Friday, October 20, 2017

Industry Public House, Revisited

Last Saturday was a beautiful day - sunny & warm & very un-October-like. So when it came time for the "Where do you want to eat?" discussion, I had a suggestion: Industry Public House because of the outdoor seating area. We ended up sitting in what I think the hostess called the sunroom area, the area that is part of the building and can be enclosed/heated during cold weather but when it's nice, it's a very open to the sun & breeze covered area next to the outdoor patio.

The noteworthy part of this trip to Industry is that we actually ordered different meals. Usually, I order the same food at a restaurant. But this time, I tried something new.

Except for the starter. We again had the fried pickles. On to the new! I had a side salad:
Mixed greens, some small heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, balsamic dressing on the side. It was a good, fresh salad.
This time, I tried the Marconi & Cheese (extra sharp cheddar / smoked gouda / cavatappi/ panko / chives). Yes, Marconi, the Italian inventor/electrical engineer known for his work in radio transmission, not Macaroni, as in elbow pasta. There are a lot of menu items named after Pittsburgh's industrial past, like Westinghouse Chicken, Cast Iron Cobbler, Blast Pig Burgher, Fixed Gear sandwich, etc.

This was an enormous bowl of pasta. You cannot tell from the photo just how huge it was. After eating pickles and the entire salad, I was filling up. This was one of those dishes that even though I was eating & eating, it never looked like I put a dent in it. It was very tasty but I did have to dig a bit to get the creamy, cheesy sauce because it settled in the bottom of the bowl. The leftovers were my lunch for 3 days!
SP chose Reuben & Co (corned beef / house-made kraut / pickled onion / gruyere / 1000 island /  rye) with a side salad. He ate the entire sandwich and said it was yummy.

Our drinks: fresh brewed iced tea for both of us plus a bourbon cocktail for SP.

It's nice having another non-chain (2 restaurants in Pittsburgh only does not equal a chain) restaurant in Robinson. The outdoor patio and the open dining area are great for sunny, warm days. This time, our food came a little too quickly. I was still eating a pickle when the salad arrived and I had barely started my salad when the pasta arrived. I know I am a slow eater, but SP is a fast eater and even he was still on his salad when his sandwich arrived. We both could have used an iced tea refill as we were finishing up but that wasn't offered. The big plus: fresh brewed iced tea, not crappy fountain crap (but no sweetener on the table, none brought, and I kept forgetting to ask).

I'm sure we'll be back since Industry seems to have entered our "when in Robinson" restaurant rotation, especially on great weather days.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

Last weekend I got my flu shot. Usually I get one at my annual check up, but my doctor had to reschedule the appointment for November and I figured that was a little late for a flu shot. It's much easier/faster to get it at my annual appointment. I went to Market District and was told it'd be about a 30 minute wait - ugh. Then again, they did give us a $5 credit on our Advantage Card for getting a flu shot there. That $5 bought me Fritos for an afternoon snack this week (I was craving a crunchy, salty snack).

This week I went to the DMV and got my new photo license. This time was somewhat less awful than the last time, maybe because my mom took me during the week. Nevertheless, there were crying, screaming children and the wait time was 40 minutes. The DMV stinks. After, we went to breakfast at Bakn and I recovered with some hot Earl Grey and my favorite breakfast sandwich.

Also this week I went to the dentist. You'd think the dentist would be pretty low stress but it's not. I cringe throughout the scraping that they call cleaning. After a dentist visit I always feel like my teeth have been assaulted because they feel sore, not clean. SP says I'm weird. But we both got good reports, back in 6 months.

What We're Eating:

  • beer braised pork with steamed broccoli and bread
  • crab cakes with sauteed green beans
  • Dessert: Chocolate-Cherry Linzer Tarts 

What We're Watching:

  • Supergirl is back and while I still enjoy it, I don't enjoy it as much as I used to enjoy it.
  • This Sunday is the Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown episode of Pittsburgh. Just in case you haven't heard (seen it tweeted a billion times a day by a billion sources since he was spotted here last spring).
  • Another show, Late Night Eats on Cooking Channel, aired a Pittsburgh episode a couple weeks ago. The host visited The Yard, Umami, and Pirata.
  • Good Behavior is back. I'm not sure I'm still enjoying it.

What I'm Reading:

  • The Thanksgiving issues of my food magazines arrived, so I'm reading about turkey and stuffing even though Halloween still hasn't actually happened.
  • I read Trespasser by Paul Doiron. It's the second Mike Bowditch novel and I liked it as much as the first. I'll be starting the third one later today.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Salted Grapefruit Bourbon "Martini"

I've been wanting to try this Salted Grapefruit Bourbon "Martini" from Food & Wine Magazine for a long time. Last weekend was the weekend. We made the salted sugar syrup Saturday night and Sunday afternoon as the Steelers kicked off against the Chiefs, SP made me the cocktail.
It's fruity, tart, sweet, and salty. Maybe a little salty for me since I don't like much salt at all. SP really liked the sip he had but sadly, he cannot have grapefruit so he couldn't have one of his own. This is  definitely a cocktail I'd make again. Maybe next time SP can get a real twist instead of these sad looking slivers of peel?!

Recipe here.

*our current bourbon is Larceny
*make sure to strain the syrup after letting it cool because there are some salt chunks that don't dissolve
*we checked 3 stores for super fine sugar, didn't find any, but you can process regular sugar in a food processor/blender on high for 1-2 minutes to get superfine sugar

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Street and Co.

We were in Portland, ME for only two nights and we stayed in Old Port, so we wanted our dinners to be walking distance from the hotel. There are so many restaurants that sound good, that have been lauded in magazines like Bon Appetit, or profiled on TV shows. How on earth to choose? Well, if you're in a wheelchair, it's much easier because a lot in the Old Port area are not wheelchair accessible. It gets even easier if you wait until just a week before to try to make online reservations because you cannot get a reservation.
Our first night, we managed to get a reservation at Street and Co. Imagine my horror after we were seated when I looked over and saw all this garlic hanging.
Street and Co. is off a cobblestone street (very bumpy for me!) and in an old building. Exposed brick, wood ceiling beams:
Wide plank hardwood floors:
It was beautiful. Casual. We were seated against the brick wall. Our table wobbled a bit, which was annoying and resulted in some splashed water messes until we drank some of it. They were no longer offering fresh brewed iced tea (apparently it's a seasonal beverage) so SP just drank water (he couldn't have alcohol because of a prescription) and I enjoyed a glass of white wine. Here's what we ate:
Bread - it arrived while we were reading the menu. Crusty, yummy, good for mopping up sauces from our meals.
SP started with Grilled Octopus with Organic Potatoes, Herbs and Paprika and said it was excellent.
We shared Watermelon with Crispy Prosciutto, Local Feta, and Arugula. This was really tasty and I had to try very hard to not eat it all and save some for SP (he was busy eating the octopus while I was eating this).
We shared a salad: Organic Arugula with Local Melon, Toasted Pistachios, Organic Peppers, and Mint Dressing. The salad was really good but the mint dressing was phenomenal.
I'm thinking SP had a special of the day because I don't see this dish on the online menu or in my photos of the menu. Mussels, clams, I think there were shrimp, too, in a tomato broth.
I chose Scallops in Pernod with Cream. It was served with sauteed zucchini and I think it was a barley and carrot pilaf kind of side - I remember it was really good. The scallops and the cream sauce were so good. I kept scraping the plate for all the cream sauce.
Of course I can't remember exactly what dessert was, but I think it was a vanilla panna cotta with currants (even though they look like blueberries). It was really good.

Wobbly table and cobblestone street aside, we really liked Street and Co. Our server was great, the food tasty, the meal nicely paced. We'd go back.

Street and Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, October 16, 2017

Bite Into Maine

I was very excited about eating lobster in Maine. There's something that just makes it taste extra yummy if you eat it in Maine! On our way from Portsmouth, NH to Portland, ME, we drove along Route 1 and went to Cape Elizabeth, Portland Head Light, Fort Williams Park, and Bug Light. In Fort Williams Park is a food truck. A food truck that sells lobster rolls.
I had this place marked form the very start of planning the trip. About a week before we left, a Food Network show went to Portland, ME and this was one of the stops: Bite Into Maine. We both were very excited to try lobster rolls from Bite Into Maine.
It's atop a bit of a hill so there's a lovely view from the picnic tables. We started with a Maine style lobster roll with light mayonnaise & fresh chives.
Also, SP couldn't resist trying Moxie. It's the official soft drink of Maine. It's, uh, different. An acquired taste. It's flavored with gentian root extract.
Back to the lobster roll. So many chunks of delicious lobster lightly coated with mayo, topped with some chives, and we inhaled it. So good.
We needed another. We decided we should try one of the other rolls. They also serve these versions:
  • Connecticut style with hot butter
  • Picnic style which includes layer of coleslaw, hot butter, and a dash of celery salt  
  • Wasabi mayo
  • Curry mayo
  • Chipotle mayo
We all know I wanted nothing to do with wasabi, curry, or chipotle, and a sandwich dripping butter sounded messy. So we got picnic style.
I liked the lobster with cole slaw (it's under the lobster) and the celery salt really made this one tasty. I didn't use much, if any, butter, but SP did. He said he liked this better than the Maine style, I liked Maine style better. Next time, we'd each get our own.

