I’m only a quarter Italian but my grandmother is 100% so I’ve grown up eating a lot of sauce over the years. When I go out to Italian restaurants I am usually pretty picky about the sauce. I have been to plenty of bad Italian restaurants over the years (*cough* Del’s *cough*) but when I visit a good one it really stands out. Pasqualino’s is one of the good ones. My family and I went this past weekend after a recommendation. When you walk in Pasqualino’s you see the kitchen right away, I am told they do a lot of take out. The restaurant itself is very simple, not a lot of decoration which is fine, I don’t care what the place looks like as long as the food is good.
I ordered the Chicken Parmigiana Over Rigatoni (Rigatoni Tossed with Provolone Cheese Shavings, in Pomodoro Sauce, with Lightly Breaded, Baked Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast.). I don’t think I can explain how good the sauce was; it actually tasted like a homemade sauce and not something in a can or just thrown together. I enjoyed the Pomodoro Sauce so much I even bought a couple of the jars that they sell of it. I noticed that most of the dinners come served with the Pomodoro Sauce which I think states how good the quality is. The chicken itself was good, I usually prefer the chicken to be a little crispy but it was cooked very well and the entire dish paired well together, not one part dominated. I plan on returning to Pasqualino’s soon, there was one dish on the menu that sounds fantastic – Pasta Melanzana – Rigatoni in Pomodoro Sauce, Tossed with Lightly Breaded Eggplant and Provolone Cheese Shavings. Oh yes I return trip will be required for that!
For those of you wondering why I have a picture of pop on here, then you just don’t know about Cheerwine! For those of you who do know, well you get a gold star on your chart for today! For a while now I have vacationed in South Carolina every summer, and every year I always make sure the first thing I get at the store when we arrive is Cheerwine. It’s basically the south’s version of Dr. Pepper but so much better! Union Pig & Chicken is currently the only place in Pittsburgh that I know who carries it, they are starting this review off right! lol
Going into Union Pig & Chicken it is smaller than I expected it to be. There are 2 rows of picnic tables, community seating seems to be a theme of Kevin Sousa. We had a 40 minute wait (and I mean exactly 40 minutes!), so while we had to wait we went upstairs to the bar attached “Harvard and Highland”. I like alcohol as much as the next guy but when you start throwing big words and items I don’t know in my drinks I question what I am drinking. I don’t remember the name of the drink, I just remember it was the only Gin drink I saw and it seemed safe. I couldn’t taste the gin, but I could taste heeps of cinnamon in it. Way too much cinnamon. Hence when we got our table and I saw Cheerwine I was very excited…wonder if I can get some vodka or gin to mix with the Cheerwine next time?! I also tried the Sweet Tea, it wasn’t bad, it was typical northern sweet tea. You really do need to visit the south to appreciate good sweet tea (I’m looking at you Paula Deen!).
For dinner I ordered the Choose 3 with Ribs, Brisket and Fried Chicken. I also ordered cornbread, greens and mac and cheese as the sides (all were a la cart). The brisket…oh the brisket. This could’ve been the best brisket I have ever had. Most BBQ places in Pittsburgh have dry brisket, it’s good but not really juicy. Watch a food network BBQ show and you can always see the juices come out when they cut in the brisket. This brisket was the as close as I have come to food porn in some time! The ribs had a great smokey flavor to it and were great by them self. The fried chicken, which was a half of the chicken was a lot of food! I couldn’t finish anything on the plate except for the brisket, everything else went in a doggy bag!
Overall, Union Pig & Chicken really impressed me. Enough that I plan on going back ASAP, I really want to try the brisket sandwich next. I’ve tried 2 of Kevin Sousa’s restaurants now, I can’t wait until I try his hot dog shop soon. Now that the weather is nice I plan on going soon. I don’t know what the current plans are for his new restaurant in Braddock, last I heard it is supposed to open by the end of this year, but I haven’t heard any updates in a while.
I first heard about TAIPEI about 10 years ago when I started college and after 10 years I finally made the trip! The first thing I tried was the Tai Pei Maki Roll – Spicy Tuna, Crab meat and avocado topped with seared black peppered Salmon with Teriyaki sauce, tobiko and tempura flakes. I would recommend this, it had plenty of flavor in it and wasn’t just an average Maki Roll. 8 pieces came with it and was too much, even after I shared it with the table.
My dinner was the Amazing Chicken, which is fried white meat chicken, crispy coated in a secret spicy brown sauce. The time this dish arrived at the table I knew I made the right choice because it smelled fantastic! I’ve had other Amazing Chicken before, the flavor in this dish beat a lot of others. The only complaint I had is that I wish the chicken would’ve been a little more crispy on the outside.
Something we were surprised about is that after dinner a plate of sliced oranges were brought to our table. I’ve been to many Chinese restaurants and this was new. Our waitress told us it was something that they do for all dinners, we guess to clean the palate after dinner and depending on the time of year the oranges could be sweet or sour, they happened to be sweet right now.
I would recommend TAIPEI and will go back again, hopefully not in another 10 years. I have also heard good things about Jimmy Wans which is around the same area as TAIPEI, I plan on visiting them soon.