Tag Archives: food

My Favorite Lunch Spots in Downtown Pittsburgh

For the days when I’m running out the door in the morning without a packed lunch, I have found a few tried and true places to visit on my lunch break. Below are my top picks for best downtown Pittsburgh lunch spots. Unfortunately, I have yet to find some really good ethnic food, but what these spots lack in diversity, they make up for in service and taste.

City Oven :: I had originally visited City Oven in their locations north and south of the city, and I couldn’t have been happier when I discovered that they recently added a restaurant downtown. City Oven boasts great fire-roasted pizza with equally good red & vodka sauces. I usually grab a slice & salad and a seat at one of the counters facing the street. An added bonus: City Oven is committed to the city – giving back through their continuing education program that provides mentorship and training to local aspiring entrepreneurs.

Franktuary :: Founded by fellow Grove City alumni, Franktuary has a great variety of gourmet hot dogs made with local, natural beef. My personal favorite is the traditional New Yorker – sauerkraut, onions & mustard. They also have locations in Lawrenceville and a food truck that travels to various locations throughout the week. Track them down – Franktuary is a must-visit.

Noodles & Company :: This place feeds my love of pasta in all its forms. From mac&cheese to their penne rosa (my personal favorite), Noodles is my go-to lunchtime spot. If you can, head over after 1pm, as the lunchtime crowd usually thins out by then.

Bluebird Kitchen :: Bluebird Kitchen is my absolute favorite lunchtime spot – combining amazing food and beautiful furnishings with a cool hipster vibe. I had their Croque Monsieur the first time I ate there, and I have yet to try something else – it’s that good. Their selection of cookies & pastries is also hard to resist. Sometimes, if I’m feeling particularly giving, I save half and bring it home to Sean – some things are too good not to share.

Do you have any good lunchtime tips to share? Most importantly, do you know where I can get some good Thai food downtown?

Quick & Easy Meal: Hot Pepper Chicken Pasta

As I hone my homemaking skills, I cherish quick and easy meal recipes. There are some nights that a girl just doesn’t want to have time to put a full meal out on the table. Tonight I whipped up something that was too quick, easy, and delicious to keep all to ourselves.

I’ve decided to call it Hot Pepper Chicken Pasta (Leigh could probably come up with a better name (she’s an excellent namer), but that’s all I got)

Hot Pepper Chicken Pasta

Prep Time: 2 seconds          Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • chicken breasts (or cutlets)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • EVOO
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • spaghetti
  • tomato sauce
  • heavy cream

Instructions:

  1. Heat a large pot of water until boiling. Add spaghetti, cook al dente and drain. Return pasta to pot.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over med-high heat. Add diced garlic and red pepper flakes. In terms of the red pepper – more is more.
  3. Cut the chicken into thin strips and add to the oil. Cook until brown. Add salt and pepper and more red pepper flakes to taste.
  4. Add cooked chicken to pasta.
  5. Top with equal portions of tomato sauce and heavy cream. Simmer on low until hot.

Ta-da! Your basic chicken pasta (with a bit of a kick)…

…ok that’s not exactly the pasta I made tonight…but this is better than the picture I just took of mine…

Serve and enjoy!

 

click photo for credit

Christmas Recap: January Edition…Part 2

Armed with our new camera..Sean and I headed to Ohio for phase two of our Christmas break.

We arrived late in the evening on the day after Christmas. The original plan was to wake up the next morning and pretend it was Christmas Day: present opening, big breakfast, waking up much to early from excitement…you know, the usual.

When we got there, my mom and sisters had grown too impatient and insisted that the Christmas Day festivities begin immediately. We then proceeded to rush through the ‘matching pajamas on Christmas Eve’ tradition straight through to helping bring all the presents downstairs and stuffing our own stockings. Yeah, it was weird…but in a fun way.

Note the half-stuffed stocking in my sister’s hand. This photo was taken amidst the chaos.

Instead of waking up ridiculously early the next morning, we proceeded to stay up to an inhuman hour laughing, exchanging gifts, and wearing matching clothing (duh, we’re sisters – it’s kind of what we do).

