Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Follow us on Twitter..

I only plan to update this blog every now and then. Our Twitter updates will happen more frequently.

www.twitter.com/nhtattler

Follow us!

Ross Park Mall...

My Fellow Tattlers,

Well, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently published an article if Ross Park Mall's formula is working:

A year after southwestern Pennsylvania finally got its very own Nordstrom store -- tucked, in true Pittsburgh fashion, high on a hill out of sight for confused drivers -- mall workers credit the Seattle chain for drawing shoppers from far off environs: New York, West Virginia, Ohio, Shadyside.The article can be seen here:

Personally, I have not a problem with the mall going upscale. However it would be nice if the powers that be would diversify. Like any good stock portfolio, you should diversify. In the sense of retail -- have a variety of stores.

In this Tattler's opinion, Ross Park Mall is all high end CLOTHING stores. It would be nice if management could attract other retailers such as a book store or something to do with electronics.

Working to keep you posted...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Follow me!!!

If you guys (my loyal readers) haven't done it yet -- please follow me on twitter. See the right of the blog.

Fall Things To Do...

My Fellow Tattlers,

As the leaves continue to change colors, means several events are coming up. Below is my list of must sees during this Tattler's favorite time of the year.

Soergel's -- This beloved apple orchard in Wexford is always a must see for my family. It is just a fun place to go. Once upon a time they had a huge pig named Tubby, who I fear is in a better place these days. The cider is dynamite and it's a great place to bring the kids.

Oktoberfest at Sisters of Divine Providence - This convent in McCandless sure knows how to have some fun. Come out on Saturday, October 17 to celebrate the harvest!

North Hills High School - A car cruise and homecoming carnival will be held on Saturday, October 3.
Several North Hills clubs, athletic groups and booster organizations will offer carnival games and activities including a hole-in-one putting game, football toss, bean bag toss, duck pond and a dunk tank where students can “dunk the principal.”

Winchester Thurston School - This school in Allison Park will hold its Apple Fest on Saturday, October 10. This event will include hay rides, live entertainment and family activities.

McKnight Road - Come and get your pumpkins and cornstalks in the parking lot of Ross Towne Center along McKnight Road. More details are coming.

If there are any events you'd recommend, let this Tattler know!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Who is Tom Michalow?

My fellow Tattlers,

I asked the same question when I got a campaign mailer yesterday. Well, he is the Democrat candidate running for the Allegheny Council seat against incumbent Matt Drozd (R).

I am not one to endorse candidates on this web site because I honestly hate how newspapers do such actions. However, I like voters to be informed. So, if Drozd's people or any other candidates want me to inform about their preferred candidate, you can reach me: sirfuller@hotmail.com.

This guy has a website at http://michalowforcountycouncil.com. Personally, I don't think he has a chance but stranger things have happened. Below are some adjustments to his web site he should make to become a little more competitive:

- Throughout his web site Michalow touts his background as a member of Avalon Borough Council. This is a good thing but the site lays it on a little thick. He should focus more on his background as a teacher. Most revere teachers much more than politicians.

- Michalow should put real issues on the web site. As a regular voter I would be more inclined to see what he thinks about Allegheny County-related issues such as the drink tax, city-county merger, airport opportunities, etc.

- I wish Michalow would Please, please, please upgrade his web site. It would be great if he could include some videos talking about specific issues. If that is too difficult, Michalow could create a YouTube page where such videos could be posted.

While I consider myself a moderate conservative, that doesn't mean I would never vote for Michalow. This Tattler is sick of partisan politics and votes for people on both sides of the aisle. I would just ask that Michalow give us Tattlers more information about his ideas.

These are just a few tips I'm offering as someone who has covered local politics for several years (RIP McKnight Journal). Trust me, these are good tips.

I wish you the best of luck Tom Michalow.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rivers Casino...

My Fellow Gamblers... ah, I mean Tattlers :)

I went to the Rivers Casino the other day and here are my thoughts:

- Those machines are tight! After an afternoon of playing, they weren't giving me any wins. Oh slot machine gods, at least play with me a little bit.

- They have video blackjack tables that are very creepy. It has a huge screen with a computerized dealer that looks at you when it's your turn. Way too surreal. Additionally, the woman dealers are in French maid outfits for you perverts :)

- The line to get a player's card was super long, however it moves really fast.

