Monday, September 19, 2011

Birthday Weekend

I had a nice long 4 day weekend to celebrate my birthday... back to the grind tomorrow :(

On Saturday Matt took me out to dinner to The Melting Pot. He made reservations and we had a table in the back to the restaurant and he had a vase of flowers on the table for me and there was a birthday card from the staff on the table too. I forgot how dark it was inside the restaurant and when the hostess was taking us to our table I was hoping I was following the right person or wouldn't run into anyone! My eyes take a little bit to adjust to the dark :oP

We went with the Big Night Out, which is a four course meal. For the first course we ordered the Fiesta Cheese Fondue, which was cheddar cheese with lager beer, jalapeño peppers and salsa. We normally like things spicy, but went with medium to be on the safe side... we could of went with hot, but it was really good....The apples with the cheese, I think was our favorite combo.

The second course was a salad. Matt ordered the house salad with peppercorn ranch dressing and I ordered the California salad with Raspberry Black Walnut Vinaigrette. I love salads with walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese. I was content after I was finished with my salad, but we still had 2 more courses to go.

Third course was our entree. We went with the classic selection of Sesame-Crusted Sushi-Grade Ahi Tuna, Seasoned Choice Angus Sirloin, Herb-Crusted Chicken Breast, Teriyaki-Marinated Sirloin and Filet mignon, instead of shrimp due to Matt's shellfish allergy :( We did the Coq au vin cooking style, flavors of fresh herbs, mushrooms, garlic, spices and burgundy wine. Our entree was really really good!! My favorite was the Teriyaki-Marinated Sirloin with the ginger plum sauce and Matt loved the Angus Sirloin with the Gorgonzola port.

The fourth and final course we went with the Disaronno Meltdown, white chocolate with Disaronno and flambéed tableside.

We also had an amazing waiter, Jason, he was very detailed and did an awesome job! The manager also stopped by our table to wish me a happy birthday.

We walked away so stuffed but it was a great meal. Very relaxing and not rushed at all, which is a big plus in my book.

After dinner we went to the movies and saw The Debt. I was surprised on a Friday night that it was just me and Matt plus 2 other people in the theater. The movie was pretty good, the ending took me by surprise a little.

Yesterday we had a food tasting with Phaturos catering for our wedding. We walked in thinking it would be a little of this and a little of that.... not at all... they served us family style and had a ton of food! Their food was amazing and decided to go with them for the wedding... They also sent us home with the left over food, which was very nice of him to do... I don't think I have to cook the rest of the week!

After the tasting, we went to my mom's house for Birthday cake... She got 4 bar cakes from Oakmont Bakery, an Almond Tort, Carrot Cake, Red Velvet and The Oakmonter. I've never had the red velvet, so I had a piece of that and so did my mom, Grandma R had the almond tort and Matt went with the carrot cake... and we were sent home with the left overs...

Today Matt and I drove around... I was going to get my car washed but the place I bring it to was closed :( So we headed down the road and went to and Italian grocery in Plum... It was more of a Cafe than grocery... We then headed off to Yesterday's Dog House in Lower Burrell. Matt went there when they first opened about 4 years ago.. It's a very small building and you ate outside. They had now added an indoor dining area with 3 tables, very cozy inside. Matt ordered a foot long hot dog with cheese and ketchup and fries and I ordered 2 of their natural casing hot dog with relish, onions, mustard and ketchup. The food came out super quick and the owner was very friendly. When we were getting ready to leave the owner grabbed a candy bowl from the kitchen with mini candy bars and told us to take one for the road for dessert, which I thought was cute.

We decided to go to Ross Park Mall, just for something to do after lunch and now here I am... Just take the night easy and probably be in bed by 9:00pm with the rate things are going now :oP

Overall I had a great weekend with family. It was also a year yesterday that Matt asked me to marry him... Time sure does fly by... and by this time next year, it will be 3 weeks before our wedding! :)

Oakmont Bakery on Foodio54
The Melting Pot on Foodio54
Melting Pot on Urbanspoon
Oakmont Bakery on Urbanspoon

Yesterdays Dog House on Foodio54

Yesterday's Dog House on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 years ago today....

It's hard to believe 10 years ago today was 09.11.01... I remember everything I did on that day. I was woken up by a phone call from my mom telling me to turn on the TV and that there had been a terrorist attack. I remember watching the 2nd plane fly into the other world trade center building and I remember asking myself is this real?

I graduated from high school 3 month before and was in college. I was talking to my best friend at the time, Adrianna, and I remember the first building falling down.... It then hit me it was for real when I saw people running from the huge cloud of dust and debris.

It was a Tuesday and I only had one college class that day, English. I was scared to go to school, but I did. I remember walking into the building and down the stairs to where my class was. There was a group of people huddled around the TV and there was my teacher telling all of us to go home.

