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Sahside Date Night with @city_theater and Kassab’s

Sahside Date Night with @city_theater and Kassab’s

Mr. Beez and I take a neighborhood-centric approach to our date nights. By planning multiple destinations in one neighborhood, we cut down on travel time and parking hassles, and spend more time having fun than getting from place to place.

In January, we had a Sahside date night at Pittsburgh’s City Theater and Kassab’s Lebanese Cuisine. This is my third visit to the City Theater. While it is a small company, I am always blown away by the amazing quality of their performances. When my mom was in town a couple of years ago, we took her to a show, I don’t remember the name but it was about a pair of brothers, and she still brings up how amazing that show was. Two other big pluses about City Theater: (1) Their Greenroom events are an awesome deal, and while I have yet to actually make it there, I’ve heard they are rockin’. (2) Their annual gala is reliably one of the best events in the ‘burgh each year.

On to the show! South Side Stories is a one-woman show written and performed by Tami Dixon. It’s first run was last year and was highly acclaimed. I was extremely bummed that I didn’t get around to going, and was elated to hear that they were bringing it back for a second run. Dixon is a talented actor, and brilliantly weaves together a tapestry of the personalities, meek and overpowering, of the remnants of milltown Pittsburgh still living in the South Side.

South Side Stories preserves uniquely-Pittsburgh culture in a way that the thirty-somethings in Pittsburgh have only heard as memories from their grandparents, or if they are lucky, their parents. I say “they” rather than “we” because I’m a Pittsburgh transplant, and do not personally have the milltown history in my family, so I can only experience it as an outsider. Then I look at my daughter, and realize that although her dad’s family has steelworking in their history, those stories are going to be as abstract to her as they are to me. It’s a culture that is quickly fading.

Dixon’s play is, frankly, amazing and important to Pittsburgh culture. I hope City Theater brings it back for future runs.

City Theater South Side Stories

After the show, we shuffled our way through the snow and wind to a cozy dining spot a mere block away– Kassab’s Lebanese Cuisine.

Kassab's Lebanese Cuisine

I must admit that walking into Kassab’s, I had no expectations, because Middle Eastern food does not excite me. Mr. Beez loves it, but I am generally ambivalent. The only thing I usually have much interest in is pickled turnips.

Kassab’s, however, turned my ambivalence on its head. Let’s start with the hummus– it is so silky. We ordered the appetizer platter, which at around $15 and massive portions of their appetizer selections, it was intended to be shared by more than 2. But it was awesome. And yes. We ate it all. And there were lots of pickled turnips, ALL FOR ME, because Mr. Beez wouldn’t eat a pickled turnip if you paid him.

Kassab's Appetizer Plate

I ordered the grilled chicken flatbread sandwich. It, too, was amazing. It was warm and flavorful, and accomplished all the things such a sandwich is supposed to accomplish (which, I guess, is taste good and be filling. Which it was)

grilled chicken wrap at Kassab's

Mr. Beez had a shish kabob platter and was also extremely pleased. He did share a little bite of lamb with me, and it was so buttery and delicious.

Kassab's Shish Kabob Plate

The service at Kassab’s was casual but attentive. There was a large table nearby that was celebrating a birthday, and it struck me that Kassab’s really is a great place to get together with friends. I may not usually crave middle eastern food, but I now feel differently when it comes to Kassab’s. It is only 8:30 am right now, but all I can think about is that hummus and those turnips and all of that amazing food. Kassab’s has earned a well-deserved spot on this family’s short list of favorites.

Kassab's on Urbanspoon

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Creative fare at @YoRitaSouthSide

Creative fare at @YoRitaSouthSide

Yo Rita’s not a new place, it’s been around for about 4 years, but when it opened tacos were far and few between in Pittsburgh. Yo Rita is a far cry from the homestyle Mexican options I was used to finding all over the place in my So Cal hometown, but they did add a little something different to Pittsburgh’s dining landscape.

When Yo Rita first opened, I went there a couple times in the space of a couple months. Now it’s been over three years since my last visit, and Pittsburgh’s dining scene has changed considerably in that time span. Yo Rita continues to offer creative and tasty tacos in a casual but fun atmosphere.

Yo Rita!

Yo Rita’s logo hearkens back to classic tattoo art, but doesn’t get all Ed Hardy up in your face. The interior is a combination of black, grey and subtle silver. The service was unobtrusive, attentive to refill our chips and take our orders quickly, but not overdoing it with the checking in.

Yo Rita! Root veggie taco and chorizo taco

One of my favorite things about Yo Rita is that you can get cava by the glass. Cava is entirely underrepresented on the wine lists in this town. The last time I was at Yo Rita, I had the seitan tortilla soup, and it was hands down one of the best bowls of soup I’ve had ever. I was sad to see that it was not on the menu this time around, and I hope that they bring it back soon.

