Tag Archives: brunch

The Happiest of Birthdays for a Very Special Grandma

5 Mar

No, I haven’t disappeared from the internet.  I’ve spent the last few days with my family, celebrating the 80th birthday of my wonderful Grandma.  I grew up in Southern California, but my family has long dispersed throughout the country.  Our chances to see one another are few and very very very far between.  Upon hearing that a surprise 80th birthday party was in the works, the Beez family eagerly packed up for the trip!

Flying with kids is not easy.  It’s not so bad when they are tiny infants and don’t do anything but sleep, eat and poop.  The worst flight we had was when Baby Beez was about 18 months old, walking and full of energy, and we were too foolish to get her her own seat.  She spent the whole flight squirming and screaming.  Once the kid is walking age, get them their own seat.  Sure, you can keep them on your lap til their 2, but it will be awful and you will hate everything.  It’s nice to be out of that time where forgetting something at home is a total crisis.  I still need to bring diapers and sippy cups and everything, but if I forget something, replacements are usually easy enough to pick up or I can improvise.  It’s nice to be out of that zone where forgetting a bottle or a binkie or whatever means complete crisis.

This isn’t to say that flying with a toddler is a joy. It’s certainly not.  But it has toned down from complete torture to annoying inconvenience, and future travels look to get better and better.

Grandma was shocked by all the excited guests. She and Grandpa were crying so many happy tears.

We had her party at The Castaway, a restaurant high up in the hills surrounding Burbank.  They serve a generous, delicious buffet style bunch, with bottomless mimosas to boot! I have a taste for the fine things as well as life’s basic pleasures.  Few things can make me happier than a plate full of mini corndogs and a glass of green champagne (for St. Pat’s of course)

The more refined offerings on the menu included osso buco and oysters on the half shell.  They were all delicious, and the variety of options is perfect for a party.

One of The Castaway’s signature features is its beautiful view.  It was a little cloudy when we arrived, but it cleared up beautifully.

And we took the opportunity to gather together for family photos.

Baby Beez stole my iPhone for a bit, and showed off her artistic side.  She knows how to activate Siri, but all she keeps telling Siri is “iPhone,” and then Siri keeps directing her to the online Apple Store.  Baby Beez is better with the camera than with the Siri.

Grandma and Grandpa were so happy to see all their beloved family and friends.  It was so sad to have to part ways at the end of the weekend, not knowing when we’ll gather back together, but it was wonderful getting to spend a little time together.

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A Belly-Filling Brunch .@TinFrontCafe

17 Feb

A few weeks back, the Beez family piled into the car, rolled down the High Level Bridge, and joined friends for brunch at the Tin Front Cafe. Baby Beez is an early napper and brunch time tends to be the witching hour.    We got lucky on this particular Sunday and she behaved more like a baby than a banshee. We managed to have a charming brunch.

I kicked things off with a generously-portioned bloody mary.

Salty, tomato-y and all things wonderful.  They also offer one with horseradish infused vodka, but I was afraid that the kick was more than my delicate sinuses could handle.

The Tin Front Cafe has a varied menu of hearty stick-to-your ribs vegetarian fare, but I also love that they have a small buffet that goes along with your brunch entree.  On this particular day they offered chili with chili-toppings and cornbread, potatoes, salad, cookies and to die for banana chocolate chip mini muffins.  The mini buffet was a lifesaver for brunching with a toddler.  Toddlers, and Baby Beez is no exception, are not known for their patience when hungry. We always order for her as soon as we are seated, but it was nice to be able to give her some food immediately.

For my entree I went for the polenta with ratatouille and veggie sausage.  It was a very cold day outside, and this selection was delicious and belly filling.

Along with the typical brunch fare of french toast, pancakes etc, there was a breakfast burrito on that menu that I was dying to try (next time! next time!). As Greenfielders, Tin Front is super close in Homestead.  The on street parking is very easy on Sunday mornings.  The cafe staff were friendly and attentive.  The cafe was all around excellent.  Tin Front is a brunch gem.
The Tin Front Cafe on Urbanspoon

BOOM. Yoga Revelation. And E2.

10 Dec

I had an awesome bikram yoga class today. I was focused, working hard, and did an awesome job. And during this fantastic class, I had a moment of clarity: These NaBloPoMo posts are getting boring. So I’m ditching them. SEE YA.

Now on to something fun– FOOD. Mr. Beez and I took our friends Christine and Trav out to E2 for a birthday brunch.

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I’ve been meaning to go there for ages, and was thrilled that Christine selected it. I’ve heard that the wait there can be hours long, so we went on the early side (10am). The dining room is very tiny, and can seat maybe 20-25 people. They have a nice big party room downstairs, where we sat and drank coffee while we waited for our table to open up. Even though the seating in the downstairs area are big communal tables, it would be really nice if they would open this area up for more brunch seating.

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E2 is BYOB.  And brunch isn’t brunch without mimosas.

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E2’s menu changes continuously, and this week’s menu was full of fresh winter vegetables and comfort foods.

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But there is also a standing menu of sweet and savory beignets.  These savory zeppoli (with pepper and cheese) were my favorite part of this delicious meal, and the caramel nut beignets were a close second.  I’m not much of a doughnut fan, but E2’s fried dough made my tastebuds sing.

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I ordered the butternut squash frittata.  On the whole it was delicious, but it could have used just a little kick.  I think it would have been perfect if there were some spicy sausage mixed in, or maybe I should have tried topping it with a bit of sriracha. That being said, it was still tasty, and I would not hesitate to order it again.

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Mr. Beez also happily devoured his omelette.  Our meals were hearty and reasonably priced.  I was glad that we did not get stuck with a terrible wait, and the servers were nice an attentive during our little wait.  E2 is a gem in Highland Park’s cute little business district.
E2 on Urbanspoon

Club Cafe Brunch

24 Aug

Friday’s not a traditional “brunch” day, but I figured by posting this on a Friday, you could keep Club Cafe in mind when you’re putting very important brunch plans together. (Brunch, my friends, is the most IMPORTANT meal of the weekend). Also, I am feeling like a sad sack because there aren’t many entries on my Love With Food giveaway.  The giveaway closes to night, so please stop on over there to share your FAVORITE THING ON THE INTERNET! (and to make me feel popular)

Club Cafe is an intimate live music venue in the Southside. Seeing a band play there feels like you’re hanging out with them in your living room. I was excited to see they’ve begun to offer Sunday brunches…oh who am I kidding, I get excited about every mention of brunch! Of course, a LivingSocial deal bumped Club Cafe up to the top of my “must try!” list.

I met up with my friend Sonia for a walk around the Southside before brunching. We walked from 18th street down and around the Southside Works and back, and worked up quite an appetite. Good thing, because Club Cafe’s brunch menu was so full of delicious sounding offerings that we had a hard time choosing.

I selected the Steak & Egg croissant. This is no Crossainwich, this thing is delightful. Club Cafe gets their croissants from Jean-Marc Chatellier’s French Bakery. They are SRS BZNESS. While the croissant was too delicate a bread to fully contain the sandwich, it complemented the steak and egg with perfect decadence. The only fitting description for this sandwich is buttery. Oh it was so good.  I want to eat this every day.

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I initially did not plan to order any cocktails, but I saw they offer a Bloody Mary flight, and I could not resist. I imagined that these would be small glasses of bloody mary, but hoo boy, are they ever generous with their servings.

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I would return to Club Cafe for brunch in a heartbeat. The food was delicious and the prices were good. The service was astounding as well. We arrived on the earlier side for brunch, but even as time passed and the seats began to fill, the servers were quick to fill our water and coffee and attend to every need.
Club Cafe on Urbanspoon

My Pittsburgh Weekend

12 Aug

It’s technically still summer but this weekend has been a little cooler, and the stores are starting to stock up for Back to School.  I like summer but I love fall.  The beginning of autumn fills me with excitement for turtleneck sweaters, boots, and pumpkin spice everything.  It also fills me with regret.  Regret that another summer has gone by and I haven’t been able to do all the things I wanted.  Now it’s clear from my blog that I certainly get out and do a lot, it’s just that I set my hopes too high, and when the summer’s over, I feel like there is so much left undone.

I’ve spent too much time on airplanes the last few weeks, reading the airline magazine articles about “Spending a weekend in [Enter Hub City].”  Articles I’ve seen about Pittsburgh are always the great, but typical, spots– Mount Washington, Just Ducky Tour, etc.  So I’ve put together my own “Weekend in Pittsburgh” for the traveler who has already seen the major tourism spots, or the resident who just wants a blissful weekend.

Friday

The Cultural District is always a winner for a Friday Out.  I’d go out for a decadent dinner at Nine on Nine or Sonoma Grill and catch a Pittsburgh Public Theater show at the O’Reilly.  Afterward I’d take a stroll in the direction of Market Square and have drinks at Andy’s in the Fairmount, or maybe check out Perle, the new champagne bar.

Saturday

I would sleep in (what an indulgence!) and then spend a long, lazy afternoon in the Strip District.  I’d meet up with friends for a coffee at La Prima, and then we’d stroll up and down Penn Avenue,  stuffing ourselves with Banh Mi from Lucy, tacos from Reyna’s, cookies from the vendors outside PennMac, and mung bean pancakes.  I’d also make a stop at Farmer’s at Firehouse to check out the weekend’s offerings, and make sure to stop at the Pittsburgh Public Market to fill up a growler at East End Brewing.

After all that eating, oh boy would a nap be in order.

Once I was well rested, it would be time to venture down to PNC Park for a Pirates’ game.  And yes, Quaker Steak bbq wings and a beer are a must!

In the dugout!

If I had my druthers, it would be a 4pm game (with a WIN!), and then a band I like would be playing that night at Stage AE, so I could wander over and relax on the law, watch the boats go by, and enjoy the tunes.

Sunday

Sunday means one thing: BRUNCH.  There are so many amazing brunches in Pittsburgh that it is so hard to choose the “best.”  If I was feeling like a classic, decadent brunch I’d go for the Grand Concourse.  If I am feeling more modern and chic, Casbah is the choice.  And if I’m feeling whimsical, I’d go for Doublewide Grill.  I really have to say I was IMPRESSED with Bar Marco, and sampling their brunch selection is a must for me, so that would be my number one pick (today).

With all this eating, a long walk would be in order.  I’d strap Baby Beez in the beco carrier, and head over to Frick Park for a hike through the trails.  With any luck, we’d see chipmunks and birds, and the shady trees would keep us all cool.

WE LOVE THE TREES!

After our long, leisurely walk, it would be time for dinner (yes, all I think about is food).  I would want to haul out to Aspinwall for some Burgatory. They tweeted about their new key lime pie milkshake this week, and I can’t get it OUT OF MY HEAD!

Burgatory Key Lime Milkshake, from the Burgatory Twitter Feed

And after all that running about and madness, I admit I’d spend Sunday evening on the couch, regrouping, and catching up on the TV I missed during the week.

So that’s my weekend in Pittsburgh.  How would you spend your weekend in Pittsburgh?

Completely gratuitous photo of my friend, Krista, and Councilman Bill Peduto…wherein he pretends to devour a decorative cabbage. This is pretty much the best Pittsburgh photo ever.