Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Housekeeping

Alright, so we are back to warm-ish weather again and no one is complaining in my house. Thank goodness Jonas was a short-lived, semi-painless situation here in Pittsburgh; Mojito had a few mild panic attacks whenever he was taken out to relieve himself, but other than that, we were fine. 

January wasn't too exciting. I am swamped with work and my hip is killing me so if you have seen/see a mid-thirties woman hobbling along with a backpack, a purse, a laptop, a camera bag, a blanket scarf, and a Tervis, it's most likely me. Thoughts and ideas on January... 
  • The Steelers lost in the second round of the playoffs. Whatever. 
  • I realized that I can never eat fast food again (especially beef) without serious consideration. Thanks Fast Food Nation
  • Pittsburgh Restaurant Week was great this time around, and if you are still not out there making the most of this biannual celebration of Pittsburgh's restaurant scene, shame on you!
  • The pizza at Apex (Nemacolin Woodlands) is really delicious. I know this because I have tried every variation and was pleased with each. Thus, I recommend it if you are spending time in the Sundial Lodge.  
  • Mad Mex's Passionfruit Margarita might be my new favorite flavor. Tart and sweet, I suggest getting it frozen with a sugar rim. 
  • My most recent posts on Urban Cashmere are: "Recipe Swap: Bay Sweet Potatoes", "Recipe Swap: Stacked!", and "The Write Stuff." 
  • I am totally hooked on ABC's American Crime. If you are an educator, coach, or parent (of teenagers especially), I believe that this season will resonate particularly well. 
  • WGN's Outsiders started, and was filmed locally. I also know three people in the show, so you can bet that I will be watching every single episode with wide eyes and no distractions. 
  • Everyone needs to listen to Andra Day
  • My cousin ELG got engaged! My friend EAM set a date for her wedding! Cheers! Champagne and cake for everyone! I am so happy that they are so happy! 
February brings a quick trip to Omni Bedford Springs Resort to celebrate some birthdays; a longer trip to Athens, GA to see MAB; the WPIAL Diving Championships; and the birthdays of TAF, JDB, ELB, and AJB. Thoughts and ideas looking into the future... 
  • Fetterman. Look him up. 
  • SNL is getting good again regarding the 2016 presidential election. Thank goodness. 
  • The 19th Annual CLO Ambassador Wine Tasting & Silent Auction is coming up on March 4 at the Duquesne Club. I'll be emceeing, it's all you can drink wine, and the silent auction is full of experiences, packages, and unique items rather than tired memorabilia and baskets. Buy tickets! It supports theater arts education and outreach programs!  
As I have always said when ending one of these posts, thank you for reading and continuing to read The Steel Trap. January was another successful month regarding our number of hits, especially if you are from Russia (I have no idea why I am getting attention in Russia, but I really hope it's because Putin is spreading the word about this blog); we surpassed 326K hits overall and progress remains consistent. We are still in the top 10 on zomato (formerly urbanspoon)! As always, thank you for "liking" The Steel Trap on facebook, following @The_Steel_Trap on Twitter and @The_Steel_Trap on Instagram. Lastly, if anyone has anything that they would like me to cover, or a restaurant for me to review, please send me a message. I am always open to suggestions (you can take SAA's lead because she calls me with them at least once a week)!

Helloooo February!
-HGB

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The First World Problems of HGB & MAB cont.

There have been thirty-nine posts of this nature; not surprisingly I continue to accumulate many contributions from family and friends in addition to the ones that MAB and me experience on our own. It all begs the question: Is life in the first world getting to be too hard for us? Well, yes. Yes it is. In particular, today's collection of problems is rather extensive, which is fine since everyone seems to be in hibernation hunker down mode due to the copious amounts of snow that arrived over the last twenty-four hours.

