0

Another delicious foodie event with Chef Tommy and Temple Sinai

Another delicious foodie event with Chef Tommy and Temple Sinai

Although Passover is complete, the wonderful tastes of this year’s foodie event with Temple Sinai are still vivid in my memory. The event features holiday-themed small plates accompanied by curated Kosher wines. Chef Tommy Petro of Monitor Street Catering mans the kitchen, and the wine list was skillfully assembled from the comprehensive selection at Pinskers.

Kosher Wines

Our first dish was a tangy beet salad with shredded carrots and walnuts. I love beets. Mr. Beez does not. We both heartily enjoyed the salad.

Beet salad

Next up were deviled eggs topped with caviar. I love deviled eggs, and the caviar nicely complemented the creamy egg.

Deviled egg

The next dish was a grilled radicchio with balsamic glaze. I’m not usually crazy about radicchio because of its bitterness, but between the grilling and the glaze, the bitterness was all gone.

IMG_4227

A Passover meal, of course, would not be complete without brisket. Brisket is by far Mr. Beez’ favorite part of Jewish holidays, and this brisket was very tender. I had also made brisket a few weeks prior, and brisket was on the menu for our seder on the first night of the holiday. Mr. Beez did not mind at all, he would happily eat brisket every day.

brisket

For dessert, we partook in chocolate drizzled macaroons. For every year since forever, we have finished every Passover seder with Manischewitz macaroons from the can. I don’t really like them, but they are tradition, so I eat them anyway because of the memories. These macaroons were far better. I’d even eat them by choice, not just out of nostalgia!

IMG_4234

This Temple event was unique because in addition to spending time with old friends, there were also many new attendees. So far, there have been foodie events for Passover and Hanukkah. I would love to see the series spread more widely into holidays like Tu B’Shvat or even foodie Shabbat dinners. The events have been a special opportunity to eat amazing food, learn about our religion and make new friends.

0

I kind of love this place @ProperPGH

I kind of love this place @ProperPGH

A dining spot that offers a mid-level option between fast food and super fancy food is always a welcome addition to dahntahn. Proper Brick Oven and Tap Room has been getting some buzz for it’s excellent list of craft beers on tap (30 to choose from!). Although craft beer isn’t an option for a workday lunch option, I’ve heard the food is good too. Proper was a great choice for a casual lunch with my friend, Kruti, with whom I was long-overdue for catching up.

We started things off with the house salad. I was very happy to see that it wasn’t the usual iceberg-and-tomatoes, but rather was soft bibb lettuce, with pears, walnuts, goat cheese and a tangy vinegarette. The salad was a fresh way to kick off the meal.

Proper House Salad

Although when it comes to pizza, I can probably chow down on a whole pie myself, on this particular visit I restrained myself to the appetite of a civilized person. We shared the “Forest Pizza,” topped with caramelized mushrooms, roasted shallots and a balsalmic glaze. It was so crazy good.

Proper Forest Pizza

Proper is high up on my “to go” list for upcoming hours. The beer options are excellent, and with the variety of pizza they have, there’s bound to be something on the menu everyone will want to snack on. During the winter months I probably would have complained that Proper is across Dahntahn from my office, but now that the weather is lovely again, that stroll sounds great to me!

With the upcoming Children’s International Festival in dahntahn this May, Proper also has the right kind of feel for a family meal. For the parents, there’s good food and good drink, but it’s relaxed enough to be appropriate to bring the kids along. Lately, we’ve been going out to dinner on Friday nights. By Friday night I’m just too tired to do the cooking. Proper’s going on our list of “go to” places for Friday night family meals. You can never go wrong when you finish the week with a brew and a slice.

