Saturday, June 30, 2018

Pittsburgh, PA Edition: The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot


The Melting Pot is a chain restaurant that specializes in fondue and has multiple locations across the country.

The Melting PotIt's a fun concept because it's an engaging dinner - where, yes, you do have to cook your own food - but its interactive and lots of fun for a group.

The Melting PotRecently, I finally tried this restaurant with one of my best friends and her group of bridesmaids. We made a reservation at the Pittsburgh location and made our way back through the huge restaurant to our table.

The Melting PotThe general concept is this: pick a cheese course, pick a salad, pick an entree and pick a chocolate course.

The Melting PotThis all evens out to one standard price around $50. You can do a la carte, but it seemed easier for a group to just do the full experience.

The Melting PotSo, first step is to choose the cheese course. We had two burners so we got to choose two different cheeses: Buffalo Wisconsin Trio - butterkase, fontina, gorgonzola melted with white whine, sherry, shallots, Frank's RedHot Buffalo Wing Sauce and Classic Alpine - gruyee, raclette, fontina, melted with white wine, garlic and nutmeg.

The Melting Pot

The cheese course was served with bread, tortilla chips and green apples.

The Melting PotThen, we each got to choose one of the salads. I went with a house salad - romaine, iceberg, chedder, tomatoes, croutons, cucumber and sweet/tangy dressing.

The Melting PotFor the main course, we choose two kinds of cooking oil: Mojo - Caribbean-inspired, garlic, citrus and Season Court Bouillon - seasoned vegetable broth.

The Melting PotI created my own combo with: Teriyaki Marinated Sirloin, Shrimp, Wild Mushroom Sacchetti.

The Melting PotThe entrees all come with additions of mushrooms, potatoes and broccoli. And, there are like 8 different dipping sauces for all the different options. They all cook for a little bit different time, but I honestly think it's tough to mess it up. It was all so, so good.

The Melting PotThen, it's time for dessert!

The Melting PotWe picked the chocolate s'mores (with dark chocolate) - marshmallow cream and graham cracker. And we got the flaming turtle (with milk chocolate) - caramel and candied pecans.

The Melting PotBoth were flambeed!

The Melting PotAnd, it was served with a number of delicious goodies - rice krispies, fruit, brownies, waffle.

The Melting PotIt's not cheap, but it was a fun experience and interactive - without the cleanup!

The Melting Pot

Melting Pot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, June 29, 2018

Pittsburgh, PA Edition: Prestogeorge Coffee & Tea

Cafe prestogeorge

There's no such thing as too much coffee, right? So, when we walked past Prestogeorge, we had to stop in here.

Cafe prestogeorgeThere were all kinds of delicious bagels and treats and goodies. And, teas and coffee too.

Cafe prestogeorgeBut since I may have actually hit my limit on coffee, I went a different route.


Cafe prestogeorge

This strawberry smoothie was life. Sweet, icy and everything delicious.

Cafe prestogeorge

What's your favorite item here?

Prestogeorge Coffee & Tea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Pittsburgh, PA Edition: Smallman Galley - Colonia

Smallman Galley


Smallman Galley is a cool spot in Pittsburgh that allows for four restaurant concepts to have test kitchens.

Smallman Galley
The Smallman Galley concept was envisioned at sea by two U.S. Navy Lieutenants. In traveling the world, they experienced grand food halls featuring the most unique culinary talent those nations had to offer. Smallman Galley was founded on the belief that talented Chefs here at home deserve a fair shot. We exist to break down the barriers to entry in this notoriously restrictive industry. On a warship, meals are at the center of daily life – this is the time when the crew can relax and unwind from the rigors of life at sea. The “Galley” is the place where the food for the entire crew is cooked and served. It symbolizes a tight community of hard-working people striving toward a common goal. The word “Smallman”, aside from being the street on which our incubator is located, is nearly synonymous with “local.” Our goal is to make local extraordinary by showcasing the very best culinary talent our city has to offer. (ABOUT)
Smallman Galley


So, the three concepts when I was there were Colonia, Banhmilicious, Iron Born, and brunoise. I thought Colonia, a Latin American-inspired concept, sounded most interesting.


