Showing posts with label Pittsburgh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pittsburgh. Show all posts

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Jimmy Buff's Italian Hot Dogs

If you happen to find yourself in the area of West Orange, New Jersey, you must make a stop at Jimmy Buff's Italian Hot Dog's. Located at 60 Washington Street in a tiny diner, Buff's serves what is one of the best and certainly the most unique hot dog I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy.

Buff's  serves its dogs with fried potatoes, onions and peppers on a unique bun that is a far cry from the ordinary hot dog bun. Like Primanti's in Pittsburgh, everything, including the fried potatoes are piled on the hot dog itself. It makes for a mouth-watering experience that only makes you crave another one.  In fact, Buff's offers a double, which is the same price as a single on Tuesdays.

I'm told that some days the lines snake out into the parking lot in front of the restaurant. I sure understand why.

Located just about twenty miles from Manhattan, it's definitely worth a visit.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Lawrenceville: Hipster Heaven

 You have probably never heard of the neighborhood located in the East end of Pittsburgh known as Lawrenceville. But you will. Lawrenceville recently was named one of the top 26 neighborhoods for hipsters in the world by Business Insider. Other neighborhoods in the list included the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and Shoreditch in London..This is quite an honor for this former blue collar neighborhood of row houses and steelworker bars where I grew up and lived for many years.

When I grew up there, Lawrenceville was basically known for two things: an explosion at the Allegheny Arsenal during the Civil War which killed almost one hundred women, men and children ; and the location of the birthplace of Stephen Foster, the 19th century composer of songs like Camptown Races ("doo dah") and My Old Kentucky Home, played before every Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

Located about three miles from downtown Pittsburgh, it is eminently walkable and served by excellent public transportation. The home of two large, public parks, it has always been a good place to raise a family. But a few years ago, Lawrenceville began to undergo a fundamental change in its character. Young people in particular began to recognize its potential. Houses were well-built and relatively inexpensive compared to other popular Pittsburgh neighborhoods. Millennials saw the potential in those homes and began flocking to Lawrenceville, where they plucked up those bargains and renovated and transformed them according to their taste.

At the same time, others saw the need for restaurants and other amenities to serve these new residents who had lots of available cash. What had been local dive bars were turned into gourmet restaurants. One of them, Cure, was recently named one of the best restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit magazine.

Lawrenceville had always had a thriving art scene. But with the arrival of these new hipsters, the arts flourished.  Many new galleries and studios were built in converted houses and former retail storefronts.

So, if you are a hipster (or think you are) or if you are just looking for a nice place to live and work, you might want to give Lawrenceville a look.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Casbah

No, not that Casbah in Algiers, Algeria. No, this post is about the Casbah restaurant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Located at the confluence of the Shadyside and East Liberty neighborhoods in Pittsburgh's East End, it has one of the best lunch menus in the City and maybe in the country.  My wife and I had lunch there recently and came away with the feeling that we had just had lunch at some New York or Los Angeles bistro; it was that good..

The Casbah offers a new menu daily. The day we were there, the offerings included tomato and basil bisque topped with a crostini, which my wife ate as part of the restaurant's "gusto" special, which I highly recommend. The "gusto" special, for $15, offers you the opportunity to taste three of the Casbah's lunch offerings. In addition to the creamy tomato bisque (which was excellent), my wife also enjoyed a mini crab cake (all lump crab meat) and a small pasta dish. I ordered the "gusto" special as well. My trio included a mini swordfish sandwich with a delicious aioli, a small salad with pieces of grilled corn, heirloom tomatoes and radishes. The third item was a small pasta dish with cavatelli pasta noodles  and  velvety ricotta cheese in a rich tomato sauce. The servers were prompt (filling glasses of ice tea immediately as soon as the glasses ran low ) and knowledgeable about the menu..

It was a terrific meal and if you find yourself in Pittsburgh at lunch time, I would recommend you stop in the Casbah.We have not eaten dinner there, but I am sure it is equally good.

The Casbah is located at 229 S Highland Avenue. The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating all year long on a covered patio. Parking, which can be problematic on the street, is available in a lot  next to the restaurant.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

No Surprise: Jerry Seinfeld is Hilarious

In a bit of a departure from our usual fare on this blog, I wanted to share with you our experience at the Jerry Seinfeld show here in Pittsburgh last Saturday night.

First of all, it was a miracle we were able to get any tickets at all. When the show was originally announced, the show was sold out quickly. Apparently happy with the response, a second show was scheduled. I called the box office and remarkable, tickets were still available for the second show.  I gobbled up two for a total of $176, tax and handling fees included.. They were for middle of the left center orchestra. Not bad.

