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Little Blessings with @RowHouseCinema

Yesterday was, by far, the worst day I’ve had with Baby Beez. She was a monster. She was screaming, thrashing, hitting, basically any terrible 4 year old behavior, she shared with the world. Mr. Beez has been stuck at work pretty much ’round the clock, and he knew her behavior was bad enough that he had to come home a little earlier than planned yesterday. She absolutely drove me to a breaking point.

I was extra-upset about her terrible behavior, because yesterday was one of those lovely summer Pittsburgh days where there are tons of fun activities to choose from. I was hoping to go on the Manchester House and Garden Tour. Baby Beez asked to go to play in the water steps, and I was inclined to say yes.  We had to get through a few chores, and then the afternoon would be ours to play.

Except she was a monster.

I don’t know what it was about yesterday, but her behavior was completely, demonically unhinged. The chores ended up taking all day, with plenty of screaming fits and time outs. We couldn’t do anything fun. Doing fun things would reward her bad behavior, and she was in no condition to be out amongst civilized people anyway. It was a disappointing end to what could have been a wonderful weekend.

This morning was a new week. Baby Beez promised me that she would do better. I dropped her off at camp this morning and said “So long!” And I was still a little sad that we missed out on fun over the weekend.

I checked out the Row House Cinema listings for the week, and of course, one of my childhood favorite movies– Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Is playing this week. Baby Beez is really into old cartoons. She is watching Tom & Jerry as I type this. She also loves Bugs Bunny and all the Looney Tunes, and she watches Scooby Doo every morning. I had an inkling that she would love Roger Rabbit as much as I did.

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I had a client meeting at 2 and the movie started at 5. I was out of the office by 4:10, which meant I had to pick Baby Beez up from camp in Squirrel Hill and then get to the theater in Lawrenceville. 50 minutes to get from downtown to Squirrel Hill to Lawrenceville. I knew I could make it, but just barely.

And then as soon as I pulled out of the parking garage, I got stuck in traffic for a motorcade for fifteen minutes because the Attorney General was in town today. My confidence in making this happen was wavering. I FINALLY got to Squirrel Hill, whisked Baby Beez into the car, put the pedal to the floor, hauled it across town. And the nav system said I’d make it to the theater at 5:00.

Then I got stuck on Penn Avenue behind a bus.

5:00 arrival time changed to 5:03.

Then turned to 5:05.

Then 5:07.

I called RowHouse to see how long the previews (IF there were even any previews) would last. I asked if there was any hope that we could even make it. They said we might miss a couple minutes, but it should be OK.

We got there. We parked. We dashed into the theater around 5:09.

They held the movie for us.

They held the movie for us!

It’s such a little thing, but it was so wonderful. I had pinned a lot of hopes on having one nice little outing with my kid after a rotten weekend. I was afraid that things were not going to work out, and we would miss the movie, and it would be one more ruined plan to tack on to a weekend of ruined plans. But instead they held the movie for us. We even got to grab a bag of popcorn and drinks (when you’re there, get the popcorn. It’s excellent). That little kindness turned it all around for us.

Baby Beez sat on my lap for most of the movie. It was a little scary for her at the end, but she loved it. She loved it just as much as I loved it when I was a kid. And her behavior was good. Even good enough for us to come home and make dinner together tonight.

Pizza


Thanks Row House for holding that movie for us. We were happy to see that film, but even more importantly, that little kindness turned around a whole rotten weekend into an amazing, memorable Monday.

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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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A Second Look: @CurePittsburgh @AlghnyWineMixer and @PageDairyMart

A Second Look: @CurePittsburgh @AlghnyWineMixer and @PageDairyMart

On our most recent date night, Mr. Beez and I revisited a much-celebrated favorite, Cure, in Lawrenceville. Cure’s chef, Justin Severino, was very early in the local, ethical foods trend. The cuisine at Cure is of the highest quality and care, and also reliable. Although I do like a good culinary adventure, when you go to Cure, you have a good idea of what you’ll be getting into, and you know it will be delicious. That’s not to say it lacks creativity. The dishes are creative, but we’re not talking anything off-the-deep end.
Cure

Cure’s hallmark is, not surprisingly, its cured meats. The salumi platter comes as a small or a large. The small is appropriate for 2-4 people to have a light snack before the meal. The last time Mr. Beez and I visited Cure, we had the small, and we enjoyed each bite, but wanted MOAR (in a big, roaring fashion). After all, the salumi is what we visited for. So this time, we went all out, and destroyed the large. It could have easily been an appetizer for 6. But don’t let anything hold you back from your dreams!

Cure giant salumi plate

The last time we were at Cure was before they had a liquor license. A part of me misses BYOB, because the mark-ups on alcohol in Allegheny County are inexcusable. However, the cocktails we had really were delicious, so I guess that makes the pain of the price a little less. I usually don’t like any kind of drink with cream or milk in it, but the server promised that the thing I ordered (can’t remember the name…) with egg whites in it was actually very tasty, and if I was grossed out, he’d be sure to get me something I liked. So I took the risk and ended up really enjoying it. The cocktails had the right balance of being sufficiently boozy, but also containing interesting and substantial mixers, so you didn’t feel knocked over the head with a Jim Beam bottle.

Cure Cocktail


Cure cocktail 2

Next up: more foods!


