Cleaning out old photo files and found this.  I damn near jumped in the car and drove six hours to get this in my mouth again.

Cleaning out old photo files and found this. I damn near jumped in the car and drove six hours to get this in my mouth again.

Last night in Pittsburgh

After seven months here. I gave it a lot of thought, wanting to figure out the meal I had to eat, the place I had to see, what exactly was it that I need to do before leaving. I concluded that what I wanted to do more than anything was have a drink, smoke a bowl and get to bed early so I can get on a damned plane and get back to the world. So that’s what I’m doing.

Pittsburgh Foodies

Cure restaurant just opened in Lawrenceville and we had a lovely meal there. Chef/Owner Justin Severino has put together a top notch restaurant centered around charcuterie and local game. Menu choices are limited, but everything on it was absolutely delicious.

House specialty is the Salumi plate, which consisted of bruschetta with absolutely divine lardo, mortadella with delicious chunks of fat, chicken rillettes, smoked beef tongue, country pate and some quick pickled red onions. All were delicious, but particularly the lardo. I could sit and eat it til I gave myself gout. The beef tongue was also a particular standout. Everything on the plate was created from scratch by Chef Justin.

Other apps we tried were a very nice meatball over polenta and an addictive sun choke soup studded with crispy scallions. Both were excellent.

For my main I had as perfect a pork chop as can be found. Thick cut, moist and properly seasoned. Others had the cassoulet which was just a slight notch below but still quite good. The surprise standout was the Walleye in a bordelaise sauce. Chef told us about working in Northern California and jonesing for the trout and walleye from Lake Erie, and this dish explained why.

That’s the thing about Pittsburgh right now, people like Justin are coming home and applying lessons learned elsewhere to local ingredients. This is becoming quite a delicious town.

The Vinnie Verdict

Great shitty pie, which I will take over shitty great pie any day.

The crust is extremely puffy around the edges, yet somehow light. It’s flakier than most pizza dough, and somehow the bottom of the pie managed to be very crisp and firm. All around a good platform. Cheese was your typical processed Mozzarella/Provolone mix, applied with a heavy hand. Sauce was standard stuff from a can, but really a non factor as it was drowned out by the toppings. The toppings are what the place is known for, as it should be. He used good pepperoni, and damn near a pound of it on a pie. I’m not a mushroom guy, but my pal Adkins loved the way the mushrooms sort of sautéed in the pools of grease from the meats and cheeses.

Overall it was quite tasty and very unique pie. Sort of a hybrid of your normal midwest pie and a full-on Chicago style pizza. IMHO the pizza men from Chitown could learn a thing or two from Vinnie as I enjoyed his more than I have theirs.

Vinnie Pies

Vincent’s Pizzeria The Vinnie Pie.  Yes, we did.

Vincent’s Pizzeria The Vinnie Pie. Yes, we did.

If SOPA/PIPA passes

or if it does not I am still excited to be going to Vincent’s Pizza Palace for my first Vinnie Pie. How did it take me this long to go to the place?

Jug wine, blunts and slim jims.  No begging, please.

Jug wine, blunts and slim jims. No begging, please.

Corned Beef Hash and Pancakes at Pamela’s.

Corned Beef Hash and Pancakes at Pamela’s.

Ask Me about Pittsburgh The Asteroid #4

Oh God. This is so bad, but I cannot help it.

The meals here just get better and more injurious. As I near the end of my time in the Burgh I find myself planning dinners as endgame. Ate at Alla Famiglia for the sixth time since July tonight, well knowing it would be the second-to-last meal I eat there. Therefore it was key that I ordered the second best meal I could construct. Went with the following:

Local provolone pan seared in white truffle oil, smothered in raw arugula and shaved aged parmesan.

Veal and pork meatball with melted fresh mozzarella center swimming in sweet fresh crushed san marzano tomatoes.

Salad of bitter greens, olives, raisins, cherry tomatoes, roast pepper, gorgonzola in raspberry vinagarette.

Fusili in vodka cream sauce sprinkled with (extremely) hot pepper oil.

A gorgeous 28 day dry aged high prime center cut strip steak, cooked very rare and covered in crumbled house made sausage, chunky san marzanos and caramelized onions.

We skipped desert, abstemious as we are.

Cashier: Would you like lettuce and tomato on that?

Me: No, I ordered pastrami.
Cashier: Yes, would you like lettuce and tomato on that?
Me: No. I ordered pastrami.
Cashier: Soooo, no lettuce or tomato?
Me: On a pastrami sandwich? Why in God’s name would I do that? No. No lettuce. No tomato. Pastrami. Rye bread. Spicy mustard. Nothing else.

Umi

Yet another spectacular meal in this city last night. Had the omakase at Umi, with slight modifications. Not all chefs are open to customers rearranging their pre-planned meals but he was quite gracious about it.

Seaweed Salad
Kumamoto Sashimi
Minced Toro with green onion and wasabi
Sawara with garlic ponzu
Tamaga with shitake paste
black cod with miso
tempura rock shrimp with spicy citrus cream sauce
Sushi course with Bigeye Toro, Yellowtail, Salmon, Mackerel and Toro

It was as good a meal as you will get anywhere and better than most. Fish was all top grade, properly sliced and absolutely fresh. If I lived here I’d have my own stool at the Umi sushi bar.

Moe moves to the Burgh

Moe has been living in NYC with my wife for the last five months and has gotten snotty and soft. He now whimpers when he wants something. If you are in bed eating he will walk right over and attempt to pluck food out of your damn mouth. He used to look up at me and await my permission before attacking his bowl, now I have to alpha his fuzzy little butt into waiting on my command. Bastard spent the last four days pushing me away so he could snuggle up to my wife. After he was wrapped up in her arms he’d look over and give me the stinkeye.

Well all that is over now. The Wife is going to Disneyworld, then LA, then Chicago, then back to NYC over the next three weeks so Moe came to the Burgh with me. He gets three weeks of hanging out with the guys where he will learn how to fart, smoke cigars, crack tasteless jokes and eat poorly. Daddy is back in charge and Moe is going to become a little man again. Time to get this dog right.

New Kensington #6

New Kensington #6