- The buffet is overpriced. Lunch is $13-ish and dinner is $25. It includes a salad bar and several stations such as American, Italian, Chinese, pizza, dessert and others. The ribs in the American section were overcooked and tasted more like beef jerky. The Mongolian section was something different and the pizza was good.

While I had a few minor issues with the buffet, the food was generally good for a buffet. I still believe it was not worth the money. If they added more seafood items on the buffet, it might be worth it.

The Post-Gazette's phantom diner, Munch, gave it a decent review. I have heard rumors that Munch is actually four different PG reporters but that is besides the point. Munch's article is here.

- I tend to travel to Las Vegas every other year and I'm used to casinos with a theme. The Rivers Casino has no theme, which was weird to me. It's not a necessary condition, however I felt it would be cool if it had a theme. By the way, I recommend the buffet at Paris in Las Vegas.

- Much like Kennywood and Sandcastle -- this is a good people watching spot. I love people watching!

In the end, I'd recommend giving the Rivers Casino a visit. I had a good time but wish Lady Luck was on my side.

Working to keep you posted...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Help a good cause...

My Fellow Tattlers,

I recieved an E-mail from a reader and must say, if you're looking for a good cause this is a great one. So come on out this Friday and enjoy yourself while lending a helping hand to a great charity.

My daughter Chelsea (16 yrs old) has organized a concert, "Face the Music,"
which will benefit Family Resources in their fight to prevent child abuse.
The concert will feature a fantastic local teenage band
"Crossing Boundaries"
with Courtney Barker as the opening act.

The concert is at 6 p.m. on Friday, August 28 at the
Family Resources retreat center in Mars.

Tickets can be purchased that night
for $10.

Additional information is available at www.familyresourcesofpa.org

It's a great cause.

Working to keep you posted...



Saturday, August 22, 2009

Farmers Market idea...

Well,

I got a bunch of positive feedback over the farmers market idea. I think we could get this done. I'll start making contacts, hopefully this idea can be reality next summer!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Farmer's Market...

My fellow Tattlers,

I recently noticed that a small farmer's market has opened up along McKnight Road at the former location of the Dunkin Donuts (near Chili's). While this is quite a small operation out of the back of a kidnapper van (no windows), I'm loving it.

This made me think. Wouldn't it be great if we had a large farmers market along McKnight Road? A perfect location would be in Ross Towne Center, which has Panera Bread and Wendy's. It could be located where the fireworks tent/ Christmas tree area usually is.

In my vision, this market would offer goods from several local farms such as Soergel's, Shenot's and others. Each would have a table or area.

I think this would be a great pet project for local leaders to undertake. It would help local residents and bring some fresh vegetables to the plate. Is this unrealistic and a pipe dream or could this be done? Just a thought.

What do you think?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Twitter to check out...

My fellow Tattlers,

For those that use Twitter, here is a good one to follow:

http://twitter.com/NorthHillsTweet

We're all in this together. By the way, many thanks to the commenter who mentioned this Tweeter in a previous post :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chipotle vs. Qdoba...

For some reason, many people make comparisons of Qdoba and Chipotle like it is similar to the rivalries of Coke and Pepsi. I've come to the conclusion that I like both for different reasons.

Here are some of my thoughts.

Chipotle

What I Like:

- Their guacamole is much better than Qdoba's. It has much more flavor/spice while Qdoba's is all avocado and not much else.

- Chipotle uses meat derived from cage free/ free range farms. I also like how Chipotle tries to use some ingredients from local sources.

- Their tacos are delicious. Absolutely top notch.

What I Don't Care For:

- The menu is too limited. However, if you like to keep it simple -- Chipotle is the place for you.

- It tends to be very loud in the restaurant. Whether it is the open kitchen format or music playing a little to loud, it can be hard to hold a conversation in the place.

- The location seems like it would be better for lunch than dinner. For me, it's on the wrong side of McKnight Road. While I like both places, I find myself going to Qdoba more frequently because of its location.

Qdoba

What I like:

- Their menu is very large with lots of options. So, if you're indecisive, Qdoba is the place for you.

- Their taco salad is always good as well as their selection of salsas. I love the hot salsa and pico de gallo.

- It's always comfortable in the eatery. The lines are usually manageable, staff is friendly and no music is blaring.

What I don't like:

- The guacamole sucks

- Their ancho BBQ burrito leaves a lot to be desired. The grilled quesadillas could use a little work too.