Nice little Spanish dish

My favorite dish of the evening was the salumi, because salumi. That’s what they do. But I also absolutely loved the “Nice Little Spanish Dish.” I ordered it on an impulse, and was so glad i did. It had grilled octopus and something green (parsley?) and this kicky little sauce. It was light and fresh and had all the right things to interest your palate but not bog you down so that you are incapable of moving on to the main course. It is, indeed, very nice.

Cure Hangar steak

I also had a little plate of carbonara pasta which was  very nice, especially the soft egg that I broke open and mixed all in the noodles. However, as it was carbonara, it didn’t photograph the best, so I skipped that photo opportunity. Mr. Beez ordered the hanger steak. This is usually a dish I just ignore on a menu, because bla bla boring boring. However, it is a mistake to ignore the hanger steak on Cure’s menu. It is exceptional. There are so many flavors all at once, and the steak just melts in your mouth. I wished I had ordered this for myself, but by the time I got to taste it, I was simply too fully to eat more. This subsequent visit to Cure certainly lived up to the fine impressions it created in earlier visits.

After our dinner, we still had a little time left with the babysitter, so we strolled on down to the Allegheny Wine Mixer. I love how that bar is fun, and funky, and always has a great selection of wines at reasonable prices. Also, a framed portrait of Vincent Price over the bar. Yesssss.

Allegheny Wine Mixer

We wrapped up the evening with a visit to Page Dairy Mart for their last open weekend of the season. Although they have many amazing choices involving cookies and brownies and all kinds of shakes and blizzardy things, my absolute favorite is the coffee soft serve with hot fudge and whipped cream. It’s that real, heavy whipped cream too. The best.

Page Dairy Mart Sundae

We love checking out new places, but sometimes a date calls for the comfort of old favorites. All three of these were A+.

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Out on the Farm with @BrooklynBrewery @JustinSeverino @BklynHouseChef

Summer has come, the air is warm, the wind blowing sweetly through the grass. It’s time for farm dinners. We kicked off farm dinner season at the Brooklyn Brewery Mash event at Blackberry Meadows Farm in Natrona Heights. The Brooklyn Brewery Mash is a traveling celebration of food, drink, arts and the cities they visit. The air was light with a celebratory spirit.

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Brooklyn Brewery provided the libations, Cure/Justin Severino and Wild Purveyors and Andrew Gerson supplied the eats. Union Rye charmed us with tunes, including a particularly sweet cover of Wagon Wheel that I’ve been humming all week.

Brooklyn Brewery Mash


Brooklyn Brewery Mash

Brooklyn Brewery Mash

We toured the greenhouse, pet the pigs, and clucked at the chickens. Baby Beez had a moment of trauma and betrayal when her beloved cow (whom she named “Buttercup” even though that wasn’t her real name) twitched and headbutted Baby Beez. She quickly forgave her bovine friend, and foreheads and hearts were mended.

Blackberry Meadows Farm

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Blackberry Meadows Farm


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@TamariPgh brunch. Wow. Seriously wow.

@TamariPgh brunch. Wow. Seriously wow.

Tamari’s menu sounds kind of weird. It’s a Latin/Asian fusion restaurant. It opened back when fusion and any variation of any kind of asian food was the trend.  Now the fusion trend has largely died out, except at Tamari.  Their cocktails are an easy sell, but I’ve had trouble generating interest in checking out their brunch.  Finally I decided, forget it. I don’t need company. I’m going on my own.  Am I ever glad I went.

Tamari’s brunch is hands-down one of the best in the city. The menu descriptions are incredibly hard to visualize and, for me at least, did not sound like things I would want to eat.  But I asked the bartender for recommendations and he totally steered me right.  The key to a perfect Tamari brunch is to not think too hard. If one element in a dish stands out to you, order it. You will be pleasantly surprised.

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The price fixe brunch includes a cocktail, starter, cardamom bread and entree.  When I read “cardamom bread,” I immediately filed that under “things that do not interest me.”  When it was actually served to me, I was in love.  This bread is all the best things about cinnamon rolls, except even better.  It’s light, fluffy, sweet and a little spicy.  It was served with mango jalapeno butter which, again, sounded gross but was amazing. (Sensing a theme here?)

Cardamom Bread

I started with the ancho glazed bacon, which comes with grits and an egg. It was savory and so flavorful. It was snowing that day, and the grits were a perfect belly warmer.  For a starter, this was immense. It’s the size of a full meal. I can’t let a good dish go to waste, so of course I ate it all.

Ancho Glazed Bacon

For my entree, I had the Korean marinated tenderloin. Brilliant.  The meat was salty and rich, the kimchi brussels sprouts sour, all together, so so so so good.

Korean marinated tenderloin

I was so stuffed afterward that I literally went home and took a nap. Mr. Beez still expresses skepticism about trying Tamari, but it was amazing, and heck I’ll keep visiting solo.  It certainly helped that the staff hit that right balance of chatting with me when I expressed interest and sought recommendations, but left me in peace to read when I cracked open my book.

I have visited Tamari before for dinner and happy hour.  For nighttime dining, Tamari was good but not exceptional, and also pricy. For brunch, however, Tamari seriously delivers. Tamari is full of wonderful surprises.

Tamari on Urbanspoon