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A night of carbs, meat and more carbs at Kavsar Uzbek restaurant

A night of carbs, meat and more carbs at Kavsar Uzbek restaurant

When we moved to Mt Washington nearly a year ago, visiting Kavsar was at the top of our “to try” list. What can I say, there’s a lot of stuff on that list, so it took us a long time to get there. Before visiting this restaurant, here’s a list of all the things I knew about Uzbek food:

Ok, so I had heard it has a lot of Russian influence. But the only thing I know about Russian food is borscht, and I’ve never even eaten that. So it’s fair to say this was totally new territory for me.

BTW, if you don’t know where Uzbekistan is, here is a map. It’s the pink country. It’s far away from Pittsburgh.

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One thing I learned is that Uzbekistan is a Muslim country. Alcohol is forbidden in Islam, so they do not serve alcohol there, nor are they BYOB. No drinking at all. Which was actually a nice change of things. Sometimes we spend too much attention on the wine or beer, which dulls our senses to the food, so it wasn’t so bad opting for green tea alongside my meal.

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Kavsar is well aware that Pittsburgh isn’t familiar with Uzbek food, so there are plenty of helpful descriptions in the menu. Most of the dishes are variations on meat-and-carbs. Lots of potatoes, lots of grilled meat, lots of sour cream. Love it.

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We started things off with the pickled vegetables (banana peppers, mushrooms, cabbage and cornichons), which were pretty standard from the jar pickled things, but added nice crunch and zing to our dishes. If I were smart, I would have taken notes at the time…but I didn’t, so you’ll have to bear with my descriptions of the dishes. The upper left were, I believe, called rolled pancakes. They were similar to blintzes, filled with mashed potatoes and served with sour cream. In the front, were the “pancake bags” filled with beef, a sour cream sauce and mushrooms. These pancake bags were the stand-out stars of the meal. I’m still thinking of them. They were the ultimate comfort food.

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We shared the traditional bread, which had a fluffy crust on the outside, with the middle being denser and chewier. I liked having both of these textures together, and the bread had a nice hearty flavor.

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I had a potato dumpling dish as my entree (again, the name fails me…). These are cousins to Pixburgh’s beloved pierogi, except the dumpling dough is much thinner and lighter, and the dill was surprising and refreshing.

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Mr. Beez had a delicious noodle dish, full of chunky vegetables and chicken and a rich sauce. This dish too used a lot of dill. Personally, I like dill a lot, but don’t know of too many uses for it. I liked these unique approaches to its use, and it brought an interesting depth of flavor.

Although Uzbek food is very meat-focused, Kavsar does have a vegetarian menu. For kids (or just picky eaters), there is plenty on the menu that is similar enough to familiar dishes that Kavsar would make a good option for both adventurous and less-adventurous eaters. Baby Beez is pretty good with trying new things, but she has her moments, and I wasn’t in the mood to deal with her being difficult. She enjoyed the mashed potato pancakes, a chicken kebab and rice.

Kavsar has been getting a lot of well-deserved. good press. They were featured in the March issue of Pittsburgh Magazine, as well a write up in the City Paper last year. When we first arrived at the restaurant, we were the only folks there, but the place was quite full by the time we were heading out. This made me glad, as I am happy to see this family restaurant getting support and attention from the community.

We grabbed a menu on the way out, because Kavsar is definitely going to be on our takeout short list. We liked the experience of going there of course, but it is also close to where we live, the prices are good and the portions are generous, and the food is nice and belly-filling for those hungry days when you can’t get it together to cook and take out is so necessary.

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33 Before 33: A Very Yinzer Mom’s Day with @NolaOnTheSquare and @RowhouseCinema

33 Before 33: A Very Yinzer Mom’s Day with @NolaOnTheSquare and @RowhouseCinema

Checking out a flick at Rowhouse was on my list for this year, and it took me nearly SIX MONTHS to get my backside over there. Whaaaat? Lemme just summarize: mix-and-match beer shop meets quirky indie theater. If you read that and thought that THIS is my mothership, you’re right. I just can’t wait until the inevitable day this oh-so-hipster Lawrenceville theater sets up a lineup of Fire Walk With Me- Neverending Story- Pink Flamingos- Return to Oz (I say inevitable because this is Lawrenceville and THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN). Because then I will camp out ALL DAY AND NEVER LEAVE.

So back to Ya Momz day in chronological form. We started off the day with a very lovely brunch at Nola On the Square. I’ve been a big fan of Nola’s since my first visit. The food is hearty and good, but more importantly, I’ve always had very super extra mega good service there. Especially when it comes to big groups or other requests that other establishments get frustrated with. Nola, instead, takes such requests in stride and goes above-and-beyond expectations.

