Sunday, February 27, 2011

Would you like fries with that?

In honor of the Academy Awards this evening, and the hundreds of Starlets who have probably deprived themselves of anything fried for a long, long time- I decided to blog about food.  A Pittsburgh specialty to be exact...french fries in salads and on sandwiches. Yum!

Yesterday Van and I picked up lunch from Spak Brothers Pizza and More.  This little joint is very close to our house, and we had heard good things about it- so decided to try for ourselves.  Specifically Spak Brothers is a local eatery that focuses on organic and local food with several vegan options.  There isn't really too much room inside, so most people order their food to go.

Van ordered the Pittsburgh steak hoagie and I ordered the grilled chicken salad.  Van's sandwich was chock full of: steak, fries, hot peppers, mushroom, green pepper, grilled onion, egg, provolone, lettuce, tomato, mayo.
Mouth-watering, no?!

My "sensible" grilled chicken salad with raspberry vinaigrette on the side did not end up being very healthy...ha.  My salad was HUGE!

It was SO big, that I literally could only eat a third- and yes those are french fries on a SALAD! Haha, I loved it- so delicious.  My salad had: grilled chicken, fries, cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion.
Here was my attempt at a sensible portion.
Anyways, our lunch was super delicious- albeit not very healthy.  Apparently fries on salads and sandwiches is a delicious Pittsburgh tradition.  Glad I learned this one.
Eat your heart out.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Today we decided to take advantage of the (relatively) nice weather and go to Sunday brunch in the Lawrenceville neighborhood, at Coca Cafe.  Neither of us had been before, and had heard good things- of course there was some extensive internet research done before we picked this place.  The cafe only features breakfast, brunch and lunch and has a specialty Sunday Brunch menu.  Check out the website if you're interested in all of the menu selections. 
 So, we rolled in around 10:30am, and didn't know the trick yet of calling ahead- to get our names on the list, since the cafe does not take reservations.  When we arrived, we were unfortunately faced with an hour wait time.  We took this hour-opportunity to walk around Lawrenceville's Butler street.  For you non-Burghers, Lawrenceville is a very artsy, interesting, on the verge of gentrification "hipster-esque" area of Pittsburgh.  Kind-of non-traditional and dynamic, LA peeps: compare it to Silverlake 10 years ago, or Seattle-folks: Capitol Hill-ish.  Dig my vibe?!  Anyways, Van and I really like the area, and have found our favorite bars and some good restaurants there as well.
Here are a couple of photos from our walk today.

Cat in window at some boutique, and a cool bar, The New Amsterdam- that we have yet to frequent.  I always get that Peter Bjorn and John song stuck in my head when I see this place.

Also, a bowling alley, a Crazy Mocha, (local Pittsburgh owned/operated super popular coffee shop) and Van.

So, we finally walked back to Coca and the masses were still there so we had to wait a few more minutes.
Waiting patiently and coldy outside.

Then we FINALLY were seated, and both ordered specials: Van chose the mediterranean eggs benedict and I went with the grilled shrimp, grits, poached eggs and salsa.  We both decided that I ordered better.

Overall, the food was delicious and our server was incredibly helpful and sweet.  Van liked the grits from The York, in LA better- but I thought everything was super fresh and amazing.  Definitely worth the wait- although next time we will definitely call ahead, a handy tip from our server. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sappy Valentines Day!

I know that I am a day early- but we celebrated our Valentines day yesterday, so take that convention.
Van and I started making our Valentines dinner a few years ago, instead of going out.  We choose to go this route because we believe that for the most part Valentines menus are:
  1. Extremely overpriced and not necessarily that tasty
  2. Everyone and their mother goes out to eat on Valentines Day
  3. Because everyone is out, oftentimes the service is lacking
Therefore, Van proposed to make me a dinner of my choice, and since Valentines is on a Monday this year- we celebrated last night.  I predictably chose one of my favorites: Shrimp Romesco.  Although it is a fairly long and intensive process, it is so, absolutely worth it.
Van uses the Suzanne Goin recipe, from Sunday Supper at Lucques.  She is a truly incredible chef, and has 4 restaurants in Los Angeles: A.O.C., Lucques (I have been to these two), Tavern and The Hungry Cat.  She also has a few cookbooks, you know how I love wikipedia, so find her profile here.
Anyways, shrimp romesco is a Spanish dish that is basically shrimp (duh) with a romesco sauce, which is: fried bread, canned tomatoes, hazelnuts, almonds, chile arbol, garlic, lemon juice, red vinegar and LOTS and LOTS of olive oil, (almost an entire bottle!) 

Here's a photo of Van pulverizing:

Once pulverized, (how many times can I use that word?!) the ingredients resemble a reddish pesto-like sauce.

Then the uncooked shrimp are added:

And, a short time later..the finished product looks like this...TaDa!
Yumm yummm! One of my favorite meals of all time: Shrimp Romesco with collared greens and french country bread with a Riesling of course.
Happy Valentines or Anti-Valentines, depending on what you're celebrating this year.
xx MK
And chocolates and pineapple for dessert of course. :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Stillers Lost- there's always the Stanley Cup, right?!

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past week, you should know that the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Green Bay Packers in the XLV Super Bowl 25-31.  You may remember that Van and I were going to watch the game in the South Side of Pittsburgh, lots of people and bars.  However, we were headed to a house party.  Here is a funny photo from the South Side a couple of hours before the game last Sunday.

I had never seen so much black and yellow before in my life!  [Insert Wiz Khalifa lyric here.]  You should also probably check out the official Black and Yellow video.  I like to change the lyrics to "Purp and Yellow" when I'm rooting for the Lakers. Regardless, the Steelers lost.  :( Obviously I am a band-wagon fan, but since the Seahawks weren't playing and LA hasn't had a team since The Raiders- I wanted to support the city where I live.
Please note our knock-off $5 "Pittsburgh football" shirts, (my shirt was a child's large that I cut-up), and the terrible towel in my left hand.  Those things have an epic saga that stemmed from a brilliant marketing ploy.  Read about it here on Wikipedia.

Anyways, I don't really have any crazy stories or photos, because everyone was pretty saddened and bummed after the game and pretty much went straight home.  Also, when we were driving home I had never seen so many cops in my life- I guess they didn't want any riots starting.  A couch was lit on fire down the street from my house, not sure what the message there was??

Here are a couple more shots from the game day house party.

So no great wins for Pittsburgh football this season- let's keep our fingers crossed for the Penguins and the Stanley Cup.  
xx Megan

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Keep it all between your beer and your hockey hair.

I will buy the first person who can reference my title a beer. :)
Ok- I know that today is SUPER BOWL XLV.  And I am obviously in Pittsburgh, and going to watch the game in the South Side.  For those of you who don't know- the South Side is definitely the most "ruckus" place in Pittsburgh, with a rumored bar scene that is only rivaled by Na'lens.  Lots of young people+Lots of bars= RUCKUS!  So yes- will be blogging about my Super Bowl experience there shortly.

However, have to tell about my hockey experience first, the Penguins are awesome and really fun to watch.  Minus the Pirates- Pittsburgh sports team are good! I have only seen a handful of hockey games in my life, and still cringe a bit at the fights but the game we saw a couple of weeks ago, on 1.25.11- Game 26 Pittsburgh Penguins VS. New York Islanders was awesome.  (Thank you to Van's mom, Shelley for the present!)  The game was at the brand new Consol Energy Center, which is an incredibly modern and beautiful arena, for more information and photos you can click here.

Anyways, Van and I got our $10 Yuenglings and hotdogs and had a fun night.  As far as I could tell, there were no bad seats, because of the pitch in the arena.
 And YES the Penguins won that night: 1-0.  Here are some images from the end of the game- I believe that they announcer said there were 18,000+ people there. Crazy!

Oh, haha- here's a little gem...I didn't know that the fans were chanting "Go Pens" and so I was accidentally chanting "Go Pengs."  Not a huge difference- but I felt stupid later.  Ha.

More of Consol Energy plus 18,000 Penguins Fans and a few Islanders fans.

It was a little unfortunate- because Sid the Kid was out with a concussion and so couldn't play, and Mike Comrie, (Hillary Duff's husband) was out as well- but still an experience and they still won.

Aight- enough hockey talk...and although I am a band-wagon fan, GO STILLERS.  Gotta root for the city where I am living. 
xx M