Category Archives: PIttsburgh

Pleasantly Pittsburgh

Wanted to wrap up my Pittsburgh trip with one last blog post. Tidbits, odds and ends, my favorite parts about Pittsburgh.

Hofbrauhaus

a liter of beer!

Rekha has been telling me about her adventures at this place, a German restaurant turned bar during the night. Where it is normal to have a liter of beer all to yourself and stand on top of the tables and sing to the merry songs playing over the speakers. Totally German! I got my own liter of their Hofbrau Dunkel described as a dark lager that is easy to drink with a simple roasted malt flavor and slight caramel undertones. I am usually not a big fan of beer, but the Dunkel was really good. Good enough for a liter of it.

outside

The outside of the Hofbrauhaus was beautiful. The shiny metal things surrounding the outside are the beer brewery tanks which I thought was extremely cool. I’m guessing for decorative purposes.

Heinz Chapel

The stained glass windows at Heinz Chapel were gorgeous. Unlike other chapels these windows display not only religious figures but also historic and cultural figures like Dorthea Dix and Abraham Lincoln.

Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral of Learning

Austrian Nationality Room

Can you believe that University of Pittsburgh students have classes in beautiful rooms like these? Built and decorated by architects from the corresponding nations: Austria, China, Israel, India, etc. Not all rooms are as striking as the Austrian room made for small discussion seminar based classes, but each of them are different and accurately portrays each nation.

Primanti Bros.

Pitts-burgher Cheese Steak topped with fries and cole slaw

Each city has their famous sandwiches, and the IT sandwich for Pittsburgh is the one served by Primanti Bros.. All of their sandwiches come topped with fries and cole slaw. I choose the cheese steak sandwich. When the waitress brought my sandwich over to our table I just stared at it for a good minute or so trying to figure out how in the world I would be able to eat such a large sandwich without having all of the contents fall out. Steak, cheese, fries, cole slaw, tomatoes all in between two thick slices of french bread. Surprisingly it wasn’t as fatty or oily as I thought! The fries were fresh cut and were not completely soaked in oil. The cole slaw was light without the excessive mayonnaise. Very good sandwich. I was full after eating just half and had to take the other half to go.

Bridges in Pittsburgh

one of many bridges in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is known as “The City of Bridges”. It has the most bridges with piers and stands. With three major rivers cutting in and out, hills and ravines no wonder there are 455 bridges within the city limits.

The Mattress Factory

When my friend told me we were going to The Mattress Factory I thought it was a warehouse for mattresses. My friend is crazy! Well it turns out that The Mattress Factory is actually a museum of contemporary art housing one of a kind installation arts.

Infinity Dots

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Repetitive Vision

These two rooms made by artist Yayoi Kusama were fun to be in. Infinite dots under a black light and repetitive dots and figure in a room where there are numerous images of you in the mirrors. I realized afterwards that this was the same artist that made children’s dot room. Her fascination with dots really makes for exciting exhibits!

 Pamela’s Diner

board games galore

This cute diner was board game themed, and I’m not talking about just the modern day board games but also vintage board games. I have never heard of or seen a lot of the board games adorning the walls. Makes me wonder in the technologically advanced society we are currently in do we not have the time or the need for board games anymore?Instead of the simple joys of board games we fiddle around with our phones and play Words with Friends. Maybe it’s time to have a board game night.

Tex-Mex Omelet

I got the Tex-Mex Omelet to share with Rekha. The Omelet had cheese, chorizo, and sweet bell peppers topped with guacamole and sour cream. I especially enjoyed the potatoes. Pamela’s is famous for their Lyonnaise Potatoes. They were soft, but not soggy. Creamy with just the right amount of butter.

What a wonderful trip to Pittsburgh. An urban city with a small town feel. People walking at a slow pace, local stores without the pretentious storefronts. Perhaps all of this is just a modern day representation of the steel making, bustling city of Pittsburgh in the 1900s. The Primanti Bros. sandwich was originally packed with fries and cole slaw, because it was a convenient way for the steel workers to carry and eat their lunch in one compact sandwich.

A city with history, with charm. Definitely impressed me! 

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Waffallonia

During my trip to Pittsburgh we came here before going to the Andy Warhol Museum and the Mattress Factory (installation art museum). Belgian waffles for breakfast. Only the best!

Waffallonia

1707 Murray Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Neighborhood: Squirrel Hill

Belgian Waffle galore

The place is really small with limited counter, stool seating. The Belgian Waffles are made fresh and topped with fresh fruits and fresh whipped cream. My friends and I all got different Belgian waffles. The first one topped with Nutella and fresh banana slices. The second one with Nutella, fresh banana slices, and fresh strawberries. The third one with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

Belgian Waffle topped with strawberries and whipped cream

I got the Belgian Waffles topped with strawberries and whipped cream. It was just delicious! The Belgian Waffle was soft on the inside and just perfectly crunchy on the outside shell. With certain bites you get the crunch of the sugar crystals scattered throughout the waffle. The strawberries gave the waffles a nice sweet touch. I especially enjoyed the whipped cream, because it tasted so fresh and light. My friends whose waffles were topped with Nutella said that it was a little on the heavy side especially for the morning.

waffle maker

I never had fresh Belgian Waffles before, but this is so much better than a regular waffle. Made from dough rather than batter like a normal waffle. The dough is placed in the waffle maker and made to order.

This place is just wonderful. Their menu is simple with only 5 different types of waffles and topping options with endless additions of various toppings including banana, strawberries, Nutella, ice cream, and whipped cream. Can we say delicious?

Stars – 5/5

Spice Island Tea House

My friend Rekha was really excited about taking me here. She warned me that it looked like a hole in the wall from the outside, but is super cute and quaint on the inside.

Spice Island Tea House 

253 Atwood St
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Neighborhood: Oakland

Check out their Menu

the inside of the restaurant

The inside of the restaurant was a pleasant surprise. The curtains surrounding the entrance were a beautiful red color that perfectly fit in with the rest of the room. Moody lighting with wooden floors and red toned chairs made it feel like I was in somebody’s home. It had a very home-y feeling which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The place was super packed. We had to wait about 10 minutes for a table, but that was not a problem. The wait was definitely worth it. I wouldn’t come here in a large group though, without a reservation, because there is such limited seating it would take forever.

Spicy Laht Nah

Spicy Laht Nah – Minced chicken, shredded vegetables and jalapeno pepper stir-fried in a tangy gravy and glazed over broad rice noodles.

I got the Spicy Laht Nah noodles. It was really good. All of the rice noodles are at the bottom of the dish, so it is hard to see them in the picture above. The noodles were soft, but slightly crispy from being pan fried. The vegetables were extremely fresh. The crunchiness of the green beans and broccoli were great. I loved the spicy sauce that came with this dish. It was salty, spicy, and flavorful.

I really enjoyed this place. I felt like I was eating in somebody’s dining room. A carefree, comfort that just felt natural.

Stars – 4.5/5

Strip District

Greetings from Pittsburgh. I made it on the next bus to Pittsburgh without missing it. This morning we went to explore the Strip District. The Strip District is this big outdoor hustle and bustle of ethnic grocers, street grills and food vendors, sidewalk merchants, and rows of small shops. The authenticity of this place is like no other. Pittsburgh Steelers gear all over, wafts of all different types of smells, bright colors of goods, fruits, foods, sounds of laughter of families, shouts of the vendors, and the sound of spontaneous fun.

 Peace, Love and Little Donuts

Raspberry Lemonade Donut at Peace, Love and Little Donuts

donut maker

This place has the most wonderful donuts. Tinier than your usual Krispy Kreme donuts or Dunkin’ Donuts, but just the perfect size. They come in so many different, unusual flavors like Rasberry Lemonade Donut and Maple Donut with Bacon Toppings. You can smell the aroma of these wondrous donuts a block away. The donuts are freshly made and dropped into the fryer before being frosted and sprinkled with toppings.

Reyna’s Taco Truck 

Barbacoa Taco

Taco Truck

This stand supposedly had the best tacos in Pittsburgh. Reminds of the taco trucks I’ve seen in NYC. I got a Barbacoa Taco and a Horchata drink. The taco was delicious. The meats were very well grilled. It was topped with cilantro, onion, and cheese. My favorite part of it was the actual corn tortilla. Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The horchata was excellent. Horchata is a Mexican milky sweet rice drink. Delicious drink to pair with the taco.

Fortunes Coffee 

I love coffee stores, and this store had so many sights and smells selling coffee by the pound.  This place had so many different types of coffee.

Penzeys Spices

Rekha checking out the baking spices

what an adorable kitchen!

This place has whatever spice that sparks your fancy. The best part about this place was that with every spice they had there was an accompanying jar of the spice to smell it. So many smells to smell.

Robert Wholey and Co Fish Market 

I love going to markets, because there are so many sounds, smells, and sights. Overstimulation of the senses in the best possible way. I wish I actually lived in Pittsburgh, because I would have gone crazy shopping at this place. Buying seafood, meats, produce, and all kinds of foods.

Stamoolis Bros 

Grape Leaves

An ending to a wonderful day at The Strip. I got a box of 5 grape leaves at the Greek Market Stomolis Bros to go.They were delicious! Spiced rice wrapped in grape leaves.

The Strip was an excellent place to wander around. Every store we went into there were so many new things to see, touch, taste, smell, and hear. In my visit to The Strip I walked into Greek, Korean, Polish, Italian, and Mexican markets. A wonderland of ethnic foods!