New Beginnings?

The idea struck me as I was making lunch today that I wanted a place where I could record some of my recent explorations–both in the things that I had been making and in the treats that I was seeking out around the city. I didn’t really want to put them in my normal blog because, well, let’s be honest. Most of my friends would rather not have their Friends Page junked up by this little fat kid’s reminiscing about food. And hence, a new LJ was born. I’m hoping to keep this open to anyone who happens to want to hear about what I’ve been eating, but really, this is just for me. To look back on yummy places I’ve found in the city and interesting things I’ve whipped up. I don’t know how often I’ll be updating once my job kicks in, but I have some interesting thoughts for now, since I’ve been feeling a little domestic in my new place with someone to cook for and no job to hinder the time I can spend with my culinary creations. 😉

Since I’ve got a bunch of creations on my mind, let’s do this in bullet form.

* Explored Squirrel Hill the other day, looking for the post office, the bank, and the library. I found all three, but then it was lunch time. Found a cute little Jewish bakery–I wish I could remember the name, but I can’t–and got the most amazing chocolate croissant. Took it home, heated it in the toaster oven till the chocolate drizzle on top began to melt, and cut into it to find there was chocolate inside, too, that was happy and melty. Dessert for lunch = amazing.

* The next day, wandered up to a section of the city nicknamed my a friend’s mother as “Little Italy” and to find Donatello’s Italian Market. Came home with homemade pasta, a pizza all ready to be cooked in the oven, and six warm, buttery pierogies. I haven’t had pierogies since the last time mom made them for me, and that was a long time ago. Regardless, these were wonderful! Sauteed them just slightly with squash and zucchini, and they were sooo good. I have to get more sometime. (As a sidenote, apparently pierogies are really a Pittsburgh thing. Don’t ask me why. I thought they were a Polish thing. But they’re good and they make me happy. =) )

* Attempted to make a peach pie the other day. We have wonderful, juicy peaches from the grocery store (Can I take a moment to say how great our local Giant Eagle is? Really nice, extensive produce section. Lots of international stuff. Lots of teas and coffees and interesting looking items…I’m a fan.) So I get these peaches and I know the boy likes pies, so I bought a pre-made pie-crust (I wasn’t up to the challenge of making my own). I found a recipe for the filling and another recipe for the crumb topping on an apple crisp, but I decided to combine the two. I wound up with a really tasty…cobblerish-thing. My filling was a little too moist, and the first two pieces I tried to cut were disaterous. After putting it in the fridge for a bit, it was a little better, but I still think I need a little more flour text time. But look! So domestic! (Ugh.)

* Finally, today’s lunch. Mmmmm. Used the Foreman grill to grill up some thinly sliced zucchini, yellow squash, and red pepper, which I had attempted to peel with a vegetable peeler. I sprinkled some olive oil and dried basil on them, but I don’t know if that really made a difference in the taste. Couldn’t really taste it; I’d use a little more seasoning next time. Then I took some sourdough bread, spread the outsides with a mixture of some olive oil and dried basil, layered the squash and zucchini, thinly-sliced tomato, shredded mozarella cheese, and then the pepper, and stuck the sandwich (carefully!) into a large pan. Used my nifty panini-crusher (it looks like an old-fashioned iron!) to make it paninish. That, with a plum and my iced coffee from down on Craig Street, made the perfect summer lunch.

Ok, enough rambling for now. I have to clean up from lunch. When cooking, I tend to use an overabundance of dishes and utensils. When in doubt, find something else to dirty and then throw it in the sink. 😉


10 responses

  1. Oh, yes, I want in. Are you living in Squirrel Hill or Shadyside? I love those areas and fell in love with Pittsburgh when the kids were in college. Have you been to Gullifty’s to eat?

    • Wonderful! =)
      We’re in Shadyside, in a really nice section. I do rather love it so far. I haven’t been to Gullifty’s yet, but I have heard good things about it…especially about their desserts. I’ve passed by it on my travels, so I’ll have to stop in sometime!

      • Ah, great! I think I’ve been to the bakery you wrote about, too, but I’m not sure. I’m so thrilled to have a friend in that area again. lives in Pittsburgh and may be of help finding a sofa. Tell him I sent you to his site. He roomed with our daughter at one point in college.

