Month: April 2009

Strawberry Spring Salad

Spring is finally here, I can tell because my allergies are in overdrive right now. I was reading Chef Robert Irvine’s blog yesterday and he was talking about how when this time of the year comes our appetite changes a little bit and we begin to eat food that is more appropriate to the season. My Aunt Sandy last summer began making a salad at work that a friend of hers told her about, it was basically just spring salad mix, bleu cheese crumbles, strawberries, and topped with Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette dressing. Immediately after trying this salad for the first time I could think of a number of items that could help it become a great meal. One of the best things I like about salads are that you don’t need a recipe, its all up to you how much of everything that you want on a salad. So here are the items that I picked out for my strawberry spring salad:

 

Spring Salad Mix

Fresh Strawberries, slice them on top of the salad mix

Feta Cheese Crumbles

Chopped Walnuts

Chick Peas

Cubed Chicken Breast (When making this I usually purchase the already cut up chicken that can be found in the same section as the raw chicken, and it is already cooked so all you have to do is open the package and you have chicken for a great addition, if you want the chicken cold. If you really want to go the extra mile, and want the chicken warm, buy a couple of chicken breasts and grill them and cut the down to add more flavor to this salad).

Top salad with Blush Wine Vinaigrette, then grind black pepper over to taste

 

There you have it, a quick and easy meal that I think you will really enjoy. I plan on adding recipes following reviews starting in May, and I invite you to being posting recipes in the comments section as well. Thanks to all of you who have been reading, the first month of being live is done, and hopefully next month our new website will be up and running.

 

Until Next Time…

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Square Cafe – April 25, 2009

I know what everybody is going to be thinking when reading this post, "3 Regent Square reviews in the same month?" Yes! Regent Square has been trying for some time now to become the local spot, and they are really succeding in this mission. I don’t remember when the Square Cafe opened, but I do know that ever since then I have never seen the place empty when driving by. Since I started this blog, the Square Cafe has been high on the priority list. Let me just say that I think this place was very unique, but was kinda what I expected. The art on the wall, especially the picture that was behind my friend (which was very freaky to say the least), was able to be purchased and I am assuming it was a local artist or maybe even a person who worked there. During the nice weather, alot of tables are set up outdoors in front but the inside has a decent amount of seating along with a juice bar.

Food
Pumpkin Walnut Pancakes & Chicken Apple Sausage- I will say that the price ($8.50) seemed a little high, but the portion to me seemed to be worth it. I received 3 decent size pancakes that didn’t dissapoint on the flavor. Each bite had a walnut in it and all the flavors blended well together. One problem I had with the pancakes was that I could also get some flavors that I shouldn’t have been able to pick up on. How so? I think that whoever cooks in the back probably was doing alot of food back to back and wasn’t cleaning the cooking surface consistantly. I figured this was the problem because after getting over the initial taste most of the time the food really focused on the pumpkin flavor. The Chicken Apple Sausage was something I only bought because it sounded interesting, but for the price of $3.25 a piece I do not think I will ever get it again. The CAS was very tasty and I am not even sure if this is something that they purchase or is homemade,  but if you like sausage I would give it a try on your next visit.

Location
1137 South Braddock Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15218
Phone- 412-244-8002
Web- http://www.square-cafe.com/

Final Thought
Well my overall reaction was how pricey the place was, my meal I think for the size was alright for the price. My buddy Vic who got 2 pieces of french toast cut into 4 halves I don’t think was worth the $8 price tag. My apple juice, which if I wouldn’t have sipped at would’ve been gone in 2 or 3 gulps, was $2-$3 and was not free refills. The biggest problem I had was how expensive the chicken apple sausage was, I just couldn’t get over that no matter how good it was. This cafe to me isn’t your everday meal stop, especially in this economy, but is ok for a treat every now and then. The Square Cafe only serves breakfast and lunch, and I would like to stop back soon to give lunch a try as the plates I saw coming from the kitchen did look pretty nice. If you are interested in going to the Square Cafe, I recommend going to their website which I listed above and checking out the menu because it is a unique breakfast place and different from any I have been to before.

