thoughts on food, culture, and community

Archive for the tag “Strip District”

30×30: Lesson 16: Already okay

I have a headache today: one of those caused by the combination of bright sunshine and restless sleep. I went for a run yesterday afternoon because I’m training for this half marathon on October 19, but lately I can barely run four miles without waking up in the middle of the night with throbbing thighs. It’s concerning. I wish I have been running more, but these past weeks have been nothing but emotional races between due dates and grading papers and class presentations, like the one I gave last Thursday that barely made sense, even to me. What can you do — there’s no use telling the professor that your river of things to do has not yet abated. Aren’t we all constantly attempting to find ways to be more than what we actually are? My boyfriend is visiting this weekend, and I’m choosing time with him above making certain that I know what readings I have for Tuesday, kind of like I’m choosing to eat the entire bowl of pho from Tram’s Kitchen because I haven’t had enough time in a grocery store in two weeks to plot anything more than meals of scrambled eggs and tuna sandwiches. Today before my headache got bad, down in the Strip District I bought $8 worth of homemade goat cheese and a cold brew from 21st Street Coffee, even though I didn’t need either. Or maybe I did? How does expensive cheese and good coffee fit into a hierarchy of grad-school choices? How does life go down when there isn’t a lot to change?

One day last summer, I blurted out a similar monologue over tea with my friend Anne Parmer. She listened. She said there wasn’t anything wrong with wanting to fix problems, and she offered to help me through anything that she could. But then she added, “Remember: you’re already okay.”

For none of the above are or will ever be moral failures. At the end of everything, I have nothing I need to prove other than being honestly who I am.

Find an introduction on this series here.  Dig into other life lessons here.

Friday Photo: Age of Days, Strip District, Pittsburgh

February 2014

February 2014

Friday Photo: Breakfast at Kelly-O’s Diner, Strip District, Pittsburgh

Breakfast at Kelly-O's, The Strip, February 2014

February 2014

Kelly-O’s Diner in the Strip doesn’t only serve up fish and grits, thick raisin toast, and fluffy omelets — there’s also a strong helping of tenderness and sturdy Pittsburgh pride.

Kelly-O’s Diner
100 24th Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 232-EGGS

Friday Photo: Garland in the rain, Pittsburgh

Garland in the rain

Strip District, Pittsburgh, December 2012

A rainy day, a bare street, and silver water dripping from the tips of the garlands as the Strip District fades into dusk. I expected this sight to be somber, not festive, but somehow, I sensed the holiday more clearly here than I have anywhere else in Pittsburgh to date — the deep gray of the day contrasting the garland into a brighter green, a rain-splattered hand-written sign, and the cherry red bows gleaming brightly despite the twilight.

Friday Photo: Placing an order, Primanti Bros., Pittsburgh

Primanti Bro's., the Strip District, September 2012

Primanti Bro’s., the Strip District, September 2012

When I was a student in Avignon, France, in 2005, a sandwicherie in the center city sold what they had dubbed “the American sandwich” — some kind of monster hoagie stuffed with French fries and made with bread that wasn’t a baguette. “That’s unfair, greasy, and stereotypical,” I said. And then I ate a sandwich at Primanti Brothers on a Saturday in the Strip District in Pittsburgh, when the lines were full and the timing was perfect.

There are twenty-one Primanti Bros. locations, but this one’s the original, brimming with Steelers’ fans, spot-on servers, and Toni Haggerty who has been working the grill for almost 40 years. (“Too long!” she grinned at me, then jerked her finger toward the friendly dark-haired man ushering customers to tables. “As long as I’ve been married to him!”)

Toni — as well as Primanti Bros.’s “almost-famous” sandwiches stacked on hearty Italian bread, stuffed with grilled Italian meats, provolone cheese, vinegar-based coleslaw, and a fistful of freshly-made fries — have been featured everywhere from Pittsburgh Magazine to Man Vs. Food.

Go for the food, but leave with the experience.

Primanti Bros.
46 18th Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 263-2142

“Pinky splint” Earl Grey sandwich cookie, Om Nom Bake Studio, Pittsburgh

Om Nom Bake Studio, October 2012

Om Nom Bake Studio, October 2012

If you’re like me, you’ve occasionally caved and bought a buttery Panera shortbread or a chocolate chip cookie from Subway only to wonder why all store-bought cookies somehow taste exactly the same. Who are we kidding– actual, homemade cookies, made from scratch, are hard to come by.

Fortunately, Om Nom Bake Studio works constantly to whip up original cookies and bars that are just as sophisticated as they are simple. Missing a classic peanut butter or your childhood Fig Newtons? Om Nom pays homage to them here. Want a straight up chocolate chip? Of course. Or, if you’re looking for a cookie to (finally) satisfy the gourmet foodie in you, try the “Naughty Chocolattie,” a smoked-chocolate cookie, the “Besto Pesto” with lime, pesto, and basil, or the “Holy Pinoli” of pine nuts and rich brown sugar.

This Earl Grey “Pinky Split” sandwich cookie above is my current favorite cookie in Pittsburgh: a delicate, crumbly short bread cookie hinted with Earl Grey, lingering in your mouth as if you’ve really been sipping the tea. Filled with a lightly whipped frosting tinted with orange and lemon, the cookies are then rolled in crunchy sugar and flecks of fresh lavender for an indulgence that’s light, balanced, and surprising. And since when can I say that about a cookie — that I was surprised?

Check out for a gloriously-full list of treats. Orders available online or on location.

Pittsburgh Public Market, The Strip District
1701 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Fridays 10 AM-4 PM
Saturdays 9 AM – 5 PM
Sundays 10 AM – 4 PM

Om Nom Bake Studio
5134 Clairton Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15236
(412) 219-2552

Prestogeorge Fine Foods, The Strip District
1719 Penn Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Delanie’s Coffee, Southside
1737 E Carson St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

720 Music, Clothing and Cafe, Lawrenceville
4405 Butler St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15201

Friday Photo: International olives, Pennsylvania Macaroni Co., Pittsburgh

Pennsylvania Macaroni Co., 2012

Pennsylvania Macaroni Co., September 2012

Outside the market of Arles, France, I have not seen as many olives as those available at The Pennsylvania Macaroni Company, known as Pittsburgh’s #1 Italian import store, located in the Strip District. In addition to this selection of olives from Italy, Greece, Morocco, Chile, California, and France, the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company also sells fresh and imported pasta, local bread, bulk olive oil and balsamic vinegar, European deli meats such as capicollo and prosciutto, fresh produce, Italian sodas and cookies and candy, and 200,000 pounds of domestic and international cheese per week. Visit on a Saturday to be caught up by the nostalgic rush of the crowds made up of locals, foodies, and tourists.

Pennsylvania Macaroni Co
2010-2012 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Post Navigation