Tag Archives: American (New)

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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Restaurant Week Winter 2013 – Avenue B

Pittsburgh Winter Restaurant Week 2013 was last week, so Avenue B is the second place I went. Their prix fixe menu had 3 courses: a soup or salad, a choice between 3 entrees, and dessert.  Avenue B is one of my favorite restaurants in Pittsburgh, so I had high expectations. I decided to go for soup and the meatloaf entree.

3 different types of bread

3 different types of bread

First of all, I liked the bread that they served. The butter was sweetened, so it added a nice sweetness to all the breads. There was white bread, sourdough, and multi-grain, I think, all of which were delicious. The only thing I didn’t like was that the bread wasn’t warm, but otherwise they were delicious.

Roasted apple & rutabaga soup, apple slaw, frisee, guanciale

Roasted apple & rutabaga soup, apple slaw, frisee, guanciale

The first course was delicious. I liked the strong taste of rutabaga, which is a Swedish turnip. The taste reminded me of daikon radish soup I am used to having at home. It was also sweet and sour, which presumably comes with the taste of apples. Guanciale, is an unsmoked Italian bacon, which was delicious and went well with the soup. I do wish they put a little more. The broth they used was also very, very good.

Kobe meatloaf, goat cheese & chive whipped potatoes, crispy onions, tomato jam

Kobe meatloaf, goat cheese & chive whipped potatoes, crispy onions, tomato jam

The second course is the Kobe meatloaf. It was amazing. The meatloaf was, juicy, light, and incredibly flavorful. I could have eaten three of them and would have wanted more. The fried onions were sweet and delicious. The mashed potatoes were fluffy and on the tangy side, with a strong taste of green onions. Overall, this entree, was so, so good, and I think I liked it because each component was very successful at bringing the flavors of the ingredients out.

Caramel blondie torte, pretzel butter cream, bruleed apple

Caramel blondie torte, pretzel butter cream, bruleed apple

Finally, the dessert was a caramel torte with bruleed apples. I also ordered a orange rooibos tea, which was definitely the right move. The caramel torte is basically two delicious squares of twix with sweetened butter(?) in the middle. I thought it was definitely on the sweet side, but my citrus tea cut through that and made both more delicious. The bruleed apples though, were genius. I loved the sweet caramel on tangy apples – simple and elegant. The dessert was very, very good, which definitely lived up to my expectations.

Have you ever been to Avenue B? What do you think?

Avenue B
5501 Centre Ave  Pittsburgh, PA 15232
(412) 683-3663

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Coca Cafe

Again, during finals week (I was super chill during finals week), we visited Coca Cafe up at Lawrenceville. The Sheep actually introduced me to this place, telling me that he wanted to bring me here, but never did. Finally we found the time to drive up here and sample some of their dishes. I ordered coffee, soup of the day, and an omelet, whereas the sheep went straight for the omelet.

The coffee is from La Prima, and although I’m not a crazy fan, I do like their coffee.

La Prima Coffee

La Prima Coffee

Their soup, which I forgot to take a picture of, was delicious. It was well seasoned, creamy and had some fried ginger on top. At first I wasn’t sure what it was, but the ginger was perfect for the soup. Brought out all the sweet notes of the soup, while the soup made ginger less biting. The combination was perfect. Also, it came with a deliciously crusty french bread. Yum.

Avocado Omelet / Apple Smoked Bacon / Jalapeno Muenster / House Salsa

Avocado Omelet / Apple Smoked Bacon / Jalapeno Muenster / House Salsa

I ordered an Avocado Omelet and the sheep ordered the 4 cheese omelet. While I didn’t sample his 4 cheese omelet, the avocado omelet was delicious. The omelet itself was light, fluffy, but a little creamy. Juicy, even. Avocado, bacon, and salsa were all present, and overall the flavors were balanced. even the home fries were crispy and delicious. I absolutely loved my meal.

