In my mind, no trip to Sin City is worth it without committing the sin of gluttony. There are many outlets for said gluttony, but none better than one of the city’s amazing buffets. And perhaps there is no better buffet than the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar’s Palace. As an added bonus, for brunch they throw bottomless mimosas on top of their mess of food. And what a beautiful mess of food it is. The place is simply huge, with each station being big enough to house an entire buffet at any lesser establishment.
After crossing the border back into the good old USA from Canada, it was time to visit a border-crossing restaurant – namely Saigon Bangkok (the borders being Vietnam and Thailand, which of course don’t even border each other). Where many Asian restaurants purport to be one thing while offering additional options, Saigon Bangkok unabashedly offers multiple options and keeps them limited to just that. While I’m a fan of both cuisines, in this case I concentrated all my efforts on Thai.
Over in Shadyside, Noodlehead may rule the Thai food scene with low prices and good eats. But atop Squirrel Hill, looking down upon Shadyside, sits Bangkok Balcony. This top-floor restaurant fancies things up a bit and has a whole lot more food to offer. Yet, we all know that more options doesn’t necessarily mean better food and I had every intention of finding out if Bangkok Balcony fell into this trap.
One might think that pho would be a little too “wintry” of a food for the springtime. But in Pittsburgh, that is certainly not the case. So when, on a chilly spring evening we were invited to try out a supposedly delicious Vietnamese pho spot in Bloomfield, we couldn’t say no. Called Tram’s Kitchen, the menu featured more than just pho, but we were there for one reason only (okay maybe two if you count spring rolls).
A long time ago in a state far, far away, I fell in love with a little something called Umami Burger. As “umami” is a Japanese word and not exactly trademark-able, it was inevitable that I would run across a restaurant using the same name at some point, but was still surprised to find a place called Umami in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Why was I in such a place? Oh, to please my wife who likes a little something called Jeni’s Ice Cream. But that is neither here nor there. What really matters is Umami.
In Japanese, the word “misaki” means a type of divine spirit. In Pittsburgh, however, it means pretty much the craziest buffet in the world. You see, the Misaki Sushi & Seafood Buffet in Bon Air would seem to be just a Japanese buffet, but it is so much more. For a mere $11.99, Misaki pretty much gives you the world on platter. Or, at least in troughs in the buffet area.
You know how some restaurants don’t seem to have an identity? You know, like Jack in the Box but in full restaurant form. Well, Sun Penang in Squirrel Hill is one of those restaurants. The only identity it really has is “Asian,” but Asian covers a lot of groups and so does Sun Penang. From Thai to Dim Sum to Malaysian, it is a hard place to choose a meal, but choose I did.
In one of my favorite parts of town, Little Little Tokyo (or Little Osaka if you swing that way), there is a Korean restaurant called Tofu Ya. Certainly, the existence of the word “tofu” within a restaurant’s name is a red flag for an unvegan, but while perusing the area one day, I found myself inside checking out the menu. It turned out that it wasn’t simply a vegetarian place and it smelled damn good, so we gave it a spin.
Down in Gardena and Torrance, it’s hard to turn a corner without spotting a ramen shop. So when my coworkers and I set out for some Hakata Ramen Shinsengumi and found the line to be too long, it wasn’t hard to get our ramen fix elsewhere. That led us to Tampopo in Gardena. Tampopo may have a good amount of ramen on their menu, but they reminded me of an old-fashioned Japanese izakaya moreso than a simple ramen restaurant.
Before attending an event in Westwood, my woman and I decided to see what the college town had to offer in terms of dinner. Sure, I had eaten in Westwood many times before, but typically with specific places in mind. This time, it was about walking around and picking dinner based on our gut, which led us to Noodle World. I had expected something like Noodles & Company, which makes dishes from all sorts of noodles, but Noodle World has a lot more options, while keeping its noodles Asian. No mac and cheese here.