Frankie’s – Lawrenceville

June 7, 2010 - Leave a Response

Frankie’s Extra Long
3535 Butler St
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
(412) 687-5220


A few days ago, we were driving through Lawrenceville in the most pouring of rain and we saw a sign that promised hot dogs. That’s really all it takes for us to get excited about food. After all, that Sam character…well, you know. On a Monday afternoon with the bosses away, we drove across town and settled up for some dogs.

Frankie’s is spartan. Not really any sides. Four sandwiches: meatball, sausage, kielbasa and footlong. They have chips. Cans or bottle of pop, soda to those of us with a more refined palate and not from our cultural backwater that uses words like “reddup” and “dahn.”

We sat down in the dining room beneath a ceiling fan that was blowing near gale force winds with a footlong with relish, cheese and chili and a kielbasa with sauerkraut and mustard. The dogs were nice, holding up well, but Sam’s bun had no integrity. Or perhaps he manhandles his food. Regardless, the kielbasa he ate was nice, a bit small, but at only $2.75, not a bad deal.

The chili was runny and it wasn’t the best. It was, well, a hot dog. Maybe we’re jaded. But with so many great spots in town, you may want to head somewhere else for an out of the ordinary hot dog. Frankie’s does have a bar, too, so you could enjoy a dog and an Iron.

That said, Hot Franks is not far. For our buck, we’ll drive downtown a little closer. But you might find yourself charmed by Frankie’s lack of, well, charm. It’s a neighborhood place, where we’re sure the same regulars have been coming in for years. And to be honest, in today’s change every day world, it’s nice when there are still places like this.

Frankie's Extra Long on Urbanspoon

Skyvue Restaurant – West Mifflin, PA

May 17, 2010 - Leave a Response

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Skyvue started it’s life as a USO center during World War 2. Located near the original Pittsburgh Airport, it unfortunately closed a few years ago, only to be reopened around 6 months ago. In it’s previous incarnation, it was a fun little place to go get some appetizers and a beer. Much like how when a band puts out a new album, Sam was kind of worried. Would the new Skyvue live up to the ruminations that he had on its past life?

The first thing we noticed was the new, clean look. They went with a blue and yellow color scheme and stuck with it throughout. And the floors have been totally redone and the new wood? Positively shining. Add in an old style jukebox and some aeronautical memorabilia and the Skyvue’s new look is pretty much perfect.

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First off – we got some of the best service we have ever received at the Skyvue. Just nice, fun people working there. Overall, we had an incredibly pleasant night. I realize that at times, we seem overly happy in these reviews, but we are. We’re in love with food – two happy fat kids overjoyed to sit down and find fun new places to go to.

Appetizers? Let’s start with appetizers. Wondering where appetizers got their start? Some claim the Athenians. Others, the Romans, who believed that small dishes at the beginning of the meal aided digestion. Well, we got some big honking squares of jalapeno fried cheese, so I think the Romans were wrong. Not that these weren’t tasty, just that you know – it was a big log of cheese to start.

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The other app? How about pizza soup?

Pizza soup?

Yep.

Imagine chili without beans – and then add everything you’d put atop a pizza. And that, my friends, is what pizza soup is all about. Add in some bread and we were already full before the meal even began. But oh, the meal.

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Nina got an asparagus stuffed pasta topped with a mixture of cream and tomato sauces. Sam got a penne pasta with prosciutto and peas. Both pastas were delicious. Sam, while half Italian, does not generally enjoy pasta, yet he found the blend of pea sweetness and salty meat to be delectable. And while we could barely finish our pastas, we were ordering dessert.

Why?

The Skyvue makes its own ice cream.

Their butter pecan was practically infused with pecans. Every bite was full of crunchy, yet oh-so-creamy goodness. It was a delightful end to a meal practically packed with food, all enjoyed in a friendly, inviting atmosphere.

Skyvue Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Amel’s – Pittsburgh

May 14, 2010 - One Response

Amel’s Restaurant
435 McNeilly Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
(412) 563-3466

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You turn off 51 and down 88 and down McNeilly and then, you see it. A big genie. When a restaurant has a genie on it, then you know that the Beer, Bacon, Candy people are going to stop and check it out. More restaurants in town should have genies on them.

