My wife and I just got back from Pittsburgh, where we celebrated our six anniversary. I’m really blessed to have her, and surprised she’s put up with me for this long!
Instead of gifts, we go somewhere for our anniversary. Pittsburgh may not seem like the most obvious choice, but we had been wanting to tour Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s design in western Pennsylvania. The American Institute of Architects named it the best all time work of American architecture, and it is truly amazing. It’s built over Bear Run Creek, near Mill Run, PA, and it’s worth the trip. We took an extended tour, so we even got to take interior photos. It was really something to see, and I recommend it to anyone that gets the chance.
On Saturday morning, we had breakfast at my favorite Pittsburgh breakfast location, De Luca’s, on Liberty in the Strip District. What I love about this place is that it’s a real cross section of the city, all levels mingling, everyone being pretty friendly, and the food being better than you’d expect of a diner like this. I really enjoy the place. We met up with Greg and Nicole; Greg has helped me with my current theme here, and is starting to get into barbecue. He recommended a place new to me, since it’s only been there about 3 years. Most of the places I frequent in town have been there at least 30 years or more, so this was a newcomer.
The name of the place is Six Penn Kitchen, which gets its name from being at the corner of Sixth and Penn. Makes sense, huh? The thing that lured me in was the promise of…
Yes, that’s what I thought, too. “No way” was one of first reactions, but the other was, “I. Must. Have. This.” And so I arranged to make sure I did have some!
We checked out of our hotel and got down to the restaurant. It was early in their brunch-time, so we were able to get a table right away. The place looked nice; modern but welcoming, with an open kitchen. The chef, Keith Fuller, is fairly young and very tattooed, and also seems to not only have a real passion for food, but was kind enough to come out to our table to say hello. He even offered to send out a brunch spring roll, but my wife and I had already gorged on several other amazing brunch options! This is the kind of place where I’d spend a lot of time if I lived close by!
The menu is unique, and shows that Keith has a great sense of humor and food. I imagine that the chef thought about typical brunch dishes, then decided to see how ridiculous he could make them while still doing them really well. If Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes came up with a new American style brunch menu, this would be it. I think Mr. Fuller succeeded pretty well. And if you’re near Pittsburgh and haven’t had the brunch at Six Penn, you need to remedy that as soon as you can!
The menu talks about the restaurant’s support of local, sustainable farming, and even goes so far as to name the farms with which they deal. I like this transparency.
The first thing we did once seated was to order something to drink. My wife had a bellini, and I saw something I had to try… a smoked bloody mary! It was made as a typical bloody mary (and horseradish was included!), with the addition of smoked tomatoes. How was it? I’ve definitely found another use for smoked Romas! What a great start!
After the drinks, we were presented with Boston cream beignets. I love beignets in New Orleans. At Six Penn, they were small, very fresh, and topped with shaved chocolate and served with Boston cream on the plate. I could have eaten these all day, had I not had something even bigger on the way. As it was, I moved the empty plate away so no one would catch me licking the plate clean.
We ordered a variety of other things, though it wasn’t an easy choice. My wife got cheesecake stuffed brioche French toast. I should have asked what the fruit that came on the French toast was, but it was a bit tart (maybe sour cherries?). I loved this, though my wife found the fruit a bit too tart, and didn’t really like the spice on it (likely allspice). The only complaint I had with this was I thought there wasn’t really enough cheesecake stuffed in it to call it stuffed, but the flavor was great.
We also ordered some breakfast “coffee” frites. These were shoestring fries coated with ground coffee mixed with brown sugar and some chile (I’m guessing ancho). These were just perfect. Really.
And then my main order, which was actually two items. A TBLTC (tempura bacon, lettuce, tomato and cucumber sandwich with lemon aioli) was the first part, served with a mixed green salad to try to balance the pure decadence of the sandwich, which was served on thick sliced toast.
For the main attraction of the meal, I brought out a couple that will be recurring visitors to the blog… Mr. Bacon and Monsieur Tofu! They will battle it out again and again, starting with today!
Out came the tempura bacon… And Mr Bacon took an easy, easy first win, with M. Tofu falling flat on his back while even before the waiter had placed the plate of bacon on the table.
I’d like to say Monsieur Tofu is doing ok, but it will take some time before he’s back on his feet after the drubbing he took today! The tempura bacon was incredible!
What’s my verdict for Six Penn Kitchen? I will go back. Every time I’m in Pittsburgh. Let me put this another way; I could have gone to the Original Hot Dog Shop for some of the best cheese fries known to man, but I wanted to try Six Penn Kitchen. I liked it so much, I’d go to Six Penn over the O again, though that hurts a bit to say.