Thursday, April 9, 2015

Pittsburgh, Howl you doin'?

Oh, don't let's ask for the moon. We've already got the stars. 
                                                                                     Bette Davis
Pittsburgh, do we have to settle for just the stars?

            There are plenty of stars but there's only one moon.....

                                Howl At the Moon, that is.

                                                       Friends, did you know......

Friday, April 3, 2015

Mark Madness 2015

3/15/2015 Wow! It's hard to believe it's been a year and it's time to start another Mark Madness Tournament! As usual, the selection committee had a difficult time paring down the field of deserving Marks to only 16. I believe this bracket is as good as any we've had in recent years. The  controversy just adds to the fun!
      Rumor has it that there was much heated debate between the committee members, as they are extremely sensitive to criticism. Many outsiders were left scratching their heads at the perceived snubs of perennial powerhouses, like Mark Twain and Marco Polo. While there were a handful of Marks on the bubble, Denmark was the one that passed the "eye test". The committee revealed that Denmark had "gained steam" by being featured on several +Bravo Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' episodes toward the end of its season.  There also were rumblings from Mark Sanchez and the Marquis de Sade who told reporters that they couldn't figure out how Skid Mark got in there. 
     Check back for results & highlights......
                                        On your Mark, get set, let's go!!
3/27/15 So much excitement in the first round to get us to the Elite 8! While  the two top seeds sailed through the first round, there were some notable upsets and matchups.
     *No one saw ?  knocking off  3 seed, Mark Zuckerberg! Following the win, #whois?? was trending on Twitter. Also, check out  ?'s +Instagram for sweet game pics. 
     *Howard Stern Whack Packer, Mark the Bagger, dealt a big blow to Marco Rubio, whose support of Indiana's "religious freedom" law probably didn't help his cause.
     *In a surprise win, self-proclaimed "Super Genius", +105.9 The X, Mark Madden put a big X on J Lo's ex, Mark Anthony's chance to advance. 
     *It was sad to see +Pittsburgh Penguins  +Marc Andre Fleury , The Flower, get shut out, but Marc Jacob's spring collection was just too strong this year.
    *In what seemed like a rerun of last year's tourney, Grey's Anatomy's Mark Sloan, canceled Saved By the Bell's MPG's comeback attempt. 
     * Although some questioned his inclusion, +Episodes'  Merc was more than ready for +Showtime by striking down retail giant, Neiman Marcus.
3/30/15 The road to The Final 4 has been a whirlwind!
        *1 seed, Marky Mark was feeling good vibrations after a hot contest & win over McSteamy.
        *2 seed, +Mark Cuban  wrestled away a spot in the Final Four from Mark Madden in a tough Pittsburgh boys' grudge match.
        *Cinderella story, Mark the Bagger, punctuated his victory over ?  with a high pitched shout of "Baba Booey!" 
        *Funny trumps fashion. Merc continues to be merciless on his quest for the title.
4/04/15 THE FINAL HAS BEEN SET!! And what an exciting final it is going to be, #2 Mark Cuban vs #12 Merc Lapidus.
         *+Shark Tank 's Mark Cuban ripped apart Mark the Bagger's miraculous season.
         *Even with the strength of 2 names, Marky Mark could not handle dark horse, Merc.
4/06/15  Mark claims the crown!! In a thrilling title contest which began as a tight match, Mark Cuban proved to be unstoppable in the end. Merc put up a tough fight, but Mark was on a mission to avenge his first round loss last year to eventual winner & "Lone Survivor", +Marcus Luttrell .  Cuban made sure he was this year's Top Gun & put an exclamation mark on his victory!        
   Wow! What a journey to the final of the 2015 tourney. It was "just as magical as in years past!"
                                                  Congratulations, Mark!!
Twitter pic @mcuban after his big win

Friday, March 20, 2015

we crossed the thin blue line (grille)

I strongly recommend, no, demand a new name for
Mr.Lemieux's signature drink. Really?
That's the best you could do?  Have you seen
the statue across the street?  Gee whiz .. Hit me up
ASAP& I'll help you ....please...seriously...... 
       I had 2 tix for the +Pittsburgh Penguins game, but it was, like, a million below zero out. Because my spirit animal/cousin had never been to a NHL game, we decided to go. We would ride out the Siberian Express on Malkin's Moscow Mule train, courtesy of +Blue Line Grille, along with some of their thin-girl friendly food before heading to the arena.

