Le Mont, a Pittsburgh Fine Dining Institution

le mont view

Yelp Elite at Le Mont, Mount Washington

Recently I was lucky enough to have been included in a fantastic Yelp Elite event at Pittsburgh’s Le Mont. Both the Yelp and Le Mont teams were very generous to treat us to a full dining experience! I’m sharing my first experience at this Mount Washington institution known for elegant dining and beautiful views of downtown Pittsburgh.

  

Le Mont is definitely known for traditional grandeur. It’s the kind of place that feels like you’re going to dinner at the country club with your parents – and their boss. It’s a special occasion venue, with an ornate and gilded décor that feels very fancy, formal, and elegant. The private room we dined in had plenty of windows featuring amazing views of downtown Pittsburgh and the North Side. The space is already lavish, with lots of gold, crystal chandeliers and ornate details – but when I visited it was also decorated for the holiday!

Before the meal, our group of Yelp Elite was addressed by the manager. She was very casual, and shared some of Le Mont’s history with us. She shared that they pride themselves on delivering a high class experience, and are now shifting to appeal to a younger crowd and expand what they’re known for.

To become more accessible and attractive to a younger crowd, Le Mont is now offering a seasonal celebrations menu with three- course, pre-fix meal cost of $38! This should be advertised more, as most deem the Le Mont as too costly – when this option is much more affordable. Le Mont as a classic institution does have a very basic menu, this celebration menu offers more fun and festive options.

Celebration menu le mont

I didn’t know what to expect, but was surprised to see that we were being treated to both red and white wine and our choice of soup or salad, entrée, and dessert. I am known for only liking sweet wine (my blog is Moscato is m Mantra) and I thoroughly enjoyed the red option by Merino of Portugal – it was truly delicious! Our menu featured very traditional high-end options, with a few of the celebration menu choices. I ordered the almond encrusted salmon entrée with bourbon glaze. I was served a large piece of quality salmon. I really liked the sweet bourbon maple glaze and the almond. It came with the classic sides of a swirl of whipped potatoes and broccolini. I also enjoyed the crème brûlée with fresh fruit.

The food was delicious and great quality! The wait staff was friendly and pleasant and cracked jokes. I’m really glad I got to experience the food and service at Le Mont. Thank you very much to Yelp and the Le Mont for a treat of an evening!

The only downside of my food was that the salmon was well done and the brûlée was served cold. It didn’t have that sensation of warm crystalized top with the creamy cool custard. I’m sure this was just due to the large party they were serving.

Overall if you’re looking for a traditional and elegant dining experience in Pittsburgh, with a view Le Mont is great. The consensus at my table of multi-generational Yelp Elites, was that Le Mont does have a bland almost boring menu. It’s just a bit old-fashioned. Their celebration menu was really needed, now that Pittsburgh is abuzz with so many dynamic dining options (aren’t we lucky that we have the luxury of being choosey?!). The Le Mont menu needs to continue offering a little more pizzazz, to truly be able to diversify and attract a younger clientele.

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La Bicyclette – Carmel by the Sea

la bicyclette

I recently got to fulfill a few dreams, taking an amazing trip to California with my BF! We traveled in late September adventuring through San Francisco, San Jose, Moterey, Carmel by the Sea and even Yosemite. A highlight of the trip for me was experiencing the food scene in the Montery, Carmel area. This area features many french inspired spots! The area served as my foodie side’s play area.

La Bicyclette – Carmel by the Sea

I had this spot at the top of my list ever since researching the Carmel foodie scene weeks before our trip. La Bicyclette restaurant is small, charming and quaint with rustic french country kitchen touches. It’s located right in the main shopping, touristy district of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

 

We stopped in for a late lunch on a weekday. I had read a lot about the pizzas, but we couldn’t resist the server’s description of the special mussels with fries, “Moules-Frites”. I usually don’t choose mussels, my BF loves them, and I was surprised to find that these were delicious! They were sautéed with shallots, garlic, fennel, and leeks and came in the classic “Pernod broth,” a white wine herb broth. It was outstanding, full of flavor and seasoning! The fries were truly tasty fried and crispy. It also came with a rich, decadent aioli dipping sauce. I couldn’t decide what was better with the salty fries, the broth or the aioli – I used both 😉

