Tag Archives: sandwiches

The Sandwich of my Dreams @BlueBirdKitchen

11 Feb

Sandy has long been singing the praises of Bluebird Kitchen’s chicken salad sandwich.  The Post-Gazette added its voice to the choir in a hunger-inducing article about local sandwich shops.  I’ve never had much of an opinion about chicken salad.  I don’t dislike it. I don’t care much one way or another about it.  But with all these devoted chicken salad fans, it was time to try this sammie out.

Oh my goodness.


This is a perfect sandwich.  The croissant is flaky, just a tiny bit crunchy, and not soggy in the slightest.  The chicken was for-real roast chicken, flavorful and delicious.  The mayonnaise was creamy, and lacked that off-putting tang that usually keeps me away from mayonnaise.  The chicken salad featured tasty apple chunks and cashews.  Wow. What a sandwich.  I could eat these every minute, every day.

The one mistake I made was chomping down on a cookie sandwich along with the sandwich.  The sandwich is incredibly rich and filling.  Going for the sugar cookie sandwich filled with vanilla creme was just way too much.  I’m sure the cookie is wonderful on its own, but it was too sweet, too rich, just all around too much to go along with that sandwich.  A side green salad, though, might not be a bad option.  The sandwich is decadent, and anything else rich alongside it will just be overwhelming.

I don’t know how I’m going to convince myself not to wander on down to Market Square for one of these sandwiches every single day for the rest of forever.

Bluebird Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Bites and Brews at South Street Brewery (Charlottesville, VA)

13 Jan

Tomorrow it’s back to real life. Trial college certainly wasn’t a vacation, but since I didn’t have the extra responsibilities of feeding the parrots, packing lunches and getting a small person dressed and out the door, I at least got to sleep in til 7am. Tomorrow, the alarm goes off at 6 again. So on this last evening before I’m back to business, I’m taking a couple moments to think back on the good eats we had on our last night in Charlottesville. South Street Brewery came highly recommended, and it did not disappoint. It’s a standard microbrewery/pub, but the food is tasty, the ambiance welcoming, and the brews carefully crafted.


South street is known for its giant soft pretzels.  They are salty and fresh, and come with a trio of dipping sauces.  I’m a mustard fan, and was happy they offered 2 varieties.  The dijon mustard had a lot of kick, but not too much for this wimpy eater.  I especially loved the honey mustard (but I pretty much always love honey mustard).


I was in the mood for pub food (they also have pasta, steaks and other such entrees) and picked the pulled pork.  Great choice, great choice!  The pulled pork was tender, flavorful and not oversauced. The house salad was huge, and high quality.  This wasn’t some sad wilty iceberg thing.  It was piled high and full of veggies.  It was awesome.


I really loved the feel of the restaurant.  There was a big bar area where you could sit and sample the brews.  There was also ample table seating for families and groups.  On top of that, there was also even a lounge-type area with coffee shop type chairs.  Even though I hesitate to go to bars or restaurants solo, I would not be shy of wandering in here myself, cozying up in a chair and having myself a drink.  It’s relaxed and the staff was friendly.  It’s too bad that it’s so darn far away.  But I’m sure that the next time I find myself in Charlottesville, I’ll find my way to South Street Brewery.

South Street Brewery on Urbanspoon

The Common Plea Restaurant

5 Sep

I’ve known about  the Common Plea restaurant for about forever, but it has taken me years to make my way down to this Ross Street institution. Unlike Market Square offerings that demand a bit of a hike, the Common Plea offers a fancy-pants option in close proximity to Allegheny County’s courthouses. The Common Plea strives to attract the dinner/theater crowd, but as beneficial as its location is for lunchtime, it’s situated a bit far from the Cultural District. 

The Common Plea is total old school, Rumpole of the Bailey style (why does wikipedia have a Rumpole entry for the tv show, but not the books? Bah.)  The restaurant is dimly lit, and upholstered in dark wood and dark leather.  If it weren’t for the no smoking laws, there would be a thick lingering cloud of cigar smoke.  There was even an old man at the bar in a seersucker suit.

I loved it.


The soup was served in ceramic tureens (I was not quick enough to snap a pic with the lid still on).

The place has novelty, but it also has stand up food.  At lunch, the Common Plea offers a variety of sandwiches, hamburgers, and pastas.  I had a pasta dish with grilled shrimp that was topped with, yes, raisins. It looked totally weird.

It was totally good.


