I’ve had a small handful of PR pitches to do product reviews and giveaways and/or to advertise on my site. I’ve turned them all down because the products have either been something I’m just not interested in or that are irrelevant to me or my readers (I don’t write here and you don’t read here to find out about my unstoppable cleaning techniques using X product…because my cleaning techniques are very stoppable). And I’m just not sure how I feel about advertising on blogs…or my blog, really. I’m not trying to start a debate, it’s just that I don’t think it’s for me. Not now, anyway.
However, a few weeks ago, I received an email from a woman who works for a local PR firm asking if I was interested in going to two local restaurants for tastings (full/legal disclosure: yes, our tastings were free) and then, if I liked the food, running a contest for gift certificates to both restaurants. I gave it some thought and decided that this was something that I felt was worthy of my pimpage and worthy of you, my most excellent readership, because it was non-cheesy and would benefit Pittsburgh businesses. And if you’ve hung around me for any length of time you know that I’m very pro-Pittsburgh.
I know, I know, you don’t care about my existential dilemma regarding capitalism, post-industrial flourishing, and my blog. I just can’t talk about this without over-explaining myself first. It’s just my way.
So, today I’m going to tell you about our lovely experience at the Sonoma Grille and give you a chance to enter for a $50 gift certificate. Tomorrow, I’m going to tell you about our lovely experience at Seviche and give you a chance to enter for a $50 gift certificate there.
If you’re new here, you picked a good day to stop by. Normally it’s just angst.
The husband and I headed downtown on a lovely Friday night. The original plan was to start at Sonoma Grille and then head over to Seviche. About two bites into our appetizer, I realized that we were going to need to reschedule our Seviche tasting: there was no way I was leaving a bite of this food on the table.
They started us off with the Stonehedge “Terroir” Malbec 2006, which was delicious and paired amazingly with our appetizer, Wild Mushroom Flatbread. Now, here’s something important to keep in mind: neither the husband nor I like mushrooms. When the appetizers landed in front of us, we both became very nervous, but figured now was as good a time as any to give mushrooms another chance. I was so glad that we did. The mushrooms were sooo savory and the combination of the bread, roasted tomato, chevre, olives, and cilantro pesto made us groan in delight.
To go with our entrees, we were presented with glasses of the Duckhorn “Golden Eye” 2006 Pinot Noir. I like wine a lot, but I’m no sommelier and I always wondered how people could pick up different notes and flavors. This wine laid it all out, bit by amazing bit. While I was still trying to compose myself, our entrees arrived. Before us sat a dish of sauteed veal strips with organic maitake mushrooms, spinach, an apple crisp, mashed parsnips and potatoes, and a black garlic sauce and a dish of Moroccan Braised Lamb Ravioli. Both dishes were out of this world and there were staring contests for the last bites of both.
As I polished off my wine, one of our lovely servers set a long, curved plank of wood in between. Eh? But then…they rested a sampler of their desserts on the plank and I thought I might cry. We had Cosmopolitan Sorbet, Lemon Meringue Cheesecake, Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee, Death by Chocolate Torte, and Peanut Butter Semifreddo.
The atmosphere of the Sonoma Grille is slightly fancy but definitely not uptight or stuffy. There were some folks there enjoying some post-game drinks in their Penguins gear, so while business casual dress would be most appropriate, you can go in your jeans and not feel gauche. (Though, really, this is Pittsburgh. You can wear your jeans and your Steelers jersey to the opera and be cool.) It is the perfect place for a date or celebratory dinner or for catching a good meal before or after a show at one of the theatres.
So, if you’re in or around Pittsburgh, I would love for you to try Sonoma Grille, too. To enter, just leave a comment on this post. You’ll have until next Wednesday, April 21 to enter, then I’ll select a winner using random.org and announce the lucky reader here on Thursday, April 22. Good luck!