When it comes to online coupon deals like Groupon, Townhog, etc, I’ve become a bit of an obsessive. For someone who relishes the chance to try new places to eat, these sites offer daily slices of opportunity. Now, most of the time, the opportunity isn’t something I’m particularly interested in. Many mornings I have rushed to my email to see what is in store for me and my appetite (and my wallet) today, and many mornings I have immediately dismissed the 50% off of manicures, or hot air balloon rides, or new carpeting.
Other mornings, I’ve come across a restaurant deal that sounded pretty appealing, but I hesitated too long, coming back to sign up for it only to find that it had sold out. Groupon, especially, seems to take a sadistic pleasure in disappointing people who are silly enough to pussyfoot around a good deal. (Good deal or not, sometimes it takes a lot of thought before I’m just willing to spend twenty bucks. I don’t have the kind of income level that affords me flippancy with that amount of money. Sorry, Groupon.)
It’s those ten-dollar deals that always get me. Ten for twenty. Not a lot of initial investment, especially when the deal is for a place you’ve been dying to try. Hence, when Townhog was offering a ten for twenty on Sababa Middle Eastern Grill, I jumped so immediately on the deal, my computer shook with fear.
Posted in Dining Out, Dinnertime!, Food
Tagged baklava, bourekas, dining, dinner, eating out, eggplant, falafel, food, hummus, local, Mediterranean, middle eastern, murray avenue, pistachio, pita, pittsburgh, pittsburgh restaurants, Restaurant, sababa middle eastern grill, shakshuka, squirrel hill, tabouli, turkish baklava
I lived in Squirrel Hill for years and never visited Chaya Japanese Cuisine. When I finally made my first visit last summer – to their new location in what used to be Sweet Basil – I felt a deep, deep remorse for all the times I could have eaten there and did not. Better, in the long run, for my wallet, certainly, but my appetite was left feeling like it had finally found the missing piece.
Chaya is that good. The food is fresh and delicious. The atmosphere is cozy and warm. Stepping into the doors on a freezing, wind-blasting evening was like taking shelter in the storm. There is even a curtain over the front entrance to protect inside of the restaurant from the furious vengeance of the outside winter.
Chaya’s interior is a softly glowing meditation on Japanese iconic images and decor. And despite how small the dining area is, the seating never seems packed. Diners are at a seemingly comfortable distance from one another, yet the restaurant manages to have enough seating to accommodate a large amount of visitors. This is artful, intelligent interior design and perhaps a little chance on my part, because I have never been to Chaya on a really, really busy night. But I have been there at six in the evening on Saturday, and around eight on a Wednesday, and neither hours seemed in want of customers or in want of seating.
Posted in Dining Out, Dinnertime!, Food
Tagged asian, asian cuisine, asian restaurant, chaya japanese cuisine, dinner, eating, food, japanese, local dining, miso soup, murray avenue, oolong tea, pittsburgh, Restaurant, restaurant review, sashimi, squirrel hill, sushi, tempura, udon noodle
In a perfect world, we could all start work at noon, leaving us plenty of time to grab a nice brunch before settling into our work day. While I’ve come around on breakfast – as in, I regularly eat one now – I’m a long time lover of brunchtime, a magical hybrid of breakfast and lunch foods, sometimes with the welcome addition of cocktails, almost always satisfying and cohesive despite its hodgepodge origins. Or, in the immortal words of Jacques, the bowling instructor: “It’s not quite breakfast, it’s not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end. You don’t get completely what you would get at breakfast, but you get a good meal!”
It seems that brunch has evolved a great deal since 1990 (although you’re still likely to encounter a fair share of cantaloupe – it just goes with so many flavors). But it no longer seems like an unnecessary blend of breakfast and lunch so much as a meal composed of the best elements of all mealtimes, creating a mealtime tradition that, because it doesn’t happen every day, is special each time it is enjoyed.
I’ve written about The Zenith before, but it had been a while since I paid a Sunday visit. One of the primary reasons is that football season started, and my partner and I were just as content to stay home and watch the games while eating a homemade brunch. But alas, the cupboard was pretty bare this past Sunday, and we were just motivated enough by the cool, drizzling gray November mid-morning that it seemed like the right time to reconnect with one of our favorite brunch spots.
The Zenith brunch was a fine reason for us to get ourselves out of the house this past Sunday morning. If it’s been far too long since you’ve made a brunch trip, here are five other places you might want to give a try: Continue reading
Posted in Dining Out, Food, Good Morning
Tagged breakfast, brunch, casbah, deluca's, dim sum, downtown, food, highland park, j'eet, pittsburgh, six penn kitchen, south side, squirrel hill, strip district, sun penang, sunday brunch, the zenith, weekend, Zenith