Monday, June 29, 2009

Roast Chicken & Cheddar-Thyme Biscuits

Yesterday SP made dinner. I wasn't feeling well, so I settled into my comfy chair and found an insanely horrible movie to laugh at on SciFi: Ice Spiders. I folded laundry while watching and laughing and listening to him cook. I also took a short nap!

SP made roast chicken. For seasoning, he used grated lemon & grated orange plus some of the Argentine salt. He put an onion inside since he liked roast onion. I love the roast chicken with the citrus flavor. Yum!!

We have leftover buttermilk from when we made Moist Chocolate Cake, so we decided to make buttermilk biscuits. We looked through my magazine recipe collection as well as in The Joy of Cooking. We settled on a recipe that calls for buttermilk, cheddar cheese, and fresh thyme (we still have some from the CSA). I think it's officially called 'Cheddar Cheese & Herb Biscuits.' SP halved the recipe since it makes 28 - that's a lot for 2 people! I think our round cutter (he used my round cookie cutter) is a bit large because we got only 9 biscuits, not 14. They were delicious! They didn't rise as much as we expected, but we wondered if that was because they baked on the rack below the chicken in the oven - ? I had frozen peas for my vegetable. SP made himself a red cabbage dish. The red cabbage is from last week's CSA. He added CSA green onions and CSA honey plus some red wine vinegar and a bit of bacon fat (after we cook bacon, we save the bacon grease in a jar). I tried a bite and it was OK - keep in mind that I don't especially like cooked cabbage. A yummy Sunday meal with leftovers for this week.
Dessert was raspberries and Bing cherries, 2 of my favorites. I also ate an M&M cookie. Saturday evening, after the movie & Hofbrauhaus, we went to Walmart and I was feeling like I needed a reward for going to Walmart for the second weekend in a row so we browsed through the bakery and bought a dozen M&M sugar cookies. They're actually pretty good. Not Bethel Bakery good. Not homemade good. But they satisfied my sweet treat/chocolate craving! There are only 4 left - I suspect SP has been snarfing the cookies...

Horrible movie:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh

After seeing Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, we walked over to Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh. SP has been wanting to try this place since it opened, and T has been there a few times. T likes the beers but thinks the food is so-so.

We walked in and were in line behind a couple waiting to be seated. It was about 5 minutes before a hostess appeared and seated the couple, asking them,"Outside, beer hall, or dining room?" They chose an indoor table. When it was out turn, we asked to sit outside and were told there were no available tables outside - ? We opted for the dining room seating. The difference is, I think, the dining room is regular tables & chairs while the beer hall has long wood tables and wood benches. Our room was large and somewhat cavernous - I felt like I had to yell to be heard. Also, it was very bright and I found it necessary to wear my sunglasses inside so that I wouldn't squint (my eyes are sensitive to brightness and I was facing a window and it was a sunny day).

First up, drinks. SP tried to order the June beer "German Pilsner" but they were already out of it for the month so he settled for the special seasonal “Zwickelbier.” T ordered the Premium Lager. I got iced tea (don't like beer). Both enjoyed their beers.

We split an appetizer of soft pretzels with beer cheese. The pretzels looked a bit too dark to me but tasted fine, especially when doused in the beer cheese sauce, which was very tasty.SP ordered a cup of Spicy Sausage soup. He said it wasn't nearly spicy enough and he thought there was maybe some kind of beef or beef product in it (he doesn't eat beef).Our meals: T had Wurst on a Bun, choosing bratwurst on a bun with sauerkraut. He said it was OK, nothing special. SP had the Bauern Pretzel Sandwich - ham & swiss cheese on a sesame seed pretzel bun and topped with beer cheese. He said it was good, nothing special, and definitely big - he brought half of it home. I had the HofbrÀuhaus Hot Brown - turkey & ham served on a potato pancake topped with swiss cheese, beer cheese sauce, tomato, bacon, and parmesan. It was OK, nothing special. I thought the potato pancake would be shredded potato, sort of latke-like, I guess, and it was actually like a regular breakfast pancake, which was OK, but... it just seemed like something was missing. It was big, for me, and I brought half of it home.
All 3 of us agreed the fries were fine, but nothing special or different or unique, just regular fries.

We were too full for dessert.

Maybe the meals are better than the sandwiches, we just didn't want to order that much food. Our sandwiches were just OK. We'd go back again, but we wouldn't put it high on our list of places at which to eat.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Today SP and I met my friend T and we saw the new Transformers movie. I wasn't expecting much after seeing a 21% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. EW gave it a B and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette gave it 3/4 stars. I'm not sure what I'd give it, but I do know this: I didn't get bored during the movie and start to wonder how much more time remained. And this is a 2.5 hour movie.

Of course, I do enjoy action movies. A lot. It was fun to see things get blown up and to see the robots fighting and to escape into a silly, make believe world for an afternoon. Especially after the serious & somewhat depressing movies I've watched lately, all of which I would give 4/5 stars, all of which I highly recommend, but all of which were not uplifting happy films (Revolutionary Road, Defiance, The Secret, The Reader, and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas).

Transformers? A perfectly good, entertaining, mindless, not serious, action filled summer flick.

Otis the Groundhog & Critter Poop

We've known for some time that we moved into 'The Wild Kingdom' -- bunnies, raccoons, groundhogs, squirrels, chipmunks, snakes, robins, blue jays, humming birds, wasps, bees, stinkbugs, silverfish, spiders, butterflies, moths, deer... Sometimes I find it hard to believe we live halfway between the city and the airport and no more than 2-3 minutes from 3 major highways!

A couple of weeks ago a snake was sunbathing on our front patio. Dad chased it away with the watering can - we were about to go out to dinner and no way was I setting foot outside with the snake lounging across the walkway.

Last week, SP found snake poo in the yard (he once had a pet snake and is familiar with what snake poo looks like - and fortunately for all concerned, his pet snake died peacefully in her tank about a month before we moved in together!!).

Thursday morning we discovered poop on our deck. Some critter climbed a flight of stairs, pooped at the very top on the deck, and left other poopy surprises and a pile of berries on a few of the steps. SP had the pleasure of using a shovel to scoop up the poop and then launch the poop off the deck, over the fence, and down the hill, where it will fertilize our jungle of poison ivy, wildflowers, trees and who knows what else.

Later that night, SP actually googled "critter poop." He's convinced our nocturnal poopy visitor was a raccoon.

Meanwhile, Otis the Groundhog came to visit us this morning. Last time he visited, he ate some lilies and checked out dad's rental car. This time, he just munched a few things and waddled back down the hill. Actually, we don't think this one is Otis - this one isn't nearly fat enough. But I did have a thought - maybe this one should be Otis, and maybe the other very fat one isn't fat but instead pregnant with groundhog babies...??? The groundhog is cute to watch and we're hoping it doesn't do anything to harm the house/deck.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Evil CSA Romaine & Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing

Tonight was a quick and easy dinner. SP grilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts - mine just had BBQ sauce; his had added special spicy seasonings. He also grilled the CSA green zucchini - yum! I made a salad using the CSA romaine. I used up our cucumber from Father's Day, chopped another tomato, added some green and kalamata olives, and made a dressing.

I prefer making my own dressing for salad - my exception is Marzetti Chunky Blue Cheese dressing - yum! But creamy dressing isn't so healthy. Lately we've been making a lot of balsamic dressing, which is probably my favorite, but a co-favorite would be Poppy Seed Dressing. My mom gave me this recipe, which she got from a friend in Vermont. It's 3/4 cup canola oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/3 cup honey, 2 tbsp poppy seeds, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, and a bit of onion salt. Yum!! And it used up one of our honey bears (we had 3 in the pantry!!!) - this honey bear contained a darker colored honey from one of the CSA suppliers. Unfortunately, for the second or third time in the last 1-2 months, the salad upset my stomach. My dad has the same problem with lettuce sometimes. Sensitive stomachs - ugh. I was extra careful when I washed the romaine - I washed each leaf individually, using my hands to thoroughly rub each leaf and dislodge any dirt, then I ripped each leaf into bite size pieces while letting water run over the pieces in my hands, and then, after the colander was full of washed and ripped romaine, I ran even more water over it and tossed it around. Then I spun it in the spinner.

Oh well. It sure was tasty. Too bad I seem to be developing a lettuce sensitivity to go along with my garlic sensitivity.

Ice Invaders!!!

As a surprise, 'just because' present, I bought SP a tray of Ice Invaders ice cubes. I saw it in the current issue of Bon Appetit and immediately thought of SP -- he loves his game systems and gets a little boy kind of grin when he recalls playing Atari games like Space Invaders as a young boy. I think he likes his surprise present. We've been busy making trayfuls of Ice Invaders.

