24 hours in Pittsburgh

July 23, 2012

24+ hours in Cleveland.

This weekend was thrilling for me as I was fortunate enough to reunite with so many collegiate friends still living in the 412 and one very special friend, Diana, who currently resides in Heidelberg, Germany but was on holiday with her family in Western PA.

IMG-20120722-00913Pittsburgh will always be a city after my heart, despite CLE’s strong pull. Not dissimilar in many ways, Pittsburgh and Cleveland are both cities with storied, glory days of yore whose working class neighborhoods sunk into despair after the closing of steel and coke furnaces. Now, both cities are part of a rustbelt revival and the friendly mid-western attitude mixes splendidly with artists and entrepreneurs pouring in from all over the world.

IMG-20120722-00923 In fact, I often feel like PITT and CLE are the NYCs of the 1920s, pulling in people from all walks of life and each day is flush with the possibility of a total transformation.

Lucky me, I got to spend my weekend in both of my favorite Stateside cities.

IMG-20120722-00917 On Friday evening I left work to attend my duty as a volunteer info desk attendant at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Contrary to Friday nights of late, this particular evening was booming due to a member’s only speakeasy happening in the basement outside of the 1920’s in America exhibition. If you haven’t seen it, slide on over to alithearchitect to read my review and then GO SEE IT!

Afterwards, I dined with one of my Cleveland besties, Tracie, at Presti’s in Little Italy which may just be my new go-to Friday night dinner spot because of their excellent food and reasonable prices and fantastic al fresco dinning options! (Check out Tracie’s blog, it will have you saying OHHHHHMMMM!)

IMG-20120720-00876 After afterwards, Nidhi and I jumped in Anita’s super fancy Lexus and partied it up in the basement of the Market Garden Brewery in Ohio City. In case you were there, NO, we were not the table of people making out. I swear.

After after afterwards, I went to sleep. Eventually.

558254_916733451699_1851343098_n Which brings us to Saturday. I attempted to go to Zumba, I really, really did. It didn’t happen. Oh well, the world spins round. I told myself  “I’ll get a good work out in at the beach cleanup this afternoon.” But then I remembered that I am not a big fan of picking up of trash, IMG-20120721-00884and so I went to the gym anyway. Lifting weights and using the stepper is not as fun as Zumba. Why can’t I wake up earlier on the weekend?!

I did go to the Beach Cleanup at Euclid Beach and Nidhi did, too! Surprise, surprise, we ended up showing up 1.5 hours after the cleaning commenced and we looked rather out of place in cute tanktops and hot sunglasses. The people who actually cleaned were from Target. They looked great, its just that we looked like rockstars that had partied too hard and somehow landed at a beach cleaning event.

IMG-20120721-00891I took a bunch of photographs, we ate a lot of donated salsa and chips and put a new box of untouched gloves in the storage room. I felt like a do-gooder, for sure, until Stephen, who organizes the Clean Ups as part of Euclid-Adopt-A-Beach, pointed out that I have come to three of these events, helplessly late and had yet to pick up a piece of trash. Miraculously, he doesn’t hate me 🙂IMG-20120721-00888


IMG-20120721-00893Post cleaning up the salsa from its container with our mouths, I began my journey to Pittsburgh. Man, gas prices are on the rise. One of these cities ought to pick up and move closer to the other!

In Schenley Park, I had hoped to see the antique race car races, but instead was treated to many detours because of them. Joyous. Finally, I landed on Craig Street where I dined with the Fabulous Diana and family at the Union Grill. We were planning to take in a Pirate’s baseball game on Saturday, but apparently, the team has much improved since the days when they would give you a hat, a hot dog and a seat to watch the game for $12.


Post dinner, Diana and I decided to stroll up and down Forbes Ave to see what had changed, and to my surprise, much had! We stopped at a trendy weigh-your-yogurt shop and then at Hemingway’s where we chatted over BlueMoon pitchers. It felt like school, only the smell was a bit worse.

IMG-20120722-00914 Am I that much of grownup that collegetown dive bars now reek to my refined nose? NO!!!!!!!! Bar number two was Kelly’s in East Liberty, to which I had never been. East Liberty is another area that is rapidly changing and IMG-20120722-00901I wished to go to Abay, the Ethiopian restaurant. Some day! Kelly’s drinks were subpar, especially the firefly, which was the daily special and was most likely just grapefruit juice. Luckily, I discovered this via a free drink. Here, we learned that Amanda was very recently (48 hours ago) engaged and Natale would soon be a licensed architect (48 hours from then).

IMG-20120722-00900Also, I discovered the existence of an amazing organization, LUPEC, the Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails. I like it. A lot. CLE needs a charter chapter!

On to Ray and Angela’s abode in Millvalle, a darling suburb on the Northside.

After a delicious sleep, we schelped to P&G Dinner on Lincoln, which used to be a pharmacy and soda fountain and is now one of the handful of Pamela’s affiliates. The wait was longish, but typical for Pam’s. Luckily, there were plenty of bizarre knickknacks to ogle over, including candles whose flames burn the color of the wax. I had to buy them!IMG-20120722-00903 

IMG-20120722-00905The wait was well worth it: we were eventually seated at the table were Michelle Obama sat in 2009 when her and her husband came to the city for the G20 Summit. Outrageous. Angela had the honor of sitting in the First Lady’s chair. She said she felt special. I bet that chair never gets a rickety leg.


IMG-20120722-00902 If you are ever in Pittsburgh, or better yet, if you ever have a hankering for super rich chocolate chip banana hot cakes (really, like crepes), drive to Pittsburgh to go to a Pamelas! Seriously. Amazing. Diana and I split the aforementioned heaven on a plate and a Tex Mex omelet with really yummy chorizo sausage.

Fighting a nasty food coma, Diana and I departed ten minutes down the road to the Andy Warhol Museum, a Carnegie Museum. There we reunited with her family and managed to effortlessly spend over three hours in the galleries viewing film strips and interacting with floating ScotchPak, heat sealed balloons. Intrigued? You’ll just have to go and see for yourself!


I just love this man, that Carnegie Mellon man! I was so inspired by the work inside, after not having visited the museum in nearly four years, I dreamed of painting and illustrating the whole drive back to CLE.

IMG-20120722-00920Oh to have been Edie Sedgwick in the Factory.

WHY WASN’T I ALIVE IN THE 1960’S?!??!?!?!?

No trip from I-480 to I-271 is complete without a pit-stop at 330733_10151942902730007_50316297_oTrader Joe’s on Chagrin Blvd, where I stocked up on goodies to make it through a week of mounds of paperwork, bench building and blog keeping. CHECK, CHECK AND CHECK! The hectic summer fun wound down with a lovely home-cooked meal ready for me as I walked in the door, and a night of wine guzzling and porch sitting.

All in all, it was a fabulous weekend of museums and alcohol.

What more could a socialite ask for!?!?!


2 Responses to “24 hours in Pittsburgh”

  1. I love Pittsburgh too! Great post about 2 super fun cities!! And if you decide to start a chapter of LUPEC here, I’m in!

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