Founded in 1902, when everyone walked uphill both ways, the Bulls have evolved into one of the country's best-known minor-league teams. Boasting a rich history and talented prospects making their way to the majors, the Bulls play in the 15-year-old Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Featuring a 10,000-seat capacity, comfy extra-wide seating, a new video board, and a sublime view of the bull perched atop the 32-foot Blue Monster in left field, the Durham Bulls Athletic Park is a superb place to witness the 2009 AAA National Champions run, hit, and skillfully communicate with a flurry of dexterous semaphore. Stocked with young talent, the Bulls will showcase several players in 2010 that are sure to soon end up on a major-league roster. Inspired by 23-year-old Desmond Jennings—who posted a .325 batting average and .419 on-base percentage last year—and 22-year-old, hard-throwing Jeremy Hellickson—who fanned 70 batters and walked only 15 in 57.1 innings—the Bulls are primed for another title run through an action-packed schedule this year.
Owner and chef Omar Mediouni imbues La Casa Tapas and Wine Bar's menu of traditional Spanish and Moroccan small plates and entrees with local ingredients and an appetite for culinary fusion that, according to Pittsburgh City Paper, "combines sophistication and comfort, authenticity and simplicity." Flagpole-addicted tongues warm up with a choice of 16 hot tapas, including the chorizo catalan's spicy sautéed sausage and spinach in a red-wine reduction ($10), and tomatoes, sweet pepper, and eggplant form the base of a duo of Moroccan dips ($8 each). Larger entrees ($16–$28) sneak garbanzo beans, chicken, lamb, and eggplant into piles of couscous or saffron paella rice like parents tucking Easter eggs into an egg carton.
Nestled within a brick house along a neighborhood street in Shadyside, La Casa Tapas and Wine Bar greets springtime by opening its patio to warm breezes and showers of cupid arrows. Inside, a hanging Spanish guitar, lanterns lit by candles, and the wide grin of a bright red hearth contribute to a cozy, eclectic spirit.
Beginning with traditional American flavors, Toast! kitchen & wine bar's chefs elevate those dishes to new heights and create refined versions of familiar favorites. Habanero-spiced cheddar adds a piquant kick to servings of shrimp and organic corn grits, and flatbreads feature hearty toppings such as roasted mushrooms, brie, and white truffle oil. True to its name, Toast! also curates a selection of international wines available in tasting portions, glasses, or full bottles so the whole table can enjoy reading the label aloud.
Crimson walls, dark wooden rafters, and suede banquettes contribute to the space's calming and lounge-like ambiance. That quiet, cozy atmosphere inspired CBS Pittsburgh to place the wine bar on its 2013 list of the Best Bars For A Blind Date In Pittsburgh. As if to encourage refined conversation, framed artwork surrounds the dining room, lit by sconces and pendant lamps dangling above the bar.
Siba Cucina immerses its guests in the sensory experience of dining in Italian villa, filling rustic brick and stucco walls with the scent of hearth-baked pizzas and flatbreads, butter and spicy tomato sauce ladled onto fresh pasta, and grilled steaks of salmon and filet mignon. Guests belly up to the wine bar for tapas and imported Italian wines or savor elegant dinners of lump crab cake, housemade meatballs, and pan-roasted sea scallops.
Drinkers can get their fill of fine, fermented libations at The Barrel Room, where guests meet more than 20 wines by the glass, an assortment of imported and domestic beers, and noshables that soak up the stomach's liquidy contents to make room for more. A sip of Norton malbec will excite tongues with a mildly berryish, tongue-smoothening Argentine flavor ($5), and Australia's Red Bank pinot grigio entices nostrils with floral, herbal, and pear notes ($7) while friending palates with its fruity mouthtaste. Malted options include Dogfish Head's 90-Minute IPA ($6.50) and Delirium Tremens, a Belgian pale ale that's often prescribed by non-licensed psychiatrists as a remedy for madness ($6). Three-part wine flights are available every night in red- or white-hued trios ($8–$10).