Birthday meal (4th Dec,2008)

As it was my birthday this week, we went out for a meal in one of the many restaurants I want to try, Soba Lounge. The Soba Lounge is a very chic, elegant and trendy place, some people might say that it was posh. It has a lounge bar in one half of the bottom floor and the other half is a restaurant and the restaurant as a whole is quite big as it takes up about 3 floors of the building. The decor is very stylish and modern with a Zen-like twist and a water fountain feature wall, which adds to the "Oh" factor. We were seated at a table complete with two smooth dark grey stones to add the finishing touches and carry on the Zen theme to the place settings. The restaurant was dimly-lit and each table had a candle, creating a romantic mood(even though our candle kept going out...the waitress kept having to replace it, at least 3 times!)A friend had recommended a cocktail but unfortunately it was no longer on the menu so I tried a Pacific Rim cocktail instead, which had vanilla Absolut, granadine, blue Curacao and maybe pineapple juice. It was good but a little on the potent side for me. Service was very good and prompt. They brought us a little appetizer while we were waiting for our order, pitta triangles and a spicy cucumber salad. My boyfriend, who didn't use to like spicy food and who can now eat spicier than me, loved it but I found it a little too spicy. We shared a starter of mushroom and spinach dumplings with a spicy dipping sauce, nice but maybe a little on the bland side, my boyfriend then had a salmon dish and I had a Vietnamese caramel pork dish served with winter squash and garlic green beans. The food was really nice although my pork was a bit too fatty. We then shared a dessert, asian pear with gingerbread, which was heavenly. Portions were just right not the usual humungous portions you get in the States, which you can't finish and have to take home the leftovers in a doggie bag. The restaurant is a little on the expensive side but it is definitely worth a visit if you are ever in Pittsburgh. It has been voted one of the best pan-Asian/fusion food places in the city and is also a great lounge bar. As for my pressies, my friends know me well. My boyfriend got me a nice warm brown winter coat a la JLo, a new purse and a cupcake calendar....so watch this space, I'll be getting down to some serious baking and a friend bought me a nice recipe book so I can write down all my fav recipes. Unfortunately, the photos of the food in the restaurant didn't turn out as they are too dark so this entry is pictureless!

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