Almost on a whim we found ourselves in Pittsburgh last weekend. The weather in the Adirondacks wasn’t cooperating with our camping plans (lousy rain!) so we made some calls to friends in town and took off toward the City of Bridges for some sight seeing and food explorations.
We took off work on Friday and headed straight out with a plan to take a trip up the Duquesne Incline when we got into town and then take a stroll in the Strip District to grab some quick food prior to meeting up with friends. The Incline provided a pretty view of the rivers and the city, the cover photo for this post and was a nice start to our visit. The Strip District was next on our list and we ended up walking by a number of interesting options and visiting the newly opened Casa Reyna attached to the mainstay Reyna Foods Mexican focused grocery store. A link to a more detailed review of our snack there can be found over on Yelp. Overall pretty tasty and some amazingly fresh tortillas and chips.
Our next stop was a visit to the stunning Phipps Conservatory to calm ourselves before watching what turned out to be the last game of the Penguins/Bruins series at Buffalo Blues sports bar in the Shadyside neighborhood. The plants were as soothing as the bar environment was stressful. The bar crowd was on edge the whole night watching the impending sweep of the Pens and we got swept up in it. We got some comforting chicken fingers and fries that sated our hunger midway through the evening. The spicy garlic sauce was a bit too buttery for my tastes but the fries were skin on and hit the spot perfectly.
After a late night talking with our friends at their house in Aspinwall, we were in need of some comfort food and Everyday Noodles in Squirrel Hill was our ticket to some pretty fantastic soup. We had a giant steamed bun with pork belly and a massive bowl of beef noodle soup with wide noodles hand stretched in house. Broth was clear and flavorful and with the addition of a touch of chili oil was perfectly balanced. Noodles had good texture and after you’ve had fresh noodles like that you can see why this is a popular spot.
Our ice cream snack after a visit to the Carnegie Natural History and Art Museum was a good way to break up our day. Dave and Andy’s near Pitt campus is very much an old school ice cream shop with homemade waffle cones and well made versions of all of the classic flavors. Nothing particularly inventive but satisfying nonetheless.
We met up with one of Carrie’s family friends at Whole Foods for some healthy drinks and made a visit to the 3 Rivers Arts Fest to see some of the local art scene. The festival and surrounding area down there was crazy busy but it was nice to see so many people out enjoying the beautiful weather and taking in the newly reopened fountain right near the Point. Dinner was at Butterjoint, the bar side of Legume, which serves up upscale casual food with a focus on house made components.
We split up the burger of the day and pierogies with goat Linguisa sausage. Topping the burger was onion strings and a combination of housemade aioli, whole grain mustard and onion jam and the whole package really shone. The patty was a touch over our requested medium rare but still well seasoned, juicy and beefy with a pleasant coarse grind. Pierogies were served with caramelized onions and sour cream and made a pleasant almost appetizer with the slightly sweet sausage. Highly enjoyable finish to a activity filled day.
Before we left for the friendly confines of Rochester, we went for brunch at Coca Cafe in the up and coming Lawrenceville neighborhood. A top notch menu left us struggling to decide what to eat but we ended up with shrimp, lobster and scallop cake benedict and cashew crusted brioche french toast. Both offered high quality ingredients with execution to match. The lemon hollandaise was sharp and rich and the cake had large lumps of all 3 seafoods. The brioche french toast had tons of cashews and was surprisingly less sweet than was expected in a good way.
Carrie and I had a blast during our last minute trip to Pittsburgh and ate some good foods along the way. Looking forward to our next trip to do some more exploring of the food scene and visiting our good friends again!