Also, my kid has been watching The Princess and the Frog nonstop lately. Some kids would watch the film and talk about frogs or princes or fancy dresses. My kid, however, watched the movie and was like “MOM I WANT TO EAT SOME BEIGNETS.” This is because she is my kid, and this is how we do. As Nola is one of 3 options in the city for these fried goodies (the other two, if you’re wondering, are Salt of the Earth and E2) it seemed like a good option for Ya Momz day.

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I pride myself on a well-balanced diet, so naturally I started off with some vegetables.

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The beignets were a BIG HIT with little miss. NOLA has them on their regular dessert menu, but you can also select them as a starter on the brunch menu. That starter size was just the perfect amount for her. Actually, she only ate 1 and then Mr. Beez and I stole the other. But it was just enough deep fried sweetness to kick off the meal without being too heavy. The beignets come with a coffee dipping sauce and I whisked THAT away right quick. The last thing I need is for this maniac kid to be hopped up on caffeine.

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For my entree, I had the breakfast flatbread topped with scrambled eggs, potatoes, cheese and andouille sausage. WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL MY LIFE? More importantly, where was this every single Saturday morning of my college career?

After NOLA, Baby Beez and I went for a mommy-and-me movie date to see Labyrinth at Row House Cinema. Seriously, every time they release the features for the week, I’m  dying to ditch work for a day and camp out with beers and popcorn.

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Lemme just say, that admission for the 2 of us, a juicebox for her, a quality craft beer for me and a medium popcorn to share came out to a total of $24. Plus this is a locally owned small business. Also, Muppets. It does NOT get any better than that.

Sometimes Baby Beez can be an obnoxious terror. That’s because she is 4, and that’s what 4 year olds are like. But I’ve been so incredibly lucky that for our long weekend together this weekend, she was incredibly well behaved, and we had such fun.

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My Erie Preview with @WholeFoodsErie Presque Isle State Park and Sara’s

My Erie Preview with @WholeFoodsErie Presque Isle State Park and Sara’s

I call my week in Erie an “Erie Preview” because I really did not do a whole lot of visiting or sightseeing. I was there for a trial in federal court, and until the jury went out for deliberations, I was (rightfully) all work-focus-work-focus-work-focus. I have to take a moment to be thankful for modern technology. I left bright and early Sunday morning, and did not return until Thursday evening. I missed my family. I was so thankful to be able to FaceTime with them for a few minutes in the evening, to talk about how much we missed each other and to wish each other sweet dreams.

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I’m not going to talk about the trial itself, because frankly that would be inappropriate. But the jury went out on Wednesday afternoon and I had all the way through their return on Thursday afternoon to do a little exploring.

On the drive up. Game face on.

On the drive up. Game face on.


My first order of business once the jury went out was to go for a RUN. I hadn’t been for a run in at least two weeks. There was flat-out no time, and I was so stressed that I did not have the energy for running.But once that work was done, that energy flowed back! For my visit, I was staying at the Sheraton Erie Bayfront, with a room overlooking the little marina.

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I was able to run right out the hotel door onto the Erie SeaWay trail. The weather was absolutely perfect for a run. The sky was clear, the temperature warm, and the lake was a beauty to look at.

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After my run was done, I realized it was only about 6pm, and I still had the whole evening open and to myself. I have heard that Presque Isle State Park is very nice, so I decided to go for a drive through there. After getting there and seeing all the gorgeous trails, I realized it would have been an even more lovely place for my evening run. But I was not in a state to do 2 runs for the evening, so instead I went for a drive. And really, with gas prices being what they are, and with the rush rush rush of modern life, who goes for a leisurely drive anymore? I popped open the sunroof and wound my way through the park. It was just delightful.

I pulled over and stopped to take this selfie. No pictures while driving. Obvs.

I pulled over and stopped to take this selfie. No pictures while driving. Obvs.


The park is huge and full of trails, and there are beaches and lighthouses. The lake doesn’t have the waves of the ocean, but my kid cares more about the sand than the waves. I think it would be an ideal spot, and only 2 hours drive away, to take her for a little beach outing this summer.

After my drive, I stopped at local legend Sara’s for some summertime comfort food. Yummmmmmmm

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Afterward, I retired back to my room, to enjoy one last evening of watching whatever I wanted on TV  (read: Teen Mom) and sleeping basically sideways across the bed because OMG IT WAS A KING SIZE BED AND I HAD IT ALL TO MYSELF.

