Monday, January 29, 2018


Last weekend we were in McMurray (it was hair cut/color day) and since our friends who live there couldn't meet us for lunch, we looked for somewhere new-to-us to try for lunch. We settled on Zoup in Southpointe Towne Center. We had never before driven through Southpointe, so that was a "new" thing for us. Office building, apartments, stores and restaurants, a golf course, all shiny & new.

It was pretty breezy and chilly when we got there, just starting to sprinkle, so soup was sounding really good. The ladies at the hair salon had told us that at Zoup, you can sample the soups, so we did. I tried Crab Bisque and Lobster Bisque (mellow, real-cream soup with lobster, crawfish, butter and a hint of sherry). I can't find the Crab Bisque description online. Their soups change daily and I guess that one isn't offered today.

I also tried a bit of SP's sample of Dill Pickle Chowder (creamy potato soup in veggie broth with dill pickles, carrots, celery and fresh dill). Interesting flavor combination, and I liked it, but I don't think I could eat an entire cup/bowl of it.
SP chose the Crab Bisque and Greek Salad (romaine, feta, red onions, Kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, garbanzo beans & pepperoncini, served with Greek dressing). He said both were tasty. The soups come with a chunk of bread, multi grain or white. He chose multi grain.
I chose Mac & Cheese Soup with white bread and the Maple Ham & Bacon Sandwich (smoked ham, hickory smoked bacon, Swiss & maple aioli).
Mac & Cheese Soup is just like macaroni & cheese, maybe a little more liquidy, but not much. It was tasty, warmed me up, and made my tummy growling stop. The sandwich was tasty, too, but it could have used a little something else, like maybe some mustard, or tomato/lettuce.

We both enjoyed our lunch. It wasn't too crowded and it was quiet, so that was nice. The guy behind the counter was friendly and happy to help us sample soups and order food. Our food was good. It was a nice change from Panera or Wendy's, which are our usual post-haircut quick lunch spots. We'd go back. My one negative: they don't have hot tea (or coffees, or fresh brewed tea) but there is a Crazy Mocha across from it (but sadly it wasn't open on Saturday - it's apparently not open on weekends).

Zoup! Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Thursday Thoughts

It was kind of exciting last weekend when the temperatures got up into the 50's. Sadly, that seems to have awakened the stink bugs. One night this week, I got out my two madeleines for dessert, placed them on a plate on the kitchen counter, measured out the tea for our evening tea, turned around, and there it was, a stinky atop my cookies. I was so angry. Not just because stinky ruined dessert but because they were freshly baked madeleines using a new recipe and stupid stinky made me throw out 2 of the precious 20 madeleines.

After successfully hiding for 30 years, the High School Reunion Committee found me on Facebook. I have no idea how when I no longer use my maiden name and the only high school friend I've stayed in touch with knows how I feel about revealing my whereabouts to high school people. Surprisingly, SP did not get a FB Reunion Invite even though the person clearly knows we are married (the message said "love to have you & SP join us!" Puke. No way. I declined the invite then double and triple checked my FB privacy settings.

What We're Eating:

  • Roast Lemon Chicken, rice, and salad/broccoli/green beans
  • Dessert: Madeleines. Leftover holiday candy.

What We're Watching:

  • We watched Logan Lucky and it was more entertaining than we expected, especially watching Daniel Craig.
  • This Is Us had me crying at the end of Tuesday's episode. I don't know why I watch when it makes me cry. I guess because it's a really good show. I suppose I better have lots of tissues nearby for the post-Super Bowl episode.
  • If we were on Amazing Race, we'd still be trying to sail that tiny boat out to the buoys. That looked hard. I felt terrible for the poor Team Yale girl who struggled and then got bopped in the mouth by the metal pole and her front tooth chipped. Also, being the team member stuck in the stockade looked worse than being the team member who had to build the trebuchet.

What I'm Reading:

  • I'm caught up on library books.
  • I'm slowly making my way through the magazine pile. Very slowly. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Artichoke Sandwich Spread

This past holiday season, we were gifted with a panini grill. I always thought a panini press was kind of stupid when there are other ways to make a panini at home. Why buy another kitchen gadget? Then we started eating more grilled sandwiches for dinner but someone would always forget to get the butter out in time to soften. That meant we'd tear the bread as we tried to spread the butter. So then we tried using our ancient George Foreman grill, but it doesn't close evenly so you have to keep maneuvering your sandwich around to make sure all the bread gets toasted. Plus, the sandwich likes to slide down the sloped grill. We also tried using a griddle and a grill pan, using a heavy pan on top to press the sandwich, but results were just OK. So we started looking at panini grills. 

