Saturday, June 06, 2009

Paris 66 Great New Bistro

Today we stopped by a brand new restaurant for lunch. Our friends Fred and Lori Rongier had their "soft opening" on Friday, June 5th. Fred is French and has created an authentic bistro like you would find in Paris. We have been hoping Fred would open a place ever since tasting his wonderful crepes at our son's school parties at Linden Academy.

The menu features crepes but also has entrees, salads, pastries, coffee etc. Prices are amazingly reasonable. The food is to die for. Located in the sprouting East Liberty/East Side area, the design and decor is right out of Paris. As you walk in you are greeted by a long case filled with delectables. Behind the case is an open kitchen gleaming with shiny stainless. The chef, Ceasir, is from the Brittany province of France. He is friendly, greeting customers to make sure they are happy with their meals and bellowing "Merci" to every compliment.

The service is great. Fred and/or Lori greet guests as they arrive. They are warm, outgoing, genuine people. Bussing are their two oldest children. The rest of the wait staff is very professional and experienced. Many worked at the recently closed Au Provence in Squirrel Hill. Our waiter was American, but spoke fluent French with a perfect accent and was extremely knowledgeable. In addition to the head chef, Paris 66 also has a French pastry chef.

We each had a savory crepe: the La Montmarte, made with organic buckwheat flour, chicken, mushrooms and bechamel, and the La Paris 66 with ham, swiss cheese, egg, mushrooms and tomato Provencal. Both were amazing. We split a chocolate mousse for dessert; this almost resulted in a brawl over the last morsel. It was fantastic, perfect flavor and consistency.

The dinner menu is very impressive. I can't wait to try the Seafood Spring Roll or the Salmon filet a la Parisienne. The most expensive item on the menu, Duck Confit is only $22.50. Also they have a BYOB policy with a specialty State Store only steps away at the Eastside Shops.

With summer upon us there is a back deck which will be full furnished by the June 21st official grand opening. They open early, 8:30 and stay open most nights until 10. Fred and Lori welcome cyclists to give that true spirit of France. Lou's Crew will be stopping by soon for coffee and crepes following a ride. With great food, atmosphere and prices Paris 66 is sure to be the hot Pittsburgh restaurant for 2009.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Pirates Trade McClouth for Charlie Brown

The Pirates are at it again. For some stupid reason I'm a life long Pirate fan. I was buying in again this year and again they pulled the football out just as I was running into it.

Last year at this time they had the best outfield in baseball: Xavier Nady, Jason Bay and Nate McClouth. In less than a year they are all gone, replaced by 11 prospects. Of those 11 prospects we have one starting third baseman who shows some promise, two starting pitchers, one who looks decent and one who looks very average, a fourth outfielder who doesn't look too good, two double A outfielders who look promising and a cougar baby snatching wife, three minor league pitchers who may or may not ever be on the Pirates and two pitchers with long term injuries. I think I would rather be entertained with the best outfield in baseball and at least root for possible mediocraty.

The Pirates haven't been too bad this year considering Ryan Doumit has been out most of the year. Starting pitching and defense have been very good. Offense and particularly power have been bad. So of course we trade our best power hitter. McClouth is a guy I really enjoyed watching. He is small but always gave great effort. He has a perfect swing for PNC Park and generates a lot of pull power. He goes all out in the outfield and makes some awesome defensive plays. The truth though, is that but for two great months last year he is a lifetime .250 hitter. He makes spectacular plays, but experts who analyze these types of things statistically say he is actually a below average center fielder. Replacing him will be the organization's best prospect Andrew McCutcheon. He has performed well throughout the minors, but has yet to generate power.

As our President would remind us: "Hope." Hey, he is a Cubs and White Sox fan. Maybe some of these prospects will shine so we can trade them for prospects as soon as we as fans buy into the players. Don't worry, I will still be running full steam at the football just so the Nuttings can pull another Lucy on me.