  One thing that I really liked about the Common Plea is that despite their old school vibe, they are 100% on board with social media and attracting new crowds.  They sent a representative to the Visit Pittsburgh social media conference I attended a few months back, and (being a social media nerd) I thought that attention to social media was awesome.
Common Plea on Urbanspoon

fun in NYC #blogher12

4 Aug

Well Blogher ’12 has drawn to a close. I’ll be posting a more substantive retrospective tomorrow, but the short summary is that I got some awesome tech takeaways, and met some great people.

I strolled the expo a bit more today, and got to hang out with the Got Milk milkmen.


I also had a hot date with Zac Ephron, except I was a little turned off because he had something in his nose, and didn’t get it when I tried to indicate that to him with subtlety, but he didn’t get it, so I had to take matters into my own hands.


Hersheys and Wal-Mart sponsored a hospitality suite that featured INDOOR SMORES. You know my feelings on smores. I went back twice.



Starbucks also had a hospitality suite featuring its new single-brew coffeemaker. I was very skeptical because I really do not like Keurig. I’ve tried all kinds of pods and settings and everything, and I can never get it to make anything other than gross. The new bux machine makes drip coffee, espresso, and lattes. I made a latte (with double espresso, naturally), and it was surprisingly good. I’m still not going to buy one of the machines, because I make coffee at home all of never, but I won’t turn my nose up if someone else offers me a cup.

After I was done with a day full of awesome tech-centered seminars, Mr. Beez and I wandered down to Lindy’s famous overpriced deli for a sammich. It’s within view of Times Square, which the absurd prices reflect, however the food was surprisingly decent (despite the abysmal Yelp reviews). Mr. Beez had the worlds largest sandwich full of meat, which I had to help him eat because it was so massive.

Mr. Beez and I also went out on the town on Friday night for dinner. The 3 Monkeys was the closest reasonably-priced eatery that had great results on Yelp. It was a comfortable bar, with quick service and a great beer selection. We had a charcuterie plate, which was good but nothing special. For my meal, I ordered the sliders sampler. You get to pick 3 sliders from beef, chicken, pork, and lamb. I went for the beef, chicken, and lamb. The beef was a classic cheddar bacon cheeseburger, which was solid and satisfying. The chicken was really surprisingly good, it was juicy and just the perfect amount of salty. The lamb, however, I am still dreaming about. IT WAS AMAZING. In a full burger size, it would have been overkill, but the slider was OMG DELICIOUS. We’ve got time to grab some brunch before catching the plane tomorrow, and I am seriously considering strong-arming Mr. Beez for a trip back there.

Tonight we also went to the movies to see THE BATMAN. It may sound like a bit of a waste to go all the way to NYC to see a movie, but I really really did not want to see this movie surrounded by loud overstimulated Pittsburghers. Instead, we saw the movie surrounded by New Yorkers and tourists, and being the only overstimulated yinzers in the crowd, we ruined it for everyone else. I loved seeing all the footage of Pittsburgh pieced together. It actually made it MORE fun to me, to watch the chase go UP Smithfield street, then DOWN Smithfield Street, then UP Smithfield Street, then HOW DID WE GET TO OAKLAND?


So tomorrow we head back to the ‘burgh, and I’ll get to snuggle that little baby girl that I’ve missed over the last few days (having 2 back to back weekends away is hard). We’ve been running around like crazy people this whole vacation, so I can’t say I feel rested. Still, I do feel ready to get back to work. That’s a good thing, because I’ve got a whole pile of stuff to tackle when I wander back to the office on Monday.

The City of Brotherly Love

16 Jun

I’ve had a BUSY week, and I was itching for a vacation.  I had a list of things I had to accomplish at work on Friday, and when I wrapped them up around 3:15, it was all SCHOOOOOOL’S OUT FOR SUMMAH!

Except it’s really just out until Monday.

Mr. Beez arrived here on Wednesday to attend the CCMA conference, and Baby Beez and I arrived here last night to spend a weekend visiting friends, and eating thirty thousand calories a day of Philadelphia’s finest vittles.  We are staying at the Marriott, which is directly across the street from the Reading Terminal Market. PERFECT!

We got in late last night (around 9:30) and I was starved.  We went for a short walk, and discovered More Than Just Ice Cream.  I was so hungry that I DIDN’T EVEN TAKE PICTURES OF MY FOOD!  Oh the humanity! Anyway, I had a grilled cheese with tomato and sweet potato fries. There wasn’t anything fancy about my order, but it was definitely solid.  I ordered Mac and Cheese for Baby Beez.  She was being a pain, refusing to sit and wanting to destroy everything, so I ate more of her meal than she did, and it was definitely good.   Mr. Beez had stir fry and it was full of a huge variety of fresh veggies and tofu.  They don’t mess around with fancy plating techniques or exotic flavor combinations–this is basic, delicious, comfort food.  I, of course, could not pass up the ice cream. I had a cone of chocolate marshmallow and cookie dough, and all I can say is YUM.  I wish I lived in Philly, I would hang out at this place all the time.

