Rolling into Pittsburgh is always a fun experience – hitting the Squirrel Hill Tunnel gives you the best view of the city. We made really good time from NY, thanks to the tips from my cousin Barbara. Of course, it did seem as though the state of Pennsylvania was working construction along 75% of the major roads. But we made good time anyway, and soon pulled up to Michael’s home in Monroeville.
After a fast car unload, we got a quick bite at Brewtown on William Penn Hwy, then headed to PNC Park to meet up with Bob Young and his girlfriend Lara to watch the Pirates play Milwaukee. The problem was that the Pirates were watching, too – they lost at the bottom of the ninth, leaving the tie and winning runs on base. Made for an exciting (if not infuriating) last few innings, but we took the loss in stride since it was such a perfect evening to sit outside for a game. Michael drove us into the city in his University of Pittsburgh themed Jeep, which caught some attention. Ah, the wind in our hair after a long day on the road with a fabulously cool breeze.
Pittsburgh is a city that keeps on giving. Great food, fun places to hang out, and devoted residents. One tradition that we have every time we visit is a trip to the Strip, which is downtown along 16th/31st and Liberty Ave. The fish sandwich at Wholey’s is the hands-down best I have had ever, and I can’t visit without having a Wholey’s fix. In past years we have always hit the strip during the week, but this time it was a Saturday and it was pretty crowded with plenty of vendors and more than enough people to buy their wares. After getting our fish fix, we hit my next favorite place, the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company. The aromas from the fresh cheeses and salamis, pastries and all supplies Italian is a fantastic experience. Italian coffee, cookies, oils, flours, all make me want to buy the whole store, but I stick to the items I can’t find at home. We always round out the downtown tour with the Heinz History Center. The 3rd and 4th floors have quite the sports exhibit with tons of memorabilia from almost every sport imaginable. Also a lot of local Heinz and industry artifacts, too.
That evening Denny treated me to my first Isaly’s chipped ham on a soft roll. Yummy. Love thin-sliced ham, and this has a fresh flavor that at least tastes good in Pittsburgh.
Wow – Sunday already and our time in PA in running to a fast close. After a visit with friends Red and Susie in Monroeville, we experienced another tradition, The Frick Museum. The prints exhibit was good, we passed through the car and carriage museum section, and of course we hit the Cafe. I always plan on ordering the tea service, but the lunch menu is too compelling to pass up. Many ingredients are grown on site. This visit was extra special since we met Michael’s girlfriend Kate – fun conversation and the time went all too quickly. Needless to say we walked Denny’s running training path in Frick Park – a real memory lane. At this point I pooped out, although my stomach called the shots for some of the fabulous pizza at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza. Anthony’s is the Dan Marino restaurant that has recently opened. They make these chicken wings that are fired in the coal oven with sliced onions that are worth the trip alone.