As always, you should know that anything posted on facebook and Twitter is totally fair game. It's just too easy for me to pluck your first world problems from there and drop them here on The Steel Trap. I have screen shots for days. Note: Just because these are written in first person point of view, doesn't mean that they are MAB's or mine. Or does it? You decide.
  • It's happening again. Window treatments. Curtain length mixed with how it hangs mixed with the rod placement are all going to cause me to stroke out.  
  • A brand new Dunkin Donuts opened in my area and there was a long line and when I reached the front I got flustered and settled for a predetermined Dunkin dozen instead of picking out my own twelve. Only two of the donuts were acceptable.
  • I realized, on December 12th, that I hadn't worn my seasonal and most favorite snowflake earrings and I felt like the twelve days I missed out on were really crucial. 
  • I am unemployed but the cleaners coming over and I have nowhere to go.
  • American gelato doesn't taste as good as European gelato.
  • Breakfast with Santa are the worst. The Chipmunks have been playing on a loop for over an hour. 
  • It's really annoying when you're searching through facebook for a friend and you start typing in their nickname, only to remember that it's facebook and not your contacts. 
  • Why is autocorrect insisting on changing my last name to "beer owner" every time? Every. Single. Time. 
  • I don't hate that Kim and Kanye picked Saint for their heir's name I kind of like it and hate myself for liking it.
  • I have two cumulative nursing finals on the same day, thirty minutes apart. 
  • I like my #STRME box so much that I want to keep it for myself.
  • A heavy breather just walked into yoga. Joy. 
  • My mom got me a Nordstrom gift card and now I'm torn between getting something frivolous and fun or something boring and necessary. 
  • Went shopping at Target yesterday and just noticed that I had a 20% off coupon in my wallet. Arghhhhh.   
  • I braved the crowds to get batteries at Sam's Club. I forgot the batteries but now I have $200 worth of frozen party appetizers that I have no room for in my freezer. 
  • I bit into a cookie and half of it fell off and got lost in my infinity scarf. Forever. 
  • My pistachio gelato had too many pistachios 
  • I refuse to buy Chick-fil-A because I disagree with their politics but my fiancé brought some home and their honey mustard is bomb dot com. 
  • I went to the store too early and now I have to wait seven full minutes before I can go into my happy place- Home Goods. 
  • The hair extensions that I want to wear in my wedding don't have my exact hair color. 
  • One strand of lights refuses to work on my pre-lit Christmas tree. 
  • Channel 11 just reported that it's okay to let your infant children use tablets as long as they don't become unresponsive to your voice or throw a tantrum when you take it away. #themoreyouknow
  • I cannot watch TV for a whole day because the picture went out on my smart TV. 
  • What is the point of offering all day breakfast if you don't offer hash browns all day? 
  • Even Francesca's Collection jewelry cannot make my work shirt look good. 
  • Things not to do after a pedicure: wear disposable flip flops in the rain and attempt to walk in said flip flops on a cement garage floor. I now know what the knee bone to cement feels like.
  • Michael's doesn't have the ribbon that I need but it's Sunday. Hobby Lobby is closed on Sunday. 
  • After looking for two hours I still can't find the right boxes for my etsy store.
  • The menu tasting for my wedding was delicious but none of it was in consideration as an actual potential menu item.
  • This gold craft paint that I bought is not the right color of gold, it's "Sunburst" instead of "Radiant."
  • I ordered my wedding invitations to be printed in "matte" and they came in as "glossy matte." It's SO NOT MATTE!
  • The goddamn ink in this goddamn address stamp never fully dries so many of my wedding invitations and envelopes are smudged to high hell. 
  • "Moonlit Sonata" is my favorite classical song, and I would love to walk down the aisle to it but it basically sounds like a song about impending doom. 
  • I paid for a fully body massage and he only did my upper body.
  • I want to go take my exercise class but it's with the teacher who always stares at herself and makes "sexy" faces in the mirror and I just can't take it for an entire hour. 
  • I pulled a rib muscle while piloxing and now I will not be in shape for my wedding.
  • My dishwasher broke and I don't want my landlord to come fix it and see that I have more than two animals, so I've been washing my own dishes like a peasant since Thanksgiving.
  • The neighbor installed speakers on his deck. Now all of Mt. Washington can hear Feliz Navidad
  • I am at the airport on Christmas and I am hungry and I'm stuck behind somebody who has obviously not flown in the last fifteen years. 
  • Went to Target for cat litter. Came back with an artificial Christmas tree, Adele's 25, Gatorade and no cat litter. 
  • I seriously do not understand how I ended up on Cosmopolitan's email list. I haven't read that magazine in over two years. 
  • Now that there's a new Star Wars trilogy, I'm going to have to buy a whole new box set when it comes out. I'm also going to have duplicates of each of the new movies because I won't be able to wait until 2020 to buy them all at once.  
  • Monogrammed boots? Why? 
  • I remembered that garbage night was moved back a day because of New Year's Day so I didn't put it out. Then I forgot that it was moved and didn't put it out again. 
  • Now that I've made it "facebook official," I can talk about how I'm terrified of accidentally flushing my engagement ring down the toilet. 
  • I wear so many bracelets that I never remember to take them all off. 
  • To anyone who is trying to contact me, I'm not using my phone anymore because it thinks that it's July 29, 2015 instead of January 9, 2016. It's either messed up, or I traveled back in time. 
  • I have everything I need moved into my new apartment except the furniture. Because I don't have any furniture. 
  • I don't want to get up, but I also don't want to fall asleep on the couch. 
  • I forgot to wear my smart watch and now I have to keep looking at my phone to see who is calling me.  
  • I've just been told that because of the big Communist Party event that's going on in the same complex as my gym, I cannot access my gym for over a month. I paid over $500 to join that gym. Did I mention that I live in Vietnam?  
  • Someone left half of a donut in the box so they wouldn't be accused of eating the last donut. Who does that? 
  • I specifically designed my wedding invitations to say how many people were invited as in, "We reserved X seats in your honor" and I just got one back with the 1 crossed out and 4 put in its place with a note saying "It's ok to bring the kids right?" 
  • My apartment complex parking lot was finally plowed five hours after the snow stopped; now my car is plowed into the spot. with three feet of snow on every side. I have to find someone to shovel me out because I don't own a shovel because did I mention that I live in an apartment complex?!?! 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Afternoon Commute

