Homemade Pizza, Date Night at Home

homemade pizza date night

I love being treated to a romantic date night out on the town, but there is something really special about a relaxed date night in at home. Just because it’s “at home” doesn’t mean you can’t still have an amazing date night.

All you need for a fun date night at home is a $5.95 DeLallo Italian Pizza Dough Kit (and of course a bottle of moscato). Its a simple dough kit available at local Pittsburgh grocery stores. All you need to do is combine the packages of flour and yeast and add water. Forty-five minuets later the dough has risen and is ready for you to create the perfect elasticity for pizza dough from the thin, crisp Neapolitan-style crust to the thicker, chewier crust.

Then its the fun part – creating your own custom pizza. To me the best part of homemade pizza is that you can add whatever you want! Who doesn’t love loading up toppings and playing around with flavor combinations?! If you’re like me your pantry and fridge are most likely already filled with pizza fixings. All you need to gather is sauce, vegetables, meats, and cheese.

My pizza date and I made 3 pizza combinations.

1- Vodka sauce, herbs, parmesan cheese, sauteed mushrooms and onions.

2- Parmesan cheese, sauteed mushrooms and onions, basil and balsamic glaze.

3- Pesto, grilled chicken, parmesan cheese, sauteed mushrooms and onions.

And yes we used homegrown basil that had the sweetest heart-shaped bug bite shape. 100% natural find adding to the sappiness of this romantic date night 🙂

Making pizza for a date night in is all about being relaxed at home and spending time with the one you love. I for one am all about siting back, relaxing, pouring another glass of wine, and enjoying a date night at home!

 

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Foodie Weekend in Ocean City Maryland

foodie spots of Ocean City Maryland

I don’t know about others, but to me vacation is all about relaxing, exploring, and most importantly indulging in delicious food. I recently spent a long weekend in every Pittsburgher’s default beach vacation spot, Ocean City Maryland.  I’ve been lucky enough to visit the area a handful of times and have begun to develop a list of favorite restaurants to indulge in Maryland’s famous blue crab.

       3 Foodie Spots in Ocean City Maryland

1. The Crab Bag

The Crab Bag is definitely an Ocean City institution along Coastal Highway. It’s famous for it’s namesake, fresh Maryland crabs steamed crabs delivered to the table in brown paper bags.  It’s a casual spot with mostly outdoor dining on picnic tables and super popular. They don’t take reservations or have call ahead seating, so be prepared to hang out at the bar while you wait a bit for a table. Totally worth the wait though!

The Crab Bag menu is hue and features everything seafood related to Mexican and ribs. I’m totally the fan that visits exclusively for the crab.  They have both a cream of crab soup and a traditional Maryland style crab soup. In my latest trip I of course had creamy crab soup. They also offer the two mixed, which I would have never thought of.  We also indulged in the Crab Bags Famous Crab Dip describes simply as “crab meat, cheeses, and spices.” That’s exactly what it is. Really heavy and indulgent but delicious. I enjoyed a crab cake and hush puppies and the table ordered 6 jumbo sized steamed crabs. I don’t mind cracking open the crabs if I don’t think about it too much. It’s fun to get into the experience to tackle one, but the dedication to make it through 5 is a lot! The crab is truly delicious though. I guess I understand the experience of cracking crabs its kind of like a treasure hunt…?

 

2. The Hobbit

The Hobbit is a fine dining on the bayside of north Ocean City. As named, this Ocean City restaurant is themed after J. R. R. Tolkien paired with a  setting featuring stunning bay views. The dining space is elegant and understated with the view as its main feature of course. There are tiny pop ups of Hobbit inspired decor pieces if you look closely at the hanging art or the lamps. These are not at all costumey and add tiny bits 0f character to the space. I’ve shared my amazing first experience here.

This recent visit we again enjoyed the lamb lollipops. This is a dish of delicious, buttery grilled New Zealand lamb chops, with sweet potato hash and honey aioli. Seriously delicious. For my main meal I enjoyed the swordfish fresh catch, sauté of fresh Maryland jumbo lump crab, fresh corn, bacon, and fresh vegetables, finished with beurre blanc sauce. The piece of swordfish was huge and perfectly cooked! I really enjoyed the mix of sweet corn, bacon and asparagus too. My BF really loved his veal pistachio of veal medallions, prosciutto, roasted pistachios, mushrooms, shallots, Madeira, and cream. I was treated to a few bites and can say the creamy sauce was definitely rich and delicious. Kind of like my dad’s mushroom brandy bacon cream sauce.

 

3. Parched Pelican

I love brunch. Coffee, eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, hash browns and biscuits are some of the best things about the world – to me at least. Lucky for me my BF agrees 🙂 We seriously researched our brunch options for this quick trip.  After searching Yelp through an overwhelming amount of options we decided on a spot that looked fun with plenty of options to choose from, the Parched Pelican. I wasn’t expecting this spot to be as well designed as it was.  The restaurant features so many unexpected trendy  decor details, not the usual beach kitschy. every light fixture was different with a different type of Edison bulb. I was smitten with the look from the moment I stepped into the entryway; which actually featured a light fixture made with colored wine bottles and colored light bulbs – speaking directly too me.  I’m totally planning to make my own DIY version.

 

 

For my breakfast I ordered the Marylander crafted biscuit which is eggs, sautéed jumbo lump crab, Chesapeake hollandaise, and jack cheese on biscuits. The dish was good, but the “fresh buttermilk biscuits handcrafted daily from scratch,” were dense, tough and inedible. I was a bit disappointed. My BF ordered whiskey plantain brioche french toast with glazed plantains, toasted coconut and Jameson caskmates whiskey sauce. It was enjoyable, sweet and savory unique meal.  Glad we tried the dishes we did.

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French Restaurant Downtown Pittsburgh

LE Lyonnais French Food Pittsburgh

Le Lyonnias is one of few places offering French comfort food in downtown Pittsburgh. Literally meaning “of Lyon” this spot offers charming small plates and indulgent meals inspired by classic french cuisine. I had the pleasure of enjoying a meal here recently.

Le Lyonnaise French Pittsburgh

We ordered a few tartines, which are open-faced toast layered with deliciousness.

POIRE ET BLEU:  Duck Rillette | Grilled Pear | Fourme d’Ambert Blue Onion Jam | Baguette

CREVETTE: Garlic Grilled Shrimp | Oven Dried Tomatoes Garlic & Herb Boursin | Five Points Baguette

JAMBON CRU:  Prosciutto | Truffled Scrambled Egg Shaved Mimolette | Five Points Sour Dough

Le Lyonnaise French Pittsburgh

They were all really well made and flavorful, but my favorite was the Jambon Cru. The truffled eggs were truly decadent, creamy and rich. Made me wish they were open for brunch 🙂  I would highly recommend adding this spot to your lists of places to try for a meal out on the town or a unique happy hour! 

Le Lyonnaise French Pittsburgh

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Coquette Patisserie of Cleveland Ohio

Coquette Patisserie

While visiting the Cleveland Flea last Saturday, my friends and I took a break after shopping for a sweet treat. Coquette Patisserie is a bakery & bar that specializes in French pastries, macarons, cakes, confections, savory small plates, and craft libations. My friend had actually discovered the spot through adorable Instagrams of their exquisite-looking cheeseboards. The space is very quaint with Parisian-inspired decor and display cases full of treats almost too pretty to eat.

I treated myself to a “Coco Loco” of genoise soaked with dark rum and topped with toasted coconut, all enveloped with coconut mousse. I already love coconut and rum, but this was truly delicious. It tasted similar to that of a cheesecake, but without the heaviness.

After an early morning start, nearly three hours of driving, and shopping all morning I was exhausted. I ordered a fruity tea to revive myself, which I was really excited to try. It  was served it a pretty glass teapot with the sweetest tea timer. Fun, but I’m pretty sure it was just an Argo brand tea mix I have at home though. Next time I’ll try something different.

My three girlfriends ordered champagne, a cheeseboard and french macaroons. They enjoyed the bubbly, but the macaroons were extremely stale. The cheeseboard was definitely grammable. The cheeses were as delicious, as picturesque. We’d suggest asking when the pastries were made before ordering and asking for additional toast if its too hard for you to enjoy.

This is a great place to try on a weekend afternoon for a relaxing sweet treat. The decor throughout the indoor and outdoor seating areas is very charming. The staff was also whipping up some fancy and beautiful drinks while we where there, that I’d love to try.

I’d love to return sometime to bring my mother and try more of the pastries. Definitely check out the Coquette Instagram if you’re into pretty food & drink snaps!

 

New seasonal quiche: roasted @rittmanorchards asparagus with Brie

A post shared by Coquette Patisserie (@coquettepastry) on

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Pittsburgh Italian, DiAnoia’s Eatery

Pittsburgh Italian dianoia's eatery strip district

After months of salivating over the foodie community’s Instagrams I finally made it to Pittsburgh Italian restaurant DiAnoia’s Eatery. Located in the culinary hub of the Strip District, I was pleasantly surprised at how charming this spot is!

I walked and immediately gushed over the chandeliers that are made of  WINE BOTTLES and WINE GLASSES!? I immediately felt at home.

Pittsburgh Italian dianoia's eatery strip district

It’s a beautiful space feeling open, clean and fresh with white walls, highlighted with unique kitschy decor.

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I meet my two girlfriends on a Tuesday for a 6pm reservation. After a long day at the office we were ready for wine & carbs! DiAnoias does have a lovely light white moscato (from the dessert menu hahaha). I was thrilled.

We had a very sweet & charming waiter who was subjected to our gushing girl talk. He was great and added to our amazing experience.

For my meal I ordered Cacio E Pepe of spaghetti, grana padano, pecorino romano, black pepper. With handmade pasta and delicious cheese it was a very fulfilling, deliciously rish dish.

My friend ordered the mussels with bucatini, fennel, red pepper flake, parmigiano reggiano, white wine, garlic and butter.

My camera-shy girlfriend ordered potato gnocchi, with meatballs, red sauce, and pecorino romano.

For dessert I treated myself to more indulgence with a Nutella brownie and hazelnut gelato from local Shadyside Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream. My brownie was certainly a treat, with warm gooey nutella and fudgey bits.

I’m really glad we got to experience this charming Pittsburgh Italian restaurant. I can’t wait for an opportunity to return to  DiAnoia’s Eatery for dinner again,  and hopefully for Sunday brunch as well!

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