Monday, December 3, 2012

Two Brothers BBQ

   People are asking me all the time what I think the best BBQ joint in the Pittsburgh area is. Well it is without a doubt Two Brothers Bar-B-Q. A little BBQ stand in the small town of Presto. The only reason I was able to learn about this place is because my work district headquarters is down the road from it. Everyone I have ever taken there has been impressed, and its as close as you will get to real Southern BBQ.
Where the magic happens

  Two brothers uses a mix of hickory and cherry woods to smoke their meats, and they do it long and slow with the pulled pork taking 10 hours. To order you just walk up to the stand, place your order, and within 10 minutes you will be good to go. They have picnic tables set up there or you can take it home.
 So lets check out some of the bbq I have tried at Two Brothers.
BBQ Pulled Pork Nachos $7.49

  The pulled pork nachos are definitely a favorite. Tortilla chips covered with cheese and a huge amount of smoked pulled pork and bbq sauce. Go for the hot bbq sauce as it is not all that hot, and get an extra side of sauce as well. You can also get the nachos covered with chicken or chili as well.

Beef Brisket Sandwich $7.49

    The beef brisket sandwich is an 8 inch hoagie bun piled high with a large amount of smoked beef brisket. The brisket is smoked perfectly with a nice pink smoke ring and its almost fall apart tender.

Shrimp and Bacon Po-Boy $9.95

The Shrimp and Bacon Po-Boy even though not really bbq, is my favorite sandwich at Two Brothers. Its large grilled shrimp, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and a spicy mayo, on an 8" hoagie roll. This sandwich has so many depths of flavor. The smoky and salty bacon,the savory shrimp, the spicy heat from the mayo. Its like the ultimate version of a BLT.

Mac & Cheese  $1.59

 Of course Two Brothers has all the sides as well including Mac&Cheese. The mac&cheese was good, but nothing all that spectacular. They also have BBQ baked beans, cole slaw, potato salad and cornbread cake.

 So if you are in the Bridgeville area of Allegheny County do yourself a favor and stop by Two Brothers. I'm pretty sure it will become your go-to place for BBQ in Pittsburgh.

  RATING: 8/10

Two Brothers Bar-B-Q & Catering Co. on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wexford Ale House

Formerly Poor Richards Pub up in the Wexford Flats, The Wexford Ale House has been refurnished with a new interior and a new menu to match. The Wexford Ale House is no longer just a dingy local watering hole.

 We stopped in on a Saturday afternoon for lunch, and we were waited on by the bartender quickly.

The Wexford Ale House now carries over 40 beers on tap, carrying everything from Bud, to my favorite Belgian beer, Delirium Tremens.

Spicy Parm Wings $5.99

   To start off we ordered the Spicy Parm wings which were excellent. Dipped in buffalo sauce and dusted with Parmesan cheese, the wings were both crispy and tangy.

Beef on Weck $8.99
 To my surprise, I found for the first time on any Pittsburgh menu, a Beef on Weck sandwich. A weck is short for the bread which is a Kimmelweck roll. Basically a bun with salt and caraway seeds on it. If you are in Buffalo NY you cant go 50ft without finding a place that sells a version of this sandwich. The Ale houses version was decent. The beef was tender and piled high, yet could use slightly more seasoning. The accompanying au-jus and tangy pure horseradish added some moisture and flavor to this sandwich. The fries were crappy being oily and limp, the accompanying cheddar cheese sauce was bland and most likely straight from a can.

Corned Beef Reuben $8.99
    The corned beef reuben was an above average take on the classic sandwich. The corned beef was not your typical lunch meat style, but seemed to actually come from a real corned beef brisket. It had good flavor and a nice chew too it.

Wild Wild West Burger $8.59
 The Wild West Burger is a 1/2 pound burger covered with onion rings, bacon, cheddar cheese, and bbq sauce.  A good burger, and the accompanying chips were much better then the fries, being less oily and more crisp.

 The Wexford Ale House is much improved over what it once was. The food is above average as far as bar food goes, and they have a great selection of beer. Definitely worth checking out if you are in the Wexford area.

Wexford Ale House:  6/10

Wexford Ale House  on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

D's SixPax & Dogz

 D's is on South Braddock Ave off the Parkway East next to Regent Square. Its been around for quite a while now and was one of the first places in Pittsburgh where you could go buy individual micro-brewed beers.
 Me and my companion stopped there on a Friday night and like everything else on S.Braddock Ave. was packed wall to wall with people. So we just bought a couple of beers and drank them outside as we waited for our table. D's beer selection is absolutely huge and you should have no problem finding a brewskie to your liking
 After waiting about 20 minutes we were seated

 The interior is eclectic yet cozy. There is a big mural of Hollywood stars and Pittsburgh celebrities on one wall, and statues of trappist monks on the other.
 For our order we got a side of fries, a Veggie Chihuahua Dog, a Chili Cheese Dog, and a D's Brat with mustard and onion.
Fries $1.95

 The fries are terrific. Being batter dipped they have a great crunch.

