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Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Somehow, not only for Christmas
But all the long year through
The joy that you give to others
Is the joy that comes back to you.

Merry Christmas to all...and to my "wonderful daughter" Kim (as she has refered to herself on this site!)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cooking Tip

I prefer to use olive oil instead of butter or margarine when I can. EVOO imparts a bit of a flavor, but it's a flavor that I enjoy. In addition, it provides beneficial health effects due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants.

When buying olive oil you will want to obtain a high quality extra virgin oil. This is the oil that comes from the first "pressing" of the olive. The less the olive oil is handled, the closer to its natural state, the better the oil.

One very simple thing that I do in the kitchen is to keep one of these cheap plastic squirt bottles of olive oil right on my counter top. When it's time to saute some onions, garlic or such, the oil is within easy reach. Just a quick squirt into the pan and away we go!

I also keep another bottle with balsamic vinegar, because I use it pretty frequently. Of course you can use these for any liquid that you like.

Now I know that some of you might prefer to go to the fancy cooking store, and spend a lot of money on one of those fancy glass bottles...Go ahead. I'm gonna use these.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Stuffed Banana Peppers

I love stuffed banana peppers! Around Pittsburgh, this is a staple appetizer at any decent Italian restaurant. A few years ago we moved to Mount Washington, and in an effort to "soften" our concrete deck, Stacy and I started to fill large clay pots with a variety of plants and flowers. I didn't care so much for planting flowers, so I confiscated a few pots and filled them with herbs and vegetables. Rosemary, oregano, basil, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a variety of peppers were planted. I decided to start them from seed, mostly because I'm not happy unless I make a simple task difficult.

Everything grew beautifully but the banana peppers really turned out nicely. They grew from tiny spots of green to beautiful adults. Heck, I wanted to name them.
After reality set in and I realized that I would not be able to keep these as my children I had to find something to do with them. The answer was obvious: Stuffed banana peppers. I headed to my favorite source for recipes, This site is nice because it not only has a large data base of recipes, but allows users to write reviews and rate them. I like to search for a recipe and then sort them by the top reviews. It's easy to sort through the duds and get to the good ones!

This basis for this recipe came from AllRecipes, but I've modified it a bit (of course) to Burghify it. Those of you that don't appreciate the fine nuance of dining in da Burgh can easily adjust it. Just take out any ingredients that are tasty or fattening, like the cheese and sausage. Better yet, you could just boil up some tofu...

I'm going to make them this way:

8 or 10 banana peppers
a little butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
3 or 4 cloves garlic, all minced up
A teaspoon of basil and oregano
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese.
2 pounds of your favorite sausage. I like to use maple sausage. Some people don't like the flavor of maple sausage, but I think the mix of slightly sweet and hot really give a great flavor.

Cut the peppers in a "T" shape, a small slice across the top and then slice down the length of the pepper. using a small spoon, remove the ribs and seeds. You can leave some of this stuff in if you want a really hot pepper.
Put the peppers in a pot of boiling water and boil until tender, 5 or 10 minutes.

To stuff the peppers:
Use a little butter or margarine, saute the onion, garlic and celery until soft, about 5 minutes.

Brown the sausage and drain the excess fat. Mix in the onion mixture and add the Worcester sauce.

For the sauce:
Mix the tomatoes and tomato sauce. At this point, I like to add a little basil and oregano to the sauce. Another clove of garlic wouldn't hurt either!

In a glass baking dish, stuff the peppers with the sausage mixture. Put some grated cheese on top of the exposed stuffing, and pour the sauce over the peppers. I like to add some more cheese on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sweet Potato Pie

Desserts have never really been a big deal to me. To stay away from the "super-sweet" stuff, cakes and pies have been my choice. One that I always loved was traditional pumpkin pie. Rich and creamy, but not too sweet. Well, my favorite pie has been replaced! It's hard to believe, but I had never tried sweet potato pie until recent years...I just didn't know what I was missing!

