Sunday, March 20, 2011

Greasy Spoons

So apparently this blog is turning into a foodie blog- and for the time being, I'm OK with that. Hey- I like delicious food, and if I can help another person find a cool new spot with good eats, why wouldn't I?!
Today in Pittsburgh, the weather is ABSOLUTELY beautiful- I have no complaints, the sun is out and shining and everyone seems happier.  I am.  Plus, it's also slightly gratifying that it is pouring rain in LA, haha, suckers.
Anyways, Van and I decided that we would take a lovely Sunday stroll and walk to a local diner, Ritter's for breakfast.  This diner is located in the Bloomfield area of Pittsburgh, and although I couldn't find a website for it, here is the Urban Spoon review. Anyways, it is a really cool, older, greasy spoon diner- with Greek influences.
As you can see- very unassuming exterior.
We walked inside and the place was packed, there was also a line of 3 people in front of us, yet we were still seated within 5 minutes.  Just the way I like it.  We were taken to the back room, which was still pretty full- but not too loud or overwhelming.   Immediately, we started checking out the menu.

We started with coffee for Van, green tea for me and Spanakopita as an appetizer.

The Spanakopita was pretty darn good, not quite as good as my friend Leah's homemade recipe- but pretty delicious none the less.  Also, the waitress was nice and prompt, which is always appreciated and refreshing.
Here area  couple photos of the menu- note the Greek flair.

As the main course, I decided on the Athenian Omelet, which was vegetarian and: "A combo of feta, raw onions and black olives"  this also came with home fries and toast for $6.75.  Van chose the pancakes, two eggs, grits and toast.
I LOVED my omelet, and the home fries/toast were good too, I of course drenched everything in hot sauce- which was a bit watered down.  I took half the meal home, so pretty much scored two meals for $6.75- you really can't beat that price.  Van really liked the pancakes and eggs.  The grits were flavorless, (I tried them and concurred) and had to be doctored with A LOT of salt and pepper to even be edible.
All and all, for the price and location, (walking distance from our house) I will definitely be back, I also want to take my parents when they are here in a couple of weeks.  If you haven't, you definitely need to check out Ritter's, cheap, easy and good. Like me, haha. JK.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Get Baked!

So, although yesterday was a beautiful cloudless "sunny" day in Pittsburgh, (perfect for a St. Patty's Day party) today was overcast, gloomy and blah.  I took the opportunity to work on my baking skills- yes I said bake, as in "bake a cake" and made my favorite apple crisp.  I stumbled upon this recipe on
and love it because it is super delicious and relatively healthy- totally organic, nothing artificial or processed and it takes under an hour from start to finish.  What's not to love?  Here are the ingredients that I used, and yes- I did alter the recipe a bit, but I love it-so feel free to make it your own:

 Specifically those ingredients are:
-6 small apples, or 4 larger ones peeled, cored and chopped
-1/2 cup of brown sugar
-4 tablespoons butter diced
-1/2 cup of uncooked oatmeal
-1/2 cup flour
-1 cup walnuts chopped finely
-1 dash of cinnamon
-1 pinch of salt

First things first- preheat that oven to 350 degrees:

Next, peel those apples! By the way- as far as I'm concerned Victorinox knives are pretty much the best things in the kitchen!

Next, chop those apples up- using a larger knife of course and put them in your baking pan/tin.  Then sprinkle cinnamon liberally- cover with tinfoil and place in oven for 20 minutes. I set a timer- it's helpful.

While the apples and cinnamon are baking in the oven, use this time to finely dice up those walnuts.  You can use a food-processor, however I like to do it by hand- because I feel like I can control the "fineness" a little better.  

Once the walnuts are all chopped up, combine them in a bowl with the brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, butter and salt.

When the apples and cinnamon are ready to come out of the oven, take off the tinfoil- the mixture should look a little something like this:

Now, it's time to sprinkle on your topping and put back in the oven for 30 minutes- uncovered this time.
Then...30 minutes later (or until top is golden brown) VOILA! Delicious, homemade apple crisp.  Easy as pie.  Ha.

 The smell of your kitchen afterward is also a perk. Anyways, I am FAR from a professional baker but like baking, especially on days like today and am obsessed with this recipe right now.  If you want the actual recipe, you can find it here, as I mentioned I have altered it to my liking.
Bon Appetit. xx

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I had Five Guys last night.

Eww, get your mind out of the gutter perverts. Dinner, I'm talking about dinner.  Ha.  I know that I have been blogging A LOT about food lately, so I will continue the trend with my first Five Guys Burger and Fries experience. 

Van and I have been wanting to check out Five Guys, (mainly so that we could compare it to In-N-Out) for awhile now.  Last week, was our 4 year anniversary (awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww) so instead of the typical, romantic, candle-lit dinner, we went to Five Guys.  For those of you who don't know, Five Guys is a fast food restaurant chain originally from Virginia that sells hamburgers, hot dogs and fries.  Pretty basic and standard.  Also, it is known for it's EXTREME value, we went to the Oakland location, an area of Pittsburgh where a lot of students reside and go out.  Given the student population, an eatery like Five Guys definitely thrives.

Basically, you wait in line to place your order- and then get a number while you wait for your order.  It appears that the burgers and fries are made freshly on-site, which is always a plus.  Food allergens-beware! While you wait, customers can help themselves to an open-container of peanuts.  I loved this- not sure how someone with severe peanut allergies would feel...
We grabbed a seat by the window and ate our peanuts, while we waited for our orders to cook up. 

I ordered the Little Cheeseburger $4.19 and the regular Cajun Style Fries $2.59, while Van ordered the Cheeseburger $5.39 and the regular Five Guys Style Fries.
Here is a photo of my "little" cheeseburger- I seriously thought it was going to be a slider, it wasn't.  It was a regular sized burger.

Although ALL toppings are free and can include: Relish, Onions, Jalapeno Peppers, Green Peppers, A-1 Sauce, BBQ Sauce and Hot Sauce, I chose to go with the "Everything or ALL THE WAY" option which is: Mayo, Lettuce, Pickles, Tomatoes, Grilled Onions, Grilled Mushrooms, Ketchup and Mustard.  The burger was delicious, definitely comparable to In-N-Out.  Yumm!
Then there were the fries:
Cajun on the left and Five Guys Style on the right.  Although they look good, I have to say that although I liked the first couple of Cajun style fries, after three the novelty of the flavor wore off, and I got sick of them.  The Five Guys Style was also kind-of lacking flavor- Van agreed.  Unfortunately the fries didn't really do too much for us- blah.  In-N-Out fries are definitely tastier.
Overall, Five Guys definitely has a cheap and good burger, with 100% fresh beef- no fillers or preservatives. Fries were lackluster, but the peanuts helped to make up for them.
I still miss my In-N-Out, but Five Guys is a good east coast alternative, and for you veg-heads there were some veggie options.  Also, for your trend-whores, GQ voted it: "The Best $5 Burger a Man Can Eat."