I go home and I was also scared to go to work that day, but I went... I worked at Wendy's and we hardly had any business. We spent most of the time in the back of the store watching the TV my manager brought in. There was a few points in the day we thought we heard plane flying by and I remember everyone being worried if something was going to happen in the area I lived in, since we lived about 2 hours from Shanksville.

I have goosebumps right now, as I am recalling this day.

Two years ago Matt and I stopped by the flight 93 memorial on our way home from Baltimore over the 4th of July weekend.

It was a surreal place to be. I remember how quiet it was... you could hear a pin drop.

Here are a few pictures from our trip...

Never Forget.....

Atria's Restaurant & Tavern

Today... well yesterday since it's 1:30am... After looking for a wedding dress my mom and I picked up Matt and we went to Atria's Restaurant & Tavern for dinner. They are celebrating Oktoberfest, which we all ended up order from the Oktoberfest menu.

We all started with a soup. My mom got the Sherry Crab Bisque and Matt and I got the Allgäuer Käsesuppe soup. It is a creamy Bavarian cheese soup with whipped cream and croutons. All of our soups were really good.

For our entrees my mom ordered the Wiener Zwiebel Schnitzel, tender hand breaded veal medallions with crisp fried onions served over traditional German potato cakes.She said her veal was very good and tender.

Matt ordered the Famous Jägermeister platte, grilled bockwurst and knockwurst with roasted pork loin, kraut spätzle, hot German potato salad and a shot of Jägermeister. He wasn't too thrilled with the bockwurst and knockwurst, he said it tasted like hot dogs, but really liked the kraut spätzle. I did try a piece of his knockwurst and the knockwurst we had a Max's Allegheny Tavern was better.

For my entree I ordered Paprika Händel, hand breaded, fried chicken breast with fresh peppers in a creamy paprika sauce served over käse spätzle. Which I though was pretty good.

All of our portions were huge and we ended up with doggy bags, since we saved room for dessert...

So, your probably asking, where are the pictures? Well I forgot until we got to dessert!

My mom and I ordered the Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte aka Black Forrest Cake. Which was a meal in itself but was really good... Also my mom's favorite cake :) My mom also order a coffee with dessert. which has her approval and was really smooth.

Matt ordered the Ofenfrischer Apfelstrudel aka apple strudel with french vanilla ice cream. He thought it was ok but tasted like it was previously frozen.

Over all our meals were good, but Matt and I are spoiled from Max's Allegheny Tavern :)

Atria's Restaurant And Tavern on Foodio54

Atria's Restaurant & Tavern on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Paris 66

On Monday Matt's Grandma took us out to dinner to Paris 66 in East Liberty. We had a little trouble finding the place... not to mention we drove past it once and didn't realize it... but we found it. Grandma R has been wanting to try Paris 66 for a while... She's from France and wanted to have a taste of home.

We arrived just after they had a lunch rush. The lunch menu was pretty small but was so hard to choose what we wanted. Matt and I went with the Croque Madame, which came with a nice salad with their house dressing. Grandma R got the Bastille Buckwheat Crepe. I am not a big fan of buckwheat but the filling inside of her crepe was good.

We ended up getting dessert to go on our way out. Matt got an apple tart, which I warmed up in the over later on that evening for him. It also came with some kind of caramel sauce, that tasted like it had a hint of butterscotch or coffee... Matt gave the tart an A+ :)

I ended up getting a white chocolate basil and a salted caramel french macaroon. The white chocolate basil macarron was interesting and refreshing.. The salted caramel was really good and my favorite of the two.

I think we were at the restaurant close to an hour and a half. If you have some time and want to try authentic French cuisine, give Paris 66 a try!

Paris 66 Bistro on Foodio54

Paris 66 on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 5, 2011

Max's Allegheny Tavern

Yesterday Matt and I went to the Pittsburgh Public Market, it's been awhile since we've been there and we were looking for something to do... We ended up getting our growler filled, from East End Brewing. We got their Big Hop Harvest, with fresh hops added to the brew. I swear the beer got darker from the time it was filled to the time we got home... maybe it was from the fresh hops added to it?? Anyways, it was pretty darn good, we still have a little under half of the growler left.

We also picked up a pieces of regular baklava and pistachio baklava from the Baklava Company, a couple eggplants from Clarion River Organics and a black bean and cheddar and veggie pasty from Blighty, which will be dinner one night this week.

So we're hungry.. Did not eat breakfast and it's about 2:30pm.... where to go??? The strip is packed... so we scratched anywhere down there... Hmmm what about squirrel hill?? ok, we drove to Squirrel Hill.... forget that... I kept driving to Regent Square... that was another parking disaster... I went back down the main drag and still no parking spots. So on we went, to where? We don't have a clue!