Some big winter storm named Jonas is supposed to be coming through town and continuing to worsen as it travels toward the Atlantic, coincidentally in time for many people's afternoon-into-evening commutes. With that in mind, here are some songs that I wouldn't mind hearing on my drive home. Enjoy!


Song: "My Name is Jonas"
Artist: Weezer


Song: Levels
Artist: Nick Jonas


Song: "Fast Car"
Artist: Jonas Blue featuring Dakota

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Home on the Prairie

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week is a biannual, seasonal celebration of the fantastic restaurant scene in our city; it is also an excellent excuse to get together with one of my favorite friends that I've met along this blogging journey, EFC from BeezusKiddo. For this dining experience, we chose Prairie (5491 Penn Avenue, 15206), which is in the same Garfield space of the now closed (but very missed), Verde.

Prairie was a visibly vibrant scene as I approached along Penn Avenue. Bustling with patrons, filled with conversation and laughter, it's quite the scene. Prairie is reminiscent of Verde in the sense that the interior layout remains unchanged and the service is friendly and efficient; but the bright, tequila inspired atmosphere of Verde is now a cool, bourbon inspired subtle nod to Americana... a nod the prairie, I suppose (minus the "Little House").

The menu is not complicated, yet it is interesting. For instance, items like the Steak & Potatoes ($28, Jubilee Hilltop Ranch grass-fed 12oz ribeye, roasted potatoes, ginger-glazed carrots, port wine demi-glace), the Prairie Burger ($15, Jubilee Hilltop Ranch grass-fed beef, Clover Creek Smoked Old Galen cheese, frisée, apricot-root vegetable relish, 7-grain bun), the Skillet Corn Bread ($7, whipped cinnamon honey butter), and the Farmer’s Breakfast ($11, sunny or scrambled eggs, thick-cut bacon, fennelapple sausage, fried potatoes, caramelized onions, rye toast, cinnamon honey butter) speak to Prairie's familiarity with and commitment to American culinary culture, but are demonstrative of so much than predictable comfort food.