0

Tartine: A Darling Brunch Spot in the West End

Tartine: A Darling Brunch Spot in the West End

Today is Easter Sunday, and Easter is always a good day to talk brunch! I’m at my in-laws today, and we’re having home cooked food, but given how Easter, springtime and brunch go so nicely together, I thought it a good time to talk about a new darling brunch spot in the West End neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

When my friend Amy invited me to brunch, how could I resist? Brunch is the best. The. Best. And with more and more restaurants opening up on Sunday mornings, my “to brunch” list is ever-growing. I’m always up for French baked goods, so I was eager to propose Tartine as our brunching spot.
Tartine

There are some important things to remember about Tartine:

1. It is very small. Going earlier is better, as near the end of our brunch the place was totally packed, and there were plenty of people waiting to be seated. Being small, it’s a better option for parties of 6 or fewer. The space limitations make it hard to accommodate huge groups.

2. It is cash only. I, however, never carry cash on me. So I had to make a quick (and embarrass) run up the street to an ATM. Plan better than me, folks.

3. They do not serve liquor, meaning if you are having a hankering for a brunch time mimosa, they cannot deliver (I am not sure whether you can BYOB. If you can, this may not be an ideal option).

4. The food is excellent. Keep 1-3 in mind, and you will be in for a fantastic meal.

Tartine Quiche

Quiche, a quintessentially French dish, is permanently on the menu at Tartine. Baby Beez loves quiche, so this gives Tartine extra points in picking a place for family brunch. Tartine’s potatoes are very similar to the kinds my dad would make for us on Sunday mornings, so this meal was served for us with a side of nostalgia.

Tartine Eggs Florentine

I picked the Tartine Eggs Florentine, which is an eggs benedict with spinach, and tomatoes subbed in for the English Muffin. The tomatoes took away the usual heaviness of the dish, so I enjoyed the tasty dish without a post-meal food coma.

Tartine Raspberry Torte

We absolutely could not resist completing our meal with Tartine’s gorgeous desserts. The Raspberry Torte was simply gorgeous, sweet and light, and perfect.

Tartine is one of Pittsburgh’s best-kept secrets. Selfishly, I hope it stays a secret, because I don’t want to fight a crowd when I’m in the mood for a lovely brunch. But really, it’s a wonderful place and worth a visit.

2

Essential Pittsburgh Outings and @PageDairyMart

Essential Pittsburgh Outings and @PageDairyMart

My recent hankering for a hot fudge sundae reached an apex yesterday, and I could no longer stand to go without. An after-dinner ice cream outing was essential. Baby Beez, having not fallen far from the tree, was equally excited for ice cream. So excited that she complied with my order to eat all her green beans at dinner, with little complaint.

I have long preferred hard-scooped ice cream over soft serve, but this may be due to a lack of exposure to proper soft serve. Up until a few years ago, the only soft serve I knew was from McDonalds or Costco, each worth every penny of their paltry $1.49 price. I suppose anyone would be ambivalent about soft serve given that limited exposure.

While pregnant with Baby Beez, I had my first taste of real soft serve, with a late afternoon sprinkle-rolled cone from Wiener World. Now that was some good ice cream, and I realized that I may have been misled.

So last night we ventured to the local mainstay of all things soft serve, Page Dairy Mart.  Page has cultlike devotees, and quite frankly, I felt shame for never having visited before, because it’s one of those quintessentially Pittsburgh places. I intended to get a simple hot fudge sundae, but when I saw the Hot Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae (featuring Nancy B’s cookies!) I could not help myself. Gluttony it must be.

Page Dairy mart Chocolate Chip Sundae

The sundae was enormous. Usually I am one to finish every last bite, even if it makes me sick, but this sundae simply defeated me. I got about 2/3 of the way through and declared “Uncle!” But every bite on the way to that sugar coma was decadent. The members of the Page Dairy Mart cult certainly know good ice cream.

Page Dairy Mart

Baby Beez was thrilled with her simple chocolate soft serve. It’s nice that they offer a wide range of sizes, and I was able to get her an “Xtra Small” which was just perfect for her 3 year old appetite.

