Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Emilia Romagna (Strip District)

Update (8/27/2012):  The former Emilia Romagna/Bar ER space will become Taverna 19, a Mediterranean restaurant, bar, and night club.

Update (8/23/2012):  It was announced on Facebook that the bar is also closed (no word yet on the lounge).  However, it appears the same owners are planning something new for the space.  Stay tuned.

Update (8/21/2012): Emilia Romagna announces on Facebook that the dining room is now closed, but cocktails and lounge are still happening.

Would you believe me if I told you that some of the best sushi in Pittsburgh can be found at an Italian restaurant?

Don't believe me? Head to the new Emilia Romagna in the Strip District.

Emilia Romagna is the latest venture of Jonathan and Brandy Vlasic, who also own Alla Famiglia and Arlecchino Ristorante in town.  I have not been to either of their other restaurants, but expect Emilia Romagna to be different from your typical Italian restaurant.  Vastly different.

I guess I already tipped you off with the little tidbit about the sushi.  Here's the scoop: Emilia Romagna occupies a sizable space on 19th Street, between Smallman St and Penn Ave.  The north side houses the cozy dining room, and that is where you'll find the more traditional Italian menu.  The south side is a tremendous cocktail bar along with a sushi bar headed by Chef Matthew Kemp, formerly of Tamari.  Upstairs is a nightclub (V Ultra Lounge), and there is a gorgeous patio out back that extends all the way to 18th Street, complete with a water fountain and beach cabanas.  A very unique setup, to be sure.

I had the pleasure of dining at Emilia Romagna on an invitation a few weeks ago, during their soft opening.  I was back again last week when the same dining buddies suggested a return trip because we were so impressed with the cocktails and food there.  On our first visit, Chefs Cory Hughes and Matthew Kemp offered us a tasting menu consisting of both Italian fare and a sushi sampler.  Among the dishes we had were mussels with haricot vert and sunchoke puree; scallops with a Mediterranean citrus salad and local corn zabaglione; oysters with watermelon, basil mignonette, and hot sauce; lamb chop atop cavatelli, with English pea and mint puree, and lamb neck patted down and served with natural jus; and wood-fired prosciutto and arugula pizza with a perfectly soft, thin dough.  Just as they sound, every dish was an interesting and mouthwatering combination of flavors.  We also split two delicious desserts: A traditionally Italian blackberry crostata and a fluffy cheesecake served with peach sauce.

Our second visit leaned more sushi-heavy.  We asked Chef Matt to give us a tasting of his choice, and these were not the standard (read: boring) sushi you get anywhere else.  Each fish was garnished with a spice or sauce that provided a distinct contrast and brought out the flavor of the fish in a whole new way.  The Zuke or marinated lean tuna, for example, was topped with salmon scale and Thai chili; the Maguro or big eye tuna was served in two different ways - once marinated and served with herbs from their own patio, and once with hazelnut, porchini mushroom powder, hazelnut oil, and fleur de sel; the Salmon sushi was topped with shaved bonito (a type of tuna).  I'm not usually a big fan of rolls, because they tend to be rather bland, but I was pleasantly surprised by the unique ER Kitchen Roll, made with tuna, avocado, kampachi, spicy emulsion, Japanese green onion, dried smoked tuna, flying fish roe, and sesame.  The evening's special was Aji (a Japanese horse mackerel), a very strong-flavored fish, but nicely balanced by the lemony yuzukoshō.

The cocktail menu at Emilia Romagna is extensive, and we enjoyed a fair amount of libation on both visits.  The Bellini (seasonal fruit and prosecco), Dirty Blond (vodka, jalapeno and pineapple olive brine, granny smith apple and blue cheese stuffed olives), Ruby T (vodka, campari, grapefruit juice, grapefruit peel/tarragon/prosecco simple syrup), Banana & Basil (bananas liqueur, fresh basil, honey, water), Gin Gin Mule (bluecoat American gin, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, ginger beer, mint smash), and Cucumber Mint (bluecoat American gin, midori, mint cucumber juice, salt, cucumber wheel) were all very potent and very amazing.  This is a great spot for after-work happy hour.

Needless to say, I snapped my share of photos, some of which I showcase here.  The entire set can be found here.  The lighting (and hence, quality) varies because I lost the benefit of natural lighting sometime mid-meal, and the dining room was quite dimly-lit. Regardless, I hope I was able to do the food some justice.

