Friday, June 21, 2013

Perfect Pittsburgh Saturday

I was lucky enough to be invited to collaborate with 10 other Pittsburgh bloggers to describe a 'Perfect Pittsburgh Saturday.' Alex from everybody loves you came up with the idea and coordinated everything - many thanks to him. He kicked off 'Perfect Pittsburgh Saturday' with the 8am~10am time slot. 

My part of this collaboration is from 6pm~8pm. For SP and I, that time slot means one thing: a delicious dinner out. But where?

Here's how I narrowed it down: this is my perfect dinner. Not my idea of what everyone else thinks would be the perfect place. My perfect place. Still a lot of choices, though. 

SP saw me furrowing my brow and sighed with exasperation. He then reminded me that I could devour pizza and/or pasta every single day and be a very happy girl, so why was I fretting when the answer was obvious? OK. So my 'Perfect Pittsburgh Saturday Dinner' was going to be a pizza/pasta place. Still a lot of options. So I decided to rule out places we like in the suburbs (Il Pizzaiolo [although there is now a location in Market Square as well],Cucina Bella in Bridgeville). It would be a place that requires us to drive through a tunnel and into the city.

Still a lot of choices. So I thought, hmmm, I have a few weekends to do research. Or so I thought. Throw in a weekend of having to dine out with SP's family followed by a weekend of breaking my hip and suddenly, I had no opportunity for research. Or photos. 

The day I broke my hip, we had just selected a bottle of white wine to chill in the refrigerator for that evening - an evening of research for my 'Perfect Pittsburgh Dinner' at E2.

We have been to E2 once, but remember the meal well. We sat next to the front window, which offered the last bits of October daylight. Inside was dimly lit, the tables dark wood, a calm & intimate & friendly atmosphere. We shared Grilled Prosciutto stuffed with mozzarella & basil atop red pepper puree. Then we shared Mushroom Arancini. SP had a Mushroom Risotto for his entree, I had Orecchiette with Lamb Ragu. I still remember sitting at the table, savoring each tasty bite of that lamb ragu. I remember swapping plates with SP and each of us enjoying the other's meal. And then there was dessert - Enrico's biscotti set in vanilla ice cream for SP; beignets atop a blueberry sauce for me.

We have tried to return since then, but sadly, we have arrived just enough past the 6 pm opening time that we would have to wait 1-2 hours for a table. Usually, we sigh in sadness and head down the street to Park Bruges. But once this hip is healed, we are celebrating at E2

My plan was to do more 'Perfect Pittsburgh Saturday' research the following weekend at Piccolo Forno on Butler Street in Lawrenceville. We have dined at Piccolo Forno several times and even taken my parents, who are used to Las Vegas prices and plates and who were very pleasantly surprised not just by the BYOB policy but by the cost and quality and quantity of food at Piccolo Forno. Usually I order the prosciutto & arugula pizza and SP orders a pasta and we share. I love the bustling interior, the red brick walls, the friendly staff, the customers surrounding their tables, enjoying their BYOB beverages, laughing and talking, sharing food. I've stolen bites of food from my dining companions - bites of lasagna, pasta with boar, a spinach pasta with lamb ragu, a canneloni filled with cheese & veggies. Sometimes I order an entire pasta like the Tortelli stuffed with beef & pork just for myself. But then I miss the pizza. I always save room for dessert, whether it's the tiramisu or a gelato or a daily special like a fruit tart.

And then I waddle out.

Sometimes the 'Perfect Pittsburgh Saturday Dinner' isn't about returning to a favorite place. Sometimes it's about trying somewhere new-to-you. There are 2 new-to-me places that I really want to try, and hopefully, we will soon.

One is Sienna Sulla Piazza in Market Square. It was recently named Best New Restaurant 2013 by Pittsburgh Magazine. There are several delicious sounding (to me) dishes on the menu: chianti braised short ribs with orzo mac & cheese and tomato-bacon jam, veal milanese, ricotta & spinach agnolotti with asparagus and pancetta, just to name a few.

Another place is Stagioni on the South Side. Made to Order Mozzarella with prosciutto, roasted peppers, olives, olive oil, balsamic reduction - sounds so good! Gnocchi with lamb, peas, pecorino. Mmmmm. 

So that's my 'Perfect Pittsburgh Saturday 6pm~8pm.' A pizza and/or pasta place, either one we've tried and loved or a new experience. I am going to all four places as soon as I am better. The surgeon said 8-12 weeks until the fracture heals (plus some rehab time on top of that). So look out SP - your September Saturday dinner date nights are filled! I will be making up for 8-12+ weeks of 'house arrest!'

Next up is 8pm~10pm. This time slot has two bloggers! Head on over to Mary at Mary vs Food and over to Tony & DeAnna at D&T in the burgh.

Complete Line Up:


  1. Mmm, my perfect Pittsburgh Saturday would also definitely include some pizza! I actually haven't tried any of the places you listed, they will definitely be on my list!

  2. Ooooh, Piccolo Forno, Sienna Sulla Piazza, and Stagioni are three restaurants I've been wanting to try. Note to self: Must go soon!