Culinary Tour de Pittsburgh

By | June 21, 2006

Where does the ‘staff’ of TastyBurgher take their parents when they visit the ‘Burgh?  Find out about our gastronomical adventures!

Erika’s Parents:
You can tell we are related because we are all obsessed with food!  They love coming to Pittsburgh because our restaurant scene is so great.  F’ those people who think Pittsburgh has no good restaurants.  They obviously only go to T.G. I. Fridays.  We’ve got it good here.  So good, in fact, that it is an attraction!

My parents have been lots of places in Pittsburgh, at least the following: Primanti’s, Café at the Frick, Pittsburgh Steak Company, Tessaro’s, Square Café, Enrico’s, Abay, Pierogies Plus, Spice Island Tea House, Prince of India, Star of India, Taste of India, Udippi, Open Flame, Piper’s Pub, Fajita Grill, Mediterranean Grill, Murray Avenue Grill, and Union Grill.  I’m pretty sure there is more than that, but at least those.   Yet on this most recent trip I still managed to take them to several restaurants they hadn’t been to before!

Gypsy Café
They flew in around 11am on Sunday, hungry for breakfast and without having had coffee.  What could be better timing for Gypsy Café?  Good coffee, big portions, not open till noon – it was just right.  Of course, we arrived about 1 minute early and had to wait to get in, after which we had to wait for them to print their menus!  We did a lot of waiting, but it was OK in the end, for the Father’s Day Brunch was deliciouso!
D: Peter Griffin’s Great Big Breakfast  – 2 eggs, sausage, vanilla pancakes, and homefries
M: Homer Fries – Signature pile of homefries, this time with white beans, broccoli, roasted garlic, asiago, bacon, and eggs (scrambled).
R: Poncho O’Malley’s Breakfast Rollups – a breakfast semi-burrito made with pita
E: Mr.C’s Breakfast Sandwich – Scrambled eggs, bacon, and cheddar on croissant with homefries.

Il Pizzaiolo
On a very warm Sunday night we enjoyed the outdoors in the beautiful courtyard of Il Pizzaiolo.  The ‘rents, like myself, are pasta fanatics so of course they loved it.  We started with a bottle of red and antipasto napoli (all veggies).  Dad got the Bolognese and Mom got the Paccheri alla Campagnola (mini meatball and ricotta pasta).  Reed got the Penne alla Vodka, I got the Rigatoni Siciliana (eggplant dish).  When it came time for dessert, we couldn’t manage to share – there was tiramisu, gelato, sorbetto, and tartufo on the table.  It was an awesome meal.

La Feria
Lunchtime, Monday, La Feria.  My parent’s love the crazy amounts of ethnic food we get here in the ‘Burgh.  She has a Peruvian friend at home and so this was perfect for lunch!  There were three specials that day, of which we got two: black bean and rice casserole with fried bananas, and chicken breast in a sweet and sour sauce.  The specials of the day were delicious, although not as exotic as usual.  The sweet potato chips and side salad were good as always, and it was nice and hot that day so their fresh-squeezed limeade was the perfect refresher.  Too full for dessert, we stumbled around the little shop in front where my Dad bought a gourd.

Enrico’s Tazzo D’Oro
Just a little stop for tea time.  We all had mochas, which were awesome.  Amazingly, my mom hasn’t had a real mocha in her life before this.  Amazing because she is a choco-holic.  About halfway through she said, “Is this chocolate or coffee?”  That’s a good mocha, right there!

Mad Mex
I now wonder how it is that I never took my parent’s here earlier.  My dad loves burritos and my mom loves margaritas.  Here, they are both exceptional in size and flavor.  As always, it was a good time.  I mean, how can you go wrong with a margarita like that?  It’s a damn fine margarita!
D: Super Mad Mex Burrito
M: Fajita Burrito
R: Chimichanga
E: Amazon Tacos

Coca Café
Another beautiful day in Pittsburgh, and we have the luck to sit under the shade trees on the side of Coca Café for breakfast/lunch.  What a pleasant shady area!  Mom and Dad both had omelets: Mom with an egg white omelet with goat cheese, spinach, basil, and tomatoes, and Dad with a wild mushroom omelet with shitake, portabella, and jarlsburg.  I got a roasted vegetable phyllo tart with goat cheese, plus a small serving of their soup of the day, with was fan-tab-u-lous!  Curried acorn squash with roasted corn bisque.  MMM – oh yeah!  That was so tasty!  The phyllo was a bit shard-like and the sun-dried tomato pesto was none too special, but I enjoyed this tart nonetheless.  Perhaps the goat cheese has something to do with it…

The last bite of the visit belongs to Tessaro’s.  To be fair, they’ve been to Tessaro’s before, and it was so great they had a special request for it.  Hey, it was a Father’s Day Trip, and Dad wanted a steak, so there you go.  Oh wait, I don’t need an excuse to go because Tessaro’s is freakin’ delicious and inexpensive!  Also, it is almost like we took them to Tessaro’s for the first time, because this time we introduced my mom to their burgers.  Tessaro’s is best at the filet mignon, the burgers, and the fish, and now my parents know the full breadth of Tessaro’s strengths!  My mom got the Bacon Bleu Burger (creamy) after we raved about it for like 20 minutes.  When it arrived she couldn’t figure out quite how to take a bite out of the giant sandwich, but the next time I looked over the whole thing was almost gone and she said in complete earnestness between her final bites, “this is the best burger I’ve ever had”.  It wasn’t a fake compliment either.  You can tell when some food item has just blown someone’s mind.  She had that look in her eye – the look of a Tasty Burgher.

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