Food for the Eatin’ in Pgh Part 3: @thePubChipShop @PageDairyMart @IndustryPgh Pamela’s Diner and the Mung Bean Pancake Vendor

Food for the Eatin’ in Pgh Part 3: @thePubChipShop @PageDairyMart @IndustryPgh Pamela’s Diner and the Mung Bean Pancake Vendor

In part 3 of Food for the Eatin’ in Pittsburgh, I’m gettin ALL about COMFORT FOOD. Mostly because I ran 9 miles on the day I wrote this post, and then have you SEEN the weather today? Comfort food is ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT right now. So yes, when it’s winter, when you’re sad, or when you just need food that’s going to be one giant hug in your belleh, these are  the things you need:

(EDITED TO ADD…when I wrote this, I didn’t realize that I had already written about the Boxty Tots in my first post. This is what happens when you write after distance running. But oh well, they’re awesome. So they deserve a double-mention)

1. The Boxty Tots at the Pub Chip Shop. Boxty Tots are a fancy name for tater tots topped with amazing things. My personal favorite is the chili cheese. Will Reynolds Young swears by the bacon cheddar. What everyone agrees on is that they are a-may-zing. The picture looks disgusting because there isn’t a way to make this phenomenal dish look good. But dear lord, it is the best.

2. Basically anything at Page Dairy Mart. For the longest time I claimed to not like soft serve ice cream. That is because the “soft serve” I had came from McDonalds, and was barely a food product, much less soft serve. Then I had Page Dairy Mart’s soft serve, and the heavens opened and the angels sang and I learned what I had been missing. They offer a PHENOMENAL chocolate chip cookie sundae featuring Nancy’ B’s cookies (which deserve their very own mention),  but my usual go to is coffee soft serve with hot fudge and whipped cream. What a thing of beauty.

3. Candied Bacon at Industry. This was a favorite also added by Mr. Beez and my pal Christine. How do I even describe it? It’s bacon that’s all sugary and caramelized and candied and sweet. It’s a perfect salty and sweet balance. Even Mr. Beez, who hates salty-sweet combinations (what is wrong with that man?) loves it. How can you not?

Oh Good God Glorious Candied Bacon at Industry

4.  Pamela’s is incredibly well known for their crepe pancakes, especially the ones with strawberries and whipped cream. I like them OK, but not really crazy about them. What can I say, I’m not a pancake person. What I AM crazy about at Pamela’s is the Lyonnaise Potatoes. I have no idea what their secret is (I suspect that it’s like 2 lbs of butter per serving, or something like that), but they are the best breakfast potatoes I’ve had ever, and have absolutely no idea how to replicate them on my own, which means I HAVE to go to out to eat to get my potato fix.

5. Mung Bean pancake from the vendor in the strip whose name I don’t even know. But there is only one mung bean pancake vendor, so you can figure it out. I know the Strip is chock-full of delicious options, so the mung bean pancake vendor might not be on your radar, but GET IT ON YOUR RADAR. The only way I can think to describe a mung bean pancake is like a scallion pancake but EVEN BETTER. It’s a thick, savory pancake full of mung beans and just a little spicy. If there is one thing that I NEED when I visit the strip, it’s this salty fried thing of goodness.


Food for the eatin’ in Pgh, Part 1 @Kaya_Pittsburgh @4MeatnPotatoes @EatnPark @IndustryPgh @VerdePgh @notionPGH @thepubchipshop Apollo Cafe Noodlehead

Food for the eatin’ in Pgh, Part 1 @Kaya_Pittsburgh @4MeatnPotatoes @EatnPark @IndustryPgh @VerdePgh @notionPGH @thepubchipshop  Apollo Cafe  Noodlehead

I haven’t done a restaurant roundup in a while. My last one was a year ago, in fact (my post on Ten Pgh Kid Friendly Eateries was in February 2014). It is time to change that. So over the next several installments, my pals and I are going to share the foods we love around the ‘burgh. Some high brow, some low brow, some in-between unibrow. I didn’t use a rubric other than “tell me what you love to eat.” And boy did I collect a LIST. I’ll be publishing these in installments of 10, but there are a whole heck of a lot of them, and they are presented in no particular order (other than my whimsy).

1. Egg and cheese sandwich with potatoes form Apollo Cafe

Apollo is cash only and no-nonsense. The breakfast isn’t flashy, but it is perfect on those mornings when I’m like I NEED TO EAT A SUBSTANTIAL BREAKFAST AND I NEED IT TO BE PREPARED IN LESS THAN 4 MINUTES. Also, this breakfast costs like 5 bucks. It’s too bad they’re closed on the weekends, because this would make for a killer hangover cure.  (I just wanted to point out that I centered the below photo like 50x and it still won’t work. So whatever. Here it is.)

Apollo breakfast

2. Pulled pork quesadilla from Kaya. Mr. Beez loves this dish so much that we included it in the catering for our wedding. When I asked him for his thoughts for this series, he immediately brought up the pulled pork quesadilla, and then I had to twist his arm to get him to come up with anything else.