  2. As a sidenote, apparently pierogies are really a Pittsburgh thing. Don’t ask me why. I thought they were a Polish thing. But they’re good and they make me happy. =)
    You’re absolutely right. Pittsburgh had a huuuuuuge East European population at one point (and still does, in some areas), so pierogies become a big thing. If you look in the right places, you’ll still find East European dance clubs and restaurants scattered throughout the city.
    I really doubt that you want to hear my recipes, but I do know of a few good places that you should check out in the city. Let me start with some places to eat in Oakland. First, there’s the Capitol Grille (Capital Grill? I could be screwing the spelling), where you should go if you want a steak or a burger. The burger’s are INSANE. You have to go and see for yourself 🙂 If you’re in the mood for Asian food, check out Lulu’s (conveniently located across the street from the Capitol Grille LOL). I always liked this dish they called “twice-cooked bbq pork”… They also have fantastic noodle bowls. Sooooooooooo good.
    Finally, there are some decent places for a brew that you should know about. My favorite place was the Fuel and Fuddle. The beer isn’t super cheap (though reasonable), but they keep out the minors and it keeps the place from turning into a standing-room only joint. Most nights, it’s pretty laid back, and the food is AMAZING (half price after a certain time, too!). Plus, they have all kinds of crazy beer, from their own brews to the best selection of European imports in the city to standards such as Lager, if you should so desire it. I think that Fuel would be your kind of joint, and this is DEFINITELY a place you should visit when up in Oakland. If you’re looking for a cheap beer, check out Hemingway’s. This place can get packed, but they have dollar beer specials every day. Some days it’s Coors Light or Bud Light, but other days it’s Lager (twice a week, when I was there), Molson, Blue Moon, etc. The crowd usually isn’t too nuts around lunch time, so you might want to go there first in the afternoon. Finally, I’d check out Margarita Mama’s if you’re looking for a neat nighttime warm-weather drinking experience. It’s located on Station Square, and it has this HUUUUUGE outdoor porch that is such a cool place to have a beer and admire the city skyline. We used to go on college night, because we’d get in without a cover and we’d get $1 Yuenglings, but if your WCU or DC IDs are expired, I’m pretty sure that this place is neat on just about any night.
    I know about a few places on South Side, too, but I think you’ve got enough to keep you occupied here 🙂 Have fun! And don’t forget…
    If you’re wearing black and gold next time I see you, I’ll probably shed a tear (or 10)… Just because you’ve moved out there doesn’t mean that you need to join their weird Steelers cult. And don’t let them tell you that Philly sucks! Pittsburgh can be a neat town, but there were so many times that I met somebody and told them where I was from only to get a frown and a description of the multitude of ways that Philly sucks (and that Pittsburgh is soooooo much better). The toughest pill to swallow was that most of them had never spent any time in Philly at all (though I did have an interesting conversation where a guy told me that a drive up 95 was enough for him to draw his conclusions). Just grin, bear it, tell them that you’ll respectfully disagree, and you’ll survive the Philly-haters in a much better fashion than I did when I lived there.
    Have fun! 🙂

    • Thanks for the advice on eating and drinking spots! Especially the Fuel and Fuddle (Fiddle? Fuddle?). Sounds like a really neat place, and right up our alley, with the imports and the homebrews. That definitely must be checked out. And I remember hearing you talk about Hemmingways, so that could be fun if we want to relive our college days. 😉
      I’ll have to look into Lulu’s. I want to say there’s one on Craig St., too, wich would be neat, as that’s within walking distance from me. I think they just opened one there…definitely worth looking into. I like noodles!
      And I think I need to make an addendum into my other post about Pittsburgh–how could I forget! I actually went to Margarita Mama’s the other weekend! It was a lot of fun. What you forgot to mention (or didn’t know 😉 ) is that on Saturdays, from 10-12 is $1 select mixed drinks. I discovered how yummy pineapple juice and vodka can be. =) It was a neat place with a cool atmosphere, though, and a lot of fun.
      Next time, let me know about the SOuth Side places! =P
      And don’t worry about the Steelers thing. I’m totally an Eagles girl. I might voer it up just enough to not get beat up, but I won’t be converting anytime soon. (I actually asked mom and dad for an Eagles shirt for last Christmas so I’d be prepared for the move. Huzzah!)
      Thanks for the input and suggestions!!

      • Ohhhhh Margarita Mama’s 🙂 $1 mixed drinks?! WTF?! Well, I think I prefer the Lager, but wow…. That’s pretty sweet! It’s reportedly the drinking spot of the Steelers, so keep your eyes out for Bettis. And make sure he sees you wearing Eagles green 😉 I’m really glad you went out there, and definitely check out the Fuel and Fuddle… No, I’m not quite sure what a Fuddle is, but I’m nearly positive that it involves awesomeness 🙂
        Booyeah Eagles! 🙂

  3. You HAVE to go to the Grand Concourse for a fancy meal on the water. Incredible seafood, biscuits, and desserts. It’s definitely for special occaisions (my dad takes me every time, but he’s a TOTAL foodie).
    I’m definitely adding you to this, since I’m a food guru. You should join the following food communities:
    cooking – huge, tons of great recipes, etc
    bakebakebake – big baking community, though they just went on moderated, so it’s a bit slow at times
    Glad to hear you’re doing well. 🙂 It was nice chatting with you the other day.

    • Oh, I’ll have to check that out for something special. Anniversary or something. =) Do you know where it is? I mean, there’s a lot of water out here. 😉
      I will definitely check out those communities, too. Thanks! I actually just joined the cooking one, and I’m going to check out the baking one soon. (My comp was being slow before so I stopped after one. =) )
      Huzzah! Hope to talk to you again soon!

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