Tag Archives: local news

This Week on the Dormont-Brookline Patch: Neighborhood Options for Local Sweethearts on Valentine’s Day

I really need to get out of the habit of writing event or holiday – specific posts, but this week’s article on the Dormont-Brookline Patch focuses on neighborhood establishments that are offering a little something special for Valentine’s Day. If you live in the South Hills area and need a place to take your loved one on February 14th, definitely check out my article. It could be the difference between life AND death. Or, you know, it could just steer you to my favorite gyro restaurant in town, It’s Greek to Me on Brookline Boulevard. Either way…

As for my V-Day plans, I’ll be hanging with my partner and all will be swell. I don’t really go in for Valentine’s Day. It’s not a single-person bitterness thing, cause I’ve had plenty of relationships during the “holiday,” it’s just a sense of pointlessness that is too overpowering for me to enjoy the manufactured nature of the celebrations. Say what you will about the “commercialism” of Christmas, that time of year still seems to mean something more than what is given and received. That time of year has so much meaning to so many different people of the world, it seems ridiculous to dismiss it based off of American capitalist tendencies.

Whereas Valentine’s Day, although it is sweet that we have a day dedicated to the celebration of courtly love, is not even a traditional Christian holiday anymore. Why? Cause in 1969, the Roman Catholic Church presented the question: Who was St. Valentine, and why do we have a big ass holiday to honor him? And when they couldn’t come up with a good enough response (“…. he was… a martyr…?”), they decided that while it was all well and good that people were going to continue to celebrate the holiday, they would no longer honor it as an official church-sanctioned occasion. Good riddance, I say.

Still, I find the holiday a little unsettling in how it encourages people to save open expressions of love for a specific day of the year. Not that all who celebrate V-Day do that. As a matter of fact, most of the couples I know who do something special on February 14th are the kind of couples who are openly and expressively in love with one another. They don’t need the day to tell them to appreciate and celebrate their love, but they take it anyway, cause why the hell not?

But a holiday that at best is unnecessary and at worst a commercial waste of time, money, and intellect is not a holiday for me. Maybe I’m completely missing the full picture.

Anyone out there doing something special for Valentine’s Day?

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This Week on the Dormont-Brookline Patch: Filling Out Your Super Bowl Spread with Local Eats and Treats

As mentioned last week, I’ve become the food features writer for the Dormont-Brookline Patch. I eased into the position with a more straightforward piece about the struggling Dormont Fresh Market, but this week begins my recurring column, The Local Table.

The first Local Table focuses on what you can find in Super Bowl – appropriate foods right in the neighborhoods of Dormont and Brookline. Turns out there was way more than I could have ever directly featured, but this general overview serves to guide the reader through the deli, salty snacks, sweet treats, and miscellaneous delicious offerings of the many great food establishments we have in this part of town. Among the places visited: Pita Land, Kribel’s, Las Palmas, Potomac Bakery, Fredo’s, The Good Life Market, DeWalt’s World of Health, Party Cake Shop, Vinnie’s Pretzels…. and the list goes on.

If you’re getting ready for a Super Bowl party, or you’re just interested in where to find these things in the South Hills, check it out!

Check Me Out On the Dormont-Brookline Patch

I recently became a contributing writer for the Dormont-Brookline Patch, an online newsletter for the Dormont and Brookline neighborhoods. Started in early January, the site is steadily building a readership locally and in the surrounding Pittsburgh area, and I’m happy to be a part of the growth of this project.

My first article for the site has been posted. It’s a news feature on the struggling Dormont Fresh Market. If you live in or around the South Hills, or are just passing through via the Red Line T, do yourself and Cher Murphy a favor and stop by the market. She’s really built a store from a personal philosophy and is trying to bring fresh, affordable goods within reach of the entire community. The fact that she is struggling to sustain when so many people could benefit from her services is damn criminal, and an example of how communities fail their small businesses.

Click on the excerpt to visit the article!

Expecting a drop in business with the low foot traffic on Potomac Avenue, Murphy expected to make up the difference with grocery deliveries. The service, announced in October, is provided to Dormont, Brookline, and Beechview residents and is free for senior citizens. But aside from some loyal patrons, the service has yet to take off.

Now, disappointing in-store business is echoed by a delivery service that hasn’t yet justified the extra inventory it requires. Murphy predicts that if business doesn’t pick up soon, she will have no more than six weeks left.

The Local Food Report: Monday, January 10th

Local food news happens all the time, and it’s unbelievable how much you miss if you don’t check out local publications. Recently read something worthwhile? Link it at the bottom!

Oh, Cookie Monster. I really did think it was your year to prove to the world how eloquent you really could be. But as reported by several news outlets, Associated Press being one, 2010’s “Word of the Year” according to the American Dialect Society is “app,” with the delicious, onomatopoetic “nom” (from the sound Cookie Monster makes while eating) finished second. A really interesting article on a year’s worth of current events and culture effect on language and basic communication.

The Tribune-Review gives me further reason to try Sababa Middle Eastern Grill in Squirrel Hill, thanks to a great little feature on the restaurant, its owner, and the details, concerns, and responsibilities of kosher cooking. Plus a recipe for Shakshuka!

– Breaking news from the Trib: Apparently, Pittsburgh is the 5th best city to open a fast food chain. Ew. “The high ranking is a reflection of area’s relatively stable economy and main-street culture,” said Al Beery, a client manager for Pitney Bowes Business Insight, the Troy, N.Y.-based group that created the report. That’s one way to look at it.

– More food-business from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Allegheny County Health Department is proposing a revision to the way they review restaurant cleanliness. A grading system of A-B-C (with anything scoring lower than a C issued a “consumer alert” or shut down entirely) and working out of a point scale of 100 seems practical, but critics argue that the proposal is essentially making it more difficult for restaurants to fail.

– Okay, this really only matters to those of us living in Dormont, but PopCity has a great little news feature on the Sugar Cafe, opening sometime late-January/early-February on Potomac Avenue. [Kelly] James and her husband have been hard at work decorating the 1,200-square-foot space, which now features a blue, black, and white color scheme and seating for 24.  In addition to serving La Prima coffee and all the sweets to go you could ever want, Sugar will be an inviting spot to hang out, have lunch, or grab a quick post-work sandwich.

Speaking personally, they couldn’t have picked a better spot. Last year, while briefly unemployed, I considered how to open up a coffee shop in that very same storefront. It’s space is unique and attractive, it’s location is prime (next to the Potomac T Station, as well as a bunch of apartment buildings), and the growing amount of twenty-somethings in this area insure the need of a neighborhood place that can serve as both eatery and hang out spot. Sweet!