Month: January 2010

Sieb’s Pub – January 27, 2010 (Man vs. Food Edition)

irish challenge

Welcome to a very special edition of YINZ HUNGRY, today I am going to talk about my battle against “The Irish Challenge” at Sieb’s Pub in the North Hills. Let me start by saying that I am nothing like Adam Richman (host of Man v. Food on the Travel Channel) and I DO NOT WANT TO BE! Since I found out about the Irish Challenge I have been toying with the idea but the other day I was not prepared my friends. I did not go into Sieb’s Pub thinking I was going to do the Irish Challenge, I went in planning on having a salad (yes I know, two completely opposite choices). The past few weeks my friends and I have started to compete in a “Biggest Loser” competition and I have been doing very well with my food choices and have changed the majority of my eating habits. My goal has been to get a good amount of blogs in this month and then probably only get a few in over the next few months until the competition is over. Well, what a way to go out.

THE IRISH CHALLENGE
You have to take down a burger that they call “2 pounds of hand-packed beef”, it is one giant sandwich with two burger patties on it and I am guessing each one weighs a pound. It is smothered with peppers, mushrooms and onions along with 3 types of cheese and to help you out you get lettuce and tomato with a pickle spear. Then you get a pound of fries and a scoop and a half of homemade coleslaw. You have to eat all of this along with a 16 oz beer or pop in 45 minutes or less. If you can conquer the beast, you get the meal for free. If you can’t then it is only $19.99, not too bad for what is basically 2 or more meals. The picture I have posted can’t do the food justice!

Like I said above, I did not plan on going against the Irish Challenge but I was talked into doing it by my friend Vic who did have a pregame plan of attacking the Irish Challenge. Looking back I regret doing it, the food was delicious don’t get me wrong, but it was not a healthy thing to do…I don’t know how Adam Richman does it so much. I do not like coleslaw at all, so the plan was to get that down first. If I attempt this again I will go for the coleslaw last because I think that was what slowed me down so quick. After the coleslaw I took the top half of the burger and halfway through this burger I could tell I wasn’t going to finish. The burger itself was delicious and was perfectly seasoned, but that was too much beef! The fries are pretty damn close to what I like too, they had a nice crisp bite to them. Even though I didn’t finish the Irish Challenge, a benefit was that I had meals for 2 days! That is a great thing during this economy!

Our waiter who timed us, told us a story of a guy who came in and finished the Irish Challenge and said he could do another one…SMH…

I don’t know if I will ever do another food competition for this blog, but if there is a place that you know of that has a food competition let me know because it doesn’t hurt to look!

Location
3382 Babcock Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA 15237-2422
Phone- 412-364-8511
Web- http://siebspub.com/

Sieb's Pub on Urbanspoon

Hokkaido Seafood Buffet – January 17, 2010

This is a first for the Yinz Hungry blog… a buffet! I think it might be a little difficult to review a buffet since there is so much food to try, but I will do my best. I went for lunch this past Sunday, and for lunch it is about $15 per person and from what I hear close to $20 for dinner. If you are going to visit Hokkaido I’d bring your "A game" because for that price you are going to want to get your money’s worth. If you start at the beginning there is an assortment of salads from an octopus salad, seaweed salad, tomato cucumber, some fruit to a few others. I DO NOT recommend the seaweed salad, but interesting just to say that you have tried it. The octopus/calamari salad was interesting as well and it had a hint of heat in it, but I think I will stick to fried calamari from now on. Along with the salads you have soups, which I noticed some traditional soups like wonton, but I didn’t get any soup on this trip.

Moving on down the line next you will find the chinese buffet section, and you will find some interesting items here too. Traditional items here are steamed rice, fried rice, lo mein, and general tso’s. A few new items to me were korean chicken and tempura scallops both were delicious! Another interesting item I have never seen on a buffet before were baby lobsters, in which you have to do the work of getting the meat out of the lobster. This has alot of potential for my next visit. Next you will see a section of raw meats for you to choose from and they can be cooked on the hibachi station. I love hibachi style food but did not try on this trip, once again next time. There is alot of stuff to try it is so impossible to get everything in one trip.

