An afternoon with bethgrd/cecif

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buffetbuster
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An afternoon with bethgrd/cecif - Fri, 05/9/08 10:58 AM
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I wasn't really sure where to post this thread, since it really wasn't a trip for me. But.....

Last Saturday, one of my favorite Roadfooders, bethgrd, was in Pittsburgh visiting some friends. She was able to slip away for a few hours to hit some Roadfood spots with me.

Beth is actually the first fellow Roadfooder I met. Along with my cousin Johnny, we hung out together on the Massashusetts North Shore Roadfood bus tour in 2006.

We were scheduled to meet at the Primanti's down in The Strip District at 2:00PM. Knowing how crowded they can get, I arrived a few minutes early to grab a table. Beth arrived right on time and was fortunate enough to snag a rare parking spot right in front.

Since Beth wasn't all that hungry, we split a sandwich. My personal favorite Primanti's sandwich is the capicola.

As you can see by the cross section, they are famous for putting the fries and cole slaw right on the sandwich itself.


Now, I know Primanti's has been discussed many, many times here on the boards. For every person who loves them, I can find an equal amount of people who hate them. Personally, I like them, although I don't really eat here that often. Besides the capicola, the other ones I recommend are the hot or sweet sausage or wanderingjew's choice, the kolbassi. Their biggest selling sandwich, the cheesesteak, is a disappointment to me.

I can tell you that Beth seemed to enjoy her sandwich and ate her entire half. We also got an order of fries to nibble on,

but didn't eat too many, since I knew even better fries were waiting for us.

For people who come to Pittsburgh and do want to eat at Primanti's, please do yourself a favor and eat at the Strip District location. This is the original and is full of Roadfood charm, if you will. There are other ones throughout the city and suburbs and some of them have all the ambiance of an Applebee's. If you don't go to the one in The Strip, you aren't getting, for better or worse, the full experience.

One of the things I really like about the original location is a wonderful mural depicting famous Pittsburghers, from wrestling great Bruno Sammartino to Mr. Rogers.

Unfortunately, I have never been able to get a real good photo of it.

http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=398&RefID=398

We took a quick walk down Penn Avenue to check out some of the other stores. Since it was raining slightly, some of the usual push carts weren't out. Our first stop was in the wonderful Enrico Biscotti. But as usual, I was too entranced by the wonderful smell and the delicious baked goods to take any photos. I did buy a half dozen assorted biscotti and some of their incredibly rich buckeyes. Here is a photo I took Monday morning before the ladies at work completely wiped them out.


http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=104&RefID=104

We went inside Penn Mac to check out the huge variety of cheese for sale.


My mother, as always, asked me to bring her back a fish sandwich from Wholey's. Like me, she thinks they are the best in the city. While I was buying the sandwich, Beth walked around checked out the fish and the displays.

They also had some unknown sea creature for everyone to see.

It looked like a cross between Cousin Itt, a mop and Sigmund the Sea Monster.

http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=105&RefID=105

Beth had also wanted to visit the Original Hot Dog Shop, so we got in my car and drove the short distance to Oakland.
Here is Beth in front of this Pittsburgh landmark.


The hot dogs here

are just fine. The wieners have a nice snap when you bite into them and I really like the fresh onions as a topping. But the one do not miss item here is the legendary fries. And they are legendary for not only how good they are, but the immense quantities they come in. The photo is somewhat deceiving, but this is a small.

For my money, these are the best fries anywhere and Beth seemed to agree.

http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=106&RefID=106

Time was running short, so we headed back to The Strip, where I dropped Beth off at her car.

It was a genuine pleasure to see Beth again and to be able to show off a few Roadfood spots here in da 'Burgh.
<message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 09/17/12 9:03 PM>

wanderingjew
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Fri, 05/9/08 11:06 AM
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Two great roadfooders enjoying Pittsburgh Classics.

That's what it's all about.

Now I'm in the mood for a Primanti's sandwich...

Lunch is in an hour- unfortunately I get to go home for lunch and prepare my flax/oatbran/wholewheat pizza with grilled chicken!

kland01s
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Fri, 05/9/08 11:34 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by wanderingjew

Lunch is in an hour- unfortunately I get to go home for lunch and prepare my flax/oatbran/wholewheat pizza with grilled chicken!


