June 19, 2024

AlexEatsTooMuch May 2024 Restaurant and Event Roundup

I’m doing too much. I shouldn’t complain but I had weeks full of events. May was so busy. I was mostly in Pittsburgh but made a fun short trip to State College (see the end).

Restaurants

I got food at Aslin Beer for the first time. I ordered their Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich. It was a good size sandwich made with chicken thigh meat. I would get it again. I also got a few of their Imperial Stouts.

I got dinner at Dancing Gnome and Blue Sparrow twice in one week. First, I went on a Friday evening with my friends Jess and Alexa. I got the Michealangelo pizza with pork belly and pickles. Second, I went back to spend some time with my friends at Blue Sparrow to film some things on their converted Greyhound bus kitchen. I got the Ewe’r Reuben made with lamb pastrami, the pork gyoza and the war pigs pizza.

I attended an event at Adrian’s Pizza on Thompson Run Road as a preview for Good Taste Pittsburgh PizzaFest. We sampled 4 different types of pizza and their pinwheels from Adrian’s and beer from Grist House. I really liked the topping combinations on the specialty pizzas. I’m very familiar with Grist House beer and regularly at their brewery. The sold out PizzaFest will be at Grist House this year on June 9.

Jackworth Ginger Beer had their ribbon cutting and official grand opening. They are producing alcoholic and non-alcoholic ginger beer to be enjoyed on its own or in cocktails. This ginger beer has a great ginger flavor. I’m very excited to see them get their product in bars and restaurants around Pittsburgh.

Cinderlands Warehouse started doing a Thursday wing night. I got to check it out on their first night. They are available in orders of 6 or 12, bone-in or boneless and various flavors. I liked the Korean BBQ the most. They go great with Cinderlands Beer.

Pittsburgh Magazine invited me to a happy hour at Ritual House to preview their Spring Wine and Spirits Festival. They had cocktails featuring some of the spirits that were going to be available at the festival. Ritual House brought out so many different appetizers and desserts.

I had dinner at Whiskey B’s in Market Square. I got a Cubano Sandwich and some cocktails. I’ve been finding their new menu after the rebrand to be pretty good.

Sally Ann’s downtown launched a new evening menu for Thursday to Saturday. They invited a bunch of us to try out some of the new menu items and cocktails. I got to sample the Huli Huli Chicken Wings, Polynesian Baby Back Ribs and Mexican Street Corn. These new menu items are on the savory side and quite good. We also got a plating demo by Richard Deshantz Restaurants executive Chef Joe Perino showing off how to prepare the Smoked Salmon Carpaccio and the ribs. I really want to go back to try some of the new sandwiches on the menu.

I ate at Gi-Jin, not once, but twice in May. I always have a great meal there. The first time I went with my friend Dani and ordered some new things like the updated Beef Tataki. We made a stop at ETA Bar first for a cocktail. The second time I went back with my friends Jess, Alexa and Gretchen. We made stops at The Warren first and then Emerson’s after for a cocktail.

I got to attend the grand opening of Pittsburgh’s first Shake Shack. I never understood the hype of it since all my previous Shake Shack burgers were in airports and just not that good. I was blown away. I brought with me Jessie and we met up with Abby there where we proceeded to eat too many burgers. They were delicious.  

I did brunch at Tupelo Honey. It was ok. I got the Fried Chicken Benedict. I think if I go back again I just get the fried half chicken.

I got a couple of Guinness at Cork Harbour Pub in Lawrenceville. I was there for a Penn State Alumni happy hour. It’s a nice little Irish Pub.

I stopped by Grist House for their 10th Anniversary celebration. They are my favorite brewery. I had to go to get their latest anniversary barrel aged stout. It was so good.

I grabbed a Chopped Cheese from PGH Sandwich Society and a beer from Strange Roots Beer. This sandwich was so good. I usually get the In-n-Aht Burger or Nashville Hot Chicken but I wanted to try something new. This was a good choice.

I went to wing night at Jamison’s. I really need to stop in here more for dinner. They are just a couple of blocks from my house and they have some of the best wings and burgers in the area.

I got drinks and pizza at East End Brewing Mt. Lebanon Taproom. I got a few beers and tasted a couple of pizzas. It’s not my preferred style, but they were good and I’d order them again.

I ate one of the most amazing meals at Lilith. I went there with Karen, Val, Raquel and Chantal & Alex. We ordered so much off the menu. However, my favorite item was the special of the evening of red snapper and morels. I have so much to show from this dinner when I finish sorting through all the photos and videos.

Events

I went to a concert I had been looking forward to for a long time. I saw Postal Service and Death Cab for Cutie at the Pete. Postal Service was amazing. I had forgotten just how good an album Give Up is from beginning to end. They played it in full since it’s their only album. Unfortunately, Death Cab was plagued with audio issues, which I find is common at the Pete. It’s probably my least favorite venue in Pittsburgh for a concert.

Cinco de Mayo was spent at Southside Works for Beers of the Burgh TacoMania featuring Enjoy Wrestling. TacoMania has become one of my favorite events with beer samples, taco trucks and wrestling taking place in the middle of the street. I got some great Pita My Shawarma tacos using mini pitas.

I was invited to the first Gameday Tailgate of the season. They are hosting tailgates for every Friday Pirates home game at McFadden’s. They offer three different options of food and drinks for before going to the game. I ate so many hot dogs and sliders and drank a lot of beer. I would definitely consider this again before a game. Then we went over to the Pirates game and saw them not only win a game, but some great postgame fireworks.

I finished off the month by attending the Pittsburgh Magazine Spring Wine and Spirits Festival at Rivers Casino. I always like these events. I get to try several different spirits and I have a great buffet dinner. My highlight of the evening was trying lots of samples from Michter’s.

Home Cooking

I smoked up some baby back ribs. I haven’t used my smoker in forever. These turned out so tasty and tender. I smoked them at about 250°F for about 90 minutes, then I wrapped them in foil for 2 hours as the crutch, and then finally unwrapped them and finished them on the grill to get a nice crust.

State College

I spent a weekend back in State College so I could attend the first ever Hoppy Valley Brewers Fest. This was a beer festival celebrating breweries from Pennsylvania and those with ties to Penn State. The festival was held on the field at Beaver Stadium, which was so cool. I got to hang out with some of my favorite Pittsburgh breweries and with my friends from Hello Social Co who invited me out there for the event. This beer fest is now up there as one of my favorites and I hope I can go again next year.

I got to stay at The Penn Stater Hotel on the edge of the Penn State campus. They put me in an amazing King suite. It’s a great modern hotel. The down side is it is pretty far from everything in town since it’s at the far edge of campus.

I ate at Gigi’s Southern Table for the first time. This restaurant outside downtown State College serves food with a southern flair and well-crafted cocktails. I ordered the Farmers Tomahawk Pork Chop for dinner and a couple of cocktails. This is definitely going on my list of Happy Valley restaurants to visit again.

I did breakfast at The Waffle Shop on West College. Something I do at least once on every trip to Happy Valley. It’s one of the best breakfasts. I got a sausage and cheese omelet with pancakes and home fries.

I made a stop at Big Spring Spirits in Bellefonte for some post beer fest cocktails. They are making quality spirits with some of the best water in Pennsylvania from the Big Spring running through the town.