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Friday, October 23, 2009

Billy's Roadhouse

I've been to Billy's in Wexford several times over the past years and thought it was time for a review. As it happened to be a nice day the three of us, my sister Jaye, Stacy and myself decided to sit outside. They have a few tables outside, in addition to a volleyball court and a unique set-up with a deer feeder. It's a table with deer feed that has a couple of spot lights so while you sit in the bar you can watch the deer! Pretty cool.

The food has always been very good here and this stop was no exception. Jaye ordered a lobster roll that was out of this world. I don't think I would have recommended trying that here, but it was a great success. Our other sandwiches, a Italia Panini and a burger were also both very good.

The bar and restaurant are warm and comfortable and I noticed that they always have a couple of newspapers for their patrons to read during lunch. The beer cooler probably had abut 40 different bottles and the draft selection seemed to be pretty good too. In addition, I know that they have entertainment a couple of times a week. Billy's may be a little out of the way for some of you in the city, but it's worth the trip if you happen to be in the mood for a nice lunch or happy hour at a new place.

Monday, October 19, 2009

North Park Lounge

The North Park Lounge (near Passavant Hospital on Babcock in the North Hills) has been a place that I've visited many times over the years for a beer or a snack. Now that I don't live in the North Hills anymore, I don't get there very often. Today we were in the area and stopped in for lunch. Stacy ordered a chicken salad which was very large and generous with chicken, but she forgot to ask for the dressing on the side and it was swimming in ranch dressing. I wish all restaurants would deliver salad dressing on the side! She also had a cup of spare rib soup. I've never heard of such a thing, but she said it was tasty. I got the fish and chips which consisted of three pieces of batter fried fish in a basket over the french fries. While it was not bad the fish was very bland. Being served in several pieces instead of one large fillet gave you a lot more deep fried batter than fish. The fries were so greasy that they were soaked and limp. I'm not sure if this was from the fries themselves, or if it was oil from the fish that was on top of them.

I'll go back to the North Park Lounge, but probably only for happy hour or a snack. While not bad, it wasn't memorable enough to be a regular stop.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dining on a student's budget

I just got a request to print some suggestions for those of you that may be new to the area and need some ideas as to how to stretch your food dollar. Reader Pat mentioned that her "Darling Nephew" had just started at Duquesne and could sure use some ideas! Well, I don't know how helpful I'll be, but I'll try! I think that we can keep this post as a "work in progress". I'll start with a couple of places and just continue to add from there when I think of new ones or when any of you make suggestions. We can start a list here and I'll try to pay a visit and do a more thorough review of some of them.

Let's just start with a famous one:

The Original Hot Dog Shop in Oakland. Also known as "The Dirty O"...You'll see why, but your college student won't care. Good dogs, with heaping orders of greasy fries at great prices.

Mike and Tony's Gyro's, Downtown on Liberty and on Carson St in the South Side. For less that $5.00 you get one of the best tasting food values anywhere!

Pamela's, several locations but ya gotta go to the Strip. Great crepe type pancakes. These are the pancakes that our President loves. They are thin like crepes with crispy edges but they don't taste like crepes, they taste like pancakes. For under $5.00 you get three cakes that are each about a foot around.

Pack's & Dogs, Shiloh Street on Mount Washington. While this is not as easily accessable to students as Oakland is, students from Duquesne can take a quick walk across the Smithfield St Bridge and a nice ride up the Mon incline to get to Packs & Dogs. It's also a great trip with the parents in tow. When you exit the incline, go 1/2 block to Shiloh St. If you have the Parents with you, forget Packs Dogs and stop at the Shiloh Inn to eat. If you are on your own budget, pass the Shiloh and continue to Packs & Dogs! First of all this place was a diner and still looks like it. It's not a bar atmosphere, but you can get a good brew with your dog if you like. They have over 200 varieties of beers on hand and the hot dogs are all named after dogs. The Chihuahua is a chili dog with cheddar cheese and onions. The Irish Setter has coleslaw and fries and there are several other good choices.

Yo Rita, I can't skip this one, Pat started this topic by commenting on my review of Yo Rita on the South Side. Kevin Sousa has put in place a great menu (you can read more below) at great prices. Gourmet tacos starting at $4.00. He's leaving there, so I don't know if the great quality will last, but for now it's the best value in the Burgh!

The Original Oyster House, Downtown in Market Square. This is an old (since 1870) place that has great cheap eats. The crowd can vary from those on their way to a show in the Cultural District to some that may really need to eat on a budget...The huge fish sandwich and oysters are a pretty good bet for the money.