Sounds like you are in training for your next roadfood trip, WJ!

Great write up and photos, BB. You turn an every day experience into an adventure!

cecif
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Fri, 05/9/08 12:45 PM
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Thanks so much for posting that Cliff!

What I love most, besides the photos (and it's a great one of the Primanti Bros' wall btw), is that your two stops were exactly the same as my two primary RF stops on my last trip to Pittsburgh! And I LOVED both.

It's a city I hope to re-visit some day in the not-too-distant future.

ayersian
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Fri, 05/9/08 12:50 PM
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BB, I've been waiting for this report to be posted -- as always, excellent work. We were sad not to have Bethgrd and you on our Central CT tour last weekend, but we knew you'd be RFing it up right with our pal Beth. We're also joining her on June 1 in Boston for CeciF's and her meet 'n' eat. We'd love to see you again, of course! Chris

bethgrd
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Fri, 05/9/08 1:13 PM
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Cliff was an excellent tour guide, host, and city of Pittsburgh representative!! I did not expect to enjoy Primanti's sandwich as much as I did, so that was a nice suprise. Loved the sweet and sour clear cole slaw dressing on the slaw on the sandwich.
The fries at the O were the best, almost a sweet real potato flavor.
It is a gritty, grimy place, with lots of food ground into the floors, but that gives it the real city flavor.
Thanks Cliff, you're the best!

Ayersian..glad to hear you will be joining us in Boston..looking forward to it!!

Roadfood is a real treasure: nice people who like to enjoy life and great food. We were remarking on the recent profusion of get togethers between people all over the country and how enjoyable it is to share the experience with like-minded people.
Beth

billyboy
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Fri, 05/9/08 1:21 PM
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Cliff and Beth, looks like you both had a wonderful time! Looking forward to meeting and eating with you in Boston. That Primanti Bros. cappy sandwich looks killer!

joerogo
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Fri, 05/9/08 1:38 PM
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God I love Pittsburgh! BB & Beth, Nice to see your pics.


buffetbuster
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Fri, 05/9/08 1:49 PM
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I know that Beth and I had very busy schedules that day, but I am so glad that we both made time to share a couple meals with each other. Beth is such a down to earth, nice person and such good company. And like anyone else, I always enjoy showing off my hometown a bit and rarely get to do it.

wanderingjew-
I feel for you, buddy. Is that a typical lunch for you now? I know you want to live a healthier lifestyle, but.....

cecif-
I would welcome your visit here and would love to take you to some great places. As for the mural, I have often wondered why Andrew Carnegie was eyeing up Willie Stargell that way!

So ayersian and billyboy will be in Boston for the tour on June 1? Wow, this is starting to sound like quite an all-star lineup!

Thanks to everyone for the compliments!

joerogo-
If you ever want to meet up for a meal when you are in town, please drop me a line.

UncleVic
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Fri, 05/9/08 2:02 PM
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Buffetbuster... Thanks for the report! But I have to tell ya, I saw that sign in your Penn Mac picture advertising "Allegheny Mountain Authentic Hickory Smoked Cheese" and now need to find some! That sounds sooo good.. (And personally, I'll take my fries on the side).. Glad to hear you folks had fun..

leethebard
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Fri, 05/9/08 2:05 PM
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Guys it looks like this was a fun get together...food looks great and i'm sure the company was its equal. Nice post!

buffetbuster
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Fri, 05/9/08 2:07 PM
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UncleVic-
Thanks for pointing that out.....now I have to go get some, too!

wanderingjew
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Fri, 05/9/08 2:13 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by buffetbuster
wanderingjew-
I feel for you, buddy. Is that a typical lunch for you now? I know you want to live a healthier lifestyle, but.....


Buffetbuster,

Sadly it is.

I switch off between that and a meal of health valley black bean vegetarian chili which I prepare with ground turkey, shredded low fat cheddar/jack/colby cheese and salsa, or chorizo turkey sausage with refried black beans and shredded low fat cheddar/colby/jack cheese.