Until Next Time…

Square Cafe on Urbanspoon

Kretzler’s Tavern – April 24, 2009

I have worked out in the North Hills for about 4 years now, and have been visiting family out that way for a lot longer. This past Friday I tried Kretzler’s Tavern on Babcock Blvd for the first time, and I wish I would have done it sooner. My grandparents have gone to Kretzler’s a number of times over the years with friends of theirs, but I never knew what Kretzler’s offered. So when a friend of my uncle’s asked if we wanted to join him for lunch on Friday I was all about going. Like alot of bar & grill’s, Kretzler’s is known for their fish sandwich.

Food
Famous Fish Sandwich w/ Potato Pancakes – The menu says that the fish is a batter-dipped cod, fried golden brown, served on a sesame bun. The amount of fish was a decent amount and was even too much to keep on the entire bun. The fish was fried perfectly, and had a nice crunch to the batter instead of being soggy. For my sides, I ordered potato pancakes, and these didn’t disappoint either. These were 2 large and thick potato pancakes that came with a choice of applesauce or sour cream, I like applesauce with my potato pancakes. If you are from the North Hills area, and haven’t tried Kretzler’s yet I don’t think you will be disappointed in the fish. If you do happen to go, or have gone, let me know what else is good for a future trip.

Location
2240 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
Phone- 412-821-1606
Web- http://www.kretzlers.com/

Kretzler's Tavern on Urbanspoon

Final Thought
Sometimes I think that if you have had one fish sandwich, you have had them all. Then a few places come out with their take on it and even if it is something small, it makes a big difference. The thing I liked most about Kretzler’s, besides the good fish, was the choice of sides. As I said before, I got the potato pancakes, but the other choices were fries, coleslaw, soup, or mac n’ chesse (mac on available on Friday’s). The potato pancakes for me added a nice touch to the meal and was pretty flavorful all around. Normally the fish sandwich is most popular around Lent, but so many places offer their sandwich year round and it is hard to not be tempted to go from time to time. A few of my favorite places to go now for fish sandwiches are the following-

Armand’s Bar & Lounge
4755 Liberty Avenue
Bloomfield, PA 15224
Phone- 412-681-3967
Sorry No Website
* I have been going to Armand’s since I was a kid, and the thing Armand’s has kept going is the amount of fish on one sandwich. For one sandwich that you order from Armands you can feed 2-3 people. For around $9 you get a sandwich for yourself and at least one other person. The only downside of Armand’s is that all sides are sold seperately.

Perrytowne Drafthouse
1002 Perry Hwy
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
Phone- 412-367-9610
Web- http://www.perrytownedrafthouse.com/
* This is another place that I have only found because of working in North Hills, and this is one of my favorites as well. I always start my meal off with a cup of the New England Clam Chowder, probably the best I have ever had. This almost reminds me of a seafood bisque most times because of the amount of clams inside and for how thick the chowder is. By far the most flavorful chowder I have ever had. Once you have the chowder you must then move to the Perrytowne’s Famous Fish Sandwich which is a beer-battered fish, and is one of the biggest fish sandwiches I know of that is served on a hoagie roll. Get this with a side of their homemade potato chips, and you have yourself a meal that won’t let you move for at least 48 hours.

Perrytowne Pour House on Urbanspoon

Kelly O’s Diner – April 22, 2009

I am making an attemp to visit every location in Pittsburgh that Guy Fieri visits on Food Networks "Diners, Drive Ins, & Dives". I have been to the Starlite Lounge for wing night, but have yet to try their famous pierogi’s. I have also been to Kelly O’s Diner many times. Kelly O’s is just a few minutes from my work so when I found out that they were gonna be on Triple D I was very happy for them. One of the reasons I have returned to Kelly O’s is because of the salads. The spinach salad is my favorite and the burgers are pretty good too, and of course you can’t forget about breakfast. Since Kelly O’s was featured on DDD I haven’t been, but I wanted to. I was surprised by the feature on DDD because the meals they featured I had never tried when I ordered from there. So this meant I had to now go up and give a few of the specials a try.

