m

mcharles's Profile

Title Last Reply

Chocolate Candy Help in Pittsburgh

Bob Sendell makes his dark chocolate Toffee Taboo in the northside. You can buy it on line or at a number of local gourmet & specialty shops.

Jan 22, 2013
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Serious Question...Is Pittsburgh limited to Diners Drive-ins and Dives or are there a few good restaurants?

You must not get out a whole lot...Christopher's has been closed for about 15 years. And if keeping up with food trends means every entree gets the same starch and veg, then you are correct, LaMont has kept up with trends.

Oct 21, 2012
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Best Fine-Dining/Refined Italian in Pittsburgh.

All Famiglia is just ok in my opinion. It is definitely not anywhere near worth the price they try to get. And I know people say that you can split an entree because they are large in order to keep the price down... but what fun is that?! Part of the enjoyment of dining with others is getting different things so you can try a bit of everyone's. If I wanted to eat the same thing as everyone else, I would stay home and cook. I have never been able to leave that place without spending at least $75 a person, and that's if I'm bringing my own wine. I wouldn't really consider anyplace in town as being exciting as far as Italian goes. In my opinion you have about 10 or so places that are all about the same (good not great), a lot of which have been mentioned here. Considering that, I would go with someplace with a little atmosphere and much better value.

Jun 18, 2010
mcharles in Pennsylvania

BBQ Pit manufacturer in PA?

Check with Big John Grills. They are based right outside of State College and make custom grills and smokers. I have had them build 2 different custom things for me and have been happy with both, although they were not a pit/smoker. Not sure if they have or could build exactly what you are looking for, but probably worth a call. Here's the link to their website.

http://www.bigjohngrills.com/

Feb 12, 2010
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Upscale-ish lunch in Shadyside, Pittsburgh?

I think Casbah on Highland would fit your requirements.

Feb 11, 2010
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh juke joints?

Sound's like Kelly's in East Liberty might be a good recommendation.

Feb 05, 2010
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Red Room Closed

A friend of the landlord told me that they had just stopped paying rent and he finally padlocked the doors.

Feb 05, 2010
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh's Best Italian please

Although a lot of people have mentioned Alla Famiglia and I have enjoyed my few meals there, I think that it is worth mentioning that it is one of the most horrendously overpriced restaurants that I have ever been to, and I ordinarily have no issues with paying $100 a person for a great meal. The only time I go there is if someone else is paying. I have a real hard time paying 25% more here (in not the greatest area of town by the way) than at Vetri or Del Posto.

Nov 30, 2009
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Seeking Good Seafood and BYOB in Pittsburgh

I would recommend Avenue B, which just opened last week on Centre Ave near the Market District. It is BYOB and I had an excellent meal there last week. Definitely has atmosphere that would be conducive to a birthday meal.

Nov 25, 2009
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Just moved to pittsburgh

For donuts I suggest Peace, Love, and Little Donuts in the strip. They make the donuts basically to order and have all kinds of different options as far as cake styles and toppings. The donuts in my opinion are great, and the guys working are incredibly friendly!

Nov 09, 2009
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Where to take guests on way to/from Fallingwater?

It's probably about 15 or 20 miles away (but then again most things are that far from Fallingwater), but I would recommend Out of the Fire. It is on rte 711 right near the Donegal Exit on the turnpike. It is BYOB

Oct 12, 2009
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Wings! Where are the best in Pittsburgh?

Two that I like that are not saucy are the Caribbean Jerk wings at Kaya, and the smoked wings at Six Penn. Both are different than traditional Buffalo wings but they are excellent.

Sep 12, 2009
mcharles in Pennsylvania

blind date bar in pittsburgh?

Toast has a great bar that seems to fit all of your requirements.

Sep 03, 2009
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Need a dinner recommendation for Reading, PA

I have always liked Judy's on Cherry when I have driven through Reading.

Aug 10, 2009
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Pgh Restaurant Closings/Changes

Palate has closed and was bought by Ed Dunlap who owns Le Mont and then a handful of other truly awful restaurants in town. He also bought Le Pommier as well. He has a track record of buying restaurants that have a long history in town (Tambellini's, The Colony, etc.) dumping a ton of money into them, opening them up as absolutely horrible quality restaurants, only to close them a couple of months later and turn them into banquet facilities. Hopefully he doesn't do the same with Le Pommier.

Jul 29, 2009
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh and Fallingwater

For brunch on Sunday I would go to Six Penn, it is right across the bridge from PNC park. In my opinion it is best brunch in town. It is not feeding trough style, it is a plated order off the menu brunch.

Jul 29, 2009
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh-Dining alone

If you don't mind me asking, in what part of town are you planning to stay? There are quite a bit of good options for eating alone around town (I do it all the time). But I don't want to send you driving all over the place, or driving farther than you have to.

Jul 08, 2009
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Any new chow places in Pburgh?

I had a miserable experience at Paris 66 last weekend for dinner. Ate at around 7:30 on Friday and they were out of just about everything. I asked server what he would recommend and he told me "I'm not sure since we are out of everything." Then he said that he would have a hard time making recommendations because he really hadn't seen the food before. He had come in to apply for a job that afternoon, and they had him waiting tables by himself that night. It is BYOB which I like, but if I ever go back I will take my own wine glasses... I have never seen smaller glasses in my life. On the way out (on my way to get another meal because I was still hungry) I overheard the manager or owner talking excitedly to someone about a magazine coming in to do an article and take pictures of the place. I hadn't seen him working the room at all during my meal and I nearly mentioned he might want to focus on making sure people aren't having a similar experience to me or he will never make it to see the issue come out.
I would like to chalk this up to growing pains, but not sure if I can.

Jul 01, 2009
mcharles in Pennsylvania

can anyone comment on Legume,Dinette or Toast in pittsburgh?