Breakfast consists of egg whites, 2 slices of bran/flax bread, low salt cottage cheese and reduced sugar ocean spray cran-grape juice, sometimes I'll have eggwhites and steel cut oats or eggwhites and hot oat bran. I still have my large 20 oz cup of french roast from the local coffee house with half and half and splenda (although I do treat myself to one "sugar in the raw on weekends) On the weekends I'll treat myself to two atkins chocolate peanut granola bars or egg whites and an oat bran muffin.

Do you want to know what I usually have for dinner or have I depressed you enough?


buffetbuster
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Fri, 05/9/08 2:28 PM
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wanderingjew-
Not necessary, you have completely depressed me! I get the feeling that vacation of yours in June can't come soon enough! Even if you do have to put up with Travelin' Man and myself.

acornlover
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Fri, 05/9/08 2:28 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by wanderingjew

quote:
Originally posted by buffetbuster
wanderingjew-
I feel for you, buddy. Is that a typical lunch for you now? I know you want to live a healthier lifestyle, but.....


Buffetbuster,

Sadly it is.

I switch off between that and a meal of health valley black bean vegetarian chili which I prepare with ground turkey, shredded low fat cheddar/jack/colby cheese and salsa, or chorizo turkey sausage with refried black beans and shredded low fat cheddar/colby/jack cheese.

Breakfast consists of egg whites, 2 slices of bran/flax bread, low salt cottage cheese and reduced sugar ocean spray cran-grape juice, sometimes I'll have eggwhites and steel cut oats or eggwhites and hot oat bran. I still have my large 20 oz cup of french roast from the local coffee house with half and half and splenda (although I do treat myself to one "sugar in the raw on weekends) On the weekends I'll treat myself to two atkins chocolate peanut granola bars or egg whites and an oat bran muffin.

Do you want to know what I usually have for dinner or have I depressed you enough?




I hear ya, I eat the same way (minus the meat) have you tried tofu parm yet? getting old stinks....

wanderingjew
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Fri, 05/9/08 2:41 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by acornlover

quote:
Originally posted by wanderingjew

quote:
Originally posted by buffetbuster
wanderingjew-
I feel for you, buddy. Is that a typical lunch for you now? I know you want to live a healthier lifestyle, but.....


Buffetbuster,

Sadly it is.

I switch off between that and a meal of health valley black bean vegetarian chili which I prepare with ground turkey, shredded low fat cheddar/jack/colby cheese and salsa, or chorizo turkey sausage with refried black beans and shredded low fat cheddar/colby/jack cheese.

Breakfast consists of egg whites, 2 slices of bran/flax bread, low salt cottage cheese and reduced sugar ocean spray cran-grape juice, sometimes I'll have eggwhites and steel cut oats or eggwhites and hot oat bran. I still have my large 20 oz cup of french roast from the local coffee house with half and half and splenda (although I do treat myself to one "sugar in the raw on weekends) On the weekends I'll treat myself to two atkins chocolate peanut granola bars or egg whites and an oat bran muffin.

Do you want to know what I usually have for dinner or have I depressed you enough?




I hear ya, I eat the same way (minus the meat) have you tried tofu parm yet? getting old stinks....


Oh, at 43 I'm far from old (although my 20 something coworkers might disagree)

I've always had low cholesterol and low blood pressure (and still do)
and I want to keep the blood sugar down naturally and without any medication whatsoever. I'm gonna try really hard to get down to 210 lbs by my next roadtrip 5 weeks away. I'm 6'2" 1/2 and was 223 lbs this morning, so I just might be able to do it.

joerogo
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Fri, 05/9/08 2:54 PM
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BB, I will be in Pitt over the summer. I'll give you a shout.

My daughter just graduated from the masters program at Pitt(4.0 if you don't mind me bragging). I'm hope she stays in Pittsburgh, we have a blast when we visit.