They are cute. They even have little eyeballs. However, I do agree with some reviewers that they are tiny ice cubes -- SP & I use almost an entire tray to chill our evening beverages. It seems impractical to expect to have only Ice Invader ice cubes for a gathering of friends - even if we made 4-5 trays a day for a week, I am confident we'd run out of Ice Invaders ice cubes.

But they are fun. They make us laugh every time we take out the tray. It's always good to have a giggle over something silly and frivolous.

Ice Invaders:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


It's getting kind of scary: I ate fish again tonight. Tilapia, done the usual way (on the grill with butter, lemon, and dill). I sure hope all these Omega-3 fish dinners are lowering my cholesterol!

As our sides, we finished the cow's milk cheddar from last week's CSA.
SP finished the cucumbers & tomatoes in vinegar. I made myself a cucumber & tomato salad in a sour cream-balsamic vinegar-dill-black pepper dressing.
Yum! SP even liked it, and he's not a huge fan of sour cream unless it's in a dip.

And since I ate so healthy, I can have a small piece of Cherry Jam Tart and a small piece of Moist Chocolate Cake!!!!

CSA Week #11

CSA day already - we just finished all of last week's goodies! This week: eggs, green onions, romaine, kale, beets, heirloom head lettuce, 2 green zucchini, 1 yellow zucchini, pattypan squash, red potatoes, and red cabbage.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day Dinner

Yesterday was Father's Day. To celebrate, we invited SP's father and SP's siblings over for a BBQ. We wanted an easy, quick meal so we decided to grill burgers, hot dogs, and kielbasa. This way, everyone could sit in the sunroom or outside and enjoy the gorgeous day - no monitoring the temperature of a turkey or trying to coordinate everything finishing cooking at the same time!
While SP spent the morning mowing the lawn, I sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, pickles... washed lettuce... gathered the paper plates/cups and plastic cutlery... I had everything ready so that all we had to do was carry it out to the deck and actually grill the meats!!

I made a cucumber-tomato-onion salad - basically, those 3 items in a mixture of apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, and pepper. My grandmother always made this for our family picnics - I really enjoy making dishes like this one, ones that make me nostalgic and fondly remember being in grandma's kitchen helping her slice sandwich buns or taste the potato salad to make sure it's OK (and of course it always was!). CSA brother grilled the meats and buns and some onions. He also brought a delicious fruit salad with raspberries, blueberries, papaya, honeydew, Asian pear, and other fruit delights that I can't remember right now. His 'sauce' was actually like a syrup and was a mixture of xanthan gum (I think that's what he said) and his 'wondrous' extracts (wondrous being his description!!). It was delicious.
After dinner, we ate the Cherry Jam Crostata and Moist Chocolate Cake for dessert -- they looked better after we sprinkled on the powdered sugar! I am happy to report that, despite the crust difficulties, the crostata was delicious. SP thought the filling was a bit too sweet since it was a jar of cherry preserves and not a can of cherry pie filling, but I really liked it - I could even taste the almond extract and lemon zest in the filling. Everyone thought the crust was good. The moist chocolate cake was indeed moist and chocolaty! Yum!

A delicious Dad's Day!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Moist Chocolate Cake

Originally we planned to make vanilla ice cream to go with the crostata. Unfortunately, when SP pulled out the ice cream maker and plugged it in to test it, it didn't work. So much for that idea!

Then we thought maybe pizzelles... but I kind of wanted a chocolate dessert so I thought of the brownie mix we have in the pantry... but if we were going to make a chocolate cake kind of thing, I really wanted Moist Chocolate Cake, a cake I love but that doesn't always love me back because it's so moist and rich. But, I reasoned, if we make it for guests, there won't be much, if any, leftover, and I won't be tempted to eat it all and then regret it when my tummy feels sick from too much moist chocolate cake!! It's a recipe from the May/June 2001 issue of a magazine called Quick Cooking (which I think no longer exists).

We settled on the moist chocolate cake. This cake is so simple!! You need to brew a cup of strong coffee, and while that is brewing, you can combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Then add all the wet ingredients to the dry ones. The wet ingredients include coffee, buttermilk, eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Using and electric mixer, beat everything together for 2 minutes. Then pour it into a greased & floured bundt pan and bake. The batter is very thin so it pours easily and spreads itself out around the bundt pan nicely.