Here is a recipe for a simple but great tasting sweet potato pie. I just use a frozen pie crust, but if you are talented enough to make home made, that's even better! Maybe I'll master that next year.

1 (1 pound) sweet potato
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 40 to 50 minutes, or until done. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin.

Break apart sweet potato in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. This is from scratch, so you need to mix it quite a bit to make it smooth. Just pick any stringy stuff off the beaters. Make sure it's smooth! Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie may puff up like a souffle, and then will sink down as it cools.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Soergel's Orchard

I love going to farm markets. A couple of the one's that I like are Trax Farms in the South, and Janoskis out in Clinton. but Soergel's (just off of interstate 79 at Wexford) has always been my favorite farm market in the Pittsburgh area.

My trips are usually for their fresh produce, bakery items or freshly baked pies. They will sell you a half pie...a very nice touch. When in season, the farm grown items are tremendous. The summer months bring strawberry picking, corn roasts and apple festivals, then in October pumpkins and hayrides rule. Soon the lot will be filled with Christmas trees. They also have an entire store dedicated to glutin free and allergen free food selections. A nice gift shop sits next to a few farm animals that the kids (and Stacy)can pet and feed.

Soergel's is a fun place, and easy to get to from 79. Beware, the afternoons on the weekends can be crowded so go early!

The Blue Water Tavern

I've been in the North Hills alot recently and have had the pleasure of trying some new places. The Blue Water Tavern has received a lot of press in the local papers and for good reason. Being in Wexford, the place is in The Pine Tree Shops, a strip mall. Not usually my favorite atmosphere, but owners clearly overcame the "mall" feeling by presenting a very smart, modern and very comfortable decor. As you enter to the right is a long bar with a couple of HD screens that would be perfect for a Steeler game. The restaurant and bar are separated by an attractive glass wall that leaves an open feeling, but still provides a physical division.

The menu started off with a nice selection of Tapa's including Kobe Sliders, The Best EVER Crab Dip, and Calamari. A nice selection of sandwiches, burgers, pizza, and entrees followed. A couple of items that caught my eye included Mediterranean Chicken, chicken breast grilled with artichokes, green olives and peppers tossed in a white wine and garlic sauce and served with balsamic rice ($14.99). They also have several seafood selections including Mahi Mahi and fresh Norwegian Salmon and a good looking Porterhouse steak.

Stacy went for special of ravioli stuffed with lobster or crabmeat in a light vodka sauce. The waitress noted that she could split these (she did) which is a nice touch. It was lunch time, and I wasn't interested in a full meal so I chose the Blue Water Chicken Club which is a grilled chicken breast served with apple wood smoked bacon, tomato, lettuce and provolone cheese on Italian Panini bread. Both were excellent, although I didn't taste the rav's until we got home!

Since our lunch, I've talked to others that just rave about their burgers. The comment was made that you don't have to go to Bloomfield to get a great burger anymore, a reference to the great burgers at Tessaro's. It won't be long before I find out!!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Rosecliff Tavern

I've been spending some late afternoons in the Monroeville area and of course, one of the first things that I do is search for a local place that looks like a good place to eat. Now I've been to Monroeville dozens of times...Maybe hundreds, but usually to go to a destination and then leave. I have no clue how I stumbled across the Rosecliff, but I'm glad I did!

First of all, this is not "fine dining". Anyone that reads this blog knows that's fine with me. What it is, is a nice, comfortable, local restaurant/bar where the staff is friendly, the locals all talk to you, and the food is very reliable. The menu includes a nice variety of salads, burgers, sandwiches, and entries. I don't think anything is priced over $10.00, with most items $7.99 or under. The Antipasti salad and a huge fish sandwich both caught my eye coming out of the kitchen. They also seem to sell a lot of pizza.

Happy hour is daily from 4 to 6 with $1.50 domestic drafts and $2.00 bottles, and they always have something set out to nibble on. Most days a couple of different pizzas are available for happy hour, but I've also seen wings (cooked the right way, crispy!), pasta, and sandwiches. That's really a nice touch when you want something to snack on with your drink but don't really want to order a meal.