Joe

ayersian
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Fri, 05/9/08 3:08 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by buffetbuster
So ayersian and billyboy will be in Boston for the tour on June 1? Wow, this is starting to sound like quite an all-star lineup!
Does that mean we're going to the All-Star Sandwich Bar? Kidding, only kidding...or am I? Chris

mmarkovitz
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Fri, 05/9/08 3:56 PM
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If you can only go to two places you did pick the best of the Burg.

buffetbuster
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Sat, 05/10/08 5:10 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by joerogo

BB, I will be in Pitt over the summer. I'll give you a shout.

My daughter just graduated from the masters program at Pitt(4.0 if you don't mind me bragging). I'm hope she stays in Pittsburgh, we have a blast when we visit.

Joe
Congratulations to your daughter and you should be a proud dad. If you have time, we will grab a meal. If not, I will understand.

mr chips
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Sat, 05/10/08 7:33 AM
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Nice report. I loved the Original Hot Dog House and Primanti's when the Chips family visited Pittsburgh in 2004. Also had my picture taken by the remnants of the Forbes Field wall and home plate in the Umiversity of Pittsburgh library.

ChiTownDiner
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Sat, 05/10/08 9:15 AM
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As always...great photos and report! Looks like you guys had alot of fun...and that's what it's all about!

buffetbuster
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Sun, 05/18/08 10:49 AM
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Beth-
I was back down at Wholey's yesterday morning. The Unknown Sea Creature was missing, but the costume was still just laying there.

bethgrd
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Mon, 05/19/08 6:07 AM
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Bizarre! He must have molted!
Kind of unappetizing, I would say!
Did you have the urge to jump in the box and don the suit?
thanks for the update.
my husand said your team is doing well; not to count on you for the boston trip...oh well.b

buffetbuster
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Mon, 05/19/08 10:47 AM
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Beth-
seeing at how small that costume was, I'd say it would be lucky to cover me from the knees down. That must have been a kid in there.

Yeah, the Boston trip isn't looking too good.

buffetbuster
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Mon, 09/17/12 9:02 PM
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Last week, I had a visit from another one of my favorite Roadfooders, cecif.  She was driving through the area and was kind enough to stop in and spend some time my girlfriend and I.
 
Of course, we had to hit a couple of Roadfood spots.  About a decade ago, she had come to Pittsburgh supporting her alma mater in the NCAA tournament and hit Primanti's and Original Hot Dog Shop.  So, it was up to us to take her to some other real Pittsburgh kind of places she hadn't been to before.
 
First up was Pierogies Plus,

which is located in a converted gas station in the McKees Rocks neighborhood.  Pierogies are a much loved food in this area.  Since we had other stops to make, the three of us split a sampler platter,

which contained four soft, doughy potato pierogies, a heaping portion of halushki (cabbage and noodles) and a single stuffed cabbage.  Everything at Pierogies Plus is expertly made in-house, usually by ladies who have emigrated here from Poland, Russia or the Ukraine.  The three of us sat at one of their outdoor tables, sharing the best we could.  Here is cecif and Mariton at our
table:

Before leaving, cecif told us that she knew we had other places to visit, but if not, she would have been happy to have more of the food here!
 
Next up was a visit to Oakland, home of the University of Pittsburgh and the Union Grill.  IMO, Union Grill makesthe best Turkey Devonshire in the city.  And since this is a Pittsburgh only dish and cecif has tried its close cousin, Kentucky's hot brown, I thought this would be a natural choice.  We did have a 15 minute wait, since this is a very popular restaurant, but before we knew it, we were seated and ordering.  We decided to get three dishes and then split everything.  Being a grilled cheese connoisseur, cecif went in this direction. 

The bread was extra thick, but it was nothing special.  Mariton's fish sandwich

was an excellent example of what is typically served around here.  It was fried perfectly crispy, with two long lengths of cod that dwarfed the bun.  Even with there being three of us, we couldn't come close to eating it all.  Finally, my turkey devonshire,

which is real roast turkey, bacon, tomatoes in a thick creamy cheese sauce, served open face.  Most devonshires are served with a cheddar cheese sauce, but Union Grill uses a milder parmesan blend.  This was also a hit with the group.
 
We were all quite full, but had one more stop to make.  It was just a short walk over to Dave & Andy's, home of the best ice cream in Pittsburgh and a great neon sign. 

