June 6, 2011

BEST Calamari

I've mentioned in earlier posts that I usually just eat calamari for the sauce - it's all about using something fried as a vessel for great marinara. But - similarly to last time, while in Pittsburgh - I've disproved my own theory. The calamari at Wholey's fish market doesn't need a sauce, or a light dressing, or even some lemon juice: it's calamari in its purest form, and it is DELICIOUS. We asked for a small side (big mistake...we went back once? twice?? to order more) and they took out the raw calamari from the case - calamari that could only have been caught and brought in earlier that morning, it tasted SO fresh. They dredged each piece quickly in some flour then threw them into the boiling oil, and in about a minute or two we were given a piping hot, fresh order of the side.

I feel a little blasphemous saying this, but I now realize...marinara is just a cover up for mediocre calamari. And that's okay! Because I really love marinara. But truly good, fresh calamari doesn't need to be dressed up at all. I didn't think it was even possible until Wholey's. They've changed the way I now look at fish.

Where you can enjoy this yourself:

Wholey Fish Market
1711 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

June 1, 2011

Chicken Orzo Soup

I love a good soup. Especially when it's unexpected. I've never had a bad meal at this restaurant, but I was fairly indifferent when I ordered the chicken orzo with my lunch entree. It was one of those, 'Oh, it comes with a soup? Sure...why not?' moments that I now look back on and laugh at, since with just one bite they converted me from 'indifferent' to 'completely, madly in love with.'

The first spoonful of this soup will make you sit up and take notice. The flavor is simple - and simply - "bright." The slight creaminess is a nice backdrop for what can really only be described as a bright burst of ingredients - the soup is decidedly chicken, but then - out of nowhere! - there is a real zing of lemon. It's completely unexpectedly, and doesn't dull as you dig deeper into your cup. It's brilliant. The orzo contributes to give a nice body to the soup, and the carrots and a subtle sweetness. This is the perfect soup to precede a meal, warm up to on a cold day, or even enjoy in the summertime, given the strong lemon presence. It isn't overwhelming, but should really be included in the name since it plays such an important role of this soup.

Where you can (and definitely should) enjoy this yourself:

Canal Street Grille
27 East Afton Avenue
Yardley, Pennsylvania

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