A Little Taste of Everything: Pittsburgh's Strip District

Today we're going on another field trip. This time, a bit closer to home-- to Pittsburgh's Strip District.

No, I know what you're thinking, but never fear. This isn't some dodgy expedition involving girls named Trixie. This is something I imagine you'll be able to support happily.

Apparently "X" marks the spot, too, because the Strip District here in Pittsburgh is a food-lover's paradise.

This area of warehouses bustles on Saturday mornings, with shoppers choosing from fresh produce, Pittsburgh souveniers and delicacies from all over the world. Want seafood or meats? Pop by Wholey's Market (pronounced Wooly's), and not only will you be spoiled for choice, but you'll get treated to some guy outside on the accordian playing, "The Chicken Dance." Between the music, the street vendors and the scent of kettle corn in the air, the Strip District can feel a bit like a carnival for grown-ups.

Looking for the ingredients for the perfect pasta? Try the Macaroni Factory. Something Asian, maybe? There's no shortage there.

How about spices? I love to go to Penzey's. They have a pork chop seasoning that really makes them, in my view. This day, I ended up getting some California Paprika and an Indian seasoning for lamb and beef.

Or maybe Greek is more to your taste. Then let's hit Stamoolis Brothers. Me, I can't get enough of their stuffed grape leaves (that dill on them is so perky!). And my friend Scoobie loves their pastries, so she now has more Kataifi in her possession (it's this excellent shredded wheat pastry soaked in honey) than your average Greek Food Festival.

And speaking of dessert-- the Mon Aimee Chocolat is a favorite stop, because I can pick up imported Cadbury chocolate bars, like Flake bars.

I know my UK and Canadian readers will probably laugh at this, but our Cadbury here just doesn't have the taste and texture of yours. And this Strip District shop is only of the only places in the area we can get it.

There's also antiquing to be had. So first we hit Zerrer's Antiques in the upper part of the Strip. This shop has an eclectic mix of antiques and collectible vintage items.

I found a pair of 40s pottery candlesticks ($6), a planter from the same time period which claims to be McCoy but I need to verify (doesn't matter either way to me, really. I like the color and shape) and the sugar bowl I needed for my rapidly-growing Hazel Atlas Moderntone set.

I also found one more grape goblet for the lady I'm building the milkglass set for. This was my kind of price-- $1!

Next we go to Mahla Antiques in the heart of the Strip. This is a higher-end shop, with beautiful examples of things like Staffordshire, art nouveau pieces, mid-century modern, and more. Just walking around here is an education.

It was probably also an education for the poor woman who inadvertenly knocked something over when we were there, too. OH, the SOUND of that glass piece, whatever it was, bouncing off a piece of furniture and shattering into a billion chunks. My heart went out to her, and as she and the owners were trying to clean up the mess, there was just so much CLINKING. I have no idea what the item was, but it sounded largish and I almost wept FOR her. Mistakes like that could not have been cheap.

To her credit, she seemed to accept the accident like a trooper.

Well, with bags of sweet and savory items in hand, we headed off to lunch. And I thought you all might enjoy seeing this rather unique microbrewery we have here in the 'Burgh.

This is the Church Brew Works, a beautiful landmark that was set for demolition and instead converted into a restaurant.

Oh, I'm aware it's very STRANGE to see a church converted in this way. Guests are always shocked and entranced. (My best friend from back home, who is Catholic, joked she felt the need to genuflect on the way to the table.) But the beauty and history has remained intact, and the food is quite good. (Mm, portabello pesto pizza!)

Anyway, I thought you might all enjoy seeing it.

So that's our little adventure for this week. I'm not exactly sure what we'll get up to next week. But I'll try to whip up something to tickle your collective fancies. :)

Treasure Box Wednesday: Wartime Suggestions, Cheap Chic and Classic Reads

It's October 1943 and World War II is raging. Americans are having to tighten their belts like never before. How does a homemaker make the most of her rations?

Equitable Gas hoped to make it a little easier and more efficient with this booklet I found at the Goodwill in Monroeville. And it's amazing how comprehensive it is! From how to make appliances last and how to make meat go further to low flame, minimum water cooking techniques, designed to "save minerals, vitamins, flavor." Just LOOK at all this poor housewife has to consider in trying to keep her family on track!

Also, how often do we see an employee of our gas companies giving us helpful advice about our household tasks these days? Mine just put bright yellow notices on my front door complaining I'm not at home to let them in to read the meter when they pop by unannounced.

And look at this-- by running your home the way Equitable Gas suggests, you're showing "Cooperation, to speed the 'Coming of V-Day.'" Notice the smiling troops over there, happy to see us following these super "Modern Methods" of cooking, extending our meat rations, and maintaining our appliances.

Okay, now let's leap forward into the future a bit... Well, just a LITTLE bit...With these thrifted books. I've always wanted to read Capote and Salinger and have never had the chance. So when you find them for $0.99 a piece at the Goodwill, there really is no better time!

Keeping to the 40s theme (inadvertently) is this Hazel Atlas Moderntone creamer, that probably looks fairly familiar to some, since it matches the plates I found in Ohio over the weekend. This was at the Salvation Army back in Pittsburgh, though.

And lastly, I found a Shabby Chic curtain panel from Target for $3. Which is, ironically, WAY cheaper than that same panel currently is in Target right now.

I have no idea why it made its way to the Goodwill while that pattern is still in the department stores-- there's nothing wrong with it. But there it was, anyway. If I don't use it as a curtain, I'll use it in some other manner. It's always fun to see where things end up.

But I know where this has to end up today. With me saying good-bye for now.

  • If you missed the weekend roadtrip to Ohio antiquing, I'd still be more than happy to have you virtually tag along with me. Just click here.