Four Cheese Omelet/ Cheddar/ Goat/ Gruyere/ Muenster

Four Cheese Omelet/ Cheddar/ Goat/ Gruyere/ Muenster

I would, without hesitation, come back a second time.

Have you been here? What do you think?

Coca Cafe
3811 Butler Street  Pittsburgh, PA
412-621-3171

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Legume

Salt of the Earth is an awesome place, as I have shared before. I think one of the reasons that it can be so high quality is because it uses seasonal foods, so the ingredients are always fresh and ripe and therefore delicious. Legume is also one of those restaurants that use local and seasonal ingredients, and so their menu changes daily. Having been to Salt just recently, I had high expectations for Legume. We started with the Smoked Blue Fish Pate and of course complimentary bread.

Amazing baguettes

Bread usually isn’t THAT exciting for me to dedicate a whole paragraph to, but oh my goodness, they know how to make bread. Fragrant, warm baguettes with a extra crispy exterior, warm and chewy interior. It was amazing. The perfect ratio of crust to interior, the texture of it all, and the big air bubbles that I can’t get in my own baked bread is all there. I loved it, and probably ate more than I should have.

Smoked bluefish pate with pickles and baguette drizzled and baked with olive oil

Again, that bread was good. This time they baked it with olive oil, which made it extra crispy. I was hoping we could get more of the bread for the pate, but we were only served extra bread, thin cut, for the pate. The pate itself was good too, but I felt like it was a really expensive version of tuna salad. However, it was good tuna salad, if anything. Incredibly smoky, which I like, and not so heavy on the mayonnaise which I was grateful for. The pickles also went really well with the pate. I liked this dish.

Chicken Cooked Under a Skillet with Garlic, Tomatoes, Summer Savory and Polenta

This was my friend’s chicken dish, which I took a bite or two out of. It was served with corn polenta (covered). The chicken was well cooked, I suppose, but not very flavorful. The garlic though, was amazing; it melted in my mouth when I ate it.

King Mackerel with Corn, Green Beans, Bacon, Cape Peas and Tomato Vinaigrette

My friendgave me a whole chunk of the crispy edge of the mackerel. It was well cooked, but it also reminded me of home. Plain and simple. Again, not very flavorful, but at least the fish was fresh, I guess. Oh and his beans/corn mixture was well seasoned, which I liked.

Lamb Sausage

Finally, this is my dish, the lamb sausage with corn polenta and some vegetables. The sausages reminded me of home too, like the ones my mom would buy in an upscale sausage shop. The vegetables they used were also reminiscent of home. However, the sausages were so salty, I almost couldn’t finish my plate. The pesto that came with it didn’t really taste like anything. The corn polenta was very good though: tender, soft, and not gritty. Overall, not even nicely seasoned, and unflavorful.

Lavender Panna Cotta with Blue Berries and Shortbread

I was intrigued by the lavender panna cotta, so we ordered it to share. It was soft, creme brulee like, and both the cookie and the panna cotta had lavender scent in it. It was subtle and I can’t decide if it was a good thing or not. The panna cotta was a little sweet, in my opinion. I’m usually all for sweet, but I had hoped for a more delicate dessert. After your senses got used to the lavender, the panna cotta was a blob of sweet cream, which I did not really appreciate. The blueberries were supposed to supplement the dessert after the lavender scent went away, but… it just wasn’t what I had wanted. The shortbread was average too. I like my shortbread sandy and buttery, and this one was not. However, it had lavender in it (which was a plus) and it was also salted, and I love savory-sweet combinations. Still, neither parts of this dessert was what I had hoped for.

In conclusion? I probably would not go back again, especially because of the price. I’m paying the same amount for a nicely cooked, possibly nicely seasoned and not so flavorful meal compared to what I could get at Salt of the Earth. I simply cannot afford chucking money at restaurants for slightly-above average meals. I think my favorite part of the meal was the bread. I was sorely disappointed by the rest of my meal.

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