     As we drove across the Birmingham Bridge, it felt more like we were heading toward the Artic Circle via the Frozen Tundra Belt than to the +CONSOL Energy Center. There wasn't a snowball's chance in h*ll that we were walking from the 4th Ave garage (that I have a parking pass for). Instead, we scored a sweet spot only a few blocks away......ok, there may have been a yellow line but who's handing out parking tickets in subZ temps?

     We were 2 hours early for the game but too late for a table (1+hr wait) ( & this place is huge with 2 floors & 2nd floor deck weather permitting) or a bar seat. Once folks get their butts in a chair here, they stay put until they are ready to go to the game. *Note to self: next time just get here 30-45mins before game (or Consol event).

Wonder if it tasted as good as it looked?
      The multiple layers of clothing, the standing room only crowd  & the triple M's on empty stomachs were making us delirious & desperate. We spied a pizza just delivered to a guy at the bar near us. I leaned in close... " How's the pizza?" I not so innocently asked him. "Not bad...wanna try it? " he responded, as he tore off a hot slice for me. Unfortunately, his female companion swooped in & nosh blocked me.  Without saying a word, she let us both know we were crossing the line. I stepped off and we scurried around the 4-sided bar to hide. We ducked behind two, big guys on bar stools who provided us ample coverage. one of the big guys noticed us....our immature giggling noises giving us away.  I was formulating a witty rejection line, when I heard him say, "Do you girls want our seats? We're leaving." "Yes!!" we cheered in unison!! He then handed the bartender 20 bucks and instructed her to get us a drink. We exchanged a few pleasantries with them, as we plopped our lil' butts on the stools. Gosh, how we love those two big lugs!

    We needed food ASAP. We ordered food ASAP. " One Ahi Tuna Tower, one Jumbo Lump Crab Appetizer, two of the Grilled Asparagus Appetizers and two sides of the Wild Mushroom Saute."

     ...say What!?  "You have to see if there is any more asparagus?" ...... "They are taking it off the menu?"  Nooooooooo!

    Only one plate of  'sparagus arrived with our other food  Blinking back tears and scrapping off the shaved parm, we savored the 7 final spears.  Then we methodically knocked down the tasty tuna tower with our forks( skipping the wontons) and scarfed up the bowls of mushrooms and onions lickety-split (such a unique side... Please don't cross these off the menu, too!). Sadly, on this visit, there was about as much crab in my cake as there was in my Crabbie.
Fishing for crab

Yeah! We finally caught a crab!

         We left the game after the 2nd period.  The score was tied and we were getting antsy. The wind chill made it too painful to talk to each other, but we were both thinking how eerily deserted it was on Fifth Ave.  We passed the Blue Line, which also was deserted, and turned left up the block. And that's when we spotted the only thing that would take pleasure wandering about in this frigid, brutal weather. It lumbered up the hill...tall, thick and covered in fur. Its back hunched as It paused by the Rabbit....It was a Yeti!! We stood frozen in disbelief, until It trudged away onto Forbes. We ran to the poor, helpless Rabbit that had just been maimed .....with a parking ticket.

  *The answer to my question in paragraph 2:   The Parking Authority Yeti.


Blue Line Grille on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 13, 2015

Chris Harrison loves nachos, too

     As I stumbled out of the red barn, I lifted the hem of my taffeta gown with one hand and clutched the rose tightly against my bosom with the other. I began to run, but my black, platform-heeled, sling backs were no match for the lumpy, frozen ground. I looked around head started to spin.......the rows and rows of empty cornfields, dusted with snow, besieged me. There was no way out. Suddenly, I felt the warmth of his breath on my neck, "It's over, Aubrey. Give me the rose." Tears streamed from my eyes. I shook my head in defiance. My legs crumbled as my body surrendered to the brutal, Iowa dirt. The stoic Chris Harrison ripped the rose out of my grasp...a thorn tore the flesh of my palm. I wailed in pain, "Nooooooooooooo!"   "He's in  love with Whitney," Harrison callously called over his shoulder as he turned his back  to my agony. I grabbed his perfectly tailored pant leg and screamed, "I'm not in love with Prince Farming, you idiot! I'm just not ready for this season of The Bachelor to end!" 
     Startled, sweating & shivering,  I awoke from the horror. However, the real nightmare for me would begin next Monday night.
     For the last 2 months, my Monday nights have been spent religiously/obsessively consuming every ounce of every episode of the brilliantly casted & edited 19th season of +The Bachelor.  Watching  "The Bachelor", Chris Soules, try to bring a thought to verbal fruition, stammer in fragmented sentences linked by the words, "amazing" or "clarity", and using multiple breathing gymnastics in lieu of answering questions brought me entertainment beyond my wildest dreams. And that's just a nugget of how this reality gem seduced me.
     The other reason that I am grieving the end of +The Bachelor  is that there will be no more viewing parties with the amazing, loaded, veggie nacho platters that Mother Dearest prepared for every episode....thin, crispy  chips and melted Colby Jack cheese blanketed with warm, roasted veggies & spinach, then hit with a cool layer of shredded lettuce, black olives & salsa, paired with fat free, sour cream & guac on the side.....ahhh, clarity.

