Casellula @ Alphabet City is the first dining spot in Pittsburgh to end its no-tipping policy, just 10 months after it opened.
Generally speaking, Munch subscribes to the philosophy that all meals are the most important meal of the day. That includes breakfast, second breakfast, morning snack, lunch, late lunch, dinner, dessert and drunk dinner. And generally speaking, with the notable exception of the pancake-wrapped breakfast sausage on a stick, Munch is opposed to so-called portable meals, because meals should be enjoyed slowly and sitting down, not in the car while you weave through traffic on the Parkway.
But sometimes, we get busy. Maybe you've taken on the unenviable -- but ever important -- task of managing your office's NFL pool. Maybe the deadlines started piling up because you got distracted by cat videos. Maybe, just maybe, as Munch explained to a very skeptical Editor of Munch, your pet mongoose required an emergency trip to the veterinarian's office because he swallowed a golf ball.
In the end, portable lunch is better than no lunch at all. Which is, long story short, how Munch settled on Go Pretzel, a joint that filled the space where Dozen used to be on Liberty Avenue, Downtown. Actual Dining Critic Friend of Munch had given an emphatic thumbs up to these twisted delights, saying it was "absolutely torturous" to hold them without stealing a bite.
They're certainly cheap, too. Munch is no math genius but would estimate you could buy every item on Go Pretzel's menu for less than $20, or Munch's weekly salary.
Munch, Borderline Hipster Friend of Munch and Notre Dame Frienemy of Munch (because who can be genuine friends with the Fighting Irish during college football season) ended up hoofing it dahn Liberty Avenue to the bakery's storefront.
Upon entering, Munch was immediately hit with warmth and bakery smells. From the case, Munch selected a salt-specked pretzel dog ($2.99) with a sweet and hot mustard dip (79 cents) and a cinnamon sugar pretzel ($2.79) with a sweet glaze dip (79 cents). The combination of the slightly sweet pretzel wrapped around the savory hot dog was awesomely satisfying and the slightly spicy sweet mustard proved a perfect companion. The cinnamon sugar pretzel was the lovely finisher.
BHFOM, with his thick-framed glasses and his nonchalant Converse sneakers, also noted the slight sweetness of the dough in his original pretzel ($2.69) and said it was one of the best pretzels he'd ever had. NDFOM liked her pumpkin pretzel ($2.79), that day's specialty, but said it could use a little more pumpkin flavor. Munch agreed, but it was nonetheless delicious.
As far as dining atmosphere goes, the sidewalk on Liberty Avenue is not exactly ideal, with its symphony of car horns, rumble of buses and chanting from anti-abortion protesters. But with a warm Go Pretzel in hand, you are able to escape the chaos during an afternoon, sort of like the way a Corona promises to transport you to a tropical paradise in those commercials. Except, instead, you'll be transported to Pretzel Paradise. Munch doesn't know what Pretzel Paradise looks like, but Munch definitely wants to be there.