Quiet Storm

By | December 9, 2010

Quiet Storm
5430 Penn Ave
Garfield 15206
(412) 661-9355
www.qspgh.com (has menus!)
M, W-Sat: 9-9; Sun 10-4; Closed Tuesday

As long as I am writing up places that requested my opinion, I think I will finally get around to Quiet Storm. Jill from Quiet Storm actually wrote to me many moons ago, in 2006, requesting my criticism. At the time, I felt underqualified to issue a response, since I had only been there a couple times and not terribly recently at that. Moreover, my impression was, at the time, that they were inconsistent and on some dishes failing to meet the mark of success. I didn’t want to be a jerk and review at request only to say bad things, so I resolved to saddle up and give it a square and fair shake. Buuuuuuutttttttttttt, I sorrrrrta never got around to that, and many years have passed since those summer days among the fields of barley… THEN, about a year and a half ago I moved just down the street from it. And all of a sudden I was studying there frequently and regularly attending brunches. And all of a sudden my world came alive! I have come to greatly appreciate Quiet Storm’s role in my life, delivering unto me delightfully affordable curry-of-the-day, tofu-scramble and delectable milkshakes! I still think they suffer from inconsistency (and an occasional fly or two buzzing around), but nevertheless with the things they do well they’ve managed to secure a firm hold in my culinary heart. Read more »

The Sonoma Grille

By | November 30, 2010

The Sonoma Grille
947 Penn Ave
Downtown, 15222
(412) 697-1336
www.thesonomagrille.com (Full Menu)
Open Daily: Lunch 11-3; Dinner 5-11

So a funny thing happened to me on the way to the internet forum. I got asked to do a tasting for a restaurant! Like, it gets paid for and I get a $25 gift certificate to give one of yinz readers!! (hang tight till the end of the review to find out how to win!) I find this funny because, well, my whole reason I am doing this site is because I love food and not because I want to make any kind of money or fame (though some money might support my ability to actually eat out anywhere, hint hint), and so the review writing style is goofy as hell and therefore it surprises me that I got picked up on enough to get asked to do something professional-seeming like this. In any case, I was invited to taste and review The Sonoma Grille, in downtown Pittsburgh. And I gotta say, out of the Pittsburgh restaurants downtown, I think it’s not half bad. Which, by my calculations, makes it at least greater-than-half good. Even with the caveat that I was essentially paid to write this review whilst they got to put their prettiest pedicured foot forward. Read more »

Ritter’s Diner

By | August 16, 2009

Ritter’s Diner
5221 Baum Blvd
(412) 682-4852
24 hours

Oh Ritter’s. You are so….  Ritter’s!  This place has so much individuality, it is practically its own person.  And more than any other place I know in Pittsburgh, everyone I’ve talked to is completely polarized about it.  They either got burned by or are totally in love with the gritty, bitter bitch that is Ritter’s. There’s a lot to like honestly: cheap, open all the time, you can go there totally plastered (totally), foods not TOO crappy, it is located kind of close to the universities, and it provides the most fabulous people watching.  The main complaint people have is the service, which I’ll just call ‘saucy’ for now, but this just makes it quintessentially Ritter’s.  Apparently other people than me actually love the whole feel of it, because there exists a chain theme restaurant called Ed Debevic’s that tries to replicate the environment by training their wait staff to be subtly abusive.  But we don’t need any chains here because we’ve got our very own, real life version of such a place in Ritter’s, and let me tell you — Ed’s got nothin on her. Read more »

Eat Unique

By | August 12, 2009

Eat Unique
305 South Craig St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
M-F, 7:30am-8pm; Sat, 10am-5:30pm

In Pittsburgh we have no shortage of delicious, locally owned restaurants, as you can see from the loads of reviews posted here.  But, these are mostly sit-down with entrées and service, best for dinner.  When it comes to lunchtime, ‘burghers are often at the mercy of national chains like Subway, Quizno’s, McDonald’s, Qdoba, Chipotle, etc.  Don’t get me wrong, those chains have a place and a time (maybe), but I want more from my lunch.  Where’s all the delis in this town anyway?  I’m on the hunt, and my first stops are naturally emanating outwards from my location of actual employment (no, I do not get paid one iota for this website, whatever an iota is).  First stop, for no other reason reason, is Eat Unique.  It may not be fast, or particularly cheap, but their sandwiches are eponymously creative, and when they are good they are eminently satisfying.