    As a tribute to season 19 of +The Bachelor and to the fact that I, too, have fallen in love(with MD's ultimate nachos), I would like to hand out a few roses to honor some other amazing, loaded nachos .
        In the words of  Chris Harrison, "Aubrey (pause), whenever your ready."
     +Elephant&Castle , Grove City:    Will you accept this rose for having the best loaded nachos ever?  With a wreath of warm, tri-color nachos decorated with slices of jalapenos and black olives, diced onion & green peppers then wrapped with plenty of melted cheddar jack cheese and adorned with a mini tortilla bowl filled with sour cream, guacamole & salsa.....feasting on these is my favorite holiday .

Tavern 245, 4th Ave, Pgh:  Will you accept this rose as Downtown's best loaded nachos? So worth the climb up the stairs off of 4th! Perfection on a platter, keep the chicken on the side if you must.   
+T.G.I. Friday's : Will you accept this rose as the best loaded nachos at a chain restaurant?
  No naked chips here. Each half moon is fully dressed with creamy refried beans & melted cheese. *Tip: ask for extra jalapenos  & salsa.
 Atria's PNC Park  Will you accept this rose for the best nachos with meat? Although I prefer my mine sans meat, The Pot Roast nachos won over my heart and my tummy! 
+Pittsburgh Penguins : Will you accept this rose for the best nachos at a pro sporting event in Pittsburgh? 
                    +Pittsburgh Pirates game = I hate their cheese + chincy on the chips + games are too long
                    +Pittsburgh Steelers game = I hate the Steelers + I hate going to their games 
                    Pens game =  season tix + indoors + overloaded, plastic trays of nachos

Winner:  Pens

Chris Harrison:  Will you accept this final  rose for perfecting the delivery of  +The Bachelor & +The Bachelorette series' signature lines, for truly believing in "the process" and for taking me on "this journey" season after season?
               The Bachelorette & more MD's ultimate nachos begin May 18, 2015!

Elephant & Castle Pub & Restaurant on Urbanspoon T.G.I. Friday's on Urbanspoon     Tavern 245 on UrbanspoonClick to add a blog post for Atria's on Zomato Click to add a blog post for Atria's on Zomato

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

a tall tale of 2 Controversy's: Ch. 1 The Plan

     Disclaimer: What you are about to read is based on a true story; however, due to multiple & paranoid interpretations of events, vague & distorted memories, and rumors, the documentation of events may not be accurate. The identities of those involved shall remain confidential. 

                      Chapter 1:  The Plan

     It was the best of times. It was a Friday. It was a text from the A Team.  It was a happy surprise to Them that the A Team had just landed in Pittsburgh a day earlier than planned. It sparked a flurry of texts between the A's and Them.   

 It was the worst of  times. IxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxIxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxplan killer.
 xxxxxxxxxxxxx planned for a date night.

The A Team planned for their own Team building fun, exploring Pittsburgh after dark. They were planning on grabbing dinner with One and Another One of Them and then The A's planned to go to Scare House and then check out some night spots.
    The plan was set. Bxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxthe Steel Cactus, South Side, to get a table. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx The A's had a 9pm reservation at Scare House. Another One of Them would drive One of Them home.
    It was a good plan. The plan was set in motion...until,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx make the plan work?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx requiring a change in plans.

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx kill the plan.

    It was evening. Although he hadn't planned for this, Dad of One of Them didn't want One standing in the bar by One's self, alone and defenseless against predatory males. So, Two of Them decided to stay for awhile. They parked in the lot on the corner of 18th & Carson, then walked to the Steel Cactus. Three of Them ordered drinks and waited for the table and the arrival of the A Team.

