This past Saturday, I celebrated my CENSORED birthday with PID. He done good.
He woke me up with my gift and a smile at 8 a.m. and let me know that there was more to it than the (already a.b.c.d.) scrapbook he'd made for me. He was taking me for my (shockingly) first Strip District Saturday experience! For four years, I'd spent every single Monday through Friday in the Strip so my desire to trek down there on a Saturday had been slightly less than glaring. However that was merely due to its location. Not what it offered. I'd been jonesin' to check out the farmer's market, the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company, Wholey's and all of the other local vendors that Penn Avenue had to offer. So we started at Farmers@Firehouse adjacent to Firehouse Lounge on Penn and 23rd and worked our way down. I have to tell you...it's all good stuff. I mean, really good stuff. But until I get to the REALLY REALLY good stuff, I'll spare you the tedious text and tell my story in photographs.
Farmers@Firehouse was voted best Farmer's Market in Pittsburgh for a reason: local. fresh. FABULOUS!
eggplant and peppers and zucchs, oh my!
Millions of peaches, peaches for me.
I call this one: Don't Cry for me Oniontina
Fresh herbs galore -- peppermint is my favorite!
The bread was already mostly GONE by the time we got there... at 9 a.m.!
Awww, honey. You shouldn't have!
Strip District Meats on Penn and 22nd gives you the opportunity to get creative on the grill!
Olive you, too!
After a jaw dropping jaunt through familiar turf with a foreign feel, we walked outside of the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company to find my next surprise: Breakfast at DeLuca's! PID and his family have been telling me about DeLuca's and the glory it upholds for a long time. It was a tradition PID and PapaPID shared years ago and neither could fathom a bad thing to say about the place. But as excited I was to be introduced to their beautiful family tradition, I was skeptical. I've been incapable of being overly impressed with a breakfast joint since my days as a waitress at the Porch & Pantry Cafe back in Mt. Gretna, PA. My loyalty lay with Barb and her sticky buns. And, let's be honest: to me, bacon and eggs are bacon and eggs. So when we stepped outside and saw this line...
DeLuca's has it's claim to fame as the "Best Breakfast in Town" -- a title proudly displayed with an ancient sign on their storefront. Best breakfast, eh? I'd be the judge of that.
But the place was quite charming which was uplifting. A huge wall mural that looked like an Italian history book spanned the entire left side of the restaurant and gave life to the tiny diner feel.
We decided to split a sweet crepe, the Chocolate Covered Strawberry, merely because it sounded too good to pass up. It was. It may look overdone and massive, but believe me: if you order this crepe you won't be sorry. The massive part was right, but we managed to put back almost all of it even with ordering our own individual breakfasts. After a few minutes of focusing our hunger efforts elsewhere, the whipped cream melted. But we didn't mind. PID appropriately referred to it as "a soup of awesomeness" -- which is exactly what it became.
I decided to take a risk. A huge one. Which is part of the reason I'd OK'd the order of the third menu item.... just in case. Right there, staring me down from page 2 of the menu, was the Seafood Crepe. Lobster for BREAKFAST? It's just not my style. I couldn't... but I had to. "Stuffed with lobster, shrimp, crabmeat and roasted red peppers with scrambled eggs with our signature remoulade," it said. It taunted me. Best breakfast in town? This will be your true test, DeLuca's. And so... I ordered.
It came to me just a simple thing. No beautiful presentation tactics, just a fat blob of starch on a plate.
But this seemingly simple display of breakfast proved the age old argument in the food industry can be highly one-sided: presentation is NOT ALWAYS a deal-breaker. I sliced her open, allowing the entire sea to spill out on to my plate.
CENSORED years. Sorry P&P!
And so the lion fell in love with the lamb.
Drinks: 2 diet cokes @ $1.46
Appetizer: (if you can call it that) 1 Chocolate Covered Strawberry Crepe @ $6.99
Meal: 1 Blissful Beginning @ $6.99
1 Seafood Crepe @ $9.99
Tax: @ 7% (Allegheny County only) $1.96
Total for two (who ate for three): $29.91
I became a breakfast believer all thanks to a thick cut of bacon, a chocolate/strawberry soup and a couple of crustaceans in a crepe. If you're visiting for the weekend you ABSOLUTELY MUST check out our Strip District Saturdays and wait in line at DeLuca's. If you're local, don't think you're above it. Don't make my mistake. Get up early, make the trip and don't be intimidated by the line. It moves quicker than you think and is 150% worth the wait. It was a happy introduction to the PID family tradition of Italian eating. I had a VERY delicious birthday breakfast.