Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pittsburgh Coffee Crawl: Enrico's Tazza D'Oro

Enrico's Tazza D'Oro Cafe and Espresso Bar
1125 N. Highland Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Phone: 412.362.3676

For some reason, I thought I had already reviewed Tazza D'Oro in a previous post, but I guess I didn't! Weird.

Anyway, a contingent of the Tuesday Night Crew crawled back to Tazza D'Oro for the second time, since last time, the baristas were busy training and rehearsing for some National competition in Washington, D.C., and thus, no espresso drinks were available.

That's right: the Tazza D'Oro baristas are all certified. That means they can make pretty leaves and hearts in your latte. I like that. Except for the part where it makes me buy a latte instead of a regular coffee, triggering an urge to spend even more because you HAVE to tip when a barrista makes a heart in your latte! Anyway, it's all very reasonably priced. I think it's about $2.25 for a small latte (still a dollar less than a comparable beverage at Starbucks!).

The cafe is set up on the first floor of a house in a very residential little neighborhood. It's easy to drive right by Tazza D'Oro because it blends right in. Inside, it's not terribly well-lit, but that's somehow ok. It's nice and quiet (no loud elevator music), except when the espresso machine is going, of course. All tables and chairs are wood, I think, and it just seems very brown inside. None of this is bad. It has a very organic feel to it.

Tazza D'Oro is probably not my favorite cafe ever, but I do like it. They have a quite extensive tea menu that I would like to sample from some time in the future. When you order tea, they wrap up the loose tea leaves (and, if applicable, other components) in what looks like a tiny mesh "tortilla". The finished "log" looks like a mini spring roll (or, as Karl put it, an owl pellet).

Check it out!

Fruit Fancy: Lemon Plums

A couple of weeks ago, while at the local Market District Giant Eagle (grocery store), I spotted a new, bright-yellow addition to the usual mounds of plums, peaches, and nectarines. The sign said "Lemon Plums" ($2.49/lb), and described them as a very rare fruit. The color was a little more fluorescent than a lemon's, but the bottom of the plums did have that nubby shape that is characteristic to both ends of the lemon. I bought one to satisfy my curiosity, especially since they weren't any more expensive than regular old tree-ripened black or red plums (makes you wonder how rare they really are!).

The sign said that, as the plum ripened, its brilliant lemon-yellow color would gradually turn to a pretty red hue. So I waited. And waited. I waited for over a week. FINALLY, the plum did start to turn red. It was actually rather a stunning display, as if the plum were in the midst of a slow-motion blush. I knew the plum was finally ripening by the actual firmness.

When Karl and I finally tasted it, we decided that yes, it was delicious, but it didn't really taste much different from a regular plum. Maybe for this time of year, it tastes sweeter than most plums, but we did wait almost 10 days for the thing to ripen.

Incidentally, I cannot find anything about this fruit on the internet. Weird, right? Even Wikipedia's article on Plums doesn't mention this particular "cultivar" ("a plant variety that has been produced in cultivation by selective breeding," according to my MacBook dictionary).

So, if anyone knows anything about this mysterious fruit, do tell!