I love the zoo.
When my brother suggested that we spend our day off (due to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) going to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, I was ecstatic. James was all in, too, as he wanted to try out his new camera (so did my brother - his whole reason for wanting to go in the first place).
Our rule for going to the zoo is that we go EARLY - less people, and the animals seem to be more active earlier in the day - especially in the winter, too. This plan has not failed us yet, so we planned to be there close to the opening time of 9:00 AM.
We arrived around 9:15, and immediately started wandering amongst the wildlife. The snow leopard, polar bears, and tiger were especially entertaining on this day. You can view the rest of my zoo pics on my Facebook page (be sure to "like" the page while you're there!):
|Snow leopard, sitting pretty|
|James took this AWESOME pic!|
|The polar bear was actually IN THE WATER!|
Deciding on where to go for lunch spanned the length of our zoo visit, as my brother is particular about where and what he eats. I finally suggested the Square Cafe in Regent Square, as I knew that they were open (they had tweeted it earlier in the day), and it was on the way home.
Finally. An agreement. After 3 hours.
|Square Cafe, Regent Square|
When we arrived, it was pretty crowded, but we were assured that the wait for a table was not very long. We were seated after about 10 minutes.
|Inside (and this empty table did not become ours, BTW)|
I absolutely love the bright colors inside of the cafe - bold, shiny, and attractive, that's what I like in a neighborhood dining establishment. Dark and dingy is not my forte, so the decor alone drew my eyes to it on several occasions.
We ordered hot beverages, since we had been out in the cold air for most of the morning - coffee for James, a latte for me, and chai tea for my brother. Square Cafe has very unique coffee mugs with one flat side (at a hefty price of $18, if you'd like one to take home), which make storage much, much easier than the roundness of traditional mugs:
|The Square Coffee Mug|
In addition to the hot beverages, James and I ordered a Peanut Butter Smoothie to try, since I am a lover of all things peanut butter. It was thick and creamy, and I was very satisfied with the peanut butter flavor!
|Peanut Butter Smoothie|
The menu is quite expansive, so on a first visit, it seems overwhelming - the descriptions of everything on the menu sound delicious! James and I decided to start with soup to try to warm up some more - White Bean and Pancetta Soup. I'm not a fan of rosemary, so this wasn't the best choice for me, but despite my disdain for the herb, it was better than I expected it to be:
|White Bean and Pancetta Soup|
James and I decided upon the same item for lunch - we're both pretty obsessed with lox right now after our New York trip, so we wanted the Caramelized Onion & Smoked Salmon Crepes:
|Caramelized Onion & Smoked Salmon Crepes|
James was kind enough to allow me to order this crepe for my entree, while he went with the Braised Leeks, Goat Cheese, and Pancetta Frittata:
|Braised Leeks, Goat Cheese, and Pancetta Frittata|
I was so happy with my choice - but James kept stealing some...I guess we both thought it was that excellent! James's frittata was also tasty, and I have to say, as a not-so-great fan of goat cheese, it worked really well with this dish. The subtle onion taste of leeks plus the saltiness of the pancetta made the goat cheese taste not so strong and overpowering - which, for me, was great.
My brother requested the Breakfast Sandwich, made with chicken apple sausage, American cheese, and served on ciabatta bread (a favorite of his). On the side? Sweet Potato Fries. Mmm, sweet potato fries...
|Breakfast Sandwich: chicken apple sausage & American cheese; sweet potato fries|
Now, picky eater that he is, my brother was not a fan of the chicken apple sausage because it reminded him of kielbasa. He thought that it would be more like traditional pork sausage, so he ended up taking it off of the sandwich; however, he liked the rest. James and I ate the sausage, and I thought it was pretty delicious, but I am also a fan of kielbasa. The sweet potato fries were also cooked well - not too soft, but not too crispy.
Knowing that such a great breakfast and lunch spot isn't too far out of my way makes me want to go out for these meals more often, as is the case with other close breakfast and lunch spots like the Tin Front Cafe and Smoke BBQ Taqueria - I'm not a fan of crowds, however, so I may be hesitant to go on a holiday again (or weekend, for that matter). Given that they have such a large menu, I want to go back - often - to try more of the things that looked as tasty as what we ordered - more crepes, pancakes, sandwiches than anyone could imagine eating in just a few visits!
1137 South Braddock Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15218 (Regent Square)