Month: September 2013

Szmidt’s Old World Deli

szmidts Szmidt's Old World Deli on Urbanspoon

The other day I was online and saw someone post a picture of a sandwich at Szmidt’s. I did a quick google search to see where Szmidt’s is and luckily found out it isn’t too far from me in Greenfield. Over the weekend I decided to take a quick trip over and have lunch.

I pulled up and noticed Szmidt’s has some outdoor seating and even had a chalkboard outside with the day’s specials. I walk in and the inside is small, they have a high top table and then seating around a counter along the window. They have a big menu board above the deli case and cashier. TONS of items on the menu!

I ordered the “Joe” which is grilled pastrami and corned beef, swiss cheese and Szmidt’s mustard on homemade grilled rye. I also ordered a side of 2 “Thanksgiving” pierogies. The “Joe” was incredible! I hate ordering a pastrami or corned beef sandwich that is dried out, but this sandwich was juicy and flavorful. The mustard paired nicely with the pastrami to provide an extra kick to the sandwich. When I think of a deli sandwich this really is what you should expect. Plus the corned beef and pastrami were pilled on high, you won’t go home hungry after eating this!

The “Thanksgiving” pierogies caught my attention on their “New World” selection. Inside was turkey and stuffing and they came with a side of gravy. I would definitely have these again and would like to try some of their other selections. It’s now fall which means Thanksgiving is right around the corner, if you need a quick fix before the holiday I recommend a quick trip to Szmidt’s for these pierogies!

The staff was very quick with getting the food out and were very friendly. Everyone that worked behind the counter made sure to ask how the food was and see if we were doing alright. For the quick 10 minute drive it takes me to get to Szmidt’s I can see myself having lunch on the weekends their a lot more.


Dobrá Tea

Dobra Tea on Urbanspoon 1

Dobrá Tea lies at the intersection of Beacon Street and Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill, but amazingly upon crossing the threshold, you are immediately transported to a foreign land (one can only hope a HIPSTER-FREE ZONE). Dobrá may be only a few months old in Pittsburgh but they have other locations across these wonderful United States.

The ambiance of the establishment is the first thing that is striking. The colors and room decor provide a warm environment which dances beautifully with the profound aroma of tea emanating from every corner. Combine this aesthetic with world music emitting loudly from the speakers and you soon realize that instead of just going to a restaurant, you are going to enjoy an experience, a tea experience. Blake does not really understand Ying or Yang or meditation, but the environment almost inspired me to whip out a mat, find a few patrons and work on my downward-facing dog.

This institution provides a full serve; once you select your seat the staff provides a bell and the menu; if you need anything simply ring the bell.

(*** Note: Due to attention-span issues very few mammals love bells as much as Blake: kittens with a bell necklace, circa-1985 LL Cool J, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Prince Adam from Beauty and the Beast)

About this menu, at the time of this review it was over 64 pages. I repeat over 60 pages. Literally less than a tenth of these pages are food. What could possibly make up the remaining 90+% of the menu? Tea! Are you bleeping kidding me? No I am not. They have literally hundreds of types and mixes of tea. Black, White, Chai, Green, Herbal, Organic, Blends, Tea Cocktails (yes I said tea cocktails).  Who can possibly love tea this much? {Insert your own pity the fool joke here}

What did I choose? Staroborshov – chilled tea, dark oolong tea is shaken with fruit sugar to produce a frothy “head” like a draft beer. Hummus Plate – chickpea, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil, sprinkled with Zaatar and served with warmed, local pita and slices of fresh vegetables, Capetown Kiss – Naturally caffeine-free, this Rooisbos cocktail has a taste reminiscent of cold apple cider. It is made from coconut water, cinnamon, anise, honey, and a secret ingredient to tantalize your taste buds to the last drop. Lemon Bread – Made by Allegro Hearth Bakery, Baklava – Made by Stamoolis Bakery, Chocolate Medicine Ball – Made by Silvermoon Chocolates

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Blake will spare you a review of the tea, because before this experience Blake’s idea of a gourmet tea outing was Pittsburgh’s own Turner Tea next to a Vinnie Pie or a Primanti sandwich on an incline, so I will stay in my lane. What is clear is that the food here (called snacks) is clearly an afterthought. So much so that little is actually made or even assembled in house. Again tea is the John Lennon here, while all the food can only be compared to Pete Best. Thus I hesitate to criticize on something they do not specialize in. The hummus platter was very clumsy in my opinion. While the hummus itself was tasty, everything else dropped the ball more than Limas Sweed. The vegetables while fresh and cut on bias were much too thick for enjoyable eating. The pita was advertised in the menu as warm. They were not. They were lifeless. They were disappointing.  I will not comment on the Lemon Bread, Chocolate Medicine Ball or Baklava again because they are not made by the teahouse but I will say in general, come here for the tea.

This place is all about the experience. The staff is friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. Dobrá hosts various events like Belly-dancing, Poetry Readings, and Tarot card readings on various nights.  This place is Bohemian to the core, not hipster (THANK YOU!) While the tea claims to be the center attraction, you are paying for the Dobrá Tea unique experience, either to get work done or meditate on the life-cycle of butterflies; it is that experience which Blake deems worth every dollar.


Blake Tarr (The Return….. from culinary purgatory!!!!) [Pittsburgh Coffee/Tea Shop Reviews]

It has been awhile since I have had the pleasure of giving feedback at Yinz Hungry?, thus I hope that absence truly does makes heart grow fonder.

‘Where was Blake?’ many of you may ask. You see, Blake loves “food!” Real “food;” not your ‘let me make your plate pretty with an inedible herbivore garnish’ which was never meant to be ingested by anything under the homo sapiens classification, adding a pleasant aesthetic food, but real ‘let me die happy with steak and glass of ‘Merican Bourbon “food!”’  Culinary striking delicate masterpieces take a backseat to quality cuisine served out aluminum foil by a man named ‘Bo’ who lost a finger or two in a pig roast accident in ’73. If the portion size is only fit to satisfy a stomach the size of a tufted titmouse then “Houston, we have a problem.”

Thus while Pittsburgh is currently experiencing a culinary revolution, expert cuisine from all regions of the globe, Blake is standing in the field the “The Last Samurai” waiting to commit seppuku with a plate of cheesy curly fries and a Reuben when asked ‘Would I like a side of lemongrass and a PBR?’ Ok truth comes out, Blake distains hipsters!

Management (cough….cough), feels Yinz Hungry? needs to be a bias-free environment where we help our readers understand the great landscape and explore Pittsburgh cuisine, thus Blake gets sent to the dreaded “field-duty”…. culinary purgatory, while I learn to appreciate food. Here is what we will be doing. As this summer ends, we have begun to survey and review various coffeeshops and teahouses around the Pittsburgh region. We will then provide “unbiased” analysis. Thus please don’t hesitate to send us your favorite cozy coffee locations and we shall do our best to provide you with the Yinz Hungry? touch. Of course if they serve food it is a bonus but not required. Yes, management finds it amusing to send Blake to coffeeshops … . the place where hipsters spawn like salmon. Call it sensitivity training if you will.

Note from “Management”: Blake’s blogs will be featured in our new “Yinz Thirsty?” section. Be on the look out for Blake’s blogs and all the new “Yinz Thirsty?” blogs in the near future!