Why do Pittsburghers love their food trucks? The Pittsburgh Taco Truck’s owner James Rich says, “People like the uniqueness and don’t expect the quality.” As one of the founding fathers of Pittsburgh’s food truck boom, James has paved the way for newbie trucks.
The more trucks the merrier is a resounding theme. One of the results is a monthly gathering called a Food Truck Round Up at North Hills Coffee Buddha. Coffee Buddha owner Mike Witherel says he welcomes the trucks with open arms. The events are great for his business, too! Watch for the next Round Up the last Saturday of the month, October 25th.
Inspired by the food he ate on board the Burrito Buggy at Ohio University, in Mexico, in Texas, and at various restaurants right here in Pittsburgh, James’ menu dives into a truly unique world of tacos.
Yes, not your typical chicken or beef tacos. Favorite off menu specials include lobster roll on a baguette and a chorizo burger!
Catch the Pittsburgh Taco Truck for lunch and at events around the Burgh! Tell them I sent you!
Healthy burgers and dogs served on the freshest Cellone’s rolls? Two please!
Doug Baros is opening his second Burgerz and Dogz (BnD’z)restaurant in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Mount Lebanon neighborhood on Monday September 29th. Burgerz and Dogz’ flagship location on Brownsville Road in South Park has created quite a following since opening its doors in October 2012.
With an extensive menu and a customizable ordering sheet, Burgerz and Dogz aims to please! The delicious food coupled with a focus on healthy, gluten free, and vegetarian offerings, is a combination that Pitts-burgerz seem to like! Who doesn’t love their dinner in a fresh Cellone’s bun? Doug creates an experience for the customers. From the open kitchen floor plan to the highest quality ingredients, he totally thought of everything!
Doug says, “I wanted to offer something differrent. Healthy, real food without all of the additives, preservatives, and chemicals.”
Burgerz and Dogz most popular menu items? The garbage burger and the bison burger! Worth the stop!
“It would be a dream come true if we were allowed downtown. [The Three Rivers Arts Festival] was our favorite event. People were lined up 30 minutes before we started!”- Saucy Mamas Italian Food Truck and Catering
Did you know Pittsburgh food trucks cannot legally serve food to the public downtown? With strict laws regarding parking locations, amount of time serving, and hours of operation, Pittsburgh food trucks are in a constant struggle to get in front of their customers. According to
www.pghmobilefood.com, some of the current laws are driven by distance from downtown restaurants. Would the customers buying a Bar-B-Cone or a chicken panini on the street be the same customers doing lunch in one of Pittsburgh’s finest?
Head over to Pgh Mobile Food’s website and read the information, fill out the petition to change the laws governing our fabulous food trucks.
Enjoy my next stop! The Pittsburgh Food Truck series continues with even more unique, awesome food served through a window on a truck!
Paninis, meatballs, and Italian sausage, all of the authentic homemade Italian favorites you wish for, cooked and served by the authentic, saucy mamas you expect!
Saucy Mamas Diane Forrester, Megan Coleman, and Brittany Newton opened their food truck for business in February with Steel City work ethic, a lot of sweat -a food truck in the summertime is hot!- love, and hope that people would enjoy their food.
As I chatted with a few customers in the Saucy Mamas lunch line at a Wexford office building, they were expecting average Italian food and were blown away by the delicious, homemade menu items.
Flattered by the compliments and praise, Megan told me a great customer story, “One customer bought a tray [of the five cheese meaty lasagna] for his mother’s birthday and called the next day to say it was the best he and his family had ever had.” The saucy mamas are so humbled and grateful for the feedback…they better get used to it!
The meatballs, wow! Without giving up their secret meatball recipe, the saucy mamas did tell me their balls are baked and loaded with garlic and herbs. The secret to keeping them moist? Parmesan cheese. Topped with the Saucy Mamas’ marinara and fresh grated parm, Yum!
The Saucy Mamas are just getting started. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next! Brace yourselves for their fall menu! Hearty soups and cheesy lasagna will be new for fall!
