Tuesday, July 17, 2007

pittsburgh diner review (II)

Pamela's P&G Diner

60 21st Street
Pittsburgh, Pa 15222 (Strip District)

A friend of mine once described good coffee as being “like sex in the mouth”; if good coffee is sex in the mouth, then Pamela’s is nothing less than the breakfast-climax. Their business card claims that Pamela’s is the best breakfast in Pittsburgh; I might dispute that, preferring: Best Breakfast in Pennsylvania or Best Breakfast on the East Coast or Best Breakfast in North America or…well, you get the point. Everything about Pamela’s fits neatly into the Utopian breakfast experience: the perfectly rolled Banana and Chocolate Chip Hotcakes, plenty of good, hot coffee, the Lyonaise Potatoes (homefries), the well-lit pink and blue artificial-fifties interior decorated neatly with retro-ish photographs and the pleasant service that rivals that of any diner I’ve ever been to. So, if you’ve yet to venture on down to the Strip for an epic breakfast at the newest Pamela’s location, I plead with you to make your way down there… as fast as humanly possible.

Happy Days (Are Here Again): 9.6
Juan Valdez Says: 4.5
My Money Doesn't Grow on Trees: 9.8
What Would You Like To-night?: 9.1
May I Kneel Before the King?: 9.7

(+) outdoor seating; plenty of parking nearby; colorful, easy to read menus
(-) you’ve gotta be kidding

Total Tab:
Banana and Chocolate Chip Hotcakes: $6.95
Coffee: $1.50
Tax: $0.52
Sub-Total: $7.97
Tip: $2.00
Total: $9.97

pittsburgh diner review (I)

Ritter's Diner

5221 Baum Blvd
Pgh, Pa 15224

New Jersey is over three hundred miles away but walk into this Shadyside establishment and it instantly feels like you've been transported to the Garden State circa Nineteen-Sixty-Eight. The wait-staff was typical diner-quirky; expressions of the servers' own tastes abound (to-night, ours was proudly donning pink Betty Boop Scrubs). Prices were surprisingly low ($4.80 for an omlette) though the coffee was slightly higher than I'm used to ($1.35) all the while being the only blight of the experience here - few times in my life have I had a weak, flavorless brew this low in quality. Electronic jukeboxes accompany the late sixties/early seventies style booths in the smoking section, which is really the only section worth being seated in; that is, if you want to be absorbed (or transported) into the wonderful vintage atmosphere here (the non- section is a separate room in the back that feels much more like the awkward room at buffet restaurants where resistant patrons stubbornly order from a menu). As mentioned earlier, the omlettes are inexpensive (add-ons are extra: 50 cents for cheese, 25 cents for anything else) yet most surprisingly delightful; neither under nor overcooked and accompanied with homefries and toast (white, wheat or rye).

Oh, It's so Jersey!: 8.6
Juan Valdez Says: 0.5
My Money Doesn't Grow on Trees: 7.4
What Would You Like To-night?: 6.8
May I Kneel Before the King?: 6.0

(+) dirty silverware (ask for clean!)
(-) electronic jukebox, no on-table jelly, no strawberry jelly

Total Tab:
Ham Omlette: $4.80; with Cheese (+ .50) and Tomato (+.25)
Coffee: $1.35
Tax: $0.49
Sub-Total: $7.39
Tip: $2.61
Total: $10.00