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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.

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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.

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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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Trial Taper with @DelaniesCoffee and Judit European Visage

Trial Taper with @DelaniesCoffee and Judit European Visage

I wrote this post about a week ago, and in all the flurry of trial activity, flat out forgot to post it!! A little late, but here it is…

Preparing for trial is kind of like preparing for a marathon. Except I’ve done both, and I can say that preparing for trial is way harder and more stressful. Well, maybe it depends on the trial. But the trial I start on Monday is one of those trials.

I’ve been working hard to prepare. And by working hard, I mean working so much that I’m losing my everloving mind. So today I needed to dial it back and take a little break. Sometimes, being in the office just ain’t gonna happen.

I started the day off at Delanie’s Coffee in the Southside, and I have to say, it’s such a comfortable, chill place. I had an excellent egg and cheese sandwich and a solid cup of coffee. I spent a couple hours working through my trial outlines, alongside a whole bunch of Duquesne students studying for finals (nursing students I think). There is free wifi, lots of seating and lots of electrical outlets. Basically, a prime spot for studying.

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Afterward, I moseyed on down to my favorite local spa, Judit European Visage and treated myself to a facial. The last month has been a nonstop stress-fest and my face was showing it.

Judit European Visage

Judit is my favorite because the service is always impeccable and the prices are reasonable. PLUS they always treat you to a nice little glass of champagne. My husband bought me an all-day spa package their for my birthday last year, and it was just amazing. Now it is my go-to place when I need a spa treatment (which is frequent). Perfect.

After the facial, my face was glowing. And the scalp massage, aahhhhh so wonderful, I was so relaxed and felt so wonderful.

So it is back to more studying for the weekend. Showtime is Monday. Let’s do this.


Credit for the Pittsburgh Skyline illustration goes to Barry Gott and Smalltower Press. If you aren’t already familiar with it, the Smalltower Press shop on Etsy is fantastic.  And yes, I did reach out to him and get permission before using his illustration on BeezusKiddo, because that’s the cool thing to do, kids.

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6th Things for the 6th

6th Things for the 6th
  • In general I have sworn off Groupon because I buy a bunch of Groupons and never use them. Of course one day sitting around waiting to get called for court, I signed on to Groupon and went shopping. Because I’m a sucker. And fell down the rabbit hole of “Well, I’ve been meaning to go there anyway, so I might as well buy one.”  I got one for local, since I haven’t managed to make my way there yet. We took Baby Beez there on Saturday for a late lunch. It’s more bar than restaurant, so her presence was only mildly inappropriate. She also was refusing to act like a civilized human, so she fit right in with all the beer swigging March Madness fans. The food wasn’t impressive, and since there are a number of other restaurants in the South Side that I like better, I probably would not return for a meal. But I did get myself a Yinzerrita, and it was FANTASTIC. Mine was a strawberry yinzerita, which comes with pear cider (other flavors come with other corresponding beers and ciders). I would like a Yinzerrita waiting for me when I come home from work every day, plz, Jeeves.

Yinzerrita from Local Pgh

  • We went to Green Forest Churrascaria with my father in law for Easter lunch today. This was Baby Beez’ first meat-on-swords experience, and it was a revelation for her. She announce her favorite food is MEAT, because of course it is. I was a vegetarian for 10 years before I got pregnant with this kid. Then all I wanted was hot dogs and donuts. Of course those are Baby Beez favorite foods. Pregnancy cravings make a lot more sense to me now. Baby Beez is no stranger to dining out, and she announced Green Forest to be her FAVORITE RESTAURANT. She has found her happy place.

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  • Also, because it is Easter, and she is spoiled, she got lots of chocolate even though we are Jewish and don’t celebrate Easter (we share it with Christian relatives). Baby Beez doesn’t care what you call it, as long as she gets chocolate. We usually don’t let her have chocolate because it makes her CRAY CRAY. Like serious cray cray. I thought “What the heck, it’s Easter” and let her eat a bunch of it. The result was her stripping off all her clothes and wearing only undies and my noise-cancelling headphones (not plugged into anything),  running in circles around the living room,  and at one point wrapping herself in a blanket and talking to herself under the dining room table. Now you see why she is not allowed to have chocolate. I guess I just need to eat the rest of the goodies in her Easter basket for her.