We only had appetite to split two scoops and we went with wildberry crumble and chocolate banana. 

Truthfully, the wildberry was disappointing, with the chocolate banana being the favorite, despite having a noticeable liquor flavor.
 
And since I live in the town of Mars, I have started a tradition of photographing all visitors with the spaceship in our little town square!
  
 
Thanks again to cecif was stopping in for a visit!
<message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 09/17/12 9:25 PM>

mr chips
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Mon, 09/17/12 9:33 PM
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Great to seeCeci. Great choices for real Pittsburgh food. Someday trudy and i hope to return to pittsburgh and visit you BB. 
<message edited by mr chips on Tue, 09/18/12 4:50 AM>

buffetbuster
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Tue, 09/18/12 8:27 AM
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mrchips-
I would love to have a visit from you and Trudy!
 
It didn't even occur to me until later that the two restaurants we visited were the ones I have written the review.   
<message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 09/18/12 8:28 AM>

Louis
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Tue, 09/18/12 10:03 AM
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Good backyard report, Cliff.  And it was nice to see Ceci again.
 

joerogo
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Tue, 09/18/12 10:44 AM
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AHHHH, Now you have me missing Pitt something fierce.  
 
Nice report, good to see Ceci back in the States.

Michael Hoffman
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Tue, 09/18/12 12:33 PM
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Neat report. But, did you really have to post a picture of the interior of Pennsylvania Macaroni Company? I mean, really? Now I'm dying for some of what they call cavatelli stuffed with spinach and gorgonzola.

lleechef
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Tue, 09/18/12 12:38 PM
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Glad you had the Primanti's experience.  Last time we were in the Strip we were going to meet Michael's grandson at Primanti's.  NOT!  As we were driving by looking for a parking space we saw at least 50 people on the sidewalk waiting to get in.  We had lunch at Wholey's which was very good, but I had my taste buds all set to dive into a Primanti sandwich.  We didn't even go into Penn Mac Co. because last time we spent nearly $100 so it's dangerous.  At Wholey's I got myself a nice thick tuna steak, Michael got mahi to bring home.  Last time it was fabulous sea scallops.  We love the Strip! 

buffetbuster
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Tue, 09/18/12 1:10 PM
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lleechef-
I love showing off The Strip to out of town guests.

lleechef
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Tue, 09/18/12 2:14 PM
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bb,
Me too!!! 

icecreamchick
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Wed, 09/19/12 10:03 PM
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My favorite lunch on the Strip is Enrico's.  Next to/behind the famous biscotti bakery they have a small restaurant that does sandwiches, wood-fired oven pizzas and a daily special or two for lunch. I highly recommend it! (Though, it won't be anything like Primanti's...)

cecif
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Mon, 09/24/12 1:02 PM
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Oh so late to the party.... thank you thank you to Buffetbuster for posting this.
I hugely enjoyed meeting your girlfriend... and yes, I would still go back and have more from Pierogies Plus. Delicious!


buffetbuster
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Mon, 09/24/12 1:10 PM
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cecif-
Before you arrived in town, I was wondering whether or not you had Polish food or pierogies in particular before.  Either way, so glad that you enjoyed it.

leslie638
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Mon, 09/24/12 1:34 PM
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Boy, BB, you sure know how to treat a lady.  The places you went to are exactly the same as I would go for an out of town guest.  My favorite Primanti is the sweet sausage. 
 
I have tried to find the Union Grill & must drive past it.  I sometimes have a hankering for a turkey devonshire.  I make the one from the Park Schenley but there are times that I want to try someone else's.  You know how everything is better than the one you make.  I have friends coming from Kokomo & will be taking them to the said restaurants but not all at once.  Can't handle that much food at once.

buffetbuster
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RE: An afternoon with bethgrd - Mon, 09/24/12 2:56 PM
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Glad you approve of where we took cecif.  There are so many good options available, it can be hard to choose.  Had it been earlier in the day and Wholey's had still been open, we would have undoubtedly ended up there, too.
 
Yeah, Union Grill can be hard to miss.  And considering it is in the heart of Oakland, parking can be a real problem.  I usually end up pull into the lot for the Carnegie Museums.