Chef Cory Hughes of Emilia Romagna
Chef Cory Hughes

Emilia Romagna
Sushi bar, starring Chef Matthew Kemp

Mussels at Emilia Romagna

Sushi Platter at Emilia Romagna
Sushi Platter

Oysters at Emilia Romagna

Mushroom Pizza at Emilia Romagna
Mushroom Pizza

Japanese Snapper at Emilia Romagna
Japanese Snapper sushi atop kombu leaves (giant kelp)

Sashimi Sampler at Emilia Romagna
Sashimi platter

Bigeye Tuna at Emilia Romagna
Big Eye Tuna

Bigeye Tuna at Emilia Romagna
Big Eye Tuna

Kampachi and Salmon Sushi at Emilia Romagna
Kampachi and Salmon sushi

Gin Gin Mule at Emilia Romagna
Gin Gin Mule

Cucumber Melon at Emilia Romagna
Cucumber Mint

During our visits, we had the opportunity to speak with the owner, the manager, the chefs, and the cocktail mixologist.  Every single one of them showed a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for their new venture, and hearing them speak so excitedly and passionately about their food and drinks makes you want to embrace the restaurant even more - as though the terrific food didn't already speak for itself!  Emilia Romagna is still fairly new, having just officially opened, and the ristorante-cocktails-sushi-lounge-cabana-bar concept is extremely ambitious.  As such, there are still a few kinks to be worked out, especially in terms of speed of service.  But do give Emilia Romagna a chance, and your belly will thank you.

As a matter of full disclosure, our first meal was complimentary, but we returned as paying patrons for our second meal.  As per my policy, there was no promise of a positive review.

Restaurant info:
Emilia Romagna
108 19th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

On the web: http://emiliaromagnapgh.com/
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EmiliaRomagnaPGH
On Twitter: http://twitter.com/er_pgh

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Emilia Romagna on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Toasted Sesame Cookies

Some time ago I wrote about Sustenance Bakery at the Pittsburgh Public Market and their addictive toasted sesame cookies.  I'll admit, there had been times when I drove down to the Strip District just to get some of these cookies.  I was sad when Sustenance Bakery left the Market back in December, but I was ecstatic to hear from the owner, Sarah Kelby Lewis, that the recipe would be published in the January issue of Food and Wine Magazine.

It took me a while to finally find the time to make these cookies myself.  The key, I think, are the alternative sugars featured in this recipe.  I was able to find both Sucanat and evaporated cane sugar at Naturally Soergels (not the main store but the organic shop in the back), and I have seen them at Whole Foods as well.  As for consistency, the cookies are supposed to be chewy.  On my first try I had baked the cookies for 12 minutes, and while they were soft immediately post-baking, they hardened quite a bit by the next day.  I have discovered that 10 minutes really hits the sweet spot in my oven.  My melon baller came in super handy for scooping the dough as it was the perfect size for these cookies.

I have since made three batches of these toasted sesame cookies, and they have been a HUGE hit.  R.'s mom said they were some of the best cookies she's ever had...and coming from a home ec teacher who has been baking all her life, that means a lot!  Thanks so much for sharing the joy of these amazing cookies with the world, Sarah!

Toasted Sesame Cookies
Ready for the oven

Toasted Sesame Cookies
Toasted Sesame Cookies

Recipe courtesy of:
Sarah Kelby Lewis and Food and Wine Magazine (get the recipe here)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pgh Taco Truck at Coffee Buddha's 1st Anniversary Party

Update (2/9/2013): Pgh Taco Truck is open as of January 18! Track its whereabouts via Twitter or Facebook.

Update (8/22/2012): Due to unforeseen issues, the opening of the Pgh Taco Truck has been delayed.  Connect with the truck on Twitter and Facebook to find out when it officially opens.

I have mentioned in the past that I didn't used to get very excited about tacos.  I guess if the "best" tacos you've ever had came from Chipotle, there really isn't much to get excited over.  But thanks to friends Señorita Cibulka and Burgh Gourmand's influence, I have gained a whole new appreciation for tacos.  In particular, the recent openings of great taco joints like Smoke and Casa Rasta had me fully converted to taco fandom.