Veggie Chihuahua Dog $4.19

 The  Veggie dog chihuahua style was much better then I expected it to be. While the veggie dog is not a dead ringer for a real hot dog , its pretty close. Just a slightly different texture. The chihuahua style means it comes with jalapenos, cheddar, guacamole, and salsa. A good healthy alternative to a normal dog.

Chili Cheese Dog $4.19

 The Chilli Cheese dog was great. The hot dog is a Vienna Beef dog from Chicago. Vienna Beef is recognized as one of the best purveyors of tube steaks in the US. The chili was all beef no beans which is a plus. The dog was grilled perfectly with just the right amount of charred crust on the casing. Also the casing is natural so it has a nice snap to it.

D's Brat with grilled onion and brown mustard $4.99

 The D's brat is a smoked bratwurst with small pieces of cheese inside it. Besides the onions needing a little more time on  the grill, this was a tasty sausage. The savory and smokiness of the brat was balanced out nicely by the brown mustard.
 D's has a ton of different toppings that you can put on your dogs in any combo you choose for free. They also have burgers, wings, hoagies, etc.
  After your finished downing your dogs, you must stop at the beer cave. A cornucopia of beer goodness where you can buy six packs and individual bottles of local and domestic beers.

  So D's has great dogs, a large selection of beers on tap, and more importantly a Beer Cave. Whats not too like?

RATING 7/10 
D's Six Pax & Dogz on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Tyma'z has been open for a few years now, and happens to be right down from the street from me. Yet till now I have never had the chance to visit it. Radwa Ibrahim a native of Syria is the chef/owner of Tymaz, and I was interested to try her Middle Eastern specialties.
 Me and my eating partner arrived around 9:00 PM for a late dinner. Tymaz has around 25 tables inside the very nondescript restaurant. When we arrived, there were only two other tables occupied, yet the young host/waiter gazed around looking for a table to seat us like the place was filled to capacity. Finally he sat us down after managing to find a table amongst the many that were available . The interior of Tymaz matches the exterior, being very plain with some Middle Eastern art adorning the walls. There was a nice 3 foot high plastic camel however that I found amusing and thought would make an excellent decoration in my own residence.
Complimentary Hummus
  We were served some hummus soon after sitting down. The hummus was drizzled with olive oil and came with some pitas for dipping/scooping. It was a pretty bland hummus compared to others I have tried and seemed to have a little too much Tahini (sesame paste) in it.

 Our dinners also came with a side salad made up mostly of iceberg lettuce(blah) and a few other veggies. The dressing was not too bad being vinegar and oil based with flavors of mint and oregano.

Shish Kabob $18.00

 My hot date/eating partner ordered the Shish Kabob which is marinated lamb cooked over an open flame. I was a little disappointed with the presentation, I would liked to have seen the lamb come out on skewers. The lamb itself was tender, and the marinade gave it a lemony/oregano/garlic flavor. Actually the marinades flavor was so pronounced that you could hardly even tell you were eating lamb. Lamb has a pretty unique flavor but that flavor was barely even detectable.
Mousakka $17.00
  My initial order was for Baked Kibee, but was told by our server the kitchen had run out. So I ordered the Mousakka which is described as eggplant layered with ground beef and a special cheese blend, baked in a rich tomato sauce with onions and green peppers. This is pretty much Syrian comfort food 101. The Mousakka came out piping hot and I actually had to wait about 10 minutes before I could eat it without getting naplam burns in my mouth. The tomato sauce had a pleasant sweetness to it which was balanced out nicely by the richness of the eggplant, meat, and cheese. A decent tasting dish overall which I think really could be enjoyed even more on a cold Winter night.
Rice Pilaf

Both of our meals came with rice pilaf. Dont laugh, but I thought this was actually the highlight of the whole meal. It is fragrant rice topped with almond slivers. Im not sure what they flavor the rice with but there was flavors of cinnamon and cardamon. It was awesome and I would and will go back to Tymaz just for this side dish.

 So all in all Tymaz was a mixed bag. The service was kind of crappy, and I was not too pleased when our server started to stack the chairs for the other empty tables at the end of the night while we were still eating. Make sure you BYOB if you visit Tymaz, as the drink selection is limited, and there is no corkage fee. Also make sure you arrive early as they do run out of things such as the Baked Kibee and the Baklava.
 As a whole the dining experience at Tymaz was not exceptional , with a combination of bad service and slightly above average main courses. However I know I will be back just to eat the rice pilaf again..


TYMA'Z  6/10

Tyma'z Mediterranean House on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Jean-Marc Chatellier

 I will just come out and say it, Jean-Marc is in my humble opinion the best baker in Pittsburgh. His bakery alone has made Millvale into a destination spot for any foodie in the region.