One thing to note is that this is a smoking establishment, so that may be a turn-off to some of you. Other than that, it's a place where everyone wants to know your name in a nice comfortable atmosphere, with great prices and pretty good food.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Claudio's Pizzeria and Ristorante

Chef Claudio

My friend Tom has been talking up Claudio's since his first trip there a couple of weeks ago. While he went with a group that Claudio designed and prepared a special menu for, the regular menu includes panini sandwiches, soups, salads, and a nice variety of pasta dishes. In addition, they prepare pizza.

Stacy and I were visiting at Tom's house and of course he was able to convince me to go just to try the pizza! Off we went...

First of all, this place is in a garage. I mean it. As you walk in, there is a small bar area (byob) on the left and maybe six or eight tables. You can still see the garage door in the dining room, but don't let it bother you, this place is neat and clean! All the tables were taken (at 4:00 on a Sunday) so we sat at the bar and popped open a couple of cold ones that we had brought along. Almost immediately, Claudio came over and introduced himself and chatted, in between pulling fresh baked bread from the oven. He explained that his main business is catering, and that he had been the owner of the popular Abruzzi's on the South Side.

We were served some of that great homemade bread, and ordered some banana peppers to snack on. For pizza, they serve a Napolitano (thin round) and a Focaccio (thicker, square cut). While both looked great, we settled on a Napolitano (16" for $9.99). Pizza lovers all have strong opinions about their favorites, but let me tell you, this is good! The crust was thin and crunchy, with a slight burn on the bottom as if it came from a brick oven. The sauce was tasty and cheese and toppings were top notch. Now I'm not saying that this is my favorite (I'll stick with Franks!) but this is one of the best. I think that this pie will appeal to those that love traditional brick oven style with top quality ingredients. If you like il Pizzaiolo in Mt. Lebo, you should try this!

Claudio's is at 1883 Painters Run Road in the South Hills.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pittsburgh's Best Pizza!

Click on the title for the link to Pittsburgh's best pizza.
I've talked a lot about pizza in Pittsburgh. My favorites have always been Harrys down at Donaldson's Crossroads, Pizza House (some call it Police Station Pizza) in Ambridge, and my all time favorite, Franks in Ambridge. Finally, vindication!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Iron Bridge Inn

For many years I've made the drive up route 19 to Meadville for various reasons. I know that it's much faster on 79, but I enjoy the more relaxed, although slower, on 19. One of my favorite stops for lunch is the Iron Bridge Inn just outside of Mercer.

This is a rustic sort of place but don't let that fool you. This is not just bar food. Stacy and I started with a Tahi Calamari appetizer that was served with a tasty and spicy Tahi chili sauce. The calamari was cooked just right...not like rubber bands (or should I say gum bands?...This is called Burgh Feeding!). I then ordered one of my favorite sandwich's, the Cuban. For those that haven't tried one of these, they consist of a meat, in this case pork, along with shaved ham, a sliced pickle or two and a mustard sauce, all served on a pressed ciabatta roll, panini style. Excellent!

Stacy had a turkey cranberry wrap. Not really my style, but she said it was very good. I didn't bother to try it.

The Iron Bridge is also known for their prime rib, and while I've never tried it here the servings that I spied coming out of the kitchen looked good enough that I'm pretty sure we will go back and try it.

The Iron Bridge Inn is just a few miles from the Grove City Shops. If you want to escape the predictable chains, it's worth the 10 minute drive. When you come out of the shops, turn left on 208 west bound. At route 19, go north and it's a couple of miles on your left...Just over an iron bridge.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sea Shell Bar and Grill

I spend quite a bit of time west of the city not only because my sister lives in Oakdale, but it's very easy to get out to Robinson Township from Mount Washington. Just go down the hill, get on the Parkway West and in about 10 minutes you're there...Unless there's traffic, of course! Anyway, I've passed the Sea Shell many times and it always looked appealing to me. As you pull into the parking lot you can see a nice outdoor patio with a few tables, but the day we were there it was about 90 degrees so we chose to head inside.