The latest, newest taco venture is the Pgh Taco Truck, due to roll into town on August 15.  It is owned and operated by none other than my taco-loving friend, Burgh Gourmand, or James as he is known in real life.  Although the actual truck is still in the process of having its kitchen installed, James has been seen slinging tacos at various events around town.  The first of such events I attended was at Coffee Buddha's first anniversary party earlier this month.  There are plans for Pgh Taco Truck to vend tacos at Coffee Buddha on a regular basis once the truck officially opens, and there are few things in this world that excite me more than seeing two of my favorite Pittsburgh things partner up this way!

R. and I attended Coffee Buddha's birthday festivities and tried four different taco varieties from James. Each had a meat or veggie filling and a choice of salsa (mango and pineapple with pickled red onions and dehydrated jalapeno; tomato, corn, black bean, lime juice, and green onion) atop a double serving of soft corn tortillas.  And I gotta say, these truly are some of the best tacos you'll find in Pittsburgh!  Without further adieu, here are some photos:

Making of the Portobello & Zucchini Taco by Pgh Taco Truck
Making of the Portobello & Zucchini Taco

Curried Eggplant by Pgh Taco Truck
Curried Eggplant

Portobello & Zucchini Taco by Pgh Taco Truck
Portobello & Zucchini Taco

Curried Eggplant Taco by Pgh Taco Truck
Curried Eggplant Taco

Pork Taco by Pgh Taco Truck
Pork Taco

Ground Beef Taco by Pgh Taco Truck
Ground Beef Taco

Because James is my friend, I realize that my opinion may be biased.  However, I have personally experienced James' exemplar cooking well before the idea of Pgh Taco Truck even entered his consciousness, at a time when my raving about his food in a public forum served no commercial purpose.  On the other hand, being James' friend gives me an insider's knowledge about his approach and enthusiasm for his new venture.  He talks of his college gig selling burritos on the streets, and having taken on various jobs in the years since, some food-related and some not, but his heart was always in street food vending.  Since the day he decided to embark on this new adventure, he has spent countless hours and energy sourcing ingredients, testing taco flavors, designing the kitchen, researching ways to make his operation more "green," and lobbying to improve laws governing food trucking. I have personally witnessed how much James has poured his heart and soul into making the best-tasting tacos you can find, and I am really looking forward to the official opening!

Follow Pgh Taco Truck on Twitter or Facebook to see where you can find the truck on any given day.  The Pgh Taco Truck is also available for private catering.

Pgh Taco Truck
Pgh Taco Truck

And last but certainly not least, Happy 1st Anniversary to my favorite coffee shop in town!  Have you tried their new Zendo Blendo yet?  (You totally should!)

Happy 1st Birthday, Coffee Buddha!
Happy Birthday, Coffee Buddha! May there be many more!

Truck info:
Pgh Taco Truck
(412) 841-9234
On the web: http://www.pghtacotruck.com
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pghtacotruck
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/PghTacoTruck

Pgh Taco Truck on Urbanspoon

Fresh Ginger Limeade

What is the one thing I really, really, really miss about Washington, DC (aside from my friends)?  Teaism.  In particular, the ginger limeade at Teaism, an amazingly refreshing drink on those hot DC summer days.

Well, this unusually toasty summer in Pittsburgh has made me crave Teaism's ginger limeade.  Problem is, I'm in Pittsburgh...and Teaism is in DC.  So I had to come up with my own version.  After a little experimenting, I created this recipe that I'm really happy with.  So happy, that I've been making a couple of batches on a weekly basis.  The best part is that my version only has 8 calories per serving, so it's pretty much a guilt-free treat. :)

Ginger Limeade
Fresh Ginger Limeade


Fresh squeezed lime juice, 1/2 cup
Freshly grated ginger root, 1 tsp
Water, 3 cups
Liquid stevia, 1/2 tsp
(Optional) mint leaves and lime slices for garnish


Mix all ingredients together.  Serve over crushed ice and garnish with mint leaves and lime slice if desired.

Yields 4 (7 oz) servings

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fresh Ginger Ice Cream (Jeni's Style)

In my last post I declared my love for ginger, and mentioned that I have been using it a lot lately.  One of the things I had always wanted to try was to make ginger ice cream since I've never found a ginger ice cream at a restaurant or an ice cream shop that I've liked.  Often, this is because candied ginger is used, and I'd really prefer the fresh stuff, while other times I just can't barely taste the ginger.

