I met Keith Fuller the day he cooked in the Ikea demo kitchen at Farm to Table‘s For The Love of Pittsburgh event held at the Pittsburgh Public Market. He prepared homemade ricotta and made a ricotta gnocchi pork belly carbonara- you know, No Big Deal.
I made chili…
I met Keith, watched him cook, and knew I had to visit his restaurant…
Located in the center of Regent Square, Root 174 is a small, intimate, dimly lit restaurant. The best seats in the house are the cozy booths located at either window that look onto South Braddock Ave. We had a girls’ night party of three with an early 6 o’clock reservation on a Wednesday evening. There was one other table dining. By 8 o’clock, the restaurant was packed. I would suggest making a reservation!
Let’s start with a beverage.
Root 174’s cocktail list is as interesting as the dinner menu. House made bitters, citrus infusions, gin, whiskey, bourbon, and vodka creations with interesting names….Not in the mood, I was able to find a nice Pinot Noir.
The starters looked way too good to pass up. We chose the mussels, the brussels sprouts, and the wings!
Mussels in a chipotle tomato broth with cherry tomatoes, kale, and frites. ($12) Cooked to perfection and so flavorful. I always order the mussels (we have some greats in Pittsburgh) and these were fabulous.
Crisp Brussels Sprouts ($7) in a bacon black pepper glaze. The sweet, salty glaze paired nicely with the crisp edges of the sprouts.
Coffee Confit Chicken Wings ($9) served with a vanilla bourbon creme and dried banana. Deliciously different.
Like the starters, the three of us ordered three entrees.
Pork Belly Carbonara ($20) We had seen Keith cook this dish live at the Farm to Table event! Exceptional flavors.
Orecchiette ($21) Cauliflower, sage, hen of the woods. What a beautiful dish!
Chorizo stuffed chicken leg. ($20) My pick, was so delicious I forgot about trying the other entrées. Bad food blogger. I know. It only means there must be a next time!
Root 174’s chef Keith Fuller has been named “one of the best chefs in America you never heard of” – braiser.com
And now you have!!
Travel to Regent Square! Visit Root 174!
1113 south Braddock Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15218
Closed Sunday -Monday
How about your Second Breakfast?
If you visit the Pittsburgh Public Market you can!
Head Chef and owner Thomas Wood started his food stand at the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip District in mid-November.
Wood sees the Public Market as an incubator for start-ups to get off the ground, tweak their business model, and find success. With help from the available Market Kitchen, Wood was able to launch his dream venture named after “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”‘s Second Breakfast.
Wood keeps his ingredients organic, fresh, and local. Many come from other Pittsburgh Public Market vendors, such as Franklin Farms Flour and East End Brewing Company’s beer. Beer for breakfast? As an ingredient, of course!
I ordered Second Breakfast’s
hugely popular Chicken and Waffles. Wood explained his shredded chicken cooking method. First, he renders the fat from Garrett Farms bacon. Then, browns the chicken in the bacon fat, deglazes with East End Brewing Company’s Monkey Girl beer (when not in season Monkey Boy will do), and slow cooks for three hours. Yummmmmm, and that’s just the chicken. Wood prepared a beautiful, homemade waffle while we chatted, and topped it all off with the sweetest maple syrup!
I took two very lady-like-ish bites and discussed the fabulous flavors and textures of the food. Within minutes of driving down Penn Avenue, I opened the to-go box, picked up the syrup and shredded chicken covered waffle with my hands, rolled it up, and devoured the rest. I seriously felt like Buddy from the movie “Elf,” -sticky syrup all over my face, my hands, my steering wheel, and the front of my jacket. Ha!
Got me, Thom! I had my first ever Second Breakfast and I loved it!!
Stop and visit the vendors at the Pittsburgh Public Market and see Thom for your Second Breakfast. Have your own public market vendor idea? Ask some questions!
Pittsburgh Public Market
2401 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
“The Mac & Gold Truck” sounds like plain old mac and cheese served through a window in a city that bleeds black and gold, right?
Tim Tassone’s Mac & Gold truck is anything but traditional and Pittsburghers can’t get enough. What makes Tassone’s mac different? Well, everything!
Simple Truck, Simple Idea, with an unexpected twist. When I visited Tim and Athena at a Greentree office park, I never expected a made-to-order fresh mac and cheese for every order. Sounds like a ton of work!
Tassone says it’s all in the name of delivering a phenomenal product to his customers with minimal waste, of course.
A mortgage industry casualty turned chef, Tim Tassone entered the food truck boom with an appetite for success and a unique enough menu to acheive it. The Mac and Gold truck’s most popular menu item is the lobster mac. Often requested by event staff and customers, Tassone uses real lobster claw meat and tops it with his signature brown butter breadcrumbs. The creamy, light cheese is a farmer’s cheese blend and the succulent bites of lobster keep you searching for more.
The rosemary garlic fries…incredibly addicting and absolutely necessary. I forgot to take a photo and ate the entire serving in minutes!
Create your own mac with add- ins and toppings! Check out this menu!
Can we discuss food truck functionality? If you are worried about messy mac and doing a balancing act, you are wrong! Everything is in one perfect box with a lid!
Look for The Mac & Gold Truck! Tell Tim and Athena I sent you!
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.
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