Stacy and I were able to sit at the last two seats at the bar which was pretty vibrant with the happy hour crowd. It was a wide age mix...we sat at the end of the bar with the older folks, where we belong! At the other end of the bar was a group of 20 something young ladies, including one that looked like she had some significant surgical enhancement. Within a few minutes my suspicion was confirmed. Not only did she like to show off her new figure, she also liked to talk about it! I'm OK with that, and Stacy got a kick out of eavesdropping.

Happy hour runs from 5 to 7, Monday to Friday and is limited of a large domestic draft for $2.50. Not a bad deal if you want a large draft, which I always do. The guy next to me ordered a hamburger ($5.99) which looked great! He must have noticed my glances, and confirmed that it was a fantastic burger.

We had a late lunch so Stacy and I chose take a look at the appetizer menu. This was my only disappointment. There were a dozen different choices, including the standard Chicken Tenders, Jalapeno Poppers, Fries and Onion Rings, but all of them were deep fried. I don't have anything against fried food, but it's nice to have another option. We decided to pass on the food, had another drink and left.

The Sea Shell is definitely a place that I will return to. The crowd was fun and the bartenders were attentive. The menu is typical bar fare with a selection of fried appetizers, salads and a nice sandwich selection. This is by no means fine dining, but a nice choice for an inexpensive sandwich and a beer.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


One of my favorite restaurants in the North Hills is Andora. At one time, I lived in Franklin Park and this quickly became a frequent stop. The bar always has a nice crowd and the people are talkative and friendly. In addition they have a beautiful shaded patio if you prefer to dine outside.

We usually would sit at the bar and try a couple of starters. The ahi tuna is tremendous as are the stuffed banana peppers and the crab cakes might be the best I've ever had! The dinner menu includes horseradish crusted Alaskan cod, Slow roasted lamb shank, and veal scallopini sauteed with crabmeat. They also have a nice wine list that features a group of 20 wines for $20 a bottle. I really like that! It makes it possible to enjoy a bottle of wine with dinner at a very affordable price.

It's just about a 1/2 mile off the Mt. Nebo exit on 79, or you can get there by taking the Parkway North and get off at the Camp Horne Road exit, turn right at the bottom of the ramp and make a left at the first stop light.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

BBQ Sauce!

It's that time of year when we clean off the grill and get ready for a summer of cooking out. One thing that I really love to is invite a couple of friends over and enjoy a relaxing afternoon with a smoky grill going and a few drinks on our outside deck. Of course to most men this means some type of red meat and beer. I'd have to include myself in that group!

Over the years I've made several trips to various regions of North and South Carolina, and one of the things that I've always enjoyed was the great BBQ. In most regions of the Carolina's the meat of preference is pork, and the BBQ sauce is very thin, clear and vinegar based. The flavor is tremendous, but I never really liked the water like consistency. Here is a great recipe for a Carolina sauce that has been "Yankeed up" with a bit of ketchup to give it a little color, a great consistency and a fabulous flavor! Use this on chicken, or pork including ribs. The great thing about this recipe is that you don't have to even cook it! Enjoy.

1/2 quart apple cider vinegar
10 oz. ketchup
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 pound dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
In a large container, mix together the apple cider vinegar, ketchup, paprika, brown sugar, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice. Pour into an empty vinegar bottle, ketchup bottle or other container and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wexford Ale House, The New Poor Richards

Poor Richards was always an intriguing spot. I passed it many times in the Wexford flats. I just looked like a small stone residential home. I was curious last week when Stacy and I happened to drive by and noticed that the name had changed to the Wexford Ale House. We pulled in, which is a bit confusing because you have to turn down a side street and then drive through a used car lot to get to their parking lot, which is behind the building. Inside is a small dining room and a nice old fashioned bar. The place was hospital clean and very comfortable.