Smallman Galley
No stranger to Smallman Galley, Chef Jesse Barlass was the Sous Chef for one of its inaugural restaurants, Carota Café. The new concept he will bring to the space, Colonia, is designed to showcase the many diverse cuisines of Latin America. 
The cuisine of Colonia will help spotlight the marriage of native and colonist influences, whether it be the Taino, who were indigenous to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic which have heavy influences from Spain and Africa, or Uruguay, whose native Charruans have a heavy Mediterranean influence.
According to Barlass, "Most of Colonia's dishes will have classic roots, some with modern twists (not straying too far from their origins). Refined but true to its humble roots. We will not scratch the surface, but dive deep into these countries rich culinary treasures. Our food won’t feature sauces or beans from cans, or factory made tortillas it’s going to be made from scratch the way these small countries have been making, evolving, for years. Our menu will be consistently changing as there are many countries cuisines we’d like introduce to our guests."

Prior to moving to Pittsburgh, Barlass held the position of Sous Chef at Los Angeles hotspot The Wallace, and has worked in a variety of cities all over the United States, garnering a variety of diverse experiences along the way (Smallman Galley). 

Smallman Galley

For my meal, I ordered the Pão de Queijo breakfast sandwich, which had Brazilian cheese bread, turkey, egg, chihuahua cheese and aji aioli.

Smallman Galley

I live and die by that bread now. So delicious. It was a hefty meal, but pretty tasty. And filling. And, it was cool to sit in the communal dining space with foods from all over.

Smallman GalleyUnfortunately, Colonia has since moved on and a new concept has taken its place. But it's always a fun time to try all the different places.

Which places have you tried at Smallman Galley?

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Bridgefest 2018

Bridgefest

Bridgefest is another festival in Charleston, held up on Bridge Road near all the shops.

Bridgefest

They have the Taste of Bridge Road.

Bridgefest

Lola's pepperoni roll was at the top of my wishlist!

Bridgefest

Strawberry ice cream from The Wheelhouse

Bridgefest

Pepperoni roll from Lola's

Pittsburgh, PA Edition: Mon Aimee Chocolat

Chocolate store

Let me paint a picture for you: It's a store full of chocolate.

Chocolate store

Not only that, but it's chocolates from around the world.

Chocolate store

Literally, from everywhere you can think of!

Chocolate store

Mon Aimee Chocolat has everything from handcrafted chocolates to packaged goodies from England to bacon covered in chocolate.

Chocolate store

Or honey, or orange, or anything covered in chocolate.

Chocolate store

And, look at these interesting ones from different countries.

Chocolate store

Besides that, just look at how BEAUTIFUL all these gems are.

Chocolate store

Related: Why are Kit Kats so trendy? Like all their crazy flavors? I wanna try them all.

Chocolate store

So, I ended up getting a few lil snackies.

Chocolate store

Of course, I got some chocolate caramels.

Chocolate store

And a little crunchy chocolate thing from England.

Chocolate store

I want to eat all of these - especially the chocolate-covered s'mores!

Chocolate store

Mushrooms! How cute! Have you been?

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

FestivALL 2018

FestivALL has so many fun events that I just wanted to share some of my favorites from this year!

Smoke on the Water Chili Cook Off - I was able to be a judge for the homestyle division!

Smoke on the Water Chili Cook Off

Smoke on the Water Chili Cook Off

Smoke on the Water Chili Cook Off

Smoke on the Water Chili Cook Off

Smoke on the Water Chili Cook Off

Smoke on the Water Chili Cook Off

Smoke on the Water Chili Cook Off

Smoke on the Water Chili Cook Off

Smoke on the Water Chili Cook Off

Smoke on the Water Chili Cook Off

Ice Cream & The Arts - Free Ellen's ice cream? Yes, please.

Ice cream & the Arts

Ice cream & the Arts

Capitol Street Art Fair - My first time going to this! So many amazing goodies to purchase (and pepperoni rolls!)

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Charleston Crunch from Ellen's! So good.

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Icon and Ethnic Food Festival - This was held at the St. George Cathedral and had some delicious homemade pastries

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These were SO good.

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Wine & Jazz Music Festival - My second time going to this, but it's always fun!
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We took the river taxi to get to the festival!

FestivALL