Before we know it, we're in the ghetto... a boarded up ghetto.... so onward we went and ended up in East Liberty.... We're at a light and I take my phone out and go to my urbanspoon app.... Max's Allegheny Tavern comes up... I saw a special about 2 week ago on WQED about the restaurant... So off we went to Max's!

After a few wrong turns, we made it!

When we walked in, I thought we would be seated in the bar area but we continued to walk and were seated in the dinning room. It was pretty quiet, there were a few other diners besides us.

Our waitress came over to the table, I wish I could remember her name, she was great.... so, she came over and greeted us and asked what we would like to drink... we had no clue so we both ended up getting the German Beer Sampler.... I was surprised how good the brews were... even the dark beer, and I am not too big on dark beer.

We look over the menu and skip over the American food and go right to the traditional German food... Oh lord, what should we order??? Everything sounds good, but what to choose!

So we started off with the Sausage & Cheese appetizer, which included knockwurst, bratwurst and kielbasa with wedges of Jarlsburg Swiss and Smoked Gouda Cheese and crackers & honey mustard.... I don't know if we were starving, but it was soooo good!!

Then our waitress brings over a basket of assorted bread with apple butter and some kind of slaw... Whatever it was, it was good!

We finish the sausage and cheese, sample our beers and out come our dinners..... The portions were huge!

Matt ordered the Jager Schnitzel with potato pancakes and Spatzle, which he has no clue what Spatzel was when he ordered it :)

I ordered the Leberkase with potato pancakes with sour cream and German potato salad. I was a little bit nervous about the Leberkase, but it was so good!

Although I think Matt enjoyed my Leberkase more than his Schnitzel, both were amazing!

Ok... so, if you know Matt... he's not much of a sweets person.... We are almost done with our meals and he said he wanted dessert.... Oh lord, has hell frozen over and there was no way in hell I can eat another ounce, I'm thinking....

Matt is insistent on getting the apple strudel with ice cream for dessert.... ok what the hell... since this was our only meal for the day, he ordered the Apple Strudel for us to share.... The waitress walks out with 2 plates... maybe she didn't hear him that we wanted to share?? She ended up having the strudel cut in half and a scoop of ice cream for each of us. The strudel was very good... Matt was in heaven! :)

It starts to rain like crazy outside.... I'm still eating my strudel and Matt's done eating and ends up ordering a Kostritzer Black Beer, which was his favorite from our sampler, and I ordered a water to wait out the rain.... I'm so stuffed at this moment I did not want to move.... I don't think Matt wanted to either....

So, the rain lets up a little after Matt is done with his beer and we head back home...

I was really impressed with the food from Max's Allegheny Tavern and it is surely a hidden gem! Matt is still talking about the tavern today and how good the food was and how he can't wait to go back. If you are not sure were to grab a bite to eat when your out, make sure to check out Max's... Defiantly a place that we will be going back to!!

Maxs Allegheny Tavern Inc on Foodio54

Max's Allegheny Tavern on Urbanspoon

Family Reunion Weekend

Last weekend we went up to Erie for the first family reunion that we've had in years. The reunion was held at Presque Isle State Park and was coordinated by my mom and uncle... Instead of everyone bringing a dish we had the food catered by "Lakeshore" Teresa's Deli. We had all of the Italian fare, just like homemade too... pasta with meatballs, sausage, peppers and onions, antipasto salad, roasted chicken and cheesy potatoes. Everyone also brought a dessert, we had tons and tons of food... you know how it is with us Italians! ;)
It was a nice to see everyone again and to have fun time.

When Matt and I were leaving the park, before we checked into our hotel and headed over to my uncles house, we made a pit stop at Sara's to get their famous orange vanilla twist... It's been years since I've had their ice cream and it was a first for Matt, as it was as good as I remember, plus the price you can't beat! We got 2 cones for under $5!

On Sunday we went back to my Aunt and Uncles house and helped them out with a few things, they then brought my mom, Matt and I to the Avonia Tavern for lunch. Matt, my aunt and uncle got the prime rib sub, my mom got the philly steak and cheese and to the right, I got the Veggie Panini with grilled eggplant, roasted red peppers, onions, tomatoes, and provolone cheese. The food was really good!! :)

After lunch, we did a little shopping around Erie then made our way home to Pittsburgh... by the time we got home I didn't feel like cooking... So we ordered Pizza from Rib Kens. We normally stop there to grab a 6 pack or pick up a few micro brews but we have never tried the food. We ordered a buffalo chicken pizza, which was pretty good and left us with even more left overs!

Well, that was last weekend... Didn't cook at all this week, just reinvented left overs :) So back to the kitchen this week for me!

Sara's on Foodio54Teresa's Deli-Lakeshore on Foodio54

Sara's on UrbanspoonTeresa's Deli-Lakeshore on Urbanspoon

Rib Kens on Foodio54Avonia Tavern on Foodio54

Rib Kens on Urbanspoon
Avonia Tavern on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 2, 2011