Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wine Tastings Continue into the Fall

Summer Wine Tastings Extended Into the Fall at The Grand Hall

Our summer wine tastings have been such a success that we are extending them into the fall and into the winter next year.

Our next wine tasting will be on Thursday, October 22, and will likely be inside at the Grand Hall, given the change in the weather. The starting time will change from 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., in response to requests from some of our guests from across the rivers who said that it was hard to get across town in time for a 6:00 p.m. start. As always, we will be pairing the wines with hors d'oeuvres prepared by our chefs Mike Henney and Pete Phillipy. Price is $45.00 per person.

We will also be hosting a tasting on November 19 in time to get you tuned up for Thanksgiving.

Our October wine host will be Joe Barsotti, from Barsotti Wines. Joe was our wine host at our inaugural event in May, when he showed off some really amazing wines from Southern Italy and Sicily.

This time, Joe will be showcasing wines "from around the world." They are -

Vina La Rosa La Palma Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Cachapoal Valley, Chile

X Winery Chardonnay 2007, Carneros

Vigneti VillaBella Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore Classico 2005, Verona (Not Pa)

Bodegas Finca Valpiedra Canto de Valpiedra Rioja 2005, Spain

Food pairings TBA.

We will be experimenting with some new sets in the Grand Hall to make the larger space a little more cozy - I think you'll all like it. Hope you can make it!

KDKA Story on Hotel Occupancy During G-20

This is a story from KDKA television, our local CBS affiliate, on hotel occupancy and special requests from international guests. The Priory is prominently featured. FYI.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Shout Out for The Priory from the Nation's Capital

With the G-20 upcoming, the Washington Post in its Sunday, September 20 Travel Section, ran an article focusing on three Pittsburgh neighborhoods worth a look - the North Shore, Lawrenceville/Strip District and Oakland. In a box entitled "Where to Stay," The Priory was mentioned as one of three area hotels worth a try (thought the Post refers to The Priory as a former "convent," when it was, in fact, a monastery (i.e., it housed brothers, not sisters). It's always nice to get a little recognition from the national media!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Good Reviews for Two New Pittsburgh Restaurants

Paris 66 and Yo Rita

China Millman, dining critic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, recently gave exceptionally good reviews to two new casual restaurants in Pittsburgh, Yo Rita, which serves a Mexican cuisine, and Paris 66, which serves a French bistro-type cuisine. Yo Rita's is located on the South Side and Paris 66 is located in East Liberty. Both restaurants are new to the Pittsburgh dining scene. I have not had a chance to go to either, but they have been generating a lot of buzz. Here is China Millman's piece about Paris 66 and Yo Rita's. Here is China Millman's Twitter site.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

G-20 Security Update

Here is the latest news on the G-20 Security perimeter in downtown Pittsburgh next week from the official Pittsburgh G-20 Website.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Crazy Mocha comes to the North Side

Crazy Mocha, the funky local coffee house chain, is opening its first North Side store, at the corner of Federal Street and North Avenue, about 1 block to the West from Allegheny General Hospital. It's a convenient location in a corridor which is booming with new construction, from a massive townhouse project to the new Carnegie Library. With the Federal North project on the way, which will include the rehabilitation of the old Garden Theater and other landmark buildings, this promises to be a neighborhood which will take off. We'll keep you posted.

New Library

The Federal Street Corridor is host to a new shining North Side jewel, the newly constructed North Side Carnegie Library. The old library, housed in a landmark building in Allegheny Center, was closed when its steeple was hit by a bolt of lightning, causing the steeple to cascade into the building proper. The new library is airy with state of the art data services, and will now be a community icon for years to come. It opened at the end of August, and is well worth a look.

Rivers Casino In Its Second Month

I've had the opportunity to visit the nearby Rivers Casino several times since its opening in early August, and I can say that I've had nothing but positive experiences. While the massive parking garage is a bit clunky and overbearing, the entrance to the casino and its facade is very appealing, as are the portions of the building facing the river. Inside, the finishes of the casino are all top notch, with materials of excellent quality. The decor, which includes some Chihuly glass sculptures which greet you at the entrance are the same as people waited in lines to see at the Phipps Conservatory last year. Overall, the interior quality is easily on a par with upper level Las Vegas casinos.
Incidentally, here is a recent Post-Gazette article discussing the impact of the casino on its North Side neighbors, most of whom, including me, have been favorably impressed.

While I have not had a chance to eat at any of the restaurants, I did get to sample during one of the dry openings, and the food was superb.

On the gaming side, I'm not much of one for slots or poker machines, but the ones featured at the Rivers Casino all appeared to be pretty cool with their various themes. One thing the casino does offer which is very cool are "virtual" blackjack and roulette tables, which feature virtual dealers and which re-create the look and feel of the actual table games. They are a pretty good substitute for the real thing.
They are likely to be a moot point soon, however, as the state legislature and the governor have agreed to legalize table games which, we're told, will go precisely in the spot of the virtual games.

