Sunday, November 20, 2011


A few weeks ago, I went to NOLA on the SQUARE at Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh. The food was very good(check out what I thought about the fried alligator bites), and I got an opportunity to talk to the manager and chef about NOLA. Unfortunately, Lenny the chef wasn't able to participate in the video, but I was able to still interview him for a little bit.

1. He has been at NOLA since March of 2011 and he played a big part in what the menu should be.
2. He spent 5 years at New Orleans working at Arnaud's.
3. He said that the best part of working at NOLA is the culinary freedom, daily features, and most of the produce is local.

From just talking to Lenny, he has such a passion for cooking and you could clearly see that when you eat the food at NOLA.

NOLA on the square on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Benkovitz Seafoods

I recently started a new job in the Strip District area. I've only been at my new company for a month, but I've probably went out to eat roughly around eight times already. When you work at the Strip District, you have to take advantage of your surroundings. From eating beef tongue tacos at Reyna's to eating bacon feta haluski at S & D Polish Deli, you have so many types of foods you can try. Heck you can even buy bread, meat, and cheese at Penn Mac and that could be your lunch for a week.

But today, I'll be giving my thoughts to the world about Benkovitz Seafoods which is two blocks from my office. It's unfortunate that they aren't in the main part of the Strip District(Penn Ave.) because they could have a lot more customers, but when I went inside this past Tuesday(first time by the way) they still had a decent amount of people in there. Benkovitz sells seafood from their market and you can also order lunch there as well. I was not in the mood for anything fried, so I ended up ordering a salmon salad sandwich at the deli area. As I was waiting, I struck up a conversation with the cashier(who was really the manager) who was also making my sandwich. I can sense there was some chemistry going on between us. It worked out well in that she ended up giving me complimentary cole slaw because she said she was in a happy mood. She is probably going to blush when she reads this, but hey I got to be an honest blogger. So I take my lunch back to my office, and it was pretty damn good. The cole slaw was excellent(I've never had bad cole slaw as far I can remember), and the salmon salad sandwich was good. The sandwich was very filling, cold, and tasty.

On friday, I decided to go back for Benkovitz again for lunch and this time armed with my camera phone. I saw that they had a special on catfish sandwich plus jalapeno hush puppies. This was a no brainer, and I ended up ordering the meal. The first batch of the hush puppies, it wasn't cooked in the middle. They ended up cooking me a new batch for me. Not every restaurant is perfect, but I was glad that Benkovitz did something about it. Good customer service at its best. The second batch definitely was a lot better. It's crispy on the outside, and soft and fluffy on the inside. You can feel the heat anytime you take a bite. The catfish sandwich just really contained catfish and the bread. There was no lettuce tomatoes or onions. I was bit disappointed about that. Being that it was pretty plain, I put on liberal amounts of cocktail sauce and tartar sauce on the catfish. It definitely gave the sandwich a nice kick to it. The catfish was deeply fried, but there was certainly a lot meat in it. I've never had grilled catfish, and probably never will. Catfish too me always has to be fried.

So all in all, I had a good experience during my two trips to Benkovitz. The only suggestion I would make is to include lettuce tomatoes and onions for the sandwich. Benkovitz also sometimes have free samples. They had crab and shrimp dip as samples on Friday. Unfortunately I didn't take pictures of them, but they were good especially the shrimp dip.

Benkovitz Seafoods on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lamb Chops with Tahini Sauce

I've never cooked Lamb Chops before, but I thought it turned out well. The Tahini sauce makes it happen. I still have a lot of Tahini left and looking forward to creating more dishes that feature Tahini.

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