Tag Archives: Pittsburgh restaurants

New Wexford Whole Foods Is Dedicated to Sustainable Eating

Whole Foods Cooking

If Giant Eagle Market District is the Mecca for your foodiest of food nerds, then Whole Foods is the Holy Grail for clean, sustainable eating food gurus.

On Wednesday, May 2, Whole Foods will celebrate the grand opening of its Wexford, PA, store, a spacious, well designed, 34,000 square foot food destination. It is the 41st mid-Atlantic region store for the brand and the second in the Pittsburgh area. If you can make it for the 9:45 am ceremony, you’ll be in for a special treat—the brand’s tradition is to cut a 4.5-foot loaf of challah bread in lieu of a standard ribbon.

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek* at the new store today, taken from department to department by enthusiastic, passionate employees. It was evident that the staff knows their stuff and was excited to share that knowledge with us. Here’s a general overview of what you can expect starting May 2. Continue reading

Can You Improve on the Classic Burger? Burgh’ers Can

Forest Hills burger with rosemary fries

Sometimes, all you want or need is a great burger. Not a perfectly cooked filet, or trendy sushi, or an elegant seafood dinner, or even modernist cuisine, but a juicy, flavorful, classic hamburger, perhaps with a few creative toppings. And for that, you go to Burgh’ers.

Opened in 2010, Burgh’ers is one of several gourmet burger joints to recently hit Pittsburgh’s restaurant scene. What sets Burgh’ers apart from the crowd is its strong commitment to using local, natural ingredients—evident in the way the restaurant proudly lists its local purveyors right on its home page. Another source of pride for Burgh’ers is its proprietary meat blend, made from grass-fed beef raised at Armstrong Farms in Saxonburg, PA.

A quick glance at the menu will tell you this isn’t your parents’ burger joint. Instead of just hamburgers and cheeseburgers, you’re able to choose from nearly a dozen specialty burger combinations, all with sophisticated toppings. Caramelized onions? Check. Wild mushrooms? Check. Fennel seed? Check. Even rapini? You bet! None of the preconceived burgers quite your fancy? Then build your own burger with the toppings list on the back of the menu. Continue reading

Food Trend: Cuban Sandwiches

Kaya Cuban sandwich

Cuban sandwiches aren’t anything new. Let’s face it, the origins of the sandwich are more than 100 years old, and its current incarnation made its debut in America (or at least Florida) in the late 1940s and 50s. A quick glance at food blogs makes me think the sandwich became a national sensation circa 2008. And now, all of a sudden, I’ve noticed Cuban sandwiches on a number of restaurant menus around Pittsburgh.

Maybe they’ve been there before and I just never saw them, or maybe Pittsburgh’s current food revolution has led to these little babies being featured at establishments that focus on Caribbean and Latin fare. At any rate, here’s a run-down of some Cuban sandwiches sampled around town recently. Special thanks to my husband for being such a fan of the sandwich and biting the bullet to taste test them with me. Continue reading

Cheers to Toast! Kitchen and Wine Bar

I had been wanting to try Toast! Kitchen and Wine Bar for more than a year now, even before the restaurant had been named the best new restaurant of 2009 by Pittsburgh Magazine and Executive Chef Chet Garland received the magazine’s “Rising Star Chef” nod, but those awards only further piqued my interest. Time and a general lack of desire among friends and family members who I asked to accompany me kept getting in the way. Until last weekend, when two of my more adventurous foodie friends and I finally made it there.

After such a lengthy build up, I was worried the restaurant wouldn’t live up to my expectations. Thankfully, that could not be farther from the truth. Continue reading

Vanilla Pastry Studio Is Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

Vanilla Pastry Studio

Note. This post originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Observer, October 2009.

Entering Vanilla Pastry Studio is like walking into every little girl’s dream—and even a few dreams of some of us thirty-somethings. From the moment you step in from the sidewalks of Centre Avenue in Shadyside, it’s as if you are transported to another world altogether. Gone are the cold, gray sidewalks and streets, replaced with a more feminine and delicate space, decorated mostly in white with touches of soft pinks and greens. Continue reading

I’ll Take My Mexican With a Side of California

Happy Hippie Quesadilla

Note. This post originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Observer, September 2009.

Mad Mex touts its menu as “funky fresh Cal Mex,” and I must say, on that it does deliver. Mexican food purists, beware, you won’t find any dishes dripping in sauces or oozing with cheese. What exactly is California cuisine, and how will you find it on Mad Mex’s menu? In a word, fusion: Imagine a combination of Mexican flavors and California-fresh ingredients, with a couple of Asian influences thrown in for good measure. Continue reading