July Link Love

First things first.  Today is my Dad’s birthday!  I know he doesn’t like a lot of attention, so I’ll keep it short and sweet.  Happy Birthday, Dad!

Summer is in full-swing.  If you’re like 99% of the population in this city, you’re looking to spend as much time as possible outdoors, especially because the weather here has been so awesome lately!  (I really hope I don’t jinx it by writing it in this post.)  Here, Pittsburgh Magazine highlights the ‘Burgh’s best beer gardens.  For dining al fresco, Pop City provides this guide.  There’s also a new bar on the North Shore that has outdoor seating, and allows you to order food from other restaurants menus.  What are your favorite outdoor spots in Pittsburgh?

There’s been a lot of buzz about Pittsburgh’s latest “Renaissance” – recently the Post Gazette published a couple articles describing some of the newest plans for downtown.  A new upscale hotel, more residential units, and a steakhouse are coming to Downtown, while PNC is working to restore the historic splendor of the former Lord & Taylor Building.  And the first steps toward reconnecting the Hill District to Downtown are in the works. Finally, the Cultural District is getting cool new bike racks designed by local artists – and you can help choose which design it will be by voting for your favorite here!

I’m proud to be an adventurous eater – and so I love all sorts of ethnic cuisine. When I read that Istanbul Grille’s downtown location risked being closed to expand the next-door 7-Eleven, it made me upset.  I don’t know about you, but I’d choose unique (and affordable!) Turkish takeout over an expanded convenience-store any day!  If you share in this attitude, throw them some support on their Facebook page.

And speaking of ethnic foods, has anyone been to Lydiah’s downtown?  This article was the first I’ve heard of it… It’s a bit of a trek from my office to make it a regular lunch spot, but I’m curious enough that I’ll have to try it out sometime soon.

That’s all for this month’s links… I really let it go down to the wire on this one didn’t I?  …We are moving into our new home on August 15th, so hopefully I’ll be more diligent with my blog posts after the dust settles!

What’s going on here?

After more than a few years away, I am proud to announce that I have recently planted myself back in Pittsburgh.  As an amateur foodie and ambitious home-cook, it was a happy accident upon my return, I found myself living in the Strip District.  After a few months here, I feel that I have yet to take full advantage of Pittsburgh’s culinary mecca.  There is such a rich variety of shops selling fantastic and inspiring ingredients, and I feel like I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface.  So, game on – it is time to spread my cooking-wings and get adventurous!  Italian, Korean, seafood, spices, fresh produce – there are so many cuisines and techniques to explore!  I have listed 25 food stores located in the Strip, and there are also dozens of different vendors at the Pittsburgh Public Market and Farmers at the Firehouse.  Over the course of this blog, I aim to showcase recipes that feature ingredients from each of these wildly different shops…  and (hopefully) live to blog about it… 

PS – If you notice that I have omitted any of the Strip’s beloved food vendors – please  let me know so I can incorporate them into this crazed Pittsburgh challenge.