Entertaining for the upcoming holiday season? How about a tray of Saucy Mamas meatballs? Or lasagna? Reasonably priced and Homemade- these meatballs are not coming out of a freezer!
Saucy Mamas Italian Food Truck and Catering
A quaint, small restaurant nestled in a city block; long open doors allowing a soft breeze; exposed brick for character; white tablecloths for class; a fabulous wine list; Italian staples that never disappoint. This is how I would describe my trendy, hot, new Lawrenceville restaurant. They beat me to it! It’s called Matteo’s.
Open less than two years and already earning the titles 3rd best chef in the city by City Paper and “best restaurant” for Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, Matteo’s front man, Matt Cavanaugh, is showing no signs of slowing down.
After working for over 15 years in the restaurant business, Matt worked his way up the restaurant ladder from busboy to kitchen manager at legendary Pittsburgh steakhouse Red Bull Inn. Matt also gained experience at Dominica’s and Serafino’s. Matt explains, “I worked hard and learned everything about the restaurant business. I worked every position. I knew I wanted to open my own restaurant.”
A humble 34-year-old, Matt took the jump with the tools he learned and the ones that can’t be taught- a strong determination and a refreshing view of life.
Matteo’s menu is authentic and traditional- and then totally not. Matt combines his steakhouse background by serving steak and seafood alongside an array of Italian favorites. If mussels served in a horseradish cream sauce wouldn’t be your first pick (Are you crazy?), Perhaps the greens and beans with sliced spicy sausage would be your pick.
The wide range of absolutely irresistible menu items makes ordering impossible and returning imperative. My first visit was during Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, where area restaurants draw in new customers by offering a course menu at a discounted price. Matt says his restaurant is “three times busier” during restaurant week. Shhhh, don’t tell, but I actually had a reservation at another restaurant week restaurant the following night and cancelled so I could eat my Matteo’s porcini cappelletti leftovers. Yes, it is that good!
I was blessed to celebrate my birthday at Matteo’s last weekend with a large group of friends. I snuck back to the kitchen to learn some tip and tricks and to surprise you with a fabulous recipe!
This group setting was the perfect opportunity to sample everyone’s food! Hey, I was the birthday girl! I got to taste the black and blue ribeye, the tuna steak with a Jack Daniels glaze, the veal diavola, the mushroom ravioli, and many more. I ordered my favorite, the porcini cappelletti.
Everything was cooked to perfection and everyone loved the food, the location, the vibe.
Since the restaurant is closed on Sundays and Mondays, these are “the perfect days for private parties,” says Matt. Funny, you would think he wants a day off!
The desserts are beautiful, fresh, and delicious! Matt’s wife Andrea whips up a perfect tiramisu!
Here is the recipe for you from Matteo’s kitchen:
Surprise!!!! It is the amazing
Porcini Cappelletti Sauce! Can you believe it is this simple?
Porcini Cappelletti Sauce Matteo’s Pittsburgh
1/2 parts heavy cream /Marsala wine
Reduce to thicken
Salt and pepper
Throw in your favorite mushrooms sliced raw- shiitake, field, portobello
Serve over your favorite cooked pasta!
Thank you Matt Cavanaugh and the Matteo’s staff for your hospitality!
Visit Matteo’s before it gets too cool to keep the doors open and sample the fall food and drink menus! Tell them I sent you!
Next time, I’m trying the linguini clams!
3615 Butler Street
Is Pittsburgh finally catching up to the food truck boom? There is something trendy, hipster, and totally sexy about getting great food from a mobile truck! The latest trend? Hiring food trucks for wedding receptions, after parties, and corporate events to supply the hottest gourmet grub.
I can remember only a few Indian and Middle Eastern trucks feeding students and faculty at Pitt library. They are still there with long standing permits and no air in their tires. Other trucks are mobile babies born from successful restaurants, to talented cooks looking to build a brand with little overhead. My first stop on the food truck roundup is the South Side BBQ truck!
When I met up with South Side BBQ, it was lunch hour outside the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip.
