NaBloPoMo Day 23: Seasonal Specials with Potential but Room to Grow @TheYardPGH @mad_mex

NaBloPoMo Day 23: Seasonal Specials with Potential but Room to Grow @TheYardPGH @mad_mex

Autumn is my favorite season for all the reasons, but especially because of the food. I’m a sucker for pumpkin and cinnamon and apple everything. Roasted veggies appear on all the menus, and various establishments roll out their take on “gluttonous Thanksgiving meal.”  Mad Mex’s Gobblerito is probably the most beloved Autumn food in Pittsburgh.  I do like it, but there are enough things about it I would like to change to make it fit my specific tastes, that I am not obsessed with it the way most of the rest of the city is.

In general I don’t write negative reviews of places. There is enough negativity in the world that I don’t feel the need to pile it on any further. In this case, however, I do generally like both of these restaurants and often go and am very happy with other things I’ve ordered. The dishes I’ve had at each have the foundation of a really, really good dish.  As is, the dishes are just okay. But after a few tweaks, I think they could be delicious.

Last week my friend, Christine, took me to The Yard for my birthday, because I’ve been eager to try their “Turk’d Up” sandwich. The Yard serves local brews and all kinds of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. The Turk’d Up is their version of a Thanksgiving Dinner grilled cheese. It’s got turkey, corn, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, and is served with a side of cranberry cobbler.

The Yard Turk'd Up

My chief issue with most Thanksgiving themed dishes is that they involve slices of turkey rather than chunks of turkey, carved off the bird. It probably is unwieldy for a restaurant to have lots of for-real Thanksgiving turkey for its dishes, but slices of turkey just do not add up.  The bread was also much too thick and inadequately buttered on the outside for this kind of dish. Thin bread, generously buttered and grilled on the outside would make this sandwich delicious.  Also, I am one of those disgusting people who loves to turn my Thanksgiving inner into a goopy mess, so I would love it if cranberry sauce were served in the sandwich (instead of or in addition to the cobbler on the side), and if the whole thing were soaked with huge ladles-full of gravy. Yummmmm.  As the dish was, it was a nice, heavy, comfort food kind of lunch, but with better turkey, thinner buttered bread, cranberry sauce and a ton of gravy, this would be great.

Tonight Baby Beez ad I grabbed dinner at Mad Mex.  At first I planned to order the Gobblerito and do some kind of Turk’d Up vs. Gobblerito post. When I saw the Shishito Pepper Burrito on the menu, however, I opted for that instead.  The burrito features roasted butternut squash, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, feta cheese and is topped with delicious roasted shishito peppers. The default protein in the burrito is grilled chicken, but I subbed in tofu.

Shishito pepper burrito

I love the concept, as well as the mix of flavors. The peppers are just on top, not inside the burrito, but I liked the independence of the peppers’ texture, when I would put a bite of pepper together with a bite of burrito in my mouth. This burrito’s downfall is that there is about 5 times as much rice in there as there is anything else. At times I felt like I was just eating a rice burrito.  I’m not sure if Mad Mex would go for this, but if you could order it with no rice (or with very, very little), I think it would be a really excellent seasonal dish.


NaBloPoMo Day 20: @sephora Gift Set time!!!

NaBloPoMo Day 20: @sephora Gift Set time!!!

It’s the most WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR! The time when Sephora swells with glorious holiday gift sets!! I know I’m supposed to be focusing on gifts, but the sets! Such deals! And I love them so much!  Last year I was much more into lips & eyes. This year I’ve got a thing for skincare. There’s something about a face mask on a Sunday night (with TV and wine) or a rich face cream that adds a tiny bit of luxury in my frantically hectic routine.

These are my picks for my favorite Sephora gift sets this yea (click the images to go to their listings on the Sephora site)r–

Velour Silk Lashes lash book. This looks SO fun. I don’t often have occasion to wear false lashes, but I do like to don them for fun parties. I love the variety of this set! So many options for fun, different looks!

Atelier Orange Sanguine gift set. I love this scent. It’s spicy and citrusy. It’s a highly unique scent, but the moment I whiffed it, I knew it was perfect for me.

