It's been about two months since a travel-oriented post, and I had no idea I'd be writing another one so soon.
My fiance and I had no plans for Memorial Day weekend, but on Saturday afternoon, we decided to drive to Pittsburgh for an overnighter. My fiance attended college at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, but I had never been to Steel City, so he acted as my tour guide.
Since living there more than 10 years ago, my fiance noticed a ton of change in certain neighborhoods. What areas used to be quiet at nighttime are now booming with restaurants, bars and theaters for residents and visitors to enjoy. And thankfully, we were within walking distance of most of the bustling areas, so we could enjoy new restaurants in the city.
Location: Meat & Potatoes (649 Penn Ave.)
This restaurant got high reviews on Yelp and was within walking distance of our hotel, so we made a reservation while on the drive to Pittsburgh. The menu was definitely meat-heavy, but I was able to order the wild-mushroom risotto while my fiance ordered a pork chop with collard greens, baked beans and pork belly. We split fried pickles as our appetizer, which we both loved. We could tell the pickles were house-made, and the breading was thick and delicious, whereas most restaurant fried pickles are skimpy on the breading. For dessert, we split a chocolate pot de creme, which was decadent like a bowl of chocolate mousse with whipped cream and a sprinkling of toppings.
Would I return? Absolutely. The vibe was dark but higher-end and had custom cocktails and a large menu. In addition, the menu changes often with the season or with what ingredients are available, so the chef gets to challenge himself with what tastes best throughout the year.
Location: Pamela's Diner (multiple locations, but we dined at the 60 21st St. restaurant)
It does not take a lot to convince me to try a new diner, but I'm always looking for staple items whenever I check out the menu for the first time (pancakes, eggs, hash browns, etc.). Pamela's Diner met all of my menu requirements and more, with not only offering pancakes but also their specialty crepe pancakes. I ordered chocolate-chip-and-banana crepe pancakes with a side of two over-easy eggs. My fiance tried a single crepe pancake with bacon. The pancakes were huge, and we were fully stuffed and satisfied.
Would I return? Definitely. This is a classic diner (cash only, huge menu with any breakfast dish imaginable), and it was exactly what I wanted for breakfast -- no frills but quick service and delicious food.
Location: Atria's (multiple locations, but we dined at the restaurant attached to the Pittsburgh Pirates ballpark)
Specialty: Pub food/lunch and dinner
My fiance and I went to the Andy Warhol museum within walking distance of Atria's, and admittedly, we didn't have a plan for lunch. We knew we were hungry, and we knew we should eat before getting back on the road to Columbus. Atria's was open, and although the initial reviews on Yelp were negative, we gave them a shot. Most of the complaints we read were during a ballgame taking place, but with no game scheduled until 8 p.m., the area was relatively quiet.
I ordered a Greek salad, and my fiance opted for a pulled-pork sandwich (without the bun). Our meal was good, but it didn't knock my socks off either. For a Greek salad at a nonsalad-specialty restaurant, I would say it was better than expected.
Would I return? I don't know. Our meal wasn't bad, but I wouldn't be tempted to suggest it to friends. For a restaurant that is right outside a ballpark, it was better than expected, but there are probably other lunch spots in the city I would try before returning.
Check out the latest dinners and recipes posted to https://Facebook.com/TinyMessyKitchen or at www.TinyMessyKitchen.com.
Email ThisWeek copy editor/page designer Abby Armbruster at firstname.lastname@example.org.