After the hibachi comes my favorite area and that is the dim sum, my favorite item was the roasted pork bun, if you like wontons you will love this the dough is so light but still packs a ton of flavor. My least favorite item was a red bean bun, wow that was bad. The beans where crushed down into a paste substance and placed inside the bun. Not only did the beans taste bad, but the bun had little flavor too. So to recap DO NOT TRY the Seaweed salad or the Red Bean Bun. An interesting item in the dim sum area was a sweet dumpling, I am sure to alot of people this is good, but I did not enjoy it. It was like a coconut pudding inside a sweet/clear dumpling with toasted coconut on top. I hate coconut, hence why it wasn’t a favorite. Next to dim sum is a fried foods section, which holds a favorite at any buffet of mine and that is chicken on a stick. I have yet to find a place to have a bad chicken on a stick, how can you screw that up? I’m sure one day I will find a place, but Hokkaido’s passed.

The next step on the journey was the main reason I went to Hokkaido, and it was the sushi bar. I tried so many things I don’t remember what they exactly where, except the one that sticks out as being unique was the tempura fried sushi. Never, EVER, have I had a fried sushi. I was very impressed with the amount of sushi and the variety that Hokkaido had to offer, especially for the sushi I will be back. The last section is the dessert section, and sadly I didn’t even make it by to check it out.

There are many items here that you can find at a regular chinese buffet that I am sure is cheaper, but at Hokkaido you get a great assortment of different styles of food with a great variety to choose from. The atmosphere inside makes this place seem a little upscale from a traditional chinese buffet. Next time I would like to visit for dinner to see if there is a difference with the food, I doubt it but I would like to find out. If anyone has every been to lunch and dinner and noticed anything different other than the price let me know. If there is no difference I will stick to lunch just to save a few bucks.

Location
4536 Browns Hill Road
Squirrel Hill, PA 15217
Phone- 412-421-1422
Web-
http://www.hokkaidopittsburgh.com/

Hokkaido Seafood Buffet on Urbanspoon

Piper’s Pub – January 15, 2010

There is a saying that if the line is long, the food must be good. I stopped by Piper’s Pub for my first trip this past Friday with my buddy Vic (who has been to Piper’s before) and the place was packed for lunch, we probably waited around 15-20 minutes for a table. Piper’s Pub is a restaurant based on food and theme of the British Isles (England & Ireland seem to be the main focus). I have to say that I could only imagine a trip to Piper’s Pub for a Soccer game could only result in something out of "Eurotrip".

Food
Creamy Ham & Potato Soup- Wow was this more than I expected it to be. When my family does something that includes "creamy & ham" it really has a creamy texture to it. This was definitely not creamy and I was ok with that. The soup had a smooth texture that you could tell was from the cream but the ham and potato in the soup had so much flavor along with spices (that I am unaware of) that made the soup just explode. A few of the spices caught up to me to the point I had a little bit of sweat on my face. I would enjoy another cup of that next time.

Banger Sandwich- English Sausages served on a hoagie roll with horseradish mayonnaise and Jameson onion gravy. The thing I liked best about this sandwich was that the sausages weren’t served as links, they were cut up and you could taste the crispness from them being grilled a little. I personally like a sharp horseradish, and because of the mayonnaise you really didn’t get the full flavor of the horseradish but still a great addition. The Jameson onion gravy really made this sandwich, it was on the side and I used it almost like an au jus. You could get the hints of flavor from the whisky, the onion and the pieces, along with the strong gravy flavor.

Final Thought
There is a great menu at Piper’s Pub and I look forward to a return trip so I can go another round. While I didn’t know it until after my trip, Piper’s Pub was voted the 2nd Best Restaurant in Pittsburgh by BarSmart for 2009 (
http://www.barsmart.com/album_d.cfm?ID=127&IID=16).  If you are interested in finding out the other results of BarSmart’s 2009 voting, go to this site- http://www.barsmart.com/album.cfm?id=127

Location
Piper’s Pub
1828 East Carson Street
Pittsburgh PA 15203
Phone- 412-381-3977
Web- http://piperspub.com/

Piper's Pub on Urbanspoon

The Penn Monroe – January 14, 2010

I have driven by The Penn Monroe probably hundreds of times over the years, even been to places that are next door to it, but I have never thought about stopping by. The Penn Monroe is on William Penn Highway in Monroeville, right next door to Elmers Fish/Pet Store. My dad and his friends went to the Penn Monroe recently and told me about the portion size and it was a place I just had to visit. The Penn Monroe is bar with restaurant seating around the bar. It isn’t a classy joint let me tell you that. The look of the place and the portion size of the food reminded me a little of Big Jim’s "In The Run". If there isn’t any available parking out front don’t worry there is plenty of parking in the behind the bar.

