Foodie on the Half Shell: Top 3 Delivery Joints in Pittsburgh

I order out more than I’d like to admit. At this point, I even know the delivery guys’ names. The GrubHub app is my best friend at least once a week.

Unfortunately, Pittsburgh doesn’t have the greatest selection of delivery options. There are about 50 crappy pizza places, a couple vague Asian places, and maybe one Indian restaurant that delivers. Most of the food is pretty bad, or really average. It’s as if they make a restaurant specifically made for delivery and they know we have no options and they’ll make money no matter how bad they are.

Honestly, all of the pizza tastes the same, too. They all get their dough and sauce pre-made from the same food distributor. It drives me crazy that delivery places won’t take more pride in what they do.

Creative and quality food is still desired in a delivery setting. Don’t get me wrong, though, I still pay for the convenience of it all. Because I know we don’t all love to cook at home or go out and get something ourselves, I have made an official “Top 3 Delivery Joints in Pittsburgh” complete with different genres of food and my favorite dishes!

Thai Hana: This restaurant delivers Thai and Japanese food straight to your door. You can enjoy curry dishes, pad Thai, and lots and lots of sushi. They have never been late to deliver food, and they have never messed up one of my orders. One of my favorite dishes to have delivered would be their Spider Roll from their sushi menu. This sushi roll is made with tempura fried soft shell crab, asparagus, and avocado. I pretty much love any sushi that comes with tempura fried anything, though. Thai Hana’s sushi is delicious, and is as good as most places around Pittsburgh. If you are looking for the real deal with grade A fresh fish, this isn’t the place for you, but if you want some tasty sushi with spicy creamy sauce drizzled all over it, then this is your place! Their Basil Fried Rice is also on point, and I would even say possibly the best in the Burgh’s delivery world.

Beta Bites: Beta Bites is my favorite place for “healthy” delivery food. It has Moroccan influences throughout its menu, but also will deliver your usual wings and fries. If the restaurant is a Moroccan restaurant, though, order their Moroccan food. One of my favorite dishes from here is their falafel salad that is served with spinach, real creamy feta, and the usual other salad fixings. Their falafel isn’t the best (it’s a little dry), but it still tastes like falafel and that will do. It comes with five nice sized balls, and is definitely a great amount of food. The BEST dish on their menu is from the “hot bar” part of their menu. Any of the dishes from the hot bar are delicious, but I enjoy the chicken with a side of vegetables, lentils, and rice. This is a lot of food complete with three spiced chicken breasts and scoops of whatever side you pick. Other options for your sides include mac and cheese, and a white bean dish that is native to Morocco. Any of their food is delicious, though, but if it looks like it has Moroccan influences in the description, it is almost guaranteed to be good.

Genoas: Now, what makes Genoas so good is their consistency. They are open all day up until 2 a.m. on the weekdays and 3 a.m. on the weekends. This is perfect when you are hungry at home after a party or a long day. Their food is the usual Italian inspired delivery joint complete with pizzas, subs, and calzones. Their subs are huge, and you really can’t go wrong with a spicy Italian. Their jalapeno poppers are so tasty, and so are their Parmesan and garlic wings.

Athletes and Injuries: Things That Can Be Done to Take Care of Yourself

We cheer for them, we encourage them, we want them to win because they are our athletes.

When it comes to sports, whether it be on the field, on the court, or in the pool, all athletes have one thing in common. Once they push themselves too hard, or are in the wake of an accident, they can get injured. No athlete likes being put on the bench, but it seems as though injury — from something as minor as slight shoulder problems from over rotation in swimming to getting a concussion in soccer and even to spraining or breaking your ankle in basketball or track — is an unavoidable part of being an athlete.  

When faced with an injury, there are several general things an athlete can do — besides not practice — to get back into peak physical condition for their specific sport. The first of many things you can do for standard surface injury such as a bruise, a stub, or just general after practice pain is to visit the trainer. The first of many jobs of the training staff is to make sure that an athlete is feeling their best so that they can do the sport they love. Just walk in, tell them what’s wrong, and most likely it can be solved with some ice, a bit of heat, and rolling/stretching out the area.

