March 17, 2006

Recent local food changes

(Well, they're changes for me anyway.)

1. Tamarind is, as you might expect, an Indian restaurant. It's in the Scott Town Center strip mall and, also as you'd expect, it's a few doors down from an Indian grocery, so after eating you can grab your bulk refills for cumin, coriander, beans, rice, etc.. I think it opened in the last year or two. The restaurant is fairly small (8-10 tables?) and there may have been one table open on a Saturday night, and about half open on a Wednesday night.

We went there for the first time when some friends were visiting a couple weeks ago and everyone really enjoyed it. I had the Aloo Saag, very tasty and, while spicy, not overpowering. Barb had the Aloo Gobi Masala that was good, but not as good as mine. (Ha!) One of our friends got the Chicken Tikka Masala, loved it, and her husband got something I don't remember but it was apparently quite spicy -- he refused to stop eating so the spicyness wouldn't catch up to him.

We went a few days later because our house was filled with an airplane-glue smell from the water company cleaning out the underground pipes. That time I had the Palak Paneer (great, but not quite as spicy as when I make it with s/Paneer/Tofu/), and Barb got the Aloo Saag. Great stuff, and reasonably priced, too.

Note: it's BYOB, and they charge a typical corking fee ($5).

2. Last night was my first trip to Pinati in Squirrel Hill. It's where Pino's used to be on Murray Avenue. Lots of kosher food, which IME means at least a few good vegetarian items (as opposed to afterthoughts). Barb's already been there a couple times with former co-workers and had the veggie delight in laffa bread, so we just got that with a fried, cold eggplant salad to start. The salad sounds weird (fried AND cold?) but it worked pretty well, and the slightly spicy tomato sauce on it worked for me. The sandwich was good too; I hadn't had laffa bread before; it was thicker and more substantial than a pita. Good pickles.

We had some sort of cheesecake covered in chocolate for dessert which was so-so. The waitress recommended one of the chocolate souffles for next time, patting her belly at the memory of one she'd eaten earlier that day.

I don't think there's booze here either, and I don't know if it's BYOB.

3. I was disappointed to learn that the Roly Poly in the Miracle Mile shopping center in Monroeville closed at the end of last month. The Panera around the corner seems to be packed no matter what time of day you go in; without the Roly Poly I'd imagine that's only going to get worse.

4. Also disappointed to see that Mad Mex took the Salmon Salad off their menu -- it was swimming in cashews and lots of other great textures. In fact, I think they took all salmon out of the menu -- worried about the environmental impact of Chilean salmon farming?

Next: Cafe Cookies good? Ha!
Previous: Neal Adams, more than comics?