This sense of design continues inside. You’ll feel like you’re in Aladdin or somesuch. It’d be awesome if Amel’s just had pillows on the floor. It’d also be great if it had big fans that people fanned you with, but then we’d feel all hoity toity and feel bad for the people fanning us.

But what did we get?

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The hummus sampler has four kinds of hummus: red pepper and feta, traditional, ground lamb with pomegranate and a new mixed berry hummus. It’s all served with grilled pita triangles and delicious hot bread. The traditional hummus was much thicker than most you’ll get in the area. The new mixed berry? Wow. Great. Just…you would not expect berries in hummus. And you will after you eat this. The red pepper and feta is Nina’s favorite, if she had to pick. If Sam had to, he would pick the lamb and pomegranate. It’s not like we had a man sitting at our table saying, “WHICH IS BEST?” These opinions were just the way we felt at the time.

The fried feta in filo dough is what Sam first had from here. Nina didn’t like it – except for the horsey sauce that it came with. Horsey sauce is such a perfect name for any horseradish sauce and other than having a giant beef hat as part of their logo, we believe that this will be what Arby’s will always be remembered for.

We also tried the striped ravioli, which is made with mascarpone and sundried tomato ravioli with pine nuts in a light saffron broth. This is a fresh take on chicken noodle soup. The broth was really delectable, as we spooned it up and left nothing.

Amel’s is cozy. While we stuck to just appetizers, they have a huge menu. And you can sit with your lady (or dude, we won’t tell you what to do) under all the arabian nights decor and be like, “Hey, let’s go home and you can ride my carpet,” and she’ll be like, “Can we get the spanokopeta? And you’ll be like, “Oh, yeah, baby. We can.”

Amel's on Urbanspoon

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Duke’s Upper Deck Cafe – Homestead

May 12, 2010 - 6 Responses

Duke’s Upper Deck Cafe
(412) 461-8124
Homestead/Munhall
122 W 8th Ave
Homestead, PA 15120

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First off, they have a two hot dog meal for $7. Nina would like everyone to know that that is too much to pay for a hot dog. Second, they have a huge beer menu. Like, gigantic. It’s not Sharp Edge, but close.

Here’s what we got:

Wings
We went for the Duke’s recipe. They were just spicy enough. The outside was thick and crispy, with the inside perfectly moist.

Grilled cheese
A huge sandwich. Just huge. The bread is nice and soft and the tomatoes were still fresh inside, which is not an easy feat.

Cowher
Yes, a sandwich named for a guy with a gigantic lower mandible who once coached in the Burgh. It was meat on meat on meat. Not much taste. Just meat.

The sweet potato fries were awesome. Just great. Made up for the sandwich.

At this point, we were leaning toward a mild recommendation.

That was until we got the Fudge Lava.

Wow.

Fudge Lava may sound deadly but it is also delicious. It delivered, too.

It took this review up.

Duke’s is a fun place. Nice atmosphere. It’s not a date place, but if you want to come see a game and would like some wings and to choose from hundreds of beers, well, Duke’s is the place for you.

Duke's Upper Deck Cafe on Urbanspoon

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May 12, 2010 - Leave a Response

BEER! BACON! CANDY! Pittsburgh restaurants

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Hook Fish & Chicken – North Side

May 10, 2010 - Leave a Response

Hook Fish & Chicken
North Side
1221 Federal St
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
(412) 697-2285
http://www.hook-fish.com

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It was Friday and we wanted something quick, but delicious. There’s a Hook Fish & Chicken not far, so we tried it out.

First off, everything is covered with salt. If you’re going to eat healthy, you should probably avoid this place. Between all that salt and all that fat and grease and breading, yeah. You know. We would not name a blog Beer, Bacon, Candy if this was a worry for us.

We had:
Chicken Finger Dinner
Hush Puppies
Wings
Coleslaw
Fries

The hush puppies? Tasty, but not great. Better than nothing. But nowhere near the hush puppies in Nina’s hometown. They give you some with every order in this restaurant and you would think, “Wow. That may be too many hush puppies.” Wrong. Not enough.

