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#PghGBE with Pittsburgh & Pearls (and shoutout to @alexanderfiv the grand ringmaster of #PghGBE !!)

#PghGBE with Pittsburgh & Pearls (and shoutout to @alexanderfiv the grand ringmaster of #PghGBE !!)

Hi, everyone! My name is Sarah and while I normally post at Pittsburgh & Pearls, I am so excited to be writing a guest post for Beezus Kiddo. This is my first time participating in the great Pittsburgh guest post swap event, so it’s really interesting for me as a newer blogger to be working with some more seasoned talent. Beyond my (very obvious) love of brunch, I have a penchant for fashion, travel, fitness, and all things beauty.

As a millennial and a college student, I take my brunching very seriously. To me, brunch is a verb, and it’s my favorite meal of the week. In all honesty, I was never a breakfast person. My parents and grandma tried to drag me along to a brunch buffet for years, (which is now my favorite restaurant) but I was stubborn and refused to eat anything besides bacon, mac and cheese or Belgian waffles. Best. Combo. Ever. What can I say; I was a picky eater (slash still am, to some degree).

Flash forward 4-ish years, and maybe it’s the college student in me, but I’ll say yes to any excuse to get off campus and get some really good food. That being said, without further adieu, my top 3 favorite places for 3 different budgets.

1. The Dor-Stop ($)

If the fact that it was featuered on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives doesn’t sell you on visiting already, it’s been featured all over Pittsburgh media for almost 30 years. According to Pittsburgh Magazine, it’s the home of the best pancakes in the Burgh, and I’d definitely agree. Beyond your typical diner fare, the Dor-Stop puts creative spins on your breakfast favorites, including specialty hotcakes like the banana chocolate chip pancakes. It comes with a warning though, it might be really tricky to figure out exactly what sounds the best when the menu also features a variety of omelets, stuffed French toast, and other mouthwateringly good items.

Personal Favorite: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancakes, Homefries,

2. Waffles Incaffeinated ($-$$)

WafInc

Everybody loves a good waffle. I grew up on chocolate chip Eggos but I’d like to think that I have a much more refined taste now, graduating to eateries that feature “specialty waffles” which seem more like dessert than breakfast food (and I’m not complaining). Whether you like super-sweet or savory, there will definitely something on the menu for you. Waffles Incaffeinated also serves sandwiches, salads, crepes and omelets (oh-my-lettes!) if waffles just aren’t your cup of tea. And a quick word to the wise: Waffles Incaffeinated uses NoWait, which allows you to check wait times and allows you to get in line from virtually anywhere. It’s been known to feature longer wait times, so consider downloading the app for your convenience!

Personal Favorite: Megaberry Waffle, Funky Monkey Waffle, Strawberry Nutella Crepe

3. Grand Concourse ($$$)

GranConc

Nothing makes me happier than being able to dress up, drive downtown and eat a lot of food. My family has been going to the Grand Concourse for years; it holds a special place in my heart as the location of my parents’ first date. Everyone knows that family history pairs really well with copious amounts of ham, but I’d recommend it to anyone. Beyond a buffet that features food choices for both the foodies and the pickiest eaters, the atmosphere makes your experience that much better. And it has outdoor seating, which is always a winner in my book. If waffle bars, omelet bars, brunch bar, salmon and tuna bars and fresh donuts sound great to you too, you should definitely check it out.

Personal Favorite: Everything!

These are just a few of my favorite places- I’m always on the hunt for to try the newest restaurants in town, so recommendations are always welcome! Thanks so much for reading and happy brunching!

Today’s post comes from Sarah of Pittsburgh and Pearls, and is part of a special day of shenanigans from other Pittsburgh Bloggers. You can see my post over on Goodness Madness, where I talk about making it through extended family time when you are totally antisocial and grumpy.

And for EVEN MORE April Fools shenanigans, check out this week’s broadcast on Yakkin’ with Ya Jagoff! The Steel Trap and I were invited on to talk April Fools and whiskey for breakfast!

Click on the links below to see ALL of the participants in the Guest Blogger Event! Since we all link to each other’s blogs, you can even start on one and click to the next, then click to the next and so on, like a nice little morning mosey through the park of the internet. SPECIAL THANKS to Alex for all his hard work in arranging this!!

