Happy New Year, comrades! Welcome to 2020, the year we actually accomplish the things we’ve set out to do and don’t abandon the blog after 6-8 posts. (Have I said that before? A few times? Well this time, I really sincerely heckin MEAN it.)
With a new year comes a new list of Achievements, but lucky for us, since we did all of 2 last year, it was pretty easy to re-create the list. #ProcrastinationDoesntAlwaysRuinTheParty
We start this year with an unexpected Wildcard, as an unexpected but beloved event came back into our lives this year: the Pittsburgh Restaurant Week Blogger Dinner! While Pittsburgh Restaurant Week has been going strong twice yearly for literal ages now, the blogger dinner has been sadly absent from the last few celebrations. But this year, it was back and we were ready to dive in! (I’d like to note that there are maybe a few less photos than I typically like to put in a blog post, but that’s because – let’s be fucking honest – I’m a little out of practice. Next post will be better, promise!)
The event was held at Bonfire Food & Drink in the South Side. We’d heard of this place, and heard super good things, but had yet to make it out for a meal. I am so, *so* glad we did. We kicked things off with a cocktail and a glass of bubbles and settled in to look over the menu for the night.
Bonfire has an upstairs and a downstairs section, each with its own menu. Our event was in the upstairs space, which seems well-suited for larger groups like our dinner of 9. The downstairs menu is more made up of snackies and sammies, while the upstairs has a nicely-curated appetizer menu (octopus – we are coming back for you) and a larger list of entrees. For the Blogger Dinner, we had three courses, with two options for the first round, three for the second, and one dessert to close things out.
And as we are prone to do in situations where there are options, we did our best to sample them all. For the first round, Husband chose the cauliflower bisque with arugula pesto & crispy prosciutto. It was creamy and hearty, which was just what we needed on a chilly winter night. (I’ve heard rumors that the prosciutto was excellent, but I can’t speak on it firsthand because SOMEONE ate it all before I got to try it. Hmmmmmmmm.)
I opted for ‘the raw deal,’ which is a raw appetizer that changes daily. This week, it was a tuna tartare “nacho” with wasabi guacamole, refried black beans, and crispy tortilla, and it was heavenly. I mean. I *did* make sure to share a bite or two with my dining partner (ahem, take notes for next time, Husband), but it was a tough thing to relinquish any bites of this course.
We did a little better with the sharing when it came to the main courses, in part because these were sizeable dishes. Husband got the Wagyu beef meatloaf with chive and goat cheese whipped potatoes, topped with crispy onions. Remember what I said earlier about ‘perfect dishes for a chilly winter night’? This is one of them. The potatoes somehow managed to be rich and creamy and fluffy all at the same time, and the meatloaf was… well… meaty. Topped off with the crispy onions, and you had every single enjoyable food texture you could want in a plate!
I went with the chicken option, a roasted organic chicken breast with carrot cavatelli, wilted kale, persimmon, and pomegranate relish. And let’s be honest – who really gets dreamy-eyed over a chicken dish at a nice restaurant? That’s the stuff you cook at home, right? Wrong. This was actually probably the best chicken I’ve ever ordered in a restaurant. The chicken was SO tender, and the balance of flavors with the kale, pastas, and pomegranates was just lovely.
(Full disclosure: I always, always, *always* bring home a little nibblin of our dinner for our tiny pit bull Layla Grace. I forgot to bring her home a piece of this chicken before I ate the whole thing. WORST MOMMY EVER.)
Dinner concluded with a hazelnut chocolate crunch bar with caramel mousse, hazelnut nougatine. (And a cappuccino for me! Did you know that I rediscovered cappuccinos on my 37th birthday, after 24 years of ignoring their existence? AND it turns out that 13-year-old-aspiring-beat-poet-me was SO right about at least one thing!) This was a rich lil nibble of dessert that was just the right size and right sweetness to finish off an excellent meal.
Other notable things about our trip to Bonfire: excellent service, a great wine list (and a solid cocktail list, if that’s more your speed), Chef Chris came out to chat with us and he was super nice, AND they are a gold-level sustainable restaurant! What does that mean? Well, we had representatives from Sustainable Pittsburgh at the dinner to explain it to us. Sustainable Pittsburgh helps evaluate local restaurants on their sustainable practices across seven categories: general, waste reduction, water conservation, energy efficiency, people, responsible sourcing, and nutrition. Restaurants submit an assessment of 149 actions and are ranked by how many of these criteria they practice. You can check out the list of restaurants in Pittsburgh here. There are so many places on the list, and more are being added all the time as they work toward more sustainable operations. That is totally badass.
We absolutely loved our evening at Bonfire. The dinner was spectacular, we learned a lot, and it was just great to catch up with other foodies we haven’t seen in awhile. If you are interested in checking out Bonfire, Pittsburgh Restaurant Week is a perfect time to go! The menu we sampled is $35.20 upstairs, and there’s also a flatbread special downstairs for $20.20.
Note: 101 Achievements was not compensated for this post. Pittsburgh Restaurant Week runs from 1/13/2020 through 1/19/2020.