If the injury seems like it could be more serious, go to the hospital or your local sports medicine clinic. This can be a great preventative measure so that the injury doesn’t lead to surgery or even worse, not being able to play the sport in question. Many injuries can often be solved with proper care and rehabilitation to the injured area. Most, if not all sports medicine centers can give an athlete an at-home, or in college cases at-school, rehab that can be done over time to improve the injury. While it may seem like a pain to do, it is one of the cases when the end justifies the means. If the injury heals, then the athlete can return to their sport.

So say all else fails and you end up with an injury that results in you being out for most of, if not the whole season. That’s okay. Things happen, and it is more important to recover correctly then to push to hard and make a bad injury worse. At the end of the day, as long as the recovery process goes well and the injury doesn’t prevent you from participating during the next season, then it is worth the time.

So remember athletes, if anything with your body seems to be wrong while practicing, make sure to follow up with it. That way, something small doesn’t turn into something major, and you don’t end up paying for it down the road.

Foodie on the Half Shell: Eating for the season

Many connote the cooler seasons with a lack of fresh produce that is available to eat. Well, that may be true during the sub zero winters that we have been having, but so far we have had a beautiful November and there is still plenty of seasonal and local foods to cook and eat.

It’s important to eat seasonally, because if we buy food that is out of season that means that it is being shipped in from far away. The amount of miles that is between where the food is grown and to where it is eaten or sold is called food miles. A large amount of food miles causes a scary amount of gas emissions into the air, which is bad for the environment.  

Some of my favorite November foods are Brussels sprouts, winter squash, and beets. These may sound like intimidating foods to some, but I can assure you that if you try out the recipes that I created, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Brussels Sprout and Bacon Salad: Heat the oven at 350 degrees. Clean one pound of Brussels sprouts by peeling off the first layer of leaves and cutting the rough bottom off. Cut large Brussels in half and leave smaller ones whole. Toss in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Put in ovenproof pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until crispy and dark and green. Crisp up a few slices of bacon and crumble them up. When Brussels are done, toss in a bowl with the bacon crumbles along with a few dashes of balsamic vinegar. Keep this dish delicious by not overdoing it on the oil and vinegar and topping it all off with Parmesan cheese.

Maple Roasted Acorn Squash: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut one large acorn squash in half and clean out the seeds. Then, cut the halves into about one-inch slices, so they should be little half circles. No need to cut off the skin, it is awesomely edible. Now, make a marinade with one tablespoon of olive oil, one tablespoon of soy sauce, one teaspoon of Dijon mustard, two tablespoons of maple syrup (the real stuff), and some salt and pepper. Rub those slices down with this stuff and bake in an ovenproof pan for about 25 minutes. They should be super tender to the touch.

Beet “Caprese”: You will need two large beets or three smaller ones. Heat up two cups of balsamic vinegar and a quarter cup of sugar in a pot and stir till the sugar is dissolved. Boil beets in water until they are tender and their rough skin slides off easily. When the sugar has dissolved into the vinegar and the beets are tender and have their skins removed, shut off heat to the vinegar mixture and place beets into the pot. Let sit for 30 minutes. If they are not entirely submerged, rotate halfway through. When finished, slice the beets into about quarter inch circles. Layer with fresh mozzarella and fresh basil, and drizzle balsamic reduction on top with a little salt and pepper.

Foodie on the Half Shell: Processed Meats

Up until I was 11, I was homeschooled on the llama farm where I grew up with my sister and my mom as my best friends. I began private Catholic school when I was going into sixth grade. I was already the weirdo who thought gay people deserved equal rights and that women should be able to be priests.

To make matter worse, the same year I also decided that eating meat was barbaric, and I became a vegetarian and sometimes pescatarian for the next 12 years. As I sat there in the cafeteria with all of those rude little sheep, I ate the same sandwich every day: avocado, cheese, hummus, spinach, and tomato. My peers could just not understand how I wasn’t eating their oh-so-delicious sandwiches such as bologna with mayo, or ham and cheese. My mom didn’t allow us to eat that stuff anyhow; it was pretty much turkey or veggie sandwiches. My sister ate lettuce and mustard sandwiches for, like, five years of her life.  