They have over thirty beers on tap, and have a happy hour from 4 to 6 on week days. $2.00 Coors Light Draft, $2.50 Miller Lite, Yuengling & Labatt Blue Drafts in addition to food offerings that change depending on the day. In addition, the have 10 HD TV's so it looks like a nice place to watch a game. Although we didn't eat the menu seem to have a nice selection of appetizers and sandwiches that all looked great! We plan on getting back to try the food soon. An update will follow.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Grilled Salmon

Now that the weather is changing it's time to start outdoor grilling. Usually I grill straight through the winter, but the snow this year was so overwhelming that I just stayed inside! One of my favorite grill foods is salmon because it's very forgiving. Some more delicate fish is easy to over cook on a grill, but salmon seems to stand up to the high heat and always turns out great. Here is a really good marinade that I use:

1/2 cup peanut oil
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons green onions, chopped
3 teaspoons brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wisk all of the ingredients together. Place salmon filet's in a zip lock bag and pour in the marinade. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

To cook, place filets on a hot grill and cook for about 10 minutes per inch of thickness. I usually cook it for about 7 minutes with the skin side down and turn it over and cook the other side for just a couple of minutes.

A great side to this is grilled asparagus. Just place the trimmed spears on a plate, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and put on the grill for about 5 minutes. When you take it off the grill, I like to sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on top. Yum!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Harry's Pizza-One of the Best!

I've always loved pizza. I get it everywhere I go and always try to sample the local best whenever I'm out of town. Pizza is the kind of thing that is very personal...Ten different people will usually have ten different favorites. You always hear on TV that the two most popular styles of pizza are Chicago deep dish and New York style. In my opinion, those seem to be loved mostly by those that live or grew up in those city's, not so much by all of us in the rest of the country. Fat, chewy and stuffed like a calzone or thin, greasy, and limp just doesn't do it for me. The style that I prefer and I've discovered that many others do too is frequently referred to as Connecticut pizza...Usually referencing New Haven. This is where Harry's comes in.

Harry's is south of the city in a small shopping center near Donaldson's Crossroads in McMurry. The place is bright and clean. As you enter there is a bar to your left with tables and booths lining the wall to the right. While they have a bar, this is not really a drinking establishment. It's a nice bar if you are alone or just prefer to eat at a bar but I've never really seen more than one or two people sitting there.

The menu consists mainly of basic pizza's, speciality pizza's and salads. While the menu is somewhat limited, I like their approach. What they put on the menu they do very well. One of Stacy and my favorite meals there is to order and split a house salad, and a small pizza. The salad is only $5.50, but is plenty big as a side salad, and it is really good, not a bit of iceberg to be found! The pizza is really great. A thin crust, but crispy enough to pick up. While many people love the taste of brick oven pizza, this doesn't have the burnt bottom so common to that type of crust. The sauce and toppings are all very fresh and plentiful, and we have always been happy with the service.

While McMurry is a bit out of the way for most city dwellers, it's really worth an afternoon trip for something that's just not available here in town. Harry's is definitely one of my top three pizzas around Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Gab 'n Eat, the best diner in Pittsburgh!

I love this place. Gab 'n Eat (yes, that's really the name) is on Washington Avenue (Route 50) in Carnegie, just a couple of minutes off the Parkway West. This place is a true greasy spoon. When you walk in there is a counter on the left with the grill behind it. Booths line the other side and fill the back. I usually sit at the counter because I love watching the cooks work their magic. The menu is typical diner fare but the food is exceptional and the portions are massive! They have a mixed grill that would feed a small army, and if you order "dippy" eggs they know what you mean. This is the kind of place where the coffee cups are all different, just like in my kitchen.

In addition to the breakfast menu, the hamburgers are one of the best anywhere in Pittsburgh, (and you know how I like Tessaro's!). They close in the mid afternoon on weekdays and around noon on the weekends and there is frequently a line, so be prepared to wait a few minutes. While the food is very good and plentiful the prices are low enough that I'd call this a bargain. As much as I love Pamela's, Deluca's and several other diners around town, Gab 'n Eat has always been my favorite.