    The door to the Steel Cactus swung open with a loud thud. The bar went silent. The 3 well groomed & well dressed members of the A Team sauntered in. Three of Them cheered. There were hugs. There were kisses. More drinks were ordered. Another One of Them arrived soon after.

  Meanwhile,xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx too noisy at the bar. Plans were beginning to unravel.

coming soon:  Chapter 2:  The Meal  ( +Steel Cactus Mexican Restaurant and Cantina 


*Apologies to my readers, due to some silly, possible slanderish stuff, I can't completely post this blog until matters are resolved. Thanks for your understanding :) 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Dear Mister Ed

(On 1/23/2015, a letter from Ed Chadwick, of Undercover Boss fame, was released by the Mayor's office & published on the City of Pittsburgh's official website. I sent the following letter to Mr. Chadwick with his address per the city's website. Unfortunately, my letter was returned unopened as address unknown.)


Ed Chadwick
P.O. Box 1234
Loretto, KY  40037

Dear Mister Ed,

     I am so happy to find out you that you are real and speaking!  As one of your new friends in Pittsburgh, I'd like to give you some advice. I think you should leave KY behind and VisitPittsburgh again to help your good buddy, Mayor Peduto, explain this silly Undercover Boss situation. Let the city get it straight from the horse's mouth!

     Whoah! Hold your horses, Mr. Ed! I know you think the media in Pittsburgh is beating a dead horse here, but I think it's time for y'all to come out of the barn! Like you said in your letter, "you have to help people when you get the chance",  and your good buddy could use your help.

     Honestly, this whole thing is making both of you look like a bit of a horse's a**.  And, as you know, no one can talk to a horse's a** , of course. That is, of course, unless the horse's a** is the famous Mr. Ed!

    Please, Mr. Ed, you will always have KY, but the Mayor needs you now.

Sincerely, your new friend,


P.S. Could you also tell your buddy about the parking issues on my street in the South Side? Thanks!



                            To view Mr. Ed's letter, go to:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

my hillbilly, faded genes

      Well, butter my butt and call me biscuit! That's right, y'all. I am part hillbilly & proud. My paternal grandparents are as authentic as they come. Not to be confused with rednecks or white trash, I'm talking hillbillies, born & raised in Olive Hill, Kentucky. After gettin' hitched at a young age, they loaded up their truck and moved to Ohio, where they done raised 5 youngins. Fittingly, they now live in a log cabin in North Carolina.
    If you are familiar with the hillybilly ways, breakfast is church and the more fixin's, animal fats & processed meats brought to the table, the better. So, when our kin are in town, the age ol' debate rolls around in the morning, "Cracker Barrel or Bob Evan's"

    Me?  I would prefer EggsRUs in Crafton, Kelly O's in the Strip or Pamela's in Shadyside. But that's not one of my options today. Food? I want a veggie, egg white omelet, no fried taters or pork products. Not so hillybilly-like.

     Well, kiss my grits and call me breakfast! While both menu's boast similar country themed breakfast fair at their locality, CB does not make omelets.  But BobE's offers "Stuffed 3-Egg Omelets". BobE's gives me a purty good egg white omelet:  The Farm Favorite with baby spinach, a heapin'  helpin' of roasted portabellos, onions, Swiss cheese & tomatoes.

Here's a few other things CB does not have:

  CB does not have a easy way to get to the hostess stand. They prefer to make customers plow through their over-stocked, over-crowded & over-priced General nonsense Store. BobE's simple set-up is stress free.

  CB does not have WiFi because the restaurant chain does not want their "guests" to "linger". BobE's hospitality includes WiFi.

  CB does not have authentic country roots. CB started as an oil salesman's scheme to lure travelers off of highways to increase gas sales. BobE really was born & raised down on the farm where he started making his own sausage.

  CB does not really like their patrons. Why else would they put a seemingly innocent game to play on all their tables that, not only frustrates, but silently calls their patrons "dumb" & "eg-no-ra-mooses"?

  CB does not have a great history with the LGBT community. BobE's is quite accepting of others' sexual orientation as evidenced in his kid's menu's gender neutral mascot, Chuck the Chick.

y'all come back now, ya hear?!
Bob Evans Restaurant on Urbanspoon