We were talking just the other night about the lobster we ate on vacation. I felt a little bad telling him this, but I told him my favorite lobster of the trip wasn't the pricey whole lobster we ate or the lobster shack lobster meal. It was this food truck lobster roll. He agreed. We will go back if we are in the area again. Maybe next time I can convince him to try a blueberry soda instead of Moxie. And get a whoopie pie (which they also sell).

*They can alter the rolls to be gluten free and/or dairy free, too, which is nice.

Bite Into Maine Food Truck Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Yard (Galleria)

Several years ago, a restaurant called The Yard opened in Shadyside. It specialized in grilled cheese sandwiches. Yum. I love grilled cheese. I really wanted to go. But sadly, we couldn't go because it is not accessible. We park in the garage next to it when we go to Mercurio's and SP investigated one day, but we only saw stairs going down. Boo.

Then a second location in Market Square opened. Yay! I could try the grilled cheese place! But when we were in Market Square and looking for the entrance, we only saw stairs. SP went up the stairs to ask and it turns out, that location isn't accessible either. WTF The Yard? I know. You'll tell me it's not your fault. It's the landlord's fault, the building's fault, the building is old and not required to be accessible. Whatever. Two non-accessible locations pretty much make me hate you.

Then we found out a third location was opening, this time in The Galleria. Hmmm... but where inside. Oh, where Mark Pi's was (or whatever that Chinese place was). Seriously? Because I'm pretty sure there are only stairs up to that place because it's the only place on the "3rd floor" of The Galleria. So we were really not happy with The Yard. We forgot about The Galleria location until Alex Instagrammed his meal at The Yard. I started thinking about it again. Grilled cheese.

So I went to The Galleria website and as I was looking at a map, I saw an elevator symbol indicating an elevator up to the space. Really? Hmmm. So we decided to investigate last weekend.

Turns out, yes, there is an elevator. Despite me spending time in The Galleria ever since it opened in 1989, it's possible I just never saw this elevator, just like it's possible SP never saw it, even though we've been to BRGR several times and waited in the waiting area right where the elevator is. It's possible we never noticed it. But we suspect it's a new elevator. So, yay, The Yard finally has an accessible location. Third time is the charm.

(Technically, the 4th time because they also have a location at PPG Paints Arena, but I don't think of sports arena locations as "real" locations because you cannot go without a game ticket and they often do not offer the full menu.)

(And yes, after some research, the internet tells me The Yard had to add an elevator, so it is a new elevator.)

We went last weekend. I think they've been open only 1-2 weeks. It's a pretty big space, bright, lots of televisions showing sports. Lots of high top tables but also a decent amount of regular tables, wood topped. Here's what we enjoyed:
SP had some kind of bourbon drink that was just OK. The Yard gets extra points for serving fresh brewed iced tea (that seems like a rarity these days).
SP chose a Pittsburghy meal: Pierogies N’At (Cheddar / Gouda / Fried Pierogies / Caramelized Onions / Sauerkraut / Kielbasa). He substituted tater tots for the chips.
He liked this a lot. The tater tots were yummy, too (I stole quite a few from his tray).
I chose Fried Green Tomatoes (Cheddar / Fried Green Tomatoes / Applewood Smoked Bacon / Chipotle Ranch / Arcadian Greens). I substituted the Mac ‘N’ Cheese w/Bacon Lardons for the chips. I also asked for the chipotle ranch on the side. Turns out it wasn't as spicy as I though it'd be and I ended up slathering quite a bit on my sandwich.
The mac & cheese was very creamy and saucy and had a good amount of bacon lardons. My fried green tomatoes were yummy. I would have liked a bit more cheesiness to my grilled cheese, but then again, I love cheese and usually overdo the cheese on my grilled cheese at home. Well, according to SP I overdo it. I think it's just fine. The tomato soup was good, too, on the thinner side of tomato soups, but a tasty "dipping sauce" for the sandwich.

Our server was super friendly and helpful. Didn't rush us at all, made some suggestions, was very positive about the restaurant. I'm not sure where he went later on because at the end, there was another server checking on us, clearing plates, handling the check (even though we still saw him zipping about). She was equally friendly and helpful and positive. 

