This was meant to be the first of a series of posts about my PGH (Pittsburgh) Gourmand Adventures from fall of 2011. Yes, of 2011. I don’t have an ideal explanation for my procrastination (It’s not my nature). I did start a new job which was very time-consuming right after my return. I was overwhelmed by Pittsburgh in some ways. I visited for five days and was sure I could cover everything I wanted to do in that time. During the planning process, I was even concerned that I might be spending too much time in the “Steel City”. I was way off mark on that assumption. I returned with a lot of notes, way too many photos and no clear idea about where to begin. On the ride home I was thinking that there were so many things I still wanted to do there or do again.
A couple disclaimers before I start. I did contact Visit Pittsburgh before I visited and asked for assistance in places to go and write about. They were kind enough to research some places for me in advance as well as helped me secure a discounted rate at a hotel and provided with a pass good for admission for two to many of the Pittsburgh Museums. Kristen Mitchell, in particular was of great assistance before, during and after my stay. She and the rest of the @vstpgh team did a great job of keeping in touch during my adventures. When you visit Pittsburgh do spend some time researching your trip on their site – it will be worth it. If you are a Twitterer – you my find my PGH Twitter list helpful. I used the hashtag #PGHGourmand for many of my trip Tweets. I also received many great suggestions for Pittsburghers on twitter while I was there.
My previous visits to Pittsburgh were short overnight trips and of course absolutely food or task oriented. I never had a chance to explore and enjoy the city. I am glad that I did go for five days. I could use another five and hope to do so 2013.
I guess another thing that threw this series behind schedule was that it was hit by a bus. A Megabus that is. A critical element of my original series was to show how easy it was to visit Pittsburgh using the Megabus. My round trip was $11. The pick up and drop off points were very convenient to the point where I considered using the service just to go back to Pittsburgh for just three hours so I could eat at one of my new favorite restaurants, Meat and Potatoes and catch up on some writing on the way there and back. I was stumped because Megabus dumped their Columbus to Pittsburgh Route. The ease and short travel time made it the perfect on the fly vacation. I then read that Greyhound launched an express service in Columbus which I hoped went to Pittsburgh – but it does not – I waited too long for that to be come an option for a recrafting of the adventure. I would have been more realistic hoping for a train.
So throughout the next month or two, I will be writing about some PGH Gourmand adventures and observations. I do feel somewhat vindicated that I talked a friend into doing a solo Megabus trip to Pittsburgh before the route was cancelled and she loved it. And afterwards I strongly suggested that several people go to Meat and Potatoes and all reported it was and still is awesome.
I wrap up this intro post with two lists – a list of what I want to go back and do again and what I missed on my October trip that s essential for my return visit.
What I want to do more and again: Meat and Potatoes (restaurant), all the museums especially the Heinz, the south side, Fat Heads (which is now in Cleveland), Fortunes Coffee Roasters, Caliban Book Shop, Salt of the Earth, Beehive Coffeehouse and Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor. And in case you did not get the point – Meat and Potatoes (did I mention three or four meals there?).
What I want to do that I did not: more walking, biking trails especially using Golden Triangle Bike Rentals and their tour of the city, as a hot dog enthusiast I need to visit the Franktuary, Lava Lounge, a beer tour(s) of Pittsburgh and use The Priory as my base of operations.
Pittsburgh is a city of districts of distinction and neighborhoods in the ethnic tradition of New York and Cleveland so the key is to map out an area you like and spend a day their exploring it on foot at ground level. I will complete my post on Meat and Potatoes which has been almost done for a year and perhaps knock out a post of two more. For those of you worried (Clevelanders) about Pittsburgh getting a mention – have no fear – a slew of CLE Gourmand posts are being constructed in a timely manner for early 2013.
On a final note, Megabus – suck it, the people of Columbus need a route to Pittsburgh…and one to Cleveland for that matter get on it.
For more information on Pittsburgh: