Where We're Eating in February

This month, we're eating dark chocolate-covered chili peppers from Sinful Sweets and much more.

Red-Hot Love
Sure, it’s OK to give your sweetheart chocolates for Valentine’s Day. But why stick with the same-old when chocolatier Christopher Weck dabbles with different flavor pairings, particularly zesty ones (which he especially enjoys)? At Weck’s newly relocated shop, Sinful Sweets, dark chocolate-covered chili peppers fly off the shelves. The tiny treats pack a wallop (don’t think about eating two in a row, for the aftertaste kicks in swiftly), making ’em a hot gift (literally) for your beloved.

901 Penn Ave., downtown; sinfulsweetsonline.com

Monterey Pub
We understand that Monterey Pub is a “little taste of Ireland” — but it’s a “little taste” of Pittsburgh, too; step inside the cozy joint to see everyman types unwinding at the bar, sipping Guinness and noshing on potato pancakes. Here, the mood is calm and times are jolly. You can’t go wrong with the classics — the bangers and mash is a local favorite (and for good reason).

1227 Monterey St., North Side; 412/322-6535, montereypub.com

Root 174
Every trip to Root 174, chef/owner Keith Fuller’s restaurant, is memorable, for his dedication to the craft never wanes (check out his eatery-inspired ink for added proof!). Dishes like the crispy Brussels sprouts show what he and his crew can do: The veggies are coated in a house-cured bacon and black-pepper glaze (yum!). You’ll need to save room for your entrée — but you should start off with a side of the sprouts.

1113 S. Braddock Ave., Regent Square; 412/243-4348, root174.com

This place may have just one specialty, but boy, is it amazing. Starting with pearl sugar, imported from Belgium, master waffle-makers create batter that’s cooked as orders are placed. The delicacies at this shop lure folks who crave sweets and would’ve settled for ice cream (but here, you can crown your masterpiece with that, too!). Top your Liege waffle with as much (or little as you want): Choices include banana and Nutella, strawberry, and unlimited.

1707 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill; 412/521-4902, waffallonia.com

Coca Cafe
When a restaurant’s consistently packed, with a line out the door, you know the food is good. In the A.M., servers stride past with pots of coffee and plates full of omelets, challah French toast and even soy sausage. While this simple restaurant cooks up a mean breakfast, lunch is good, too (take our advice: you need to try a salad). News flash: Coca is now open evenings, Thursday through Saturday, and serves small plates like squid-ink risotto.

3811 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/621-3171, cocacafe.net

Dasonii Korean Bistro
Need to know every little detail about your food and serveware? Either way, your waiter wants to tell you about everything from the recently perfected seafood pancake-batter recipe to the stone pot you’re eating dolsot bibimbap (a dish of steaming veggies, egg, rice and meat) out of. Off the beaten path, Dasonii is perfect for a quick lunch or dinner. The menu includes a range of eats: cold (bibimbap), steaming (beef and octopus hot pot) and downright kickin’ (fresh kimchi that’s available to go).

6520 Steubenville Pike, Robinson Township; 412/494-3311, dasonii.com

Peter Landis,  Managing Partner | Perlé

This Valentine’s Day, local lovebirds are bound to pop bottles of bubbly — but what they may not know is that Perlé, the downtown Champagne bar recently mentioned in Food & Wine’s list of top five U.S. bubbly spots, actually has it on tap. Expert Peter Landis talks about his favorite kind — and shares suggestions, too.   

Personal interest in Champagne?
When I’d celebrate with family, it was always there. It’s definitely a celebratory drink.

Most memorable vintage?
The 1990 Veuve Clicquot Rosé Reserve. Bright and refreshing.

How’s your personal collection?
Compared to Yves [Carreau, managing partner], I’m a novice. I’ve been collecting the last three years and have an average of 60 to 70 bottles in my wine cellar — though the collection grows at times.

Any misconceptions about bubbly?
That Dom Pérignon created it alone.

Offbeat pairing tip?
Most sparkling wines go well with salty foods like potato chips.

Surefire bubbly pick for Valentine’s Day?
I’d probably go with a rosé, like a vintage. Maybe Veuve 2004 or 1990.

Favorite thing about Champagne?
What I love about wine, spirits, anything — it’s something to do to elevate the senses. Like an interactive game for adults.

25 Market Square, downtown; 412/471-2058, perlepgh.com