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Archive for March, 2009

Review: Starbuck’s Oatmeal

Friday was busy busy with The Boy heading off to India and what not. This is how I found myself relying on Starbuck’s for breakfast. As I waited in line, I noticed they had a new ‘deal’ going on – a tall latte and either oatmeal or reduced fat cinnamon coffee cake for $3.95. Trying to do the math in my head and decide if I even wanted a latte or not, I just went for it.  They include nuts, dried fruit, and brown sugar ( all in individual packets) with the oatmeal.

Well, I was dissappointed.  Shocker. The nuts tasted rancid. I realized this after I dumped the packet into my oats. Taking it back was just too much effort. Blah. Maybe if I hadn’t had the nut issue? The dried fruit was a nice little mix and tasted fresh.

I wouldn’t order this again. I should have went with the coffee cake. Thats what I get for trying to be healthy.

Apparently, Starbucks has some other $3.95 breakfast pairings on the table. The ‘bucks I frequent does not carry the breakfast sandwiches.

Don’t worry, I supplemented the blech breaky a few hours (minutes?) later with some Thin Mints.

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Kassab’s (Middle Eastern influence) is located at 1207 E Carson Street. I had dinner here about 2 weeks ago and was pleasantly surprised. The place was about half full on a snowy weeknight evening. Its a casual spot – clean and airy though. Our table had hummus and meat stuffed grape leaves to start. I thought I was not a fan of grape leaves (most I have had were kind of dry) but these were moist, light, aromatic. Hummus was solid. Entrees ordered included a lamb shank special and the grilled lamb sandwich. We had a ton of food, enjoyed everything, took advantage of the ‘no-corking fee’ there and had a lovely evening. Bill was under $30 for 2.

To note, I then returned to Kassab’s for lunch a few days later. I was underwhelmed by the chicken schwarma sandwich. Chicken was very dry, tahini sauce was sparse. The sandwich arrived at the table so quickly that I suspected it had been prepped hours beforehand.  However, mi amigo enjoyed his grilled lamb sandwich.

To recap, I recommend the lamb shank, the grilled lamb sandwich, grape leaves, and hummus. And I will return.

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I have been saving up chic homemade items for some time in anticipation of starting a blog.  So I am spitting them all out now, fast and furious. Here is to hoping I don’t just purge this out of my system and then dissappear for months.

So the other evening, The Boy made veal parm. He is a wonderful cook and makes me all kinds of fantabulous Italian food. He also whipped up some ‘orzotto’. This turned out surprisingly well. Here is the sauce simmering away on my ancient stove.

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As he embarked on his whirwind tour of Italy, I decided to make oatmeal cookies. And what the hell, why not make ice cream to stuff inside these babies.

I used this oatmeal cookie recipe (substituting butterscotch chips for pecans and raisins for cranberries). And this ice cream recipe. Apparently Lebovitz is The God of Ice Cream so I bowed my head and followed his lead. This was the best ice cream I have made to date. The ice cream maker and I have had an on/off relationship, usually because he dissappointed me over and over. But alas, I realized I was not cooking my custard base long enough! I got it nice and thick and this significantly improved the texture of the ice cream. Woohoo!

The cookies were a bit too sweet and looked a little weird coming out of the oven (pocky? if thats a word). I should have cut down the sugar considering the b-scotch chips. Oh well.

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I made the sammies, individually wrapped them, and jammed them in the freezer.

That night after dinner I was a bit too full to actually partake in this healthy oat and dairy based dessert (totally, as if). However, I did nibble one last night and they are damn tasty. The stay in the freezer cut the sweetness of the cookies and they were the right texture to still be chewy. Mmmm.

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I also plan to dabble in resto reviews here on the blog-o. I eat alot in the city and find its hard to find recent or relevant updates on places. So here I go. Note: not so into taking pics at restaurants. Maybe this will change but not at the moment.

Folino’s is an Italian joint located on E Carson Street in the Southside. It is adjoining Young’s Tavern and kinda sorta Tom’s Diner. According to the Folino’s website all establishments are owned by the same family. And everyone remembers this incident, right? Fab.

We had a large group and no reservations for a Friday night – luckily Folino’s was able to accomodate. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing but we went with it. All pastas and entress were served with soup or salad and bread, which is nice. Service was fairly attentive. Fueled by wine (and maybe a few Fatheads brews) the group overwhelmingly enjoyed their meals. As it was a Friday during Lent, we had a few non meat eaters – not a ton of options on the menu for them – but a few settled on ravioli, a few on shrimp scampi, one on a salmon caesar (moi) and the kitchen even whipped up an alfredo for another (not on the menu). A few plates were sent back for reheating – perplexing, given that the restaurant wasn’t full. Oh well.

This is definitely a red sauce joint. Several dishes (gnocchi, rav) did taste homemade, which was refreshing. Salads were surprisingly large and fresh. Price point works. If you don’t want to wait 3 hours for a table at Fatheads, check out Folino’s.

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So I bought pistachios to make a Cannoli Cake for Valentine’s Day. This cake was semi-successful. Trying to make it in a heart shaped pan proved to be a bit difficult. I was trying to show my domesticity and cuteness but pretty much failed. The cake deflated, the shape didn’t hold, the icing slid down the sides. Sigh.

But the pistachios and I rallied and came back with this gem. See recipe here.

 

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I really liked these cookies. Chewy, crunchy, a little salty/savory. Not usually a white choco fan, but it worked here. They stayed decent for a couple days – didn’t turn into rocks like some of the christmas cookies I made.

And now I watch Toddlers and Tiaras and will my laundry to dry faster so I can go to bed.

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Hola

Listening to last week’s NPR broadcast of Splendid Kitchen. I really may be addicted to food related media. I have haunted numerous food blogs for some time. I started on the ‘gateway’ stuff – Chowhound, Yelp, etc. Then I graduated to individual food blogs, creeping myself out by looking at pictures of ‘The Little Prince’ ,’J’ , or something like that, baking cupcakes for Christmas. So I decided to take the plunge, to birth this new bay-bay blog. I can’t promise consistency and I can’t promise anything worth reading, to be frank. But we shall see. I am located in Pittsburgh, enjoy eating out, enjoy eating in, enjoy learning about the food world.

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