Food
Turkey Pot Pie Soup- Think of any good, homemade turkey pot pie you have ever had….Okay…now think about that inside portion of it put into a soup bowl with crumbles of crust on top. Is your mouth watering yet? If you like turkey pot pie, I really do recommend giving this a try.

Polenta & Bolognese – One of my all-time favorite comfort foods (behind meatloaf & mashed potatoes) is chili & cornbread. There is just something about that combination that I really enjoy, and when I eat it I usually make both homemade (this could possibly be the next recipe posted). Kelly O’s polenta & bolognese is a very similar dish to the above chili & cornbread. Her bolognese sauce has a ton of ground meat in it with a killer sauce, and the polenta is very tasty as well. On the dish you get about 5 scoops of polenta then smoothered with the bolognese sauce, and topped with a little romano cheese. What I really liked about this meal was that the waitress told me that she helped make the polenta with Kelly. I thought that was such a nice touch to know that plate was made just for that order. After this and the soup, I had a very warm belly!

Location
1130 Perry Highway
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
Phone- 412-364-0473
Web- http://www.kellyosdiner.com/

Final Thought
As I said early on, I have visited Kelly O’s before and plan on going back again soon. If you are in the North Hills area, make sure Kelly O’s is on your list of places to eat as well for breakfast, lunch or dinner. One thing I plan on adding to this site soon is a list of all the places the Food Network has been to, and while I keep up I would love to get feedback from yinz if you have already been. In the meantime enjoy this video of Triple D visiting Kelly O’s.

Until Next Time…

Kelly O's Diner on Urbanspoon

SouthSide Steaks – April 20, 2009

I have never been to Philly, so I can only imagine the food I had at SouthSide Steaks recently was the closest thing to a Philly style sub. This was the first time I have ever been to SouthSide Steaks, and I was not disappointed. My buddy Vic works in the SouthSide and has told me about this place for sometime now, and figured this past Monday was as good of a day as any to go. The inside of the shop is pretty relaxed with nothing special going on inside the eating area except for the food.

Food
Cajun Fries – Anybody that tells you that fresh cut fries are not worth the hassle are lying to you. That fresh taste and flavor that you get from these fries along with the cajun seasoning makes these fries go almost immediately to the top. The only fries that I can remember being better than these are the Potato Patch fries from Kennywood (I always like bbq salt and cheese), but with that let me say SSS is a close call to the potato patch.

Mushroom Pepper Steak – This steak was something special as well. I ordered my steak with the grilled onions, lettuce, hot peppers and cheez wiz, WOW! This sandwich didn’t disappoint. The pepper steak just had flavor, and everything else just added to it and nothing was overpowering at all.

Location
2000 E. Carson Street
P
ittsburgh, PA 15203
Phone- 412-390-1844
Web- http://www.southsidesteaks.com/

Final Thought
I don’t think I have hidden my feelings toward the food at all in this article, SouthSide Steaks I believe is a MUST! They truly know Umami.

Until Next Time…

Southside Steaks on Urbanspoon

Recipe #1 – Frittata

I know it’s a little later than I said, but I am sure you won’t be dissappointed with my first recipe. Every year for Easter my grandmother makes a Frittata, and along with her Ricotta Pie, those dishes make the holiday for me. While I will not share the Ricotta Pie recipe with you today, I will give you the Frittata recipe. It is very simple and can be used as a great breakfast dish any day of the week.

1 large & 1 small container of ricotta
1 lb. cubed ham
3/4 lb. pepperoni cut in small pieces
1 lb. mozzarella cheese cubed
10 large size eggs, beaten
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 325 degrees. Cook until knife comes out clean in center.