The next day while the jury continued its deliberations, I made my way over to the Whole Foods Co-Op. I picked up some necessaries (a mud mask for later, and a couple of bags of Food Should Taste Good multigrain tortilla chips, because they are the best). I also got lunch of a small wrap, a kale and beet salad and a chocolate chip cookie sandwich.

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All the food was extremely fresh and delicious. I must say, there is something special about the friendliness of a Co-Op. Since we are members of Pittsburgh’s East End Food Co-Op, the Whole Foods Co-Op extended their member discount to me. Also, I got to sign their guest book :)

Before this visit, I probably would have never considered doing a little family trip to Erie, but this trip introduced me to a lot of things my family would enjoy. Erie is now on my short list of destinations, when we are getting restless and just need to get ahhhhta tahhn. On a future visit, I’d like to take Baby Beez to the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum. Also, the Erie area has quite the local brewing community, including Lavery Brewing Company, Erie Brewing Company and The Blue Canoe Brewery.  Mr. Beez and I would very much like to check out their offerings.

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Trial Taper with @DelaniesCoffee and Judit European Visage

Trial Taper with @DelaniesCoffee and Judit European Visage

I wrote this post about a week ago, and in all the flurry of trial activity, flat out forgot to post it!! A little late, but here it is…

Preparing for trial is kind of like preparing for a marathon. Except I’ve done both, and I can say that preparing for trial is way harder and more stressful. Well, maybe it depends on the trial. But the trial I start on Monday is one of those trials.

I’ve been working hard to prepare. And by working hard, I mean working so much that I’m losing my everloving mind. So today I needed to dial it back and take a little break. Sometimes, being in the office just ain’t gonna happen.

I started the day off at Delanie’s Coffee in the Southside, and I have to say, it’s such a comfortable, chill place. I had an excellent egg and cheese sandwich and a solid cup of coffee. I spent a couple hours working through my trial outlines, alongside a whole bunch of Duquesne students studying for finals (nursing students I think). There is free wifi, lots of seating and lots of electrical outlets. Basically, a prime spot for studying.

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Afterward, I moseyed on down to my favorite local spa, Judit European Visage and treated myself to a facial. The last month has been a nonstop stress-fest and my face was showing it.

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Judit is my favorite because the service is always impeccable and the prices are reasonable. PLUS they always treat you to a nice little glass of champagne. My husband bought me an all-day spa package their for my birthday last year, and it was just amazing. Now it is my go-to place when I need a spa treatment (which is frequent). Perfect.

After the facial, my face was glowing. And the scalp massage, aahhhhh so wonderful, I was so relaxed and felt so wonderful.

So it is back to more studying for the weekend. Showtime is Monday. Let’s do this.


Credit for the Pittsburgh Skyline illustration goes to Barry Gott and Smalltower Press. If you aren’t already familiar with it, the Smalltower Press shop on Etsy is fantastic.  And yes, I did reach out to him and get permission before using his illustration on BeezusKiddo, because that’s the cool thing to do, kids.

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33 Before 33: St John’s Church Pyrohy

I pass by the gorgeous St John the Baptist’s Ukranian Church in the Sahside on my commute every day. And every day I drive by the sign that advertises PYROHY on THURSDAYS! And every day I drive by I tell myself THIS THURSDAY! THIS THURSDAY I WILL GET THE PYROHY! But then this or that or whatever happens, and I don’t get them. And I am sad.

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But this week, IT WAS THE WEEK!

Part of me was a little nervous because it was a new place. And I had to call in advance. And talking on the phone and going to new places both make me nervous. (Can’t we just order everything online?) But I called, and the woman on the Pyrohy Hotline was very friendly. I placed my order for 2 dozen potato pyrohy and 1 dozen cottage cheese pyrohy. We may be a family of 3, but we love our carbs.

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I was all sheepish, being a newbie and not knowing the protocol, but there’s plenty of parking and everything was well marked. I went on down the steps to the pyrohy pickup area, and they knew right away I was a first timer. The church ladies told me how happy they were that I was checking out their wares, and encouraged me to come back every month, and to buy lots of pyrohy to freeze to get us through the summer (they don’t sell in the summer….i assume there is a lack of air conditioning. It’s an old Pittsburgh building after all).

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I proudly brought my gluten-y goodies home for our dinner and was extremely happy to learn that all I had to do to get them ready for our plates was microwave (with a little water) and top them with a blob of butter. Haute cuisine they were not, but they were definitely stick-to-your-ribs comfort fare. As I ate them, I puzzled over why I had ever eaten those store-bought frozen abominations. These are the real thing.

I think I do need to stock up for summer, after all.