Food
Famous Fish Sandwich- Before I talk about the sandwich, I believe I have asked this question before but I have to ask again, why does everyone call their Fish Sandwich the "Famous Fish Sandwich"?!? It kind of annoys me when I see this on the menu…Just a heads up next month will start the season of "Lent" for you fellow catholics out there and I will start posting the best places to go for a friday fish sandwich in Pittsburgh… but I digress.. So the "Famous" Fish Sandwich at the Penn Monroe, did it become "famous" in my book? No. I have had better fish sandwiches, but I have also had worse. This sandwich was not awful so don’t get me wrong, but the word "famous" IMO should not be anywhere near this. The size of the sandwich was perfect, wasn’t too much and wasn’t too little and to put it on the mancini’s bread is a great touch. The fish sandwich came with a side of steak fries, I hate steak fries so points got deducted from that. I believe it was only $7.99, so for the price you are getting a decent meal. I don’t think I will be back for the fish tho…My dad got a Turkey, Ham & Bacon hoagie and this thing looked fantastic! When I make my return to the Penn Monroe this is what I am going for. The sandwich had to be about a whole foot long or more and about 4 inches high, it was enormous! It also came with a side of potato chips, not homemade, but a definite plus over steak fries.

Wisconsin Cheddar Soup- This was a little different, it wasn’t a thick consistency to the point that I thought I was just eating cheese, but it was thick enough for me not to consider it "soup". The way it tasted to me was like a nacho cheese with a little heat and a little lighter and creamier to make it a "soup". I will pass next time on this.

Final Thought
As I said earlier, I will start focusing the blogs next month on Fish Sandwiches for Friday Fish Frys in the burgh. Will the Penn Monroe make my list?!? You will just have to check back and find out. I do have a good amount of places to recommend and if you have any places to recommend to me please leave a comment below.

Location
The Penn Monroe
3985 William Penn Hwy
Monroevillw, PA 15146
Phone- 412-373-1701
Web- http://www.pennmonroe.com

Penn Monroe Restaurant and Lounge on Urbanspoon

The Red Ring – January 8, 2010

Happy New Year to all! I hope everyones holiday season was well, and most important is that you enjoyed some great food too. I know I did! My family had way too much food on the table this holiday season, especially Christmas Eve. We try to do the traditional 7 fishes, but sometimes go a little overboard with it and this year proved that. We had so much food we forgot to even put some of it out on the table. For the first time I tried to make a shrimp bisque, and while most of my family gave good reviews I wasn’t thrilled with it and will be trying a new recipe next time. I like a thick bisque and this was more of a soup texture, I got the recipe from Tyler Florence off of foodnetwork.com, but I don’t think I will go back to that recipe again. Moving onto the first review of 2010…

This past Friday I had a chance to go to The Red Ring Restaurant at Duquesne University, and I have to say how surprised I was at this place. The restauarant is located on Forbes in the new Power Center. The whole theme inside was a typical sports bar, but had an upscale touch as well. The dinning room and bar area were serparated by frosted glass with pictures of players and people of Duquesne, and was pretty cool. Even above one area of the restaurant is a big red oval ring light.

Food
Frank & Wally Sandwich- (Named after the famed establishment that once resided 100 yards from The Red Ring) Prime Rib of Beef with sauteed mushrooms, onions and peppers. Served open-faced on a toasted hoagie roll with au jus. (Knife & Fork Sandwich) I ordered with a side of homemade chips as well. If you like au jus sandwiches, this is a must try! My normal problem with au jus sandwiches are that the au jus can be lacking and they usually only give a small portion on the side. The Frank & Wally place the open faced sandwich in the middle of the plate and then the au jus is poured around the sandwich helping the au just drench the bread with plenty of au jus providing a nice presentation on the plate. The whole sandwich had so much flavor with the au jus along with the peppers and onions, as I write this I can still taste the flavors. The homemade chips were a nice touch on the side, and was an amazing helping of chips as well. I had enough for my meal and plenty for my family to try as well.

Final Thought
A few other items at the table were a Thai Chicken wrap, Ahi Tuna Salad, and a Cheesburger. Everything that was at the table was presented very well in modern dishes and every food item had an incredible presentation as well. I was very impressed with The Red Ring, and am looking forward to going back soon. Next time I would like to maybe tackle something on the specialty menu along with something from the bar.

Location
1015 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Phone- 412-396-3550
Web-
http://www.sites.duq.edu/power-center/red-ring.cfm
http://www.campusdish.com/en-US/CSMA/Duquesne/Locations/TheRedRingRestaurant.htm

Red Ring on Urbanspoon