Pusadee’s Garden Review – A Dining Experience Worth the Wait

When Pusadee's Garden closed in 2017 for renovations, we thought they'd be open the following year. 2018 came and went, so did 2019, and so did 2020 all without hearing a single update about the project. After enough time passed, we really thought this one was closed for good and were rather sad at the prospect of losing such a great restaurant in Lawrenceville.

Cut to early 2021 and the restaurant announced that they would finally be opening again, and we knew we had to visit as quickly as possible.

It only took about two steps after walking into the door for us to realize we should forget everything we remember about this one. To call the upgrade extensive would be an understatement- it was a complete transformation that was executed flawlessly. The restaurant went from being a good Thai spot to becoming one of the finest restaurants in Pittsburgh– Thai or otherwise.

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Over Eden and Brick Shop Review – A Multi-Stop at the Tryp Hotel

The Tryp Hotel opened in Lawrenceville in 2019 and had a few unique features about it. First, it is found in a former school. Second, it is the first hotel to open in Lawrenceville (something that was much needed). Finally, it is home to not one, but two on-site restaurants and bars with one having an incredible rooftop patio looking out over the city!

We were fortunate enough to be able to stay at the Tryp Hotel as guests of the property, and during the course of our stay got a chance to try out the rooftop bar (Over Eden) as well as the first-floor restaurant (Brick Shop).

In this one, we wanted to share a bit about what you could expect with these as they can truly be paired up for a one-two punch.

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TRYP Hotel Review – Affordable Rooms in the Heart of Lawrenceville

When you think of popular Pittsburgh neighborhoods, you may instantly assume that any given one is home to several hotels for visitors. For a few, you'd be right. But there are many neighborhoods in the city that do not have hotels at all, and up until mid-2019 Lawrenceville was one that sorely needed a property.

It wasn't until the TRYP Hotel opened that Lawrenceville got its first proper hotel, and this one fits right into the trendy neighborhood perfectly thanks to its beautiful restoration of a former school building right on 40th Street.

Throw in a rooftop bar with a stellar city view, a nice restaurant on the first floor, and some modern amenities and you have enough to make us happy.

We got the chance to check this one out as guests of the hotel and share more in this full review!

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Oishii Donburi Review – Japanese & Korean Staples in Lawrenceville

If you've spent any amount of time on our site, you may have seen our review for Oishii Bento in Oakland. This small restaurant in the heart of the neighborhood serves up an array of bento box creations as well as other Japanese staples with decent portion sizes at an amazing price point.

So when the team behind that restaurant announced a new concept, Oishii Donburi in Lawrenceville, we were in.

While this one serves up an array of traditional Japanese menu items, we also found some of our favorites from Korea on the menu as well- all for the same great price point we love from Oishii Bento!

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Pizza Lupo Review – Giant Pies in the Heart of Lawrenceville

Although Pittsburgh is home to one of the highest number of pizza shops per capita in the country, we could always use more.

When we heard that Pizza Lupo opened up in Lawrenceville in December 2020, we knew we had to get in as fast as possible to try it out. This was especially true after we saw photos of the pies as they seemed right up our alley.

We quickly placed an order and were not let down with what we got.

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WSET Level 2 Wine Class Review with Palate Partners

If you've spent any amount of time on this site, you're likely well aware that we like wine. Not only do we have a quest to check out the best Pittsburgh wineries, but we're also visiting all the best wine bars in Pittsburgh too.

But perhaps one of our favorite experiences in Pittsburgh comes from the wine education company Palate Partners with their informal First and Third Friday feature which includes several wine samples, education about the grape and region, all at a fairly attractive price point. 

We knew that Palate Partners offered many wine classes beyond these, and their offering of the multi-week Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses caught our eye. This is an international, standardized wine program (with four levels) and the folks at Palate Partners are certified to teach the first two levels (plus bringing in a guest instructor for Level 3).

Our favorite wine instructors teaching an international wine course that is highly regarded the world over? Sign us up. 

But in being ones who always like to go big, we skipped Level 1 and jumped straight into the eight-week Level 2 course. While challenging, we also had a rather great time in this one.

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Pita My Shawarma Review – Food Truck Turned Restaurant

Although we love our Pittsburgh food truck scene, we always enjoy hearing that our favorite trucks open up brick-and-mortar restaurants in the city. Why? So we can get their food all the time!

It is always a treat to find a favorite food truck at a brewery or event, but sometimes we cannot drive far across town to grab an order from a favorite. When they open a dedicated storefront, that problem is solved as we know where to get them all the time.

Pita My Shawarma was one such food truck that moved to a dedicated location, and now that they're in the heart of Lawrenceville, we see placing many orders from this one in the future.

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Smoke Review – Once a Taqueria, Now a Sandwich Shop

As of early 2021, Smoke has once again become a taco shop. We visited this one many times prior to it changing to a burger joint in 2020, and will return for an updated review of the taqueria shortly.

Prior to 2020, if you had heard of Smoke in Lawrenceville, odds are good it was in context of being a barbecue taqueria with some pretty flavorful offerings including what was arguably the region's best chips and queso.

Over time, Smoke would do a weekly sandwich night where they sold their products on a bun instead of in a tortilla. In early 2020, Smoke changed concepts altogether to be a burger and barbecue sandwich shop and left its taqueria menu behind.

Naturally, we had to check this one out as soon as we heard about it, and sadly, we kind of miss the tacos.

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Mi Empanada Review – Empanadas and Sandwiches in Lawrenceville

Mi Empanada has been on the Pittsburgh food scene for a few years now slinging their Argentinian empanadas at local events and brewery pop-ups. Now they have their own storefront in Lawrenceville where you can order takeout empanadas, sandwiches, and sides.

We were well-acquainted with Mi Empanada having tried them at several of their pop-ups around town over the past few years. At events they always had long lines and it's no secret why – their empanadas have a rich, tender dough and the fillings are a mix of traditional and creative options, including a lot of vegetarian options as well.

Needless to say, we were ecstatic to learn they were opening up a storefront in Lawrenceville. The spot is takeout only, but they offer ready-to-eat empanadas or a “take and bake” option which we haven't tried but also sounds delicious. Sandwich options include a steak or chicken milanesa, and they also offer sides like salads, rice, and polenta.

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Lola’s Eatery Review – Affordable Brunch at Engine House 25

We'll never say no to more options for brunch in Pittsburgh, and in late 2019 Lola's Eatery opened in the stunning Engine House 25 in Lawrenceville (home to the winery of the same name as well as the Clemente Museum) to help satisfy that need.

Naturally, I had to check this one out as soon as possible and was joined with a friend for a rather affordable, and delicious, dining experience.     

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