Best Restaurants Party 2011
NOW THIS… THIS… is my kind of party.
The 2011 Best Restaurants party was tonight at Heinz Field and we were lucky enough to attend. Thanks Pittsburgh Magazine! : D
Picture this… Pittsburgh Magazine had the booths set up around the perimeter of the 2nd floor, easy access to individual booths if you knew just what you were looking for but also quite convenient for those who just strolled along pigging out at booth after booth (Mandy raises her hand). Let me be frank… there were a lot of people. Because I missed 2010′s shindig (allow moment of solemness, as I’m still torn up a little inside) I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect. Obvvvviously there were going to be people. Obvvvvviously it was going to get crowded at certain booths (cough-SaltoftheEarth-cough) but phew, I wasn’t anticipating human bowling, which I experienced a few times as people plowed toward us at top speed with one thing on their minds… like, let’s say, the oysters at Eleven’s booth (for example).
Ok, rant over. Besides the peep overload… the food was OMG delish. ESPECIALLY the sushi. There was sushi to my left, sushi to my right. A sushi smorgasbord. And I was “loooooving every minute of Jerry”. (One of the few Seinfeld references I can quote because it’s in one of the few episodes I’ve actually seen). Back to the food… Nakama had a crazy good spread. I’ve never been a huge advocate for that place, but I’m Man(dy) enough to admit when I’m wrong. They have some pretttty good sushi going on. I was thrilled to finally try Tamari (the prettiest lil sushi balls I’ve ever laid eyes on) and I can’t wait to head there for a full meal.
Let’s talk about some more firsts. I had my first oyster today. (Cut to Mandy at Eleven’s booth.) I puffed out my chest and gave my date the ole “we totally have to eat these if we’ve never had them and we’re at a great party and they’re from Eleven and it’s summer and sunny and life is great so let’s just do it” speech. We needed further coaxing so we chatted it up with some folks from Eleven, heard what they had to say about how delectable their oysters were and the best way to eat them (beginners swallow whole and then you can work your way up to chewing them) and then decided it was game time. I did have a moment of sheer panic when I realized I actually had to allow this slimy little thing slither its way down my throat. I pretended I was calm, cool and collected while my insides were screaming “YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS MANDY”. I did it. However, it sat in my mouth for at least a full minute as my date laughed at my bulging, tear filled eyes and puffed out cheeks and I tried in vain not to spit the poor guy out. Needless to say, I’m undecided on seconds of oysters.
How about I wrap up with some likes and dislikes. Stagioni’s fig tart = LIKE. Tasted like a super fancy fig newton. I love fig newtons. Piper’s Pub Chocolate Stout Cake = dislike. Dry. Sorry guys : ( Salt of the Earth scallop = LIKE. Scallops are among my top 10 favorite foods. They are so versatile. Loved them paired with the berries and maters. Taj Mahal = LIKE. I could have stood at that booth all night and been completely content. Mineo’s = dislike. SO many people RAVE about this place and all I think is how can pizza go so wrong. It was a little on the cold side and I loathe cold pizza so that certainly did not help their cause. I’ll give them one last shot to impress me. I’ll walk down the street, march up to the counter and order a slice at their Mt. Lebo locale and if the first bite doesn’t make me do my happy pizza dance, well then, it’s been decided. Cioppino’s chilled pea soup with lump crab meat = LIKE. I’m a big fan of pea soup and crab… this was an interesting combo but I’m not certain I could have eaten more than the little sample cup they were offering.
All in all it was a prettttty successful evening. I’m full. And happy. Thanks Pittsburgh Magazine for all the tasty, miniature treats. Good times, good times.
Who went? What did you love? What didn’t you love? We want to know!