Butcher and the Rye

9 Apr

Last night, Jen and I finally made it to Butcher and the Rye.  I’ve been wanting to go here for months.  First I had the surgery and wasn’t exactly getting out of my house and then the winter sucked.  I think we made plans to go twice and were snowed out both times.  So weather is finally improving (it may be in the 70’s this weekend!!!) and we made it to this awesome little restaurant.

This restaurant is brought to us by the same folks who run the super popular Meat and Potatoes just a few blocks down from this location.  Both places are difficult to get weekend reservations for, so if you want to go on a Friday or Saturday, make a reservation a few weeks in advance.  The inside of Butcher is rather dark and intimate.  I mean, you are pretty much right on top of the table next to you, so if you want to have a private conversation, good luck.  It wasn’t uncomfortable, but it’s not someplace I’d necessarily want to go for a romantic night out.

When you walk in, the first thing you’ll likely notice is this gigantic wall of whiskey!  They have a large drink menu that includes a whiskey flight.  Alas, that did not sound like a good idea on a Tuesday night, maybe some other time.

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After we sat down, I looked down at our table and had to giggle.  Each table had a different graphic on it, this was ours…

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I found it fitting that I got the Butcher (played brilliantly by Daniel Day Lewis) from Gangs of New York as this was one of the first Leonardo DiCaprio movies where I actually looked at him as an adult and not a kid.

I had been looking at the menu for days, okay weeks, I won’t lie.  One thing I knew for certain that we’d get, the Brussles sprouts.  They did not disappoint me.  I still intend to make a list of the best sprouts in Pittsburgh at some point as so many places have awesome recipes involving this veggie that was the bane of many childhood dinners.  These were wonderfully salty between the prep and the fresh grated parmigiano on top.  It was also served with a creamy lemon aioli that really complimented the Brussles sprouts.

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Jen and I debated whether to get just a few small plates or our own larger plates.  We were all ready to just get 3-4 small plate options but then our server totally changed our mind.  There is a burger on the side menu that was truly fantastic.  They grind the meat fresh and only made something like 25 patties each day.  I know, we ordered a burger at a place like this, but it was not a normal burger.  The pickles were made in house, the onion was grilled and the sesame seed brioche bun was the perfect way for this burger to be served.  Our only issue was that we were sharing and Jen and I have very different ideas of how meat should be cooked.  We ended up in the middle (I would have gone with medium-rare, Jen would have gone well done).  Either way, it was still amazing….

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So of course, our eyes were much larger than our stomachs and we went with one other small plate because we could not pass up the mac and cheese.  This was made for grown-ups with four different cheeses and was cheesy and creamy and absolutely delicious.  Mac and cheese is totally my guilty pleasure food, I was a little devastated that I was too full to enjoy more than a few bites of this.

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So despite sending back about half of the mac and cheese and a few bites of the Brussles sprouts and being ridiculously full, we did order a small desert.  Coconut ice cream with carrot cake and some fried shaved carrot.  Again, we could only eat about half of this, but the ice cream was homemade and it was fabulous as was the cake itself.

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Overall, I really enjoyed this and fully intend to make a repeat visit.  The ambiance and the staff were both lovely as was each dish that we ordered.  They checked on us frequently, but not too often and that is a difficult line to walk as a server.  I would absolutely recommend going here for dinner, but again, make reservations.  It’s by no stretch a large space so I understand why it’s a little difficult to get in to.  And I said this about another new downtown restaurant recently, but I’m so happy to see more places like this going into the downtown area.  It’s just nice to have a lot of options in that area!

Butcher and the Rye on Urbanspoon

Spa Weekend in Bedford Springs

30 Mar

This past weekend one of my good friends, Sara, from my Philly days and I got together for a spa weekend in Bedford Springs.  We did this same trip last year, I have to say, we’ve got this relaxing thing down.

We met on Friday at the resort and after lunch headed to the tasting room of a local winery, Briar Valley Vineyard and Winery.  We had gone here last year and had a nice time so decided to go again.  We did the full menu wine tasting, which is super reasonable at only $5, and they have a very generous tasting pour.  I ended up getting three bottles to take home, two reds (Cab Fran and Lemberger) and a Chardonnay because it was rather tasty.  All of their wines lean toward the dry side.  I would totally recommend stopping in this store if you are heading to Bedford for the spa, it’s a fun stop before the Omni.

