For this entry, in lieu of a recipe, I instead have a Pittsburgh dining recommendation for you.
Last night, my husband and I went to Kaya’s Prix Fixe Vegetarian/Vegan Dinner. Kaya is a Carribean themed restaurant in the Strip District, and is run by the same company who runs Mad Mex, Soba, Umi, Casbah, and Eleven. On the third Wednesday of each month, Kaya has a special dinner for $39 per person. Half of the choices are vegan, and half are vegetarian. All of them are delicious. If you can, go with a friend so you can try all the courses!
While attending another month, our waiter informed us that August was generally the most delicious month, so since we were in town, we decided to go.
The starter was delicious. The grilled hominy flatbread was hearty, corny and chewy. The corn hummus, which was basically hummus made with corn rather than chickpeas, was juicy and fresh tasting. It was sprinkled with tomato powder.
The vegan first course was a shredded papaya, tomato, and corn salad. It was very tropical tasting, and was quite yummy. However, we liked the vegetarian first course better.
The vegetarian first course was a heirloom tomato salad served over a corn-parmesan puree. It was kind of like a thick vinaigrette, and was intensely corny tasting. The tomatoes were also perfectly ripe and very delicious.
The second course was great.
The vegan option was grilled summer squash (zucchini and yellow squash) with sauteed chanterelle mushrooms. If you like mushrooms, and you’ve never had a chanterelle, you need to remedy that soon. They are absolutely amazing.
The vegetarian option was Chile Relleno. The chile was stuffed with corn and cheeses, was breaded, deep fried, and served over a mole sauce. The chile had a perfect balance of everything. It wasn’t super cheesy, and it wasn’t very greasy. The spice level was nice, but not overpowering, and the mole sauce had a nice hint of cinnamon. This was one of my favorites from the whole meal.
In between the second and third course, you get a sorbet to cleanse your palate. This month’s was Watermelon-Lime:
We couldn’t taste the lime, but the watermelon flavor was so fresh and intense, it was just like eating a frozen chunk of watermelon, but with a sorbet texture.
The third course was kind of Asian-inspired.
The vegan option was Smoky Grilled Tofu with Pickled Wax Beans, corn, tomatoes, and cilantro in a corn broth. Usually, I HATE smoke flavoring. With a passion. I can taste smoke where others can’t taste any. However, this tofu must have been actually cooked over charcoal or wood, because it didn’t have the bitter chemical taste that many artificially smoked foods have. The tofu itself was also of high quality, and was very dense. The pickled wax beans were really tasting and were surprisingly crisp.
The vegetarian option was “Ramen”. I was expecting noodles, because on the menu, there were no quotation marks around the word ramen. However, it was still pretty good. The broth was nice and fresh, and the trumpet mushrooms were absolutely delicious. The rice sticks were super crispy on the outside, and chewy on the inside. I avoided the poached egg like the plague (I can’t deal with the texture of runny eggs), but it looked like it was cooked very well. It was a beautiful color and shape, and when my husband broke it open, the yolk oozed out.
The vegan dessert was peach doughnuts with a peach “milkshake”. The doughnuts were basically peaches dipped in a batter similar to funnel cake batter, and then they were deep fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar. The peach “milkshake” tasted soy-based and very peachy.
The vegetarian dessert, S’mores, was AMAZING. It was toasted marshmallow flavored ice cream with a graham wafer, sitting atop a bed of hot fudge, with a side of bruleed marshmallow creme. It was one of the best desserts I’ve had at Kaya.
After the dinner, they give you some chocolates from Mon Aimee (Also in the Strip). The chocolate this time were little wafers of dark chocolate.
I hope you enjoyed the pictures from Kaya. If you can, please check out one of their Prix Fixe dinners! It’s expensive, but it’s worth it! (Especially for a special occasion). If not, their regular food is also very good!
Finally, which of these dishes should I try to recreate at home?