Easter Chocolate

  • We made a bunch of airline and hotel reservations for our travels over the summer and I am very excited about this. Also, I went through our calendar and plugged in “SWIM AT JCC FAMILY PARK” on a whole lot of days. In past summers, I fantasize about taking Baby Beez to swim in the kid pool while I lounge around and read magazines.Then I get all wrapped up in all the different things going on around the city and buy all these tickets to things, and then we don’t make it to the family park. So now I’m filling the calendar with “SWIMMING” and plan to stick to it.

  • Mr. Beez bought me 2 LUSH bath bombs for Hanukkah. I used one of them today, and turns out it was a bomb full of glitter. So the tub was full of glitter and I was covered in glitter, and Mr. Beez dropped a bunch of f-bombs about that bath bomb, and now I’m not allowed to have bath bombs anymore.

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  • I was very excited to run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, but now I start a trial in Erie the next day. This means no race for me. Which is probably for the best because I’ve got full-on stabbed-in-the-knee runner’s knee going on in my right knee. I could run a half in May, but it would be bad news bears. So now my next long race isn’t until Labor Day weekend. I went to the South Side trail to try and run today, but I couldn’t make it more than a couple steps before I was limping. I did a 4 mile walk instead. I need to lose some LBS, strengthen my quads and do a whole lot of stretching. At least I’ve got time on my side for this…but I better not use that time as a temptation to slack off.  I took this neat picture of the industrial bric-a-brac on the trail today.

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HAPPY MONDAY, YINZ. Go get it.

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Annual #PghGBE — @PenniesPintsPgh ‘s Delightful Getaway @Nemacolin

Annual #PghGBE — @PenniesPintsPgh ‘s Delightful Getaway @Nemacolin

It’s April Fool’s Day, and time for our annual Pittsburgh Guest Blogger Event! Shoutout to Alex at Everybody Loves You for his mad planning skills! I’m very excited today for this guest post by Devon and Tim at Pennies.Pints.Pittsburgh. A getaway to Nemacolin is on my 40 before 40, so this guest post is perfect!!

The Finest of Dining at Nemacolin

2015 has been a year of many firsts, including our first Pittsburgh Blog Swap. And we are the lucky bloggers to guest write for the awesome blog Beezus KiddoAs I was perusing the site, I noticed that one of her 40 before 40 bucket list activities included a weekend stay at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. Well, it just so happens that my husband and I loooove Nemacolin, and we’ll take any excuse to get back there.

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is a luxurious mountain get-away in the beautiful Laurel Highlands. This handsome 2,000 acre resort is nestled on top of the rolling hills that join the Allegheny Mountain range. We’ve gone here for quick get-aways, bachelorette parties, and even work conferences. And we’ve always enjoyed ourselves immensely. Mainly because there’s a real sense of serenity up at Nemacolin. The air is so fresh, and the natural beauty that encapsulates the resort is truly breathtaking. And honestly, who can beat the unbelievably short commute from Pittsburgh?

So, my dear mother graciously agreed to take our boys for a night so we could enjoy ourselves with some friends for an evening in the mountains. And that meant one very important activity: dining out. Now the pressing question was; where? Our friends and we wanted all the bells and whistles of fine dining but not so much the formal attire. After discussing our options, Autumn was the exact answer we needed for a perfect night out.

Now as we strolled down the luxurious hallways adorned with one stunning crystal chandelier after another, we found ourselves at Autumn’s entrance. We were quickly seated at a large table in the front of the house. Our wonderful waitress, Becky, took our drink order while we chatted wine with Austin, Autumn’s sommelier. With drinks in hand, it was now time for some serious appetizers…

classic shrimp cocktail

We started off with the Classic Shrimp Cocktail. Admittedly, I had a real hard time sharing this with our group because a REAL good shrimp cocktail is hard to come by. But I ultimately got over it because everyone deserves a little taste of seafood heaven every now and then…

pretzel crab cakes

Next, we dove into these incredible pretzel crusted crab cakes. They were light and packed full of rich flavors. Oh, and they were accompanied by a beer mustard sauce. Yup, I was absolutely smitten with this chef already.

