The place looks beautiful, painted to match the warmth of the family that runs the place.
While our order was being prepared, and after a big tour group finished up, patriarch Joe Chahine gave my family a quick tour of the pita-making machine, which sends ovals of dough into an oven so hot that they puff up like orange balloons (bottom photo) before popping out the other end to settle and be bagged.
That pita came with all three of our meals: the foul, described on the menu as "the national breakfast dish of Lebanon" -- chickpeas and fava beans simmered in garlic and lemon, finished with parsley, lemon, olive oil and tomatoes ($6). That's the foul in the foreground of the photo above.
In the basket to the left is Shankleesh & Eggs ($6), scrambled eggs with Mediterranean cheese and herbs with assorted olives on the side.
The basket in the back is "The Lebanese Breakfast Table," described as "The way we eat at home. A delicious mix of everything & anything" ($8). Mine came with scrambled eggs, Parma-made veal sausage, olives, a cup of herby yogurt sauce and cucumber spears.
The place, which opened last week, still was waiting for its tables to come in, and our 5-year-old is too short to reach the dining counters, so Joe kindly let us eat at the table in his renovated office, where some of his grandchildren were holding mock job interviews and playing on the computer.
The kitchen sent in an order of Zaatar, hot mana'eesh or flatbread topped with thyme, sumac, salt, toasted sesame seeds and olive oil ($1.75).
It was one of those being-on-vacation-in-your-own-city mornings.
We gobbled up just about every delicious crumb, then cleaned up the few that had escaped, so the kids could eat their lunch.
We can't wait to go back to try lunch and other specialties on the menus.
The cafe is open Monday through Saturday. Breakfast is served 8 to 11 a.m.; lunch and dinner are served 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Bob Batz Jr. photos
The place looks beautiful, painted to match the warmth of the family that runs the place.
There was a line waiting in Regent Square this morning when Vanilla Pastry Studio opened its doors at its new home at 1130 S. Braddock Ave.
We told you back in December that the popular place was moving from East Liberty.
For months neighbors have been watching the undeveloped storefront transform into the sunny and airy bakery accented with pink and green chandeliers.
That's owner April Gruver, aka the sugar fairy, at right, the front counter, which is topped with a pink espresso machine.
She closed up her East Liberty store last Saturday, and is excited about her new spot that offers free parking and room for pastry classes. It’s also a quick commute for her as she lives in Edgewood, one of the communities that make up Regent Square.
Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m Sunday.
Other than a little glitch with using credit cards this morning, operations seem to be going smoothly.
Regent Square still is awaiting the opening of the 61B coffee shop (named after the Port Authority bus line on Braddock Avenue), which has taken the spot of Katerbean up the street. The location is being gutted and is slated to open in mid-June.
Virginia Linn photos
Pittsburgh International Airport is pretty well regarded among U.S. airports when it comes to food and drink, thanks to the successful AIRMALL program. In all, travelers have more than two dozen restaurants and bars to choose from, including Iron Chef Michael Symon's Bar Symon, which opened last June to rave reviews.
Airest Collezioni, an international travel retail operator based in Italy, has announced it will be opening an Italian specialty store in the center core of the airside terminal sometime this summer.
Bottega dei Sapori -- which means "a shop of flavors" in Italian -- will offer a selection of gourmet Italian foods, wine and premium coffee, both to enjoy on the spot (or plane) or carry home with you.
According to a press release, choices in the store's "tasting corner" will include freshly prepared products such as panino with San Daniele prosciutto and Campania mozzarella; cheese and olive plates; and fine Italian chocolates and cookies. Travelers will be able to pair their meals with a glass (or bottle, depending on how early you get to the airport) from Bottega's carefully curated list of Italian wines, and the shop also will offer a selection of Italian espressos and cappuccinos. Not a bad way to say Buon Giorno.
Travelers also will be able to purchase artisanal pastas in different shapes and flavors, along with small-batch extra-virgin olive oils and imported meats and cheeses.
"We're ready to take travelers on a culinary tour of Italy, in a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere," said AIRMALL veep Jay Kruisselbrink in the release.
Hopefully that includes Perugina chocolates.
Airest Collezioni picture
RedBeard's Bar & Grill will open its second location tonight at 144 6th St., Downtown, next to Olive or Twist in the former Palazzo Ristorante spot.
