{Over the Weekend} Hatch Chile Pork Stew & A View

BIG BREATH. This past weekend was one of our last before starting the fall semester. Tear. We used our freedom to do 10+ miles of walking, I did an exploratory bike ride, and Husband showed me how to use several of the weight training machines in the gym. It was a fitness extravaganza!
Then, I spent Sunday night making a Hatch Green Chile Pork Stew. Delish. It is Hatch season afterall. {If you're in Dallas, I hope you made it to Central Market last week; if you're in PGH, don't miss the roasting at Market District this weekend, Aug. 24 & 25!} Hatch is the best, bar-none. This stew goes nicely with the minty cocktails, Husband's specialty.
Check out the recipe after the jump! 


Reviewing Restaurants: Bad PR or Be Polite?

Tuesday night was Pittsburgh Restaurant Week's bi-annual Blogger Dinner, this time featured at Sausalido in Bloomfield {thanks for the delish wine, Pittsburgh Winery!}. An interesting topic was brought up among the blogger folk:
When you have a somewhat bad to really terrible dining experience, do you go ahead and blog about it? 

A few fellow bloggers were on the fence, but several said they would not blog about it period, quoting everyone's proverbial mom, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it!"  I do remember my own mom telling me this, then proceeding to ignore it and say what I please. The claim Tuesday night was that you wouldn't want the negative comments coming back and reflecting negatively on you, as a professional, parent or community member. Perhaps because I do not hail from PGH, this isn't a solid issue for me, but I completely understand this for others.

As someone who frequently writes food reviews, I believe in letting them know if they've done something... unsavory, let's say, so they may try to fix it. I'm not a prestigious Pittsburgh food blogger with hundreds of readers, but I'd hope someone would read the review and take something useful from it. In a weird way, choosing to not post a review seems a tinge dishonest.

Readers, what do you think? Would you rather read the good, bad and ugly of a restaurant experience, or just read positive reviews? Is relying on word-of-mouth sufficient for hearing about bad restaurants?
Restaurant folks, what are your thoughts on bloggers writing a negative review?


{Travel} Road Tripping to Lexington & Cincy

To continue the streak of short, cheap value-conscious trips, Husband and I jumped in my beloved 2006 Jetta and drove to Lexington to meet our friend James, who recently moved to Nashville. {Evidently it shall not be referred to as NashVEGAS, which is likened to calling San Francisco, 'Frisco. Oops.} You may remember James from his guest post during Pittsburgh Craft Beer week last year.  Anyway, according to Meetways.com, Covington, KY is the mid-point between these two fine cities. Covington is across the river from Cincinnati, so we called for a road trip.  
Cincy is about 4 and three-quarters hours from Pittsburgh, so we left around 2pm...to get stuck in PGH traffic! Lesson learned.
Husband and James love craft beverages, thus we made a side trip {or a starting point?} of Lexington, Kentucky. We rolled into town around 9pm on Friday night, amidst the rain. Husband and I had just finished listening to Wave, so we were definitely in the mood for a drink.


Sad Day - Hello Bistro Downsizes

As a new office resident of Oakland, I've become even more familiar with Hello Bistro, an Eat'n Park Hospitality Group dining concept. I frequent their Forbes Avenue location for delicious treats like mini smiley cookies and what I refer to as Dog Bowl Salads:
You can fill your $7 bowl with as many toppings as you'd like, and protein options {Grilled Chicken, Salmon, Shrimp, etc} are only around $2 more. Not a great price, but not bad for the quality topping you're getting. They chop it up to your liking, then garnish it with tasty crunchy bits {like tortilla strips or roasted soy nuts} and a dressing. Eating is pure delight.

By some sad twist of fate, the dog bowl is now more like a beta bowl. {tiny exaggeration} They are about 20% smaller than before, which is enough cause in my book to cause a stir. This stir resulted in my opening of the Web browser, finding them online, then giving them a shout:

While I love going to HB for one of the best salads in PGH, I am majorly disappointed in the new size of the salad dishes. As a working professional and grad student, I was already a bit 'arched-brows' over the prices, but now that the bowls are smaller, it's even more dissatisfying. I hope you will consider taking a dollar or two off the price of the smaller size - I'd buy them more often! (Now they're just a treat). 

Maybe this is the universe trying to tell me I do not need to eat a dog bowl-sized salad for lunch. Perhaps. Or, maybe I'll get a few free salads that will put a dent in the deficit. Probably not. At least it's off my chest now!

Has this ever happened to you?