In our new series, "Barrios", Cafe Con Leche explores neighborhoods around the country, discovering all things Latino, with special attention to the people, food + drink and place.
I love city dates. Take the city you live in and go out on a solo date with it. A few Sundays ago I took myself on a city date with Pittsburgh. I had a hankering for a long walk and some good food. It was a beautiful afternoon and so I chose to walk through the Allegheny Cemetery, starting at the Penn Ave. entrance and exiting onto Butler St. in Lawrenceville. I love walking (or running) through the Allegheny Cemetery - it's peaceful, green, mostly down hill (from Bloomfield to Lawrenceville), and you get to see wild life (a family of deer, groundhogs, geese, hawks) all in the middle of the city. Not to mention those eccentric gravestones of Pittsburghers long deceased. Exit on to Butler St. and walk along to find a place to eat - there are a lot of cute little shops and restaurants you can explore.
As I walked along Butler St., stumbled into the newish tapas bar - Morcilla. Immediately as I walked in I was reminded of the Spanish tradition of standing at tapas bars. Gleefully I slide into the spot right next to the front window.
Food + Drink
The food menu is broken down into several different types of tapas; the wine menu has a nice variety of Spanish wines. There is something for everyone. My favorite pairing was the Queso de Cabra Croquetas, which was beautiful dressed with membrillo (fig jelly), and a dry sherry wine.
What I loved the most was standing at the bar - I felt like I was transported from Pittsburgh to the small tapas bar in Madrid. I could watch the street scape of Lawrenceville roll past as I tried various Spanish wines and snacked on tapas. The sky was also the most amazing shade of blue.
All the wines can be bought at 2oz pours - this not only helps your portion control but also your wallet. Morcilla also serves draft table wine which is an even more affordable price. Many of the tapas cost about $5 or $6. Which means a 2oz glass of wine and one tapas dish could cost you less than $10, get two tapas and a glass of wine for under $15.
This city date definitely ranks as one of the best ones I have ever had with Pittsburgh!
5:00 PM - Close. Closed on Tuesdays. Morcilla serves weekend lunch. Saturday and Sunday from 11:00AM - 2:00PM through the end of April. Starting May 7, they will begin all day service on Saturday and Sunday at 1:00PM.
(Full discloser: I am normally weary of restaurants that serve Latino food but are not Latino-owned. "Morcilla" restaurant was a particular sore spot because of the emotional attachment to morcillas that Puerto Ricans hold - we serve it at holiday meals (lechon, arroz con gandules, guineos and morcilla). So the thought of there being a restaurant that was named Morcilla that did not serve morcillas made me made my heart hurt a little. I also understand that it is a stretch to call Spanish food "Latino" food. That all being said, quality is quality. And Morcilla is quality - loved my whole experience!)