As of tomorrow, RedBeard's will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
Mr. Semplice said the Downtown location will feature specials Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to close. Monday offers all you can eat crab legs for $29.99. Tuesday is dollar taco night. Wednesday features 50 cent wings. And Thursday is peel-and-eat shrimp night for a price to be determined.
Pitaland, the landmark Mediterranean bakery and store in Brookline, is undergoing a renovation that should be finished sometime in April, when the place will open with a brand-new cafe.
I've been looking forward to this since I first heard about it nearly two years ago.
I'm even more excited to see the cafe's menu, which is now posted on Pitaland's website.
The cafe will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and some of the most interesting stuff shows up on the breakfast menu, which leads off with "the national breakfast dish of Lebanon" -- Foul, which is described as "chickpeas & fava beans simmered in garlic & lemon, finished w/ parsley, lemon, tomatoes & olive oil. Served w/
fresh pita" for $8.
Or how about "Shankleesh & Eggs -- Creamy scrambled eggs mixed w/ shankleesh cheese & herbs. Served w/ fresh pita" for $6, maybe with a side of Fatteh -- "Freshly toasted pita chips covered in warm, creamy yogurt, sauteed chickpeas, garlic & toasted pine nuts. Great w/ eggs" for $2.
My favorite is "The Lebanese Breakfast Table -- The way we eat at home. A delicious mix of everything & anything. Eggs, sausages, mixed olives, fresh vegetables, yogurt, cheeses & pita. Subject to constant change" and $8.
The rest of the menu includes pita and doner-style (pressed) sandwiches, like the place has been selling at a tent out front, and brick-oven pizza, and pita pies, as well as soups and salads. There's mezze or small plates including grilled halloumi cheese, which seems to be having a moment in Pittsburgh right now. And a single burger ("borger") of ground lamb "mixed w/ rosemary, mint, & garlic. Cooked to temp. Topped w/ creamy feta, pickled red onions, arugula & herbed mayo. Served on a toasted ciabatta" ("We Only Have One For A Reason"). And coffees, teas and pastries, of course.
It looks like it'll be a great addition to a great business district that already has a new Egyptian restaurant, among many other food charms.
Please hurry up.
The restaurant from Jeff Catalina of Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina in Garfield debuts in a stunning space that formerly housed Arsenal Bank. The backlit bar is crafted from the building's reclaimed marble. A wall is papered with checks from the 1890s found during construction. Staff is dressed in speakeasy attire: vests for gents, flapper-inspired dresses for the ladies.
Also on the docket: Craig Mrusek, tiki drink aficionado; Marie Perriello of Stir Society; Nathan Lutchansky, former beverage director at Verde; Sara Clarke, also from Verde; and Frederick Arnold, who moved to Pittsburgh from Kansas City's now-closed R Bar.
A well-balanced Martinez is a delight, served in a coupe with a mini-carafe for a top-off. A Negroni sings. Both are classics from The Banker's List of 30 cocktails.
Mr. Catalina suggested the Penny Farthing, a concoction from Ms. Clarke with amaretto, rum, lemon, orange, egg white and sparkling wine. "Rather than making suggestions, I encourage servers to ask what customers enjoy," he said. "I'll push people a bit within their comfort range."
Drinks created from the bartender team are categorized as Bull & Bears: Stiff and spirit-forward; Luxuries: on the sweeter side; and Recovery Measures: refreshing and light. A short list of wine, cider, draft beer and sodas also are available.
Tender features an ambitious food menu segmented by region from executive chef Neal Heidekat. Think hush puppies and muffuletas from the South. Lobster rolls and beef on 'weck hail from the Northeast. Oysters and poke represent the West. And Scrapple and city chicken speak for Pittsburgh. Moonpies and beignets stand in for dessert.
A seat at the bar or tucked in the corner lounge area is prime real estate here. The 80-seat restaurant will also host 20 spots for sidewalk seating, assuming the weather becomes agreeable sometime, anytime soon.
Smelt from the Northeast section of the menu.
Melissa McCart photo
- A new Thai place in South Side
- New food truck debuts
- Il Pizzaiolo in Market Square will open this week
- Everyday Noodles opens today
- A new Egyptian restaurant in Brookline
- Fired up: Gaucho Argentinian grill
- Il Pizzaiolo opening delayed until March
- Matteo's to open by Feb. 8
- Thin Man Sandwich Shop will open Feb. 5
- Tender Bar & Kitchen shoots for March opening