Mangia!

Here is a great link a buddy of mine sent me about Pizza & Beer, check it out
http://www.delish.com/recipes/cooking-recipes/pizza-beer-recipes?GT1=47013

Dunning’s Grill – April 18, 2009

Last week I posted a review of "The Green Mango" in Regent Square and provided a few other places in the square that are popular. Well this past weekend I visited another location, Dunning’s Grill. I have been to this place many times over the years when I was younger, but the older I get the less and less I have been. Each time I have ever gone, it is just a very relaxed atmosphere, nothing too exciting going on. When you first walk into Dunning’s you are at the bar, a very chill bar and even gives me a memory of "Cheers". On the left of the entrance is the main dinning area and there is nothing fancy about the place, as I said before everything is very relaxed. I can honestly say, while other places in the square have a very long wait, I have never waited at Dunning’s, I can always get a seat.

Food
Potato Skins – The only appetizer that really caught my eye was the Potato Skins, and the thing I liked best about them was the thickness of the potato. Alot of places take out alot of the potato and leave primarily just the skin. Not Dunning’s, alot of the potato was left in and was topped with a strip of bacon and melted cheddar cheese. Not alot of frills in this food, sometimes the skins are topped with chives, sour cream, different cheese, but these skins were just simple. Sometimes simple works best. My buddy JJ ordered an appetizer of the BBQ Boneless Wings. Once again, these were very simple, boneless chicken topped with BBQ sauce.

Bacon Bleu Burger – I am really not a big fan of Bleu Cheese, but I order it a decent amount when I am out because if you can take something like bleu cheese and make it delicious then you have done your job. The burger itself wasn’t very juicy, I ordered it medium well because I didn’t want it too dry. While the burger topped with bacon and bleu cheese wasn’t overpowered by those flavors, the burger didn’t come with any type of signature dressing just ketchup and mustard on the table. When I get a burger I like a sauce to come with it. I think I would’ve been happy if the bleu cheese would’ve been a dressing. So in essence, the burger just came to the table too dry. The homemade chips that came on the side had a nice seasoning on them and were a nice addition to the meal. I remember getting the chips as a kid and not liking them. I am not sure if the chips have changed or just my tastebuds, but I was glad I ordered the chips this time. JJ also got a burger and I believe his quote was that his mouth didn’t produce enough saliva to eat the burger.

Homemade Cheesecake – Anytime I see "homemade" next to cheesecake I usually try it, because I feel alot of places just get frozen and serve that. For those of you who know me or who have read previous posts know that I am not that big of a dessert fan, but cheesecake can be a weakness at times. This to me was what saved the meal, and was topped with a blackberry sauce. I could’ve done without the blackberries, but it did add a nice flavor. I would recommend Dunning’s for the cheesecake alone.

Location

1100 S Braddock Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15218

Phone – 412-243-3900
Sorry No Website

Final Thought
This trip reminded me of a joke performed by Chris Rock when he talked about when he was a kid and his mother bought no-frills food. Dunning’s to me was No-Frills food. I received food, but nothing that would really ever get me excited about eating it. Except the cheesecake, as I said before the cheesecake was recommendation alone for Dunning’s. If you are looking for a local chill spot to grab some food and a beer, Dunning’s will fulfill that for you. If you are looking for something with alot of flavor and a great atmosphere, you might want to find another spot. From growing up in the area, Dunning’s is the spot for people just to go and hang out at in the evening when they don’t feel like cooking or a place to grab a beer with their food on the weekend. Dunning’s provides a service to the neighborhood of Regent Square and has been doing so for many years. If you live close by, check it out, try something that I haven’t and let me know what you think. If you are not from Regent Square or Dunning’s is far from where you live, I am not sure if it would be worth the drive.

Dunning's Grill on Urbanspoon