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Friday, January 6, 2012

The Squirrel Hill Cafe (The Squirrel Cage)

 The Squirrel Hill Cafe, known by regulars as the Squirrel Cage, is astonishingly smokey with a dirty hipster charm. I was here on a weird date once - but I had never even thought to try the food. Everyone insisted that I just had to order the hamburger. Always the contrarian, naturally I refused.  Pictured to the right is one of the happy hour patrons enjoying a burger - it did look quite good and he woofed it down like a boss.  Also, it only costs $3.50!! You can't even get bread at some restaurants for that price.
If you've been following the happy hour the past few weeks you've noticed my obsession with cheese and charcuterie. They are the purest and most unabashed forms of flavor, just meat or cheese on a plate. Here is a picture of the Squirrel Cage cheese plate. It is not fancy, but it cost $4.75. This is less than half of what a typical cheese plate will cost you anywhere in the city. And although the ingredients weren't breath taking, I've been served dressed up cheese plates with similar ingredients for well over $10. What I can say about the food at the Cage is that you really get value for your dollar. (Notice they even gave me an entire basket of crackers, so I can't make my normal complaint that there was too much or too little bread. After finishing all the cheese we had a cracker fight.)                                                        
Cheese Plate
I've been having a difficult time deciding what to order lately. After many drinks and much comradorry I ordered the chicken wings. They were surprisingly good, crispy and very very spicy. By the fifth wing my mouth was burning like the devil and I was out of blue cheese. The wings were obviously fried on the spot, as opposed to the take out pizza restaurants and other joints that heat wings in the microwave or bake them in the oven. I have to say that I was impressed by the food for a smokey and crowded bar. You really can't beat the prices at the Squirrel Cage, probably not even by eating at home.

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