May Link Love

I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.  I’ll never complain about a three day weekend, but I am especially excited for this weekend and the upcoming Pens-Bruins series.  ..For those of you who don’t know, my husband is from Rhode Island and is a fan of all teams Boston. This leads to a lot of good-natured rivalry and heckling. We have been hoping for our hockey teams to meet in the playoffs and now it’s going to happen!

This month’s links cover more Pittsburgh sports (as always), questions about how welcoming Pittsburgh is, drinking local, and branching out when buying fish.

In addition to the Penguins recent success, the Buccos are looking great!  Will this be the year we get our winning season?!  Either way, I’ll always root for my hometown team.   Keep it up Bucs!

I attended my first Pittsburgh Riverhounds game last weekend, and was thoroughly impressed with the enthusiasm of the Steel Army (the official fan club).  If you haven’t yet been to the new Highmark Stadium, I encourage you to go.  The talented team is very fun to watch, ticket prices are very affordable, and the stadium has a view of downtown that rivals PNC Park.  Because there was no info about concessions on their website, I wasn’t sure what to expect for food and drink – vending machines? – but I am happy to report that the stadium also has a nice indoor space with a legit menu and bar!

To follow up on one of my earlier links… Pop City Media reports that while Pittsburgh has a reputation for being very friendly, we may not necessarily be very welcoming to newcomers. How is this possible?!  I can tell you when I returned to Pittsburgh about a year ago, people were very welcoming – chatting to us at random events we’d attend, inviting us out for drinks or parties. It was MUCH appreciated, especially for my husband who did not grow up here. We’re doing our best to pay it forward to newcomers we meet.

But according to another tidbit on the web, apparently we are very welcoming to visitors.  They particularly enjoy our hotels, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, and the fun things to do in the Cultural District.

One thing that is definitely not welcoming:  The slope of these streets!  Two Pittsburgh streets are on Google’s list of the world’s steepest streets.  Yikes!

A few things things on local booze.
1.  How did Wigle’s Ginever not make this list?  I may be slightly biased, but I think it’s delicious.  My husband thinks it’s great and he doesn’t even like gin!
2.  A new rum distiller is poised to open in the Strip’s eastern fringe.  This should be an excellent addition to our many local breweries, vodka, whiskey, and kombucha.
3.  If you’re reading this blog from areas north of Pittsburgh, I encourage you to check out Beaver Brewing Company, a new nanobrewery coming soon to Beaver Falls.

A group of local ‘Burghers hope to create an urban outdoor space where, for a small monthly fee, just about anyone can gather with friends, fire up the barbecue and throw down a game of horseshoes.  This is so hipster (I love it).

Chef Sarah Jenkins recently wrote a piece encouraging diners to experiment with unfamiliar fish.  In addition to eating new types of fish at restaurants, I’d also add that it might be fun to experiment with cooking different types of fish!  Next time you’re shopping at Wholey’s or Penn Avenue Fish Company, grab something new to try!

That’s all for this month!  Hopefully next month I’ll have some Stanley Cup bragging rights!  Let’s Go Pens!!!



April Link Love

I think it is finally safe to say that spring has arrived in Pittsburgh.  I’ll say it again, FINALLY! The sun’s been shining, we’ve been getting some April showers, and soon the seasonal Farmers at the Firehouse market will be back up and running in the Strip.  I look forward to creating some seasonal recipes using unusual veggies, as well as some classic spring ingredients.  Mmm!  In the meantime, this month’s links cover craft beer, Pittsburgh sports, tips for grocery shopping, and some positive things happening around the city.

  • Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week kicks off tomorrow and continues through the 27th –  events have been selling out fast.  You’ll find me sampling some of the “Collaboration Beers” at The Beerhive this weekend!
  • Speaking of craft beer, PNC Park gets Food Republic’s vote for best craft selection at a ball park.
  • In other Pittsburgh sports, I thoroughly enjoyed this article about why Jarome Iginla chose the Penguins.  
  • On a completely unrelated note, I really love grocery shopping.  It’s right up there with shoe shopping.  The Kitchn recently posted five simple tips for smarter grocery shopping.
  • And the New York Times’ Dining and Wine section featured this article explaining the advantages of buying a whole chicken instead of the pre-packaged parts.  (I always buy chicken whole and use the leftover bones to make my own stock.)  I’ll try to feature some posts soon on how I use the different parts…
  • Fellow local food blogger Leah Lizarondo Shannon recently wrote about Pittsburgh’s Food Revolution on Jamie Oliver’s website.  The public and private sectors are working together to create community gardens, improve food at local schools, and spread awareness about health and nutrition.  You can donate money towards their cause through their Facebook page.  (They are well on their way to reaching their goal, let’s help them along!)
  • After a family left Pittsburgh because they didn’t feel welcome, Vibrant Pittsburgh and the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh decided to get local families to host dinners for newcomers.  The organizers hoped to find 10 to 15 willing hosts; but because Pittsburgh is such an awesome city, they ended up with 50 volunteers, plus 30 more who wanted to do it at a later date!  I’ve found the new people I’ve met since returning to Pittsburgh to be extremely welcoming and am very happy to be part of such a friendly community.  Way to go, Pittsburgh!
  • The Beauty Shoppe recently published a piece describing Banjo Night at the Elks Lodge on Pittsburgh’s North Side, and what its popularity reveals about Pittsburgh’s changing demographics.  Just as Pittsburgh is drawing younger residents because of the many opportunities here, so, too, is Banjo Night. I look forward to checking out this phenomenon some Wednesday night in the near future.
  • Over at the National Aviary on the North Side, a baby owl is born.  She’s not the cutest baby animal I’ve ever seen, but who doesn’t go through an awkward phase at some point during their youth?
  • In other news for ornithologists , there are currently three sets of bald eagles that have nested in areas around Pittsburgh.  It’s being considered environmental milestone — nature’s confirmation that the Pittsburgh region had cleaned up its act.
  • And the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium welcome a baby gorilla AND a baby tiger as well as a red panda (which unlike the baby owl is seriously adorable!)

red panda

Friday Link Love

I’m thrilled to hear that it’s finally going to feel like spring in the ‘burgh this weekend.  I’m looking forward to soaking up some sun while I stroll through the Strip on Saturday.  🙂  Once a month, I thought it would be fun to share some links to interesting things I’ve found around the web.  This month, I’m featuring celebrities in the kitchen, all things spring, and – of course – Pittsburgh.

  • Part of the purpose for this blog is to encourage people to support local businesses.  In honor of “National Mom & Pop Business Owners Day,” here are ten reasons to buy local.
  • It seems everyone’s getting excited about food and cooking.  Justin Timberlake is putting an apron over his suit and tie – rumor has it he’s obsessed with baking.
  • Big Bird joins Michelle Obama in the White House Kitchen as part of her “Let’s Move” campaign.  This photo makes me smile.
  • I don’t have a spring cleaning routine, but I couldn’t help but be a bit inspired by this cute video highlighting six ways to ‘Rent-ovate’ your kitchen.
  • Very appropriate for Easter:  The seven health benefits of chocolate.  (Seriously.)
  • Nothing says warm weather quite like “barbecue.”  Texas Monthly hires architect-turned-BBQ-blogger Daniel Vaughn to be its first barbecue editor, a position that exists at no other newspaper in America.  This may very well be my dream job.
  • Many people think of wine spritzers as the stuff women drank at summer barbecues in the ’70s and ’80s.  But according to the New York Times, they’re back in vogue.  I’m motivated to make a Strip-District version this weekend!
  • The promise of spring has me itching to get out and about.  Pop City Media published an article featuring date night ideas in Pittsburgh.  I’m a bit of a science geek, so I’d like to check out the Carnegie Science Center’s Observatory Skywatch.
  • Pittsburgh has been getting a lot of positive press lately.  I share so much of it on Facebook and Twitter that my family jokes I should be named “Ambassador of Pittsburgh.”  The latest good news: Pittsburgh has been included in Forbes Magazine’s List of the Top 15 U.S. Cities’ Emerging Downtowns.
  • And this!  It’s almost baseball season again and I love going to games at PNC Park.  Not to my surprise, TripAdvisor recently named PNC Park “Best Ballpark in America”

Happy Friday!

bunny tongue