January was a rather slow month overall. I got a cold followed by that weird respiratory thing that was going around. Limited a lot of my fun for the month. Luckily, I was at least sorta healthy for my birthday at the beginning of the month. I finally stopped coughing all the time by the end of the month. Good thing February is looking to be just as slow after the first week.
I started the year for the 2nd year in a row at the Cinderlands Beer Hair of the Hog pig roast brunch. They put out a full spread of different pig based brunch foods as well as some other items. I really liked the sausage, bacon, pastrami and deviled eggs this year. However, I was a little disappointed they didn’t have pulled pork this year. Overall it was still a very filling brunch.
I spent my birthday for the 3rd year in a row at St. Clair Social. I have known for years Cat and Cecil who run the restaurant and bar. I’m always glad to hang out there and support them. They make a great cocktail and have delicious elevated bar food. I got the Social Burger which was great and gave me a good base for a night of cocktails. I typically reserve their back room and bring in a whole bunch of people to celebrate. This year I stayed until closing and then made my way to the Maverick Hotel down the street rather than trying to get home to the South Hills. It was a wise choice.
I went to Eleven to use my Big Burrito free birthday entrée. I hadn’t eaten at Eleven in a long time so I was excited to go again. We went for happy hour when they offered discounted small bites and cocktails. We got the brussel sprouts, cheese curds, and some other items. I got the Eleven Burger which is now one of my favorite burgers in Pittsburgh.
The next night I went to Mad Mex with my family to use my Mad Mex free birthday burrito coupon. I got the classic Mad Mex Burrito and a bunch of wings on happy hour special.
I returned to City Kitchen to visit their new Oasis Lounge popup. They created a tropical escape from the winter on their newly enclosed patio. They are offering special food and drink items from the different kitchen concepts at City Kitchen. I partnered with them to hold a happy hour with a bunch of other Pittsburgh foodies. We had a great time. My favorite foods were General Tso’s Chicken Sliders, Trio Poke Flight, and Hawaiian Smoked Pork Nachos.
I made the drive out from the South Hills all the way to New Kensington to have dinner with friends at Jillian’s Restaurant. I’ve been wanting to go for a while and I’m glad I finally made it there. The whole meal was incredible. We got the bread with dipping oil, baked oysters, chips and dip, and mushroom toast as appetizers. I added the Live Scallop with Nduja Butter and it was amazing. My meal was a locally sourced Pork Chop topped with spicy vinegar peppers, garlic confit and pork belly, and a side of Duck Fat Potatoes. Other dishes at our table were the rack of lamb, a roasted chicken and lobster bucatini with shrimp.
I went back to St. Clair Social for the second time in January to check out their Pittsburgh Restaurant Week special. They haven’t participated in restaurant week in 3 years during a time when the world was still kinda shut down. They brought it back with a 3 course menu of some customer favorites. I got the Sweet Potato Poutine, the Reuben and the Funnel Cake Fries.
I decided to have a vegan meal at Crapteka; the junk food popup of Apteka. Lots of people have told me it’s one of the menus they look forward to all year. They change their menu to only serve vegburgers, fries and sunflower shakes. I got the Tropikalia burger topped with pineapple relish, hot sauce, curry slaw and pickled hot peppers. The sauces and toppings are what really make this popup amazing. It was good and I think if I were vegan I’d be blown away. However, as someone who eats meat, I was missing a beef burger.
I continued to use my Big Burrito holiday coupon at Alta Via Pizzeria. I got the meatballs and the Sausage and Shrooms square pizza (which was more rectangular.) It was quite good.
I grabbed some impromptu sushi and wings at The Warren. I like the Pretty Girl Roll there. Even though it’s only 5 pieces, it can be quite filling. However, I forgot that and got the wings too. I’ve never had the wings there, but they were pretty good. I got the Korean BBQ sauce on them. They were very good, but maybe a little on the pricier side.
I went back to Fish Nor Fowl for the first time in years. I was pretty excited for this meal but unfortunately, I wasn’t blown away. We got the Bucatini All’Amatriciana, the Charred Eggplant and the Artichoke Salad. Everything tasted good, but I think we both just expected more. I might try it again sometime.
I attended a Malaysian food night at a friend’s house. She wanted to cook to introduce a bunch of us to food from her home country. We had a fantastic meal of fried chicken and chicken satay and rendang. It was all so good. She kept it a little mild on the spice for us, but I think we could have all handled it a little more.
We went to Mola for the Omakase sushi. It was 13 courses of sushi plus starters and a dessert. This was an amazing meal. Some of my favorites were the seared salmon belly, chutoro with ostera caviar, and the aburi. I think the only downside is they use brown rice, but everything was so good I can overlook that. I would do omakase there again.
I ended the month with an invite to Moe’s Southwest Grill to try their new Beef Birria on the burritos, bowls and their new Blazin’ Birria Tacos. The birria was quite good and I would likely get it again.
I attended my first ever PirateFest. Every year the Pittsburgh Pirates hold a day long celebration of all things Pittsburgh Pirates. There was so much to do there. You can get autographs, view memorabilia, participate in games, buy swag and take lots of photo ops. Unfortunately, I only had an hour of time free to go. I need to make sure I have more time next year so I can attend longer and take more advantage of the festivities.
I was at St. Clair Social for a third time in the month to attend a Gaslight Comedy show featuring headliner Winston Hodges and openers Sandi Benton and local Kimberly Bennett. It was a very funny night. Gaslight Comedy does shows there every 3rd Saturday of the month and tickets are usually around $15.
I attended an awesome kickoff for the Go Laurel Highlands Pour Tour 4.0. You can read more about the whole day at this blog post.