Brothers Mike and Pat Joyce took their BBQ to a truck about 8 months ago. The two have extensive restaurant and food service backgrounds which has helped make them successful. Not to mention, they totally thought of everything!!
With a Stump Smoker right on board and a large grill, these two did their homework.
Mike and Pat took a trip to Memphis in May for the biggest food truck convention in the country to learn tips and tricks from the best.
Pat says, “They’ll laugh you outta there if your ribs fall off the bone. Means they were cooked way too long!”
I must admit I never knew that?? and I cook mine too long. Oops!
As we were talking customers lined up, mostly first timers. Beautiful, juicy pulled pork and creamy mac ‘n cheese were in every order. In my opinion this would be the hardest part, to keep the food hot, juicy and not let it dry out. Mike said, “You learn your time and temps to keep everything perfect.”
Wings and ribs are made to order on the South Side BBQ truck.
The most popular item? The BarBCone. A fresh waffle cone filled with creamy mac’n cheese a big scoop of juicy pulled pork pork, a squirt of house-made BBQ sauce, and topped with a crunchy vinegar based coleslaw.
New for Fall is the goBBlerQ!
Mac’n cheese or stuffing, smoked turkey, and cranberry coleslaw!
I am definitely going back to try it! Gobble Gobble!
Find out where the South Side BBQ truck will be and when! Pittsburgh Food Trucks
Follow South Side BBQ on twitter and Facebook!
Antonio Branduzzi must be proud to have the Colangelo family celebrate his legacy by continuing the traditions and recipes of Il Piccolo Forno. As a testament to the late baker’s impeccable reputation with colleagues, customers and friends, it was no surprise when Braduzzi’s close friends Nicholas and Denese Colangelo decided to carry on the baker’s legacy.
Located adjacent to La Prima Espresso Company and sharing a common walkway, Colangelo’s Bakery is a natural spot to grab a pastry or a slice. I found Colangelo’s Bakery with my kids, ages 5 and 3. They are the perfect height to spot the square pizza with the tiny pepperoni in the case. We all fell in love with this pizza.
After meeting Denese Colangelo and her son Nicholas, I knew I had to make my kids’ favorite pizza and spend some time here- yeah, I already somehow felt like part of the family.
Customers are family in the quaint bakery on 21st street in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. I was introduced to many people and saw so many faces light up while ordering their “usuals.”
Sit outside at the tables, hover at the pub tables inside, or take it to go!
It was a busy Saturday morning and the fresh pastries lined the sill between the case and the kitchen. My eyes were bugging out of my head when Nicholas Colangelo greeted me and mentioned the pizza we would be making. As I was surrounded by frittata, mele, ricotta pie, Danish, cinnamon sticks…I thought “What?”
Oh yes! I nearly forgot about the square pizza with the tiny pepperoni.
Nicholas mixed the dough in his super mixer, flattened it in the sheeter, shaped it in the rectangular pan, passed over it with the docker, proofed it…
The pizza is then topped with the finest, freshest, local ingredients and baked. Ezzo pepperoni, an old fashioned made pepperoni from Columbus, OH, to Grande mozzarella, Colangelo’s Bakery does not cut any corners.
A secret garlic olive oil sauce here, a sprinkle of a secret herb blend dashed there, I knew I would never be able to replicate this one! Oh well, we know where to get it!
Nicholas says the significance of the secret toppings lie in the Colangelo’s philosophy, “Add flavor after the best ingredients are used. That is what makes our food so classic and naturally delicious.”
As lunch time approached, I was surprised to see the menu items being ordered. Salads, focaccia, Beans and greens? One of my favorites!
While taste testing…
Denese told me the story of Antonio Branduzzi and his Mele, one of the many original recipes the bakery serves in the great baker’s honor. Once the health department questioned the refrigeration of his egg custard Mele, Branduzzi told them, it would be ruined. He made many other delicious Mele fillings after this. They sell so fast it makes no difference. One night in the refrigerator is ok, says Denese.