It doesn't look so great in the photo. It doesn't look chocolaty and rich and moist. It looks dry and weak. I think maybe because I very generously greased and floured the non-stick bundt pan and the flour attached itself to the chocolaty goodness. I need to remember that when greasing & flouring for chocolate desserts, I can flour with cocoa powder so that the finished cake doesn't look like mine does in the photo! Hopefully, a sprinkling of powdered sugar will hide the 'floured' look.

Also, there's a wee part where it started to break when I took it out of the bundt pan. I think it's because the pan was still a bit hot for me to touch and when I lifted it off, I went a bit sideways instead of straight up because I wanted to set it down again quickly. Oops. Maybe we should whip up an icing or glaze to hide that?! Or I could just sample that part of the cake tonight...

Cherry Jam Crostata

Tonight we made desserts for tomorrow's Father's Day picnic. The first dessert we made is from the June 2009 issue of Bon Appetit and is called 'Cherry Jam Crostata.' It's very simple - the filling is just cherry jam, almond extract, and grated lemon peel.

The crust is very easy to make in the food processor. We let it chill for 2-3 hours, but after he rolled it out, SP couldn't get it into the tart pan. It stuck to the parchment paper and then ripped and there were sections with no overhang to fold in for a double-thick side. We had to use some of the lattice top crust strips to pad the sides. He was not pleased and muttered about next time we're just buying a refrigerated pie crust. What fun is that?! We wonder if the dough should chill overnight, even though the recipe says 'at least an hour and up to a day.'

Of course, the lattice part didn't go much better. This was the first time I ever made a lattice crust top. It might be the only time. To start with, SP cut the strips much wider than half an inch so I was cross with him. Then, he didn't position them properly and there was too much overhang on the edge where we started which meant there was not enough dough to get to the other side. Not to mention that while I was holding parts of the strips and trying to weave, the dough strips were heating up from my fingers and getting stickier and breaking in half... it was not a pretty sight.

The crostata finished baking about 15-20 minutes earlier than the 55 minutes listed in the recipe. Our crust was quite brown and the cherry jam part was bubbling and oozing, so we took it out.

It doesn't look pretty, but what matters is the taste. That I will have to report on after tomorrow's picnic. I can say that we baked the leftover lattice strip bits and munched on them all night - they were quite tasty!

Fish Again!!!

I ate fish again tonight. That's twice in a week. Tonight we had salmon. To my surprise, it was quite tasty. I may actually start to look forward to fish night.

We soaked a cedar plank in water - it got real 'exciting' this afternoon when we discovered the soaking container had a leak and it was slowly leaking water all over the kitchen counter and floor - fortunately, we discovered the leak before leaving to do errands. Like the little fish in the corner of the plank?! SP covered the salmon with lemon slices, placed it on the plank, and grilled it. Then we spread a mixture of creme fraiche and chives over the fish. It was delicious!
SP also grilled a white onion and some more CSA zucchini. I felt so healthy again!! Just like last Tuesday!! So of course, it's totally OK that I ate a candy bar for dessert and snacked on pie dough scraps all evening.

Ceiling Fan

Today marks the one year anniversary of closing on our home. We've done a lot of work on the inside decor in the past year. On Friday, we took another step in eliminating the PINK that seemed to be everywhere in the house.

The master bedroom and dining room were tied for 'Biggest Pink Offender.' The dining room was painted entirely in pink, even the crown molding and chair rail, not to mention the drab light pink curtains and the pink glass chandelier. We re-painted the room in shades of green with white trim, hung white sheers, and replaced the chandelier with a Tiffany-esque one.

The master bedroom had pink walls, pink blinds, a pink floral wallpaper border, a pink light fixture, burgundy carpet, and mirrored closet doors. I still gag when I think of it! We ripped down the border and painted the walls 'Seaside Sand,' replaced the closet doors, got new light beige carpeting, bought white blinds, and on Friday, we finally replaced the ugly pink light fixture with a lovely ceiling fan.

The electrician came and ran some wires for us and got it all hooked up. I am glad we didn't try this on our own because it took the electrician and his partner 2 hours to run the wires and get it all connected. The fan will, hopefully, cool the room down in the afternoon when the sun shines in brightly and heats it up to 80-85 degrees.

We love our new ceiling fan. Friday night, we got in bed and just watched it whirl around for a while!! It was great! The gentle breeze was wonderful! Finally, the room is rid of pink!!!

