Summer Grilling – Hot dogs with zucchini

This is our first posting on things we enjoy at home. To start off the summer right we decided to have 2 friends over for a small cook out. Chips, drinks, and ofcourse hotdogs! But sometimes hotdogs a lone need a little kick. To try something different, we decided to add grilled zucchini slices to the hot dogs – much like you’d add lettuce to a hamburger.

The menu:

  • Grilled hotdogs with zucchini strips
  • Baked Steak Fries
  • Grilled Veggie Mix: Diced zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and a cubanelle pepper bathed in a white wine, parsley flakes, light salt and pepper.
  • Regular potato chips and cheese flavored potato chips.

We started off cooking the hotdogs slowly on the grill with a layer of aluminum foil. At the same time Tastebud B put the veggie mix together in a pie plate and put those on the grill. We let those begin to cook then added thin sliced zucchini.

As everything started on the grill, we threw some steak fries in the oven. It just worked out that everything finished around the same time. It was good timing – for not planning it. The menu was a success and although it looked like we spent days planning it, it really was just thrown together. The zucchini slice with the hot dog was the biggest surprise taste of all. If you are a fan of zucchinis then i would recommend trying it. And the meal goes great with a nice summer beer!

Great Pennsylvania Wine Toast

Join the Pittsburgh TasteBuds for this event:

And here are some wine tasting tips, from

One day, one toast, one celebrity toastmaster, one world record.

On August 14 at 3:30 p.m., wineries across Pennsylvania will open their doors and come alive for the Great Pennsylvania Wine Toast. The goal: To celebrate another record-setting year for the Pennsylvania wine industry. In the process, we hope to set a world record for the largest wine tasting ever conducted*.

Proud Pennsylvanian, wine lover and racing legend, Mario Andretti, will serve as our toastmaster, as he leads all locations in a simultaneous toast via video. Proceeds from the event will support The Fund to Benefit Children & Youth, a Lehigh Valley, Pa.-based organization that helps provide items and services to children and families in need.

So grab a friend and head out to a winery near you on August 14 so you can be a part of wine history…and sample some fantastic wines, of course!

* The current record – 17,429 – was set by more than 400 pubs across the U.K. in 2009. Help us bring the record home by joining us in the Great Pennsylvania Wine Toast!

The Oasis for Lunch

The Oasis on Urbanspoon
The Oasis is a small place on the corner of Seventh Ave and William Penn Place.  I believe they are best known for their coffees, but while in search of something new for lunch yesterday, I remember seeing a special on their board which peaked my interest.  I wanted lunch that I could get to go and frankly wasn’t in the mood for any of my usual joints.

Once inside, I felt very relaxed and wish I’d left myself time to stay and eat inside.  My order was the special of the day, which was a Grilled Steak Fajita Salad.  It included drink, which I got a homemade lemonade.  The lemonade wasn’t too sweet either.  The salad had lots of meat on it and included some pita chips which added some fajita-ish crunch.

Also inside, they had some tasty muffins, a wide coffee selection and claim to offer ice cream – which may be a downtown rarity.

When I grabbed the menu to see what else they offered, I was advised that the specials change daily and are not printed in the menu.  I guess that just means I’ll have to pay attention to the little chalkboard outside the restaurant for what new ideas they are thinking up.  If nothing else, I’ll need to stop by for a summertime ice cream treat.

P.S.  Urbanspoon didn’t have The Oasis in their directory so I added it.  More people should stop by and vote on if they like it.

Ritters Diner

Ritter's Diner on Urbanspoon







Hello All, Tastebud A back in action today!

Ritter’s Diner is a Pittsburgh Tradition for most. It is one of the best and most reasonable places for an early morning breakfast or a late night snack after visiting the Bars. Ritter’s is open 24 hours a day so you aren’t just limited to a Dennys or Eat ‘n Park! So if you like good old down to earth diner food then Ritter’s Diner on Baum Blvd is the place to go. Don’t be afraid of the wait staff either, they may have a bit of an edge and their uniforms aren’t the most fashionable either, but they will give you the best service. Your cup of joe will always be full. Oh and don’t forget…ITS CASH ONLY!

One of my favorites at Ritter’s is their Western Omelet with Homefries and Wheat Toast with a cup of hot coffee (pictured above). Also, another good menu item is their Friend Green Tomatoes…yup, you heard me right! Just like the Movie! They are fried to perfection and tasty. Don’t forget to ask for some ranch dressing on the side!
Tastebud B decided to custom order his omlette which was packed with sausage, bacon, peppers, onions and cheese. He had rye toast, homefries and a cup of coffee as well. Don’t mind TasteBud Bs picture of his breakfast (the top picture) It doesn’t do his breakfast any justice 🙂
The whole breakfast was great, came out hot and full of flavor.
Seating can also be a lot of fun, each table in the front of the diner has mini juke box where you can play many of your favorites. Tastebud B and I didn’t feel like waiting so we decided to dine at the Bar and watch all the action take place!
So the next time you are in need of a good breakfast, down home cooked dinner or a late night snack, go visit Ritters Diner!

North Hills Best Kept Secret

Updated Post or Revisit:
April 22, 2014 – Stoke’s Grill adds bar, no longer BYOB

Stokes - Apple Grilled Cheese
Stokes – Apple Grilled Cheese. A special item offered during a visit to Stokes.

I’m starting to have many favorite places to go and eat.  But just one can be my first.  Stoke’s Grill is, in my opinion, the best hidden gem in the North Hills.  The menu is mainly soups, salads, sandwiches and the likes, which is simple yet effective.

When I moved to Pittsburgh in 2007, I hadn’t yet branched out into investigating all that the Steel City had to offer.  Instead I opted for simple cuisine that was familiar to me until I found my footing in the area.  As someone new to living north of the Allegheny river, I, like many others, frequented McKnight road.  For people who have never heard of Stoke’s Grill, if you travel the North Hills, then there is no doubt that you travel passed it all the time.  It’s located right between El Campesino and a FedEx Kinkos on the lower end of McKnight road.

Stoke’s has some signature items that I think really showcase its variety and creativity.  Here are some select menu items of choice for me:  The Hitch (a grilled turkey and swiss pretzel sandwich), The Frizzle (chicken quesadilla), Monte Cristo (you’ve never tasted one made like this!),  Motmot (turkey and bacon grilled wrap) and if you really want to be adventurous, try the Widow Maker (grilled sandwich with italian meats, turkey, plus two eggs).  I also recommend a cup of soup, because they are homemade – I recommend the Tomato Pepperjack or the Crab Bisque.

Stokes Monte Cristo
Stokes Monte Cristo

Oh, plus they are BYOB.  And if you forget a bottle, there is a Wine and Spirits store in the North Hills Village plaza just 1 traffic light away.  Dine and enjoy!  You’ll want go back for more, trust me.
Stoke's Grill on Urbanspoon