G20 Preliminary Security Zones

Attached is a story from the Post-Gazette from last week regarding street closures for the G20 Summit next week. The main closures apparently run from Wednesday evening, September 23 through Friday evening September 25. Our location, in the Deutschtown section of the North Side, does not appear to be affected by any security closures. Note that this a preliminary report from the Secret Service and is subject to change.

The Post-Gazette has an entire section of its website dedicated to G20 news, if you're so interested.

September Wine Tasting Menu

September 17 Wine Tasting

Here's our passed appetizer menu and wine pairings for the fifth wine tasting of the summer, Escape to Cape Town, featuring the wines of Robertson Winery outside of Cape Town, South Africa. The tasting is on Thursday, September 17, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Price is $45.00 per person. Please contact Gene Lucente at or at (412) 323-9394 to order tickets.

Chenin Blanc - Melon and Proscuitto

Chardonnay - Smoked Salmon Pastrami on Rye Melba

Shiraz - Grilled Baby Lamb Chops

Pinotage - Smoked Duck on Zucchini Toast
Gewurztraminer - Mini Peach Cheesecake

Plus, as always, a selection of assorted fruits and cheeses.

Above and below are some photos from our August Tasting - we hope to see you here on Thursday!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

German American Heritage Day

As a follow-up to an earlier post - see September 2 - about the German-American Heritage Day this Saturday, September 12, check out this great interview on KDKA-TV's Pittsburgh Today LIVE with Brenda Walters of some the key people from the Alliance of Germanic Societies who are putting the event together - they sing and even yodel too! And, click here for more information.

This is truly a can't miss event in Pittsburgh's historic Deutschtown.

Note: the picture above is of one of the featured singing groups - the Swiss Choir - better known as, "Schweizer Maennerchor 'Helvetia."



I had a chance to check out the restaurant Toast last week. Toast is located on Baum Boulevard in Shadyside, and it is fabulous. Located in the space once occupied by the much loved restaurant Baum Vivant, Toast has a savory menu featuring a wide variety of offerings, many of which are off beat. I had calamari, which was sauteed and served in an amazing broth. The squid was the most tender that I have ever had. We also enjoyed wild boar ribs, with a wonderful barbeque sauce, lamb with a truffle mustard crust, and an order of escargot and chanterelles. Each dish was excellent. Service was relaxed, but attentive and our server was well versed in the menu. The restaurant also features a nice selection of wines by the glass (30 or so) and an extensive collection of bottles as well.

Toast is an intimate restaurant with an adventurous menu. It is well worth a try.

Here is your humble correspondent in front of the restaurant Toast.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

German-American Heritage Parade Route

Here is the parade route for the German-American Heritage Parade on September 12, 2009 starting at 6:00 p.m. Click the map for a larger image:

Come Celebrate German-American Heritage Day September 12 in Historic Deutschtown

The Alliance of Germanic Societies of Pittsburgh will conduct a public celebration of German Heritage in Pittsburgh’s historic Deutschtown on Monday, September 12, 2009. The celebration will include the first German Heritage Parade through Deutschtown since 1904 – over one hundred years ago – on East Ohio Street. Germans are not only the largest ethnic group in Allegheny County, but also the largest in the entire state of Pennsylvania!

Here’s the tentative schedule of events for Pittsburgh’s German-American Heritage Day on September 12:

5:00 p.m. - Ecumenical church in English and German, St. Peters Church on West Ohio Street. It will include songs by the German singing societies of Pittsburgh.

6:00 p.m. - Parade through historic Deutschtown beginning at the corner of East Ohio Street and Cedar Avenue (by Rita’s Ice). It will feature classic German autos, German folk dancing groups, singing societies, German honorees, Teutonia Hauskapelle and more. Click here for a map of the parade route.

5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. - German Buffet served at Teutonia Männerchor, $15.95 per person.

8:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
- Celebration of the heritage of German-speaking people in America in the Teutonia Männerchor Sängerhalle featuring performances by Dance groups, Singing groups, recognition of the historic German American citizen of the year and the current German American citizen of the year. Music by the Blas Kapelle band from Youngstown Ohio. Donation of $10 in advance or $12 at the door.

Come celebrate with us, enjoy the parade and other events celebrating the heritage of German-speaking immigrants to our city! Click below to see the full ad for this event!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Gourmet Cupcakes at Priory Fine Pasties

Priory Fine Pastries, our bakery on East Ohio Street in Pittsburgh's North Side, is celebrating its 5th anniversary this year! To celebrate, we've unveiled a whole new line of gourmet, upscale cupcakes that are out of this world! Just a few new favorites include the Northsider, a yellow cupcake filled with peanut butter and topped with Clark Bar pieces and the "Elvis," a chocolate cupcake filled with peanut butter, topped with banana buttercream and garnished with peanuts and chocolate drizzle. Yum!

Don't take our word for it
though, stop by the bakery and try one out for yourself! You won't be disappointed!

And, if you're looking for an even BIGGER cupcake to take
home, order one of our Colossal Cupcakes - perfect for the cupcake lover in your family!