Experience Pittsburgh, One Bite at a Time By Stacy Skiavo
It’s not every Thursday I have off from work, but when I do I like to make the most of it. It’s also not every day I decide to get lunch solo at a place that doesn’t have a drive-thru. My intention was to enjoy lunch at Cocoa Cafe, but my failure to read hours of operation correctly resulted in a lunch relocation. Lucky for me, a nice lady and her dog were denied and delivered the unfortunate news seconds before I got to the door and saved me the rejection, and even luckier not even a block down was Piccolo Forno.
Piccolo Forno or “small oven” in Italian a great big smile and eager to assist, the waitress greeted me and gave me free range to choose a table – I went straight for the window seat. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a seat with a view. The large window panes gave me a clear view of Butler street including some of my tasty blog throwbacks like Franktuary and Round Corner Cantina.
Back to Piccolo – the walls are brick and lined with black and white photos with golden lamps above. In the center of the place is a brew station with a fancy brick oven.
To start off my lunch I decided to give their cappuccino a whirl. It was the perfect temperature and the amount of foam. I like my coffee sweet, so a little more sugar was needed, but still a great cup.
Everything sounded great on the menu, the unique pizza options like Tartuffo (panna, truffle cacio, asparagus, corn, egg, truffle oil) really caught my eye and Italians typically do pizza best, but I just had pizza last night so I kept looking. Surprisingly, the paninis sounded just as good. I selected the Fiorentia – genoa salami, marinated artichokes, fontina cheese and pesto. Each panini comes with a bean salad, but that honestly that just wasn’t what I wanted. Unfortunately, they do not take any soup substitutions (and the pasta figula sounded really good), but you can get a green salad for a small up-charge.
My lunch arrived quickly – in under ten minutes I’d say and looked great. The green salad contained tomatoes, sliced carrots, peppers and was dressed in a great vinaigrette that was packed with flavor. The sandwich was toasted perfectly served on ciabtta bread. It had what I like to call the perfect amount of butter – enough for flavor, but not too much to send my stomach in knots.
My grandmother always said – “a little ice cream for dessert, helps with digestion.” I don’t think that is true, but they are certainly words to live by, so bring on the gelato.
After hearing the gelato specials and scanning the dessert menu, I landed on the mixed berry gelato. It was creamy, sweet and berrylicious – the perfect way to end a perfect lunch.