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. :)