Friday, November 14, 2014

Modern Cafe

  Just had lunch at the Modern Cafe in the Northside of Pittsburgh, and ate one of the best sandwiches ever. Modern Cafe has won best sandwich at the Northside Sandwich Week festival two years in a row, and now I know why.
The Spartan $7.50

   I give you THE SPARTAN. Steak, gyro meat, provolone, feta, onions, tomato, seasoning, and taziki sauce, all on a 6" hoagie roll. Holy crap was this thing good. Why bother getting a gyro somewhere, when you can get this.
 So get off your butt and get down to Modern Cafe pronto. You do not want to miss this sandwich.

Modern Cafe Spartan Sandwich   10/10

Modern Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Aladdin's Eatery

  For Lunch the other day, my girlfriend and I decided to try out Aladdin's. There are 6 around the Pittsburgh area, and word of mouth has been pretty positive. We settled on going to the Aladdin's on Mcknight Rd in the North Hills.

  The dining area is small and well kept. It's decorated in a modern Mediterranean fashion. We were quickly seated and attended to.

 The menu is obviously heavily influenced by Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. Check it out HERE. Lite and healthy is also a theme.

Tropical Storm Smoothie

 We started off with some Tropical Storm Smoothies which are blended mango,guava, pineapple,yogurt, and honey.  It was blended to order and was quite refreshing. Could have used some rum in it, but lets not be petty.


  Three lean beef and wheat shells, stuffed with spiced ground beef, onions, and pine nuts, then deep fried. Served with yogurt and Lebanese salata.
  The Kibbie was like eating a spiced meatloaf with a crunchy shell. The taste of cinnamon and other spices permeated the Kibbie. The little salad was flavorful, with tomatoes, cucumbers, and green pepper, tossed with mint leaves, vinegar and oil.

                                                                  Rolled Pita

  For our main course we decided on getting rolled pitas.

                                                            Shish Kabob Rolled

   Char-grilled tenderloin, feta cheese, greens,tomato, and onion, with Aladdins sauce rolled in a pita. My girlfriend ordered this and it was quite good. The steak was flavorful and tender enough that you could bite right through it. The feta and sauce added some nice zing.

Beef Kafta Rolled
      Ground beef mixed with onions,parsley, herbs, and spices. Chargrilled with tomato, onion, and tahini yogurt dressing. Like a middle eastern hamburger, the beef had just enough spice to make it interesting. Also the beef was quite lean with barely any grease. The other toppings accompanied the beef nicely . A good change of pace from your typical american style burger.

 Aladdins is a great little restaurant. Almost everything on their menu is under 10 dollars, so the price is right. Lots of healthy choices are to be found if you are watching your waist line. It is a great change of pace from your typical American restaurant. You wont find fries with cheese and bacon, or mozzarella sticks. you will find original dishes at a good price, with a Mediterranean influence.

 From what I can gather there are 6 Aaddins throughout the Pittsburgh area. Go and check them out.

Aladdin's Eatery
Rating:  8/10 

Aladdin's Eatery on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bella Ria's


Everyone should have a greasy spoon/diner that can be their go-to place for good cheap eats. Well Bella Ria's is mine. Bella Ria's is not a whole lot to look at. Hell, its in the same building as a drive-thru beer distributor. The interior is sparsely decorated with the highlight being a nice framed picture of Led Zeppelin smoking and drinking coffee.

 But you know, I am not here for fancy ass decor. I'm here for a good meal at a good price. This is where Bella Ria's Delivers.
 The service is quick, attentive, and friendly. Most of the time you will be waited on by one of the owners daughters.

Blueberry Pancakes $6.50

 For breakfast you cant go wrong with any of their variety of pancakes.Big, light, and fluffy, with a generous amount of blueberries, the blueberry pancakes were top notch. They came accompanied with perfectly cooked crispy bacon.

Corned Beef Hash $7.99
  This corned beef hash is definitely not from a can. Its tender cooked pieces of potato,corned beef, and onion, topped with 2 eggs cooked to your liking. This has to be one of my favorite breakfast dishes. The flavors mesh so well, and everyone who tries it says "I am getting that next time".

Chicken Panini $6.99
   For lunch you cant go wrong with any of their sandwiches. The chicken panini is a great place to start. Grilled chicken, spinach, mozzarella, sun dried tomato, and red onion in between a grilled piece of focacia bread. The chicken was tender and juicy, while the sun dried tomato added flavor complexity and some tang.