So since that Saturday morning, I have visited Colangelo’s Bakery and had the beans and greens with sausage, the cannoli, the avocado salad, the ricotta pie and much more. The place that was once only the square pizza with the tiny pepperoni is now Colangelo’s Bakery. Everything is Delicious. Perfect. Amazing.
(Inspired by Nicholas at Colangelo’s Bakery)
One of the most basic and most delicious pizzas.
To make traditional Margherita pizza,
Cover dough’s surface in your favorite sauce, or chunky tomatoes drained,leaving a 1/2 inch border.
Add sliced buffalo mozzarella.
Drizzle olive oil.
Salt and pepper.
Bake at 400 degrees until cheese is melted and bottom is golden brown.
Remove from oven and top with fresh basil.
Thank you Colangelo’s for having me, allowing me to cook with you, and becoming part of your “family.” It is an honor to know and to be able to share Antonio Branduzzi’s legacy with others.
Liebster is a German word meaning “sweetest, kindest, sweatheart,” and a Liebster award is passed along to a new blogger! The nominator chooses a blog that is new, sweet, charming, and intriguing, in an attempt to get to know the blogger behind the blog better! The idea is that the award will move through the blogging community like a chain letter. I have been nominated by the beautiful and talented Bethany at http://www.saltyblonde.com
Thank you my salty blonde friend!
11 Randoms About Me:
1. I am a mom of 2! Brady is 5 and Bella is 3!
2. Most days, I would rather cook than go out.
3. That being said, I could eat Mexican food everyday of my life, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.
4. I met my husband while eating breakfast bagel sandwiches in the cafeteria of our office building. Food=Love!
5. I have never been able to replicate that exact breakfast sandwich. A warm bagel, not toasted, with super fluffy scrambled eggs, crisp almost burnt bacon,and a gooey cheese sauce that most definitely came from a generic large can. Fantastic!
6. I love to put outfits together, especially for others. I’m a good stylist if you ever happen to need one ; )
7. I am a bit OCD. I can’t relax or go to bed with a mess, a dirty dish in the sink, or the worst!! a clean dishwasher to unload.
8. I love Pittsburgh; shopping in the Strip District, the restaurants, the vibe.
9. I am the oldest of 5, which makes me the caretaker, the advice-giver, and the one who ensures everyone has enough to eat! (Plus leftovers)
10. I gained 75lbs. and 65lbs. with my pregnancies. Usually I weigh right around 100 lbs. I would eat the tops off of a dozen cupcakes driving 3 blocks.
(Not sharing a photo…ever!!)
11. I am humbled by this award and thrilled to be sharing my love of food with you!
Here are Bethany’s question to me and my answers:
1. Fave restaurant?
Right this minute it is Matteo’s in Lawrenceville! When I was there for Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, I had a dish I can’t stop thinking about…. The Porcini Cappelletti. It is amazing!
2. How did you meet your husband?
Funny how I chose this for one of my randoms. Over breakfast sandwiches!
3. Biggest Fear?
4. Celeb crush?
We all have our lists, don’t we?! David Beckham
5. Heels or Flats?
Heels. Being 5’2″, I dont feel like people take me seriously unless I am wearing high heels, but a perfect high wedge will do.
6. Any beauty trend you wish you could try?
Can you try botox/ fillers and never go back? I know I’m only 29 ; ) but I’m sure eventually I will need something.
7. Beach or CIty?
I love the sun! I actually begin to relax when I’m laying in a lounge chair with a good book, but the best restaurants seem to be in city!
8. Best Vacation Spot
We honeymooned in Aruba and it had everything! Beach, resorts, restaurants, shopping (Aruba had just opened a new Louis Vuitton store while we were there! And I got to pick out my wedding gift from Kevin ; )
9. Fave Movie?
I am not a movie person!
10. Biggest accomplishment?
Raising our two beautiful kids!
11. Favorite month?
December! We entertain all month! Baking, Cooking, cocktails, family and friends! It’s the best!
I am nominating the gorgeous and very talented Amy Wilson of http://www.amywilsonphotography.com, a photography blogger!