Given the ridiculous prices I’m used to paying at other ice cream outlets, it was a thrill that our entire bill came to $6. ONLY SIX DOLLARS, and this isn’t for pathetic icy-milk, this is for delicious frozen confections. What a treat.

Today I’m continuing on the theme of Pittsburgh Mainstays with lunch at Fiori’s Pizza. It, too, has a firmly entrenched following that rivals the Mineo’s aficionados (personally I’m a Jioio’s girl).

My colleague, Tania, recently moved to Pittsburgh. She asked me yesterday about essential Pittsburgh experiences (for new residents, not just for a quick visit), and I sort of surprised myself that I didn’t have a list at the ready. These are the things I’ve thought of so far.

  • Shopping & snacks in the Strip District
  • Burgers at Tessaro’s
  • Dessert at Oakmont Bakery
  • Prantl’s Burnt Almond Torte
  • Primanti’s
  • Movies on Flagstaff Hill
  • Pirates game on Skyblast night
  • Dave & Andy’s ice cream
  • Three Rivers Arts Festival
  • Kennywood visit! Complete with Potato Patch Fries
  • Riding the Incline
  • Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral of Learning
  • A hike through Homewood Cemetery
  • The Warhol Museum
  • (not Pgh but close enough) Fallingwater
  • St Anthony’s Church in Troy Hill
  • Lunch at a Pittsburgh Fish Fry
  • Get yourself invited to a wedding and chow down at the cookie table
  • Thumbprint cookies from the Arcade Bakery at the-Macys-formerly-known-as-Kaufmanns
  • Visiting the Christmas Windows at the-Macys-formerly-known-as-Kaufmanns
  • Sunday brunch and breadmaking at Enrico’s in the Strip (h/t Randy)
  • A visit to the Point State Park fountain (h/t Sonia)
  • Indulging at Fat Heads (h/t Sonia)
  • A Vinnie Pie from Vincent’s Pizza Park (h/t Peter)

What else should we add?

0

A tune-up for my headspace

I’ll start this post off by admitting that posting has seemingly slowed down a bit on my blog. The short answer is, I’ve been a grump. There is never enough time for all the things I want to do, and am told to do, and need to do. I’m sorting out the priorities, balancing the wants against the musts, and, to be truthful, sometimes being a brat about it. I do not like complainers. They drag me down and bum me out. But I’ve been full of complaints lately. Not so much on this online space, but plenty in person. As I climbed into my car to head home from work, I realized “I’m being one of those people I can’t stand.” And I can’t stand that any further. I’m determined to adjust my attitude.

My attitude is tied in with stress. Not long ago, I participated in a short seminar with Emily Bennington on the topic of mindfulness. (If you aren’t familiar with Bennington, check her out. She is brilliant.) She emphasized that when you are in a stressful situation, you should step back and separate the task at hand from the extraneous noise your mind is creating. She wisely taught, “The facts of the situation are the same, regardless of how stressed you are.”

Stress is pointless. Being stressed does not make you more efficient. If anything, stress clutters your mind, and leaves you more likely to make mistakes. Mindfulness involves letting go of that stress. Simply dropping it.

I get so wrapped up in the noise of all the things that are going on. I get frantic and stressed, and those emotions build on themselves. Settling in for my drive home from work, I realized that it’s not the facts I am facing that have soured my attitude. I’ve got plenty on my plate right now, especially with work. But I’ve had plenty on my plate before and I will have plenty on my plate in the future. At this stage in my career, this is a familiar to-do list. I know how to break the big tasks down into manageable pieces. I know how to prioritize the tasks. I know how to seek feedback. The facts aren’t the problem. It’s my attitude, and here is no good reason for me to have a bad one.

I got home from work, tossed together a quick dinner of soup and grilled cheese. I walked on the treadmill. I spent some time with my family. Instead of worrying about all the things I have to deal with tomorrow, I will accept that I accomplished some big things on my to-do list today and have a very brief breather. I will enjoy today, and leave tomorrow for tomorrow.