Pittsburgh is one of those cities just far enough from New York City to make it difficult to visit for a weekend without a good reason. Luckily, we had friends who were heading that way and offered us a free ride, so we hopped on the chance to visit what may be our only time in the City of Bridges.
We head out early afternoon on a Friday to make the 6 hour drive to Pittsburgh, arriving fairly late to our hotel in Shadyside, Pittsburgh. Having quite a bit of energy, George and I head out to one of the local dive bars Caliente Pizza & Drafthouse, known for pizza and a solid selection of local beers,
Next morning we get straight to it and head to the Strip District, the melting pot of Pittsburgh's new and old where you'll find third wave coffee shops next to generational butcher shops and Italian goods.
We spend some time driving around, checking out one of Pittsburgh's claim to fame: bridges. Of course we had to check out the famed view from Mount Washington Observation Deck.
Pittsburgh had a surprising food scene, featuring solid brunch and dinner restaurants, all beautifully decorated and homey experiences.
For our first night's dinner we checked out Morcilla, a Spanish inspired restaurant that could easily have a place in New York City. Having just returned from Spain., Morcilla did a fantastic job
"Since opening, Morcilla has been chosen by Pittsburgh Magazine as their 2016 Best New Restaurant, Bon Appetit ranked it number four in the country in their prestigious annual Best New Restaurants issue, and it was nominated for a 2016 James Beard Foundation in the national Best New Restaurants category.'
- Morcilla Pittsburgh
After dinner we went around the corner for some after-dinner beers at Church Brew Works, a brewery built in an old non-commissioned Catholic Church. The decor took us by surprise -- very little was changed from the original church. Even the original pews and organs were still in place, with the brewery machinery wrapped around the building.
We start the morning checking out the insanely popular brunch spot Vandal, back in the hip part of town Lawrenceville. The wait was agony but the food was totally worth it, not to mention a beautiful setting.
We met up with a friend who's alma mater was University of Pittsburgh and headed over after brunch. We were taken aback by the beautiful gothic archictecture in what seemed like a scene out of Harry Potter.
We took at coffee break at another location of Commonplace Coffee @ Mexican War Street, easily the most charming of the locations. The owner of this location originally served coffee out of his apartment and to the locals in the area, and transformed his operation into what we see today.
Not even half a mile away is what's becoming a local spectacle, Randyland. Literally built on the philosophy of recycling anything and everything, it's not something to miss if you're in town.
Probably one of the highlights of the trips (for me) was Bicycle Heaven, full of antique and extremely rare bikes.
That evening we hit up Morcilla's sister restaurant, Cure, a Mediterranean restaurant with strong New American influences. While we thought Morcilla was worthy, Cure was a fantastic restaurant in its own right. With a barn-like flair, Cure produced amazing cured meats and fantastic whiskey cocktails.
We had one more morning before the slog of a drive home. To get us caffeinated for the ride home we had one more coffee spot to check out: Constellation Coffee, a coffee shop that sources from other local roasters and tea shops. Beautiful interior, a perfect way to leave Pittsburgh.