So, I decided to make ginger ice cream using freshly grated ginger.  It's very simple; I followed Jeni's Backyard Mint Ice Cream recipe (on p. 72 of the James Beard award-winning cookbook), and instead of mint, I mixed in 2.5 tbsp of freshly grated ginger to the batter right after the ice bath, and then churned it in the ice cream machine immediately (since I can skip the overnight steeping).  R. loved it, and so did I.  We finished the entire batch in a couple of days.  Luckily, he appreciates ginger the way I do and likes that I use it generously. :)

Ginger Ice Cream (Jeni's Style)
Ginger Ice Cream

This is part of a series of posts on recipes from or inspired by Jeni's Spendid Ice Creams at HomeThe rest of the series may be found here.

Ginger Pasta Salad

You know how they say your tastebuds change every seven years?  Well, I don't know about that, but I'm sure everyone has had the experience of liking certain foods they didn't used to before.  Ginger is one of those foods for me.  As a child, I hated ginger, though that's not saying much since I have yet to meet a child who likes it.  But now that I'm older (and wiser?), I have grown to love this Asian spice.  Lately, I've been particularly inspired to experiment with it in the kitchen, so here's the first of a series of ginger recipes I've been working with in recent weeks.

R. and I were visiting his mom for the fourth of July and we had some of her homemade ginger pasta salad - no exaggerations here, but it was the first pasta salad I've ever liked.  It was so good that after we got home, I wanted to try making it myself.  While I could have just asked mom-in-law for her recipe, I wanted to see if I could recreate her dish on my own, and this is what I came up with.

Ginger Pasta Salad
Ginger Pasta Salad


Celery, 2 stalks, diced
Cherry tomatoes, about 24, halved
Edamame, 5 oz
Red onion, 1/2, small diced
Cilantro, 1 cup chopped
Baby carrots, 1/2 cup sliced
Red pepper, 1/2, diced
Red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup
Whole wheat rotini, 1 (1 lb) package
*Ginger, 3 tbsp freshly grated
Pine nuts, 1/3 cup, toasted

  1. Cook rotini according to package directions.  Drain.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the first seven ingredients together (from celery to red pepper).
  3. In another large bowl, toss together the cooked rotini, grated ginger, and red wine vinegar.
  4. Pour the pasta into the mixed veggies.  Toss well.  Top with toasted pine nuts.
*Disclaimer:  I am a ginger fiend and like to be able to taste it in my dish, so I am rather generous when it comes to the amount of ginger to use.  It may or may not work for everybody.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Szmidt's Old World Deli (Greenfield)

The first time I heard of Szmidt's Old World Deli, I was at a work party and someone had brought along some of Szmidt's pierogies - two sweet varieties and a savory kind.  It made such a positive impression on me that when R. was looking for a place to take an out-of-town friend, I suggested Szmidt's, even though I hadn't been there myself.  They came back raving about it, which made me proud.  I am always glad when I can help show off to outsiders the best that Pittsburgh has to offer.

I finally made my way to the little shop myself earlier this month.  I ordered a McCarthy Sandwich, loaded with slow roasted beef, onions, lettuce, tomato, mushrooms, peppers, provolone cheese, and horseradish mayo.  The meat was juicy and perfectly done and the veggies were fresh, and the soft homemade bun was icing on the cake.  I came here with pretty high expectations and I was not disappointed.

McCarthy Sandwich at Szmidt's Old World Deli
McCarthy Sandwich ($7.99)

Of course, I had to have some pierogies, especially the sweet pierogies, because I like how they gave this classic a twist and, well, I have a sweet tooth. (*blush*) I ordered three Apple Mango and three Strawberry with Chocolate Sauce (a seasonal special).  The homemade pierogie dough was fried just right and the fillings were simple yet worked nicely.

Apple Mango Pierogies and Strawberry Pierogies with Chocolate Sauce at Szmidt's Old World Deli
Apple Mango Pierogies (left, $3.99) and Strawberry Pierogies with Chocolate
Sauce (right, $3.99)

What a great deli!  Can't wait to try some of the other sandwiches and pierogies at Szmidt's.

Restaurant info:
Szmidt's Old World Deli
509 Greenfield Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15207
On the web: http://www.szmidts.com
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Szmidts-Old-World-Deli/168361829868671

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Szmidt's Old World Deli on Urbanspoon

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Lemon Thyme Zucchini Rice Casserole

In my last post I mentioned growing more herbs this year, which necessitates more creativity on my part to cook with herbs ready for harvest.  My thyme has been growing like mad, so I made this rice dish, modified from a recipe I had found online sometime ago.  I'm surprised how great it turned out, and a friend tried the recipe with basil instead of thyme and LOVED it. :)  I think the key is to use good-quality cheese, and the lemon gives it a nice tang.  This is definitely going into my regular rotation.