Royale with Cheese $7.50
   John Travolta would be proud of this burger (Pulp Fiction reference). Now I don't say this lightly, but this burger is one of the best in Pittsburgh. It's a 1/2 pound burger, crispy onions, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and special sauce. Mine was cooked perfectly medium as requested. This burger is juicy, tasty, and big enough to satisfy a very hungry appetite.

 So if your in the area stop in Bella Ria's. They also have tasty dinner specials. The crab stuffed salmon dish I had the one time, was probably the best salmon dish I ever had. Located on RT 19 right above North Hills High Schools Martorelli Field, make sure you don't miss this hidden gem.


Bella Ria's   8.5/10

Bella Ria's on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh

 For my Birthday, my hot girlfriend and Mother took me to the Hofbrauhaus on the South Side of Pittsburgh. We went there at my request. See, when I was in the Army, I was stationed in Germany defending the frontiers of freedom against the Russian hordes. While there, I had gone to the actual Hofbrauhaus in Munich. So I thought this would bring back fond memories of eating schnitzel and drinking good German beer.

  We were quickly seated at one of the big wooden tables in the beer hall. Some guy was playing German tunes on an organ. At another table, a group of young men were yelling out swear words like they had tourettes, being obviously a little intoxicated.

 So for starters we ordered some beers and an appetizer sampler platter.

Heffe Weizen
 Heffe is a wheat beer, and was my go-to beer in Germany. Light with taste notes of fruit and spice.

Hofbrau Dunkel

   Dunkel is a darker beer being rich and spicy, yet still very drinkable.

The Works Sampler $13.99
  The Works Sampler had an assortment of appetizers including fried pickles, sauerkraut balls, soft pretzels, and potato pancakes. Also included were some dipping sauces and bier cheese for the pretzels. The bier cheese was the star, giving the pretzels an excellent boost of flavor.

Bauern Schnitzel $15.99
  The Bauern Schnitzel was your typical breaded and fried pork cutlet topped with ham, bier cheese, and swiss cheese. Very good, the schnitzle was cooked perfectly and was fork tender. The accompanying German potato salad was warm and had bits of cabbage and bacon. Nothing like its American mayo based cousin. The potato dumpling was bland, doughy, and the only flavor came from the accompanying gravy.

Bavarian Jager Schnitzel $15.99
  Personally Jager style is my favorite rendition of Schnitzel. Jager means hunter in German. This has your breaded pork cutlets covered with bacon and a rich burgundy mushroom sauce. Very rich, savory, and tasty.

Bayerischer Schweinbraten $15.49
  Slow roasted pork served with sauerkraut and covered in gravy. The pork was perfect. Tender and full of flavor. The sauerkraut was mild and not all that sour, it was flavored with apples and caraway.

 So my birthday dinner was a great success. Excellent stick to your ribs German food. A good buzz from the beer, and an excellent environment to take it all in. You can also sit outside with a scenic view of the Monongahela River when the weather is nice. Make sure you're in the right frame of mind when you go here. It's loud inside and not at all intimate. It's built for partying, not whispering. The Hofbrauhaus lived up to my expectations and I will definitely be back.

Hofbruahaus Pittsburgh:  8/10 

HofbrÀuhaus Pittsburgh on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dave & Busters

 So me and my hot girlfriend are down at the Homestead Waterfront to see a movie on a Saturday evening. We decided to head over to the Rock Bottom Brewery for a before movie dinner. Problem was the wait was almost an hour long. So we headed across the street to Dave & Busters. We were seated almost immediately, and we found out quickly, why Rock Bottom had an hour wait, and Dave & Busters had none.

 Dave & Busters is known as a giant fun spot for adults. A place to play arcade games, watch sports, eat, etc.  The place is loud and big ass TVs are all over the place.

 First off the service was lacking. We sat many a minute waiting for drink refills, for our bill , etc. Even my glass of water had salad dressing on it, when it was served.

Poppin Potatoes

 Poppin Potatoes. The menu describes them as: Fried and crispy on the outside, light on the inside, these bite-sized potato puffs are tossed with garlic butter and Parmesan cheese.
 These were the highlight of the meal. Just as described, they were nice and crispy on the outside, with a creamy potato filling. The garlic butter and parm were subtle. The accompanying spicy ketchup tasted very similar to Heinz Chili Sauce.

