The Library Restaurant Review

This past Friday Aaron, Sam and I had dinner at The Library in the South Side (2302 E. Carson St.)  We usually go out to dinner on Friday nights but we’ve been trying to stick to a budget a bit better… so we’ve been going to places like Panera and Chipotle.  I suggested The Library to Aaron when he got home because there was an Amazon Local deal for it — $12 for $25 worth of food.  So we decided to go for it.

The South Side on a Friday night with a two year old.  Sure.

So we drove over and they seated us right away.  It was happy hour so draft beers were half off.  Aaron got a Pumking ($4) which they served in a cinnamon sugar rimmed glass.  He liked the beer a lot and said it made it more fun to drink with the rim.

The Library is a bar/restaurant and we were definitely the only people with a child in there even though it was pretty early. We didn’t feel uncomfortable having Sam there though and it was loud enough that he couldn’t really cause any disruption.

Our server was nice and accommodating and kept our water glasses full.  She got Sam a high chair right away and found a plastic cup for his drink which was helpful.

Aaron ordered the Gun Slinger Burger ($12) with sweet potato fries.  A burger topped with pulled pork and an onion ring.  He said multiple times that he thinks it was the best burger he’s ever had.

I ordered The Last Olympian wrap with chicken ($11) and sweet potato fries for the side.  It was also great!  I loved the sweet potato fries.

They didn’t have kid’s meals printed on the menu but the server gave us a few options for Sam.  We ended up ordering him a mini burger and fries ($5).  He normally likes hamburgers but he wasn’t into it that night.  So he just had french fries for dinner.

Overall, we were really happy with our meals and service!  We did have to wait quite a while for our food after ordering which can be tough with a toddler.  We ended up letting Sam watch Curious George on my phone while we waited and he did really well.  It wasn’t a horribly long time, just a little long with a little kid.  If it was just Aaron and I, it would have probably been nice to have time to linger and have a drink before eating our meals.

After the Amazon Local deal, we ended up spending about the same amount (including tip) that we would have at Chipotle or Panera for a significantly better meal.  Aaron had been to The Library a few times in the past (years ago) and remembered it being more expensive.  He said he thinks the food and cost might have changed.  We both felt that even if we didn’t have the Amazon Local deal, the food would have been worth the prices.

So, The Library.  Take a toddler to the South Side on a Friday night.  Yes.

Library on Urbanspoon

 

Los Chiludos Restaurant Review

Saturday night, Aaron, Sam and I had dinner at Los Chiludos in the Southpointe office complex in Canonsburg.  We were driving south on Washington Road for some reason and I remembered reading lots of positive Yelp reviews about this restaurant so we decided to head out there.  It’s about a 20 minute drive from Mt. Lebanon.

It’s in a tiny strip of stores and GPS told us we had arrived about 1/4 mile before we did.

It’s a small, casual restaurant that has a bar, some booths and tables and an open kitchen.  All of the food seemed fresh and we thought the prices were very reasonable.  It’s pretty loud but that didn’t bother us because we didn’t have to worry about Sam disrupting anyone.  

We ordered chips and salsa to start ($4.45).  We got the medium salsa and liked it.  It was really dark colored so I’m not exactly sure what it was in it, but it was good!  It was pretty mild.  Sam even liked it.  The chips were warm and homemade.

Aaron ordered a beef Chimichanga ($9) and it came with rice and beans.  He really liked it and said it was the perfect amount of food for him.

They don’t have a kid’s menu printed on their menus but our server gave us the 5 kid options.  We got Sam a kid’s beef and cheese burrito ($5) with rice.  Sam actually ate some of the burrito, some rice and some of my beans.  We were kind of amazed,  especially after he had been eating chips and salsa.  We took his leftovers home and he had a second meal from it.

I ordered chicken enchiladas with salsa verde ($8).  They give you the option of red or green salsa or both.  My enchiladas were great too! The chicken was really flavorful and the salsa verde was great.  Even the rice had a very good flavor.

Our service was great too!  The waitress kept our waters full and she was very friendly and helpful.  They close at 8 pm so I’m thinking they definitely do most of their business at lunch time from all of the office buildings surrounding them.  Most of the tables were full while we were there though so it’s not just a lunch place.  We’ll definitely be back!

Los Chiludos Mexican Restaurant and Catering on Urbanspoon

 

 

The Weekend: Luke Wholey’s Wild Alaskan Grille

We had a good weekend!  Friday night Aaron, Sam and I got sandwiches and chips and took them to South Park and had a little picnic on a playground.  It was fun and Sam loved it. 

Saturday morning Sam and I took a walk around the neighborhood which almost always ends in us being kind of far away from our house and Sam not wanting to walk anymore.  So I end up lugging 30lb Sam and my 30 weeks pregnant self up the hill to our house.

