Pittsburgh Perfect

A few weeks ago I flew to Pittsburgh to spend a few days with my oldest sister and her husband. On our way home from the airport, my sister and I stopped at East End Brewing Company to join some of her friends for Trivia Night. Unfortunately, our team did not win, but we had a lot of fun trying! While I was attempting to put my knowledge to use, I drank a tasty hefeweisen and a bitter cider. Although I didn’t love the cider, I got a kick out of the name (“Along Came a Ginger”)!

The next day my sister and her husband had a lot of work to do, so I spent the day in their recliner writing. That night, we went to dinner at Smallman Galley, a restaurant accelerator helping local chefs develop their restaurant concepts. The 6,000 square foot space featured 4 “restaurants” and a full bar. I had a whiskey and orange cocktail and a delicious meal of seared scallops on toast from Josephine’s Toast.

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Seared scallops on toast

After dinner, we walked down the street to Bar Marco for a few drinks. I tried Peat Wash, made with bourbon, sweet vermouth, averna (an Italian bitter liquer), and a touch of scotch. We also shared a chocolate rum cake called the Ho-Ho-Ho. The cake and drinks were delicious, and the chatty bartenders amused me with their dry humor. It was an entertaining stop!

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Lunch menus at Urban Tap

My sister and I kicked off the next day with a class at Yoga Flow. The room was heated, which was fantastic on a cold morning, and the friendly instructor gave a challenging class with remarkably smooth transitions. My sister and I have very different strengths and weaknesses, and we both enjoyed the class. Determined not to be too healthy, we went to lunch at Urban Tap. They have 100 beers on tap and a full menu. I had a pint of Great Lakes Eliot Ness, a Vienna lager, and shrimp banh mi tacos. We also had an order of collard green eggrolls for the table. The food was great, and we all enjoyed our beers.

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Urban Tap beer list

We detoured on the way home to run an errand and ended up at Knob Hall Winery, a tasting room for a Maryland based vineyard. We enjoyed some free tastings and then sat at a cozy table with a bottle of N39, a red blend of chambourcin, merlot, and cab franc. When we finally made it back to the apartment, we put our feet up and watched the Food Network, which helped get us in the mood for our dinner at Cure, one of Pittsburgh’s dining hot spots serving “local urban Mediterranean food”. We ordered New Brunswick oysters served with a cucumber remoulade and an impressive salumi platter to share. For my entrée, I had wheat tagliatelle with duck and cabbage ragout. The portion was perfect, and the flavors were amazing. We drank our dessert by trying a flight of amaro, an Italian herbal liqueur. The evening ended with a stop at a nearby taproom for a couple beers. I tried White Lightning, and at the server’s recommendation, All In Amber. Both were great! I’m finally starting to figure out my taste for beer.

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Cozy table at Knob Hall Winery

The next morning, we were feeling lazy. My sister and I walked to Prantl’s Bakery and The Coffee Tree to pick up breakfast and coffee. After enjoying our goodies, we embarked on a driving tour of the city. She took me to Schenley Park, a view-point at Mount Washington, South Side, and Squirrel Hill. While in Squirrel Hill, we grabbed take-out from Silk Elephant. My green curry was delicious, and the lunch special was an awesome value.

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Schenley Park

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Downtown Pittsburgh

I slowly started getting cleaned up for my brother-in-law’s school holiday party. The evening started with a Wine Club event at The Beauty Shoppe, a shared workspace offering resources and networks to individuals and small businesses. The space was very trendy, with exposed bricks and vents, modern furniture, and random pops of color. I was able to meet a few of my sister’s friends, and had some interesting conversations, most of which started with, “Wait, why are you here?” Our next stop was the Ace Hotel. The hotel is a renovated YMCA, and the business school holiday party was held in what used to be the gym. Someone described the party as “high school prom in the movies.” Loud music ruined any real hope of conversation, but it was still entertaining!

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Silly sisters

My sister needed to go to DC for work, so she and I hit the road the following morning. The drive was long, but I enjoyed having extra time with just my sister. After checking into our hotel, we went to Tyson’s Corner to knock out some Christmas shopping. It was a lot of fun to shop together! We teamed up to get something special for our mom and sister, and I was able to point out exactly what I wanted. After a quick but tasty dinner at Seasons 52, we returned to the hotel. We stopped in the lobby bar for a final drink, then fell asleep watching HGTV.

In the morning, she went to work, and I had to return home. It had been a fantastic few days! I loved exploring a new city, and especially loved having quality time with my big sis!

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