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At the resort, there are only three restaurants, two of them are what I’d call more formal while the third, the Frontier Tavern is very casual.  For lunch and dinner the first day we opted for the Frontier Tavern.  We grabbed lunch there before we went to the winery.  I think it was a good call to eat a little before drinking at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.  Sara loves to share food, which makes me happy because I’m the same way.  You get to try more if you share!!  So we split a chicken sandwich and this awesome lobster cobb salad with green goddess dressing.  It was fantastic.

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For dinner, we weren’t especially hungry so we opted for a cheese plate…

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Some fried crab fritters (which honestly were more like hush puppies).  I was expecting more crab I suppose.

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And of course we got a bottle of wine 🙂

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Because drinking at the winery and then again in the room before dinner wasn’t enough!  There was a drinking trend this weekend.

We then headed to bed… partly because we were tired and also because we had our spa day ahead of us on Saturday!  In the morning we had a late breakfast at the buffet in the Crystal Dining Room before our appointments at 1.  It was such a great morning, I slept til 8:30 got my workout in early and had a great breakfast all before my spa appointments!

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Ok, on to the good part, the spa…  I had a massage and a facial.  Both of which I loved.  First we get to relax in the spa pool, which I almost fell asleep in because it was so warm and comfy with the jets going.  Then my favorite part, the massage, it was so lovely.  I think next time I do something like this, I’d skip the facial (even though it was very nice) and just do a longer massage.  When my masseuse told me that my hour long session was done I was so sad, I could have stayed for another hour.  One of my friends asked me how I was doing on Saturday night and I told him that I felt like jello, because that was the only word I could come up with to describe how relaxed I was.  It was so nice.

We had dinner reservations in the 1796 room that night for dinner.  So after our spa day, we went back to the room and had a few glasses of wine that we had brought while we got ready for dinner.  The last time we were there I really enjoyed my meal there and was so looking forward to it again.  Sara and I started with this Seafood Tower for 2, it was hysterical (and very good).  There were a few crab legs, one lobster tail, a few shrimp and some tuna ceviche.  I loved that tuna, I seriously could have had that for my meal.

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Since we got such a large starter, I opted to stick with the Seafood theme and got the fish special which was tuna (and I made that decision before I had the ceviche).  It was prepared simply and was done rare.  I loved it, it was very good and light enough for me since I was still feeling jello-ish from my massage!

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Sara went with the beef tenderloin which I got a bite of.  It was a very nice piece of beef and was served with their house-made steak sauce and a grilled artichoke heart.

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We were pretty full after all of that, but our server mentioned a nutella cupcake, and there was no way we were turning that down, so we decided to share one and took it to-go.  First we went back to our room to get some more wine (because a bottle with dinner and some drinks while getting ready was clearly not enough).  It’s fun to drink wine out of to-go coffee cups with the sippy lids on.

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So we got our drinks and took our cupcake down to the lobby area to relax by the fireplace. So this cupcake had nutella and banana chips, two of my favorite things that I never buy.  Sara was super sweet and gave me the banana chip on top.

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This was so good.  Words honestly can’t do it justice.

After the massage and that cupcake and the wine, this was a lovely end to the day…

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Sadly, good things like this must come to an end.  So after a workout in the morning while Sara got a manicure in preparation for her upcoming wedding (3 weeks!!!) and a quick breakfast, we hit the road.  And it was snowing.  Mother Nature and I are going to have some serious words after this winter, she’s going to drive me south again with this nonsense.

Happy Fat Tuesday – Jambalaya Recipe

4 Mar

I found this Jambalaya recipe two or three years ago and have been making it ever since.  I figured since it was the end of Mardi Gras I should do a little something since I’m not out drinking my face off like I would have been when I was in college… and in my early twenties.