Pulled Pork Quesadilla at Kaya

3. Tempura avocado at Kaya. This isn’t a regular feature on the menu. I had it once ages ago, and my dining companion and I wolfed down the first one, and immediately ordered a second, it was so good. It’s exactly what it sounds– half an avocado tempura battered and fried, but it’s extra decadent with all the fat from the avocado.

4.  Steamed pork buns at Noodlehead. I had this on my list already and @ohhkatrina seconded this nomination. They are fab. The Noodlehead menu is extremely spicy so there isn’t a whole lot on there I eat (Mr. Beez, however, loves the place), but I would for sure go there just for the steamed pork buns.

noodlehead buns

5. Devils on Horseback at Meat & Potatoes. @The_Steel_Trap added this one to the list, as well as the Hudson Valley Duck Breast and Pot de Creme. I don’t think I have had those other two, but the Devils on Horseback are definitely delicious and memorable. They are chorizo-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, in some kind of a rich sauce.

Devils on Horseback

6. Eat & Park salad bar- as nominated by @GoBobbo The salad bar isn’t quite my thing, but Bobby loves it. You would not believe the enthusiasm this man has for the place. He’s a true believer. And I’ve got to say, E&P has its charms. We went there for dinner tonight, because I know my kid will reliably eat a waffle and bacon without me going out ofmy mind in the ever-losing battle of getting a 4 year old to eat. Also, E&P has chai milkshakes. And if you say you don’t like smiley cookies, you are lying.

Hello. I bring all the boys to the yard.

Hello. I bring all the boys to the yard.

I do not get why other milkshake places don’t regularly serve chai milkshakes, because they are rad. But E&P has them, and therefore forever has my heart.

Baby girl on her first birthday-- Eat & Park BACON!

Baby girl on her first birthday– forever enjoying her Eat & Park BACON!

7. Speaking of bacon, have you had the candied bacon at Industry? Heck yes. I did email my foodie friend, Christine, for her thoughts on this list, even though she avoids all things internet. She was right there with me on including the candied bacon on this list. It’s salty, sweet and perfectly fatty.

Oh Good God Glorious Candied Bacon at Industry

8. @OneSweetWriter named the white truffle risotto at @notionPGH as one of her hands-down favorites. I’m sad to say that I have not yet made my way over there, but she literally licked the plate clean in this linen napkin establishment. Her enthusiasm speaks for itself.
9. Being a Southern California native, I’m usually on the up & up on all the Mexican food options around town. Somehow the guacamole at @VerdePgh slipped by my radar. Both @TheFoodTasters and @WReynoldsYoung sang its praises. I’ve been there before and heartily enjoyed the Carne Asada, but it looks like I’ll have to make a trip back to check out that guac.

Carne Asada at Verde

10. Boxty Tots at @ThePubChipShop , and seconded by @WReynoldsYoung. The chili cheese boxty tots is the comfort food of my dreams. Will prefers the bacon cheddar option. Whatever you pick, it’s deep fried and smothered and heavenly. I would eat tots covered in chili and cheese every day if it wouldn’t give me a heart attack in short order, and the only thing better than making that lovely meal is having someone else make it for you. Hello, Pub Chip Shop. And their Welsh Cheddar sauce, omg. I can’t even.

That’s it for Part 1. Parts 2 through 507898796 to come shortly. I just wanted to point out that all the photos in this post were ones I personally took while eating at these places. Only to say daaaang that’s a lot of restaurantin’. And I’ve got plenty more snaps where those came from. Feel free to pass on your suggestions for the Pgh eats that make your belly happy! We can all do with some good recommendations!


2015: A Year of Living Cooperatively with the @EastEndCoop #shoplocal

I’m down to the wire with making my New Year’s Resolution, but aren’t I always?

Last year, I resolved to Make Every Action an Expression of My Authentic Self. Did I achieve that? Maybe. It’s hard to gauge. And honestly, by springtime I forgot that was my resolution (today I had to search my blog to find last year’s resolution post, because I had no idea what it was.) But in general, throughout 2014 I’ve done a better job of leading my life in directions that feel meaningful to me. I’ve said yes to opportunities that fit right, I’ve said no to opportunities that do not. I’ve resisted taking on projects merely because they are expected of me, and have devoted my energies fully and enthusiastically to projects that are meaningful. That’s about all you can expect.

In this coming year, our family is making a resolution together: 2015 will be our year of shopping cooperatively. We will do all our grocery shopping at the East End Food Co-Op. Mr. Beez has been on the board of directors of the Co-Op for years. While we shop there as often as is convenient, it hasn’t ever been our primary grocery store. This is because I’m the one in charge of groceries, and I shop at whatever grocery store is closest or otherwise is the easiest choice at the moment. Mr. Beez and I have talked about needing to shop more regularly at the co-op. We believe in its mission. Mr. Beez, especially, is a true co-op believer. He goes to co-op conferences, he enthusiastically visits other co-ops around the country when we travel.

