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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bob's Diner

I just happen to really enjoy a good diner. It just so happens that my most current two posts are both diner related, although that wasn't planned. A few days ago, Stacy and I took my sister to the airport early in the morning, and decided to get breakfast somewhere out there. I wanted to go to Janoski's on route 30, but since it was the weekend we knew that it would be packed. We ended up trusting the GPS, which took us to Bob's Diner just off of Stubenville Pike in Imperial.

Bob's is bright, with tacky but comfortable diner decor. They have a small counter where you can watch the cooks prepare the food and a number of tables and comfortable booths. It was pretty busy, but we were seated right away in a booth by a window. The menu has a weekday special of two eggs, toast, 2 slices of bacon or sausage for $4.95. Not bad. When it was time to order, Stacy did as she usually does, and chose the same thing that I was going to order, Bob's Eggs Benny ($7.95). I didn't want to order the same thing, so I went with another diner classic, Corned Beef Hash and Eggs ($6.95). The service was friendly and prompt and the meals arrived fairly quickly, despite the crowd. The Eggs Benedict were classic, with a great tasting hollandaise and a delicious slice of thick ham. My meal of hash and eggs came with great red skinned potato homefries, homemade hash that included a touch of grilled green peppers and onions and two slices of Mancini's toast. Both of us thought that our meals were exceptional.

My favorite diner in the Pittsburgh area has always been Gab'n Eat in Carnegie...Mostly for it's quirky nature, good food, hodgepodge coffee cups (like I have in my kitchen) and of course, it's name, but Bob's Diner gives Gab'n Eat a run for the money! I'm sure we'll be back very soon.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Adzema Pharmacy (click here for their web site)

Neighborhood pharmacy's with lunch counters have been pretty much extinct for twenty or thirty years now, but not Adzema Pharmacy. Here the lunch counter has been a part of the business since it opened in 1959. I can remember going to these type of stores when I was a kid...Woolworths comes to mind. The Adzema still looks like one of those places, with an old fashioned counter that will seat about forty, and a couple of nice, older, and sometimes cranky waitresses.

They are open for breakfast and lunch everyday. I stop for breakfast fairly often and take advantage of their daily specials...How about an egg, bacon, and toast for $1.99? Be aware that it's only one egg, about the thinnest slices of bacon that you have ever seen and some thin white toast, but what do you expect for two bucks! It's a great little breakfast, and if you want more, and have another dollar or two, you can get more. Lunch continues in the same manner with burgers and sandwiches priced from $2.75 for a 1/3 pound burger, all the way up to $4.95, for chicken wings with fries. I haven't tried it yet, but I've been told that their fish sandwich is great. Maybe I'll get that next week.

The Adzema Pharmacy is located at 8105 Perry Highway in the North Hills.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summit Diner, Somerset Pa

Years ago, when I was working selling medical products to hospitals, I would travel through Somerset on a regular basis. This small town is charming, but doesn't have a lot to offer when it comes to food. There is a nice little restaurant called the Pine Grill, a little bar called Maggie Mae's, an Eat'n Park, and a great diner called the Summit Diner. One ominous memory that I have is eating breakfast there, getting in the car to travel back to Pittsburgh, and learning that the attacks of 9/11 had just occurred, with one of the plane's crashing in a Somerset field.

A couple of weeks ago, Stacy and I were headed to Cumberland Md for a family visit, and stopped for lunch at the Summit. The place has been updated since my last visit, but still holds the great charm of a Pennsylvania diner. The waitstaff were dressed in '50 attire and they were just getting ready for an afternoon car cruise, with car owners arriving in their classic cars and parking them behind the restaurant.

The menu was diner typical, in a good way. Basic home cooking and a great selection of pies. Stacy ordered a chicken salad, and I went for the club sandwich. When the food arrived the salad looked bland and Stacy looked disappointed, but that soon changed when she tasted it. The greens, while mostly "diner iceberg" were fresh and crisp, the dressing homemade, and the flavor was great. My club was also a winner. We didn't try dessert, but the pies looked really tasty, and I'm sure we will make it a point to sample them on our next stop.

I highly recommend this as a good diner experience if you find yourself traveling the Pa Turnpike in need of a good, quick and fun dining experience.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Chelsea Grill

My daughter Kim just graduated from high school (with honors!) and she finally has a few hours during the week to do some other things, so we decided to celebrate with a late lunch/early dinner. I had intended to head to the Southside and take her to YoRita's to sample their great tacos, but the thought of driving the parkway east at this time of the day made us reconsider. I'm not quite sure how we ended up in Oakmont, but we did. I'm a bit familiar with a couple of restaurants there, Hoffstot's and the Mighty Oak Barrel come to mind, but it was still early so we decided to stop at Oakmont Bakery and oggle the vast display of tasty cakes, pastry's and cookies. After picking out an almond torte to take home to mom, we found ourselves next door, at the Chelesa Grill.

It was only about 5:00 pm so the place only had a few diners. We were seated right at a window with a nice view of the quaint street. A nice surprise was the early dinner menu, which is 10 different entrees, each under $10.00, served weekdays from 4 to 6:00. Here are a few of the selections and descriptions from this menu:

Raspberry Chicken Fromage - filled with garlic & herb cheese and topped w/ raspberry coulis
Milanese Pork Chop - coated w/ seasoned bread crumbs then oven baked & served with lemon
Baked Crab Stuffed Shrimp w/ warm couscous salad
Candied Walnut Tilapia - with lemon chive aioli

Kim was in the mood for a sandwich...Of course I can't remember what she ordered, but it was on a panini and I remember it looking pretty good. Stacy got the Raspberry Chicken Fromage, and I decided on the Candied Walnut Tilapia. My side salad was a nice mix of fresh spring greens with a tremendous blue cheese dressing. All of us really enjoyed our meals, as did Dad when the check came!

Oakmont is a bit out of the way, but it's a very nice town and I'm sure that we will make the trip again. It was a very enjoyable afternoon.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Azul Bar Y Cantina

The little town of Leetsdale is only about a mile from where I grew up. Years ago, Leetsdale was the home of a small restaurant called Mike's Place. It was a place where locals would go to eat and drink. The owner's both worked hard. Mike, speaking broken English (with occasional Italian profanity) worked behind the bar, and his wife Tomy working the dining room, serving her homemade pasta and home grown peppers. Now the location houses Azul. I've read several reviews about Azul and have wanted to try it.

As you enter, a long bar is to your left with the remaining space filled with rustic wooden tables. Two large windows in the front filled the restaurant with sunlight on the day I was there. The menu is not the typical Mexican "combo" style that is so common around here. The Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos were served with pico de gallo, fresh avocado, and a chipolte aioli drizzle. These were really tremendous! With a side of black beans and rice, this was a very nice meal. As I enjoyed my meal, I was watching a variety of burritos, sopes, and many other items coming from the kitchen, all of which looked appetizing.

While this is not at all like Mike's Place, it really is a very nice and tasty addition to Leetsdale and a nice complement to the restaurants in the Sewickley area.