Hip Hop Nutcracker at Benedum; Smiling Moose Features Tacos, Mac and Cheese, Burgers, and Sandwiches (Wed., 11/30/22)

1) Flash back to 1983 and the movie Flashdance, filmed in Pittsburgh: An aspiring young dancer nails her audition at a classical dance academy by incorporating b-boy moves she’s seen on the street. Fantasy predicts reality. Now our city is visited by the touring production of The Hip Hop Nutcracker.  Here we have real, world-class b-boys and b-girls dancing the popular Christmas tale to the beats of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet music, augmented by new sounds from a DJ. The show was conceived by Mike Fitelson, executive producer at the United Palace theater in New York’s Washington Heights, and choreographer Jennifer Weber of Brooklyn-based Decadancetheatre. MC Kurtis Blow opens the show with a short set. The Hip Hop Nutcracker might be the season’s sleeper hit, so if you’re hip, hop on some good seats before they’re gone. Part of the Dentons Cohen and Grigsby Trust Presents Series at Benedum Center. 7 p.m. tonight. 237 7th St., Cultural District. (MV)

Shrimp po boy tacos and a bbq chicken sandwich with pasta salad are just two of The Smiling Moose’s offerings.

Shrimp po boy tacos and a bbq chicken sandwich with pasta salad are just two of The Smiling Moose’s offerings. (photo: Christopher Maggio)

2) I’m embarrassed to report that this was my first visit to the Smiling Moose! I ordered the shrimp po boy tacos ($12), tempura fried shrimp topped with roasted red pepper and corn salsa, roasted red pepper mayo, red cabbage, Sriracha, and cilantro. The toppings added a Chinese-Mexican-fusion spiciness.

Meanwhile, the sweet bbq grilled chicken sandwich ($12)topped with bacon, sharp cheddar, and grilled onionwas meaty and good. Homemade pasta salad, lightly flavored with vinegar, came as a side.

Myriad burgers, salads, sliders, and snacks round out the menu, all of it reasonably priced. Check online for daily soups and specials. Finally, enticing was the Moose Classic Mac & Cheese ($10), but I’ll save it for next time. The Smiling Moose has two locations, the South Side original location and in Cranberry Township. They are owned by Chef Mike “Scarfo” Scalatelli. 1306 E. Carson St., South Side. (C.M.)

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