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All of the sudden, this plate showed up. Is this food or 3-D art? I honestly didn’t want to disturb this masterpiece, it just looked so gorgeous. But I got over that rather quickly as Becky explained the contents these little beauties…

These potstickers are made with with kale, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, quinoa, and is accompanied by a sunflower seed hummus. This is not a traditional appetizer that we meat lovers would tend to go wild over.. But I kid you not- this appetizer completely won us over. All of us agreed that we’d all become vegetarians in a heartbeat as long as Chef Tyler Hutchison was cooking…

Not pictured but equally loved were the Spicy Calamari, Cauliflower Meze, Maggie’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Crab and Artichoke Dip with Truffle Parmesan Pita Chips, Parmesan Kale Chips, and Mushroom Soup.

And we hadn’t even touched the entrées portion yet…

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Chef Hutchison apparently enjoys the art of cooking with beer as much as we do. Once I spotted the Bone in Pork Chop with German potatoes and sauerkraut pierogies,  mustard greens with a maple beer glaze, I was done for. The other entrees didn’t stand a fighting chance… Picture Credit: Chef Hutchison’s Instagram

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Tim was enticed by the Sesame Tuna special with shrimp & wasabi potato butter, Asian crispy kalettes, and a sesame ash garnish. So stunning, so fresh, and oh so spring.

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Our buddy ordered this handsome dish: Elysian Fields lamb with a “dirty” lamb pappardelle, pistachio gelato, and naturual lamb jus. Picture Credit: Chef Hutchison’s Instagram

Oh. My. Goodness

Entrées not pictured above yet were equally amazing; Basil Pesto Pasta with basil, avocado, spinach, tomato and shrimp. And the Swordfish with bamboo risotto, swiss chard, Chinese sausage, red pepper, and white soy emulsion. Just wow.

After this banquet fit for kings, we had to tap out, raise the white flag, and call it a night. As we sat back and basked in all the glory of a truly exquisite dining experience, we knew some major thank yous were in order for one very talented young chef.

Chef De Cuisine Tyler Hutchison

At the ripe age of 14, Chef Hutchison immersed himself in the culinary world. He started as a dish washer, and worked his way up to the hot line. Once he got a taste of the culinary world, he knew that he had found his life’s passion. He attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania Culinary School in Punxsutawney, PA. He was accepted as an intern at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort in Charleston, South Carolina. There, he refined his skills and learned the fine art of preparing fresh seafood. Once he completed his school hours, he was hired on full time and worked his way up to Chef De Partie. After 2 years, Chef Tyler decided to bring his skills back to Pennsylvania and joined forces with Nemacolin.

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And I’m so glad Chef Hutchison did. His interpretation of fine cuisine is stunning, moving, and beyond inspiring. Dish after dish, he offered beautiful plating, intriguing flavor combinations, contrasting textures, palate exciting, perfected culinary masterpieces. It’s brilliant how he took such familiar foods and threw countless curve balls in their execution. This dinner is one for the ages and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for such a talented chef, his sous chef Rachel Davis, and the rest of his creative team. We excitedly await Autumn’s spring menu which launches in just a few weeks.

Thank you again for such an inspiring evening! We can’t wait to cross paths again.

Cheers N’at– Devon and Tim

Also, a heartfelt thanks to Becky- you were so attentive and you really knew the menu through and through. We had an absolute blast spending our dinner with you. And Austin- it was such a pleasure speaking with you. I wish we could have pulled up another chair and talked wine with you all night. You guys made this such an incredible night out. Cheers!



I hope you enjoyed this edition of our annual Guest Blogger Event! Check out the other participating blogs at the links below!!

The AP Collection // Lucy Quin  // Beezus Kiddo // Pittsburgh Happy Hour // Orange Chair Blog // In Pursuit of Simple // The Wheezy Runner // Pittsburgh is Beautiful // Last Minute Panic // The Almond Eater // A Body of One’s Own // Lunges, Long Runs and Lattes // Downtown Living // Emily LevensonParmesan Princess // Oh Honestly, Erin // Sole for the Soul // Crank Crank Revolution // The Pittsburgh Mommy Blog // Yum Yum PGH // Ya Jagoff // Gardening in High Heels // Sean’s Ramblings // Pittsburgh Taste Buds // The Foodtasters // My Blog n’at // The Fashionable Eye // jelly jars // Don’t Forget to Eat // Small Town Dad // Josh’s World // The Steel Trap // In Pursuit of Happiness // 101 Achievements // A Librarian’s Lists and Letters // Pennies, Pints, Pittsburgh // 30-Something therapy // Red Pen Mama // Nicky D. Cooks // everybody loves you…