Take care of yourselves, and remember, gas prices may be skyrocketing and the economy may look grim, but history shows us, it could be a lot worse. :)

Three States, Two Antique Malls, One Big Day

Road trip! Hop in the car with my friend Scoobie and me, and buckle-up, because today we're going on an antiquing adventure. I've never taken you all out to New Philadelphia, Ohio before. So there's no time better than today!

We'll head through three states on this journey. Which sounds like a much bigger deal than it is, to be honest. We'll set out from our home base in Western Pennsylvania, go straight through West Virginia (which, given the part we're going through, takes all of five minutes), and zoom clear into Ohio.

This is the nifty bridge we have to go over to get to Ohio, from West Virginia.

And don't worry, I wasn't trying to take photos while driving here. All of these fun ambiance shots are courtesy of Scoobie, riding shotgun. A true friend is someone who's willing to put up with taking pictures for your blog! Thanks, Scoobie- you're a gem.

By the way, Scoobie also expresses her regrets she wasn't able t0 get a local color shot of buzzards, enjoying some roadkill along the highway, but I said I thought you all would probably be all right for having missed that.

Here we are, making the turn for Dennison, along Route 250 West, which will be our first stop.

And no, we're not stopping at Coal Museum, the Clark Gable museum, or even the lawn ornament place with the giant stone dogs out front...

We're stopping up here...

The Route 250 Antique Mall! I'd come across this place on accident on my very first trip to New Philadelphia. And of course, I'd HAD to stop. Inside there are a wide array of vendors, with some very reasonable prices on many things. I'm not sure if we're allowed to photograph inside, but I snuck off a shot or two.

For my trash-to-treasure friends, I think of YOU all when we spot these t-to-t bedframe benches.

And me, I come up with some more of my Hazel Atlas Moderntone dinnerware. At $1 and $2 a plate, I am one HAPPY girl!

I also find an excellent handpainted World War II hankie bag-- though the tag indicates the vendor thinks it's some kind of purse.

With the Route 250 Antique Mall scoured, now we head off here...

There used to be three of these Riverfront Antique Malls-- one in Beaver Falls, PA, and one in-- I believe-- North Carolina, but the other two have closed. This is the last of the last. But it still seems to be busy.

And what do we find here? Well, Scoobie cleans up on some of her beloved Avon Ruby Glass pieces (I believe you all were with us before when she triumphed with her Avon Gravyboat discovery. This coup was similar.)

And me, I found some more sheep planters, just in time for Easter... (Dig that sheep in overalls! How funny is that?)

I also find a couple of vintage cookbooks.

After being pretty much all antiqued out, we leave the Riverfront Antique Mall decide to stop for an elegant early supper at La Maison de Pain Italianne...

Ah, yes, when you travel with The Thrift Shop Romantic, it's first class all the way!

And no, don't even ask how this popped into my head. :) Too much sugar, maybe.

Have a terrific Easter for those who celebrate, and for those who don't, I hope Spring is treating you well!

Treasure Box Wednesday: Cheap Chicks Choose China

I have a bit of a mixed bag to show you this Treasure Box Wednesday. Not a lot, but some nice finds nonetheless. We'll start off with the turquoise retro mugs and bowls here. These were Salvation Army Superstore finds, and I got all eight pieces-- four bowls and four mugs-- for $3.99. I believe these are either Hazel Atlas Moderntone pieces, or ones from that general time period.

I also uncovered another art pottery vase. I love how the handles on each side are intentionally different lengths. This should be excellent grouped with the McCoy and other vases I'd gotten my grubby mitts on a few weeks ago. I love these simply because they're just good design.

This pretty handkerchief was $0.99. Which is on my high end for what I like to pay for hankies (I love to get them for about $0.25-$0.49) but the vibrant, detailed peonies were too nice to pass up.

This figurine was one I picked up a few weeks ago, and I wasn't sure if I showed her to you or not. Her name is "Melanie"-- and, no, I didn't name her. Her name is written on the bottom. And she's made by Florence Ceramics of California.

The Garage Sale and Flea Market Annual (which has become a bit like my thrifting Bible) has this to say about the company:

During the forties, Florence Ward began modeling tiny ceramic children as a hobby at her home in Pasedena, California. She was so happy with the results that she expanded, hired decorators, and move into a larger building where, for two decades, she provided the lovely line of figurines, wall plaques, busts, etc., that have become so popular today. The "Florence Collection" featured authetnically detailed models of such couples as Louis XV and Madame Pompadour, Pinkie and Blue Boy, and Rhet and Scarlett. Nearly all of the Florence figures have names which are written on their bases.

Now, I don't see any listing of my particular figure in this book, but because the company made Rhet and Scarlett, it makes me wonder whether this "Melanie" isn't supposed to be Melanie from "Gone with the Wind." An interesting idea, anyway.

Oh, and those cheap chicks in the title? How about THESE cheap chicks!

Don't you just love how realistic-looking they are? (And a little irritated in their expressions, as well!) They were $5 for the pair at the UFO in Greensburg. I had seen a pair like them at a Salvation Army several years ago and had passed them up, thinking I wasn't going to do any Easter decor (silly fool!). When I realized a day later I could certainly make an exception for THEM at least-- they were gone. So finding this set was really fun for me.

Well, I'm afraid that's all there is for this Treasure Box Wednesday. Check out the Sunday post if you're so inclined-- "Aprons and Hankies: Time, Ties and Trends "-- by clicking here.
And for newer folks, don't forget there's a huge archive of goodies here to dive into-- just click the triangular bullets to reveal the individual posts inside (it takes less time to load that way). There are LOTS of pictures.

Have a chirpy one! :)