Amy, here are your questions:
1. If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go?
2. Solid cream cheese or whipped?
3. If you could go back and change one thing in your past, what would it be?
4. Where is your favorite driving distance travel destination and why?
5. Favorite magazine?
6. What does your favorite go-to outfit look like and how long have you had it?
7. Walking or running?
8. Did you eat wings with your husband while dating him?
9. What is your favorite sport? Team?
10. What is your #1 dish to bring to a party? Recipe?
Pittsburgh Restaurant Week (PRW) brings the ‘Burbs to the ‘Burgh! Seriously, what an amazing excuse to trek to the city for course meals at Pittsburgh’s best Restaurants priced from $20.14- $35.14? You still have Friday and Saturday, and you can still snag reservations at Altius, Bigham Tavern, and Pino’s, to name a few!
I had the opportunity to attend the Pittsburgh Food Bloggers dinner at Tamari Lawrenceville Tuesday night! Great meeting Pittsburgh’s foodies! I met the fabulous Brian McCollum, PRW’s founder and organizer. Great idea, Brian! Also a great idea? Tamari’s Jalapeno Margarita! I highly recommend trying this unique, refreshing summertime drink!
Here is the Pittsburgh Restaurant Week link:
Matteo’s Lawrenceville Wednesday night was perfect! Yes, Everything was perfect!
I do not eat Italian food out, so I figured we would have a pretty good meal, fun to be out on a Wednesday, when in Rome, right? Nope! Perfectly al dente, beautiful textures and tastes, homemade tiramisu…
Here are a few photos! (The Matteo’s experience is getting its own blog post after I visit again! Stay tuned!)
Enjoy, Pittsburgh Restaurant Week!
3615 Butler Street
3519 Butler Street
It is hard to miss the small crowd gathering on the sidewalk as the oysters are being shucked at 2106 Penn Ave in the Strip District. Open garage doors, a long fully stocked bar, undersea cartoons painted on the walls, and warm inviting smiles make Luke Wholey’s restaurant almost impossible to walk by without a little taste.
An avid adventurer and fisherman, Luke Wholey’s dreams exceeded sales and prep work at the family’s Strip District grocery store, Wholey’s. After working on a commercial salmon fishing boat in Alaska, Luke found himself behind a large grill in front of the family grocery store grilling fresh fish for Pittsburgh. As his skills as a chef outgrew the outdoor grill, Luke leased a great spot and Luke Wholey’s Alaskan Grille was born.
After a short meeting with Luke, I knew his restaurant would be the perfect fish week finale! He catches and prepares the freshest seafood in very unique ways. Wild Bill from The Deadliest Catch has frequented the restaurant this summer! The best part is that Luke loves explaining what you are eating, where is comes from, and why he prepares it the way he does. Let’s face it, when it comes to fish, I need solid explanations from an expert
Luke chose one of his favorites, a yellowtail collar appetizer as the first bite. I never would have ordered this on a menu myself!
My party ordered the Seared Ahi Tuna, the Thai Chili Catfish Bites, and the Lobster Bisque French Fries to start!
The entrees we shared were the Shrimp Volcano, the Crab Stuffed Sockeye Salmon, and the always comfortable Fish ‘N Chips with added fried shrimp and scallops!
The salmon dish was a beautiful bright color. Luke explained that the bright red flesh color is indicative of the sockeye salmon variety. The adult spawner sockeyes turn a bright red color when migrating.
The Shrimp Volcano as well as the lobster bisque french fries featured the reataurant’s lobster bisque. Delicious, dark, and dippable, the soup did not disappoint!
For dessert, Luke Wholey’s Alaskan Grille serves A.Ward’s cheesecakes! A favorite of one of Pittsburgh’s favorites, Christina Aguilera! I was lucky enough to have one of A.Wards limoncello cheesecakes for my birthday this year! Also my favorite!
Visit Luke Wholey’s Wild Alaskan Grille! Prepare to learn something about fish and be wowed by the food! Enjoy!
Luke Wholey’s Wild Alaskan Grille
2106 Penn Ave. in the Strip