Where We’re Eating in February
The only cure for the cold-weather blues is Prantl’s red-velvet cupcakes. Or Dor-Stop’s oatmeal-batter pancakes.
PHOTOS BY LAURA PETRILLA
When considering sweets to buy for your beloved for Valentine’s Day, remember that small classics can be just as swoon-worthy as large ones. Case in point: Prantl’s red-velvet cups. Bakers finish cupcakes with swirls of cream-cheese frosting and a tiny cherub, adding indulgent flavor and a seasonal touch. Surprise your sweetheart with these miniature delights.
5525 Walnut St., Shadyside; 412/621-2092, prantlsbakery.com
Get your fill of chicken and beef schwarma by ordering a platter to tackle on your own or with your dining companion; the filet mignon slices are best enjoyed over lettuce with a squeeze of lemon. There’s an assortment of starters — such as loobyeh, made of green beans; and sleek, a mixture of spinach, black-eyed peas, bulgur and onion — as well as dinners. If ordering the baked or raw beef kibbee, be sure to request the cucumber yogurt, which is a prime complement.
3821 Willow Ave., Castle Shannon; 412/343-3383, kabob-g.com
Benjamins Western Avenue Burger Bar
When you want to slide under the radar and enjoy a solo meal or catch up with a friend, head here for the laid-back atmosphere and craft beer. The candied jalapeño cream cheese-bacon burger does the trick when you’re famished; a few slices of crispy bacon sit atop a hand-shaped beef or veggie patty slathered with the namesake condiment. Curried cabbage slaw, one of several side options, provides tang and spice to complete the burger’s flavors. If you’ve got a mean appetite, upgrade your burger to a double-decker and consider ordering some bar snacks.
900 Western Ave., North Side; 412/224-2163, benjaminspgh.com
Allegheny Wine Mixer
Think about switching up your date-night plans. As snow falls, you’ll want to be somewhere warm and cozy. Allegheny Wine Mixer fits the bill and offers an impressive vino menu — with sparkling, red and white varieties — plus an assortment of charcuterie offerings. We recommend trying the almonds; prosciutto from Parma Sausage Co.; and a plate of the goat, sheep and cow’s milk cheeses, served with La Gourmandine bread.
5326 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/252-2337, alleghenywinemixer.com
Skip straight to lesser-known dishes — for example, the potak seafood or pumpkin soups. The menu at Thai Cottage, situated in the former space of Green Mango, covers a fair amount of ground — but the treasures are tucked in its curry and noodle/rice sections. Panang curry comes in a pool of coconut-milk broth with your choice of meat. As with other Thai spots, you’re asked to select a spice level on a 10-point scale; choose wisely because the food packs a punch. Keep in mind that lunch portions are generous; if ordering dinner, you’ll likely have leftovers.
1109 S. Braddock Ave., Regent Square; 412/241-8424, thaicottage.com
After trying the oatmeal-batter pancakes here, you’ll realize that many others are inferior. Offering choices including apple-walnut, strawberry and banana, Dor-Stop makes the fluffy, plate-sized cakes in a jiffy and plates them with syrup, although it’s usually not needed. In this weekend hot spot, tables are scarce, service is quick and food is all-around hearty. “Bob’s specialty” — eggs and German-style potato cakes with toast — suits those who prefer savory fare for breakfast. We’re big on the A.M. lineup, but if you seek something more suitable for mid-day, the turkey and veggie melts are solid picks.
1430 Potomac Ave., Dormont; 412/561-9320, dorstoprestaurant.com
Mark Edwards learned chocolate-making techniques from three generations of relatives before him. He comes up with new confection concepts for Edward Marc Chocolatier — including last year’s hit addition, Snappers. Mark and his siblings, Chris and Dana, run Edward Marc and The Milk Shake Factory. While they aim to remain on the forefront of industry trends, they pride themselves on using their family’s original 100-year-old chocolate recipe. Keep an eye out for macaroon almonds, set to debut this month.
Dark, milk or white chocolate?
I don’t discriminate. But if I had to choose just one to take with me when stranded on a desert island, it would be dark chocolate.
Little-known fact about chocolatiers?
We’re a tight-knit community. We’re passionate about life and take chances.
Best use of chocolate?
Chocolate is ubiquitous. It can go with everything. It doesn’t matter what form — just as long as it’s used to satisfy that craving.
Chocolate-dipping tip for novices?
Just go for it. Don’t feel that it’s too overwhelming. You can pretty much cover anything in chocolate. Get creative.
509 Cavitt Ave., Trafford; 877/488-1808, edwardmarc.com. Products also at The Milk Shake Factory, 1705 E. Carson St., South Side; 412/488-1808