Dr. Jart+ The Book of Masks.  I thought these masks sounded dumb, until I tried one. I’m hooked.

Peter Thomas Roth Mask-A-Holic set. Another for my mask addiction.  The Dr. Jart+ masks are cloth masks that you drape on your face, and the Peter Thomas Roth ones are creams or gels that you spread on your skin. I like the cloth masks better, but I think the gel/cream ones do a more thorough job. But I love them both.

Caudalie Favorites Winter Set. Oh my skin in winter. It’s a mess. The Caudalie vinosource products add ample moisture without being oily or sticky, and the scent is light and lovely.

Korres Best of Body Butter Decadent Body Butter Collection. These body butters are so soft, and the scents are delicious. I spent my high school and college years slathering myself in Bath and Body Works saccharine scents. Then I discovered Korres body butters and I was like “OH, this is what I’ve been missing!”  Korres is decidedly more sophisticated, and just gorgeous in feel and in scent.


NaBloPoMo Day 11: Thank You, Vets

I support, and will always support, the troops. Even if I think the military’s decision to send them to a particular place or interfere in a particular issue is inappropriate, I will still always support the troops.  Our military service members sacrifice so much, and they deserve our appreciation and respect.  On this Veterans Day, I especially want to give a shout out to my brother, Matt. In the last few weeks, he just returned to the USA after deployment in Qatar.  He had to leave his wife and son behind during his deployment, and I’m sure they are overjoyed to have him back.  Hoping he gets some free donuts and discounts today!


THANK YOU, VETERANS, for all you do for our country!!


NaBloPoMo Day 10: Ten Things I like to Look At on the Internet @carnegielibrary @humansofny @The_Steel_Trap @theskimm @criminellelaw @mistyonpointe @usfws

I am one third of the way through NaBloPoMo, and I haven’t gotten distracted yet! Today I will share with you 5 things I like to look at on the internet. My blog reading has become kind of irregular lately, but there are a few features & blogs I just cant do without. These are my favs:

  1.  The Eleventh Stack— This is the CLPGH blog written by its employees with tons of excellent recommendations about books, movies, and interesting things in Pittsburgh. I can’t get enough of it.  I like that there are enough contributors that the blog doesn’t get stale, but also few enough that you can get an idea of each contributor’s style and preferences.

2.  Humans of New York.  Oh, all of my heartstrings. I think my face is leaking.

3.  Orcs of New York. For when I need a pick-me-up after crying all the way through the HONY site.

4.  The Steel Trap’s First World Problems. So real. So ridiculous. And it’s even more fun when I show my husband the posts and make him guess which first world problem was mine…

5.  The Skimm.  I reluctantly signed up for the Skimm, totally expected to hate it after a week and having to send a million “TAKE ME OFF YOUR MAILING LIST” emails. It sends a daily email newsletter with quick recaps of the biggest news items, with links to more in-depth pieces attached. The style is sassy and entertaining, so it feels more like fun gossip than your dreaded 10th grade current events report.


6. Criminelle Law.  Her bio description captures it perfectly: Young lawyer navigating and puzzling a general practice firm of middle aged men.   So funny because so true.

7. Unbrave Girl.  Sally is an actual for-real-life friend of Sandy’s.  Sandy introduced me to her blog because she thought I would like it. She was right.  Sally’s way braver than she claims to be, and is totally making solo camping a thing. She makes it look so fun that it makes me *almost* want to camp. Almost. For now I’ll stick to solo-hotel-rooming.

8. Draper James.  I know it’s not a blog, it’s a shop. But this post is things I like to look at on the internet, so it counts. And I CAN’T STOP window shopping Draper James. I grew up in California and have spent the last 15 years in Pennsylvania. I don’t “get” the South at all. BUT THESE CLOTHES. They are so adorable I can’t handle it. I want them all.And I want to hate Reese Witherspoon because I am crazy jealous of her success, BUT THESE CLOTHES, I just can’t.

9.   Misty Copeland’s Instagram.  Misty is absolutely incredible. Full stop.

  10. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Instagram. Simply super cool.  

What have you been looking at and loving lately?