Well guys, don’t you feel stupid? I wasn’t eating your “meat” sandwiches because it causes cancer, and I wasn’t allowed. Probably because my mom loved me more than your mom loved you…

Ok, no, I’m sure your mom loved you just fine. This article really has nothing to do with criticizing your mom’s choices. We are adults now. It’s all about criticizing your choices.

When people began sharing the posts about “bacon causing cancer” and how processed meats were bad for us, I was shocked. Not because I didn’t know these facts, but because so many of my peers didn’t know. Where have you been? Did you seriously think that processed meats were good for you and a natural part of what a human should eat? Or how about thinking about this: smoked meats. We get lung cancer from smoking. Smoking meats is literally infusing them with stuff that causes cancer.

My mom has been calling processed meats carcinogens since I can remember. Uncured bacon and organic meats were the only things allowed in our home.

My job isn’t entirely to mock you, so I would also like to educate you by explaining in my words what the World Health Organization said exactly about certain kinds of meats, and what that means for you.

So what are processed meats? According to the WHO, they are meats that are cured, salted, smoked, or other processes that help with preservation and to make them taste better. Some examples are salami, ham, and smoked bacon. These are in Group 1 of carcinogens, which means that they most definitely are a cause of cancer.

Red meat (beef, pork, goat, etc.) is in Group 2 of carcinogens, meaning that it probably causes cancer. So, does this mean I’m never going to eat off of a salami and cheese board again? No way. How about that Italian hoagie that I love to splurge on sometimes? Still gonna. I don’t have knowledge about whether or not eating a little bit here and there is going to give you cancer, but I know that for the most part, everything in moderation is ok.

Many find this entire study laughable, such as Michael Symon, a celebrity chef that is a regular on the Food Network. He believes the entire issue is just a ploy to get a reaction out of people and to get visits on their website. I don’t agree with that statement at all, but I do agree with his concern about what these articles are doing to those meat farmers who are doing it “right.” It is unfair to categorize meat that is pumped with nitrates and hormones with all natural grass fed meats.

My advice to you all is to stay educated. Understand the holes in these WHO studies, but also understand that they are probably one of the most reliable sources, and that you probably don’t know more about this stuff than they do. Eat some delicious, all natural salami here and there with a nice glass of vintage (or Barefoot…whatever), but understand that the less meat you eat in general, the better. Chicken and fish are great sources of animal based proteins that are lean and good for you. Remember to buy cage free and wild caught, though! By eating a couple more meatless meals a week, you’ll be doing yourself, and your family, a service.

The Lazy Fashionista: How I came to accept my basicness

I have always liked to think of myself as an individual—I was adamant that I wouldn’t conform to the crowd in middle school and high school. Something changed, though, when I came to college.

At Chatham, no one is really going to bat an eye regardless of what you are wearing. If you want to dress up as a chicken every day of the year, go for it. Sweatpants every day? Sure. Nobody is going to judge you for wearing your pajamas to class.

When I came to school, I didn’t have my mother nagging me to put on real pants, so I turned to t-shirts and sweatpants every day. After a semester, it wasn’t working for me, so I started wearing collared shirts and statement necklaces.

After my first year I realized that neither of these extremes were really me. So for the last year and a half or so, I have been honing my style—finding pieces that work for me, understanding what I am comfortable wearing, and building a wardrobe I’m happy with.

Here is what I have discovered about my style: it’s extremely basic.

Not basic in the solid-colors-class-cuts way. I mean in the every-sorority-girl-in-the-U.S. way.

When I discovered that leggings are extremely comfortable and can function in many scenarios as pants, I immediately bought about five pairs.

I have numerous sweaters that I got multiple sizes larger than necessary in order to wear them with said leggings.

And only last week I put the icing on the proverbial cake: I swapped by destroyed black Converse sneakers for brand new, crisp, white ones.

So, sitting here in my oversized sweatshirt and yoga pants, I have to accept my basicness because, let’s be real; it’s not going away.

Honestly, being basic is the best thing I could do. I am comfortable in oversized tops and leggings. White Converse go with everything and add a little something extra to an outfit. Wearing my hair in a messy bun is functional and allows me not to wash my hair every day.

I think the term “basic” has gotten a bad connotation in the last couple of years. Nobody wants to blend in. Nobody wants to be lumped in with everyone else.