While we were walking, Aaron worked on putting two more new windows in our house.  Woo!  All three front windows are in now.

When Sam woke up from his nap, we went to look at another potential investment property in Troy Hill.  It had the strangest layout I’ve ever seen and we’ve seen some pretty weird houses.  This one was clean though!  Normally we check out foreclosures that are practically falling apart.  [Update: Aaron and his real estate partner submitted an offer on the house!]

Saturday afternoon, we met Aaron’s parents and his brother and our sister-in-law at Luke Wholey’s Wild Alaskan Grille in the Strip District for dinner.  The restaurant is pretty new and we had never even heard of it.  The address is 2106 Penn Avenue.

We had a little private balcony area above the main restaurant which was great for Sam because he was able to move around without disrupting anyone else and was confined to one area.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect about this restaurant but it ended up not being very good.  I think the restaurant has a bit of an identity crisis.  They have sports playing on big TV’s but the meals are $20-30.  The tables were some kind of repurposed wood which was cool but they were uncomfortably high.  They did not offer a high chair or booster seat for Sam and we had to go and ask for one.  The table was also really wide and the restaurant is really loud so we really couldn’t talk to everyone at the table and there were only six of us.

Our server was not good.  She seemed frazzled and rushed and would disappear for long periods of time.  She brought out our appetizers at weird intervals.  Another employee brought out our main courses, again not all at the same time and the guy actually asked me if I ordered anything!  They also came into our private area to roll out a giant table while we were there then rolled it back in!

We had to ask twice for a box to package our food and then the server forgot to split our checks and said it was because of some other table being a big hassle.

Unfortunately, since we had a party of 6, they automatically included 18% gratuity to our bill so our server really had no incentive to provide good service.  I think I understand the reasoning behind automatically adding gratuity for larger parties but I don’t totally agree with it.  I’ve never been a server at a restaurant though.

This is turning into a pretty harsh review!   The food wasn’t bad!

Aaron had the Fish and Chips Platter ($22) and really liked it.  It was a large portion and he thought the food and sauces that came with it were great.

I had the Colossal Blue Crab Salad ($19) and it was okay.  I thought it should have been served with bread or some additional toppings on the salad.  Also, the price is different on the website. Sam had grilled cheese and fries from the kid’s menu ($5).  The grilled cheese was on garlic bread and was great but unfortunately Sam wasn’t into it.

Aaron’s mom and our sister-in-law had the Jumbo Lump Blue Crab Stuffed Sockeye Salmon ($24).  They liked it but thought the portion was small.

It was a Saturday night and the restaurant was not full so I’m not sure how well it will do.  We heard that they are planning to eliminate some of the staff and hire new so maybe that will help.  Bad service is such a let down when you’re paying to eat at a restaurant.  I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this restaurant but maybe it will get better with time!

Luke Wholey's Wild Alaskan Grille on Urbanspoon

Bado’s Pizza Grill (Restaurants with a toddler)

A few weeks ago Aaron, Sam and I tried out Bado’s Pizza Grill on Beverly Road in Mt. Lebanon (not to be confused with Beto’s on Banksville Road).  It’s right in the main business district on Beverly Road.

Aaron ordered a chicken Parmesan sandwich and I ordered a grilled buffalo chicken salad.  We also ordered a large pizza for everyone to share.  It was A LOT of food but we just planned to take home whatever we didn’t eat.

We really liked the food!  Aaron loved his sandwich and the pizza and salad were both good too.  The prices weren’t bad for the three of us especially since we each got two meals from all the food.

We’ll definitely be back.  It’s kid-friendly, and really close to our house.  I wouldn’t say the pizza is amazing but the service was great.

On eating out with a toddler

We go out to eat with Sam about once a week and he’s usually okay in the restaurant as long as he’s hungry.  We also try to make sure we don’t go to eat right after he’s been napping or has been stuck in a car seat for a long time already.  We usually try to get a booth with a booster seat instead of a high chair because he doesn’t last very long in high chairs.

There was one time that we actually had to have the server pack up our food and leave before we even ate because Sam was so miserable.  Otherwise, we usually have some crayons and a couple small toys and that usually works.  As a last resort, we’ve let him watch a cartoon on one of our phones with the volume turned way down.

I think taking Sam to restaurants pretty regularly has helped to get him used to what’s going to happen.  We’re going to sit here for a while and eat and not run around.  I think he gets the routine of it now which is great.  We don’t go to fancy or especially quiet restaurants with him because he’s (almost) 2 and we can’t really expect him to sit silently for an hour and that’s okay.  I don’t want to be a parent that over-disciplines their kids because I have unrealistic expectations about how they should behave.  He’s just a kid!

Bado's Pizza Grill & Ale House on Urbanspoon