Ever since we received the panini grill, I've been making panini for lunch. I still eat English muffins, roast turkey, and a cheese for lunch, but I've been trying to add flavor and variety with different spreads. For the first week or so, I used up the Gouda Cheese Logs. Next up I made a mushroom mixture like the filling for Mushroom Turnovers and added arugula, no turkey. It was tasty, but the mushrooms constantly oozed out and it was not especially filling. The next week I roasted some grape tomatoes and added those to my turkey & cheese sandwich. They added a lot of flavor but since I still tend to stuff my panini too much, the roast tomatoes oozed out and made a mess on the grill.
This week, I'm trying an Artichoke Spread. It's tasty. Creamy from cream cheese and tangy from the marinated artichokes with a sharp, nutty flavor from the parmesan. It definitely makes my lunch sandwich a little more appealing.
I try to not spread it too close to the edges so it doesn't ooze out when it's pressed. 
 Early on in the pressing. It's not oozing yet.
The finished panini. Yup. The Swiss and the Artichoke Spread oozed out. But it's so yummy, melty and gooey. It reminds me of the Hot Artichoke Dip we make to eat with tortilla chips. I have lots of ideas for the coming weeks - we'll see how long this panini sandwich spread fad lasts!


Artichoke Sandwich Spread

1 tbsp mayonnaise (or sour cream)
2~3 tbsp grated parmesan
2 oz cream cheese
about ½ c marinated artichoke hearts, drained well and chopped 

Mix all ingredients together. Season with salt & pepper. If desired, you could add a little lemon zest or a dash or two of hot sauce.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Thursday Thoughts

I always think of all sort of things to write about for Thursday Thoughts but then when I sit down to actually write Thursday Thoughts, I draw a complete blank. So this will be short.

What We're Eating:

What We're Watching:

  • Victoria is back on PBS. We like the show a lot, but it always seems like not much happens in an episode.
  • The Gifted ended its first season. I'm glad they did a pretty good shortened season rather than 20-22 episodes with lots of stupid crap as filler and drawn out stuff. 
  • My Thursday shows are back tonight! Very excited. 

What I'm Reading:

  • I read The Wanted by Robert Crais. I always enjoy the Elvis Cole & Joe Pike books. Reading Crais always makes me think of my grandpa, who also enjoyed his books and introduced me to them way back in 1995.
  • I also read Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton. I was sad to hear she passed away at the end of December, leaving the alphabet series unfinished. Her family said there will not be a "Z" book, the series ends at "Y." I honestly don't remember the early books all that well, and somewhere in there some of the books were just OK, but the last few were quite good, including Y.
  • I read a couple magazines, but still have a pile of 4-5. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Thursday Thoughts

The week started off super cold, again, and with snow. I had to reschedule my Monday appointment and SP worked from home. I know, I live in Pittsburgh, but this frigid stuff is so hard on my surgically repaired and probably-need-to-be-surgically-repaired joints.

Last weekend was cold, so cold, and the Benedum was so cold when people were arriving/departing. I'm at that age where sometimes I just don't care how ridiculous I look. What I wore for a high of 8 degrees with -15 wind chill: Thigh high socks. Jeans. Boots. Long sleeve shirt. Sweater.  Scarf around neck and bundled in front of chest. Puffy coat. Ear muffs. Hat. Hood up over my head. Another scarf wrapped around my nose & mouth. Gloves. Major dork.

And today it's near 60! Almost warm enough to hang out in the unheated sunroom.

What We're Eating:

  • Honey Roasted Pork with Greens, but using tenderloin not rib roast and without greens. Sides: Mustard Roasted Potatoes and steamed broccoli.
  • Lasagna and arugula salad. We froze the leftover lasagna from Christmas Eve so all we have to do is thaw and reheat. 
  • Dessert: Cookies/Candy from the holidays.

What We're Watching:

  • We finished season 1 & 2 of Glitch and now are looking forward to season 3.
  • A new season of Worst Cooks in America started. Often we wonder how the heck can the contestants be that clueless in the kitchen - ?!
  • Amazing Race. Didn't love the head-to-head challenge of the fries race. I felt terrible for Team Yale. At least they finally managed to win. Can't say we're sad to see, wait, no spoilers, so I'll say we are OK with the team that got eliminated.
  • We watched Dunkirk and it was really good.

