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CHECKING OUT SOME HOT FOODIE SPOTS IN PITTSBURGH

By Michael Hepworth

I have come away from a recent trip to Pittsburgh with the overall impression that portions here are well above average, and despite the lack of any superstar chefs, the local ones have a lot to offer. I checked out a few interesting places last month that warrant mention, a couple of breakfast places, an over the top lunch establishment, and a fine dining restaurant. All this helps makes Pittsburgh possibly the most livable city in the USA, and the 29th most livable city in the world to live.

First up I have to talk about Oh Yeah, a breakfast place located in Shadyside, a real trendy and upscale area that would be one of the top choices to move to if locating to Pittsburgh. The place is open all day, but the idea of ice cream and waffles for breakfast was a first for me, but since everything is organic here, and a real good way to start the day.  They also have a weekly coffee pass for $7, and no wonder the locals were cruising in for their morning fix of their excellent organic coffee. There are over 100 ice cream toppings to choose from including some real wild ones such as habanero and Swedish fish, and even have specials for dogs. Looking back, that now explains the number of young women cruising in with their pooches for an ice cream breakfast.

Pamela’s Pancake House is something of an institution in Pittsburgh with six locations, and more so now since President Obama popped in last year unannounced for a hotcake breakfast. Who really cares if the service is sloppy, the quality of the food is what counts. In fact Obama likes Pamela’s so much that he invited them to the White House for a Memorial Day Breakfast for the White House team and invited veterans. The Strip district location is where the Obama action took place, and I was told he tried the regular hotcake breakfast, but not sure if it was the blueberry, chocolate chip, banana walnut or strawberry version. Whichever version it was, the crepe hotcakes served here is an institution in Pittsburgh . 

If you are going on a weekend be prepared to stand in a long line.  Church Brew Works is a unique theme church restaurant that is located in the former St. John the Baptist Church in the Lawrenceville area. It is the only brew pub in the country to be located in a historic church, and the visuals are magnificent. It also serves gargantuan portions of food for lunch, but they have been doing it for 13 years, so the locals obviously love it.  This is where I had my very first Pierogi, a traditional Pittsburgh dish of Polish origins that is normally contains potato and cheese served with onions, butter and sour cream.  I tried the Cajun Chicken version, and this set up for the main course of Pulled Pork BBQ sandwich served on a ciabatta bread. Despite being starving after an overnight flight, I could not finish it, and all the other main courses ordered by the group of hungry writers were equally treated in gingerly fashion. 

Eleven Restaurant is one of the top five restaurants in Pittsburgh, and despite being part of a chain, it is the flagship restaurant of that particular group. A massive two story spot in the downtown area, Eleven is basically an American/Continental style eatery with a huge wine list and an on-site bakery and with 200 seats to fill every night, and it is a great success.  Chef Derek Stevens believes strongly in using up to 90% local ingredients purchased from local suppliers, and that passion is reflected in the menu at Eleven. There are three Farmers Markets in the area, and a typical example of Steven’s creative touch would be the side dishes with his Wild Striped Bass, cous cous, fennel, sun dried tomatoes and caperberries.  The four course tasting menu ($45) would be an ideal way to check out his cooking, ad that includes Spicy Tuna Tartare, Yellowtail Sashimi, Alaskan Halibut, Veal & Lobster and Strawberry Mascarpone Tart. Eleven could hold its own in any city in the world. 

Fact Sheet

 

Oh Yeah

232 S. Highland Ave.

Phone: (412) 253-0995

Website: www.customswirl.com

 

Pamela’s Diner

60 21st Street

Phone: (412) 281-6366

 

Church Brew Works

3525 Liberty Ave ,

Phone: (412) 688-8200

Website: www.churchbrew.com

 

Eleven Restaurant

1150 Smallman St

Phone: (412) 201-5656

Website: www.bigburrito.com/eleven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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