That Girl With A Blog











{October 15, 2009}   CJ’s Bistro – Carnegie, PA

So another new business has opened in Carnegie! That’s always such an exciting time. In the lot that used to be Pizza Hut on Washington Avenue, now sits CJ’s Bistro.

Honestly, this place is so new and so small, I have no pictures for you, no website, no anything!

From the outside, it looks much the same, and even on the inside as well. It looks just like the dilapidated Pizza Hut that once was, down to the very same recycled, mismatched booths, tables, and chairs on the inside. It’s not uncomfortable really, it’s just…odd. The layout is just so strange and for the lack of a better term, lame. This place really has nothing to draw you in aesthetically…

…but the food is fucking spectacular!!!

Holy shit. We went there last night with Casey. They have a rather large menu actually, but it’s specifically broken down into breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with the times that those choices are available. It was a bummer that they didn’t have the full menu (there’s a scrumptious looking Italian press sandwich on the lunch menu), but I got the chicken parm, a salad, and roasted red potatoes. Adam got the pork chops, a salad, and the mixed vegetables. And Casey got the pistachio encrusted bass, a salad and roasted red potatoes. We also got the quesadillas for an appetizer and the creme brulee for dessert.

Everything was spectacular! The quesadillas were simple, just cheese but it came with fresh pico, sour cream, and lettuce. The boys dinners looked great, but my chicken parm kicked some serious ass. Just the right amount of seasonings and fantastic sauce. Not too thin, either! Usually, I’m rather wary of other people’s sauce. The roasted red potatoes were perfect, and slathered in some sort of cheesy sauce. I’m totally not that into cheese, but these were spectacular!

This place just adds something special to everything and it’s all just so fresh. The guys had their homemade honey lime dressing (while I copped out and had ranch), apparently it was delicious. Their mixed vegetables include green and red peppers, onions, and zucchini. A far cry from the carrots, corn, and green beans that you find in most standard mixed vegetables. And even the salads…just your basic dinner salads, but when they’re that fresh, it really makes a difference.

The creme brulee was magnificent, and plenty enough to split with three people! The custard part was the perfect consistency…just sturdy enough, not too runny. And so, so very rich.

The service was great. It’s also not like they were busy, but our waitress was attentive without hovering over us, drinks were filled promptly, and the price! Perfect! For three people, including an appetizer and dessert, it was just over $40! You really can’t beat that, especially considering everything else.

This is one place that I can seriously say that I’m excited about. It’s always nice to see new businesses in the neighborhood, especially ones that you can see thriving. My only reccomendations for them would be the spruce the place up a little. And perhaps, allow BYOB. For the brief time that Carnegie had a Nicaraguan restaurant, they were BYOB, so perhaps CJ’s could, too. And hell, at least it’s easier than getting a liquor license. On the other hand, I kinda want to have the place all to myself, you know? Another little hidden gem of Carnegie. Some place that looks like a complete shit hole outside, but you know the secret of all the delicious goodness waiting for you inside.

Through the past few years, Talotta’s has been my not-so-hidden gem of Carnegie, but the quality has dropped and the prices have risen. I could easily see CJ’s becoming my new, local, good food staple.

And you know what? I did decide that I don’t give a shit what the place looks like. A!

And since I had no images for you…have this:



Wright's BoardWell, this blog is certainly shaping up to be a random mix of things…cartoons, TV, music, theater, rants…and restaurants?

I am no food critic, but when I receive appalling service, as I did at Wright’s Seafood Inn on Tuesday night, I have to share.

Let’s start from the beginning. We have been there twice before, once for an early dinner with a friend and once for lunch with another couple. The first time was the early dinner and that time we did have great service, tried a bunch of beers on the list (mmmm Lindeman’s!), hung out and genuinely had a good time. I got a delicious fish sandwich and we shared an appetizer platter. I do remember that the spring rolls were delicious, if not a little small. Our waitress was very, very nice and quite knowledgeable about the beer selection.

The second time, we went for lunch. Service was a little slow, but not all that terrible. Drinks were filled in a moderate amount of time and I believe we all got salads. They were nicely portioned, if a little pricey. Also, they played Underworld and other various trip- hop. That’s okay with me. Our waiter, quite frankly, seemed like a dick, but he got our food out and our drinks filled. That’s all I can ask for.