Today was a day chock FULL of adventure.  Even though Baby Beez didn’t go to bed until nearly midnight, she still woke up right at 6, howling for a cup of milk.  When we went to Reading Terminal Market for breakfast, she was, shall I say, a “piece of work.”

We had breakfast at Smucker’s Quality Meats.  They are an Amish shop that serves mostly sandwiches.  I ordered an egg and cheese sandwich, which I tried to share with Baby Beez (she preferred to throw it on the ground).

Although the egg and cheese were standard issue, the bun was buttery, fluffy and delicious.

I know that scrapple has some die-hard fans, so I was excited to try it. I’m all for deep fried greasy meat dishes (see: my unflagging adoration of corn dogs) but I just could not like this.  It was much too greasy for me.  Maybe it would have gone better if I had ordered it inside a sandwich, so that the bread could absorb some grease, instead of as a side, but my first taste of scrapple won’t have me rushing back for more.

After breakfast, the beastie (and I) took much needed naps, and then met up with my dear pal Aubrey for a trip to Philly’s Please Touch Museum.  After our somewhat disappointing trip to Cleveland’s children’s museum, I was bracing myself for the unexpected, and not getting my hopes up too high about the museum.  Folks, I had nothing to worry about. This museum is phenomenal.  It is enormous, and beautiful, and creative, and all those things that make a kids’ museum perfect.  From what I saw, it does not have a nursery area, so this museum is best for kids aged 18mos-10 years, but we spent quite a long time there and (had we not grown weary) could have been there much longer.

Shoveling coal for the train in the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibit.

I only managed to get pictures of Baby Beez in a few exhibits, because there was so much to do and she was having so much fun, that every time I went to take a picture, she’d dart off to the next activity before the shutter clicked.

Every kind of exhibit you could imagine for a kids museum, they pretty much have.  There is a car/garage exhibit, a rocket room, water tables, a rainforest music exhibit, a nursery rhyme exhibit, an Alice in Wonderland exhibit, and tons more.

As Baby Beez was getting worn out from all the playing, we made the carousel our last stop.  Baby Beez loved it.  She giggled as she went up and down, and gleefully waved at Aubrey as we passed by.  I was happy about the carousel, because it had more than just horses on it.  I always get excited to see a carousel filled with all kinds of animals, so I picked a pig for my oinky-pig baby to ride on.  They also had cats and rabbits and goats, but I think the pig was the best.  (My favorite carousels are the ones with dragons and tigers and bears and all kinds of animals.  When given the option, my favorite carousel animal is a chicken.)

After our museum adventure, more resting was definitely in order.  After some time, hunger crept in, and I snuck back over to Reading Terminal Market for a not-so-snack-sized snack from DiNiC’s.


I had the brisket with sharp provolone and grilled sweet peppers.  Mr. Beez had a very satisfying DiNic’s roast beef sandwich earlier in the week, and he was eager to hear my thoughts on my sandwich.  All I could muster was “I WANT TO MAKE OUT WITH THIS SANDWICH.”  Yes. That good.  In fact, I’m thinking of sneaking back over there for another one before we leave tomorrow.  The meat and peppers and bread were all absolutely perfect.  I was a little disappointed during the first few bites that the provolone was cold, not melted.  But a few more chomps in, the tangy aftertaste from the sharp provolone set in, and it was delicious. Want more sandwich.

Later in the day we also took another walk around the City.  As we were about to head back to the hotel, I remembered that I read good remarks about Capogiro Gelato in the hotel’s magazine (which is probably the point of those magazines anyway), and since it was nearby, I wanted to go.

Like most gelato places, it’s pricey.  A small starts around $4.50.  The flavors of gelato are stronger than the flavor of ice cream, though, so a small serving goes a long way.  Mr. Beez and Baby Beez went for the Amish Sweet Cream gelato, which they both enjoyed.  I had Stratciatella (when it’s gelato, “chocolate chip” is just too commonplace a name) and Burnt Sugar.  The Burnt Sugar was very tasty, and tasted just like the caramelized top of a creme brulee.  I only wish that the gelato had little crunchy sugar bits mixed in, that would have made it amazing.

The gelato was quite good, but I have to admit that I prefer hard ice cream over gelato.  Maybe it’s because I hate hazelnuts and hazelnuts tend to sneak in to all the chocolate variations of gelato.  Or maybe it’s because gelato melts too fast for my taste.  In any event, if you really like gelato, you’ll probably enjoy Capogiro, but I’ll get my ice cream fix over at More than Just Ice Cream.