Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pittsburgh, Phipps, Pierogies and Primanti Bros Sandwiches or call it P-ing in Pittsburgh

We took our daughter back to college on Sunday. Last year after dropping her off and returning home we got lost explored new and unfamiliar roadways and ended up in downtown Pittsburgh. Well I hadn't been to Pittsburgh since the 1960's, back then it had a continual haze over it and all the images you may recall from the movie "The Deerhunter" were true. I didn't see a nice side of the city at that time. This time however you could see in Pittsburgh and it actually looked nice, so this year we decided to extend the trip to Edinboro by a couple of days and look at Pittsburgh.

We did the usual tourist stuff of riding the incline - if you are over 65 you ride free on the inclines. As an added bonus you get a great panoramic view of the central part of Pittsburgh.

Friday afternoon we did a Just Ducky Tour in one of the World War II amphibious vehicle.

The Tour guides and the tour was interesting, however while on the water part of the tour a hell of a storm came in. Tons of rain came down with us out in the river. There was a short pause in the rain after we left the tour than while Megan was driving us to another destination the rain came poring down a again

Riding in rain about 4:30 PM. I understand Delmar also had bad weather on Friday. This storm was so bad in Pittsburgh that four people died from drowning. On the East End a flash flood ran down Washington Boulevard with waters nine foot deep taking people with it out into the Allegheny River. I understand even with 100 inch storm drains the street still flooded over. Even standing on the top of their cars people still had water up to their waist. I read where two woman swam to safety by using their purses as life floating devices - something they learned in Girl Scouts - wow.

We went to the Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. The Phipps has the largest Victorian "glass houses" in the country, filled with tropical plants that were the original seedlings at the 1890 Exposition, beautiful orchids, indoor and outdoor gardens, Children Discovery Garden, etc etc etc it was great

As you know, unless you are really a strong palm tree person, it gets boring just seeing green so the Phipps placed a lot of Glass flowers by Dale Chihuly to add color.

Fabric Flowers

The flowers had a mirror in the center so you could angle photos and get family members faces in them. Megan in a flower

Green People

Pittsburgh is the pierogi capital of the United States so we had to have some on this trip and we stopped by S & D Polish Deli in the Strip area. We were not disappointed. As you walk in the air is filled with cabbage cooking so you know you have found the right place for Polish cooking.

Pierogies – Polish dish, pasta dough filled with potato and cheese, onion or sauerkraut

Red Borscht with dumplings (really good), also the deli's homemade bigos (hunter’s stew), pierogies and Potato pancakes was some of the fare we sampled.

After eating we walked some on The Strip, which is one of those city things of combination sidewalk flea market, outdoor bars, produce, seafood and meat shops.

The Strip

The Strip

Steeler T Shirts are sold everywhere. I think every fourth person had a Steeler T shirt on. If you know my outlook on sports you will know I was in Sport's Hell.

Primanti Bros in Monroeville PA. I would describe Primanti Bros as a sport's bar - yes Howard was in a sport's bar. The Pittsburgh-style sandwich was made famous by Primanti Brothers. They have about 18 locations now. They serve sandwiches on sliced Italian bread with a vinegar-based cole slaw, tomatoes, and hand cut fries topping your choice of meat—including an egg served all as a sandwich.

This is the sandwich washed down with an Iron City. It is not a bad sandwich. it is messy and big to take a bite out of but the Iron City beer helped wash it down.

Susan and Ramona chowing down. Naturally we ordered pierogies as a side dish as they are served everywhere - like fries here.

Pittsburgh is all about Tunnels, bridges, Hills, and neighborhoods. They use PGH as a shorthand for Pittsburgh so being from this area it took some adjusting as to why they would know about Peninsular General Hospital.

The old Pittsburgh was a gritty place with a perpetural haze but the people there had a certain strength of "in your face," blue collar attitude with well paying jobs to back their attitude and actions. Today's Pittsburgh is a little effeminate and instead of being tough they seem to like to watch men acting tough playing a child's game of football.

Frankly I liked the people in the old Pittsburgh better, but our little vacation in Pittsburgh was good and we might even do it again.

1 comment:

Carol said...

I wish I had known you were going I would have had you bring me some pierogies with kraut. I miss home. The Cranberry Twp I'm familiar with is north of PGH in Butler County. I did find the one you spoke of on the map. Next time look for a steak salad. LOVE Phipps!