Archive | February, 2014

Grit & Grace Review

22 Feb

One of my dear friends was celebrating a birthday this week and we both were looking forward to trying Grit & Grace so that is where we went to celebrate.  I honestly can’t say enough great things about this restaurant.  I enjoyed everything about the meal from the setting, to the casual style to the food itself.

They style of food is interesting.  Chef Brian Pekarcik has created a style that (according to our server) is taking Asian food and “Americanizing” it.  Not in the way that the Chinese buffet down your street Americanized things with sweet sauces and fried food, but in a way of taking traditional Asian flavors and giving it an American comfort food touch.

The menu is interesting, and to be honest probably isn’t for the picky eaters among you.  But honestly, nothing that I talk about on this blog is for picky eaters!  They have some salads, sandwiches, noodle bowls as well as small and large entrees.  On top of that, they have a dim sum offering with a server who comes around randomly with the food already prepared.  I saw several things that we didn’t order that I’d certainly go back for.

Off the regular menu we went with Short Ribs on cream cheese biscuits and a hollandaise sauce which was a little messy and also amazing.  This may have been my favorite item that we ordered!  We also ordered the chicken thighs with fried rice, also very tasty.  Until I started eating out at some of these great restaurants, I did not realize the joy that is dark chicken meat.  The flavor is fantastic in this dish and it was simple and delicious.  The last item we ordered from the regular menu was the braised pork in butter lettuce cups.  It was also very good, but probably my least favorite of the items we ordered.

IMG_1103The Chicken Thighs

When the dim sum server came to our table, I wasn’t sure what to get!  Every item was tempting.  Eventually what we got was the kimchi (2 of those because it was so good we ordered another when he came back around later).  The pork belly, which is like really amazing bacon, and a steak tartare.  Each of them were tasty!

IMG_1101The Short Ribs, Kimchi and Pork Belly

We ended with something sweet of course.  I didn’t see desert listed so I was thinking that we would be heading out for something, but they did have two options that were not listed.  What we chose was… interesting.  It was a lemongrass creme with toasted fruity pebbles.  Yes, you heard that correctly, fruity pebbles.  It was different.  I’m not sure I’d get it again, but it was certainly something to try!  I loved the lemongrass creme, just not sure how I felt about it with cereal!

IMG_1104Our Fruity Pebble desert

Again, I really enjoyed everything about this restaurant.  We ended up taking close to 2 hours to eat and never once felt rushed.  The servers were all very attentive but not overly so.  I asked about possibly menu changes and additions and she said that yes, they’ve been and will continue to change up the dim sum as well as the regular menu.  It was a small space downtown, not far from Market Square.  I’m happy to see new places going in in the downtown area as it seems some of the other neighborhoods around town have been the target for many of the interesting restaurants in the last 5-10 years.  With the relatively recent addition of Grit & Grace (as well as Butcher and the Rye which I’m hitting up in about 3 weeks) there are now some really great dining options in downtown Pittsburgh.  The only other thing I’ll add is that you need a reservation.  While we were there early and it wasn’t that busy at the time, I can see this place getting really crowded later in the evening.  Have you been to Grit & Grace yet?  What did you think?

Grit & Grace on Urbanspoon

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Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

9 Feb

I know I’ve been neglectful of this blog this year.  Between the shoulder injury and the really gross winter we are having here in Pittsburgh, I’m not going out to eat much and I’m not really cooking.  Today though, I decided that I would cook and I wanted soup.  I mean, this is what it looks like out there right now:

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So comfort soup just sounded well… comforting.  If you like stuffed green peppers, you should like this soup.

Before it got bad out, Jen and I went to Coca Cafe (Here is my original review).  Jen got the same thing  as last time and I ordered a special.  I was tempted to get pumpkin pancakes, but I went with a tandori chicken chorizo and mango hash with eggs over easy instead.  It was fantastic, I loved the flavor, it had that great tandori flavor without being overbearing.  It was served with some grilled naan and a cool cucumber yogurt sauce.  I really like this tiny place, but be warned, even in 20 degree weather, there was a line outside for it at 8:45 am and they open at 9 on Sundays.IMG_1069

My Tandori Chicken Chorizo with eggs (yum)

Then we had a slightly slippery drive home as the snow started to pick up when we left.  I braved the drive from Jen’s to my house – I despise driving in snow.  I go super slow so everyone on the road hates me, but I don’t trust my car.  I’ve slid in the snow too many times in that car.  I’m seriously considering a Subaru right now.

I  decided to make this soup while I was at the store earlier in the week.  My local store sells this in their fresh soup section, but it’s not cheap and I figured I could make it for less money and probably a little healthier.

What you’ll need:

1 lb Ground Turkey Breast (or lean ground beef)

1 Small Yellow Onion (or half a large)

2 Green Peppers

1-2 cloves of garlic

1 28 oz can crushed tomato

1 28 oz can diced tomato

1.5 cups chicken broth (low sodium)

Italian Seasoning

1.5-2 cups cooked brown rice

First I cooked the ground turkey.  I thought I had some frozen turkey sausage that I had planned to add, but I did not, so I’m lacking a little of the protein I thought I’d have.  I was not going out in this snow to get it though!  Next time.

Then I added the diced green pepper, onion, garlic and a little salt and pepper with some olive oil.

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I let this cook until the veggies were softened, about 6-7 minutes, stirring often.

Then I added in the can of diced tomatoes, the can of crushed tomatoes, the chicken broth and the Italian seasoning.

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I eyeballed the the broth and seasoning, so I’m making assumptions about how much I put in.  Make sure it’s as liquidy as you like.  Ha, do you like my made up word, liquidy?  I season as I go, I actually added some Italian seasoning to the meat and veggie layer and then some more when I put in all of the liquids.  Just keep tasting it and make sure it tastes good to you.

I let this mixture simmer for about 2 hours, stirring every once in a while.  If you’ve just had shoulder surgery go do your exercises (that’s what I did).  Or clean.  Or sit on the couch and watch the Olympics (that’s what I did after the exercises).  Speaking of Olympics, I just wish I was even a fraction as athletic as these people.  But I hate cold weather, so doing any of these sports isn’t really something I’d be into.

Next time I’d probably go with lean ground beef over the turkey, it just doesn’t have the same flavor as the beef in something like this.  I’ll be eating this for lunch for the next several days.  Without the rice, this comes out as about 170 calories (assuming this makes 6 servings).  With the rice it comes in at 244.  either way, not a bad lunch at all!

Here it is all done, I mixed the rice in since I was going to be the only one eating this.  You can certainly add it in later if you like.

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