Thursday's Sauteed Zucchini

Thursday night we chopped up our CSA zucchini and tomato and sauteed them in butter with a bit of the fresh dill. Yummy and simple. The rest of the meal was leftovers (kebabs for me; tilapia for SP). I love easy, quick, tasty dinners like that!

Friday, June 19, 2009

'The Scarecrow' and 'Gone Tomorrow'

Taking a break from culinary adventures to write about books. I enjoy reading and I read a lot. SP told me that once when he picked up books for me at the local library, the librarian commented,"She sure is an avid reader!" It should be noted that he is there 1-2 times a week to pick up/drop off books and that we both are huge fans of managing our library accounts online -- I love the online request form and the inter-library loan system. In fact, we almost never go to the library and browse - we simply request what we want online and when it arrives at our local library, we pick it up.

My favorite kind of book is mystery/suspense/thriller. Recently, I read The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly and Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child. They are two of my favorite, must-read authors.

I really enjoy Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch books, but The Scarecrow is not a Bosch novel; it features Jack McEvoy, the newspaper writer and hero from The Poet, and FBI Agent Rachel Walling. While I didn't enjoy TS as much as a Bosch novel, it was much, much better than the last Bosch novel The Overlook (I am not counting The Brass Verdict as a Bosch novel as it featured Mickey Haller and Bosch appeared only briefly).

TS certainly makes me question blogging! The sub-plot is about the demise of print newspapers and McEvoy's losing his job; the main plot is about McEvoy reporting on the murder of a woman by a 16-year-old but that investigation leads to a serial killer who finds his victims using his computer hacking skills to learn about them and invade their privacy and then kill them. Creepy. Makes you want to 'google' yourself!!!

Gone Tomorrow is Lee Child's newest Jack Reacher novel. I am happy to report that this is much, much, much better than the last Reacher novel, Nothing To Lose. I didn't enjoy NTL -- it was very disappointing and - dare I say it? - boring. I didn't think a Reacher novel could be boring! Happily, things are back to normal in GT: Reacher witnesses a suicide on the subway but, of course, he knows there's more than meets the eye and he starts investigating, stirring up all sorts of trouble and secrets which, of course, various groups do not want revealed.

Both books are suspenseful. Both kept me glued to the pages (yes, I started reading each in the early afternoon and finished by bedtime -- I just get involved and keep reading and reading for hours on end). Can't wait for the next novels from each (next Harry Bosch is 9 Dragons out on Oct. 13).

Michael Connelly:

Lee Child:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Grilled Tilapia with Fresh Dill & Lemon

I have never enjoyed fish much. Shrimp, crab, and lobster - yum! Breaded calamari is delicious. I certainly enjoy those ocean treats. But fish... not so much. Seafood smells yucky to me, and I have horrible childhood memories of how the house smelled after my parents would fry catfish. I also have horrible childhood memories of those frozen fish sticks for dinner on Fridays. Bleah.

I know fish is healthier than red meat (which I actually don't eat much) but I just have a hard time agreeing to have fish for dinner. SP is slowly working on this. Last weekend, he bought Copper River Salmon at Costco (it wasn't on the shopping list, but "it's only available a couple weeks of the year" he explained with an earnest, please-don't-hurt-me expression) and he bought some tilapia.

Tilapia. Now there's a fish I can eat and actually kind of enjoy. It's so mild. And white. Even my 4 year old nephew eats it (but he thinks it's chicken - I think my brother told his son a wee white lie).

Tonight we grilled tilapia with some of the CSA fresh dill and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Yum!! I didn't even have to drown the fish in parmesan (which is what I usually do!).
As our sides, we had a salad of romaine, purslane, and green onion, all from last week's CSA:
And, we finished the tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, with fresh basil, of course. I sure hope our basil grows a bit faster - we've almost plucked it clean already!!
I felt so darn healthy and virtuous - fish and veggies!
Of course, after dinner, the lemon pound cake called out to me... yum. My reward for eating fish!

CSA Week #10

This week there are lots of yummy CSA treats: strawberries, fresh dill, chives, zucchini, hydroponic tomatoes, aged cow cheddar, bibb lettuce, radishes, and a mix of braising greens. Mmmmm. And, CSA brother left all the cheese. I feel a 'snarf attack' coming on...!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Lemon Pound Cake - More Photos

Last night I forgot to take photos of the pound cake when topped with strawberries and whipped cream. Tonight, I remembered.