But when blending is this comfortable, and lumping doesn’t make me look lumpy, I think I’m okay with it.

And if someone wants to call me basic?

Well, I guess I’ll be the best-dressed basic they’ve ever seen.

Foodie on the Half Shell: Candy

Candy. It was always the forbidden fruit in my house. I grew up with a complete granola mother who didn’t even allow the pure form of sugar into our house until I was 10. She even tricked us into thinking that frosted flakes (a normal child’s definition of breakfast) were a dessert. We called it “treaty cereal.”

Candy was pretty much out of the question unless it was Halloween and it was time for trick or treating. Mind you, my mom always threw out the candy that was left a couple days later.

Candy has a bad stigma, as it should. The sugar is terrible for your teeth and your overall health. It should be a treat, not a staple. I know during this season, though, we can’t seem to get away from the candy, so I compiled a list of candies that aren’t going to burn a hole in your health entirely.  

Dark chocolate: We all tell ourselves it’s okay to eat a lot of dark chocolate because it has a health benefit…that is true, in moderation. Hershey’s Dark Chocolate bars are nice and small, and they give you that little kick of chocolate that you desire and a dose of antioxidants!

PayDay: Thanks to the amount of peanuts in this little snack, you will benefit from protein and fiber by eating these guys. I would say that is reason enough to buy a bag of them! The caramel and peanut crunch will give you the sugar kick you need, but not leave you feeling guilty later on.

Kit Kat: These are probably my favorite candy by far, and fortunately are not the most sugar or calorie dense. The wafer inside helps to eliminate a ton of the fatty bad stuff. Give yourself a break and eat a Kit Kat bar this weekend!

Jolly Rancher: These treats take up lots of time in your mouth while you are sucking on them, which actually helps you not to overindulge in them or other candies. With 70 calories for three of these treats, you aren’t completely crushing your diet. Just make sure to brush your teeth afterwards!

More like my mom and want to stay clear of the bad stuff entirely? Well, here is the most hippy dippy list of candies you can find out there.

Fruit Snacks: You can find the type that are 100% real fruit juice with added bonuses of being GMO free and also vegan (because we all know children under the age of 12 are worried about vegan candy). Some of my personal favorites are Seitenbacher Fruit Snacks (they use thickened beet juice to make them chewy) or Trader Joe’s Fruit Leathers. Those are like crack for me.

Dark Chocolate Bug Bites: These all-natural squares of chocolate have all of the antioxidant goodness of dark chocolate with an added bonus of education and an added bonus of helping children become philanthropists. Each chocolate comes with an educational trading card with a different insect on it and 10% of the proceeds go towards animal wildlife funds.

To find more, you can go to to find all of your favorite vegan, GMO free, organic products. The website has hundreds of options for your next all-natural Halloween party.

Foodie on the Half Shell: Pittsburgh’s best Halloween parties

Last week I gave you guys some ideas on some tasty food to have at your Halloween party this year, but this week I want to talk about where to go for some good food this Halloween. If you are of age, going out on the town for Halloween is an awesome option. Some of my favorite dance clubs and bars are having amazing Halloween parties where you can go and dance, drink, and, most importantly, eat!

So, if good food is a requirement for your Halloween plans, check out these awesome events happening Halloween weekend.

The Pittsburgh Public Market Soiree: The Pittsburgh Public Market is a local and delicious “food court” consisting of dozens of unique food vendors from sweets, to sandwiches, to authentic Mexican food. On October 30, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., the market is opening their doors for a delicious costume party. Get ready to try samples of food and drinks throughout the store and jam to some music by DJ Donnelly and the band Chop Shop. This event is 21+.

Spirit’s 1st Annual Lost Lodge Dance Macabre: If you haven’t been to Spirit, you are missing out on an incredible time. This dance club/pizzeria is taking over the Lawrenceville night scene. On October 31 from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., Spirit is having a crazy dance party. There will be two floors of music and dancing, a monster maze, and an immersive light labyrinth that will make this party like no other in the Burgh. The yummy side to this entire party is the free pizza buffet that is included in your ticket, and it’s not just any kind of pizza. It’s the fancy kind with multiple cheeses and meats and veggies. Tickets for this party are $15, and it is a 21+ event.