Jean-Marc himself is from Britanny France. He trained and was an apprentice for Master Pastry Chef George Merlet. In 1983 Jean-Marc came to the US and spent time at many restaurants in LA before moving and setting up his shop in Millvale in 1992.

 Let me tell you about some of my personal favorites at Jean-Marc's.

Breton Cake $8.00

  The Breton cake which is a specialty of the Britanny region of France is described as a buttery shortbread style cake. That it is. It reminds me a lot of my Grandmothers Oooey Gooey Butter cake that she used to make. Its thick, dense, moist, and very buttery in taste. A must buy when you go to Jean-Marc's

French Macarons $15.00 a Dozen

 The French Macarons were actually the first thing I ever tried at Jean Marc's. They are pretty tiny but they really provide a wallop of flaver. When you bite into them the first thing you notice is how light and airy the texture is of the almond based outer shells. Then you bite into the cream filled center that just explodes with flavor.
Sea Salt Caramel Macaron

Some of the Macaron flavors include Sea Salt Caramel (my favorite), Mango-Passion Fruit, and Peanut Butter and Jelly. It is just amazing how much flavor Jean-Marc is able to put into his Macarons. 


 Make sure you try out his Croissants as well, which are easily the flakiest and buttery croissants that you will ever have. 


So get your butt over to Jean-Marc's you will not be dissapointed. 
Let me leave you with some food porn from the last time I visited Jean Marc's. (Click on pics for higher res)

Jean-Marc Chatellier's French Bakery on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Station Street Hot Dogs

Hipsters  ( Dont you just want to punch them in the face)

 Station Street Hot Dogs has been in East Liberty since 1969. It has opened and closed a few times since then, as well as changed ownership several times. The latest ownership has decided to make the hot dogs more up-scale with gourmet toppings as well as gourmet prices to match. This reflects East Liberty's burgeoning Hipster eating scene for better or worse.

    As you can see the prices are pretty damn expensive for a hot dog. With the cheapest being $4.00 for the rather plain House Dog, all the way to $8.00 for the Po-Boy Dog.

  You place your order at the counter, which is encircled by the seating area, which looks out into the parking lot that allows you to watch and make sure your car is not stolen (an important thing in East Liberty).  My eating companion and I ordered 3 hot dogs to share(Chilli CheeseDog, Devil Dog, Hawaii Dog) and an order of the duck fat french fries. The order was up in about 4 minutes.
Duck Fat Fries $5.00
  The Duck Fat fries were pretty good. They were crispy on the outside and had a nice richness in the inside. If the duck fat imparted any additional flavor to the fries, I sure as hell couldn't taste it. You might just be better off getting the regular fries which are $2.00 cheaper.
Chili Cheese Dog $5.00
  The Chili cheese hot dog was my favorite of the different hot dogs we tried. First off the hot dog itself is of excellent quality. Its an all beef hot dog with a natural casing which imparts a nice snap when you bite into it.  The dogs are mildly seasoned with notes of garlic and tasting somewhat like a Hebrew National hot dog. The buns that Station Street use could definitely do with an upgrade, they are unremarkable and have the texture of wonderbread. The Chili Cheese dog came with brisket chili, Arsenal Cheese Curds, and onions. The chili was one of the best I ever had on a dog with nice seasoning and chunks of beef brisket throughout. The Arsenal Cheese Curds ( read about the awesome cheese that this dude makes in his basement in Lawrenceville HERE) while a nice treat if eaten by themselves, are very mild and lost in the flavors of the hot dog and chili. All in all though, a pretty good hot dog, yet slightly overpriced for what you are getting.
Hawaii Dog $5.00
  The Hawaii Dog was the favorite of my eating companion while not so much with myself. It comes with a pineapple salsa, bacon, sweet soy , and mint. If there was mint on the dog I couldn't see it or taste it. The sweet soy added a nice sweetness to the dog but I found the dog overall to be just little too salty overall for my taste.

Devil Dog $5.00
   The Devil Dog was just plain strange. It comes topped with potato chips, egg salad, hot sauce, and scallions. The best way to describe this dogs taste is to imagine what would happen if you put your entire plate from a 4th of July picnic into your mouth at once. The chips add a different crunchy texture to the dog, but the egg salad I found to be lacking in flavor.

 So in conclusion the hot dogs and fries at Station Street were decent. It is however quite pricey for what you are getting. If I was in the neighborhood  I might stop by again if I really felt the need for a hot dog, but its definitely not a destination spot. While I applaud the concept and vision of the owners to take the humble hot dog to the next level. In execution I think they come up a little short. Sometimes the best is the most basic. The whole time I was eating these dogs, I could not help but think that they were not any better than a $2.00 chili dog from a local mom and pop hot dog shop.

RATING: 6/10  (Meh)

Station Street Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon