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@umi_Pittsburgh Birthday Times

Yesterday was Mr. Beez’s birthday, and birthday means birthday dinner.  His pick was Umi, which if you are not already in the know, is the absolute best sushi restaurant– if not absolute best restaurant all around– in Pittsburgh.  I don’t know what to say about Umi, other than the food is absolutely beautiful and the service impeccable. That place is the best.

Mr. Beez’s birthday wish was to eat ALL THE ROCK SHRIMP TEMPURA.  Ok, we didn’t eat all of it, but we ordered it twice.  This is no ordinary tempura.  The batter coating is a little thicker than usual tempura, and the sauce is ever so spicy. There’s some substance to the shrimp, they are a little meatier than usual shrimp.  If you try it, it will be easy to understand why Mr. Beez loves it so much.

Umi Rock Shrimp Tempura

I do love that dish, but my absolute favorite is the miso blackened cod. It’s so buttery, with a touch of umami taste, and the texture is so tender.  The miso blackened cod is absolutely the most perfect dish ever.  Of course, we ate it twice.

Umi Miso Blackened Cod

Oh that dinner. I can’t even.


This dinner and my meal at Jaleo were the only detours from my vegan trajectory as of late.  I’ve been doing a lot more cooking, and Mr. Beez got me a whole stack of amazing vegan cookbooks for Mother’s Day.  You can expect some upcoming posts about the delicious and unexpected things I’ve been whipping up in the kitchen (with the assistance of the wisdom of Isa Chandra Moskowitz). We’ve been eating very well in this family lately.

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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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Wednesday, in No Particular Order

When you have lots and lots of inspiration (read: caffeine and time), it’s easy to churn out blog posts. My recent blogging hiatus has not been due to lack of desire, but lack of the time or energy to devote to more than 30 seconds of leisure writing at any given time. With the annual #GBE just a week away, I have to drum up some creativity for my guest post…I don’t even know what I’ll be writing about yet. And since I don’t have the energy right now to do any focused posts on dedicated topics, instead I will treat you (read: torture you) with this– a list of the things on my mind this Wednesday, in no particular order:

1. Family Time

My dad and stepmom just left this morning from a 4 day visit to Pittsburgh. It was a super nice visit. We did lots of excellent cooking and drinking wine. We made and devoured Triple Chocolate Ice Cream (with chopped up Sarris Chocolate bars in it, delicious). We even played Cards Against Humanity, which was all the more hilarious because my stepmom didn’t know what half of the cards meant and had to keep googling things.

The first few days they were here it was cold and wintery, but yesterday was one of those gorgeous Pittsburgh spring days, and we got to go to the park for a bit.

Park

Mr. Beez and I had some work obligations so we were not able to stay home with them the whole time they were here, but I think there is something special about them getting to have time with Baby Beez when we are not there. I’m glad to give them that time together. We also talked about Baby Beez spending time with them up in Oregon during summers, and they are all for it. Although this summer’s plans are all mapped out, I am looking forward to future summers where she’ll get to go visit them, and go camping, fishing, hiking and all kinds of outdoorsy things, and just generally have a nice time together.

We have more family time coming up soon, as we are shortly leaving for a family vacation in Playa del Carmen. We’ll get to hang out with the grown up family members, while Baby Beez will swim and build sandcastles with a bunch of cousins.  I’ve got my audiobooks loaded in my phone, my sunscreen and hat packed, and cannot wait to sit in the sun and do nothing for several straight days.

2. Round and Round

We bought Baby Beez a season pass to the Schenley Carousel again this year. I would have liked to go a few more times last year, but I still think it was well worth the money. It was fun to take her to the carousel, and let her ride it over and over and over and over. We also got snacks at the nearby food vendors, would go over to the library to pick out some books and movies, then go back to the carousel to ride it around another half dozen times.  I’m excited for the carousel’s opening in April, and hope to take her there a whole lot of times this summer.

Schenley Carousels

3.  Bartram House

Mr. Beez and I went to brunch at Bartram House bakery a little while back.  The bakery case is gorgeous, so many beautiful cupcakes, pastries and bars. I had a breakfast burrito full of fresh veggies and cup after cup of hot coffee. I feel like Bartram House is the fresh, local cafe that a certain nationwide bakery-themed eatery is trying to be. While I do like that certain nationwide eatery, there is a something lost in all that homogeneity  Bartram House has all these amazing baked goods, with the authentic personality to boot. And to boot, you get the option of having a croissant as the “bread” side with your breakfast. Yassssss! We really enjoyed this place and are excited to bring Baby Beez for our next visit.

Bartram House


Breakfast Burrito


Bartram House S'Mores Bar

4. Blogga Dinna

I visited Chaz & Odette with blogging friends a little while back. We went scheduled a dinner for a Sunday night, which we did not realize is jazz night. On jazz nights, they feature a jazz band and a limited menu of small dishes. While it didn’t quite fit the goal we had of long-catching-up type conversations, the place did have a pretty cool vibe. I would like to go back there for a date night with Mr. Beez, and I think it would be a fun place to go for something a little different than the usual drinks-and-apps type outing.  On the whole, the food was great. The chicken, in particular, was expertly seasoned. I have a very vivid memory of it and would love to go back to try more of their dishes.

Chaz & Odette Jalapeno Cornbread

Grits

Chaz & Odette Chicken


5. Time to Bake

Mr. Beez has found a new interest in learning to cook, which is JUST FINE BY ME THANKYOUVERYMUCH. Our Temple has recently offered some cooking classes, and we took a hamentaschen baking class the other day. Mr. Beez loves hamentaschen, and this was  fun, different activity for us to do together. It was a small class in our temple’s kitchen, and was just a couple hours on a weeknight. I had been promising Mr. Beez that cooking is easy, and I think he saw from this class that it can be pretty simple. As an added bonus, we got to go home with a whole bunch of treats!

Hamentaschen Class

Hamentaschen

Hamentaschen

Hamentaschen

6.  My pores. My pores. My lovely lady pores.

I loooove me some makeup sampler boxes, and Benefit is by far my favorite makeup brand.  I recently dug a sample size of “The POREfessional” out of my giant tub o’makeup. It feels nice on my skin and makes it look good, but I can’t help but be puzzled that pores are something we can be self-conscious about now? Why do I need to hide or minimize my pores? Pores are something to be worried about? Pores are just part of your face. I recently saw an article in Allure about some fancy lady actress saying the part of her body that she is most self conscious about is her pores? Huh???? Anyway, I am not worried about people seeing my pores because that is ridiculous, BUT Pores No More is actually a nice product and makes my skin look nice, separate and apart from my pores. I LIKE MY PORES. But the product isn’t bad, if I do say so myself.

Pore makeup

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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.

asiacaucasus-centralasia2

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.