Lemon Thyme Zucchini Rice Casserole
Lemon Thyme Zucchini Rice Casserole


Long grain rice, uncooked, 1.5 cups
Fresh thyme leaves, 1 tbsp
Lemon juice, 1 tbsp (about 1/2 a lemon)
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
Olive oil, 2 tbsp
Zucchini, 1.5 lbs, cubed
Green onions, 3, sliced
Garlic, 2 cloves, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Garlic salt
Paprika, 1 tsp
Oregano, 1 tsp dried
Plum tomatoes, 4, chopped
Sharp cheddar cheese, one 1/3-lb block, freshly shredded, divided
Cooking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cook rice, thyme leaves, lemon juice, and lemon zest together in rice cooker (or follow package directions if a rice cooker is not available).
  3. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook the zucchini, green onions, and garlic about 5 minutes, until zucchini is tender.  Season with salt, pepper, garlic salt, paprika, and oregano.  Mix in cooked rice, tomatoes, and cheese, preserving some of cheese for the topping.
  4. Spray a 2.5 quart casserole dish with cooking spray.  Transfer content from the skillet to the casserole dish.  Top with remaining cheese.
  5. Bake, uncovered, for 12 minutes.

Yields 4-5 servings

Roasted Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Last summer, I started growing herbs at home - parsley, basil, and mint - and really enjoyed having fresh herbs at my disposal all season long.  This year, I decided to expand my collection to include cilantro, thyme, and rosemary.  That's all well and fine, except every week I have to figure out some way to use a large amount of herbs ready to be harvested!  My first "project" was to use up some rosemary.  I thought it might go well with lemon and some breaded chicken, so I modified an old breaded chicken recipe to create this.

Roasted Lemon Rosemary Chicken
Roasted Lemon Rosemary Chicken


Chicken breast, 4 servings
Salt and pepper
Flour, about 1/2 cup
Bread crumbs, about 1/2-1 cup
Rosemary leaves from 1 sprig
Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp
Egg, 1 large
Lemon, 1
Cooking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Juice half the lemon.  Save the other half for garnish.
  3. In a small bowl, beat together egg, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and rosemary leaves.
  4. Place flour in a flat-bottomed bowl.  Place bread crumbs in another flat-bottomed bowl.
  5. Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Roll chicken in flour, then dip in the egg mixture, then roll in bread crumbs.
  6. Spray an oven-proof skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium-high heat.  Cook chicken for 5 minutes, turning once, until the breading is slightly browned.
  7. Bake chicken for 20-25 minutes, until done.
  8. Serve with lemon for a splash of juice.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Capital Grille (Downtown)

A few weeks ago, we were invited to sample the new Summer "Plates" lunch menu at The Capital Grille in downtown Pittsburgh.  The Capital Grille has been on my radar since the time I lived in the Washington DC area where my condo was literally one block from one of its locations, but alas, I never had the chance to dine there, so this was an opportunity I didn't want to miss.

Inside, The Capital Grille is elegant and posh, but comfortable.  It is very spacious, yet feels intimate.  The center of the menu is where the "Plates" selection can be found, and it features a soup or salad, and entree, and a side for $18.

The Capital Grille
The Capital Grille

The Capital Grille
Wine Cellar at The Capital Grille

Summer Plates Lunch Menu at The Capital Grille
The Summer "Plates" Menu

Both R. and I chose the Carrot and Ginger Soup as our appetizer.  This soup had just the right amount of sweetness and the ginger added a nice kick.

Carrot Ginger and Soup at The Capital Grille
Carrot and Ginger Soup

For my entree, I chose the Seared Sea Scallops, a new item on the menu.  It is paired with sweet and sour tomatoes and served with an Israeli couscous.  This chef really hit the nail on the head with this concoction.  The scallops were cooked to perfection, and there was just a hint of the juices from the tomatoes that gave it a more complex flavor.

Seared Sea Scallops at The Capital Grille
Seared Sea Scallops

R. got the Lobster Roll, which consisted of large chunks of lobster and lettuce in a bun.  The dressing is slightly sweet and worked exceptionally well with the lobster.