We also enjoyed the fromage board that was served with local honey comb and poached pears. The bread was filled with fruits as a nice, unexpected touch.

cheese board la bicyclette carmel california

I would recommend Carmel’s La Bicyclette restaurant for couples traveling to the area looking for a charming and interesting lunch spot. It was a memorable dinner, I hope I will continue to remember this meal when I look back to our trip! Next time I visit I’d like to enjoy a pizza and tap into the wine list 🙂 I can’t wait to share more from my trip to Carmel-by-the-Sea!

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Foodie Weekend in Ocean City Maryland

foodie spots of Ocean City Maryland

I don’t know about others, but to me vacation is all about relaxing, exploring, and most importantly indulging in delicious food. I recently spent a long weekend in every Pittsburgher’s default beach vacation spot, Ocean City Maryland.  I’ve been lucky enough to visit the area a handful of times and have begun to develop a list of favorite restaurants to indulge in Maryland’s famous blue crab.

       3 Foodie Spots in Ocean City Maryland

1. The Crab Bag

The Crab Bag is definitely an Ocean City institution along Coastal Highway. It’s famous for it’s namesake, fresh Maryland crabs steamed crabs delivered to the table in brown paper bags.  It’s a casual spot with mostly outdoor dining on picnic tables and super popular. They don’t take reservations or have call ahead seating, so be prepared to hang out at the bar while you wait a bit for a table. Totally worth the wait though!

The Crab Bag menu is hue and features everything seafood related to Mexican and ribs. I’m totally the fan that visits exclusively for the crab.  They have both a cream of crab soup and a traditional Maryland style crab soup. In my latest trip I of course had creamy crab soup. They also offer the two mixed, which I would have never thought of.  We also indulged in the Crab Bags Famous Crab Dip describes simply as “crab meat, cheeses, and spices.” That’s exactly what it is. Really heavy and indulgent but delicious. I enjoyed a crab cake and hush puppies and the table ordered 6 jumbo sized steamed crabs. I don’t mind cracking open the crabs if I don’t think about it too much. It’s fun to get into the experience to tackle one, but the dedication to make it through 5 is a lot! The crab is truly delicious though. I guess I understand the experience of cracking crabs its kind of like a treasure hunt…?

 

2. The Hobbit

The Hobbit is a fine dining on the bayside of north Ocean City. As named, this Ocean City restaurant is themed after J. R. R. Tolkien paired with a  setting featuring stunning bay views. The dining space is elegant and understated with the view as its main feature of course. There are tiny pop ups of Hobbit inspired decor pieces if you look closely at the hanging art or the lamps. These are not at all costumey and add tiny bits 0f character to the space. I’ve shared my amazing first experience here.

This recent visit we again enjoyed the lamb lollipops. This is a dish of delicious, buttery grilled New Zealand lamb chops, with sweet potato hash and honey aioli. Seriously delicious. For my main meal I enjoyed the swordfish fresh catch, sauté of fresh Maryland jumbo lump crab, fresh corn, bacon, and fresh vegetables, finished with beurre blanc sauce. The piece of swordfish was huge and perfectly cooked! I really enjoyed the mix of sweet corn, bacon and asparagus too. My BF really loved his veal pistachio of veal medallions, prosciutto, roasted pistachios, mushrooms, shallots, Madeira, and cream. I was treated to a few bites and can say the creamy sauce was definitely rich and delicious. Kind of like my dad’s mushroom brandy bacon cream sauce.

