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Sunday, March 25, 2012


Jergel's Rhythm Grille on Urbanspoon

I always liked the Rhythm House in Bridgeville because, depending on what was going on, you could watch a sporting event, order a meal, have reasonably priced drinks, and listen to live music. Most music places tend to really wack you with a ticket or cover charge, or make up for it with crazy prices for drinks. A lot of music venues don't serve food and you usually can't watch a Pen's or Steelers game!

Years ago, Jergels was a great place on Babcock Blvd. in the North Hills. It was kind of a restaurant, sports bar, and music venue that, along with other bands, featured a house band called Father Time. It was a fun, relaxing place, but closed several years ago.

Jergels recently opened a fantastic new location in Warrendale. The difference between this new location and the old one is significant. This new place is built for music with a big stage and a lighting and sound system that is fantastic! There is a balcony, a dance floor, and an outside patio with seating and fire features, large bars both upstairs and downstairs, and a separate cigar bar.

Happy hour goes from 5 to 7 daily with 1/2 price drafts and half price appetizers. The apps menu is good too. On one visit we order PEI Mussels and an order of Ahi Tuna. The mussels were steamed in a white wine sauce with garlic, parsley and tomato's. The tuna was properly rare with an Asian Cucumber Slaw. Both were excellent and quite a bargain at the happy hour price of about five dollars each. Other menu items include fish tacos, meatball sliders, a number of burgers and a complete dinner menu.

When music acts preform, if there is a cover charge, it's not charged until 8:00pm with most acts starting at 9:00. I love this because if you do as we have, and go for a Pen's game at 6 or 7:00, most likely by the time the music starts you have already spent a fair amount of money. If you show up ten minutes before the music starts, you pay the cover. That's reasonable. It doesn't take advantage of loyal customers, and at the same time if you don't want to eat or drink you can get in for a reasonable charge. The happy hour is good enough that they should develop a daily local crowd, and the food is much better than standard bar fare.

Jergels is located just off the Warrendale exit of Interstate 79. While it's not exactly close to downtown, it's a very easy drive. I've heard that there have been some issues with parking, but on each of our visits we didn't have a problem and easily found a spot.

As usual, click on the title above to see their website.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Il Pizzaiolo

Il Pizzaiolo on Urbanspoon

This is the best traditional Italian pizza in Pittsburgh. Il Pizzaiolo, located in the middle of the Mt. Lebanon business district bakes their pies in a wood fired, brick oven. They bake at 1000 degrees for only about 90 seconds. The ingredients are top quality which results in a great pie for those of you that love the true traditional, Neapolitan style. In addition to the large speciality pizza menu, they also have a nice variety of pasta dishes.

We decided to split a salad which had beautiful fresh greens along with roasted red peppers, cherry tomato, carrot, cucumber, parmigiano-reggiano, and served with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. For the main course we chose the Diavola pizza, which is San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, spicy salami, chili pepper, pecorino romano, fresh basil, and extra virgin olive oil. Excellent.

During the warm months you can dine on their private patio in the back. Il Pizzaiolo also has a nice bottled beer selection for $5 to %20, and wine at $8+. Keep in mind that a pizza with a salad and a couple of ice teas will set you back about $35...Top quality ingredients in a sit down restaurant along with a Mt. Lebanon address adds up! This isn't your typical take-out pizza joint, but that's not what they are trying to be. I also recall reading that they are opening a new location downtown, in Market Square sometime this summer. With all the new restaurants and renovations happening in Market Square, this should be a great location for them.

Il Pizzaiolo isn't really the kind of place I think of when I'm craving a pizza. For me, that would be Franks in Ambridge, but I think of it more like a nice dining experience.

As always, click on the title above to see their menu.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Chicken and Waffles

I spent a couple of days this past week in State College PA, which is the home of Penn State University. I've always really liked visiting State College. It's a small town without the traffic or major crime issues of larger city's, but just about any night of the week you have a choice of many live bands at a number of local watering holes. On a Wednesday night, we were able to catch a blues band, a great bluegrass band, and back at the hotel, a folk duo playing in the lounge, all within walking distance of each other. Anyway, another thing I love about the area is the "stick to your ribs" Pennsylvaina Dutch food found at local eateries.

In the south, chicken and waffles are famous. I know that Gladys Knight has a restaurant in Atlanta that features it as a speciality. Great southern fried chicken served on top of a thick, tasty waffle. It's not like that in Central PA though. Here the PA Dutch version is prepared with shredded chunks of chicken on top of a thick waffle and then smothered with gravy! The sweetness of the waffle combined with the tasty salty gravy makes a great traditional dish.

If you would like a recipe, or to read a little about the Pennsylvania Dutch, just click on the title above and check out Teri's Kitchen.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pittsburgh Turkey Devonshire

I posted this several years ago, but get so much interest that I thought I'd post again. For those not familiar, the Turkey Devonshire Sandwich was a traditional Pittsburgh dish and can still be found on many local menus. Some restaurants also make Crab Devonshire, just substitute lump crab meat instead of turkey. Enjoy!

Frank Blandi's Original Devonshire Sandwich

Cream Sauce:
3/4 stick butter, melted,
1 cup flour
1/4 pound Cheddar cheese, grated
1 pint chicken broth
1 pint hot milk
1 teaspoon salt

Melt butter in deep pan and add flour, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth and then hot milk, stirring all the while. Add cheese and salt. Bring to boil, then cook slowly for 20 minutes, still stirring. Cool to lukewarm. Beat with wire whip until smooth before using. This makes enough sauce for 6 Devonshire sandwiches.

For each sandwich you need:

1 slice toast, crusts trimmed off
3 slices crisp bacon
5 thin slices cooked turkey breast
Cream Sauce, recipe above
Melted butter Parmesan cheese and paprika

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In each flat, individual oven-proof casserole dish, place 1 slice of toast and top with 3 slices bacon. Add 5 thin slices of cooked turkey breast. Cover completely with cream sauce. Sprinkle with a little melted butter, then with the combined Parmesan cheese and paprika. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.