Monday, July 18, 2011

Pittsburgh - Easily Walkable

Pittsburgh, a city of rivers and bridges.

Travel to Pittsburgh, PA and you'll find a clean, stylish city full of rivers, art, sports, ethnic food, neighborhood bars, beautiful vistas and fun things to do. Most of it is reasonably priced, easily accessed and relatively flat.

That's the good news. The bad news is, or so I'm told, that Pittsburgh is the cloudiest of U.S. cities. Couldn't prove it by me; I came home with a sunburn.

Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers converge to make the Ohio River .

 Water views are everywhere and so are bridges because the meeting of the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers to form the Ohio River created a city with river fronts of six sides. Walkers and cyclists share the trails that line them and kayakers share the rivers with canoeists, amphibious tour vehicles and paddle wheelers.

Where to Stay
There are many hotels in the downtown area and if traveling green is your goal the Fairmont Pittsburgh should be your destination. Food is locally accessed, solar power is in play and they even make their own soap.

Station Square 
A conference took me to the Sheraton Station Square across the Monongahela River from the triangular city core and anchoring one end the Station Square development. The hotel is showing its age but the staff is friendly and best of all is the free shuttle van that will take you almost anywhere within the downtown areas.

                Grand Concourse is an elegant spot for dining.
Station Square is pretty touristy in the middle, with chain eateries - Buca di Beppo, Hard Rock Cafe, for example - but at the other end a short, flat walk away is the historic, quite beautiful and very good Grand Concourse, an elegant old train station where the city's best Sunday brunch is served. Good lunches and dinners the other days, too. Gandy Dancer is the more casual dining area; there's an oyster bar, too.

Where to Eat for Less
I'm sure Pittsburgh has other superb upscale gourmet restaurants, but for memorable meals under $10 head to "the Strip" for breakfast, lunch or an early dinner. This rectangle of deliciousness along Smallman Street, Mulberry Way and Penn Avenue, between 16th and 23rd Streets is filled with a farmers' market, souvenir stands and boutiques, flower shops, purveyors of fine chocolates and coffees and best of all, one ethnic restaurant and grocery store after another.

The Strip.
You can travel around the world on the aromas alone. Here are a few stops to get you started.

 A Primanti Bros. handful.
Everyone will insist you have a Primanti Bros. sandwich. What was a hard-working man to do when his lunch hour was too short for a real meal? He ate one of these - meat of choice, cheese, coleslaw and french fries piled high inside two slabs of Italian bread. Today, with a bottle of Iron City beer, $9.62. A real two-fisted sandwich.

Tip: The bathrooms here are down 11 steps.

                   Pamelas P&G Diner

 Pamela's P&G Diner is where the Obama family heads for breakfast or lunch. Choices are many but most come for the crepe-style pancakes. The Lyonnaise potatoes and cole slaw are popular too. Most expensive things on the menu are salads at $7.95.

Anxious to try a pierogi, I had to go to the S&D Polish Deli. Light as a feather dough filled with a delicate mixture of cheese and potato and generously dabbed with butter, it was the highlight of my Strip experience. The back of this small grocery is filled with tables and I plan to sit at one some day and eat my way through the whole menu, from 4 for $4 pierogis to the $5 pork stew over potato dumplings.

                            Have a great $6 lunch at S&D Polish Deli

Toward the northeast end of the Strip, an older Asian woman at a cart was whipping up Vietnamese hoagies - freshly grilled meat and veggies piled into a roll, splashed with sauce and wrapped in foil. Yumm.

              Klavon's for nostalgia

 Klavon's, way down on the corner at 28th Street,  is the type of ice cream parlor your parents remember and I recall vividly from the late '40s because my father had one. Pressed tin ceiling, bent ice cream chairs and booths, a marble counter with stools and behind it the classic pale green Waring blenders for milk shakes and malteds. The ice cream was so-so (it had ice crystals, a sign of melting and refreezing and a real no-no for connoisseurs of which I was one by the age of 8) but the atmosphere was sublime.

 An 11 (!) egg omelet?
Also notable, The Church Brew Works, Lidia's (of TV fame) Pittsburgh, DeLuca's, home of the 11-egg omelet and enough aromatic Greek and Italian grocery stores for a lifetime of carbs and calories.

To wet your whistle, head for Carson Street where you will find 101 drinking establishments in 15 blocks, something of a record, I believe.

Next posts: What to Do, the Cultural District and Pittsburghisms.


piter said...

Pittsburgh is very beautiful and modern city. It has so many new infrastructure, entertainment, hotels, clubs etc. It gives nice fun for holidays.

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July 21, 2011 at 5:54 PM
piter said...

Pittsburgh is very clean, natural and modern city. It has some nice hotels and restaurants which offers delicious food.

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July 25, 2011 at 2:08 PM

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