Boos and Brews with the Jews: Join Shalom Pittsburgh at Atlas Bottle Works for a night of pizza, delicious beer, and, of course, Hocus Pocus with our favorite Jewish witch, Bette Midler. The beer and movies are pay as you go, but the pizza is free! Happy Hour begins at 5 p.m. and the movie starts at 7 p.m. Obviously, you have to be 21 to go to happy hour, but you can get into the movie no matter what your age is!

Dinner at the Shiloh Grill: Maybe you’re not into the Halloween dress up gig, and want more of the real deal. Like maybe an awesome restaurant that is really haunted? The story is that the woman, Mrs. Soffel, who use to live in the Shiloh Grill’s building in the early twentieth century, was married to the sheriff in town, but fell in love with a prisoner at the local jail. She ended up helping him escape from the jail, but he was killed in a shoot out and she was captured near Butler County. Now, you can sometimes see Mrs. Soffel in flowing white dress walking all around the restaurant. Also, a woman in a sexy black outfit, whose aura smells like oranges, resides in the basement. So, the restaurant is definitely haunted, but the menu is even better. Their burgers are out of sight and the cocktail list is super fun.

Distant relationships: students and campus police

Everyone today has their own perception of the police, especially through the media’s representation of law enforcement officials. For some, when they think about police, they think about drugs, Michael Brown, or Eric Garner. Some people even think about biases that police have against certain groups.

However, the same is not true for Chatham University’s campus police. Many of the people that I have interviewed—varying in background, race, and gender—trust that the campus police do their jobs. But they do not support the distance between students and Chatham police.

“[One thing I would change about public safety] is [them] not sitting in their cars all the time,” said first-year Madison Mlinac, who is a criminal justice major and a member of Chatham’s first male basketball team.

I too agree with this statement. I see campus police riding around in their patrol cars or even sitting in their cars, and this time could be used to get to know the students and even the faculty. If their job is to protect, then why not get to know the people that they are protecting?

Asuka Kanazawa, a sophomore international student from Japan who is majoring in English, wishes to build relationships with the campus police.  

“I want to communicate with them,” she said. “It’s important, especially being [an] international student.”

Safety should definitely be a major factor for international students such as Kanazawa. These students are miles away from their homes, and Chatham and the United States and its culture are unfamiliar to them.

What we have to do is admit that there is a distance between students and campus police and try to find ways to bridge the gap between them.

In a previous meeting with the Chatham Student Government, Donald Aubrecht, Chief of Chatham’s Campus Police of four years, said, “All of the officers try to attend the sporting events, Easter egg hunts, [and other events] so that students can get to know the officers.”

This is a great way for campus police to get to know students because it lets the students know that there is a support system out there beyond their friends and peers; and also, campus police aren’t just there when something goes wrong.

I encourage all students to take advantage of campus police and get to know them especially since Chatham is a small campus. Although my mother works on campus, I still try to build relationships with other officers.

Every student I asked said that they knew Chatham’s police officers by face, but not by name. When I was in high school, this is how it started my freshman year. There were four security guards, and I didn’t get to know them until late in my sophomore year.

I ended up meeting them when I ended my friendship with a close friend at the time, which I hate to admit, because it should never take something bad happening to take advantage of the resources around you. We as students should feel obligated to have relationships with public safety because, in the end, when we need them the most, they will be there at our rescue.

The Lazy Fashionista: 8 definite DON’Ts in the fashion world

It seems like every major fashion publication has its list of “don’ts”—you can’t wear this, these colors don’t go together, people with this body type can’t wear this item of clothing. I take issue with these things; I really do.

Who are you to say that black and brown makes a frown? Or that just because I don’t have a flat stomach, I can’t wear a crop top? Or that wearing Uggs with a mini skirt is a complete faux pas?

Because of my dissent with these lists, I have decided to make my own list of “don’ts” in the fashion world.

DON’T suffer for the sake of fashion: if you can’t breathe or can’t walk, odds are, you are going to spend your whole day/night focusing on that, rather than enjoying yourself. Have fun!