Lobster Roll at The Capital Grille
Lobster Roll

For our sides, we both ordered the Truffle Fries, which were absolutely delicious.  Amsterdam really raised my standards for fries, and these truffle fries rose to the challenge.

Truffle Fries at The Capital Grille
Truffle Fries

I didn't order a beverage, but R. had gotten a Mint Lemonade that was tasty and refreshing.

Mint Lemonade at The Capital Grille
Mint Lemonade

The Capital Grille caters to the business lunch crowd, and can get you through your meal in 45 minutes without feeling rushed.  The service is attentive and professional, and it's clear they go out of their way to add that personal touch.  If I worked downtown, I would bring my clients here to impress them...but I don't work downtown.  While I won't be business lunching here much myself, I'm definitely adding The Capital Grille to my list of great downtown restaurants for the times I do find myself in the neighborhood.

As a matter of full disclosure, our meal was complimentary, but as per my rule, there was no promise of a positive review in exchange.

Restaurant info:
Capital Grille
301 5th Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
On the web: http://www.thecapitalgrille.com/about/main.asp

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Capital Grille on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Kovac Catering at Pittsburgh Charity Classics

At the Tapped Pop Up Beer Garden, R. and I met these folks who had extra tickets to the Pittsburgh Charity Classic Opening Night Party just a few blocks farther down the Strip and were nice enough to invite us along.  So, off to another party we went!

I had no idea what to expect, and so didn't initially plan on taking any photos.  But then, I had some of the best pierogies I've ever had, catered by Kovac Catering, which prompted me to whip out my camera and snap a few shots for posterity.

Pierogies by Kovac Catering
Pierogies by Kovac Catering

Pierogies by Kovac Catering
Pierogies by Kovac Catering

Kovac Catering
Neither is Chef David Kovac, but they made some great pierogies!

I wish I had taken more pictures because there was other great food as well - chocolate covered strawberries, strawberry shortcake, shrimp cocktail, and more, not to mention drinks.  Everything was amazing and we had such a fabulous time we're thinking of coming back next year.  The food is awesome, and the money goes to a great cause, too!  The charities this event supported are the Autism Center of Pittsburgh, Magee-Womens Research Institute & Foundation, National Kidney Foundation, and The Challenge Program.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tapped. Pop Up Beer Gardens 2012 (Round 1: Strip District)

On the same day that we attended Hometown-Homegrown at the Heinz History Center, the first edition of Tapped. Pop Up Beer Garden was also happening down at the other end of the Strip District, in the parking lot adjacent to Bar Marco.  Since we were already in the 'hood, we thought it might be fun to check out this new event as well.

Tapped is basically a party that, well, pops up every couple of weeks or so throughout the summer in different parts of Pittsburgh.  As of this writing, Tapped v. 2 has already taken place in Lawrenceville, but several more are planned for the coming weeks.  The goal of Tapped is to bring local beer, food, and music to a local neighborhood for a one-day shindig.

Tapped. Pop Up Beer Garden
Tapped. Pop Up Beer Garden at Bar Marco in the Strip

In terms of local beer, the draft list consisted of Full Pint's All-in Amber, East End's Monkey Boy Hefeweizen, and IC Light, and wine was available as well.  A Full Pint IPA also became available later in the afternoon.  We tried both Full Pint beers and the Monkey Boy, with my favorite being the latter, and I guess that was everyone's favorite as well as they were out of it by about 4 pm!

Tapped. Pop Up Beer Garden
Beer booth

Tapped. Pop Up Beer Garden
Out of East End!

For eats, the Franktuary truck, Lucy's, Bar Marco, and Fat Cat Baked Goods were on hand.  Future Tapped events will also feature the Pgh Taco Truck (I will have more to say about this new food venture in a future post).  I decided to try one of  Lucy's banh mi because I had heard good things before.  The sandwich consisted of grilled chicken, carrots, pickled red onions, cucumbers, jalapeno peppers, and cilantro inside a French baguette, and it was absolutely rave-worthy!

Lucy's Banh Mi at Tapped. Pop Up Beer Garden
Lucy's Banh Mi
Lucy's on Urbanspoon

In addition to beer and food, there was also live music, as well as bocce ball.

Tapped. Pop Up Beer Garden
Tapped. Pop Up Beer Garden

Follow Epic Developments blog, twitter feed, or Tapped.'s Facebook page to get details on future Tapped. events.