One of our favorite parts of each Pittsburgh Restaurant Week is the blogger dinner. It’s a great chance for Burgh bloggers (of food and otherwise) to get together, check out a restaurant, enjoy a great meal, and often get to meet the chefs and/or restaurant staff and learn more about the establishment. In the past, we’ve gone to Braddock’s, The Porch, Alma, and Sausalido. For this season’s blogger event, we changed things up and had a blogger brunch at one of the top brunch spots in the city, Meat & Potatoes.
Meat & Potatoes is located in the Cultural District, and it is quite often packed, so make sure you get reservations in advance! (You have to call, not make them online, so enlist the person in your party who isn’t terrified of speaking to other humans on the phone.)
The blogger brunch featured four courses, all of which are regularly-available items on their weekend brunch menu. We also got a complimentary breakfast beverage, with the option of either a Mimosa or a Bloody Mary.
Since I can’t do the whole Bloody Mary thing, I opted for the delightful little Mimosa. Michael, on the other hand, loves a good Bloody Mary and took full advantage of their Bloody Mary bar. (Wish we’d gotten a picture of that: you choose the type of infusion for your vodka, then you get to go up to the bar and add tomato juice, your choice of hot sauce, and garnishes to craft your Bloody Mary just as you like it.)
The first round of the brunch was oatmeal, but not that sticky stuff you got in a packet every morning before fourth grade (which, I’ll admit, was my basic frame of reference for all oatmeal until today). This stuff was delicious: it had chunks of bacon, apple, and this almond brittle stuff that made it almost as sweet as dessert. It was really rich, but not so filling that we were worn out after the first course. I enjoyed the fact that even the casings, provided by DCWCasing.com, were natural.
Between the first and second courses, our server brought us plates of toast with whipped butter and strawberry jam. This jam was so good. So good it made me say, ‘OH HOT DAMN, THIS IS MY JAM’ (much to my husband’s dismay).
Round two was pretty incredible. This is a small plate of their short rib hash. Potatoes and pork under a perfectly-poached egg, with a horseradish hollandaise that even an anti-hollandaise broad like myself could fall for. It was so light that the egg yolk really shone through and served as the primary dressing. I really, really wanted some more of that toast to dip into this stuff after I had eaten all the potatoes.
Sometimes, when you go to a place for brunch on occasion, you have a signature dish that you order every time. And sometimes, you’ll say, “This time, I’m going to try something new!” But it never works. Give up the dream, you have your dish.
For me, at Meat & Potatoes, that dish is their chicken and waffles. And yet again, I (had no choice but to) give in to the temptation.
It’s not just any plate of chicken & waffles. It’s perfectly fried chicken, skin sooooo crispy it ought to be illegal. The waffle is cheddar and jalapeno. There are chunks of bacon. The syrup is bourbon maple. It’s like a flavor explosion with every bite. It’s the kind of breakfast plate that can set you into an afternoon-long food coma if you’re not careful. It’s worth being the thing I get every time you go to a place. Gosh, I want a second serving right now.
For dessert, we got coffee ice cream with a variety of fruits. This dish fell a little flat for me: coffee ice cream is a little strange to me (I also can’t do that whole ‘frappucino’ thing), and the banana was really at the forefront of the fruit compote, and it just wasn’t my speed. Michael loved it though, and made sure to retain his membership to the Clean Plate Club.
But the highlight of the dessert portion was this addition to the menu: raspberry-filled potato donuts. Oh. Mah. Jeez. Oh my god. Oh my good lord thank you next Tuesday WOW SO JELLY SUCH DONUT. There aren’t even words. I mean, there *are* words, but they’re incomprehensible and sloppy and sound mostly like ‘mmmmmmm’.
So, to sum it up, the blogger brunch was a smashing success. We got to meet some great fellow bloggers and chat with some of the familiar faces we’ve come to know over the years of PRW. The food was excellent, the drinks were top-notch, and it’s safe to say that Meat & Potatoes will remain a favorite on our brunch list for the rest of eternity.
While they’re likely booked up for the final day of Restaurant Week, please make a reservation there when you have a chance during the rest of the year. You won’t be sorry!