It’s a cooking light recipe.  I’ve modified it a little, but not much.  So, the recipe and steps provided by Cooking Light, the pictures provided by me…

Cooking Light Recipe

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces (I only used chicken breast)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped smoked turkey sausage (about 4 ounces) (I used leftover kielbasa)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper (I used a whole green pepper and half a red pepper because I like the flavor)
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice (I used brown rice)
  • 2 3/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons paprika (skipped all three of these – paprika, thyme and red pepper – and subbed with a cajun seasoning that I have)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped $
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions (optional)

Preparation

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and black pepper. Add chicken to pan, and cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove chicken from pan; cover and keep warm. Add sausage to pan; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.  Remove from pan.
  2. Add 1 cup onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic; cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 12 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. IMG_1116Stir in rice; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. IMG_1118Add broth, paprika, thyme, and red pepper; bring to a boil.
  5. IMG_1123Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Add chicken, sausage and tomatoes; cook, uncovered, 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  6. IMG_1126IMG_1128Stir in shrimp; cover and cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done. Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Sprinkle with green onions.

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So hope you all have a good week!  I’m still trying to decide what to give up for Lent… one friend is talking about giving up Facebook… I’m not sure I have the willpower.  Any suggestions?

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

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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My Review of… Rotator Cuff Surgery

18 Jan

I mentioned a few months ago that I was having rotator cuff surgery.  So my surgery was on Dec 5.  I honestly thought I’d have a lot more use of my right arm, but it was completely useless.  Thus, my complete and total absence from this blog for the last 2 months basically.  When they gave me the sling that I’d be wearing for 6 weeks, I was a bit flabergasted.  Honestly, it was not what I was expecting.  This is what mine looked like.

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Keep in mind, I had to wear this when I slept, I was only allowed to take it off to shower and change. In my surgery, this was what all I had done: I had my rotator cuff repaired, my bicep tendon moved, bursitis removed and bone spurs removed.  And with all of that, I have 3 tiny scars that are just a few centimeters each and one scar that is just about an inch long.  All very tiny.  Oh, and a very handsome doctor 🙂  Lucky me.

I was trying to decide if this was worse than being on crutches (which I’ve had to deal with twice in my life).  I thought that crutches would be worse, and it a lot of ways they are, but honestly, both suck.  I was more mobile with the sling obviously, but I could do very little for myself, especially at first.  I don’t know how anyone could possibly go through this without a lot of help.  I thought I’d be left on my own more, but boy am I glad my mom knew better.  She was with me a lot, I could not have changed or showered without her for the first few weeks.  And I still have very limited mobility and have about 3 more months of PT in front of me.  They said that I should be back to normal by the beginning of summer.

You would think that with the inability to be able to do anything, I would have watched a lot of movies.  But I spent most of my time catching up on tv shows that I hadn’t watched all season.  I also spent the first week on painkillers, so that time is pretty much gone from my memory.

So for 6 weeks, no cooking, just watching my mom cook or ordering food in.  We did go to see two movies though, Thor (finally) and American Hustle.  Two very different types of movies, both good in their own way.  American Hustle deserves all of the hype that it is getting during this awards season.  I have to give it to both the ladies (Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams), they had to spend the majority of that movie without bras and still put in amazing performances.  I will say that Christian Bale is an amazing actor.  He is one of those method actors who really gets into character.  I gather when he saw pictures of the person that he would be portraying he insisted on having a comb over.  And honestly, that hair is like another character.

And oddly, I only read one book – Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places.  If you’ve read Gone Girl, it’s just as dark as that with a twisty sort of ending.  She really knows how to write for some emotionally messed-up characters.  If you like darker books, you will like this.

So all in all, it was a rather dull 6 weeks.  The sling was uncomfortable more than anything else and I was super happy when it came off this week.  But I’m glad I had this taken care of now, it’s not something that’s going to get better with time, only worse.  And I spent a year with shoulder pain before I had my surgery.  This was a pain in the butt, so avoid injuring your shoulders people.

Movies that make me cry

1 Dec

There are some very random movies that bring me to tears and most of them play around the holidays.  Tonight one of those movies was on tv.  And even though I own this movie on DVD, I felt compelled to watch the last half of it, because that was when I saw it on the guide.  So here are my movies… holiday edition… that make me cry.