 

3. Parched Pelican

I love brunch. Coffee, eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, hash browns and biscuits are some of the best things about the world – to me at least. Lucky for me my BF agrees 🙂 We seriously researched our brunch options for this quick trip.  After searching Yelp through an overwhelming amount of options we decided on a spot that looked fun with plenty of options to choose from, the Parched Pelican. I wasn’t expecting this spot to be as well designed as it was.  The restaurant features so many unexpected trendy  decor details, not the usual beach kitschy. every light fixture was different with a different type of Edison bulb. I was smitten with the look from the moment I stepped into the entryway; which actually featured a light fixture made with colored wine bottles and colored light bulbs – speaking directly too me.  I’m totally planning to make my own DIY version.

 

 

For my breakfast I ordered the Marylander crafted biscuit which is eggs, sautéed jumbo lump crab, Chesapeake hollandaise, and jack cheese on biscuits. The dish was good, but the “fresh buttermilk biscuits handcrafted daily from scratch,” were dense, tough and inedible. I was a bit disappointed. My BF ordered whiskey plantain brioche french toast with glazed plantains, toasted coconut and Jameson caskmates whiskey sauce. It was enjoyable, sweet and savory unique meal.  Glad we tried the dishes we did.

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French Restaurant Downtown Pittsburgh

LE Lyonnais French Food Pittsburgh

Le Lyonnias is one of few places offering French comfort food in downtown Pittsburgh. Literally meaning “of Lyon” this spot offers charming small plates and indulgent meals inspired by classic french cuisine. I had the pleasure of enjoying a meal here recently.

Le Lyonnaise French Pittsburgh

We ordered a few tartines, which are open-faced toast layered with deliciousness.

POIRE ET BLEU:  Duck Rillette | Grilled Pear | Fourme d’Ambert Blue Onion Jam | Baguette

CREVETTE: Garlic Grilled Shrimp | Oven Dried Tomatoes Garlic & Herb Boursin | Five Points Baguette

JAMBON CRU:  Prosciutto | Truffled Scrambled Egg Shaved Mimolette | Five Points Sour Dough

Le Lyonnaise French Pittsburgh

They were all really well made and flavorful, but my favorite was the Jambon Cru. The truffled eggs were truly decadent, creamy and rich. Made me wish they were open for brunch 🙂  I would highly recommend adding this spot to your lists of places to try for a meal out on the town or a unique happy hour!

Le Lyonnaise French Pittsburgh

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Coquette Patisserie of Cleveland Ohio

Coquette Patisserie

While visiting the Cleveland Flea last Saturday, my friends and I took a break after shopping for a sweet treat. Coquette Patisserie is a bakery & bar that specializes in French pastries, macarons, cakes, confections, savory small plates, and craft libations. My friend had actually discovered the spot through adorable Instagrams of their exquisite-looking cheeseboards. The space is very quaint with Parisian-inspired decor and display cases full of treats almost too pretty to eat.

I treated myself to a “Coco Loco” of genoise soaked with dark rum and topped with toasted coconut, all enveloped with coconut mousse. I already love coconut and rum, but this was truly delicious. It tasted similar to that of a cheesecake, but without the heaviness.

After an early morning start, nearly three hours of driving, and shopping all morning I was exhausted. I ordered a fruity tea to revive myself, which I was really excited to try. It  was served it a pretty glass teapot with the sweetest tea timer. Fun, but I’m pretty sure it was just an Argo brand tea mix I have at home though. Next time I’ll try something different.

My three girlfriends ordered champagne, a cheeseboard and french macaroons. They enjoyed the bubbly, but the macaroons were extremely stale. The cheeseboard was definitely grammable. The cheeses were as delicious, as picturesque. We’d suggest asking when the pastries were made before ordering and asking for additional toast if its too hard for you to enjoy.

This is a great place to try on a weekend afternoon for a relaxing sweet treat. The decor throughout the indoor and outdoor seating areas is very charming. The staff was also whipping up some fancy and beautiful drinks while we where there, that I’d love to try.

I’d love to return sometime to bring my mother and try more of the pastries. Definitely check out the Coquette Instagram if you’re into pretty food & drink snaps!

 

New seasonal quiche: roasted @rittmanorchards asparagus with Brie

A post shared by Coquette Patisserie (@coquettepastry) on

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