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Category Archives: Downtown

Penn Avenue Fish Company – Downtown

Wow! It’s been awhile since I last reviewed a restaurant, hasn’t it? Let’s cut right to the delicious, meaty content. Today was pay day for me. It’s also 63 degrees. These delightful facts led me to want a little bit more out of my lunch break today. My faithful coworker and I set out on a quest for salmon, which brought us to a place I’ve been curious about for a while – Penn Avenue Fish Company. Only it’s not on Penn Avenue.

They DO have a location on Penn Ave. in the Strip District. By the looks of their website, that location is much bigger than the one I went to on Forbes. Let me make it clear – they only serve fish. That said, assuming you like fish, it’s great! They have a huge variety of fresh fish sandwiches (tuna, swordfish, salmon, etc), sushi and cool-sounding soups to tease your appetite. Being a 25-year-old, self-proclaimed “aLtErNaTiVe” person, I totally love sushi, BUT I wanted salmon today, so I got the Energy Lunch – grilled salmon served on a bed of the following: spicy ginger carrot salad, green bean salad and apple cider vinaigrette.

Energy Lunch, $10.99

I’ve never been asked how I would like my fish cooked – that was weird. But I went with medium-well and crossed my fingers. Luckily, I made the right choice! The salmon was grilled perfectly. I’m not sure what the green sauce was, but it was super yummy. Did I mention the salmon was absolutely perfect? BECAUSE IT WAS!

The salads underneath were both pretty tasty, but I was a little sad that they were ice cold. The spicy ginger carrot salad was good, but not really spicy at all – and I’m really sensitive to spiciness. Still very good though.

Did I feel more energized after my meal? Certainly!

Are there sexy men preparing sushi there? Definitely. Yes. Oh my.

Will I start going here once a week? Probably.

For the price (a little steep for everyday-lunching), the atmosphere (relaxed but with a twinge of class) and the taste (mmmmm) I’m doling out a whopping 8.5/10 for Penn Ave Fish Co.

But next time, I’m trying the sushi.




Madonna’s – Downtown


Quesadilla, $3.30 & Pinto Beans, $1.49

I love Mexican food.

Okay, let me rephrase that. I love Taco Bell. I love flour tortillas and nacho cheese and refried (and re-hydrated) beans. Unfortunately, with my grave distaste for tomatoes/peppers/cilantro, I tend to have bad luck with real Mexican restaurants. This afternoon I was eating on budgeted time and money, so I stopped in Madonna’s Authentic Mexican on Smithfield St. to see what all the fuss was about.

The owner took my order and begged me to order something more adventurous. I insisted that a plain flour quesadilla and side of Pinto beans was all I needed. It was obvious that I was breaking his heart by ordering something so bland, but he was very sweet and gave me many smiles; possibly to make up for my disconcerting lack of flavor.

The quesadilla was small, but I did order the “chico” size, so I blame myself. It tasted just like my Mexican ex-boyfriend’s mom’s quesadillas – extremely yummy and certainly authentic. The beans were delicious as well.

Based solely on this small lunch, I deem Madonna’s an 8/10 on Pam’s Awesome Scale. Cue the infographic, please:


I swear I’ll get a burrito next time.



Noodles & Company – Market Square


Photo courtesy of Market Square Pgh

When trying to think of the best restaurant to review for my first entry, I wanted to make sure it was a place completely new to me – you know, for optimal reviewing and stuff. Noodles & Company (which probably spent millions of dollars on the domain name recently opened its big red doors to Pittsburgh’s ever-growing Market Square lineup of upper-middle-class lunch options, and the reception has been really positive. My coworkers have swooned over the place for weeks.

The dining room is pretty spacious and modern looking. The tables and chairs were clean and inviting. But since I took a late lunch today (around 3:00),  I think I may have interrupted their “down time”. The cashier was clearly pissed that she was still at work and barely spoke to me throughout my transaction. Her eyes, the few times she looked at me, screamed “OH, YOU WANT NOODLES TOO? DOESN’T EVERYBODY?! GET OUT”. Regardless, I ordered buttered noodles, a side salad and a fountain drink.

Da Meal

Buttered noodles, side salad, Raspberry Fanta - around $9

Buttered noodles; a cornerstone of my nutrition since preschool. This version comes with “Italian seasonings” and Parmesan cheese. You may criticize me for not ordering a more unique dish; you’re probably right. Noodles & Co. has dozens of noodle-y options ranging from pad thai to pesto cavatappi. Maybe those dishes are better than what I had.

IMO, and as you can probably tell by this picture, there was too much seasoning.

buttered newds


Needs less green stuff and MORE BUTTER. But still tasty. The cheese was a nice touch. The noodles themselves were a little tough, which was disappointing. The “regular” size is ooookaaaayyy, for like $6.

The side salad had an awesome peanut-soy-thai-buzzword dressing that will be haunting my dreams…mmm…oh, I can almost taste it right now…

And let’s not forget the main attraction: crazy soda machine!


Coca-Cola...from the internet???

Trying to operate this machine makes anyone look like their own grandmother trying to play Playstation. So I didn’t spend a lot of time perusing the different soda options. But they have like EVERY flavor of Fanta, including raspberry. Totally won me over, though the cups they use for their fountain drinks aren’t disposable, so you can’t take them to-go. Bummer.

The coolest thing about Noodles & Co. is the service setup. Placing your order is entirely fast-food oriented, but your food is brought out to your table AND you don’t have to clean up after yourself. All of the staff members that weren’t that one bitchy cashier were super friendly and helpful, so kudos to those people.

Overall, since I don’t have a better rating system yet, I’ll go ahead and give Noodles & Company a 6.5/10 rating. A little better than “okay”, but not somewhere I’d go to treat myself or anything. Maybe next time I’ll try a dish that couldn’t be made by a 5-year-old.