Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pittsburgh, PA - Part 1

Pittsburgh turned out to be way bigger and cooler than we expected - it's nice to be pleasantly surprised!  We got some good tips from a friend (thanks, Allison!) and spent two whole days exploring different neighborhoods (fun fact, Pittsburgh has 90 distinct neighborhoods). Here goes Part 1.


Around Town:
Pittsburgh was a bit difficult to navigate - our GPS didn't know about the recently re-numbered exits and kept "RECALCULATING" as we drove in circles, working the good-old trial and error system. Parking was easy to find everywhere we went, so that's a bonus. On any given street around town you can look up in the distance and see tons of houses nestled in the hills - good thing we didn't try to bike around town, those hills would have killed us!

Strip district:
The red brick buildings in this neighborhood originate from mills and factories from the early 1900's (Amanda couldn't get enough of the typography on these buildings!). Later, wholesalers, other shops, and restaurants came in to the neighborhood. Today, the area sees local workers, tourists, and suits coming in for lunch from the nearby tall office buildings. Many go to the original Primanti Brothers restaurant, home of the Primanti Sandwich (in short, a meal between two slices of white bread, including meat, veggies, and the mandatory heap of french fries).

Church Brew Works:
We popped into this beautiful church, converted into a brewery, for a quick pint. The beers were pretty good, but unfortunately our visit was spoiled by the strong aroma of yeast and other beer production ingredients filling the entire restaurant. There is a certain charm in operating the brewery right in front of the customers, but in our opinion, there should be some air/venting separation to allow for a more enjoyable dining experience... and to help preserve the beautiful church, which is listed as a historic landmark.

South Side and East Carson Street:
We spent some time wondering up and down East Carson Street in the South Side neighborhood. The street is full of bars and restaurants, and we were happy to spot a pretty sizable Shepard Fairey mural. For dinner, we popped into an adorable taco joint, Yo Rita. The food was pretty phenomenal - we shared a beet taco, called Velvet Underground (that's not a typo - beet, not beef!), Pork Belly Tostadas, and a Brussels Sprouts taco (we both are total suckers for brussels sprouts - every time we see them on a menu, we end up ordering the dish!).

Stay tuned for more Pittsburgh adventures in Part 2.

For travel updates as they happen, follow us on facebook, twitter, and Instagram (@amandabouzakine).

Have tips on where we should go, see, do? Submit suggestions here or e-mail us! We'll be in Wisconsin for the next few days!

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