Helpful ReplyHot!Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh)

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JRPfeff
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/07/23 16:07:15 (permalink)
Ralph,

Did you and your beer drinking friends ever try The Strip Brewery? It was part-owned by a Westinghouse engineer I dealt with. Great beer, location and food. I don't know how they failed.

They had a really hoppy IPA that was one of the first like that I had ever had. I actually carried a growler of it on my flight back to Milwaukee one time. Those were the days, before 9/11.

The other place I remember is the church they turned into a brewpub. You may see the start of a pattern here.

Jim
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Ralph Melton
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/07/23 16:41:00 (permalink)
I've never heard of The Strip Brewery. A Google search states that it opened in 1997, when I was already in Pittsburgh, but it completely escaped my notice.
 
Church Brew Works was one of the first microbreweries I ever tried, but I've never been wholeheartedly enthusiastic about it. It's nifty that they're making their own beer, and it's a beautiful space. But it's very noisy unless you sit outside, and none of the beers have really caught my fancy.
#62
Ralph Melton
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/07/28 09:16:30 (permalink)
Another Monday when I'm on my own. Where shall I eat? Anyone want to join me?
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Ralph Melton
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/07/28 12:11:53 (permalink)
I've been told that Chick'n Bubbly has just opened, so I think today will be my first taste of Korean-style fried chicken.
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/07/28 12:50:43 (permalink)
That sounds like an outstanding choice.  If I hadn't arrived so late from the airport this morning (1:45AM), I would join you.
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Ralph Melton
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/07/29 15:17:07 (permalink)
Chick&#x27;n Bubbly by Ralph Melton, on Flickr
 
Chick'n Bubby's space is very small. Most of the space is taken up by the order counter and kitchen area; there are three hubcap-sized tables, five stools, and three chairs with backs.
 
This was apparently the first day of Chick'n Bubbly's soft opening, so they can be forgiven for not having all their ducks in a row yet. They were out of drumsticks, out of sweet and spicy sauce, and out of side items, so it was easy to choose wings with the soy garlic sauce.
 
It took about twenty minutes to receive my order, and people who ordered wings later received their order before I did. But again, first day. I regret that my food photos are backlit by the setting sun, but I had only one choice of where to sit.  
Chick&#x27;n Bubbly by Ralph Melton, on Flickr
 
The chicken was excellent. The coating was extraordinarily thin and crisp, as crisp as a fresh chip. It snapped under my teeth at every bite. They were all coated in sauce, but they stayed crisp even to the last wing - although I suspect that the sauce-dipped chicken might not stay at its best for long. I would have liked to take a close-up picture of a single wing, but the sauce made my fingers so sticky that I didn't want to touch my phone; even after two napkins, my fingers were as sticky as a grubby kid's.
Chick&#x27;n Bubbly by Ralph Melton, on Flickr
 
I'll give them a little while to settle in, because I want them a little more organized, a little less crowded, and stocked with side dishes. But I will definitely give them another try.
post edited by Ralph Melton - 2014/07/29 15:18:25
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buffetbuster
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/07/31 09:52:32 (permalink)
Despite the fact that I have a problem, if not a borderline phobia, about sticky fingers, that really looks good.  So glad to hear that the wings stayed crisp, because that makes all the difference.  Thanks for the photos and info on this place Ralph!
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/07/31 14:23:54 (permalink)
Ralph, did you see the review Munch did in the PG today for The Yard in Shadyside?  The idea of over two dozen grilled cheese options has great appeal to me!  Have you been here yet?
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Ralph Melton
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/07/31 16:47:03 (permalink)
I had not seen that, and I have not been there. Sounds like a destination for Monday!
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buffetbuster
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/08/06 07:57:24 (permalink)
Hey Ralph, did you make it to The Yard or anywhere else on Monday night?
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Ralph Melton
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/08/06 12:53:18 (permalink)
I made it to The Yard. Unfortunately, I've had some work crunch so haven't posted yet. Tonight, I hope.
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/08/06 13:15:01 (permalink)
Ok, no rush.  I was just curious about the place. 
#72
Ralph Melton
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/08/06 21:03:03 (permalink)
 There are a few restaurants in Pittsburgh that seem to have all of the trappings of a great restaurant except great food. I ate at one of them for brunch on Sunday; I ate at another for lunch on Monday. Then on Monday evening, I added The Yard to that list.
 
