Archive for January, 2011


Have you ever been so busy at work that you exist solely on Clif bars and coffee, perhaps with a turkey sandwich thrown in now and again for good measure?

It’s been one of those weeks.

Add hours of snowy commuting into that mix and life is kind of sucky. You are overworked, malnourished, cabin feverish, and really starting to hate winter. You are looking pale, tired and kind of wiry.

What can cure this madness?

Operation Fatten Up.

This “operation” was one weekend long and consisted of the following activities:

Friday: Dinner at Brgr (East Liberty/Shadyside)

Minor side note: I cannot look at the name of this restaurant and see “burger”. I want to pronounce all the letters, something like bee-arr-gee-arr.

Brgr is the sister restaurant/lounge to Spoon. Both spots are located in East Liberty near the corner of S Highland and Centre. Brgr bills itself as a burger joint/gastropub. The menu is somewhat limited – you will find several burgers (one veg option – falafel), sides, a few salads, and spiked milkshakes.

Maybe I was starving, maybe I was buzzed up on the glass of Zinfandel I had while waiting to be seated, but I really enjoyed Brgr. I had the salmon burger, my date had the lamb burger, and we split the fries. After reading the Brgr Yelp reviews, I agree that serving the burgers in a little basket makes it tough to cut the burger in half – I kind of demolished mine trying to do just that. However, we had no service issues, waited about 30 minutes for a table on a Friday night at 8PM, and both cleared our plates (baskets?). Our bill (two burgers, fries, two beers, and one glass of wine) came out around $50.

Saturday: Dinner at Sababa (Squirrel Hill)

While working on Saturday (told you it was one of those weeks), I developed a most intense hummus craving. Where to go? Kassab’s? Aladdin’s? Mediterranean Grill?

During Operation Fatten Up, cravings must be addressed immediately.

My partner in crime for this weekend operation suggested Sababa, a newer Mediterranean spot located on Murray Ave in Squirrel Hill. I recognized the name from Mike’s Foodburgh review and we decided to give it a go. We set off in the frigid temps and eventually settled into the brightly lit Sababa dining room. It was mostly full at 7PM-ish but we got a table and our friendly waitress opened our bottle of wine. BYO!

We decided on the babaganush for an appetizer and were surprised when a chunky concoction landed on our table. I was under the impression babaganush was typically roasted eggplant pureed into a hummus like consistency. This dip was super chunky and SUPER garlicky. Like I think I was eating whole cloves of roasted garlic. This was a little much for me and we didn’t finish our babaganush. Luckily, we had a chicken schwarma and a falafel platter (on the appetizer menu) on the way. I think the schwarma was the standout item. Way better than Kassab’s. Tender chicken, tahini sauce, diced cukes and tomatoes, all tucked into a fluffy pita. Yum.

The falafel was crispy and tasty and came with creamy hummus. Craving satisfied. I thought the falafel was a little mild on the spice but overall enjoyable. Some of the better falafel I have had in the ‘burgh.

Sababa is definitely worth a try if you are craving some hummus. I think maybe they could tone down the lights in the dining room but I still liked this place. The manager/owner visited every table (nice touch) and our waitress was cheerful and attentive.

In the spirit of fattening up, we followed up the Sababa dinner with brownies made from Ghirardelli mix at home. Yessssssss.

Sunday: Munchkins at DD and a walk in Frick Park 

Whew. Easing back into moderate activity.

Mission complete.

Brgr on Urbanspoon

Sababa Middle Eastern Grill on Urbanspoon

Read Full Post »


By winter.

Read Full Post »

Sunday Morning




Read Full Post »

Back to the grind

So it goes.

I took a little bloggie hiatus over the last few weeks to enjoy the holidays and escape the cold Pittsburgh weather.

My holidays were highlighted by spending time with family and friends. I hit all the usual fam festivities on the 24th and 25th, eating all the Christmas ham, cheesy potatoes, shrimp cocktail and cookies I could handle.

Unfortunately, my Christmas celebration was dampered by someone BREAKING INTO MY CAR AND TAKING EVERYTHING WHILE I WAS AT CHRISTMAS EVE MASS. “Everything” included all my wrapped Christmas presents, food, booze, and an overnight bag with personal items as I planned to stay at my parents’  house on Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas.

I was obviously initially hysterical. I filed a police report on Christmas Eve and tried to carry on with the holiday as best I could. I am still angry but realize I could have been a victim of far worse crimes. In the end it was only stuff (and stuff that hopefully my insurance will cover – in that process now).


Fortunately, leaving for the Turks and Caicos Islands the day after Christmas helped lessen the blow of my misfortune. (Thanks again Big D!)


I spent five days catching up with my family, laying on the beach, eating amazing food, and relaxing.

turk's head lager - local brew

checking out the view on a cloudy day

sun's out!

goodbye 2010

providenciales, turks and caicos islands, BWI

And oh yes, the food! We dined at open air restaurants nearly every night and enjoyed some crazy delicious meals. Pasta with arugula, local grouper, seafood risottos, fish tacos, boullibaise, and lobster. Oh, the lobster.

local TCI one pound tail - so sweet, so fresh, so good


or perhaps you would like a little turf with your surf?

2010 was a rough year in many ways. It brought along multiple family health issues, other ups and downs, and a major life (relationship) change for myself. However, as I sat with family on vacation, laughing, drinking wine and enjoying life, I truly contemplated everything I have been blessed with. And the blessings are many. Happy (belated) New Year to all!

Read Full Post »