Local Love X Apteka
My grandmother, Betty, pinches pierogis every Friday in the cellar of an old Church located in one of Pittsburgh's salt-of-the-earth towns, Ambridge. I've been consuming them my entire life. So, safe to say, my standards for Polish cuisine is pretty damn high.
My boyfriends brother, JM, is one of the most passionate people I know. He has this enthusiasm to him that is contagious. His descriptions of things are so detailed and vivid that he hooks you and reals you deep deep down the fishing pole.
When he wants you to try something, you'll try it.
So when he comes up to me, like six different times, and casually chats about "the best periogi i've ever had in my entire life, this place called Apteka, oh my god, I have been 3 times this week", well, you'll go try it.
I'm so happy I did.
I can't stop.
Grandma, I love your pierogis. I mean, I even dream about them - but I'm a vegan now, and that butter just ain't sittin' right.
Oh, and there's a new playa playa in town. Maybe not new - they opened in March of 2016, but each time I sit down at my table to eat, it's like I've found a golden new gem all over again.
If you live in Pittsburgh, do yourself a favor, and go. Apteka lives at 4606 Penn Avenue, in a humble brick building across from the cemetery. Take a couple shuffles inside, and you've been transformed from our gritty city to Eastern Europe.
WHAT TO EAT
This is so hard. How do I even begin? The menu is scribbled on a big scroll of paper hanging on the wall right as you walk in. The prices are super fair, so order away, my friends. Here's my usual:
Boczniaki z kapusta
oyster mushroom + braised cabbage in beer broth + butternut miso + rye crumb
*The butternut miso will make you cry tears of joy. Bring tissues.
Z kapusta i grzybami / seler z jablkiem i ziemniakami i chrzanem
Sauerkraut + mushroom . Celeriac + apple + potato + horseradish
*Do yourself a favor, order the 7 for $11 to avoid fighting with your company.
Salad with porcini vin + pickled beet + roast turnip + pea shoots + mint toast
*Get the whole, not the half.
DRINK DRANK DRUNK
If I could choose one cocktail to sip on foreva and eva eva, it would be this one:
Becherovka, house tonic, burnt lemon.
Dessert? Just order 5 more of those cocktails.
Eat outside when the weather is nice. It feels like a secret garden.
Pay in cash if you can! Small businesses are <3.
Sunday nights are Lonely No More, they have a special drink for $5 after 9 and it's always the bomb.
Now stop reading this, and go.