Friday, March 5, 2010

One of my favorite party appetizers!

I love to cook and one of the most entertaining party ideas is to have an appetizer and wine tasting party. You just have everyone prepare some sort of unique appetizer and bring it along. If you have a small group, it's fun and educational to just prepare and cook each of them at the party. This way everyone that's interested can learn just how to make their favorite. It's a good idea to do this during a sporting event so that those that don't have the same passion for food (at least cooking it) can also enjoy themselves!

One of my favorites is a Broiled Salmon on an English Muffin. If you hate salmon, especially canned which this uses, DON'T BE AFRAID TO TRY THIS! I've had several salmon haters that love the taste of this recipe.

First, take a small can of salmon, (the size of a tuna can, whatever that is) and drain it thoroughly. Put it in a small mixing bowl and add about a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, and about a tablespoon of mayo. I actually use just a little more than a tablespoon, but use whatever you prefer. You can also add just a little bit of lemon juice, and sometimes I add just a small amount of diced onion.
Take six English muffin halves and toast them until they are just crispy. Spread some of the salmon mixture on top of each, and top each with some shredded mozzarella cheese. Put the muffins on a cookie sheet and place under a broiler, just long enough for the cheese to melt. Make sure you watch this! They will burn quickly. Before I serve, I like to garnish the top with a couple of slices of scallions, using just the green part sliced into about 1 inch pieces.

This has been a hit every time I've made them, even for those of you that don't like salmon.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What a beautiful city...

I just love the skyline of Pittsburgh. This picture was taken from my bedroom during the Mt. Washington house tour a couple of years ago. I just came across this and started to long for a nice sunny day. It seems as though we haven't seen the sun for months. On a sunny day, our city is really beautiful!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pipers Pub

In my quest to find the best fish sandwich around Pittsburgh, I've often heard mention of Pipers Pub. Now I've been there in the past but I don't recall ever trying anything off the menu. Frankly, I'm not a real big fan of British food in general but I couldn't resist when I read a review where the writer claimed that their fish sandwich should have it's own zip code and national anthem! Well, I knew just what to order. This fish is huge. It's a large fillet of Haddock, not Cod as is usually served in Pittsburgh pubs. They fry it with a beer batter that is light and very tasty. I don't like it when the batter is so heavy that it overpowers the fish, but this was very well done. It comes with an order of fries and some very good home made tarter sauce as well. If you try this you might want to bring a friend because it's plenty big enough to share. Of course I brought Stacy and still managed to just about finish the entire thing. In addition Stacy ordered some Paprika Chicken soup which she really liked. We also ordered some Scotch Eggs. For those that are not familiar with this health food, it is simply a hard boiled egg, covered with ground sausage, breaded and then deep fried. They were great!

In addition to the food, Pipers is well known for it's great beer selection with at least 20 or 25 quality drafts and a very impressive bottle selection. Another very unique offering is their Cask Ale which is a fresh draft offering. As explained on Pipers website: "Cask Ale or Real Ale is defined as:Beer brewed from traditional ingredients, matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of pressurized gas. When the beer arrives at the pub it needs to undergo its secondary fermentation before it can be served". This months selection is Arcadia Brewing Hop Mouth. While I don't have much knowledge of craft beers it was tempting to give this a try. Maybe next time.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Carson City Saloon

The Carson City Saloon is a place in the South Side that I go to occasionally for a beer and a sandwich. It's in an old bank building and a lot of the the interior has been saved. I really like it when people save or restore the old and still turn it into something new! The walls are covered with a beautiful green marble and the bank vault is still there although it's been converted into a rest room...With a real heavy door!

