Tag Archives: prw

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week: The Porch At Schenley

21 Jan

On Saturday, we ventured out to a new-to-us spot for Pittsburgh Restaurant Week 2014, a week-long event which occurs 4 times throughout the year.  During Pittsburgh Restaurant Week (PRW), restaurants around the city offer special fixed-price menus to entice foodies and non-foodies into their establishments.  This season, PRW ran from January 13th-19th so unfortunately by the time you read this it will be too late to take advantage.  But spring is right around the corner, I promise! 🙂

Pittsburgh-Restaurant-Week-Porch-At-Schenley

We chose The Porch at Schenley, located in the heart of Oakland right on Schenley Plaza.  I remember when this restaurant was built and every time we would drive by (which is often!), I would make a mental note that I wanted to try it out.  On Saturday, things kind of fell into place because The Porch is close to home, we didn’t need a reservation even though it was a Saturday night, and they support Buy Fresh Buy Local which is near and dear to my heart.  Why would I spend money at a restaurant which isn’t invested in our region?  Why do you?!

The ambiance was…different.  Sort of an industrial/dairy vibe at times, but they also had these awesome bay doors overlooking the Plaza that open during nicer weather.  The crowd was very collegiate (obviously, Schenley Plaza is nestled between Carnegie Mellon and Pitt with Carlow, Chatham, and Duquesne just beyond), bustling with college students.  Fun fact:  You can use your university meal plan flex funds there.  Basically, we were surrounded by college students ordering delicious looking pizzas and profesh types sitting in larger groups towards the middle of the restaurant.

Since we rarely get a chance to go out anymore, we decided to take advantage of some appetizers! Perhaps my favorite part of the dinner was this sweet potato gnocchi:

Sweet Potato Gnocchi w/ confit pork belly, apples, dates, sage, and a brown butter cream sauce

Sweet Potato Gnocchi w/ confit pork belly, apples, dates, sage, and a brown butter cream sauce

Just wow.  I basically wanted to lick the plate clean.  I mean, the brown butter cream sauce was just heavenly; the whole combo just worked!

Pittsburgh-Restaurant-Week-Porch-At-Schenley-Cornbread

We also ordered this cornbread.  I cut us 2 pieces, but Christina spit hers into her napkin (this somehow doesn’t effect me at all anymore since she is such a picky eater) after the first bite.  Cornbread fail! It was not very good at all!  The server was beyond great about it and took it off of our bill without us even asking.  I don’t really know what was going on with it, but the taste and texture just weren’t for us.

So, onto the PRW-menu with this roasted butternut squash soup:

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup w/ Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Creme Fraiche, & Carmelized Apples

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup w/ Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Creme Fraiche, & Carmelized Apples

You guys, I wasn’t a huge fan of this either but it was edible.  It felt a bit heavy on the nutmeg maybe?  I felt like there was flavor, but not much depth of flavor if that makes sense.  Is it wrong that I was comparing it to the one at Panera Bread?  Do I lose foodie street cred for that? Whatever, that’s ma favorite squash soup.  The caramelized apple settled to the bottom of the bowl, so I tried to get at least one with each bite because they were awesome!  At this point, I was a bit nervous about the main course because the soup was ‘meh’ and the cornbread was ‘blah.’

But, redemption!

Smoked Berkshire Pork Shank w/ Fingerling Potatoes, Heirloom Carrots, Dates, and Mustard Greens

Smoked Berkshire Pork Shank w/ Fingerling Potatoes, Heirloom Carrots, Dates, and Mustard Greens

The mustard greens were mysteriously absent, but no complaints here!  Everything was sooooooooo tasty, the smoked Berkshire  paired so well with the sauce and the dates and the veggies.  Berkshire is a breed of pig, not a style of cooking, if you were wondering.  🙂  The above picture doesn’t even do it justice because it was a HUGE chunk of meat on a HUGE bone!  We totally could’ve shared one.

I wasn’t sharing this at all:

Vanilla Bean Creme Brule w/ Marinated Figs & Mint

Vanilla Bean Creme Brule w/ Marinated Figs & Mint

I don’t really get the mint because it was just a little leaf and obviously I wasn’t going to chew on it, but this was yummy!  The figs were outrageously good!!  Yay figs!!

All-in-all, we found The Porch At Schenley to be nice but next time we will probably hit it up for lunch and order one of those pizzas that everyone was ordering.  That many people couldn’t be wrong!

Past Pittsburgh Restaurant Week posts:

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week Fall 2013:  Habitat

5 Thing Friday

6 Dec

1.  We finally got a chance to see We’re The Miller’s this week.  It was absolutely hysterical!  I will not put any spoilers here, but you should definitely watch it if you get a chance.  I was worried that the previews gave away all of the funny parts, but even Hollywood promotional materials couldn’t ruin it.

Flanders

2.  Mother Jones came out with a pretty good article about BPA this week.  After years of public outcry and evidence of toxicity, the endocrine disrupting chemical known as BPA is being banned from plastic bottle manufacturing and baby/child products.  However, think tanks are forecasting the BPA industry to see even more growth over the next 6 years. Despite Americans’ increased focus and awareness of environmental/health issues, North America is the third largest regional market for BPA in the world.  Wha?  I just don’t understand.

3.  The dates have been announced for Pittsburgh’s Winter 2014 Restaurant Week, which will run from January 13th-19th.  Make sure you check out the PRW website and make a reservation somewhere you have never been!  I strongly recommend checking out restaurants that support the Farm To Table or Eat Local movements – and yes, they are labeled so on the website.

PRW14

4.  The NY Times released a Civil Behavior piece questioning whether college applicants should address their own sexual identity it in their application essays.  The author’s advice to applicants is to research the college to which they are applying for and then decide whether to address the issue based on the intended admissions department.  It’s disgusting that applicants are chastised for not “digging deep enough” or “getting personal enough” when representing themselves in these essays, yet should sometimes withhold their sexual identity, which is at the very core of that identity.  If you aren’t gay or aren’t yet gay, let me tell you – its a pretty big part of your personality, self-image, history, and more than likely will direct your moral compass and values.  More often than not, coming out is something that you battled with yourself or your family or your friends or schoolmates or teammates or neighbors.

BIAC

So, yeah.  Lezbihonest, it’s not cool to ask people to omit/cover up such a huge part of their core self to simply BE WORTHY ENOUGH TO EARN AN EDUCATION from a higher institution which has promised the general public to better society.  Needless to say, this article made me want to get in the car and drive to the closest conservative college and suck face with my girlfriend in the middle of the admissions office.  DURING prospective student tours.

5.  So. Many. Babies.  None of them belong to me though – so big congratulations go out to David & Melanie, Roney & Alicia, Meg & Dennis, Ed & Di, and anyone else who popped one out over the last few weeks.

Weekend Ponderings:

  • Do you think LGBT college applicants should address their sexual identities?  Only if it suits their overall topic?  Avoid it completely?
  • Which restaurants are you going to try this for 2014 Pittsburgh Restaurant Week?
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