Wright's DeckDinner. Just say NO! This time, we went with a friend to celebrate his birthday. Once again, I’m sorry, Casey! We get to the restaurant at around 7pm, right before the dinner “rush”. Whatever rush there may be on a Tuesday. I ask to be seated outside, since you can smoke out there. Instead of at least giving us the option of the deck or the sandbar, they lead us directly to the deck. That’s fine. I’ve been in the service industry, I understand that you need to rotate sections, but it would have been nice to have the option! In fact, a few of the tables that were seated on the deck with us, requested to be moved to the sand bar, and were.

So the hostess seats us and gives us menus. Awesome. Then the waitress comes over about 10 minutes later to take our drink order…Adam get’s a Young’s Chocolate Stout, Casey gets a Dewar’s on the rocks, and I get a Magner’s. Nothing fancy. Nothing that even needs mixed for christ’s sakes, as well as an order of calamari to get started with. I don’t eat calamari, but it did seem that Adam and Casey enjoyed it.

So 45 minutes later, with our empty glasses and appetizer plates, our waitress finally decides to come back to take our order. How delightful! I’m so glad she was able to take time out of her busy schedule of chatting with the other waitresses and fixing her hair to take our order! So I order a bacon cheeseburger, well done, no tomato. Not so bad, right? Adam gets the peppered tuna, and Casey get’s the Mahi Mahi.

Wright's FoodI am a huge fan of the well done burger. I want a burnt, ashy, hockey puck on a bun. I am well aware that it takes some extra time to burn the fuck out of my burger, so I don’t mind waiting a little longer. Usually, I even apologize to my dining companions in advance.

So about another 40 minutes later, our food comes. Adam’s tuna is the smallest portion of tuna I have ever seen in my life, especially for being listed in the entree section of the menu, not the appetizer section. It would have been small for an appetizer! It was five or six pieces of tuna about 1.5″ x 1″, and came with no side dishes. Absolutely not worth the money spent on it. On the plus side, Adam said it was truly delicious.

Order #1 that they screwed up: Casey’s Mahi Mahi. He said it was far too dry, and they served it with cumin rice instead of pineapple rice. At least the vegetables looked good? His portion was rather small, once again, especially for the price.

Order #2 that they screwed up: My fucking burger. Really? You really fucked up a BURGER? I got the Inn Burger, which is cheese, bacon, onions, tomato (which I asked for none of) lettuce, and pickles. MMMM yummy! What do I get? Cheese and lettuce. Cheese and fucking lettuce on my bun. I have two problems with this: #1, obviously, the kitchen fucked up. #2, not only did the kitchen fuck up, but the waitress also should have checked the order.

So I sit there for another 15 minutes, at least munching on some fries until the waitress comes back to check on us and I’m able to tell her about this issue. She takes it back, they fix it, she brings it back. All is good in the land of dining. I will admit, it was a good burger. The fries were good too, but it just wasn’t worth the time, effort, and frustration of this whole experience.

Wright's Food 2Then, the waitress comes back and we ask about desserts. She raves about this famously succulent cheesecake! I love cheesecake! So do Adam and Casey! Great choice, right? Wrong again!

I have had similar out of the freezer section of the supermarket. It was actually pretty dry, too sweet, not tart at all, and had a plain, graham cracker crust. On the plus side, it was a huge slice. Casey, Adam, and I had trouble splitting the thing.

On top of all of this was the sad state of the patio. Where we were sitting, lucky Adam got the spring board seat! W00!!! There was a plank of the deck that had warped and become a loaded spring board right under Adam’s seat. What bouncy fun! Also, (poor Adam) the cardboard underneath of the table was taped on, poorly, so the tape gives way and Adam spends the entire meal with cardboard on his lap. Charming, huh?

I believe this was a case of a terrible waitress and a confused kitchen. More so, the terrible waitress. The other tables around us, who were seated after us, all had their food before we did, full drinks, and smiles on their faces. At least someone was getting friendly and prompt service.

In our TWO HOUR dinner, Adam had two drinks, I had three, and I believe Casey had three. Not that we wouldn’t have drunk more, but we weren’t given the option! Anyone who has served in a restaurant with a bar know, the more people drink, the higher their tab is, and the bigger tip YOU get! Our waitress simply didn’t get that apparently.

It’s really a shame, they have a gorgeous facility! The deck is filled with lush ferns and now they have the newly added sand bar. Even the interior is pretty decadent. They have a sultry cigar bar and a lush dining room. When you come in there’s a warm, tiled entry way with the hostess’ station. This place has so much potential, but they really need to work on their staff and service!

I can’t see us going there again. It seems like every time we go back, it gets worse. DO NOT WANT!



et cetera
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