Harvest + Bloom // Yes, Wear That! // jelly jars // Glam and Graffiti // To The Streets // In Pursuit // Pittsburgh & Pearls // Beezus Kiddo // Goodness Madness // Last Minute Panic // Steel City Intrigue // Crank Crank Revolution // Amanda Narcisi // Pittsburgh is Beautiful // From Cats to Cooking // Yum Yum PGH // Breelicious Bites // Parmesan Princess // Coffee & A Blonde // The Steel Trap // Wavy Alabaster // everybody loves you… // Eat with Emily // Don’t Forget to Eat // Sloping in the Sky // From Farm to Turntable // Secrets in the Wall // Red Pen Mama // Feedback Soup // The AP Collection // Blog Or Die PGH // Pittsburgh Happy Hour // Friendly Fitness Foodie // Small Town Dad // Josh’s World // Geeky Sweetie // Sean’s Ramblings // Lunges, Long Runs and Lattes // Try it and You May! // lil Burghers // Orange Chair Blog // Ya Jagoff // Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents // Melissa Firman


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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.

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A Square Meal with @TheSquareCafe

A Square Meal with @TheSquareCafe

Square Cafe has long been a favorite of mine in the East End, but on weekends has an inescapably long line. This is not such a problem when you’re with a group of grown ups (plus- you can order your coffee drinks a la carte at the coffee bar while you wait), but it’s a dealbreaker when you have small ones in tow. The only thing worse than waiting in line is waiting in line with a small kid. I, as per usual, saw Square Cafe’s deal on Groupon and decided OMG I MUST HAVE THIS. But when it came down to using the Groupon, I realized that weekends were just not workable.

Luckily, I have a lot of flexibility in my job, and was able to work out a weekday where I could venture out for breakfast and show up in the office a little late (which is a nice trade-off considering how many nights my work keeps me tied to my laptop late at night). Since Sandy of OrangeChairBlog and I share a love for all things brunch, and our daughters are good buddies, we were naturally a perfect match for this breakfast date.

Square Cafe in Regent Square

Square Cafe is a go-to spot for the GLBTQ community, and during our visit, their walls were adorned with simply gorgeous GLBTQ family portraits. The artwork itself was worth the visit, the portraits were just lovely. Square Cafe is truly a neighborhood restaurant. The owners foster a sense of community, and more than anything, they want their visitors to have a lovely visit.

The breakfast menu is ample, but every time I’ve been there my attention immediately gravitates to the 2 hash dishes offered: a brussels sprouts hash and a butternut squash hash. I picked the brussels sprouts hash for this visit, and it was so salty and filling and all things amazing. Underneath that egg is a bed of cheesy grits. Basically it is everything I love in a breakfast, on one plate. So good. Square also has an ample coffee bar menu, with all kinds of flavored lattes and other caffeinated treats. The gingerbread latte is my usual go-to. It is exactly as it sounds and simply delightful.

The Brilliant Brussels Sprouts Hash at The Square CafeSandy went for the special of the day, which was a ricotta-filled blood orange crepe. I generally do not order crepes of any sort, because I am a HUNGRY LASS, and crepes are a surefire recipe for me to be hungry about 20 minutes after breakfast is over. Sandy reported that the crepe was delicious and filling, and she was extremely happy with it.

Blood Orange Crepes at The Square Cafe

Breakfast is reliably a good meal to take Baby Beez to a restaurant, because she sure as heck likes eggs, pancakes, cottage cheese, pretty much every breakfast food. Square Cafe is very skilled in serving kids– their meals are served on plastic plates with favorite cartoon characters and their meals always come out quickly. Rachel had plenty of scrambled eggs, bacon and cottage cheese and she was quite a happy girl.
Square Cafe on Urbanspoon

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DC fun with @TortillaCoast @CUCB @PERRYSdc and @TammysSalonDC

DC fun with @TortillaCoast @CUCB @PERRYSdc and @TammysSalonDC

Sandy and I are having a girl’s weekend in DC. What do two crazy women do when they leave their children home and hit the town? Crazy things like watch TV and go to bed at 9:20 at night. And LOVE it.

We arrived in DC on Saturday to do race packet pickup as I was running the 10 mile Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run and Sandy was doing the 5k version. Driving in DC, even with the light traffic of a Saturday afternoon, always inspires a flurry of curse words and anger, and this visit was no different. WE eventually did make it to packet pickup. This race is extremely well organized, and the whole process took like 10 minutes. Kudos to the race team for a very easy packet experience.

