Monthly Archives: April 2010

All-Clad Cookware

People are constantly asking me what type of pots and pans to buy. It’s never an easy question to answer, but there are some suggestions that I can offer. First of all, try to stay away from aluminum- it’s an unfriendly cooking surface, and can contribute to the discoloration of sauces. Try to stick with stainless steel that’s at least 1/8 of an inch think. Next, look at the base of the handles- what type of fastener is used to connect the handle to the pot? If it is simply spot-welded, don’t buy it. Although these welds are for the most part effective, they can corrode and become unstable. Imagine yourself carrying 30 pounds of boiling water, only to have the handles fall off- not good. There should be some type of fastener that goes through the pot, and the handle like a rivet or screw, also stainless steel. Many top-end companies have started using copper with stainless steel in the fabrication of their cookware. Copper is an excellent heat conductor, but can also add significant cost to your purchase.

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Restaurant Etiquette

My increased visits to restaurants lately have inspired me to write this piece on etiquette. There are certain things you should, and shouldn’t do while dining out. Here are a few to examples.

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How to Make Sushi

I can recall when sushi started becoming popular; it was around 15 years ago. People couldn’t get enough of the stuff. It’s unique texture, preparation, and taste intrigued foodies all over the world. I was sure that this “new food” was just a fad- I mean, its labor-intensive preparation, and expensive ingredients (bluefin and yellowfin tuna) would surely make it cost-prohibitive, and stifle its loyal following.

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Starbucks, Squirrel Hill

During the weekends I would find myself working a lot, with seldom fun outings with friends or family. You see, I’m one of those people afflicted with an overly-strong work ethic; some call it being a “work-a-holic.” It was suggested by a family member that I take some time for myself; “Grab your newspaper, and find a nice coffee shop to sit and relax for a while,” I was told. My first weekend out, I decided to try Starbucks, on Forbes and Shady in Squirrel Hill. The parking lot was full, so I parked down the street a bit; it was, after all, a nice day for a walk. I approached the counter and asked for a Venti regular coffee. I received my brew, and found a seat near the window. As I took my first sip, I was surprised- this stuff was strong, not like the coffee I had experienced at work, or other small coffee shops around town. I finished my large drink, and was happy to have completed my first session of “mandated” relaxation.

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Cake Pictures

On Saturday, April 24th, I had the opportunity to be one of the judges at the annual Midwife Center Cake Competition. Here are photos of some of the entries- let us know which ones you like the best!

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Piper’s Pub, Pittsburgh, PA

Last August, I went to Piper’s Pub on a first date. I was a little nervous. I don’t remember what I wore. I don’t remember eating or drinking anything. I could probably take a good guess about what the floor looked like because I’m sure I was staring at it all evening. For some unfathomable reason, the silly boy I went out with stuck around, and we went there again last week for a laid-back dinner. It’s really a shame I don’t remember that first dinner at Piper’s, because I’m sure it was lovely.

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Pangea, Shadyside

We arrived at Pangea in Shadyside at 7pm on a Saturday night. There were a plethora of seats available; that made us nervous. Its peak hour, why weren’t there more patrons here? We were shown to a table, and our drink orders were taken. My dinner mate had the house Cabernet; it was sweet, and peachy with a fruit bouquet-perfect. Unfortunately, we didn’t ask what the house-brand was… sorry. As we looked over our menus, our server arrived with some warm bread and butter. The doughy concoction was sweet and extra crusty; exceptional.

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Conspiracy in the Kitchen

First of all, both Chef Kerber and Katie Lane are beautiful people; both inside and out. Kerber’s blue eyes rival Paul Newman’s (sigh!) and his quick smile is very disarming. Katie’s small, delicate frame effuses a grace and femininity from an era before either of these two was born. They’re attractive, good looking folks who don’t take themselves too seriously….until you get to the work part.

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Rock Bottom, Pittsburgh

When I went to Rock Bottom, I didn’t know what to make of the restaurant. Is it American food? Mexican? European? There are no defining characteristics on the menu (or in the décor) that can help with this conundrum. After eating at the restaurant, I did some research. Rock Bottom is considered to be a brewery first, serving “American style” food.

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Bravo, The Waterfront

Italian food is one of my favorites, right behind Mexican and Thai. It’s not easy to find an authentic Italian restaurant in Pittsburgh. I’ve tried several Italian bistros over the past few years, some good, and some not so good. One of the better Italian restaurants in the city is Bravo Cucina Italiana, at the Waterfront.

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