What I'm Reading:
Nothing. I don't think I read anything. I'm not sure how that is, but, it is.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Pork & Beans

It was almost exactly a year ago that we last dined at Pork & Beans. That time, we met our friends S & R after seeing a show at the Benedum. This time, it was just the two of us on a frigid evening after seeing Love Never Dies. After peeling off layers and accessories (I will not be sad to see this frigid weather go away), we ordered some beverages:
Reissdorf, Kolsch beer for him, Supersonic Cocktail (Jim Beam Bourbon, Rothman & Winter Cherry Liqueur, Orange, Lime) for me. Here's what we ordered:
Pork Rinds (sour cream & onion pork rinds w/ beer cheese). Usually, I don't eat too many of these. This time, I couldn't stop. The sour cream and onion flavor was excellent and the beer cheese dip was even better.
Pork Belly Potato Skins (jarlsberg spread, cheese curds, bacon-sour cream, scallions). Oh my gosh these are good. Cheesy. Bacony. Cool sour creamy. Probably one of my top favorites dishes at restaurants that we go to.
SP chose a special of the day, a Sausage Platter. There were 4 possible sausages and you got to choose which 3 you wanted. He chose Breakfast Sausage with maple, Lamb Sausage with pepper and paprika, Cod Sausage with potato. I tried small bites of the Breakfast (really good, nice maple flavor) and lamb (also quite good). These were yummy. A smoother texture than most sausage. I never thought I'd call sausage light, but they tasted lighter than most sausage.
I ordered Brisket Grilled Cheese (caramelized onion, cheese whiz, American cheese). So. Good. Almost better than my all-time favorite sandwich, the 3 Little Pigs at Meat & Potatoes. So much ooey, gooey cheese, tasty shredded brisket, sweet caramelized onions.

We enjoyed our second visit to Pork & Beans. The food was delicious. Our server was friendly and knowledgeable. Hopefully we'll be back at Pork & beans before another entire year passes.

  Pork & Beans Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Thursday Thoughts

We just finished dinner. While we were enjoying my grandma's delicious Ham & Pork Balls, SP commented that I didn't write a Thursday Thoughts post today. I was so confused. I hadn't? Today is Thursday? Whoops!

So here it is.

What We're Eating:

What We're Watching:

  • Amazing Race is back! I missed that show. Usually we can in the first 5 minutes which teams will annoy us and we cheer for one of them to get eliminated first. Our cheering worked last night.
  • We started watching Glitch on Netflix. It's a TV show from Australia about 6 people who rose from the dead and crawled out of their graves, all now in perfect health. We're 4-5 episodes in and really enjoying the show.
  • We watched a couple movies: Detroit, which was good yet also pretty darn slow in places, The Kingsman: The Golden Circle, which was as fun as the first one.

What I'm Reading:

  • My magazine pile is stable.
  • I read Hardcore Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich. I always say this about the Stephanie Plum books, but it was the usual, entertaining but light and easily read in just a couple hours. I'm not a big fan of the Diesel character (he's in another series she writes and made an appearance in this book).
  • I read 2 cookbooks for panini grills. Guess what we got for a holiday gift?! Yup, a panini grill. I've been turning my English muffin lunch sandwich into an English muffin panini for lunch and it's yummy. I was looking for some other panini lunch ideas, and grill ideas, so we'll see what we end up trying. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Paris 66

One of the things we did over the holiday break was go to see Undressed, A History of Fashion in Underwear at The Frick. It runs through January 14 and if you haven't yet gone, I recommend it. It's amazing to see just how tiny those corsets made women's waists and just how much they affected your ribs, etc. After marveling at the underwear and being super grateful to not be expected to actually wear a corset designed to give me an itty bitty waist, it was time for a late lunch. We decided to go to Paris 66, a restaurant at which we have not dined in a long time. We did not have reservations and while there was not a line, it was pretty full in the main area. There were a few occupied tables in the heated deck area, too. Happily, we were seated at the last main area table, a wonderfully warm space (it was a frigid day and walking from the parking garage had really chilled me so the warmth was super welcome). Since it was the holidays/not a work day, we shared a small carafe of white wine. Here's what we enjoyed:
Soup du Jour, Mushroom Soup. I tried a few bites and liked it more than most mushroom soups. It was mushroomy, but not earthy mushroomy, if that makes any sense. Sometimes mushroom soup tastes too earthy/dirt like to me. But not this one. Yummy.
SP chose the Champs de Mars Savory Buckwheat Crepe (smoked salmon, dill creme fraiche, Swiss). He said it was delicious.
I chose Quiche Lorraine (bacon, Swiss). It was a big slice of quiche and filled me up. It was really good. The crust was thin and flaky and just so darn good.
We didn't need dessert. We were full enough. And certainly our house is a bit too well stocked with holiday cookies, candies, chips, and all sorts of other snacks. But, it was a French place, with French pastries, and there was no resisting the Pear & Almond Tart. So. Yummy. Warm, flaky crust, soft pears, smooth almond. We shared, but I'm pretty sure I could have eaten the entire order myself.

We enjoyed our lunch at Paris 66 a lot. It was relaxing, yummy, our server was lovely - it made us wonder why it has taken so long for us to return. We made a resolution to return sooner rather than much later.

Paris 66 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato