Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco de Mayo in the Burgh

It's Cinco de Mayo! Aren't you excited?!  Ahh how I love celebrating the defeat of French troops...errrr...uhhh...yeah.  Ce n'est pas exactement de vérité...Maybe that's not always a good thing. But YAY MEXICO! As we all know, here in America we will gladly and even fervently celebrate anyone else's history as long as it gives us an excuse to drink - Oktoberfest, St. Patrick's Day, Bastille Day, in extreme cases Swedish and Belgian Independence Days, and of course Cinco de Mayo!  I've had quite a few fantastically irresponsible Cinco de Mayos in my past, and while I fear I may now be too old to properly celebrate a bunch of rag tag Mexican's fighting off the French Army at the Battle of Puebla, I would like to insure someone out there properly observes the holiday, so here are some delicious drinks and places around Pittsburgh to celebrate:

Tequila Shot
• My favorite! My best advice would be to make sure to get it chilled, but the lime and salt are up to you.

The Prickly Margarita
• 2 ounces Cabo Wabo Anejo
• 1/2 ounce agave nectar
• 1 ounce fresh lime juice
• 1/2 ounce prickly pear puree
• 1 medium jalapeno slice
• 1/4 ounce Amaretto
• 1 lime wheel
Place all the ingredients, except Amaretto in a shaker, muddle Jalapeño, add ice, and shake vigorously. Strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass, float Amaretto on top, garnish with a lime wheel, and serve. Makes 1 serving.

Tequila Sunset
• 1 1/2 ounces Cabo Wabo Blanco
• 1 ounce pomegranate juice
• 1/2 ounce Framboise Liqueur
• 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
• 1/2 ounce agave nectar
• 3 ounce soda water
• Lemon twist
Place the tequila, lemon juice and agave nectar in a shaker with ice, shake vigorously and strain over fresh ice into a Collins glass. Stir in the soda water, and top with Framboise and Pomegranate. Mix into the drink and serve with a lemon twist. Makes 1 serving.

Places to Go: 
  • Cocina Mendoza (Mt. Lebanon Blvd. in Castle Shannon) - Authentic Mexican food from Acupulco, so when you're eating it, it's almost like you're at the beach. Make sure to use your sunscreen!
  • Madmex There are lots of them around - Oakland, Scott Township, State College - whichever one you choose, have 7 big ass won't feel like a human again until next May 5th, but you will certainly make today worth while.
  • La Fiesta Restaurant (Atwood St. in Oakland.) - Live music. Try not to trip over drunk college students on your way out the door.
  • Cozumel (Liberty Ave. Downtown) and Mexico City (Wood St. Downtown) - Both are good for the after work crowd. 9-5ers have gotta imbibe too!
  • Jose and Tony's (McFarland Road) - There aren't many things better than this Mt. Lebanon/Dormont establishment. Stop by for a Dos Equis Mexican Cervesa (con queso!)
  • The Southside - Where everybody knows your name wasted face...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

All the Rage

Since I announced my intentions to sport a Playoff Beard a few weeks ago, I've noticed quite the trend in the Burgh....classy ladies everywhere choosing to support their team with facial hair (unlike our Philadelphia counterparts who have no choice). Props to all the FemBeards out there!

To the right we've got a hip female friend spotted at Game 1 against the Montreal Canadiens. She's representin' her very best island dreadbeard. If you're lucky, you might be able to catch her in Oakland or Shadyside. Truly a sight to be seen.

Another one of my favorites...the ever so trendy beaded beard look with carefully placed black, white, and gold flare. Great for the beach or Mt. Washington where you can find this lovely Burgh babe.

Gender Reassignment was part of the deal with Goodell...
Oh wait, this is just a picture of the New England Patriot's Bill Belichick! Who wears short shorts?

Don't forget to check out the NHL Beard-A-Thon website. In addition to the Philadelphia City Jail and the Ovechkin for President Campaign, you've got lots of great organizations to donate to. In fact, I just found out that all Chicago proceeds are going to the Marian Hossa Stanley Cup Fund.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pens NHL Playoffs - Round 2

I could never be a journalist for the one main reason: I am for the most part completely incapable of retaining an unbiased opinion. I can write at a 5-8th grade level, give the “whos, whats, wheres, whens and hows”, and could most likely even dig up a decent story or two, but when it comes to most subjects people care about, I am completely incapable of hiding my bias. Now, I’m sure that those of you who know me (even just a little) think you know exactly where I’m going with this point, but much to all of your surprise I’m not going to sit here and talk about the Capital’s first round choking act (though, my first draft of this blog post went on and on about it for at least a good couple hours). Since I’ve already done my “I said so”s on that matter (which…I did…say so), I’m just going to go ahead and talk about how excited I am for the Pens vs. Canadiens series.

Not only do I have a thing for good hockey, but I also have a thing for French Canadians, so, between the two teams, I might just lose my mind. Le Club de Hockey Canadien has one of the richest histories in hockey, and Rocket Richard is one of my all time favorite players, so I’m always eager for a first-rate Canadiens-Pens series. Do I think the Pens will win? Yes, but it’s not going to be easy by any means. If Jaroslav Halak continues to do his best Patrick Roy imitation and the Habs keep up their defense, then the Pens will certainly have their work cut out for them. The difference could just be in the Pens third line. As in…they have one. Jordan, it’s all riding on you! Pens in 6

On a side note: Congratulations to Sidney Crosby for being named one of the three Hart Trophy Finalists. Fittingly, Alex Ovechkin (Washington) and Henrik Sedin (Vancouver) were also both announced as finalists. The pessimist/realist in me says Ovi will probably win again...because the Caps don't exist without him, and disappearing in post-season and Olympics has no impact on the award. Sid's got great chances though! 

I’ll be at the game tomorrow night so look for me...I'll be the one wearing white. Allez les Penguins!!! Les Habitants, peut-être je vous encourageais hièr soir, mais je ne ferai pas la même demain...certainement pas! LET’S GO PENS! 

Don't forget to visit the NHL Beard-A-Thon website - lots of good foundations to donate to! 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Karmic Yogurt - Shadyside

As a kid, ice cream was always my absolute favorite snack. The instant my cousin and I would walk in the door after school, we would immediately load up on a giant bowl of cookies and cream and race to the TV in an attempt catch the 4PM Ricki Lake Show. (Third grade was a tough year, okay!) Now of course this was a little before the featured stories on childhood obesity, so let's fast forward about 15 years.

Karmic Yogurt is my newest Pittsburgh obsession. After our kickboxing classes, my cousin and I now head over to Filbert Street in Shadyside for our delectably healthy reward. If you've been to places like Mr. Yogato in DC, it's the same concept. Each cup of yogurt is about 90 calories, and it's full of all the good, healthy stuff that 3rd grade Tara would have hated, like probiotics and riboflaven. It's even kosher and gluten free, too! You can get the yogurt in a few different favors: either the creamy or tart Karmic flavor (which is pretty much just frozen, plain yogurt), Pom (pomegranate), or Matcha (green tea). I typically get the tart yogurt with lychee and mango, but there are lots of yummy topping options - even unhealthy ones. I must say though that I can give full credit to Karmic Yogurt for single-handedly creating my new obsession with lychee. So if you ever find yourself in Shadyside try out Karmic Yogurt....because it is scrumptious and delicious and tastes nothing like chicken!

(I hear rumors of one opening in Squirrel Hill, too - reports to come)
Click here for more information about the health benefits of Karmic Yogurt.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Playoff Beard - Day 7

So this playoff beard thing is getting pretty rigorous. I knew it would be a difficult task, but I had no idea just how annoying it would be. I'm constantly getting food stuck on my face, and the other day I was drinking a beer and walked around with beer fuzz all over m'stash for at least half an hour. There are some benefits however. I was outside in the frigid cold for my cousin's wedding this past weekend, and I'm happy to report  that my playoff beard without a doubt helped to cut the the skin to wind ratio significantly. I now understand the various winter beard theories amongst my many male friends. I must say I’m really digging the shape of my beard though. It really accentuates my eyes and definitely contours my face…In some (all) light you can’t even tell it’s there!

And of course the most significant and important benefit of the playoffbeard is the 3-1 series lead that the Pittsburgh Penguins now hold over the Ottawa Senators (all due to my personal efforts).  I must admit that I was somewhat skeptical of the Pens playoff successes, but it seems that they have really picked up their game. I mean, let’s be honest, at this point Sidney Crosby could practically win the Cup on his own, but now we’ve got guys like Adams, Kuntiz, and Talbot back in the goal scoring mix. And hell, the Geno and Gonch duo is basically my favorite ever! (Mostly due to the fact that I’m Malkin’s self-declared best friend.)

