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ROUND CORNER CANTINA (BRUNCH EDITION) – LAWRENCEVILLE

ROUND CORNER CANTINA (BRUNCH EDITION) – LAWRENCEVILLE

Wow, it’s been almost three years since our last post? Ridiculous. It probably didn’t help that our last article was ominously focused on hospital food.

But you can breathe a sigh of relief, folks, because yours truly is alive, kickin’, and eatin’ all types of crap!

People tend to bring up a restaurant they’d like to try with a tacked-on “I’ve heard good things” type of comment. This was the case when a good friend suggested we try brunch at the Round Corner Cantina.

Over the last 8 or 9 years, I’ve had a handful of good times at the Cantina, especially on those beautiful spring days when the patio is open and the suburban brigade hasn’t entirely emerged from their hell holes. That being said, it can get pretty bro-ish in there. But regardless, I saw a few pictures of the Cantina’s brunch on their Facebook and decided it would be worth a shot.

Ahhhh, brunch. A wise man once said “It’s not quite breakfast, it’s not quite lunch; but you get a slice of cantaloupe at the end”. At the Round Corner Cantina, I would say it’s equal parts breakfast and lunch, and you get a litany of delicious booze at the end.

Or the beginning. Or consistently throughout the meal.

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Bloody Maria, $4

The Cantina has lots of breakfast booze to choose from, including La Prima coffee, tall cans of Tecate, Micheladas; but I went with the Bloody Maria – just like a Mary, but with tequila instead of vodka.

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The interior at the Cantina has been renovated a bit with new wallpaper, paint, and the appropriate amount of dim mood lighting.

Me and the hubs got Breakfast Tacos. They came loaded with scrambled eggs, queso fresco, cilantro, and tomatoes – and, surprise! Sides of refried beans and rice!

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Breakfast Tacos (3), $10

I just can’t say enough good things about this meal.

The beans and rice should be a meal by themselves. Serve up a cereal-sized bowl of each and I’d be in heaven.

Everything on the plate tasted supremely fresh and legit – no killer, no filler. I’m pretty sure the tortillas are made in-house, possibly day-of. Fresh, soft, and flavorful. Like, perfect.

I don’t even like tomatoes, but the ones they used were like sweet little pops of savory goodness, and every topping worked in with the eggs made sense. Top them all with a little salsa, and you’ve got yourself one of Pittsburgh’s best brunches.

YEP. WENT THERE.

We ended up going back to the Cantina two more times – three weekends in a row – because of the commanding quality of their entire brunch thing. BUTTTTT, nobody’s perfect.

Unfortunately, and we’re not sure why, but the Cantina can’t seem to get it 100% right when it comes to service – and this is by no means any judgement on any particular wait staff. Every server, bartender, or back-of-house person has been great each time we’ve gone. But there are mistakes. We’ve ordered a few drinks that never came, same with some chips and dip that never made their way out of the kitchen. And a breakfast burrito that left a bit to be desired, according to our friendly friend:

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Brunch Burrito, $10 (made “wet”, +$3)

The menu says the burrito will come with carne asada, eggs, salsa, beans, and poblano potatoes. Our friend said, “You know how sometimes when you’re eatin’ a burrito, the filling isn’t mixed well, so you have to keep eating until you find all of them? I kept eating, but they weren’t there!”. Her burrito only had the steak and beans – nothin’ else. Still yummy, but also a big bummer.

As long as you’re willing to encounter some minor mishaps, I can safely say that brunch at the Cantina beats out any $14-$20 brunch buffet. I don’t care. Sue me, Lawrenceville!

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Round Corner Cantina – 9.5/10 on the BRUNCH SCALE OF BRUNCHY PERFECTION.

 

 

Check back soon for more Pittsburgh Nommers!

 

 

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The Grateful Deli – Bloomfield

Hey, it’s 2013! I’m a vegetarian now! Why? Because I wanna.

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I tried to be a vegetarian in high school more than a few times. But soft pretzels and nachos, though meatless, apparently aren’t the things you should be eating on a vegetarian diet. Officially entering my “late twenties”, I felt up to the challenge to really focus on the things I put in my belly. At midnight on New Year’s, I put down the pigs-in-a-blanket and picked up…well, a glass of punch. Everything else had meat in it. My goal: to widen the spectrum of my dietary intake. Try new things. And you know what I did yesterday?

I ate a tomato.

Not just one tomato. I ate every cherry tomato in my side salad. I have never willfully eaten a tomato of any kind. They were delicious.

But I have some leftover entries, pre-veg, that I’d like to share with you – including this one!

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Bertha’s Buffalo Chicken – $8.50

Deadheads will appreciate the menu, which is full of song and band references. But unlike the song says, you may actually want this Bertha to come around more often. WINK. I’M TALKING ABOUT THE SANDWICH.

The chicken is absolutely doused in buffalo sauce, which I can only imagine is hot sauce and butter. I always liked this sub because the chicken was in little bite-sized chunks, and always tasted fresh – their ingredients are all superb. Although the sandwich pictured above wasn’t the freshest I’ve ever had, it was the only one that wasn’t supa-phresh.

The chicken is the meat of the sandwich, literally and figuratively. But the fixins are what really make it outstanding. It comes with red onions, but who needs those? I’m still not a big onion fan. So I suggest leaving them off. You’re left with a heaping, very generous layer of blue cheese crumbles and a “drizzle” of ranch, as they claim on the menu. If you’re lucky, the cap of the ranch bottle will pop off while they’re “drizzling” your sub, and you’ll get a massive puddle of it like I did. The ranch really makes the sandwich. Don’t be afraid to slather is on there. After all, you’re already eating a fucking huge sandwich – what’s an extra 150 ranch calories?

You know that Subway smell? “Oh man, I smell bread and dishwater. Mmmmmmmmfivedollarfootlongs.”

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Subway is a joke. Their meat is awful. Their bread sucks. All of the Grateful Deli’s subs come on warm, toasty, soft bread. The warm bread gets your sub all melty, and the end result is deliciousness. Get extra napkins.

So there you have it. If you eat meat, go get a Bertha. If you’re a vegetarian like me, go buy some Morningstar Chik N’ Patties. I haven’t perfected an imitation Bertha yet, but I’m working on it.

If you don’t eat meat and you find yourself at the Grateful Deli anyway, try their humongous House Salad. It’s got mixed greens, nice hunky lettuce, pine nuts (go on with your bad self, Grateful Deli, damn!), onions, tomatoes, blue cheese crumbles, and two big bread crouton things.

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House Salad – $6.50

As you can see, I wasn’t quite ready for the onions and tomatoes when I had this salad.

Doesn’t matter. It was still yummy.

They also have a couple vegetarian sandwich options, like a Hummus Sandwich, but I’ve heard they are “just okay”. Get it on the honey wheat bread, if you can.

House Salad: 9/10.

Bertha’s Buffalo Chicken: 11/10. All the way up to eleven.