La Gourmandine will take over the former Penn Avenue Fish spot on Forbes Avenue
Munch needed eggs.
And, as with most things, Munch is blaming zee Germans for this craving. Curse them and their delicious beer, and their fun drinking songs, and their beer, and their frauleins in deceptively sexy dirndls, and did Munch mention their beer? And who thought it would be a good idea to have all these Oktoberfests in town on the same weekend?
Munch has little will power when it comes to good beer, and with friends from Texas and Australia visiting on the same weekend that the Church Brew Works, Penn Brewery and Hofbrauhaus got their Ein Prosit! on, Munch was in for a rough Saturday morning. Which brings us to the eggs.
Why eggs, you ask?
Because eggs contain cysteine.
What is that, you ask?
It's an amino acid.
Can you just tell me why it's important instead of using a lame second-person interrogative rhetorical device, wiseguy?
Fine. Although it sounds like something used in fracking fluid, or the bonding agent in Pauly D's hair, cysteine is a nonessential amino acid that occurs naturally in a variety of food sources, most prominently in eggs.
According to the crack research team here at Munch Inc., LLC (read: Wikipedia), cysteine counteracts the poisonous effects of acetaldehyde, which is the major by-product of alcohol metabolism and is responsible for most of the negative aftereffects and long-term damage associated with alcohol use. In other words, it's a hangover remedy.
So Munch needed eggs, and it was a good excuse to visit a great little greasy spoon: Bella Ria's, on Perry Highway, perched above North Hills' Martorelli Stadium in West View.
It's a classic diner -- heavy on hospitality and comfort foods. All the staples are there: dozens of well-prepared breakfast dishes, sandwiches and salads, but also some stabs at non-standards -- Ciopinno ($18.99), BBQ Shrimp Rumaki ($15.99), Eggplant Napolean ($12.99) and made-to-order gourmet pizzas ($5.99-$16.99) -- that piqued Munch's interest enough for another future visit.
But Munch was on a mission for eggs. And they were there in abundance via Gary's Cheesy Eggs ($7.50) -- a Brobdingnagian-sized omelette made with half a dozen eggs and gobs of cheese. But Don Draper Munch is not. The brown-bagged dome was a little fuzzy, but neither that many eggs, nor that much cysteine, was necessary.
Munch instead made a great choice in the huge Hot Sausage on Ciabatta ($6.50) breakfast sandwich. Made with grilled peppers and onions, cheese and fried eggs, it was just the tonic. The spicy filling, and very large sandwich, served on a tasty soft warm roll, easily soaked up the previous evening's pollutants and, along with a side order of some particularly good home fries, made eating an optional pursuit for the next few days.
Aussie Friend of Munch had the You Gotta Frittata ($6.50), which he reported to be light, fresh and full of good veggies and sausage. Munch's Texan pal was pleased with the Roast Beast ($6.99), another huge sandwich, made of carved roast beef, caramelized onions and lots of cheddar, also on a soft, warm, tasty ciabatta bun.
We departed, bellies full and bodies on the mend, thanks to a solid morning meal at a nice little family-owned spot.
And, thankfully, the friends are gone and Oktoberfest is over for another year. Munch is getting too old for such shenanigans.
What's that? Oktoberfest happens again this weekend?