We enjoyed the atmosphere and the food at The Yard and are happy they have an accessible location. We'll be back.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

Last weekend we went to Ricci's to buy sausage. We also finally tried their sausage bread. It's yummy. It has spicy sausage, which wasn't too spicy for me at first, but a day or two later, it seemed much spicier to me.
Saturday morning I was sitting at the kitchen table by the window when a furry blob climbing up the deck stairs scared the heck out of me. It was Otis. But what was that fat groundhog doing? How was he hauling his fat butt up those stairs? Turns out he can't resist parsley. He made himself at home up on the deck bench, squeezed between herb pots, and decimated the parsley while staring at me through the deck sliding doors. He was not scared of me. Nope. Insolent varmint just stared at me and ate all the parsley. Then he waddled off the deck, stopping to scratch his rear.

What We're Eating:

  • Angel hair with meatball and sausage sauce; side salad
  • Chef salad (with egg, gouda, ham)
  • Dessert: Andes Candies Mint Chocolate Chunk Cookies

What We're Watching:

  • I watched The movie Gifted with Chris Evans. It was what I expected but it was still good.
  • We started watching the TV show The Gifted on FOX. So far I like it. I've liked Amy Acker ever since Angel and then on Person of Interest.
  • Madam Secretary is back, which makes me happy.
  • I didn't cry at This Is Us this week!

What I'm Reading:

  • Two Lost Boys by L. F. Robertson. I didn't enjoy it as much I expected I would. It seemed slow for many pages, then I'd get really interested, and then it'd get slow again.
  • The Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille. DeMille is one of my favorite authors, I've read all his books. I enjoyed this one quite a bit. I couldn't put it down. 
  • Good thing I got those 2 books read because 4 books I requested are now available. So the book pile is back to 4.
  • The magazine pile is 1, and that's only because SP thinks I need to read one of his Scientific American magazines so he slipped it into my reading pile.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

River House

I wanted to eat at River House mostly because it was along the water and it's always nice to eat along water and have dinner with a view. We weren't sure if we'd actually be able to dine at River House. It's on Bow Street and that entrance is not wheelchair accessible. Their website says that there is a wheelchair accessible part of the restaurant, but we couldn't find it. Finally, SP went in & asked. Turns out, if you start to walk down Ceres Street (as if going to Black Trumpet) and turn right to the waterfront alley/walk behind the buildings on Bow Street, and keep walking, you'll reach River House and you can sit in the outdoor section on the lower level, and there aren't any steps to get to that area.
I had a great view. Sadly for SP, his back was to the water.
We had a view of the tugboats. Here's what we ate:
We shared The Summer Berry Salad (fresh strawberries and blueberries with crumbled goat cheese, shredded carrots and toasted almonds on mixed greens, dressed with a cranberry citrus vinaigrette). This was a really tasty salad.
SP had their Seafood Chowder (a hearty, rich, creamy clam stock brimming with lobster, scallops, shrimp, clams, and haddock, a house specialty) and he said it was excellent.
Of course he chose fish for dinner: Broiled Atlantic Haddock (a large fillet of Atlantic haddock, oven broiled with white wine, lemon, butter and seasoned with cracker crumbs). He said it very good.
I still don't like fish so no fish for me. I really wanted lobster roll, but knowing that on a past trip to Maine I ate lobster for 3-4 days and had an allergic reaction, I was trying to limit my pre-Maine lobster eating. So I chose Vermont Turkey Panini (thinly sliced roast turkey, slow roasted apples, crisp bacon, & cheddar cheese, hot pressed between slices of fresh Parmesan sage bread, with a side of sweet honey mustard sauce). It was a very good sandwich. I really liked the honey mustard sauce. The fries? Well, I didn't eat any because I was full after the sandwich and because I'm not much of a fries person.

We had a good experience here. Our server was great, our food good, nice view, we'd go back if we're back in Portsmouth.

  River House Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ceres Bakery

Our first morning in Portsmouth, SP walked to Ceres Bakery to get something for breakfast. It's not wheelchair accessible. There is a step and I seem to remember it was kind of a high step, but it doesn't look too bad in this photo, but, well, I like to have him bring breakfast to me in the hotel room!
It's a bakery so he took lots of photos of the bakery goodies for me. Breads, rolls, eclairs, biscuits, cakes, scones and also soups and sandwiches and lunch specials.
I would have been overwhelmed by all the tasty looking treats if I had gone with him. Croissants, muffins, cookies, pies, brownies.
And this tart, which I keep looking at and wanting:
This sticker should say Eat Everything!
SP brought back a blueberry scone for us to share. He was all about blueberries on this trip because of Maine. Yummy scone:
And we shared a breakfast sandwich: egg, bacon, and cheese:
This trip we weren't in one place for too long, so we didn't get to try as many of the tasty treats as I would have liked. I wish we'd had time to try a slice of the linzer tart and the lemon tart. Guess we'll have to go back.

Ceres Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato