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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another Life-Changing Culinary Experience: Lidia's Pittsburgh

Article first published as Another Life Changing Culinary Experience on Technorati.

Ever since I was a budding foodie in my grandmother’s kitchen in high school, I have been a fan of Lidia Bastianich.  The PBS culinary staple has been cooking Italian food for the American television consumer since 1998, guiding home cooks to greatness with her simple and delicious recipes.  My mother and I would watch her together and discuss her recipes, dreaming of someday eating at one of her restaurants.

Recently, during a visit to my mother in western Pennsylvania, we were lucky enough to realize our dream.   A rainy Saturday brought us to the Strip District in search of some Christmas gifts when we found ourselves starving on the doorstep of Lidia’s Pittsburgh. 

Even though we were clad in jeans for our traipse around the Strip District, we were welcomed into the beautifully decorated dining room.  High ceilings, warm colors, and a blazing fireplace make the restaurant goer feel right at home. 

Seated for Saturday brunch, we were treated to a delicious and sizable meal.  Our lovely waitress informed us immediately that the brunch included our choice of complementary Bloody Mary or mimosa, to our delight.  As we sipped well-crafted cocktails, we pondered the menu in awe at the mouth-watering selection laid before us.  My mom and I both decided to try the Pasta Tasting Trio, which is a daily selection of three different pastas made in-house and is all-you-can-eat. 

But before the entrée could make it to us, we were escorted to a table laid with a vast array of antipasti.  Mom and I piled our plates with small bites of each creation and returned to our table.  We tasted each, commenting on the flavors; a delicious white bean salad with salami, delicious Caesar salad, a banana pepper with ricotta cheese that left my mouth in flames.  A bread selection was brought to our table with several delicious flavored butters to accompany. 

Just when we thought it couldn’t get much better, our pastas arrived.  Served tableside, a small serving of each is spooned onto your plate by three different waiters who describe each to you.  On this particular Saturday we were delighted with sausage ravioli with butter rosemary sauce, bell pasta in a creamy tomato sauce, and a delicious fettuccini with spinach in a cream sauce.  The pasta was tender and expertly prepared while the sauces were tasty and inspired. 

Even though we were full from our pasta, we had to try the dessert selections included in the brunch.  Beautifully arranged on another table we found carrot cake, tiramisu, chocolate amaretto cake, cheesecake, pumpkin torte, and sfogliatelle (a personal favorite).  We got a little of each and delighted in our good fortune to be lucky enough to dine at Lidia’s Pittsburgh!

Twenty-five dollars will get you this enormous brunch including bread, antipasti, entrée, dessert and cocktail – easily the best deal in Pittsburgh.  Next time you find yourself in the Strip District, or are looking for a reason to dress up (as our jeans probably weren’t quite dressy enough for this fabulous place), give Lidia’s Pittsburgh a try.  You will be glad you did!

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