We settled into our hotel and went on to some essential DC activities, namely eating frozen yogurt and shopping at Zara.

zara

Next up was carbo-loading. Well, not really carbo-loading. Just filling our faces with food. A visit to Tortilla Coast for enchiladas and a Shiner Bock would do just nicely.

Tortilla Coast

Afterward, we lived the wild life, and were in bed by 9pm. CRAZY. But it was a good idea, because this morning I was up bright and early to pound the pavement for 10 miles.

morning run

The race start was close to the metro, and like the race expo, the race itself was very well organized. This is an especially impressive feat, because there were some 15,000 runners for the 10 mile race. Little things like grouping porta-potties into sets such that lines organized easily and efficiently, and strictly adhering to the start times, and lots of extremely helpful volunteers made this an extremely pleasant running experience.

The course itself is very pretty. In theory, nature would cooperate, and the whole run would be through blooming cherry trees, but only a few trees were in bloom today. Still, running along and across the river was very pleasant. This is a very crowded race, but it led to a very enthusiastic atmosphere. The course is very flat and fast, but because it’s so heavily trafficked, it might be hard to get a PR just because you’re dodging so many other runners. For all the dodging about I did, it added an extra half mile on to my run! The official race time said I came in at 2:01, but my running app put me at 1:59 for 10.5 miles, so I’m going with my own time and claiming a sub-2-hour time!

medal picture

I claimed my medal and cheerfully made my way back to the hotel. I’m glad to say that I’m stiff and a little blistered, but generally in good shape. I absolutely would run this course again, and remain convinced that 10 miles is a great distance for me. I don’t regularly run far enough for it to be an easy run, but I can work hard and confidently complete the route.

After our race we departed for drag brunch at Perrys in Adams Morgan.

Perrys Drag Brunch

Perry’s brunch buffet is great, but the entertainment is beyond compare.

Because this was a girls weekend, and because my feet were a mess from all the running, a mani-pedi was in order. I strolled on over to Tammy’s Salon and treated myself to gettin’ my nails done. The nail salon wasn’t anything fancy, and the mani-pedi was fairly no-frills, but it feels so nice to have my nails all cleaned up.

This evening we had a nice dinner at the nearby Sonoma Restaurant Wine Bar. The charcuterie plate, in particular, was generous and tasty. I did take a couple pictures, but now I’m writing this from the bed and my camera (with its photos ) are all the way across the room, so nevermind. It’s the fine late hour of 8:42 pm, and that means bedtime is quickly approaching! Back to Pgh in the morn!



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Fancy people birthday brunch with @ElevenPittsburg

Fancy people birthday brunch with @ElevenPittsburg

My birthday was way back in November, can you believe how far away that was! Back in a month where the ground was not covered in snow! I can hardly remember what it’s like to walk out of the door wearing heels (not snowboots). Back in that wonderful time, I celebrated my 29th birthday (again) with some lovely friends at Eleven’s lovely brunch. I admit I’ve been to Eleven before for dinner, and wasn’t the biggest fan. The quality of the food was quite good, but it was expensive and didn’t feel as “special” as I expected (Caveat: That was a couple years ago, so maybe a revisit to dinner would be appropriate). The brunch, however, is great. It’s simultaneously fancy and laid-back. You could arrive to brunch in a ballgown or a pair of sweatpants, and it would all be OK.

Eleven Pittsburgh

The price fixe brunch includes a cocktail, starter and entree. I wish I could tell you exactly what my cocktail was, but it was over 3 months ago. All I remember is that it was grapefruit and I loved it.

Eleven Pittsburgh 2

Starter charcuterie plate. LOVE it.

Eleven Pittsburgh 3

I opted for the oysters starter. I think having oysters as a starter option really sets Eleven apart. Where else are you going to get oysters as part of a price fixe brunch? And you know that these oysters are fresh and high quality. They were. So tasty.

IMG_3650

This picture is kind of hard to see, but it was my steak entree. I was like IT IS MY BIRTHDAY, I AM EATING STEAK. I don’t often eat steak, but birthdays call for something decadent. And decadent it was.

Eleven is a perfect brunch spot to impress your guests. The menu selections are familiar, but have a creative twist. In particular, if you’re an out of town visitor staying in dahntahn, Eleven is walkable and worth a stroll. Although this is definitely a “grown ups only” atmosphere as the day gets later, I felt perfectly comfortable bringing my little one with me for brunch. Since brunch prices are reasonable ($25 for grown ups, $15 for kids), this special brunch does not have to be reserved solely for special occasions.

Eleven on Urbanspoon