Yo Rita has a wide variety of meat and vegtarian options, and I like to select one of each. I had a root vegetable taco, with butternut squash, beets, egg and cheese. My meat selection was a chorizo taco, with cheese and avocado cream. Both of them were flavorful and satisfying.

I’ll honestly say that Yo Rita isn’t at the tip top of my “must visit” list, but it’s a decent place to go when you’re in the Sahside and need a bite to eat. Also, cava by the glass. That’s always a plus for me.

Yo Rita on Urbanspoon

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Perfect Pittsburgh Sunday #PerfectPghSun

Perfect Pittsburgh Sunday #PerfectPghSun

Sunday afternoons in Pittsburgh come autumn time are dominated by watching and cheering on dem Stillers. This usually equates to a day full of fun, but special circumstances such as bye weeks and truly horrendous seasons call for other enjoyable activities to keep us all entertained. Check out the links below to read what a bunch of Pittsburgh bloggers suggest you do to make your fall Sunday perfect!

My perfect Sunday starts with me waking up around 7 or 7:30. WHY so early? Because everyone else is ASLEEP! I curl up with coffee and magazines, if the weather is nice I park myself out on the front porch, and start my day with some precious precious quiet time, caffeine, and glossy pages.

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After an hour or so, my quiet time will be destroyed by the waking of the various family members and creatures in residence.

ricky Juice

Ricky juice2

Juice? Juice! YES I WANT JUICE!

We’d all chow down on breakfast, and then it absolutely would be time to work off some of that flab. Mr. Beez and I would pack up Baby Beez and head over to the Sahside Slopes to explore Pittsburgh’s unique city stairs.

Sahside Slopes


Fineview/Troy Hill and Greenfield are also great options for checking out city steps.  (Pssst– If you’re afraid of getting miserably lost, or maybe just want something a little more organized, the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association Step Trek is going on tomorrow!)

The obvious next item on the agenda is a nap. A perfect day isn’t perfect without a nap.

We would then switch gears and drop Baby Beez off with her grandparents, so that we can spend the rest of the day like grown ups, teeeeearing up the town! (Note: Most of our “grown up” evenings involve drinking wine on the couch while watching Futurama, so I’m gonna get a little more ambitious since this is a special occasion) (Second note: As I write this, Mr. Beez and I are sitting on the couch, both wearing Futurama t-shirts.)

I’m always wanting to try new restaurants, but for our ideal October Sunday, I just can’t help but have our dinner out at Soba.  Soba is a consistent favorite for fancy dinners, and right now they have a take on bibimbap on their menu that I have been dying to try.  i absolutely love bibimbap, and I can’t imagine how delicious Soba’s dish is.  Of course, a meal at Soba would never be complete without the cashew terrine.

I wish we were real-life grown ups who could do some sort of fun activity and eat a grown-up dinner at like 8pm, but that just ain’t gonna happen. We dine early with the olds. So a 6pm reservation would be just the thing for us. This means we’ll still have some time afterward to mosey on down to the Steel City Improv Theater, where they have hour-long shows lined up, one after another, from 7pm through 11pm. Each show is just $5 a ticket. You can stop by just for one, or if you’re like Mr. Beez and I, you can park yourself in that theater for show after show after show.

steelcityimprov

steelcityschedule

WAIT A MINUTE– You caught me. This is supposed to be a perfect Sunday post. But Steel City Improv’s shows are on Saturdays, not Sundays. I admit it, it’s hard to have a night out in this town on a Sunday night.  A perfect Sunday night activity for us would be to go to the movies and see some movie with lots of cuss words and bullets, but suggesting the Steel City Improv, even though a Sunday impossibility, seemed like a much more interesting suggestion than the movies.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming…

Even though we stuffed ourselves silly at Soba, an evening out just isn’t complete with even moar snacks.  And there is nothing more perfect for late night Pittsburgh fooding than Eat & Park.

Photo Credit to eatPGH


They’ve remodeled the Squirrel Hill location, but forever in my memories it will have nasty ripped carpet, and scowling smokers hovering over their mugs of coffee at the breakfast bar. We’ll finish the night off with our favorites– grilled stickies a la mode for me and pie for Mr. Beez. So classic. So sugary. So incredibly yummy.

Two desserts.  Now that’s a Perfect Pittsburgh Sunday.

I hope you enjoyed a Perfect Pittsburgh Sunday with me! Other Pittsburgh bloggers are also sharing their perfect Sundays.  You can find a complete list of Perfect Sunday posts at everybody loves you!

