Each month we ask one of our favorite Pittsburghers the question:
If you only had 24 hours to show a friend the best that urban Pittsburgh has to offer, where would you take them?
Work: Downtown Pittsburgh
How Long: 10 years
Many of Saturdays are spent preparing for that night’s events. A quick stop by La Gourmandine in Lawrenceville is perfect for a grab-and-go sandwich. A Le Montagnard (homemade French baguette with butter, prosciutto, and Gherkin pickles) gets me through the afternoon. The bread is deliciously crusty and the service fast and friendly. When I have a little lmore time, or a guest DJ in town, a quick stroll through The Strip is a must. The stand at Reyna’s with has a decent variety of tacos–carne asada and al pastor are my favorites–are cheap, fresh and served on warm tortillas that are made onsite. Just down the street, the Penn Avenue Fish Company serves up the freshest sushi and seafood in town in a casual, newly expanded market restaurant. In Squirrel Hill, two of my favorite loves can be found on one city block – pizza and records. Take a break from the music at Jerry’s and have the good people at Mineo’s warm you up a slice. I’ve heard Aiello’s is pretty good too!
While I love the recent wave of farm-to-table fare and rise of award winning chefs, the old-school joints like Bloomfield’s Tessaro’s edure by doing what they do best. Here the burger is king – ground daily and grilled over hardwood – the Deli burger is one of the best in the city. For another well-crafted burger, try the more contemporary Butterjoint. Teppanyaki Kyoto in Highland Park specializes in authentic Japanese food. Don’t look for sushi on the menu, this place has proper street food like Takoyaki (octopus dumplings) and a selection of Okonomiyaki (savory pancakes).
Bridging the gap between a comfortably cool cocktail lounge and a neighborhood pub, the brillobox gets it right with its friendly staff and eclectic events. For the brews and bites, Fat Head’s saloon offers tasty, Pittsburgh-sized burgers and sandwiches, but more importantly the award winning Headhunter IPA was created by these guys. For a stellar wine and craft draft selection check out the Allegheny Wine Mixer in Lawrenceville. The knowledgeable bartenders and unpretentious atmosphere is a perfect combination for their Thursday night DJ series.