - Old Bay mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion

Crabby Patty – Old Bay mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion

The Crabby Patty, which is a crab cake sandwich, was really good as well. It had great crab flavor. I do wish they put a little more mayo on it, or the mayo tasted more strongly of old bay, which would have really brought the sandwich over the top.

Octopus a la plancha - Cannellini beans, zucchini, lemons, capers, parsley

Octopus a la plancha – Cannellini beans, zucchini, lemons, capers, parsley

Finally, I got the Octopus a la plancha, which means grilled. Its served with cannellini beans, zucchini, lemons, capers, and parsley. I probably should have thought twice about ordering this dish, because it is very obviously a summer dish. The bright and acidic flavors were good, but not very warming on a cold October day. The beans were also a little undercooked to my liking. The octopus was grilled to perfection, tender and not chewy. The octopus tasted buttery and zesty, but it didn’t taste like octopus at all. It was a well executed dish, but I probably wouldn’t get it again because of the lack of octopus flavor.

Despite my (seemingly) negative review, I would go back to this place again. I love that they only use wild caught or responsibly raised seafood, and although the portions are small, the flavors are big. Have you been to Fish Bar before? What do you think about it?

Fish Bar
2956 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL
(773) 687-8177

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Korea Garden

The Korean food scene in Pittsburgh tends to be very pricey, and I believe Korea Garden is one of the cheaper places. However, they recently remodeled (sometime during March?) and they’ve raised the prices since then. It doesn’t deter me from coming back because I think they have the best soon dubu I’ve ever had.

Soon dubu

Soon dubu

I really like this dish because of the depth of flavor they put into the broth. Its just incredibly… brothy. It tastes like lots of different seafood has been cooked with the broth, which makes the flavor very complex. The egg comes precooked inside the soup, which is not typical, but I don’t mind. The rice they serve is also very delicious, and a little soup with some rice is amazing.

Spicy cold soba noodles

Spicy cold soba noodles

Non-spicy cold soba noodles

Non-spicy cold soba noodles

 

My roommates ordered a cold stringy soba noodle dish, one with the spicy Korean pepper sauce and one without. The dish comes with Asian pear, an egg, and various vegetables. Supposedly the cold broth is supposed to be a beef based broth, but it tasted more like a seafood based broth (perhaps seaweed?). My Korean roommate commented that the flavors of the dish were not typical. I thought it was pretty good, but I was completely weirded out by a cold broth soup. I guess, its an interesting dish.

Typical side dishes

Typical side dishes

So this post concludes my last post (for a while) in Pittsburgh. I am leaving for Toronto, and then I will settle in Chicago for culinary school. I’m not sure how often I will be posting in Toronto (since I am poor and lack equipment to bake), but during August in Chicago I will definitely try to update!

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Park Bruges Cafe

I’ve been to Point Brugge, its sister restaurant many, many times. In fact, it is one of my first blog posts! I never really had a reason to come to Park Bruges Cafe over Point Brugge, but they do have poutine which is very exciting. A couple of weeks ago we decided to eat here because it was on the way to my driver’s test, and the instant I saw the breakfast poutine I knew I had to get it.

Brunch Style Poutine - Fried egg, Amish cheese curds, Parma sausage gravy

Brunch Style Poutine – Fried egg, Amish cheese curds, Parma
sausage gravy

I had really high expectations for this poutine because Point Brugge makes amazing fries, and Point Brugge makes good food in general. I was disappointed though, because the fries were mediocre and the gravy was also just mediocre. I do think the idea of a brunch poutine is genius, but the end product just didn’t live up to the hype. The fries didn’t seem freshly fried, so not incredibly crispy nor did it have the potato flavor that I wanted. The gravy wasn’t very flavorful, and perhaps a little too salty. Overall the combination of average parts created an average dish. Its not worth coming back for, but I would like to try some of their other items on the menu.

Have you been here before? If so, what did you think about it?

Park Bruges Cafe
5801 Bryant St, Pittsburgh, PA
(412) 661-3334

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OTB Bicycle Café

South Side isn’t a place I go very often because its not easy to get to, and parking is usually a pain in the ass. Both my current roommates work in South Side, and one of them knows the restaurants here very well. He told me that OTB Bicycle Cafe had the best fries he’s ever had, and a peanut butter jelly burger. A what? Yes, peanut butter jelly burger. Think your normal lunch sandwich, but with a delicious burger patty in it. Their menu had 3 different burgers that contained peanut butter in it (not all burgers had jelly with it). We happened to ordered all three of them.