- The parking lot is small and can be awkward to exit from.

My final thought is this:

If you're the type who likes a large menu with lots of frills, Qdoba is the place for you. However, if you are a meat and potatoes-type person who enjoys the basics, give Chipotle a shot. They both provide decent food quickly and are top notch when compared to other Mexican style eateries.

What do you think?

The book list...

Per my New Year's Resolution to read more books, I will update this list throughout the year. Hopefully, this could inspire some of you to read these same titles!

The changes from the last post are bold and in blue.

Book List

- "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini. A good follow-up to "The Kite Runner." This book goes even more in-depth to the effect war has on the human experience. It also gives readers a different perspective of the people of Afghanistan over the past three decades. Every woman should read this book.

- "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini. This is a FANTASTIC book. I haven't read any book this good in a very long time. It has vivd imagery and a touching story that will affect you for a long time after you're done reading it. Every man should read this book.

- "I Hate Your Guts" by Jim Norton. If you like his comedy, you'll love this book. There are definately some laugh-out-loud moments.

- "My Year Of Living Biblically" by A.J. Jacobs. This was a great sociological experiment. Though the chapters were a bit long for me, I still recommend it.

- "Are You There, Vodka? It's me, Chelsea" by Chelsea Handler. This book was very funny especially the first couple chapters. Though it loses it's gusto towards the end, I would certainly recommend this title for it's early parts. There are definitely some laugh out loud moments.

- "Too Fat To Fish" by Artie Lang. This book wasn't really my cup of tea. It is fashioned as more a biography than a book about humorous observations. Artie Lang is very funny on Stern and on the stage... so this was a big disappointment for me. However, he tells a couple sad stories which illuminates the fact the comedy comes from tradgedy.

- "What Hath God Wrought" by Daniel Walker Howe. I'm still reading this one and boy this is a long one!

- "Boom: Voice of the Sixties" by Tom Brokaw. I got this for Christmas a year ago and am still working on it. It's one of those books I enjoy reading sporadically.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Response to reader about Northway...

My fellow Tattlers,

Normally I respond to reader comments in the comments section but I thought this one deserved a little more input. In regards to Northway Mall, John wrote:

It's sad to go to the mall and look at the photos on the lower level walls. I've been going there for more than 40 years - since I was young - and I remember many of those stores. I think the mall needs a drug store and something like a bakery. It would also be great if there was a place that could cater to the older people who hang out there. I hated the renovation, but I've come to realize that it's good that at least part of the mall is still open. As one of the oldest malls in the country, it's an historical treasure!

Some very good thoughts. Here are some thoughts from yours truly:

- I agree that those photos are awesome and I think they should be better incorporated. Northway Mall is such a landmark in the area that its history should be celebrated in some way.

- Unfortunately drug stores and bakeries in malls are a thing of the past. However, I believe there have to be other opportunities.

- I miss the movie theater at Northway. I also miss arcades, man do I miss those.

- I also hate the renovation project. During planning, I was supportive due to the success that North Hills Village Mall encountered. Every situation is different and this plan obviously didn't pan out.

Hopefully things turn around!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Chipotle articles...

I finally went to the new Chipotle today located along McKnight Road in Ross Township. However, I want to try it again before I review it. So far, I've been very pleased. The review should be up in a couple days.

In the meantime, here are some articles worth a read:

Chipotle seeks new model for quality fast food

Chipotle Talks Local Produce

Working to keep you posted...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Chipotle review coming soon...

My fellow Tattlers,

While I'm getting my Chipotle review ready, here is a good article to ponder:

Chipotle or Qdoba review

It's a good read!

Working to keep you posted...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Yet another Northway Mall store goes bye bye...

My fellow Tattlers,

I'm pissed.

Yet another retailer at Northway Mall (Shoppes at Northway) is vacating. Party City is closing. While I was never a big patron of the store, I'm pissed because yet another retailer is leaving the mall. It's so sad to watch this once vibrant mall become so desolate.

I blame mall management. When Ross Park Mall purged many retailers during their transition to become more upscale, Northway Mall management should have courted those retailers.

Hopefully something will turn around!

Working to keep you posted...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Update coming soon...

My fellow Tattlers,

I promise an update is coming soon. I've been working on a new project to debut shortly. Keep your eyes peeled for:

- a review of Chipotle

- a rumor mill update

- a development update.