DON’T wear something that makes you uncomfortable: if you know you are going to be tugging on a short skirt or high-necked top, don’t wear it! Again, if you are focusing on something bringing you discomfort rather than having a good time, it’s not worth it!

DON’T dress for a climate other than your own: look, I know that it is still 90 degrees in L.A. at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that all of us in PA should still be in shorts. Stay warm, stay cool—whatever the weather is, you should probably dress for it.

DON’T wear something that doesn’t make you feel confident: trust me, I understand the draw of wearing sweatpants every day for an entire semester—I did it, too! But the thing is, sometimes slouchy pants and ill-fitting t-shirts don’t make me feel like a rock star. But if they do for you, go for it! Find what makes you feel hot and wear the crap out of it!

DON’T wash your jeans every time you wear them: ain’t nobody got time for that.

DON’T piggyback on trends you’re not into: I get it that all of your friends may be into the hottest new trend—but that doesn’t mean you have to be! If you don’t like something or don’t want to wear it, never conform for the sake of society.

DON’T be anyone other than you: fitting in is pretty cool, but being yourself is way better! Regardless of what you wear, make sure you are expressing yourself in the best way possible.

DON’T let anyone tell you what you can and can’t wear: even me!

Foodie on the Half Shell: Party food edition

So I know I said I’d stay away from doing the whole recipe thing in my column, but I am totally breaking the rules. This is actually a public service announcement, and you all should be happy, because this had to be said.

Your party snacks suck. IF YOU EVEN HAVE SNACKS AT YOUR PARTY. Seriously people, just because you are under the age of 30 doesn’t mean you can’t have a good party with some nosh action.

It’s Halloween party season and I am here to advise you all on some easy and lovable snacks to serve at your next costume party. Don’t worry, you can still have your I.C. Light and Doritos, but a dip won’t hurt!

The best kind of dip in the world, according to me, is crab dip. Even those crazy people who “don’t like seafood” will eat crab dip if there is enough cream cheese involved. So here is my Spicy Crab Dip:

What you will need for a big party:

4 Tbsp. of butter

1 small minced red onion

2 cloves of minced garlic

2 minced jalapenos

1 ½ cups of cream

8 oz. of cream cheese cut into pieces (I prefer a light cream cheese to cut the calories)

1 ½ cups of sharp cheddar cheese

1 Tbsp. of smoked paprika

1 Tbsp. of cilantro to sprinkle on top and make it fancy

1 ½ cups of lump crab (add more if you want a very thick dip)

Salt and pepper to taste.

Alright, time to get your hands dirty. Melt the butter over medium heat then add the onion until it is translucent. Now add your garlic and jalapenos along with the smoked paprika. Stir in the cream and bring to a simmer. Now add the cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Now fold in the cheddar cheese, whisking to combine. Lastly, fold in the crab, stirring for a couple more minutes until it is hot throughout. Finish with a few pinches of salt and pepper, and garnish with cilantro. This is super easy to serve if you put in a crock pot with a plate of pita chips and veggies to dip.

Hearty Vegetarian Nachos (a hit for the carnivores and herbivores alike):

1 bag of tortilla chips

1 can of black beans

1 bag of veggie crumbles cooked and seasoned with chili powder

2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese (more is always okay. Always.)

1 small red onion chopped

1 green bell pepper chopped

1 avocado chopped

Pickled jalapenos

Salsa and sour cream for daysss

This is simple. Put the chips on a cookie sheet. Put half of the beans down, half of the veggie crumbles down, half of the cheese on top. Now repeat. You should have two layers of cheesy goodness. Pop in the oven with broiler on low for about 5-8 min. Please check regularly. When it is all gooey, take it out. Spread the red onion, bell pepper, avocado, and jalapenos all over the nachos. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top. I like to put big spoonfuls of salsa and sour cream right in the middle of the nachos so it easy access for dipping OR buy some ranch dressing in a squirt bottle and drizzle it all over the nachos in a fancy pattern.

To add to these delicious dishes, buy some cookies, some Doritos, and ask your bestie to bring some stuffed mushrooms and you are in business. You only need to pick one of those recipes, and you have already improved your party by 100%. Please eat responsibly.

Did you try one of these recipes out? Hashtag #FoodieOnTheHalfShell on Instagram!