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Jimmy Tsang’s

By | July 27, 2009

Jimmy Tsang’s
5700 Centre Ave
Shadyside  15206
M-Th: 11:30-10; F-Sat 11:30-11; Sun 3-9

Gotta say – this has been an interesting month.  And on top of that, I’ve been hitting up an unusual category of restaurant: the kind that you’ve noticed around town and that sticks in your mind but that you never even think to actually go to.  They give off some kind of vibe, like ‘don’t come in here, we’re full of old people and haven’t changed our recipes in 40 years’.  I’m saying places like Duranti’s on Craig and Fifth, Lombardozzi’s on Liberty, and Tokyo, that place next to the Shur-Sav in Bloomfield.  Typically, the food is as stale as the recipes, but not bad – I call it ‘fine’.  I have always kind of figured Jimmy Tsang’s was in this category — it’s just that Chinese place with the somewhat elaborate blue tile veneer and the liquor license, somewhere on Baum or Centee, maybe near Negley, that I have never personally known anyone to go into or come out of and just somehow never made it to myself.  Well this weekend I went, and though some of that vibe is correct (on a Saturday night their clientele was a handful of tables flocked with the elderly), the food was better than I expected and the menu selection was much better that I expected.  Perhaps even more pleasing, the prices weren’t too shabby, and their selection of import and micro beers was quality.  I think I might even go here again sometime.

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Pho Minh

By | July 24, 2009

Pho Minh
4917 Penn Ave
Garfield, 15224
M,W,Th: 11-2, 5-9; F-Sat: 11-10; Sun: 12-8; Closed Tu.

I’ve been meaning to go to Pho Minh for a while, and frankly I’m not sure how I went almost 12 years in the city, never going there.  I have to admit, I’ve been a Tram’s enthusiast for some time now and really just haven’t gotten around to breaking the habit.  However, I am aware that there are all these diners out there who prefer Pho Minh adamantly, and so I finally took the time to find out why.

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Panther Hollow Inn

By | July 22, 2009

Panther Hollow Inn   (a.k.a. PhiBar, a.k.a. PHI)
4611 Forbes Ave
Oakland, 15213
M-Sat: 11am-2:30am; Sun: only during Steelers season

Well due to recent happenings in my life, not only am I a graduate student, but I am a *poor* graduate student.  So while dining at finer establishments has been fun, I have to refocus my efforts on finding good deals when eating out.  I’m not quite down to the level of a free-gan, scoping the basement hallways of Pitt and CMU for the abandoned pizza of concluded meetings, but I do need to keep a bit of an eye on my budget to make sure I still have enough money left over for beer.  Here enters PhiBar.  PHI offers some really cheap food.  It is not fine dining, nor is it even stellar bar food, but it is dirt cheap and it qualifies as definitively good enough, maybe even better than most for what it is.  And of course, it is a classic Oakland locale to go get diza-runk, so consider going here if you want to eat cheap (but decent) pizza surrounded by wasted (but eye-pleasing) Pitt and CMU kids. Read more »

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

By | May 11, 2007


What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and it is a service where a local farm will deliver its fresh vegetables and fruits directly to your part of town just for you. This happens usually on a weekly basis, and the veggies are only those that are in season at that moment. The veggies are always freshly picked, and you get them for much cheaper than you would at the store. An additional benefit is that you are spending your money on your community by supporting the local farmers.
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By | April 24, 2007

2109 Murray Ave
Squirrel Hill, 15217
M-F: 5pm-2am; Sat-Sun: Noon-2am
Cuzamil is a new Mexican restaurant that took over the space previously occupied by the incredibly authentic Mi Mexico in Squirrel Hill. Like Mi Mexico, it’s main draws are that it isn’t awful, and it is the only Mexican restaurant within walking distance to Squirrel Hill residents. Mi Mexico died perhaps because it was too authentic for traditional Tex Mex eating populations. Cuzamil is more of the chimichanga and enchilada type of Mexican, without a single tongue on the menu, so it may fare better simply due to the milder menu. But, the real reason Cuzamil might succeed is because they have a liquor license. We all know that a margarita goes a long way on a hot Pittsburgh summer day, and a boring taco will probably find its way into your belly along the way. Read more »

Tamarind: Flavor of India

By | March 25, 2007

Tamarind: Flavor of India
257 N. Craig Street
North Oakland, 15213
M-F: 11:30-2:30, 5-10; Sat-Sun: 12-3, 5-10

For our 10th Indian Food Club anniversary, we decided to go on a date to Tamarind: Flavor of India. This is the upscale sister restaurant to Tamarind: Savoring India out in the South Hills, which we reviewed way back when in Week 5. Savoring India was decent, but probably only worth going back to if it happened to be convenient to your neighborhood. Savoring’s sibling, however, is perhaps one of the finest Indian restaurants in Pittsburgh. It may be more expensive, but almost everything on the menu has a high probability of being delicious, and you eat your dins in a nice, though not very Indian, environment that could be perfect for a date, a work dinner, or a family celebration. Sure, there were a couple of slip-ups here and there, but overall we were all very happy with Tamarind: Flavor of India, and our rating shows it, at a whopping 4.5 average! Read more »