The thing about moving away is that I’d much rather spend my last few days creating memories with my friends than packing. And that’s totally okay with me. (At least, it will be until the day I have to move and frantically realize that there are so many things I overlooked. I’ll just take that as it comes. #Priorities.)
So, this weekend, I celebrated my years in Pittsburgh with some of the best people I know at a pretty weird dance party on Friday night, and then at Thrival on Saturday. Saturday’s weather was perfect. Bright and warm until the sun went down and the crisp air became the kind of weather that makes you wish you had a sweatshirt to cozy up in. But, since I was sweatshirtless (thanks anyway, Q), I warmed up with a little wine.
And what’s the best thing in the world the morning after a night of wine? Brunch. Christina lured me out of bed with the mention of brunch at one of my favorite Lawrenceville spots: Coca Cafe. But, since it was a Sunday, the wait was way too long for someone who just really, really needed a cup of coffee and some bacon. So, we hopped across the street to Round Corner, a place that had previously offered a pretty delicious brunch (and the occasional bottomless mimosa) before closing for a few months this summer. But word on the street was that Round Corner’s brunch post-reopening was out of this world.
And out of the world it was. Christina ordered French Toast with ancho syrup, and served with Benton’s bacon and a side of chipotle butter. It was sweet and spicy, just as the Mexicans do best.
Being a savory breakfast eater, I went with the Brisket Hash (and Ryan did, too) and a Mexican coffee. Perfectly soft and salty potatoes were topped with melt-in-your-mouth brisket, which was then topped with a fried egg, cotija, bacon and cilantro. Perfection in every bite – truly – and just what I needed to make my last Sunday in Pittsburgh a good one.
Last week, I was on a taco-eating frenzy. No rhyme or reason, I just happened to eat tacos… two days in a row. (Actually, it was probably in celebration of the rumored taco emoji that will soon be gracing iPhones everywhere. ‘Bout time.)
On Wednesday, Molly (Susan) and I hopped on down to Gus’s Cafe, a bar on Butler that has recently paired up with PGH Taco Truck to serve the infamous tacos from their kitchen! I ordered two: Slow Roasted Pork Carnitas with Cotija Cheese, Lime-Pickled Onions and Cilantro, and Korean Flank Steak with Kimchi Salsa and Toasted Sesame Seeds. Can we taco bout those flavor combinations though?! Seriously.
Molly went with two classics: Ground Beef and Chicken, both made with Cheddar Jack cheese, salsa and sour cream. Messy, drippy goodness. And then we both went with a bottle of wine. Because duh.
Fast forward 24 hours, and Zach and I are sitting at Round Corner Cantina, sipping on sweet sangria and devouring their amazing chips and guacamole. It had been a long day – a day that required a drink when it was done – and we knew Friday would also be madness. Fun, fast and fashionable madness. So, we decided that tacos were completely necessary. Obviously.
I’ll admit, I was disappointed. My favorite tacos at Round Corner were no longer on the menu. Since they reopened last month, gone are the days of the lip-smacking, mouth-watering, ooey-gooey-cheesy shrimp tacos. Instead, it’s namesake is now a tempura mahi mahi taco with cabbage, pickled onions, queso fresco and cilantro. It’s light and fresh and perfectly acidic. I’ll admit, it was delicious. But you know me — I’ve never been one to deal well with change. Zach got the chorizo tacos, which came served with radishes, queso fresco and cilantro. Also delicious. But let’s be honest, the real hero of the night was that sangria, and the lonely girl with no diploma.
The thing I love most about dining at Round Corner Cantina in Lawrenceville is the atmosphere. It reminds me of having a Mexican-themed BBQ in an old friend’s backyard. The decor is colorful and hip; the list of libations is extensive, but the selection of food is minimal. They pride themselves on being a bar that serves food, not a restaurant, yet I find myself here every time I’m craving some below-the-border flavor.
Last week, I was craving tacos, so a night at Round Corner was the obvious choice. The order inevitably started with tortilla chips, which are fried in house, and an order of roja salsa, which we promptly devoured. The chips are fresh and greasy, and the perfect pair to the just-spicy-enough salsa. To drink, I ordered the refreshing, seasonal sangria, joined later by a cool mojito.
For dinner, we typically don’t vary from our usual selections: the puerco tacos for him, the gobernador tacos for me. The perfectly crisp and lightly seasoned tortillas of the puerco taco gracefully house an unbeatable combination of pork belly, apple pico de gallo, radishes and cilantro.
The gobernador tacos are stuffed with grilled shrimp, queso chihuahau, roasted seasonal tomatoes and cilantro. When sprinkled with a light dressing of lime, the tacos have a signature tang that pairs perfectly with the creaminess of the queso. Seriously – yum.
We ordered another round of drinks, and soaked in the atmosphere of the outdoor patio. The sun lightly struck our table, as we talked about life, laughter and our love of tacos. These kinds of nights are my favorite.