Or you can go to the posts directly, here:

everybody loves you’s Perfect Pittsburgh Sunday

orange chair blog’s Perfect Pittsburgh Sunday

Lil Burgher’s Perfect Bye Week

SWF seeks Perfect Pittsburgh Bye Week

The Steel Trap’s Perfect Fall Sunday

YinzrReadin shares her Bye Week Sunday

And last but not least, a Perfect Fall Sunday with jelly jars


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Brunchin’ with @BrunchBurgh

Brunchin’ with @BrunchBurgh

I was lucky to have the opportunity to be interviewed over brunch by the fabulous Mary of the BrunchBurgh podcast.  Mary loves brunch and loves meeting new people, and decided to bring these two things together in this fun podcast.  Mary and I know one another through various social media events (she was my Secret Santa at the Pittsburgh TweetUp’s holiday party), and this was such a fun opportunity to get to know one another better.

You can listen to the podcast through iTunes at this link.

You can also listen to it on the BrunchBurgh site at this link.

I made Mr. Beez sit through the podcast today, and he promised that I don’t sound like a total jagoff.  So that’s good. In retrospect I feel like I came off as a massive egotist, but the interview was about me after all.  I’m hoping maybe some of the thoughts and thought-processes I shared will help others who are interested in blogging, but maybe aren’t sure about how to fit a “blog life” in with the rest of their lives.

In related news, Mr. Beez and I returned to Club Cafe for brunch today. This is my third time there, which is highly unusual, given how rarely I’m a repeat visitor to places (too many new and exciting things to discover!!)  He went for the Steak, Egg & Croissant sandwich because it is the best thing in the universe.

Club Cafe Steak & Egg on Croissant. Heavenly.

I wanted to order that, but I’m *so close to hitting my 10% in weight watchers that it huuuuurts* so instead I wanted to pick something slightly lighter, and went for the omelette.  The omelette was very good, but I had massive food jealousy. I should have just gotten the steak sandwich. Nothing beats that darn steak sandwich. So jealous.

Club Cafe Omelette and Toast

In other related news, I can’t find my darn running earbuds and it is making me INSANE. I have other earbuds I can use but they’re not as good. So if anyone has seen my earbuds, PLEASE return them to me stat. Or I will lose my mind. Or have to buy another pair at least.


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Family Pizza Outing at Pi Coal Fired Pizza

Family Pizza Outing at Pi Coal Fired Pizza

I never quite know what to make of restaurants that continuously run specials on Groupon or LivingSocial.  For some wildly expensive restaurants, a $25 coupon for $12 doesn’t shave much off of their profit.  For more modest eateries, I’d assume that such coupons don’t run them cheap, and so I wonder how the whole thing works out for them.

I like pizza, I like fancy pizza, and the Southside is close to my house and my work, so after seeing the Pi Coal Fired Pizza deal on heavy rotation, I decided we should give it a whirl.  We went on a weeknight for an early dinner (6:30 or so).  Pi is more “bar” than “restaurant,” and when I first walked in and saw the tower of Pinnacle vodka bottles and huge open floor space for mingling, I worried that I’d picked a place that is more appropriate for bros than babies.

Pi Coal Fired Pizza

We took a few steps in and a waitress greeted us warmly, and I felt a lot more comfortable.  Because of the early hour, the place was fairly empty, so even if bringing my kid was a faux pas, it wouldn’t be witnessed by so many people.  Well, it turns out, it wasn’t a faux pas at all.  Kids are frequent guests (kids do love pizza after all!) and they even had little kid cups.

The menu has probably 15 different options for pizza, but I found that many of them were variations on the same theme.  For example, there were probably 5 different varieties of margherita pizza.  However, the ingredients on these pizzas were very high quality and the way the options are structured are well suited for people with very specific tastes.  The pizza is thin crusted and fired in the pizza oven, so it is fresh and hot when it arrives at the table (and service was impressively fast).

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We ordered two varieties of the “spicy cured meat” pizza.  One had chorizo and the other I think had pepperoni.  Since our visit was a few weeks away, the finer details have faded from my memory, but I do recall that I preferred one and Mr. Beez preferred the other, but only slightly for each.  Baby Beez was kind of being a punk that night and preferred to play with the iPad instead of eating, but that was fine, it meant more for us.

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After the Groupon (which I think was $10), I think we paid another $18 or so.  The pizza and service were both good and the price was right. Pi worked out as an excellent option for a weeknight when we hadn’t figured out dinner, didn’t have the energy to cook, and wanted something savory and satisfying.  Given that Pi so frequently offers its Groupon deals, I should pick up a couple more as an option for busy weeknights.


Pi Coal Fired Pizza on Urbanspoon