Locks of Love

This was the first one I noticed.

I had to take a little lunchtime stroll today to pick up my paycheck from my second job, and on my way back across the Warhol Bridge, I noticed this hot pink lock attached to the yellow metal of the bridge. I smiled, thinking maybe there’s a rogue francophile running around Pittsburgh (besides me, of course). There’s a famous bridge in Paris that is covered in locks that couples leave, and I thought that maybe a romantic Pittsburgh couple had done the same thing.

But then I kept walking and came across another one. And another. I lost track of how many there are, but I’d estimate I saw about 20 of them on the way back to work. Still working off the assumption that ‘burghers are emulating the trend in my most favorite city of all time, I’m pretty happy about the locks. I’ve always liked the idea of the bridge in Paris, so I’m kind of geeked that people are doing it here in Pittsburgh now. Plus, it’s just a really cute idea, I think. The world needs more love and whimsy, right?

Keep on surprising me, ‘burghers!

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Irie

Even when it’s a slow night money-wise, we never seem to mind when there’s ginger beer at the bar. :)

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Let There Be Rock

A couple weeks ago, I was told that after today, I won’t have any Saturdays off until December… and even that’s up in the air. I don’t mind – I’d much rather work Saturdays than Fridays since it’s easier for me to get to work on Saturdays – but I knew I wanted to actually do something today since today will likely be my last free Saturday with good weather. So the BF and I decided to cross an item off the 14 in ’14 list AND to cross a restaurant off our wish list. For a Saturday, it ended up being a rather busy day!

We started off with a trip to the Laurel Highlands, to Laurel Caverns. I’ve wanted to visit the caverns for years, but I’ve just never made it there (usually because of work). But today was the day! We had gorgeous weather the entire day, so it was almost a little sad to go inside and underground, but I think it was worth it. It was so cool to go underground and see fossils and the remains of a river that ran through where the caverns are now. At one point on the trip, we saw some people belaying down the side of the cave, so that’s obviously what I want to do next. That, and legit spelunking. The tour we were on, guided by a sassy woman named Loretta, was lit for most of the pathways. I think it’d be awesome to go into the real darkness and see the off-the-tour passageways… but I’ll save that for next time. I really enjoyed the trip into the cavern, and I’d definitely go back.

As for dinner, my map skills aren’t so hot, so I thought Donegal was super-close to Laurel Caverns. Turns out, not so much; it took us about an hour to get to our dinner destination. I can’t remember where, but I’d read about Out of the Fire Cafe a few months ago, and since then, it’s been on our wish list. They’re part of the slow food movement that’s gripped the nation, and as such, I was pretty excited to eat there. While the service was less than stellar, the food was pretty good. We started with the housemade charcuterie plate since I was starving. We’re not sure exactly what was on the platter since our server didn’t clue us in (and never gave us silverware), but I believe there was chicken liver pâté and it was absolutely amazeballs. The rest of the platter was good, but the pâté is where it’s at. As for our entrees, I chose the pork chop and the BF got a steak.  My pork chop was humongous; it looked like half a piglet. It was cooked just right, though, and it had a nice outer crust on it. The cheese grits and braised greens it came with were also good, but I could have used a bit more cheese in my grits.  The BF really liked his meal; I liked mine as well, but I think I’d hyped the place up in my mind so much that it just didn’t live up to my expectations. Also, the service really soured the place for me. But in general, good food.

And finally, we capped off my last free Saturday with a viewing of The Maze Runner. I’m typically the person who says they prefer the movie over the book, but in this battle, the book definitely won. Also, since the BF didn’t read the book(s), I think he was confused for most of the movie… which was exactly how I felt while reading the first book, so in reality, the movie actually stays rather close to the book. ;)

If this was the last nice Saturday that I have free for a few months, at least we made it a good one. :)

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The Red Sea

Back when the first Hunger Games movie came out, my mom and I stopped at a little restaurant called Emilia’s Garden for dinner. We really loved the food, and I’ve been looking for a reason to return ever since, but with the miles-long restaurant wish list the BF and I are maintaining, we never seem to have time to head to the Pittsburgh Mills area.

