Eliza Jane Brown is a genius at finding new ways to spike classic dishes. She was whipping up boozy baked goods and treats at Eliza’s Oven in the Pittsburgh Public Market until the market closed earlier this year, and now, she has her sights set on her own storefront, with Prohibition Pastries set to open later this summer in Point Breeze.
In addition to spending time in her own kitchen, Brown makes it a point to eat out – a lot. While she eats fish, Brown doesn’t eat poultry or red meat, so her eating habits tend to be a little different from most other chefs out there (even though her best-selling item is her Steak and Stout Pies!).
“Because of this, eating out is always a bit of a search for the menu that will give me something new and exciting to eat, as vegetarian meals can be the same from restaurant to restaurant,” she says. In her words, she’s picking out her five favorite dishes around town.
Mac & Cheese and Tofu Bites at Kelly’s: It’s not a single dish, but I always get them together. The ‘Pittsburgh Bites’ can be ordered as chicken or tofu, and I get the tofu. But beware, you will need a gallon of beer to wash down the heat of these babies! So I get the with the super cheesy and lightly-peppery Mac & Cheese that Kelly’s is known for, and together, they make the perfect dive bar meal. (Kelly’s Bar and Lounge, 6012 Centre Avenue)
Fish Tacos at Round Corner Cantina: Perfect balance of creamy and citrusy, and a great crunch of radish for flavor and texture. Everywhere I go, I try the fish tacos if they are on the menu, and so far, I haven’t found the tacos to beat out the flavor-rich and flavor-balanced tacos at RCC! (Round Corner Cantina, 3720 Butler Street)
Tuna Steak at Aldofo’s: I just ate here for the first time a few days ago, and I was very impressed. The food all looked like it was something that came out of my Grandmother’s kitchen. Very homestyle and comforting. We had delicious appetizers and desserts (the tres leches cake was stunning), but the highlight was my Cajun-rubbed tuna steak. Lightly seared and raw in the center, it was a pack of flavor and perfect texture. Paired with roasted peppers and onions, it was really one of the best meals I have had in a while. (Aldofo’s, 4770 Liberty Avenue)
Curry at Thai Cottage: I love Thai food. And the curries at Thai cottage have never let me down. And they don’t hold back on the spice, either. I know that if I ever want ‘melt-your-face-off’ hot Thai food (which I often do) that still retains an equal amount of delicate and balanced flavor, Thai Cottage is where I am gonna go. (Thai Cottage, 1109 S. Braddock Avenue)
Pizza at Proper Pizza: They have unique flavors, and an AMAZING crust. I love to go to Proper for a pie and a pint! (Proper Brick Oven & Tap Room, 137 7th Street)