Monday, April 2, 2012

Day 4: Pittsburgh - Dislocations

I stole the title of this post shamelessly from Justin Hopper's series of talks at the Waffle Shop in honor of our first face to face meeting last night and because yesterday was wonderfully confusing.

But lets start with the morning.
On the not so nice part our series of nasty little and not so little problems continues. Now it's Gabi's Macbook Pro that gives us headaches because it stopped working ... at all. It does not even start anymore and just shows this blueish screen and what we normal computer user would call "the spinning wheel of death". Since I'm a tin can user and have not the slightest idea how an Apple works, I can't do anything about it and Gabi has no real idea at this point either. So if any real Apple wizard is reading this, please use the contact info on this blog - help is very welcome. Local Pittsburgh help even more. 

After giving up on the computer it was really time for breakfast and we went to one of my most favorite places EVER ... The Strip District. We started with breakfast at La Prima before I was sharing my knowledge from last year's tour with Burgh Bits & Bites showing off the not so obvious highlights like St. Patrick's Church or the mural at Penzey's. It's such a special place with all the old gritty brick buildings, the countless sports merch vendors, people having fun shopping and all the great food. We had ... La Prima coffee, pastry from Colangelo,  biscotti from Enrico's, shared a pepperoni roll from Mancini and bought some berry goodness from the Berry Patch at the Pittsburgh Public Market. I think - a day can barely start better than this.

Our next stop was Bloomfield. Pittsburgh is famous for its unique neighborhoods - little villages inside the town. Bloomfield is Pittsburgh's Little Italy. After the great experience last year I booked another tour with Burgh Bits & Bites and we had again a good time. Especially impressing were the two big Italian grocery stores where the owners for several generations not only sell (mostly) Italia food, but also cook their own dishes after traditional family recipes, bake and produce fresh pasta. Of course we tried a lot of the lovely food and it was really yummy. Going on a guided food tour is definitely one of the best ways to explore the city - strongly recommended!

After the tour we crossed the city, rivers and hills and went over to Mount Lebanon to visit friends - a German-American couple that already lives in Pittsburgh for a couple of years. It was a great afternoon with interesting talks and a gorgeous dinner (THANK YOU!). For some reasons steaks taste much better here than in Germany. It was also pretty amazing to hear somebody else telling in German that Pittsburgh is the best place to be. It made me feel much less exotic than I usually do.

Finally we crossed the city, rives and hills again and ended up ... somewhere. When we sneaked uphill a very residential area I was so sure we were totally lost and wrong, but we were not. After finding a spot for the car we slowly walked from house to house in silence until .... we heard a sound from more up the hill. Balkan Brass. Yes, Balkan Brass in a residential Pittsburgh neighborhood!
That was the point where we totally lost track of where we were ... The Strip is a mix of many different cultures - we even heard two ladies talking in Croatian that morning. The food tour was all about Italy and Italian food. The afternoon we spent talking German and then we were somewhere in Pittsburgh in a huge garage in the center of a fun party with a very diverse crowd and live Balkan Brass blasting. Confusing, but in a very, very good way confusing.

What a great day .......... all the pictures, smells, tastes, people. More to come .... 

A morning in the Strip with classic Pittsburgh weather

Breakfast at La Prima

Bloomfield - Pittsburgh's Little Italy

Giant Cinnamon Rolls - YUM!

Interesting enough Spaghetti Ice is something very exotic over here

Balkan Brass by the What Cheer? Brigade

Polaroids by Gabrijela Obert


  1. this post made my heart happy. sounds like a terrific day!

  2. I live in the burgh and have eaten at most of these places. Yet I was unaware of "Burgh bits & bites" tours. Honestly, I think I want to take one now. :) --pghpete

  3. It is definitely worth doing the tours even if you are local. It's like the "behind the scenes" visit. Both tours I made (Strip and Bloomfield) were great. Next year I want to do Brookline and / or Dormont.

  4. I am from Frankfurt originally and have lived in Pittsburgh for 30 years.
    I like it here a lot. Were did you find the Spaghetti ice cream. This is something I miss and would like to find it

    1. The Spaghetti ice cream can be found at:

      Sugar Cane Cafe
      4709 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA

      I tried only a strawberry sorbet there which was nice - so no idea how the spaghetti ice tastes, but at least they have it :)