For our experience, we both opted to go with two drinks to start, and then decided on the special prix fixe Pittsburgh Restaurant Week menu ($30.16, appetizer, main course, sweet) in order to try as much as we could without having to be hauled out with farm equipment.
Blackberry Gin Fizz ($11, Old Tom Gin, Cocchi Rosa, lime, Dolin Blanc, egg white, blackberry preserves) and Short Skirt, Long Jacket ($10, hibiscus & vanilla infused Boyd & Blair vodka, lime, orgeat, orange curaçao, cherry bitters, bubbles)
Appetizers: Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin (bread crumbs, bacon, choice of parmesan or vegan cauliflower "cheese") and Campfire Mac & Cheese (IPA beer cheese, bread crumbs, smoked onions, bacon)
Main Course: Great Lakes Walleye (wild rice, roasted cauliflower, red beet, parsley, brown butter) 
Main Course: Chicken & Biscuit (oven-roasted chicken breast, house buttermilk biscuit, herbed chicken gravy, root vegetable hash) 
Sweet: Bourbon Bread Pudding (house bread pudding recipe, sweet bourbon sauce) 
Sweet: Prairie Cookie & Ice Cream ("just a darn good chocolate chip pecan cookie" with vanilla bean ice cream) 
Our drinks were crisp and a nice segue into the meal. The Brussels Sprouts and Mac & Cheese were not over-saturated with bacon, which made each appetizer better than we expected as so many restaurants are now using bacon to force flavor into a dish. For the more adventurous diners, we recommend trying the Great Lakes Walleye. It disappeared from the plate quite quickly as the red beet, cauliflower, and wild rice complement the tender, flavorful fish exceptionally well. The Chicken & Biscuit was an excellent choice; we highly recommend this as an initial meal at Prairie because it's a sure bet with a low risk of disappointment. As for dessert, diners will most likely be stuffed, but we do not recommend leaving the sweets behind. We believe that calories must be worth the indulgence, and both the Bourbon Bread Pudding and Prairie Cookie were baked to deliciousness. The Bread Pudding was a pastry drizzled in chocolate and bourbon, and would pair well with coffee or tea; the Cookie is "darn good" as promised, and provides just enough sugar to conclude a savory meal.

Arrive hungry! Leave fulfilled!

Prairie is open for supper on Sundays from 5-9, Mondays through Thursdays from 5-10 and Fridays through Saturdays from 5-11; brunch is on Saturdays and Sundays from 11-3. Also, Mondays are the "Hot Chicken Dinner Special"; Wednesdays offer whiskey tastings every other week; and happy hour is on Mondays through Fridays from 5-7.

(4 stars, 4/5)

Prairie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Thirteen

Thirteen thoughts and ideas on the thirteenth of January...

  1. Mark my words. The Sean Penn and El Chapo handshake will be the hottest costume in October. The shirt that El Chapo is wearing in their bromantic photo is a hot item right now, selling for $128! 
  2. By the way, what kind of name is El Chapo? I'll tell you. An awesome one. My last name means "bullets" in Spanish, so perhaps I need to go by "La Bala" from this point forward. Bueno!   
  3. I am about halfway through Fast Food Nation and I have one episode of Making a Murderer left. After that, my life will be meaningless. That is until the moments when I'm halfway through The Fever by Megan Abbott, when I'm totally addicted to American Crime (I'm predicting episode 3), and when all of my ABC dramas are back. Then I shall have a renewed sense of purpose. 
  4. Studebaker Metals has some beautiful jewelry. I highly suggest that you take a look if you're into unique pieces that are locally made by hand by good people.
  5. The CLO Ambassadors' 19th Annual Wine Tasting & Silent Auction event is coming up on March 4 at the Duquesne Club. Click here for more information about the event and to purchase tickets, which benefits the Pittsburgh CLO's theater arts educational programming. It's a fabulous evening, and yours truly can be found behind the podium as emcee! 
  6. Three of my favorite gals (KBF, EAM, and RRM) are engaged! That means that there are three weddings on the horizon, starting with KBF's in June! I am so thrilled!   
  7. Winter can leave now.  
  8. The real name of the Greenfield Bridge is the Beechwood Boulevard Bridge. No one believes me, but it's true. Nevertheless, it's weird driving on the Parkway East without it (and the baby bridge underneath of it) looming in the sky.  
  9. For Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, I stopped at Meat and Potatoes on Monday, and I will be checking our Prairie on Friday night! Cheers! 
  10. Gummy sour peaches are my favorite candy. That's an official statement.  
  11. Speaking of peaches, the "Georgia Peach" soap and candle from Bath and Body Works smell delicious.  
  12. Speaking of Georgia peaches, MAB has taken a job with the University of Georgia and is moving back to Athens! This of course makes me so proud as she is moving forward with her career into an amazing position (that I would love to do actually); I also happen to love the Athens/Atlanta area so much and cannot wait to visit in the very near future! 
  13. Two months from today, I will turn thirty-six. My usual post about all of the books that I read in the past year of my life will surface that day, as well as the surfacing of some sort of temporary psychosis as I acknowledge that I am getting closer and closer to forty.