1.  The Holiday

The Holiday (2006) Poster

This is the one that was on tonight and the number one makes me cry, especially around Christmas, but honestly any time it’s on.  It’s not sad at all.  For some reason the story just makes me get all teared up.  Maybe it’s jealousy because I’d really like to go on a holiday to the UK and meet Jude Law and have him fall in love with me in a matter of two weeks.  I have a rich fantasy life, leave me alone.  I just really love to watch this movie.  I know I’m not going to meet Jude Law but I would like to do a trip like this someday.  Just go someplace for a few weeks and actually get to know people who live there.

2.  Love Actually

Love Actually (2003) Poster

Another movie featuring Brits.  I do love a good British accent.  Here’s a movie with Andy Lincoln before he was killing zombies on Walking Dead.  And he was one of my favorites in this movie, he was adorable in it.  But really, the story that gets me crying every time is the one with the little boy.  It’s just far too adorable.

3.  Any Harry Potter Movie

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) Poster

I apparently have a thing with British people.  If you want to get down to it, Scottish and Irish too, I love those accents.  I don’t know why these movies get me.  Maybe it’s because I loved the books so much.  So when I watch the movies (and they are ALWAYS on in December, like 20 times on ABC Family) I get a little nostalgic.

4.  Meet me in St. Louis

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) Poster

Judy Garland sings “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and I lose it every time.  Again, this isn’t a holiday movie, but it tends to be on TCM at some point in December and I always tune in.

4.  Polar Express

The Polar Express (2004) Poster

Yes I put an animated movie on here.  It’s an awesome holiday movie, a little boy who needs to find his belief in the magic of Christmas again.  I love to watch this and I will at least once or twice (maybe more this year since I’ll be in that stupid sling).  This one makes me cry every time I watch it.

Speaking of the sling, I’m having my surgery on Thursday, so I’m not sure how much I’ll be writing.  I’ll have plenty of time and I will be catching up on all of those summer movies that I missed, I’m just not sure how easy it’ll be for me to type, we shall see.  I certainly won’t be cooking 🙂

How about you, what movies tend to make you cry?

Catching Fire Review

30 Nov

I went to see the latest installment in the Hunger Games series on Saturday. I love, love, love these books and the first movie had been very well done so I was super excited to go see this.

It had received rave reviews and I was not disappointed.  The acting was excellent on all fronts, they stayed very true to the book and the special effects were fantastic.  I probably don’t need to sell this movie too much, many people already are wanting to see it and have been.  If you were on the fence though though, go see it in the theater.  Also, if you haven’t read the books, do that too!  These books are really easy reads.

In preparation for the release of catching fire I re-read the book.  One thing that I’ll note is that when I read the books I was totally team Peeta.  After seeing the first movie, I started to kinda go, well, Gale wouldn’t be bad.  After this one, I appreciate Gale even more.  I’m still team Peeta, however, I get the appeal of Gale.  Maybe it’s because a Hemsworth is playing the part!

I love the addition of the new characters in this installment.  Finnick (Sam Claflin) and Johanna (Jenna Malone) are awesome, they both had some scene stealing moments.  The returning characters were also fantastic.  I always enjoy seeing Lenny Kravitz on screen as Cinna.  Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, Elizabeth Banks as Effie, Stanley Tucci as Caesar and of course the trio, Josh, Liam and Jennifer (Peeta, Gale and Katniss).  All together, these folks really pulled it off.

One thing I will say is that if you haven’t read the books, the ending of this movie may seem unsatisfying.  I heard some people leaving the theater saying that they didn’t like how it ended, but it ended exactly as it did in the book.  It is really important to the overall story but like most middle books, it’s a means to an end.

Again, go see this movie, it really was very good.  In case you didn’t know, they are breaking up the last book into two movies (of course they are, they know people like me will go out and see both).  The next one is due out in 2014 and the last installment in 2015.  So not too long to wait!

Legume Review

27 Nov

Last Saturday we celebrated the birthdays of two of my good friends, Julie and Sarah at one of my absolute favorite restaurants in Pittsburgh, Legume.  This amazing restaurant is on Craig Street in Oakland.  Their menu changes each day, but usually you can find some of the same things throughout a given week.  This is a family run restaurant and from what I’ve heard, they are very involved in the community and are very committed to making sure what they serve is fresh.

