Eat: Oysters at Muddy Waters Oyster Bar
As Jonathan Swift famously wrote, “He was a bold man that first ate an oyster.” It would follow then that it takes an even bolder man to open an entire restaurant dedicated to the slimy little buggers. But with the opening of East Liberty’s new Muddy Waters Oyster Bar, Chef Adam Kucenic has done just that.
Though the banks of the Allegheny stand in for the Mississippi Delta, Muddy Waters aims to capture the spirit of a classic New Orleans oyster bar. Located on South Highland Avenue in the former home of Casa Rasta, the bright and airy space is filled with clinking glasses, jazz music and of course, plenty of oysters. The bivalves, which are carefully sourced from both coasts, can be ordered chargrilled or in the classic Rockefeller preparation, or simply slurped down raw with a glass of champagne. And if your New Year’s resolution is to save some money, stop by during happy hour, when oysters on the half shell are just a buck each.
If oysters aren’t your thing, Chef Kucenic has filled the menu with plenty of less briny Cajun classics. Order up a bowl of chicken and sausage gumbo or grab a muffaletta, the French Quarter sandwich that comes piled high with cured meats and pickled goodness. Saturday and Sunday brunch brings hearty Southern staples like chicken and biscuits and Bananas Foster French Toast. The bar is similarly Big Easy-inspired, serving up classic Sazeracs and Ramos Gin Fizzes alongside a selection of craft beer and lots of bubbly.
To see a full menu and make a reservation, head to the Muddy Waters Oyster Bar website.
Drink: A bottle of juice (or a full cleanse, if you’re ambitious like that)
New Year’s resolutions are famous for fading before the Christmas tree has even come down. But after a season filled with pies, booze and hedonism in all its various forms, some sort of reset is very much in order. So while you may not be able to stick to (or afford) a full year of ultra-healthy living, a visit this week to one of Pittsburgh’s many juice shops would do the body good.
Squirrel Hill’s GreenLight Juice is one of the most recent additions to the city’s juice bar scene. Opened in September, GreenLight offers a menu of 100% organic juices, nut milks and health shots, including four formulations of the ubiquitous green juice. And to kick off the New Year, GreenLight is offering a 10 percent discount on all of their juice cleanses this week.
In Lawrenceville, The Pittsburgh Juice Company boasts a range of organic, cold-pressed juices conveniently packaged in returnable, grab-and-go glass bottles. In addition to the juices, smoothies and teas, PJC serves a selection of raw, vegan snacks like spring rolls and fruit leather. And it seems Vin Diesel likes their juice: The Witch’s Brew, a blend that includes apple, kale and ginger, was custom made for the cast and crew of The Last Witch Hunter when it filmed here in 2014.
With locations in Sewickley and Shadyside and a food truck on the way, Salúd Juicery is quickly becoming a Pittsburgh juicing powerhouse. Salúd specializes in whimsically named juice blends like The Beet Goes On, a mix of beet, carrot, apple, ginger and lemon. Salúd’s menu also includes kombucha, a selection of hot drinks, and energy-packed bowls of oats and fruit. Read more about Salúd’s story here.
All that barely scratches the surface of Pittsburgh’s juice scene. 2015 was a big year for juice Downtown, and we wrote about the openings of Delicious Raw and The Umbrella Cafe. So while you may not want to make a grand resolution, grab a bottle of local juice and start the year off on the right foot.
Do: Beer, barbacoa and bingo at The Summit
“Taco Tuesday.” The phrase likely inspires memories of stale yellow shells and anemically spiced mystery meat. The Summit has a better plan. To start 2016 off with a bang, the Mount Washington bar is launching a decidedly more appealing rendition of the cafeteria mainstay.
Every Tuesday night at the Summit, five bucks will get you two barbacoa beef tacos or two vegetarian smoked tofu tacos. The tacos will be available until 1 a.m., a welcome exception to Pittsburgh’s much maligned lack of late-night dining. In addition, every Tuesday will feature $2 off the Summit’s brewery of the month. For January, it’s California’s Green Flash Brewing, whose hop-forward beers are well loved in the craft beer world.
If beef and beer aren’t enough, Tuesdays are also bingo nights at the Summit. Ed Bailey, a stand-up comedian and co-host of the Drinking Partners podcast, hosts a free bingo night with chances to win prizes. If you find bar trivia to be terribly stressful, this is the night for you.
The Summit has plenty of other plans for the New Year, including a monthly “Up in Smoke” dinner special with smoked meats and cocktails. Keep up with it all over at the Summit’s Facebook page.