Saturday, September 10, 2011

Weekend Cooking (while Discovering Pittsburgh): Kaya

I had occasion to make my first visit to the Strip District this week.

In the middle of the day, no less.

(You're wondering what, exactly, my new job involves ... aren't you?)

Fear not, my dear friends. (And family.)  For you non-Pittsburgh folks, the Strip District ain't what it seems.  As a Philly girl, this one half mile "strip" of land along the Allegheny River reminded me of what you'd get if you combined Philadelphia's Italian Market, the Manayunk section of the city, and a bit of Reading Terminal Market thrown in for good measure.  From what I saw of the Strip, food is a big deal.  There are produce distributors and the Pittsburgh Public Market is also located there, along with a variety of restaurants.

One of those restaurants is Kaya, where I had the pleasure of dining for lunch one day this week. (Photo borrowed from Kaya's website, as I was here for business-related purposes and I didn't want to explain why I was snapping photos of my food and that of my dining companions' meals.)  

As Kaya's site says, the cuisine here is "inspired by the sea and sun ... incorporating the culinary customs of the Caribbean, South America, the Pacific and beyond."

I admit, I don't have much experience or knowledge of Caribbean cooking so I wasn't sure what to expect.  I was relieved to see that Kaya was advertising an upcoming seasonal Vegetarian Prix Fixe Dinner, held every third Wednesday of the month.  That made me think this was a vegetarian-friendly establishment, Indeed, the lunch menu did have some appealing offerings.

I enjoyed the Crispy Fish Tacos (and yes, I fully realize I am not supposed to be calling myself vegetarian if I'm eating fish; technically, I am a flexitarian, if truth be told).  This consisted of cabbage slaw, avocado, spicy creme fraiche, cilantro, Reyna's tortillas, and Kaya salad. Since I was unsure about the spicy creme fraiche, our waiter assured me that I could have that on the side - and in fact, it arrived as such.

Everything tasted incredibly fresh, the tortillas were soft, and the portion size was generous. Sprinkled with pepitas, the salad had what seemed to be a light lime and cilantro dressing, but just subtle enough as to not be overpowering.

I also sampled some delicious sweet potato fries from one of my dining companions, who had had them previously and said they were among the very best sweet potato fries ever.  They were the perfect blend of seasoning and crispness, with the full flavor of the sweet potato in abundance.  The dining companion's lunch was the Slow Pulled Pork and Banana Sandwich, which was proclaimed to be very good.

Our waiter was attentive without being overbearing, and near the conclusion of our meal, the manager came over to inquire about our food and experience.

Kaya is one of six distinctive restaurants that comprise Pittsburgh's big Burrito Restaurant Group. If the quality of the food and the experience is just as good at the other restaurants as it was at Kaya, I hope to have the chance to try them soon.

Kaya is located at 2000 Smallman Street in Pittsburgh's Strip District, serving lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch.  

What Other Bloggers Had to Say About Kaya:

A Hamburger Today tells us about the Kaya Burger, which apparently comes with a steak knife in the center to hold the concoction together.  

iheartpgh is a blog that's proving to be a wealth of information on this new city of mine.  The fact that Kaya hosts an event called KayaFest  is very good to know, indeed.

Iron City Eats liked the fish tacos, too.

Pittsburgh By a Geek had what one of my dining companions had (the slow-pulled pork and banana sandwich)

Snickie , another one of my favorite Pittsburgh blogs.

and if you're interested in taking a peek at Kaya's restrooms, The Toilets of the World blog allows you to do just that.  (This is proof that there is, in fact, a blog for every topic and niche imaginable.)

I don't have any affiliation with Kaya other than being a happy customer.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.  

Discovering Pittsburgh is my occasional blog series on the new places and experiences we're enjoying in our newly adopted city.  

copyright 2011, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Carol @ There's Always Thyme to Cook said...

Looks like a great place, love those stools! I'd have loved a fish taco. Now you have me craving and I am no where near Pittsburgh!

caite said...

I* have been by Pittsburgh many time, but I have never been into the city. Maybe I need to check it out,
love your flexitarian term.

Beth F said...

Just from your description using Philly terms, I'm hooked. Hummm, I think I have a couple of friends in Pittsburgh I could visit. Those fish tacos sound awesome.

TheBookGirl said...

It's great when a restaurant emphasizes the fresh and healthy as this one seems to.
I'd love to see that "strip" district -- big farmer's markets are a favorite of mine.

Heather said...

sounds like a yummy place.