Chez Madeleine

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Day 3 of Eating Pittsburgh

short rib ravioli

So, I cheated on you. I deprived you of one whole day of eating Pittsburgh. I ran out of the city, turned left at Fleming's Christmas tree lot, ended up on a horse farm, and forgot about you waiting for me here. I devoured baked Doritos and burnt burgers cooked on a tiny Coleman that was left to heat up during a rousing soccer game until the piles of soot underneath looked like little pyramids. I drank beer from a keg, munched on home baked peanut-chocolate bars, and played frisbee until I was red in the face. I came home tired and freckled. Curled up on the couch with a glass of wine and my friends, and fell asleep dreaming of more open fields and pastures.

Then I awoke today, well-rested, and groggy from my well rest, and started a new day. Munched on goat cheese and triple cream brie. Grapes and bananas. Put on shoes and walked the resevoir in Pittsburgh, worked up a sweat and an appetite. Then, Aimee and I embarked on our big dinner. Casbah. The menu I'd been fantasizing about.

Casbah sign

We were seated on the quiet patio at Casbah along with another couple on a date. He, underdressed. She dressed to the nines in a super short dress (not pictured). I started with a wonderful glass of Blue Moon Oregon Pinot Noir. Soon after my wine arrived, so did a gift from the kitchen-an amuse bouche of summer salad over roasted red pepper puree. The salad was colorful and bright on the palate--summer corn, roasted asparagus, fresh diced tomato, all floating on the roasted red pepper puree-rich and thick.

amuse bouche

We started with the falafel crusted shrimp with lemon-yogurt sauce. We were so famished that I forgot to snap the photo until we had dug in. The falafel was pronounced and rich, and the shrimp were giant and tender.

falafel crusted shrimp

We continued by splitting an arugula salad with sweet tangy goat cheese, sauteed mushrooms, house-made pancetta and pancetta dressing. The salad was portioned beautifully-the thick salty pancetta pairing with the tanginess of the goat cheese and the lemon-y dressing. Arugula, which I often find bitter, was the perfect accompaniment to its partners on the plate.

pancetta salad

Aimee picked the seared ahi tuna with calimari, tagliolini, capers, anchovies and tomato caponati. It was fresh off of the mediterranean--a melange of italian flavors topped with the fork-tender tuna.


I chose the beef short rib ravioli with greens, mushrooms and roasted shallots. The ravioli was incredible---the braised rib meat the perfect filling for the large ravioli. The bitter greens paired perfectly with the sweet meat.

beef ravioli

Still saving room for dessert we chose two: the bread pudding of the day- a white chocolate base baked with blueberries and topped with a blueberry-lemon ice cream. Also, a chocolate tower--flourless chocolate cake topped with hazelnut cream, a chocolate tuile and served with a caramel-sea salt iced cream. We both attacked the warm bread pudding when it arrived, but quickly moved to the chocolate majesty. We never really went back to the bread pudding (nor did we snap a photo of the chocolate until it was almost demolished). The flavor explosion produced by the salt-caramel iced cream and the chocolaty tuile and cake was incredible. The ice cream was completely salty, but so enriched by the caramel. It was incredible.

bread pudding


We ended the night with another gift from the kitchen, almond shortbreads. The evening was wonderful-- a perfect feast to end my time in Pittsburgh.

almond shortbreads


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