The Fixie - Topped with relish, blackberry preserves, and Wholey's homemade peanut butter. Its our PB&J burger and you'll be craving it once you try it!

The Fixie – Topped with relish, blackberry preserves, and Wholey’s homemade peanut butter

As you can see, the peanut butter comes on top, lathered on thick. The blackberry preserves are beneath the burger, and I don’t remember any relish on my burger. The peanut butter itself was delicious – thick, gooey, and incredibly peanut-y. The peanut butter was also a lot sweeter than what I expected on a burger, not that it was too sweet, but its that I expected them to try to bring out the savory side of peanut butter. The blackberry preserves went really well with the burger, kind of like some sort of chutney. However, I didn’t find the whole peanut butter jelly burger very… transformative. It was like I was eating, well, a burger with peanut butter on it. I’m not so sure if this burger was as successful as I would have liked.

The Banana Seat - topped with peanut butter and sliced bananas wrapped in crispy bacon

The Banana Seat – Topped with peanut butter and sliced bananas wrapped in crispy bacon

I didn’t get to try this one, but I feel like it has a higher chance of success because of the bacon and peanut butter combination. The banana I’m not so sure about…

The Dirt Rag Delight - topped with American cheese, dill pickle, and Wholey's peanut butter

The Dirt Rag Delight – topped with American cheese, dill pickle, and Wholey’s peanut butter

My roommate added bacon ($1 extra) to this burger, and I felt like this one was more cohesive than my burger. Although I’m not fond of pickles, the savory component brought the peanut butter and burger together more. Plus, bacon and peanut butter is amazing.

Our meals came with fries, which are tossed in herbs and possibly Parmesan cheese. We agreed that it tasted like sour cream and onion chips, so maybe some sort of  dried onion seasoning?

Full meal with fries plus an extra helping of peanut butter

Full meal with fries plus an extra helping of peanut butter (extra)

I wouldn’t say I fell in love with this place, but it certainly served up some interesting burgers. I would love to have one of the other peanut butter burgers to myself for another try though!

OTB Bicycle Café
2518 E Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203
(412) 381-3698
Have you been here and tried their interesting peanut butter burgers? What do you think? Please let me know!
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Bar Marco

Hey guys, its been a long time! I dropped off mostly because 1) it was close to the end of my college career, which made me incredibly busy, mostly due to 2) post-college plans, 3) I got lazy, and 4) I wanted to focus my time on my friends since I won’t be seeing a lot of them in the near future. Anyway, its summer vacation for me so I will try to post more often.

Last weekend my roommates and I went to Bar Marco to try out their brunch menu. They seem like a classy tapa kind of place, so I was pretty excited to try their food. They had a soft-shell crab sandwich special that day, which I ordered, and both my roommates ordered the pork belly eggs benedict.

Soft Shell Crab Sandwich with some sort of aoili and fries

Soft Shell Crab Sandwich with some sort of aoili and fries

The crab was deep fried and between a soft dinner roll and salad. The (mustard?) aioli is on top, as you can see. The crab itself was juicy and delicious, and the flavors of the salad and aoili went really well together. The fries were good and crispy. However, the salad was a bit salty (more so than the fried crab, which is confusing), and by the end of the meal it was a little too much. It seemed like problem because my roommates also pointed it out for their pork belly benedict. Also, I was disappointed that  they didn’t make their own ketchup. It seemed like Heinz ketchup to me.

Pork Belly Benedict

Pork Belly Benedict

This dish also came with a salad. The pork belly was also deep fried. The poached eggs were also a little over cooked. The egg yolk did not run free like typical poached eggs are. I did not get to taste this dish, but they complained that the salad was too salty, even more so than the pork belly (again, surprising), and so that part of the meal was not quite as enjoyable.

Overall, Bar Marco was decent, but not spectacular. Even without the overly-salted salad, the meal wasn’t particularly memorable. I won’t be in a rush to come back again, but neither will I be against coming back.

Have you been to Bar Marco? What do you think about it?

Bar Marco
2216 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15222
(412) 471-1900

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