The wings? Delectable. Sam said it like 190 times while he ate them. “These wings? Delectable. Delectable wings. Mmm. Did I tell you these wings are delectable?” Sam has a tendency to tell people the same thing many, many times.

The chicken fingers were great. We had a ton of different dipping sauces, as we tend to do, so they went down smooth and easy.

In a hurry? Don’t give a shit about your cholesterol or sodium intake? Then by all means, make a trip to Hook Fish & Chicken.

Sam would also like to say that they are very honest. They originally charged him $12 too much and he never caught it. They did before he left and made up the change. It’s the little things!
Hook Fish & Chicken on Urbanspoon

Hot Franks, Pittsburgh, PA

May 7, 2010 - Leave a Response

Hot Franks‎
2701 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-4711
(412) 281-2626‎

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Sam comes from Ellwood City, PA. He grew up with two hot dog shops: Red Hot and Pee Wees. They each had their own charm and today, only Red Hot remains.

Nina comes from Englehard, NC. She doesn’t like hot dog chili with beans and eats cole slaw on her chili dog.

Together, they came to Hot Franks.

Sam was impressed that they were owned by the same people who are Bill’s Sandwich Shop in New Castle, PA, which is near Ellwood. He walked in talking about New Castle Chili Sauce and Bill, the owner, was even there and shook his hand. Ah, an Ellwood City boy in the big lights of Pittsburgh.

All we can say is: go to Hot Franks. Keep it in business. It’s not hip. Not fancy. It’s nice. It’s clean. You can get beer with your hot dogs. And this isn’t Dee’s or any of those cool hot dog places. You can get most of the dogs for around $2. The chili? It’s just perfect. No lie. But come here. Keep it in business. We were searching for a place to eat and just wanted to eat amongst real people, not pork pie hats.

Hot Franks. Nina’s second favorite chili dog in Pittsburgh. That girl? She’s rough on chili dogs. I’ve seen her outright get upset at a chili dog. This is the best review we can give.

Hot Franks on Urbanspoon

Mr. Hoagie – West Mifflin, PA

May 5, 2010 - Leave a Response

Mr Hoagie
http://www.mrhoagie.com
4734 Lebanon Church Road
Dravosburg, PA 15034-1031
(412) 469-1194

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After some requests, we decided to head off to West Mifflin’s famous Mr. Hoagie. For over 40 years, they’ve claimed to be the best sandwich around. We love testing people’s theories. We’re a control group that cannot be controlled.

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We decided to go with:

Cheeseburger hoagie
The cheese was really thick, making this incredibly tasty. Sam loves a cheeseburger hoagie because it goes against the natural order of how the bread holding a burger should go. The patty was thin, but this was good. Would be even better if we loaded it with condiments, but after all, everything goes better with some condiments.

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Onion rings
Wow. Just look at that package! We loved the art. Loved the onion rings. They were minced, which Nina prefers, because getting hot onion onto your chin can suck. They were buttery. Just buttery.

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Chili dog
Imagine a sloppy joe on a hot dog. Yes. It’s that. That good. A nice dog. Good boy. Good dog.

Also, all the bread here? Soft. Great. We were already dreaming of a meatball hoagie while we were eating the food we already got. That’s how we are.

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Italian hoagie
This needs some Italian dressing. Or peppers. Or something. Maybe that’s what the deluxe version is all about. That said, this was one hell of a hoagie.

Mr. Hoagie. Are you the best? We think you are one of them. You’ve been around for a long time. They opened a Subway right next to you and you stayed in business. You make us happy when we drive by, with your awesome logo and old style facade. Keep doing what you do. We will be back to try your sandwiches and your fried foods and your ice creams and your pizza. Make us fat, Mr. Hoagie. Make us ashamed to be this fat.

Mr Hoagie on Urbanspoon

Round Corner Cantina – Lawrenceville

April 26, 2010 - Leave a Response

Round Corner Cantina
3720 Butler St
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
(412) 904-2279

We’d heard a lot about the Round Corner. It’s in the heart of Hipsterville, but we braved the pork pie hats and Animal Collective music to have some Mexican food.