I don't think you can go wrong with any of the mentioned places. Legume is terrific BYOB, menu changes daily and food is outstanding. Often times the chef has some great housemade charcuterie and other interesting menu items. Dinette is sort of a standby restaurant for me, probably go over 2 weeks or so. Great salads and pizza and nice small wine list. Toast would probably be considered a little more formal of a restaurant compared to the other two, although I have always enjoyed my meal and the dining room or bar area are really comfortable.
Just as a note, none of these 3 is convenient at all to Heinz Hall where the show is, so you probably want to leave yourself close to 45 minutes to get to the show, because traffic can be a little rough and parking can fill up depending on what else is going on around town.

May 27, 2009
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh for 4 nights

As far as walking distance goes, I would recommend a couple places for really good food and good value.
Eleven - Restaurant is on the pricier side but if he sits in the bar area (which is very comfortable) they have a great Tavern menu that has items different from the regular menu that are very reasonably priced and food is outstanding.
Six Penn Kitchen - Great food and I think great value.
Seviche - Small plates, but I think the food is usually pretty good.
Nine on Nine - This is on the more expensive side but I think offers some of the best, if not the best food in the city. These are all within 3-4 blocks of the Westin.

May 14, 2009
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Pgh Restaurant Closings/Changes

They closed and defaulted on their lease. Nothing from Richard Chen will be opening back up in that location.

May 01, 2009
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Pgh Restaurant Closings/Changes

Amici is actually now just a banquet and catering place. Just another restaurant that Ed Dunlap has bought, dumped a bunch of money into, and ruined!

Apr 11, 2009
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Looking for chow in Latrobe, PA

About 15 minutes from Latrobe on rt. 30 in Ligonier is the Eastwood Inn. Place has been around forever and does great steaks and really great lamb. Smokey the owner cuts all his meat to order. Good solid food and nice strong drinks! Be advised the wine list is awful so if you are a wine drinker, bring your own. He will usually let you.

Apr 11, 2009
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Easter Sunday Pittsburgh

Eleven does a great job with their brunches. I would also recommend Six Penn, their Sunday brunch is outstanding.

Mar 27, 2009
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh Chowhounders get shout out in PG

Agree with you 100% Panini Guy. In most cities poor restaurants do not get reviewed. A corner/neighborhood place that gets a 1 or 2 star rating is a real honor. They are not trying to compete with the finest restaurants in the city and therefore they should not get or deserve the same star rating. In the past, the Pittsburgh reviewers would basically give everyone 3 stars regardless of what she wrote about them. That is not doing anyone a favor... the restaurateurs or the readers. The star ratings are supposed to be used in conjunction with what is actually written about the. I like China's reviews and find them much more helpful and insightful than any of her predecessors. Do I disagree with them sometime and find some of the critiques a little harsh? Yes, but I can look past those and see what she is trying to get across to the readers.

As far as her column the other day, I thought it was great. A food writer is not going to change a food culture in a city, it takes all of the people to make that happen. It might not be fair to compare the amount of posts on chowhound about Philly and Pittsburgh, but I think comparing Pittsburgh to cities such as Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus is fair. If you look at Zagat ratings, Pittsburgh currently has 7 restaurants rated (all of which are national chains which get the same rating wherever they go. Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati all have more than 40 restaurants rated! I think it is fair to compare these cities and Zagat is a pretty good indicator of the local food culture since it is completely based on the amount of reviews that are posted by ordinary restaurant guests. Our food scene is getting better, it is not fair to compare us to cities 5 or 10 times our size, but at the same time we shouldn't use that as a crutch to hold ourselves and our restaurants to a lower standard. Some of the finest restaurants or food people/places in the country are in cities and towns that are much smaller than Pittsburgh.

Mar 04, 2009
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, BYOB, 8-10 people

I love Legume, but you definitely want to check if they can accomodate a party as large as 10. It is a small dining room, and the largest group I have seen in there is about 6 or 7.

Mar 03, 2009
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Brunch/Breakfast Pittsburgh

The challenge is the Saturday part, most of the places I would recommend are only on Sundays. All of my suggestions are plated brunches and not feeding trough brunches like the Grand Concourse. I think Casbah and Point Brugge have been mentioned already and I think do a good job. Currently though, I think Six Penn has the best brunch in the city hands down.

Feb 06, 2009
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Merguez sausage in Pittsburgh?

Jamison Farm (Lamb farm in Latrobe) makes an outstanding merguez sausage which I highly recommend! You can order it on their website, which I think is www.jamisonfarm.com. Or I am sure you could call and find out if they sell it anywhere else.

Feb 06, 2009
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Brunch near Longwood Gardens?

Buckley's Tavern in Centerville, DE has a great bunch and is a great old historic building. It is less than 10 minutes from Longwood, right across the DE border.

http://www.buckleystavern.org/

Dec 09, 2008
mcharles in Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week - Nov 3-9?

The idea behind this week is that it gives diners a chance to try some of the more expensive places with a lot less risk ($$$) than normal. Or to give a slightly different experience at a value at places that you might frequent. This is the same format as restaurant week in NYC and others such as Philly, where a huge range of restaurants offer menus at the same price. From experience in other cities as well as the previous restaurant weeks in Pittsburgh, you will definitely get each places interpretation of what $35 value is. Some places in the past have included wine, some have added a fourth course, some have delivered huge portions, and some offer small plates but a good value none the less. The mix of places isn't really weird, it's what makes these weeks fun and accessible to everyone. When I lived in Philly I would always go out each night to a place that I had not tried before, but had heard of. Thats the idea. If you look or have been to other cities restaurant weeks the mix is the same as it is in Pittsburgh.

Nov 04, 2008
mcharles in Pennsylvania