So in 2015, we’re co-op’ing it all the way! And if you haven’t been there for a while, you should join us for a visit. It’s not all wheat germ, hemp milk and teff (although they do have those things), they’ve also got a mean gourmet cheese section, local meats, and yes they carry Jeni’s. What else could I ask for?


December in a house of blue, white and silver

We don’t do any of that Elf on the Shelf nonsense. Not because I hate all things fun (which I do), or because I am lazy (which I am), but because I am Jewish. I admittedly grew up as one of those “lucky” kids, because my Dad is Catholic, so I got Hanukkah presents (eight days of socks!) and Christmas presents. Nonethless, I’m still not really into the holidays. I’m not a total Grinch. I love cookies, and I have a proper appreciation of A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, the John Denver with the Muppets Christmas Album and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” But that’s about as far as it goes. The holidays aren’t really my thing.

When Alex asked if I’d be willing to host the Pittsburgh blogger holiday cookie swap he was arranging, I said “sure!” …mostly because I knew that I would be the beneficiary of additional leftover cookies. But in the day or so before the event, I realized I was an odd selection for host, because literally the only holiday decorations in my house are the Hanukkah gel window stickies I bought my kid at Target to bribe her to act like a somewhat civilized human being.

The cookie swap was this weekend, and it went swimmingly. With all the cookies and joy and fun and sparkling wine, no one even mentioned my lack of decor. Success!

This year is going to be a weird holiday season for us. Due to the aforementioned Catholic dad, I grew up every year having a Christmas tree at his house. During my college and law school years, I did not have any Christmas tree, but I didn’t have anything else either, so I didn’t even notice. When Mr. Beez and I got serious, I expected him to have a Christmas tree. He had no such intention, because although he personally is not Jewish, “we” are Jewish, our (later to come) family would be Jewish, and we have a Jewish house. So no Christmas tree.

We spend Christmas with his parents. They have a tree, and holly decorations and a ham. Santa visits Baby Beez at her Grandma and Poppy’s house. She has a stocking there. But Christmas, really, was his mom’s thing. She did the decorating, the shopping, and a lot of the cooking. She passed away in October. This Christmas is going to be a big change. It’s too much for Baby Beez to lose her Grandma and Santa in one year. I did the shopping (of course, nowhere near as extravagant as when Grandma was in charge). We’re changing up the menu. Instead of ham, we’ll make prime rib for dinner (which is my Dad’s tradition). And on Christmas evening, we’ll hit up the movies and get some Chinese food, as a nod to Jewish tradition.

This afternoon, I got my act together on the one Hanukkah tradition from my childhood that really “makes” the holidays for me. The Hanukkah box. Here’s the idea: when you have Christmas, you have a Christmas tree to put presents under. When you have Hanukkah, you have to put the presents somewhere, so we wrap a box in paper and put them there. It’s the Hanukkah box. Past years, I’ve used the largest cardboard box I can find sitting around. This year, I decided that I’m sick of trying to line the inside of a stupid box with wrapping paper (an obnoxious task), so I wanted to buy a Rubbermaid type box, and wrap it once and use it year after year. We’ll just put it in the garage in the off season. Baby Beez and I also picked up a bunch of overpriced bows at Target to add a little extra flair (seriously, I spent about $40 on bows today. What is wrong with me?)

hanukkah box

Tonight, our Hanukkah box went live. It’s early enough that we can briefly admire it before the holiday starts on Tuesday evening, but it’s not sitting around long enough that its temptation becomes unbearable for the small person. Also, I’m happy to say that in contrast to past years’ too-small boxes, where gifts were spilling over all over the place, this Rubbermaid behemoth was just right.


Making a game out of #RWRunStreak — Week 1 in Pictures

Making a game out of #RWRunStreak  — Week 1 in Pictures

I’ve taken the challenge of the RW Run Streak– running at least 1 mile a day, every day from Thanksgiving to New Years. I’m training to run the Disney Glass Slipper Challenge (remember– I’m raising funds for Children’s Miracle Network! How about you kick in a dollar or two for the sick kids! I’m at 73% of my fundraising goal!!), and so the Run Streak is a nice overlay with my training schedule. On days where I’m not scheduled for a training run, I just do one quick mile. And the fact that the requirement is only one mile– which for me is only about 11 minutes of exercise– I can convince myself to take that little run early in the morning or late at night on days I would otherwise blow off running altogether.

I’ve turned my Run Streak runs into a little game. I snap a picture during each run, and although my dreadmill days aren’t very exciting pictures, I’ve had a lot of fun thinking of neat snaps when I’m out running in the neighborhood. I prefer running outside a million times more than running on the treadmill, and as long as the sidewalk is reasonably dry, I’ll run outside even if it’s very cold (yes, even though I’m a total California girl who CANNOT stand the cold). Hopefully the ice and snow will stay away, and I’ll be able to keep my runs outdoors! I didn’t think much about it at first, but over the last few days, I’ve had a lot of fun looking around my neighborhood for neat, unexpected things that might make a good Run Streak picture.

So lets celebrate finishing the first week of this 36 day challenge, here’s my first week in pictures!