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A quick relay recap #RunHomePGH @PGHMarathon

A quick relay recap #RunHomePGH @PGHMarathon

I ran leg 4 of the Pittsburgh Marathon relay yesterday, my leg was mapped at about 6 miles long, but my race app clocked about 7 miles. I guess I spent that route zigzagging back and forth.

I’ve volunteered at the Pgh Marathon several times, and this is the third year that we brought Baby Beez out to watch the runners. I wanted to take some adorable pictures of her ringing a cowbell and cheering people on, but she’s hit a phase where she’s all DO NOT TAKE A PICTURE MAMA. I should respect her opinions, but she has a darn cute angry face. And no matter what I do, this kid’s in for a lifetime of therapy anyway, so snap away!

Baby Beez at the marathon

Mr. Beez and Baby Beez and I ran into our friend Peter, and all cheered together for a while. We saw most of the wheelchair racers and the elite runners. Once the bigger race crowd started coming in, I crossed over to the corral to wait (and wait and wait and wait).

Cheering section

The relay corral was chock full of runners at the starting line, which resulted in a delay of about a half hour. Each of our relay team members ran about an 11 minute mile, with a total chip time of 5:11. I’m proud to say that was faster than either of the marathons I ran (nearly ten years ago).

waiting to start

Seriously the hardest part of the run was the waiting. It was the perfect level of chilly for running, but too chilly for running around. I bounced around a bit, trying to keep warm, but the wait did wear down the adrenaline a bit, which resulted in a more difficult run. Given that I was able to plow through 10 mi a few weeks ago, with a little more training I am comfortable saying I can take on the half next year.

The run itself was great fun. I went from Shadyside, through Point Breeze, Homewood, East Liberty, Highland Park and ended in Bloomfield. While waiting to start my run, I saw Alex working his way through the marathon, and I got to run a few paces alongside him to cheer him on.

Relay-d!

I finished the run feeling great and feeling proud. The rest of the day was spent casually working on the house and feeling happy.

Baby Beez

Baby Beez admired my medal, because it was “Just like Wreck It Ralph!!” When I told her I won it, she got really sad because she didn’t win it. I told her that next year she can run in the kid’s race and win her own medal. She smiled, “A race for girls and boys?” “Yes,” I told her. And she cheered. Next year, the route is hers to conquer!

Today I’ve been home, stuck in bed all day, rather sick. Writing this post is the longest amount of time I’ve been able to spend awake. This is the second time in two weeks I’ve been so sick I’ve had to stay home, and Baby Beez was likewise awfully sick last week. I don’t know what’s going around, but I’m gonna start bathing in Purell every day. Seriously, I do not have time to be sick right now.

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Mixing it Up

Mixing it Up

First off, Baby Beez has been up off and on throughout the night with the stomach flu. This is our first stomach flu with her, and she’s understandably miserable. She also does not understand why I won’t let her drink her usual morning sippy full of milk. I’m letting her have small sips, but I’m not about to let her chug and later clean up 10 ounces of barfed up milk. Poor beeb.

From my incessant chatter on other social media streams, you may have already seen my excitement that WE ARE MOVING! We were planning to upgrade in the next year or so anyway. On Sunday, I nudged Mr. Beez to go peruse some open houses. We found a house that is absolutely perfect for us in Mt Washington, and with the market the way it is, decided we must speak now or forever hold our peace. So we spoke now, and will be moving this summer!

I will miss living in Greenfield. I love the neighborhood, I love how close it is to absolutely everything I like and am familiar with. I had a brief moment of panic yesterday about moving away from Greenfield. I have turned into a real Pittsburgher, since going across a river feels like such a big deal.  Mount Washington is very close, especially close to my work. I’m just not so familiar with all it has to offer yet. I’m excited to get to know this new (to me) part of town!

This brings the chaos of getting our current house on the market as soon as humanly possible. Also, I start a trial in a couple weeks. So it’s chaos at work and chaos at home, but I guess I thrive on chaos. I did, after all, have the “brilliant” idea to buy and re-wire our current house all while I was studying for the bar exam. So yeah, we’ll get through this!

Forgive me if I’m a little preoccupied over the next few weeks. I do have some restaurant reviews in the hopper as well as an interview with the fabulous RedPenMama. We’ve got some travel planned over the summer already, but otherwise the focus is gonna be on getting settled in the new place, and getting our old place sold. Here’s to new beginnings!

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I kind of love this place @ProperPGH

I kind of love this place @ProperPGH

A dining spot that offers a mid-level option between fast food and super fancy food is always a welcome addition to dahntahn. Proper Brick Oven and Tap Room has been getting some buzz for it’s excellent list of craft beers on tap (30 to choose from!). Although craft beer isn’t an option for a workday lunch option, I’ve heard the food is good too. Proper was a great choice for a casual lunch with my friend, Kruti, with whom I was long-overdue for catching up.

