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Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Favorite Kitchen Tool

I've always thought that the most important tool in the kitchen is a good quality, sharp knife. Many years ago, I acquired a good set of Henkel knives along with a wooden knife block for the counter. The Henkels, which are very similar to Wusthof's, have been a great knife. Very solid, well built and they hold a sharp edge. I've also tried Shun knives and while they have received great reviews, I don't like them nearly as well as the Global's. Then Robin,a friend of mine (she just so happened to manage a Williams Sonoma), turned me on to Global knives. Wow! What a difference!

Despite their rather unconventional look, the knife has an excellent ergonomic design. It is well balanced, easily gripped when wet and scary sharp. You are unlikely ever to meet a sharper knife. When I first picked one up, I immediately noticed how well balanced and comfortable it was, but what really sold me was how well it functioned. These knives will flow through a tough onion or a tender tomato with ease.

Of course, they are pricey, but the price is comparable with the others. If you are on a budget, the 8" Global Chef's knife would be a good start and would most likely take care of about 80% of your needs.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Pines Tavern (click here to go to their website)

It's been quite a while since Stacy and I have gone out to a nice dinner. That's not to say we never go out, heck we do that every day! Usually we end up at one of our favorite local lunch spots or just have an appetizer or two at happy hour while we relax and talk about the day.

Something else we don't do much anymore is celebrate birthdays, so it's no suprise that we didn't make a reseveration in advance when Stacy decided we should go out for my B-Day. You can't even get into an Outback on a Saturday night without at least an hour wait, and we just don't care to do that. After kicking around a couple of ideas, we decided to try the Pines Tavern.

The Pines Tavern has been one of my favorites for many years but it's been a long time since I've had the opportunity to go there. We walked in around 6:30, and although it was very busy, we were able to get a table. The restaurant has the feel of an old country inn, with dining rooms with working fireplaces and a comfortable bar. Stacy really got a kick out of the wallpaper with pictures of horses in the bar. Stacy ordered the Creekstone Delmonico which is served grilled with gorgonzola & green onion demi glace, garlic parmesan bistro fries & fresh green beans.

I ordered the Pan Seared Yellow Fin Tuna Steak on Wilted Baby Arugula, Roasted Apples, Toasted Walnuts and Crumbled Goat Cheese topped with Fig, Honey and Balsamic Glaze, Bistro Potatoes. It was just tremendous! A glass of the house (I can't remember what it was) Cabernet topped off the great meal.

Another thing that I really liked was they serve a tap room menu at the bar along with the full restaurant menu. The tap room menu has a couple of selections that appear to be full meals at very reasonable prices, in the $10 to $15 range.

I was happy that this restaurant is still just as I remembered it, and will make sure to visit again in the near future.

The Pines is a bit of a drive for those of you in the city, but it's an easy drive up interstate 79 to the Warrendale exit. The address is 5018 Bakerstown Road in Gibsonia.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Pittsburgh Legend (click here)

The Pittsburgh Steelers are headed to their fifteenth AFC Championship game tomorrow. Here's a great clip of Myron(just click on the title above), and the power of the Terrible Towel.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Janoski's Country Restaurant

In warmer weather, I enjoy visiting farm markets around the city. Janoski's, which is west on route 30, is one of my favorites. They have a farm market with a nice variety of fresh vegetables, pies and various cheeses. There is also an upstairs area with a country style gift shop, and next door is a greenhouse with a nice selection of plants and herbs.

Stacy and I were on our way back from Chester WV and looking for a place for lunch. I had never even noticed it before, but Janoski's Country Restaurant is right across the street from the market. The building is painted barn red, and has a wrap-around porch with several rocking chairs for customers. Too cold for that, so we went inside. The restaurant is as we expected, family style and nicely decorated country kitch. Perfect!

I noticed that they have a set up for a breakfast buffet, which I learned is served on the weekends. After looking at the menu, I decided on one of the daily specials, a stuffed pork chop served with a side of mashed potatoes and of course, gravy. Stacy had a moment of temporary insanity and ordered liver and onions. My pork chop was stuffed to about 4 inches high, and was delicious! Although I did not taste it, Stacy's liver and onions was awful. I know this, because all liver and onions are awful. I won't hold this against the restaurant.

This is a comfortable country style place, with excellent home style cooking. I can't wait to return for the breakfast on an upcoming weekend.