I would be remiss if I didn’t congratulate Jordan Staal (because he obviously reads my blog). Along with the Red Wings’ Pavel Datsyuk and the Canucks’ Ryan Kesler, Staal was nominated for the Selke Award, which is given to the best defensive forward in the league. My bet’s on Kesler, but a great honor for Staal nonetheless.

Don't forget to visit the NHL Beard-A-Thon website. I’ve just learned that all Washington Capital proceeds are benefiting the Alexander Ovechkin 2020 Presidential Bid...Sarah Palin is anticipated to make a well asserted claim that she is indeed Ovi’s hockey mom - a statement that will be supported by her ability to see Russia from her house. 

(For more on my playoff beard efforts see previous posting My Playoff Beard Starts Today!)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Playoff Beard Starts Today!

NHL Playoffs!

It’s once again my favorite time of the year in the Burgh…and no, it has nothing to do with yet another Ben Roethlisberger sexual assault accusation, despite the fact that Mr. Roethlisberger seems to be all anyone wants to talk about. By “favorite time of year” I of course mean the NHL Playoffs. Year after year I watch my guy friends grow their awe-inspiring playoff beards, and the best I’ve been able to do to show my team support has been strategic tequila shots and dirty, unwashed jerseys à la 2000 JV softball. (And I’m talking Wachovia Center dirty!!). So this year, to show my devotion to the Pittsburgh Penguins, I will be growing my very own playoff beard. Overcoming the double X chromosomes won’t be easy, but I think it can be done. In order to make for the optimal beard growing conditions I will be consulting my brother, Sean, beard grower extraordinaire, on effective beard growing techniques. Additionally, my inspiration will come from none other than Pittsburgh Superstar, Maxime Talbot.

In the spirit of the playoff beard, it wouldn't be right if I didn't remember to direct you all to the NHL Beard-A-Thon.

Visit: to make donations to the fundraiser - search for your favorite beard or look for a friend's profile. The Penguins' donations are going to the Mario Lemieux Foundation, but God forbid you're unfortunate enough not to be a Pens fan, look for your own team to make a donations to their chosen foundations. (Unless you're a Flyers fan - those donations go to the city jail.)

I hope to have to learn to sustain my beard for for the remainder of the Spring, but in order for that to happen, the Pens have really got to take it up a notch. Regardless, the Western Conference will win the Cup. Just sayin'...





Monday, April 12, 2010

Killer Pollen!!!

I’ve realized that, no matter how many times I’ve said it myself today, “I’m hoping it’s just allergies and not a cold” has got to be one of the most annoying, nonsensical, and irritating phrases in the English language. If you spend your entire day feeling like total shit, does it really matter whether you have a cold or if the pollen count is just slightly higher than your body can take? Either way, you feel crappy and no drug no legal drug is going to change that. In fact, I have no doubt that the makers of Benadryl and Dayquil spend each March - June aboard nauseatingly colossal yachts, secretly laughing at us all for funding their villas in St. Maarten. With this said, Spring does tend to be a rather confusing time of year. It’s cold season, yet the pollen count is out of control. Naturally, this leads me to wonder if it’s possible that cold germs may have actually joined forces with the pollen kingdom to attack the human race (which coincidently is the subject of James Cameron's next epic blockbuster). If this theory does eventually prove true, it will support my long time belief that I am indeed allergic to EVERYTHING. Now…of course this is TREE pollen I’m talking about. I’m sure that as soon as the tree pollen has sufficiently mutilated my sinuses, the grass variety will be more than happy to take its place – followed by weeds of course, and undoubtedly the flowers will have their way with me as well.

So basically, I’ve spent the greater part of the past few weeks hoping I didn’t have a cold, but suffering through itchy eyes, a sore throat, constant sneezing, inability to breath, and a stuffy nose. I really just want to feel like a human again - cold no cold, allergies no allergies- but either way, don't forget - noses in need deserve Puffs indeed!

(I know you're all relieved I didn't bring up my neti pot...)