In an effort to catch up on our Restaurant Week posts (a little too much eating and too little blogging!), we’re doing a double-post today. On Tuesday night of Restaurant Week, we were fortunate enough to attend the semi-annual blogger dinner, which was this season being hosted at one of our favorite restaurants, Sausalido in Bloomfield! Sausalido is our yearly anniversary spot, but they do a seasonal menu, so we were excited to check it out in the summer instead of just in November.
We were able to order from the Restaurant Week special menu (three courses for $25), or order from the full menu. As good as the options on the prix fixe menu looked, we were hooked on a few items from the regular menu, so we decided to go from there.
First up for starters, we got the portabella mushroom with goat cheese and hickory bacon. I’m a nut for portabella mushrooms, and this preparation was just incredible. All of the flavors came together wonderfully, and the juiciness of the portabella balanced out the creaminess of the goat cheese.
We also saw a new item on the appetizer menu that we just couldn’t stay away from: deep fried pickles with black peppercorn aioli. The pickles were juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside, but the thing that really made this dish shine was the aioli. After we’d finished off the pickles, our dining partner Lou had the waiter bring us an extra basket of crostini so we could dip it into the aioli. Yum City, Population: Pittsburgh Food Bloggers.
In addition to their unique bread serving at Sausalido, they have their own signature salad that comes with each entree, and it’s one of the reasons I always sing the praises of this restaurant:
It’s full of beets. OH YES. BE STILL MY LITTLE UKRAINIAN HEART, LOOK AT ALL THOSE BEETS. It’s a house-made light, creamy dressing and a bed of spring greens, and it’s what every little side salad wants to grow up to be.
For entrees, Michael got the local sausage fettuccine in a white wine sauce with arugula, roasted grape tomatoes, asparagus. The sausage had a density more like a pepperoni, which was just the right balance for the white wine sauce, which was thin but plentiful, and the vegetables, which were super-fresh.
Our other dining partner, Alissa from Buy Fresh Buy Local, got the duck breast with hickory bacon, arugula, yams, and a bing cherry balsamic reduction (and graciously let us photograph her food lol).
For me, I was tempted by a lot of things on the menu, but I just had to go back to one of the tried and true classics that I consistently order: the pork chops. I don’t know why pork chops are such a difficult-to-acquire entree, but Sausalido does an amazing job with them. Their pork chops (or ‘choppies,’ as we like to call them in this house) are so thick and meaty but with this light, crispy crust. Their summer version came with succulent roasted peaches, crispy shallots, and their house-made chevre whipped potatoes. I know Restaurant Week is about trying new things, but sometimes, you just need the old, comfortable, wonderful things.
There were three options for dessert, and since we’ve had the bread pudding a few times before, we went with the green tea creme brulee (this normally comes with marshmallows, but the kitchen was out, so they subbed in chocolate-covered pretzels) and cheesecake.
In addition our BYOB bottle (an Albarino from Alapay Cellars), Pittsburgh Winery had graciously donated some bottles of four of their varietals for us to enjoy during dinner. I’m a huge Pittsburgh Winery fan, and we all loved sampling a little from each bottle.
Sausalido was a great location for the blogger dinner with their private upstairs dining area. The food was excellent as always, and our company was wonderful. Foodies eating and chatting with other foodies? You know you’re going to walk out of that room with a list of new places to try! This blogger dinner was a bit more low-key than the previous ones, but sometimes, that’s just what you need. Many thanks to Sausalido, Brian, Alissa, and the folks at Pittsburgh Winery for setting up this great event for us!