The Yard is a gastropub in the basement of a building on Bellefonte Street in Shadyside. It's got a broad beer menu and a focus on local sustainable food. I like the specialty of grilled cheese sandwiches, because that's a comfort food not found too often, and they use bread from a well-regarded local bakery. I ordered the "Smack Yo Mama" sandwich (with beer cheese, pulled pork, and onion straws) with garlic parmesan fries, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it came with tomato soup. And it looked simply beautiful when it came out. The shape of the little bowl of soup shows thoughtful consideration for those who like to dunk their sandwiches. There should be no call whatsoever for an "And yet...". And yet...
The Yard by Ralph Melton, on Flickr
 
I first ate one of the fries, and enjoyed the big bold flavor of the coating and the great texture combination of the crisp exterior and soft interior.
I had a bite of soup, and it was a good classic preparation.
But when I bit into the sandwich, the thick toast rasped against my palate, leaving it raw and tender for more than a day. (Perhaps I should have dipped it in the soup to avoid this. I didn't grow up eating grilled cheese that way, and I never picked up the habit.)
And as I kept eating, I realized that the fillings were really bland. A bite of grilled cheese should have a quick one-two rhythm, starting with butter and salt and toasty bread and following with warm gooshy cheese - but with this sandwich the followup was too weak; I couldn't taste barbecue or onion or even cheese.
I did finish the meal, and the sandwich kept rasping and the filling became no more flavorful. And I realized that the flavor of the fries was just a big dose of salt and garlic powder. I like big bold flavors and never really appreciate complex or subtle flavors, but even for me this became too monochromatic.
 
There were so many good things about The Yard that I feel a temptation to give it a second chance. But I'd have to make a lot of special requests - I'd have to ask for the bread to be sliced more thinly and the fries to have half the usual amount of salt. That's enough adjustments that I may have to think twice before going again soon.
 
#73
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/08/06 21:26:10 (permalink)
Excellent write up Ralph!  And that first paragraph made me laugh out loud.  Sorry you meal wasn't more satisfactory.
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/08/06 21:35:40 (permalink)
Speaking of grilled cheeses, I had this grilled cheese burger

for lunch at my local favorite place, Porky's Smokehouse.  The photo is a little deceiving, as that is a full grilled cheese above and below the patty.
 
Ralph, you would have been much happier with this.
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Michael Hoffman
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/08/06 21:42:16 (permalink)
Gee, I don't know. I mean, putting a burger between two grilled cheese sandwiches?
 
What a great idea!
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/08/06 21:46:00 (permalink)
 
Michael, that really is a great idea!  This isn't something I would want to eat everyday, but it was pretty darn good.  And if I didn't have enough cheese today, my made turkey devonshires tonight for dinner. 
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/08/06 21:48:24 (permalink)
Ralph, I apologize for taking this off topic.  And I would love to join you wherever you go this upcoming Monday night.
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Ralph Melton
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/08/07 15:42:08 (permalink)
No worries at all about the topic drift, and I'd be happy to dine with you on Monday.
 
A followup on Chicken Bubbly: I've learned that the chicken does stay crisp in its sauce for at least half an hour while the customer walks back to our office.
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Michael Hoffman
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/08/07 16:08:34 (permalink)
buffetbuster
 
Michael, that really is a great idea!  This isn't something I would want to eat everyday, but it was pretty darn good.  And if I didn't have enough cheese today, my made turkey devonshires tonight for dinner. 


I guess my Chef Boyardee ravioli isn't going to taste very good tonight now that I know what you're having.
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/08/07 16:22:49 (permalink)
That was last night Michael.  Having that grilled cheese burger, followed by a double portion of the turkey devonshire, wasn't the best idea in the world.  Too heavy and too much cheese.  I'm not 18 anymore." />
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Michael Hoffman
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/08/07 17:25:22 (permalink)
I'm not, either. But it still sounds good to me.
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Ralph Melton
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/08/11 12:04:19 (permalink)
I've got a work crunch coming up this week, so I might not be able to do a thorough writeup. I will do what I can.
 
Where shall we eat?
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/08/11 12:19:55 (permalink)
Unfortunately Ralph, I have also been hit with a work crunch and anticipate working late tonight and all week.  My apologies!   
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JRPfeff
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/08/11 12:20:23 (permalink)
Eat'n Park.
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Michael Hoffman
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/08/11 13:08:45 (permalink)
JRPfeff
Eat'n Park.



BLECH!!!!!!!!
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/08/11 14:46:30 (permalink)
Has anyone eaten there in the recent past? Is Eat'n Park a local version of Steak n Shake or Waffle House, or maybe the Yinzer In 'n Out urge?
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Michael Hoffman
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/08/11 14:57:39 (permalink)
A couple of years ago lleechef and I ate at the one in Sewickley. A very well done omelet, extra crisp bacon (exactly the opposite of the way it had been ordered) and coffee that was much like dark dishwater. But it's nothing like a Steak & Shake or a Waffle House. For instance, it was a Sunday and it was filled with families dressed up for, I guess, church.
post edited by Michael Hoffman - 2014/08/11 15:26:56
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lleechef
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/08/11 15:21:18 (permalink)
As much as I always bash Waffle House (teasingly) it is MUCH better than Eat'n Park.  Don't remember what I had there but I do remember that it was NASTY.  But then, I'm sure Ralph wouldn't even consider it for his Monday dinner! 
How about Tessaro's for a burger? 
post edited by lleechef - 2014/08/11 15:25:25
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JRPfeff
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Re:Pick My Dinner (in Pittsburgh) 2014/08/11 15:30:56 (permalink)
In the time I lived in Moon I passed them all the time, but never had the urge to stop. I thought there must be at least some redeeming value there.

Milwaukee has George Webb, a local chain of coffee shops. We rarely go, but I consider them very similar to Steak n Shake.
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