Where We’re Eating in January
This month, we like the potato Benny at Cornerstone Bar and Grill, the vindaloo pie at Pub Chip Shop and more.
Cornerstone Bar and Grill
Without pretense, Cornerstone presents appealing brunch, lunch and dinner lineups. Creamed kale is rich and satisfying, served with Amish chicken. Eggs Benedict gets an upgrade by way of the “potato Benny,” subbing spud cakes for the muffin. Servers remain polite and knowledgeable, while the owners greet and converse with patrons. Healthy options fill the menus, featuring local veggies and fruits plus top-quality poultry, red meat and seafood. The bar area is generally lively but not boisterous, making it ideal for times when you want to nosh and watch a game without commotion.
301 Freeport Road, Aspinwall; 412/408-3420, cornerstonepgh.com. Photo by Heather Mull.
Pub Chip Shop
It starts with pasties and pies, baps and chips — your obsession with Pub Chip’s fare, that is. This spot owned by Piper’s Pub is known for British-style food that’s perfect as Wednesday takeout or Friday-night first choice. You really need to consider one of its desserts, if only for sheer curiosity: a deep-fried Mars bar enveloped in a beer-infused batter reminiscent of the type used at your favorite fish fry. Back to the highlights: There’s a flaky vegan vindaloo pie filled with lentils, a fried-banger bap roll and the traditional Scotch egg.
1830 E. Carson St., South Side; 412/381-2447, thepubchipshop.com
OTB Bicycle Café
The ultimate antidote for feeling frozen to the core is soup. Where better to enjoy a bowl after chilly outdoorsy activities than the new North Park Boathouse location of OTB Bicycle Café? We’re impressed by the kitchen staff’s sweet potato-jalapeño variety, offered on Fridays. OTB’s original location is in South Side, and it has been a favorite participant in the neighborhood’s annual soup contest, usually earning props for its vegetarian offerings. The sweet potato-jalapeño broth is creamy, light orange and contains a smidge of heat.
10301 Pearce Mill Road, Allison Park; 724/940-5000, otbbicyclecafe.com. Photo by Laura Petrilla.
You don’t need another sub for lunch. Instead have a Zuppaleta, this delicatessen’s version of the beloved muffaletta, with pastrami, ham, Parmesan, a thin coating of olive spread and sweet-basil dressing. Among the deli’s regular sandwich options are clubs, tuna salad and Italian, which pair well with housemade soup. Salads can be on the light side — a la the spinach and shrimp — or hearty, such as the favored chopped chicken, sprinkled with bits of blue cheese. Take advantage of the free Wi-Fi and hunker down in front of your laptop during your next work marathon or study session.
10850 Perry Highway, Wexford; 724/934-4700, zuppasdeli.com
Fat Tuesday is an occasion that encourages us to stop, indulge and enjoy. John Davis and Beth Trimble, co-owners of diColibri Bakery, had that notion in mind when they established their weekly offering of the same name. Inside Marty’s Market, they whip up batches of beignets by hand, finishing the fried-dough fritters with powdered sugar. The duo derived the recipe after much experimentation; their end result rivals Southern creations, thanks to key ingredients of homemade starters and top-quality butter. Arrive early — diColibri sells beignets from 8 to 11 a.m. but runs out quickly.
2301 Smallman St., Strip District; dicolibri.com. Photo by Laura Petrilla.
Upon reviewing the menu, an internal debate ensues: Should you order something savory or sweet and indulgent? If you choose the latter, you have a plethora of choices. Among them: the white forest crepe, filled with white chocolate and fresh raspberries and crowned with a dollop of whipped cream and walnuts. Or try the macaroon, which gives a nod to the coconut-topped treat. Each crepe, Liège waffle and salad is made to order in the open kitchen. Teas often are paired with the crepes, but there’s also a French-style hot chocolate, popular on frigid Pittsburgh days.
207 S. Craig St., Oakland; 412/683-1912; cash only
Mya Zeronis, Chef/Founder | Lean Chef en Route / Zest Wishes
Try chef Mya Zeronis’ imaginative fare at one of her pop-up brunches or dinners, or via her monthly “sauce scription.” Zeronis says she aims to make food that’s healthful, unique and delicious. She has taken inspiration from her years of cooking in Myanmar and various East Coast kitchens, and she taps it when developing new menus. Her lineup might include Asian-inspired chili with jasmine rice or cornmeal-coconut grit cakes.
Tips for incorporating new flavors into dishes?
Try all kinds of things with an open mind. If you have an open mind, it’s easier to develop and acquire tastes.
Trio of essential ingredients?
Pure Kosher-certified sea salt, extra-virgin olive oil and garlic.
Memorable perspective-shifting experience?
On “Iron Chef America,” a chef made Scotch eggs with the yolk still running. When I was cooking in D.C. at a locally sourced, organic restaurant, I made vegetarian Scotch eggs with tofu and soft-boiled eggs. I shaped tofu, cut it and served [the dish] with the yolk [runny]. My boss ate half, took the other part with her and left for the day.
Best comfort food?
I eat a lot of rice; I was never a fan of bread or pasta. I ate white [rice] most of my life; now I eat a big bowl of organic brown rice.