We started in their bar, Butterjoint.  It’s rather small and they have their own small menu.  I’d like to go back there on a night when it isn’t so busy to eat, we could barely find a spot to stand while we were waiting for our table.  Luckily, we were seated right on time.

I’ve been to Legume two or three times before but it had been a while, so I was really happy to get back there. We started by sharing some cheese.  We got the Raclette, which has a consistency similar to Brie.  We also ordered blue cheese with a pear compote.  I personally liked this best, the flavor of the blue cheese with the sweet compote was an awesome pairing.

For my main dish, I struggled with what to order.  There was a lamb dish that sounded great (and I got a little bite of it, it was done in a Mediterranean style and there was a hint of cinnamon, I really liked it).  But I went with a bluefish dish because I’ve heard that they are very picky about their seafood and they get it daily, so I figured it would be the thing to try that night!

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The fish was a little crispy on top and was served with lentils and a sunchoke puree.  It was fantastic and I literally ate every bite.  If it wouldn’t have been very bad form, I would have licked the plate.  Several of my friends ordered a house-made ricotta ravioli that I, of course, needed to try!

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Look at how pretty that was.  It was served with an arugula pesto which gave it a slightly different flavor than what I’m used to with pesto, but I liked it, it was kind of refreshing.  The ravioli was really good too.  There is just something about fresh ravioli, it tastes so much better than frozen.  I don’t realize the difference until I get some fresh ravioli.

Since it was a birthday celebration, we obviously ordered desert!  There were seven of us at dinner and we were debating what we should order, there were four options.  So we did the logical thing and ordered one of each to share.  I only nabbed pictures of two of them.

The gingerbread cake…  gingerbread usually isn’t my thing but I really enjoyed this.

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And the apple pie ice cream, which was so good, I think it was my favorite of the four.  I mean it was apple pie in ice cream form, what could possibly not be awesome about that.

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I know, bad picture, remember, I don’t want to be the annoying person in the restaurant so I keep the flash off!

We also ordered a chocolate cake that was very rich, but also very tasty.  There was one other desert that I can’t recall the name of.  It was fluffy and sticky and awesome and I’m really sad that I didn’t take a picture of it.  If Niki reads this I’m going to beg her to write in the comments on the blog what it was!  I hope she remembers since she ordered it.

So, as usual I had an amazing meal at Legume.  They put together a great menu each day and I always look forward to visits to this restaurant.  I’d highly recommend it if you haven’t been there yet.

Legume Bistro on Urbanspoon

Round Corner Cantina

6 Nov

I’ve been to Round Corner Cantina many times before, it’s one of my favorite places in my favorite neighborhood, Lawrenceville.  It’s a tiny bar that serves good tacos and excellent guaqamole.  When the weather is nice, you can sit outside in their courtyard.  I was first turned on to this place by a friend of a friend who was from Arizona.  He said that this was the only decent so-cal style Mexican food that he’d had since moving to Pittsburgh.  According to him, it wasn’t perfect, but it was close.

Jen was craving some Mexican tonight so we decided to go back to this favorite place.  I’ve tried the mahi mahi, the pork belly, the carne asada, the chicken and now the lamb tacos here.  I’ve enjoyed each and every one of them.  As you may already know, I hate turning my flash on in restaurants, so I apologize for how dark everything is!

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And their guaqamole is one of my favorites.  It’s super simple, just some lime, salt and pepper, cilantro and some other seasoning (probably chile and cumin).  They serve it with homemade chips that are awesomely salty and fresh.

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I had to have a margarita tonight also… okay, I had two.  It was a two drink kind of night, what can I say.  I needed to get some stuff off my chest, and Jen’s the person that I can do that with.  Thank you Jen.  I love how they serve these, the mason jars are a nice touch.  They are really fresh tasting.  I have to say, I probably enjoy these more when the weather is warm, but I’ll take a good margarita any time that I can.

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This really is one of my favorite places to go to.  If you are looking for some good tacos and guacamole around Pittsburgh, I highly recommend Round Corner Cantina.

Round Corner Cantina on Urbanspoon

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