Anyway, this week was the huge snowstorm in Pittsburgh where we got about 22 inches of snow on Friday and Saturday and another 8 or so inches a couple of days later. A couple of friends of ours, Bonnie and Gary lost their power on Friday night. They stuck it out for the night but by Saturday they still didn't have any electricity or heat. Stacy and I told them to pack up and come on over! They showed up with lots of beer and food that they had planned to use for a Super Bowl party on Sunday. When we woke up on Sunday morning our street in Mount Washington hadn't even been touched. Luckily, Gary has a four wheel drive Jeep and we tried to venture out for breakfast. We soon found out that most of the roads from da Mount were closed so it took about an hour to get to the South Side, which usually takes about five minutes. By this time we gave up on breakfast and decided to find a place where we could have lunch and watch the Penguin game at noon. A lot of places were closed, but not Carson City!

The Carson City is usually pretty packed for Pens games, but not in the middle of a major snowstorm! We found seats at the bar, ordered Bloody Marys and settled in. The menu is big, full of a variety of sandwiches, appetizers, and salads. While the food is good, keep in mind that this is not a health food menu. Salads tend to be Pittsburgh style...A good healthy food that is then topped with french fries and cheese. I don't have a problem with that and neither does Gary so we both ordered fish, breaded and deep fried of course! Stacy ordered a blackened salmon sandwich. It came with smoked applewood bacon (it's Pittsburgh, remember?) and she said it was really good. Not over cooked, the way salmon tends to be in bars.

Gary and I both agreed that the fish sandwich was tremendous! It really is one of the best I've had in Pittsburgh. A large piece of cod that could have filled two buns easily, breaded nicely and fried to perfect golden brown. The breading wasn't overbearing and let the flavor of the fish stand out.

While I have been to Carson City several times before, the menu never really intrigued me. next time I won't hesitate to eat with my beer. It's probably better that way, anyway!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Rhythm House...R.I.P.

It's a sad time for all of you music lovers out there...The Rhythm House in
Bridgeville is closing at the end of this month. I've seen hundreds of bands there. Everything from current rock to country to being a regular on Sunday evenings for the Pittsburgh Jazz Society. For the past nine years this has been a great place to grab a meal (well, not always great) but it sure was a good bar! Daryl tells me that it will soon be a GetGo gas station ) :

It seems that he has no plans to reopen anywhere else at this time.

Here is Daryl's posting from their website:

Friends, All good things must end, and the end for a dream that started nine years ago will hold its last party on February 27, 2010. The Rhythm House will be torn down and a Get Go will stand in its place. Don't be sad; embrace this last month, spread the word, and celebrate an era with me as we close with the last big party on Saturday, February 27 with Donnie Iris, Joe Grushecky, B.E. Taylor, Scott Blasey, Bill Deasy, and Velveeta. The nightlife landscape will have a drastic void, leaving behind only the great memories. The first dates, the first kisses, the engagements, the bachelor parties, the weddings, a couple of Super Bowls and a Stanley Cup, great live music, and the friends we have met along the way. I am proud of what we have done here and we will be going out in style, things have been very busy here for the last few months and I expect it to be crazy busy as we come to silence the music. It has been an honor to be your host for the last nine years and proud to say we put on some of the greatest parties any where in the world. I have to thank the support of Froggy Radio, WDUQ, and WDVE for making us a landmark. I could never thank Frank Bell, Jimmy Krenn, Sean McDowell, and Tony Mowod enough. The great shows of Darius Rucker, Billy Currington, Josh Turner, Jason Michael Carroll, Blake Shelton, Quiet Riot, Warrant, Rod Piazza, the late night parties, the quiet nights with friends. The celebrity appearances: Lou Gossett Jr., Jason Gedrick, and Matthew McConaughey. The many sports legends to tip one back here. The Nashville Star Auditions, The DVE Morning show, and Jenna from Survivor hanging in the office because no one could know she won. Countless memories that we all will take with us. I hope you all agree that there is no other place in the world like The Rhythm House Cafe. I hope to see you here before we go. I will keep everyone posted of the special events we have planned for February. Let's get this party started until February 27, officially, "The Day the Music Died". Thanks for the Memories! Daryl Price The Rhythm House Cafe