Bar Burgers and Wings Platter

 4 little cheeseburgers served along with wings and a helping of fries. The accompanying ranch dressing was from a bottle...blah. The  burgers had a nice chargrilled flavor to them, yet were not hot enough. The wings  were mediocre at best. The sauce tasted like pure Franks Red Hot with no additional seasoning. The fries were crispy and decent.

Island Grilled Trifecta

 The Island Grilled Trifecta sounds like you won something big, but actually there were no winners here. Just dissapointed taste buds.
 The Island Grilled Trifecta is described as: Skewers of honey-teriyaki-glazed sirloin steak, seasoned chicken breast and tender shrimp, grilled and served on a bed of spicy rice medley. Served with pineapple pico de gallo, teriyaki BBQ sauce, and mango citrus sauce for dipping.
 The chicken was dry and flavorless. The shrimp were overcooked, dry,and gummy. The steak was bathed in an oriental sauce that was overpowered with Chinese 5 spice. Honestly if I wouldn't have swallowed the piece of steak, I might still be chewing it. Just a horrible cut of beef. 

 So the meal was ultimately disappointing.  Crappy service, combined with at best, mediocre food. Our experience might have improved if we had some time to enjoy the entertainment offered. But I can't recommend this place as a dinner destination. If you find yourself at Dave & Busters, stick with sandwiches or fried foods. Its harder to screw them up.

 The movie that we saw after the meal, "Her" starring Joaquin Phoenix. Was very good, and I recommend it highly.

RATING: 4/10 

Dave & Buster's on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Fiori's Pizza

 We are back. After 3 years of writing Pittsburgh Eats, it was time for a short break. In the meantime I have been scouting out new places to review around Pittsburgh and hopefully you will enjoy some of the upcoming locations I will be reviewing.

 As long as I have lived in Pittsburgh, it seems the debate between who has the best pizza has come down to two places. Mineo's in Squirrel Hill, or Fiori's in the South Hills. A while ago I ate at Mineo's and was not all that impressed. So I thought it was about time I tried Fiori's and see what all the fuss was about. My friends in the South Hills seem to absolutely love the place. Being from the North Hills I have not found a whole lot to like about the South Hills. Its overly crowded, traffic is a nightmare, and you have to slowly creep through a tunnel to get into Pittsburgh. Maybe Fiori's could let me see the good of the South Hills.

 We called in our order on Saturday evening for carryout. They said it would be about an hour.  It actually wound up being around an hour and twenty minutes. It was not a surprise. Fiori's is known for its long waits, especially on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Half Italian Hoagie $5.00

Italian Hoagie
  The Italian hoagie was typical of that found throughout Western Pennsylvania. Ham, Capicola, Salami,provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, baked on Italian bread. It was dressed with Italian seasoning, oil and vinegar.  All around a solid hoagie. It had a good amount of meat, and was well balanced with the crunchy on the outside, and soft on the inside bread.

Half Steak Hoagie $5.30
  The steak hoagie was a little different than others I have tried. First off it had a good portion of chopped sirloin and fried onions with your typical fixings on top, provolone, lettuce, and tomato. What I found unique was the red sauce that Fiori's put on it. It was kind of sweet and tangy, and added a little kick to the savoriness of the steak. Its almost like a Russian or French style dressing. My eating partner and I were both impressed with the taste.

Large Sausage Pizza $15.30

Sausage Pizza
    But we are here for the pizza aren't we?  The pizza had an extremely thin crust. Very much like a New York style slice. It was slightly crisp and the outside crust had a nice chew to it. The thing was loaded with cheese which was cooked perfectly, being slightly browned and bubbly. The sausage was not typical of the type a lot of pizza shops use. It was chunky with a very mild Italian spice flavor. Not overly seasoned with fennel like a lot of places sausage is. The sauce I really enjoyed. It was sweet and not overly applied. So is this one of the best pizzas in the Burgh? Yes it is. This is one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten period. Despite being loaded with cheese and toppings, it was not overly greasy. Just a total delight to eat. Its not often that when I go and try something, that it actually lives up to the hype.

 So do yourself a favor and head over to Fiori's one night. Its worth the ride and the long wait time to give it a try.

Fioris's Pizza 
RATING:   9/10

  Fiori's Pizzaria on Urbanspoon