As you may have read, as a fan of this bloggy, we have been snowed by hip Mexican places before. Will this place prove any different? Read on…

First off, it was uncomfy coming into the restaurant. We walked past the bar and had no idea where the dining room was. There was no server to greet us or tell us where to sit. We feel weird all the time. We don’t need your help feeling weirder. It was dark and red and no one was telling us where to go…so we wandered to a table and finally someone told us to sit down.

The décor can best be described as thus: A 70s interpretation of a Victorian Art Noveau print. And with the long troth filled with ice in the men’s bathroom, we can tell you that this is an authentic Mexican experience.

Our table was tight and felt like it could tip at any time. And this place was loud. Like, we couldn’t even talk loud. Our servers were, at best, surly. But hey, we didn’t come here to get treated well. We came to eat.

A major strike: no Yuengling. But if you want a $6.50 can of Boddington’s, old man, you can have one.

We started with the papitas, which is like Mexican lasagna. Sweet potatoes in a block of cheese. This was good, but a bit heavy. That said, you know. It’s a chock-a-block full of spicy and cheese and meat and sweet potatoes.

They also brought the chips and salsa out. The chips were nice, homemade chips. The salsa, on the other hand, was runny and did not hold up well.

We tried two different tacos:

The chirizo broke in half and became a gigantic mess before we even got to eat it. It had a decent enough taste, but the double taco shells were almost too much breading for Sam.

The pork belly was a new taste. It would have been nice if they had more apple in them. If it’s possible, they almost had too much meat.

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All we ate was meat. Cheese. And carbs. But really, that’s what we ordered.

Looking on urbanspoon.com, we see a ton of four to five star reviews for this place. Maybe we went on an off night. But we’d rather go to Taco Loco and get more taco for less. This was a really up there in price meal with not as much return. We can’t say it was bad, by any means. It was alright. But we kept hearing that this was the greatest thing ever. And it was…well, it was a Mexican place with high priced beer and tacos. If that’s what you want, and you want to seem cool, then by all means come on down.

Round Corner Cantina on Urbanspoon

The Tin Front Cafe – Homestead, PA

April 15, 2010 - One Response

The Tin Front Cafe
(412) 461-4615
Homestead/Munhall
216 East 8th Ave.
Homestead, PA 15120
http://www.tinfrontcafe.com

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If there’s one thing you should know about us, it’s that we love breakfast and brunch. We also like to sleep in.

Looking for a place to satiate our desire for breakfast and our need to get a few hours of sleep, we saw The Tin Front and turned around. We were glad we did.

As you can see from the photo above, the place is very pretty inside. It has a light, airy clean and crisp spring day feel – like fresh sheets.

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They had some fancy things on our table that we picked up on right away that were sold next door. Like a water-filled iced carafe that looked fancy and made of glass, but was plastic.

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The sugar dispenser was amazing and shot sugar into your coffee. And they had many, many, many coffees and teas. Sam chose a red chocolate tea. Fancy. Especially when you realize you are in Homestead!

They even had these awesome branching bud things in water at the table, so branches will bloom. The whole place is just pretty. That’s all you can really say. They also have quite the assortment of craft beers in bar.

What did you eat? Ah, yes. The food.

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Sam had the Brie Apple French Toast, which Nina described as “banging.” A soft brie, apple and cinnamon blend, she also called it her favorite French toast. In the city. In the world. Ever? Maybe.

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Nina had the Pear Gorgonzola Omelette. While the eggs were overcooked and she hates burned eggs, the inside was delectable, with creamy Gorgonzola that did not overpower the rest. On the side were some potatoes, which were spicy without being too much or distracting from the main course. The toast came with orange marmalade, of which we can speak of in one small word: “Yum!” It was a little zesty, but really good.

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We cleaned our plates. Here’s the photo:
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All this food for only…
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$19.15. In Homestead. In a place that feels far away from the city.

Well done, Tin Font Cafe. We will be back to try your Taco Bake and Mac ‘n Cheese soon!

The Tin Front Cafe on Urbanspoon