Dad with his new Buckeye tree

In the days leading up to Christmas, Sean repeatedly told me, “ALL I want for Christmas is a back scratcher.” Thankfully, Santa came through. Strangely, both back and head scratchers played a significant role this Christmas on both sides of the family.

It was a wonderful, albeit strange, Christmas. I was so grateful for my family waiting until Sean and I could be there, so we could share in the festivities.

We spent the next few days visiting with family and friends, eating lots of food, shopping, and relaxing (to the max).

One night, Grammy hosted all of us for dinner. As always, her home was beautifully decorated for the holidays.

One of my favorite parts of break was getting to visit with Kelly – my best friend since elementary school. Her family was in town for a few days and so we were able to have a few sleepovers – like the old days. Kelly is basically another sister to us and we miss her lots! Kelly is busy attending med school in South Carolina right now and we are so proud of her!

But let’s be honest, despite all this recapping, the majority of our break was spent playing with the puppies…

All in all, it was a very happy Christmas.

Sean and I got to spend a good amount of time together and had a number of talks that have grown and stretched our marriage. We are so thankful for the time that we got to spend with both sides of the family and of course, for our reason for celebrating.

Merry Christmas! (January style)

Christmas Recap: January Edition…Part 1

Well, now that we are half-way through January, I think it’s time for some Christmas recapping.

Our second Christmas together consisted of lots of new something’s. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at Sean’s parents and enjoyed all sorts of new (for me) festivities and a good time with family.

Sean and his family are strict keepers of tradition (you should hear their version of the birthday song). Christmas, of course, was full of new traditions for me to be initiated into.

On Christmas Eve, we got together with Sean’s extended family for lots of yummy appetizers and a grab bag gift exchange.

This picture is one of their family traditions. They took their first Christmas picture with all the cousins when they were younger and since then have tried to recreate the picture every year – complete with awkward cocked heads, middle school facial expressions, undone zippers, etc. Although marriage and growth spurts have threatened the integrity of the photo – the tradition continues!

After church, the evening ended in the traditional hanging of the stockings (one of which my name was added to) and sipping a shot of Crown Royal (which I attempted, but quickly passed to my husband).

I was apparently at a full sprint while taking this picture...

 

Christmas morning we spent opening gifts (structured according to tradition, of course). Sean and I were overwhelmed by our family’s generosity to us and received so many beautiful and thoughtful things.

Sean hoarded his annual Starbucks card collection once again.

My generous husband surprised me with a new camera! Always up for a practical joke, Sean put a stack of three presents under the tree for me and instructed me to open them from top to bottom throughout the morning. Upon opening them, I found an old trophy, an antique book, and two bags of my favorite candy. He then let me sit for a while thinking that my extreme fondness for sweets and objects we already owned were the inspiration for his Christmas gift (I mean hey, at least it wasn’t a household appliance!) After letting me sweat it out for a couple of minutes, he brought down another package he had hidden upstairs. I, of course, cried when I opened it – we have been saving towards a camera for a while and I had no idea that it would be waiting under the tree for me (so to speak)! I couldn’t wait to get started using my new toy (and of course read the manual for the remainder of our Christmas break). You’ll have to be patient with my new camera skills – but I’m hoping to capture our memories in a less blurry fashion from now on.

Over the next couple of days we ate lots of good food, spent more time with family, Sean and Evan played a considerable amount of video games in which zombie-killing was the primary objective, and got to see some close family friends (who also like to kill zombies).

Towards the beginning of the evening, Sean’s parents brought out a giant bottle of beer they had won at an auction. Contrary to this picture of my lush husband, he shared.

It was a great time with family and friends and we are blessed to live close enough to share the holidays with both sides of the family. I loved learning all of our family traditions and it really made me look forward to the traditions we will form with our own family someday.

At church on Christmas Eve, I was struck by the powerful reminder I received through a sermon on the meanings of the names of the baby whose birth we were celebrating: Jesus, Emmanuel: the god who saves us is also, god with us. What a glorious promise to carry us into the new year full of hope.

Merry Christmas!