Month: May 2012

Saga Hibachi Steakhouse & Sushi Bar (Monroeville Mall) – May 20, 2012

     Saga Hibachi Steakhous e & Sushi Bar (Monroeville Mall) on Urbanspoon

My mom has been wanting to go to Saga for a few months and we decided that for her birthday that the whole family should go. We started the night with some sushi. My sister recommended the “Millennium Roll” that has Spicy Lobster, Yellowtail, Jalapeno Topped with Fresh Scallop & Yum Tabiko. My Uncle also wanted an avocado roll and cucumber roll, which were average no real way you can screw those up. The Millennium Roll was good, a few family members thought it was spicy, but I didn’t really get any heat off of it.

The Main Event was the hibachi dinner. I ordered Chicken & Shrimp. I love hibachi shrimp, I don’t think it gets much better than that! All Saga hibachi dinners include shrimp appetizer, soup, salad, vegetables, rice and noodles. Until recently I never knew any places that served noodles with hibachi and really like that addition! I loved the soup, it had a fried onion inside which gave it different flavor that most places don’t have. The ginger dressing on the salad was also good, it wasn’t as overpowering as most places. The main course itself. Shrimp as expected were phenomenal! The noodles added an extra touch to the meal. The rice was good, normally I have always had vegetable fried rice, but this rice was fried but with no veggies mixed in. So I made do and mixed the hibachi veggies in with it. The chicken was ok, the sauce used on it was different. My sister mentioned it was like a sesame sauce, which I wasn’t crazy about. If it would’ve been just a regular teriyaki I would’ve liked it more.

The fun thing of Saga is the show the chef puts on during the meal, a table across from us had a very outgoing chef who was loud and talked a lot. Our chef was a little more laid back, but was still very good at his job. During the meal when they add saki to the food the chef squirts saki into everyone’s mouth, to quote “more saki, more happy!”.

I think most hibachi places are very similar, but when you find a good one you know it. Saga I think goes into the category of average. Not bad, but nothing really special for me to want to go out of my way of going to again. If you are in Monroeville looking for hibachi, I would pick Shogun, they are by far my favorite and the standard I set all hibachi meals against.

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The Cake and Cookie Spot – May 11, 2012

The Cake and Cookie Spot on Urbanspoon

I was in Squirrel Hill recently, well I am there everyday driving home, but this day I was stopping by to grab dinner and drinks for Happy Hour when my buddy and I noticed across the street a new place called The Cake and Cookie Spot. We went in before drinking and checked the place out. We noticed the selection of cake shots (I’ll get to those below) and cookies. We decided it would be best if we went to eat and drink first and then return to grab some items on the way home.

When we returned I had a hard time deciding what kinds of cookies I wanted. I am not much of a cake eater… lol, I’m going to get side tracked because ever time I think of “cake eater” I think of Jesse from The Mighty Ducks movies…

For those of you who know the movie or reference, you’re welcome. If you don’t know what I’m talking about? I feel bad for your childhood…Fine… moving on…

I prefer cookies over cake, so instead of torturing myself I asked for 2 of every cookie. I figured it was Mother’s Day Weekend it would give the family something to snack on. We began talking to the 2 ladies and found out the business is their’s and they are mother and daughter. I work with my family every day so I can respect families going into business with one another. They were both shocked when I asked for 2 of every cookie, but how can I know what I want for my return trip if I don’t know what I like?! I was also told I missed out on the oatmeal raisin cookies that day, so I will be returning soon since oatmeal cookies are my favorite. My favorite of the group was the rainbow/m&m style cookie (pictured in the middle above). It was crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside which is a perfect cookie in my book. The Ultimate Chocolate Chip cookie which is the drizzled chocolate cookie was excellent, I don’t like coconut at all but I really appreciated this cookie. I was also told that the chocolate on the bottom of the cookie is hand painted on! Seriously?! Huge selling point for that cookie because why would you not want to try something that has that much detail put into it? That’s how you know they care about their products when the details are a selling point!

I am also a big fan of anything red velvet (cupcakes, cookies, even regular cake) but I have never had a red velvet donut. The Cake and Cookie Spot had it and I had to have it too! OMG the flavor out of this hit every taste bud… as you see in the picture above that was the first thing I tried because I forgot to take a picture before I took a piece out of it lol. My least favorites were the lemon and lime cookies, which was sad because they peaked my interest the most when I ordered them. I was told they had a powerful flavor and I think it was just too overpowering for my taste.

Next I ordered a Peanut Butter Cup Cake Shot and an Oreo Cake Shot, I didn’t try the Oreo because I got it for my cousin who loves Oreo’s, he finished it in like a minute. The Cake Shots and Cake Push Up Pops at The Cake and Cookie Spot are the owner’s focus, this is what they want to be known for. I can tell you in my first bite of the cake shot I was taken back to high school. During high school bake sales a friend of mines mom would make these chocolate and peanut butter brownies, probably the best thing I have ever ate in my life! This Peanut Butter Cake Shot took me right back to that, I haven’t had anything that brought me back to that moment since high school and when food takes you to any place in your mind you know you have just ate something worth eating. The cake push up pops were seemed very similar to the cake shots but in a push up pop form (remember flinstone push up pops growing up? like that but with cake!).

One thing that I was a little saddened that I didn’t see at The Cake and Cookie Spot were cupcakes, especially since that is the real craze right now in dessert. However, with their focus on the cake shots and cake push up pops I think they will grow into their own market and craze. When I went the mother and daughter said they had only been open for about 2 weeks. I look forward to many return trips and wish them a long and successful business!

Sesame Inn – May 11, 2012

Sesame Inn on Urbanspoon

I went to Sesame Inn recently for lunch and I honestly couldn’t believe I have never blogged them before! I have worked in the North Hills full time for 7 years now, so it really surprised me in the 3 years I’ve had this blog I haven’t talked about one of my favorite Chinese restaurants! In my defense I guess, I don’t usually eat in at Sesame Inn, when I am at work we usually just get it to go and eat at the office.

Walking into Sesame Inn they have some fountains and zen rocks in the hallway, then once you get into the restaurant itself the inside has a sushi bar to your left and then all seating straight ahead. The restaurant is designed with warm colors to provide a relaxed and calm atmosphere while dining. Soon as we sit down our waiter comes by and fills the glasses with water and gives a green tea kettle. I love when Chinese restaurants provide tea with the meal, you don’t think it matters but when they do it makes it so much better.

The main event of the day was my favorite and the name sums the dish up… Amazing Chicken! The chicken strips are dipped in a light batter and lightly fried to a crispy perfection, accompanied with a delicious tangy sauce. That is straight from the menu and I couldn’t write the description much better! Downside of the meal is that I ordered fried rice with it but received white rice, oh well I’m not that picky about rice. The thing that surprised me the most is the lunch portion size at the restaurant, the take out portion is just right but eating at the restaurant was a full dinner size. DELICIOUS! I also received a side of wonton soup and was phenomenal, plenty of wonton’s inside and flavorful. I noticed when I get take out I usually get 1 wonton in the soup, so overall I think the portion size and quality is so much better when eating in at Sesame Inn but I can’t complain about the lunch portion because it is always so damn tasty!

Other menu items that I would recommend if you make the trip are : Chicken Fried Rice, Combination Lo Mein and Orange Chicken.