Things tend to slow down this time of year but I'll keep digging for things to talk about. If you have any tips, send me an e-mail: sirfuller@hotmail.com or post a comment :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Dining Out: Kretzler's Tavern

This Tattler recently dined at Kretzler's Tavern along Babcock Blvd. in Ross Township. This is a family favorite because the food is good and it's nice to support a local business. Here are a few thoughts:

- The patrons tend to be a lot of older people, which means it is a good value. Don't take that the wrong way -- it's a good thing. And 3 sides with dinner? Good bang for your buck!

- A loaf of bread is given to tables during dinner service. I wonder how many loaves they go through on an average day. This Tattler is very picky when it comes to bread so I would rather have rolls or biscuits. However, I would love to know how much bread they go through on average.

- The men's restroom feels like you're going to the John in a castle. Very strange tiling. When you're on "the throne," you actually feel like you're on a throne.

- They offer Potato Pancakes as a side. I love those! Only other place I usually see those at is Max's Allegheny Tavern on the North Side. Mmmmm.

Any thoughts?

Working to keep you posted...

Chipotle opening next week...

The new Chipotle location near McKnight-Siebert Shopping Center will open on May 8.

This Tattler heard the business is owned by McDonald's but I'm not too sure how accurate that is. I did some sleuthing and saw on the Internet that McDonald's owns a majority of stock in the company. Once again, I'm not too sure how true this is.

Anyone know the real deal about Chipotle?

Working to keep you posted...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Twitter...

This tattler is now on Twitter... Yes, y'all can know what i'm doing!

http://twitter.com/sirfuller


Follow me!

Working to keep you posted...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Malls on the downturn...

The Post-Gazette had an interesting article on the front page of their Sunday edition about struggling retail centers. Read it here.

While interesting, the article surprisingly failed to note the obvious troubles that Northway Mall is facing. The shopping center is hemorrhaging tenants at an alarming rate. Maybe the intent of the article was to focus on larger retail centers.

What do you think?

Working to keep you posted...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Grocery Store Opening in Wexford...

A Giant Eagle has opened in Wexford along Route 19 across from North Way Christian Community Church. While the grand opening will occur during the next few days, the big celebration will happen this weekend.

On Friday, former Steeler Mike Wagner will be on the scene. And all you "Young and the Restless" fans, the guy who plays Jack Abbot will be there on Saturday!

Working to keep you posted...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Qdoba competitor coming to McKnight Road...

If any of you were wondering what is being built at the front of McKnight-Siebert Shopping Center near McDonalds, it seems it is a competitor of Qdoba across the street.

From July's Ross Township Planning Commission agenda:

GKK Capital, LLC requesting Site Plan approval for the purpose of constructing
a proposed Chipotle Restaurant on property located at 4861 McKnight Road
in a C-1 Zoning District of the 1st Ward.

Crazy huh?

Working to keep you posted...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Shoppes at Northway is sooo depressing...

The oldest mall in the North Hills is so depressing to watch it continue it's downward spiral. Just within the last year, a handful of stores have closed including Value City, Old Navy, a family fun center and that place that sold Oriental furniture.

Mall management really needs to get their behinds into gear before it's too late. However, in these trying economic times, I believe we'll see even more stores shut down.

This Tattler thinks many of these problems stemmed from the closing of Value City among other issues. Shoppes at Northway needs to fill in that gap with a different store that will attract people. Other mall anchors like Dick's and Border's don't cut it because I suspect many of their patrons shop there then leave.

I would consider trying to attract another eatery of some type if I was management. I know this decision could face hurdles... but it may be worth it. Both Mama Lucia's Pizza and Fox and Hound seem to do pretty well. It's just a thought.

Please mall management, do something! Ask yourselves this, is the mall in recovery or a hospice?

Working to keep you posted...

The name...


HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are
114
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My Resolution...

My New Year's Resolution is to read more books.

These days, I tend to read alot of newspapers and magazines.

Any suggestions?

Working to keep you posted...

P.S. I read a book this week -- it was by comedienne Chelsea Handler. Very funny!

Festival to close...

The Festival grocery store in Wexford plaza along Perry Highway is set to close on January 23. I was there today while this Tattler's father was at a doctor's appointment nearby.

This Tattler thinks this closing has to do with the Giant Eagle being built up the street.

Any thoughts?

Working to keep you posted...