The Unvegan

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A Little Dip at the Salty Sow
Arizona Taco Fest 2017
Chomping Down on Chompie’s
All the Meats at Bootleggers BBQ

‘Shadyside’

A Picturesque Burger at The Elbow Room (CLOSED)

A most perfect egg.
A most perfect egg.

Since 1947, The Elbow Room has been hanging in Shadyside, serving up food and drinks. It hasn’t always been in its current location on Walnut, but that was of little concern to me when it came to ordering up food there. Just about everything on the menu looked stellar, yet when it came down to it this was the first meal of my day and I felt the urge to get breakfast.

Rocking the Casbah

No lame duck.
No lame duck.

As I’ve mentioned before, the Big Burrito restaurant mafia in Pittsburgh is kind of a big deal. Such a big deal, in fact, that I recently visited a third member of their family: Casbah. Featuring a menu with dubious claims of Mediterranean origin, there could be no doubt that the ever-changing menu looked nothing short of delicious. It also looked nothing short of beyond a student’s budget, which is why I found myself there with the in-laws.

Attack of the Gobblerito at Mad Mex

Gobblicious.
Gobblicious.

Loyal readers may know that this food blog adheres to an almost exception-free policy of not re-reviewing restaurants. First impressions are the most important impressions and that is why this unwritten policy is in place. However, when a restaurant innovates or completely reworks a menu, they could be considered for another feature on the Unvegan. Typically, this has been relegated to Taco Bell, but another faux-Mexican restaurant called Mad Mex is continuing that trend. Namely, this innovation is called The Gobblerito and it means Thanksgiving in a tortilla.

A Bite and a Brew at Bites and Brews

Here comes the bite.
Here comes the bite.

With a name like Bites and Brews, you kind of know what to expect when walking into the place. And let me tell you right here: the place does not disappoint. If all you are seeking is something to eat and something to drink, Bites and Brews has you covered. With a beer menu including about 30 brews starting at $3 and a food menu ranging from bar staples to hoagies, the name of the place is certainly apt.

A Cubic Burrito at Mad Mex

Nice cactus.
Nice cactus.

In Pittsburgh, there is a big time restaurant group called Big Burrito. One of their spots is Kaya, which I reviewed recently, and another is Mad Mex in Shadyside, which I had high expectations for based on the name of the restaurant group. A look at the menu made it apparent that this wasn’t your traditional Mexican meal, but I hoped the creativity would shine like it did in LA at places like Tinga.

Winging it at Buffalo Blues (CLOSED)

So shiny.
So shiny.

While Walnut Street in Shadyside is the typical haunt of my fellow students, Highland is another street in Shadyside that has a lot to offer. One of those offerings is Buffalo Blues, a sports bar with a fair amount of food options that you might expect at such a place. Wings dominate the menu, but there are also burgers, sandwiches and a few other things for those not so inclined towards the wings.

Too Much Tomato at Steel Cactus

Oh come on lettuce.
Oh come on lettuce.

Steel Cactus in Shadyside is a place more typically known for drinks than food, yet, I found myself there hungry and waiting for drinks. The cactus thing in their name is somehow connected to the fact that they serve Mexican food and I was skeptical not only because it was primarily a drinking place, but also because Pittsburgh isn’t quite known as a bastion of Mexican food.

Brown’d at Stack’d

Looks too good.
Looks too good.

The custom burger popularized by The Counter seems to be present nearly everywhere these days, and Pittsburgh has not escaped the trend. Burgatory is one of those places, which I was introduced to my first night in Pittsburgh, and another is Stack’d in Shadyside. The options aren’t quite as extensive as Burgatory, but the burgers are priced a bit friendlier.