We started things off with the house salad. I was very happy to see that it wasn’t the usual iceberg-and-tomatoes, but rather was soft bibb lettuce, with pears, walnuts, goat cheese and a tangy vinegarette. The salad was a fresh way to kick off the meal.

Proper House Salad

Although when it comes to pizza, I can probably chow down on a whole pie myself, on this particular visit I restrained myself to the appetite of a civilized person. We shared the “Forest Pizza,” topped with caramelized mushrooms, roasted shallots and a balsalmic glaze. It was so crazy good.

Proper Forest Pizza

Proper is high up on my “to go” list for upcoming hours. The beer options are excellent, and with the variety of pizza they have, there’s bound to be something on the menu everyone will want to snack on. During the winter months I probably would have complained that Proper is across Dahntahn from my office, but now that the weather is lovely again, that stroll sounds great to me!

With the upcoming Children’s International Festival in dahntahn this May, Proper also has the right kind of feel for a family meal. For the parents, there’s good food and good drink, but it’s relaxed enough to be appropriate to bring the kids along. Lately, we’ve been going out to dinner on Friday nights. By Friday night I’m just too tired to do the cooking. Proper’s going on our list of “go to” places for Friday night family meals. You can never go wrong when you finish the week with a brew and a slice.

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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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Essential Pittsburgh Outings and @PageDairyMart

Essential Pittsburgh Outings and @PageDairyMart

My recent hankering for a hot fudge sundae reached an apex yesterday, and I could no longer stand to go without. An after-dinner ice cream outing was essential. Baby Beez, having not fallen far from the tree, was equally excited for ice cream. So excited that she complied with my order to eat all her green beans at dinner, with little complaint.

I have long preferred hard-scooped ice cream over soft serve, but this may be due to a lack of exposure to proper soft serve. Up until a few years ago, the only soft serve I knew was from McDonalds or Costco, each worth every penny of their paltry $1.49 price. I suppose anyone would be ambivalent about soft serve given that limited exposure.

While pregnant with Baby Beez, I had my first taste of real soft serve, with a late afternoon sprinkle-rolled cone from Wiener World. Now that was some good ice cream, and I realized that I may have been misled.

So last night we ventured to the local mainstay of all things soft serve, Page Dairy Mart.  Page has cultlike devotees, and quite frankly, I felt shame for never having visited before, because it’s one of those quintessentially Pittsburgh places. I intended to get a simple hot fudge sundae, but when I saw the Hot Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae (featuring Nancy B’s cookies!) I could not help myself. Gluttony it must be.

Page Dairy mart Chocolate Chip Sundae

The sundae was enormous. Usually I am one to finish every last bite, even if it makes me sick, but this sundae simply defeated me. I got about 2/3 of the way through and declared “Uncle!” But every bite on the way to that sugar coma was decadent. The members of the Page Dairy Mart cult certainly know good ice cream.

Page Dairy Mart

Baby Beez was thrilled with her simple chocolate soft serve. It’s nice that they offer a wide range of sizes, and I was able to get her an “Xtra Small” which was just perfect for her 3 year old appetite.

Given the ridiculous prices I’m used to paying at other ice cream outlets, it was a thrill that our entire bill came to $6. ONLY SIX DOLLARS, and this isn’t for pathetic icy-milk, this is for delicious frozen confections. What a treat.

Today I’m continuing on the theme of Pittsburgh Mainstays with lunch at Fiori’s Pizza. It, too, has a firmly entrenched following that rivals the Mineo’s aficionados (personally I’m a Jioio’s girl).

My colleague, Tania, recently moved to Pittsburgh. She asked me yesterday about essential Pittsburgh experiences (for new residents, not just for a quick visit), and I sort of surprised myself that I didn’t have a list at the ready. These are the things I’ve thought of so far.

  • Shopping & snacks in the Strip District
  • Burgers at Tessaro’s
  • Dessert at Oakmont Bakery
  • Prantl’s Burnt Almond Torte
  • Primanti’s
  • Movies on Flagstaff Hill
  • Pirates game on Skyblast night
  • Dave & Andy’s ice cream
  • Three Rivers Arts Festival
  • Kennywood visit! Complete with Potato Patch Fries
  • Riding the Incline
  • Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral of Learning
  • A hike through Homewood Cemetery
  • The Warhol Museum
  • (not Pgh but close enough) Fallingwater
  • St Anthony’s Church in Troy Hill
  • Lunch at a Pittsburgh Fish Fry
  • Get yourself invited to a wedding and chow down at the cookie table
  • Thumbprint cookies from the Arcade Bakery at the-Macys-formerly-known-as-Kaufmanns
  • Visiting the Christmas Windows at the-Macys-formerly-known-as-Kaufmanns
  • Sunday brunch and breadmaking at Enrico’s in the Strip (h/t Randy)
  • A visit to the Point State Park fountain (h/t Sonia)
  • Indulging at Fat Heads (h/t Sonia)
  • A Vinnie Pie from Vincent’s Pizza Park (h/t Peter)

What else should we add?