Topped with strawberry sauce:
Topped with sauce and sliced strawberries:
Adding the whipped cream:
Finished dessert:


Sewickley Speakeasy

Saturday night, my parents took us out for a (very) belated celebration of SP's birthday. They love Sewickley Speakeasy, and SP had never been there, so that's where we went. It's on Ohio River Blvd along the Ohio River and train tracks and no, it was not really a speakeasy. After some research, it turns out the building is the former home of the founder of Haysville and the house is nearly 200 years old.

The decor is far from something more 'modern' or 'sleek' like Eleven or Casbah; there's a fireplace and 'old time' pictures and knick knacks and exposed brick - remember, the house is 200 years old. There's also an outdoor patio and a small bar area. I've seen some reviews posted online that say the decor is horrible, outdated, like a 1980's dentist's office. I disagree with all of those. To me, it's simply an old home with decor designed to evoke the feeling of being back in the Roaring 20's.

They have a huge wine list and if they can't find a bottle you select, they always bring some options similar to the one you selected. We shared a bottle of Kendall Jackson Sauvignon Blanc (sauvignon blanc being my favorite white) and a bottle of Sterling Cabernet. Some posted reviews said the list was all about white zinfandel - I must conclude that reviewer either didn't look at more than one page of the wine list or simply is too stupid to understand/appreciate/remember a wine list.

My photos from dinner turned out terrible - the lighting is a bit dark, or perhaps I should say intimate or romantic. I refused to use my flash - its just not the kind of place where a flash should be going off while one photographs all the food on the table!!! Plus, I used my cell phone, not a 'real' camera. But here goes:

For appetizers, dad, SP, and I split 2 orders of crab stuffed mushroom caps. There was lots of crab in the caps and not so much filler-type stuff, plus the sauce on the plate was delicious. Mom had her usual Escargot en Croute. She loves the garlicky, puff pastry, cream sauce snails. The mushroom caps:
Next, SP had vegetable soup while the rest of us had salad. Dad got the raspberry dressing but ended up liking my balsamic dressing more - all my dressing was sopped up in the warm, crusty bread rolls. The salad is mixed greens, a tomato wedge, maybe an olive or cucumber slice and sprinkled with sunflower seeds. To me, it's the perfect size salad. My salad:Now for the entrees. Dad got Duck a L'Orange, which he said was very good. Mom had Veal Oscar (veal with asparagus). SP had one of the night's specials: sole stuffed with crabmeat. And I had Veal Zurich - veal topped with fried onion rings and gruyere in bordelaise and sauce beurre blanc. Yum. I chose the zucchini in dill for my side, dad got baked potato, mom got mashed red potatoes, and SP had rice pilaf.
Veal Zurich & Duck a L'Orange:

Veal Oscar & Crab Stuffed Sole:

For dessert, the four of us split creme brulee and apple puff pastry with vanilla ice cream. Both were delicious. No photos - I forgot! Dessert showed up and we all dug in with gusto!!

Some online reviews complained about the service. I will say that service was a bit slow this past Saturday, and it was the most crowded I'd ever seen it, but our waitress was very friendly and apologetic. In the past, service has always been terrific - but note that my parents ate there so much when they lived in Pittsburgh that they remember us every time I call to make a reservation.

Also, some online reviews complained about the 'old' menu and that everything was in butter. My reply is this: the restaurant is not trying to be a modern, fusion style place, or a big city bistro, it's not on the trendy South Side or in upscale Shadyside, it's trying to serve older classics in an old house. Yes, the food is rich. It is not for those watching a waistline or cholesterol. Yes, there's 'old' classics like frog legs (appetizer) and lots of steaks and veals - one reviewer complained that everything was veal, veal, veal. While there are several veal dishes (Oscar, Marsala, Zurich, Spinachi, Romano, DiParis), it looked to me like chicken in all the same ways as the veal. There are several steak options (which I don't remember because I am not a fan of steak), there are scallops, fish, crab cakes, crab stuffed shrimp - a total of about 10 seafood entrees on the front of the menu. There's also lamb, duck, pork chops - just about anything. There's also oysters as an appetizer, a shrimp/crab cocktail, fried zucchini... probably 12-14 appetizers.

My family really likes this place and we would definitely go there again - I think I've already heard rumblings of a trip there in December the next time we're all together.

Pittsburgh Tribune Review: