How to gain 10 lbs in 3 days: go to Pittsburgh!

Never did I know that Pittsburgh was such a food city! We were expecting lot of sports and history but Pittsburgh wowed us beyond that, BIG TIME.

A few things:
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[Restaurant Review] Lebanese Taverna – Arlington, VA

▣ Location: 5900 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22202

▣ Tel: 703-241-8681

▣ Deli

▣ Yelp Rating: ★★★★☆ (as of September 18, 2012) – Click for more info!

I am very glad to be reviewing this place. It’s been a while since I posted on the blog and I’m so happy that it’s Lebanese Taverna today. 🙂

I found this deli on our picnic day this weekend. To me, picnic=food (go figure, what’s not about food? ;))! So we went to this deli to pick up some shawarma but I got so carried away that I ended up getting more than I could handle (again, this happens quite often). As you can see in the picture, the meat is prepared on a spit. To be completely honest, I don’t really know much about Arabic food so I can’t tell if the food was “authentic” but you know what? Who cares? It was so delicious! My grilled taouk (meaning chicken in Arabic) was heavenly as well.

I gotta say, their salad selections are excellent as well as their dip/sauce options. Like most delis, you can buy these sides by the pound. Some of my favorites include garlic-fried cauliflower, tabouleh, stuffed grape leaves, cous cous and anything with eggplant! Not to mention their garlic sauce, their salads are so fresh and refreshing. As I write this, my mouth is literally watering. You might end up spending 30 minutes there when you go pick up one thing, though. They have so much to offer – cookies, jam, wine, great beers, cheeses, dried fruit AND this awesome dessert called Halawa Chocolate , aka Halva. It is made from tahini so it’s dry, crumbly. Very rich in flavor but because of the dry texture(?), I couldn’t eat more than 4 small bites of it after lunch but it was so good that this might be my favorite chocolatty dessert now! Do you like Whoppers? It kind of tastes/feels like the malted milk inside, if you will.

If you are planning a weekend picnic with your family and if you live in Arlington or anywhere close enough, go to Lebanese Taverna and get yourselves some great lunch! I can’t wait to go back!

P.S. If you are looking for a quite, nice, beautiful picnic please, check out Mason Neck State Park!

[Restaurant Review] Philadelphia Mike’s – Arlington, VA

▣ Location: 1615 Crystal Square Arc., Arlington, VA

▣ Tel: 703-416-6640

▣ Deli/Sandwich

▣ Yelp Rating: ★★★☆☆ (as of July 7, 2012) – Click stars for more info!

This sandwich place located in a mall in Crystal City, owned by a nice Korean family, offers a steak sandwich that’s better than the “real” Philly cheese sandwich I got in Philadelphia years ago. Maybe expectations were too high?

Anyway, they were very quick to serve their food and the best part was the quality of their meat. They use thin slices of beef, which is somewhat similar to bulgogi meat (if you are familiar), and that could taste REALLY CHEAP a lot of times but they use good quality meat. It was not dry. It had a nice amount of veggies and the cheese on top wasn’t overflowing. Their sub rolls were nice and soft as well (personally, I am not a big fan of “baguette” style, hard bread).

One of the complaints I see online about this restaurant is that “their food is too bland”. I kind of understand where it’s coming from. Their food is not salty! It’s a good thing! To me, “American food” is usually very salty. This was perfect for me but I was thinking while eating there, ‘Hmm… Some jalapenos would be nice in the sandwich.” So if you think it’s too bland, ask them for a couple of pieces of jalapenos, which will give a nice kick without giving yourself a chance of a future hospital visit or two.

The mall isn’t all that great but if you are in the area, go check this restaurant out! Oh, and they have root beer on tap, which has become my favorite soda (I hardly every drink soda but I get a craving from time to time).

Stay inside! It’s over 100 degrees out here! Mother Earth is angry I think… Oh well, AC+watermelon evening!