The show began with Seinfeld's warm-up act, a comedian whose name I could not hear when he was announced.  He was very funny and I began to wonder if Seinfeld could top him.  No need to worry. After about twenty minutes of  the warm up act's non-stop jokes, Seinfeld appeared to a standing ovation. As I am sure is common where ever he goes, he paid homage to the city, pointing out that Pittsburgh is always ranked number 1 or near the top in almost every survey of the most livable cites, but then further pointing to the fact that "nobody believes that for a minute."

The next 75 minutes or so were similar non-stop observations about everything---and, of course, about "nothing." He joked that our lives all "sucked" including his own, but pointed out his sucked "a lot less." I was surprised at how limber he was as he danced around the stage. At 59, he appears to be at least twenty years younger.

It was a real tour de force and I would recommend you see him if he is visiting a town near you or even if you have to travel.  It is well worth it.

For scheduling information about the tour, see

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Rumfish Grille is a Hit

If you happen to live in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and enjoy good food in an interesting atmosphere, you'll enjoy the new Rumfish Grille. Located in the Great Southern Shopping Center in the suburb of Bridgeville, it is a real find.  My wife and I ate there on a recent Thursday night after receiving a coupon in the mail for $10 off two entrees. Tucked in the corner of the rather nondescript shopping center, home to TJ Maxx and LA Fitness, among other tenants, it has a casual decor that is quite inviting, especially the large open patio, which suggests that you are in Southern Florida or Southern California.

We requested seating outside and were pleasantly surprised by the rather large waterfall and expansive view of the surrounding hills. The menu (as suggested by the name) is dominated by fresh seafood. There is a raw bar serving up succulent oysters as well as a varied array of fish and a few meat choices. My wife and I started off with the mussels in white wine sauce. They were large, plump and very tasty. The broth was garlicky but not overly so.  It was served with one crouton and a plate of caraway seed rye bread, both quite good.

The entrees give you a choice of fish dishes as well as side dishes and sauces. You create your own entrĂ©e, picking the combination of fish, starch, vegetable and sauces that you prefer. I had the rainbow trout with mashed  potatoes and grilled corn. The trout was perfectly grilled as was the corn on the cob. The mashed potatoes were fresh and lumpy, just the way I like them. I ordered the rum sauce, which was quite spicy and I ended up using it very sparingly.

My wife had the Ono fish, which was quite meaty but a bit overdone. It was full of flavor when I sampled a small piece.

We both had desserts.  I had the chocolate mousse cake with toasted coconut flakes. It was very dense and moist, almost fudge-like.  Quite good. My wife tried the mixed berries in cream sauce. The berries were fresh and the sauce was somewhere between a whipped cream and zabaglione sauce. Also quite good.

We were pleasantly surprised at the large crowd of people on this Thursday night. The parking lot was full and we were told by one of the adjacent store owners that it is busy every night and particularly so on the weekend and during Steelers football games.

The staff seems well-versed in the menu and is generally unobtrusive, something of a rarity these days in restaurants.

The Rumfish Grille is open daily, including Sunday for brunch. It is located at 1155 Washington Pike, Bridgeville, PA 15017 in the Great Southern Shopping Center. The phone number is 412-914-8013.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix

Myron Cope  was the well-known, high-pitched radio commentator for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Known for creating the "Terrible Towel," the black and gold towel seen being waved at every Steeler game, whether home or away, Cope was also one of the foundesr of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. Estatblished in 1983 as a fund raiser for the Allegheny Valley School and later the Autism Society of Pittsburgh, it is now one of the most popular races of its kind. Nearby are two great universities, Carnegie-Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh.Pictured above is the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning.

Each year, generally during the third weekend of July, drivers of vintage race cars and fans of sports cars gather in the Oakland section of Pittsurgh in Scheleny Park to watch the only vintage car race run on city streets.. The course is 2.33 miles  long and has over 20 turns. About 250,000 people attend the time trials, the international car shows and the races.

Each year, one car is selected as the marque for the car show.  This year it was the MG and the spotlight car was the Lotus. In addition, German cars were highlighted. Porches, Audis, BMWs and Volkswagens filled the Bob O'Connor golf course where the car shows were held on this past Saturday. I even saw a Beetle that resembled my old 1970 Bug. Because of the German theme, there was even a Biergarten, where your favorite German brew was available under a large tent.

While the car shows are going on, so too are the qualifying races. The Crown Royal Featured Races took place on Sunday. The racers include classics such as Bugatti, Aston-Martin and Alfa-Romeo.

Be sure to mark your calendar for next year's event.