Monday, March 21, 2011

Sunshine Saturday Shopping

I feel like I've been on a blog vacation! It has been busy the last few days. My mom arrived in Pittsburgh last Wednesday evening and she has been so helpful in getting the painting done and moving furniture and breakables. Most people intensely dislike painting trim, but my mom has the patience for it and she doesn't seem to mind it too much. My new desk arrived on Thursday, so I spent some time cleaning it and filling all the nooks and crannies. So much space! All my desk stuff is actually on/in the desk and not shoved in random spots in the closet! I love it!

SP has the best mother-in-law ever -- Saturday morning, she told him she'd paint the doors for him (we have 3 cream colored doors that need to be painted white) and he could just go out and do errands. So that's what he did! After the usual grocery trips, he returned home to drop off the goodies and pick me up so we could set off on some errands. It was a beautiful, sunshine filled day, if a bit breezy, but despite the sunshine making our moods sunny, our errands were not especially sunny (successful). Who knew it could be so difficult to find a TV stand (or maybe I'm just being extra picky)? But we did take a break from our not so successful and frustrating shopping to have a nice dinner at Bocktown.

I've blogged about Bocktown Beer & Grill several times before, and I wasn't going to again, but we ended up seated in a nice sunny area by the door and I couldn't resist taking some food photos (blog withdrawal?), especially since I ordered something other than my usual chicken breast with BBQ, bacon, cheese, and onion straws sandwich.

Other Pittsburgh bloggers have written posts about Bocktown - better posts than I have written or will write!!! Forked! just wrote about Bocktown (by just wrote, I mean like 3 days ago!) here. Binge! Eating in Pittsburgh wrote about them here. And Mike from Foodburgh (who is much more knowledgeable about beer than I am) reviewed them here and here.

Bocktown is a non-chain restaurant in chain-filled Robinson. Since we live in Robinson and can't always dine in the city for a non-chain dining experience, it's a place we really, really enjoy. It's tucked away near the Target & Pool City. To me, it's your usual pub type decor inside. Lots of TVs to watch March Madness (and realize my basketball brackets are completely blown). We were seated right away, which was nice, but we also ate dinner a little early because we were hungry. It was 5 pm when we got there.

We ordered our usual iced teas (fresh brewed!) and SP ordered a beer. I forget which kind, I just remember that it was a dark beer. I personally do not go to Bocktown for the beer since I do not like beer, so the most I can ever say is "SP ordered a beer and liked it." I go because I like their food and iced tea and atmosphere much more than the usual chains in Robinson. Plus, the employees are always friendly and efficient. SP likes it for the same reasons plus the beer selection. The beer selection, to me, seems quite large. For more Bocktown beer info, check out the other Pittsburgh bloggers' posts.

SP started with a side house salad:

His Italian vinaigrette was on the side. This was a tasty salad. A couple of kalamatas, grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, green pepper slices, shredded cheese, and greens. The vinaigrette had that wonderful Italian-y taste that I always associate with good Italian dressing but I can't actually pinpoint what it is! It's almost like a wee tang of sweet/salty aftertaste, but that's the best description I can come up with!

Of course he ordered his usual She-Crab Bisque. I had a few spoonfuls. I still kind of wish it was a little thicker of a soup and maybe a little more peppery, but it had lots of crab chunks for great crab flavor and texture. As usual - yum!

For his meal, SP chose The Port Authority sandwich -- "a juicy portabella mushroom set on a nest of creamy coleslaw, finished with our Untouchable Sauce, diced pickles and onion crisps on a toasted deli bun."I thought this was an unusual choice for him. Usually, he opts for an entree salad, but he insisted he has eaten The Port Authority before. Of course I stole a few of his onion straws since breaded & fried onion is one of my weaknesses. And I sampled the cole slaw. I commented that it tasted like it was flavored with pickle. Definitely some vinegar along with mayo. A few minutes after I made the pickle comment, SP showed me a pickle chunk from the sandwich. Since there were pickles on the sandwich, the pickle juice was flavoring the cole slaw. I've never had pickle flavor my cole slaw before, but it's a nice taste, if not one I would want all the time. I also thought the cole slaw was creamy without be overly mayonnaise-y, which I really liked since I'm not a huge fan of mayonnaise-y dressings.

I chose the Roast Beef Dip sandwich -- "our own slow roasted beef top round stacked high on a deli roll with Swiss cheese, a side of au jus and fresh horseradish to spice up your life."I really enjoyed this sandwich, perhaps because I hardly ever eat beef so it was like a special treat and/or perhaps because French Dip sandwiches have always been a favorite of mine. I love dipping my sandwich into the salty, beefy au jus sauce, getting it to my mouth before it drips down my shirt, and then slurping in soggy bread and beef! My roll was nicely toasted and held up well to the au jus. I ate the whole sandwich - yum!

We were too full at that point for dessert, but we did get two desserts to take home and enjoy that evening with my mom. We got a raspberry torte and a Baily's cake. I didn't take photos of them. Each was a slice of a 3 layer cake. We split each slice 3 ways by layer. Everyone liked the raspberry torte better. White cake with thin raspberry jam in between the layers and a creamy white icing on top. The Baily's cake seemed to be the same cake with a Baily's icing in between and a Baily's sauce drizzled over the cake. Both were good, but not great.

We ate dessert while watching the Pitt game, but sadly, tasty desserts did not lessen my stress and ultimate dismay at the outcome. I couldn't believe how the game ended. I still can't really think about it. Why do they always disappoint me in the big tournament? And bust my bracket?

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