Tonight, though, was different. The BF was hungry for Italian food and the only Italian places on our list are Alla Famiglia and Dish Osteria. Both are fancier than how we felt. Quite frankly, when he picked me up, I was still in gym shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt, so I was hardly presentable enough for a fancy place. Emilia’s Garden seemed to fit the bill, though – I knew I could throw jeans on and be fine there and that we’d have a good meal regardless. So off to Cheswick we went!

The BF got the Carbonara and I chose the Pomodoro. The last time I was there, I chose the vegetable dish, which was very good, but also full of mushrooms. I knew better this time. :) The BF said he really liked his Carbonara pasta; I liked my Pomodoro, but I wasn’t head-over-heels for it. Then again, I hardly ever just get straight-up pasta, so no wonder I wasn’t in love with it. Still, it was good; the sauce just wasn’t as sweet as I had remembered. I did love how large the portions were, though – though I attempted to “part the Red Sea” of sauce and make a dent in the dish, it hardly looked like I’d touched it by the time I finished. Mmmm, leftovers.

Probably the funniest thing about our dinner at Emilia’s, though, was the table that came in after us and sat beside us. It was a table of two older couples (probably in their sixties), and they were seated close enough to us that we could hear every word of their conversation without trying. We really did try not to listen, but it proved to be impossible. What we heard was a little disturbing, though – their conversation subjects bounced back and forth between Paris, the country club that I used to work at, the new iPhone (the BF works in the tech sector), restaurants, and oysters. It freaked me out a little, because they were having nearly identical conversations to the ones the BF and I have all the time. It’s like they were us, but older, richer versions of us. The only difference is that they were a little pretentious, talking about the hard-to-find bottle of Cabernet they brought and about belonging to the country club (as opposed to working there). Other than that, they were us and we will be them.

When I get old and I’m making millions my husband is making millions and I no longer have to work, please remind me to not be douchey about the wine that I’m drinking, mmkay?

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Group Therapy

My presence was requested at not just one, but two volleyball games this evening. The first match was on a friend’s team and we won; the second match was for a team that wants me to be a teammate full-time, but for which I keep refusing (so many reasons). We lost the second game, and it wasn’t even close.

Despite all that, I felt like a million bucks when I left tonight. There’s just something about playing that makes me feel great afterwards (I believe that’s called endorphins). But in any case, between the two games and a walk with a friend, I feel like the world gave me a giant hug tonight. How’s that for group therapy? :)

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It Thinks It’s a Face!

We had a much busier night than I’d anticipated when I left work tonight, but it was a fun night, so that’s okay. What started out as simply a drink with some friends for a friend’s birthday turned into a multi-location night on the town. The first stop was Birmingham Bridge Tavern, which I’d never been to before. I have to say, I was surprised and a little impressed – they had a very decent selection of drinks and an extensive food menu.

After we’d hung out for an hour or so, we decided to hit up Brew Gentlemen, because I’d read that they have their Gose on tap right now. We fell in love with sour beers in Portland (hello, Cascade Brewing!), and then again when we tried the Westbrook Gose in Myrtle Beach. We were curious as to what Brew Gentlemen’s version would be like. The verdict: it was good, but it could have used a bit more sourness and more flavor. While we were there, strangely enough, we ran into one of the Directors from my work and we hung out with him and his wife for a little while. I felt quite popular, hanging out with people I know at two locations in one night. It really doesn’t take much to amuse me.

Once we’d tried the Gose, we realized we hadn’t eaten dinner. We shared the buffalo chicken dip appetizer at Birmingham Bridge Tavern, but that was hours ago and it wasn’t really substantial. So off to Primanti Bros we went!

I’ve only ever had the capicola & cheese sandwich at Primanti’s, but when I saw the When Pigs Fly sandwich listed, I knew I had to have it. For those not from the Pittsburgh area, Primanti Bros is famous for their sandwiches on thick-cut Italian bread, topped with coleslaw, tomatoes, and french fries. Yes, ON the sandwich. Well, the When Pigs Fly sandwich had all that AND ham, turkey, and bacon. The BF tried to take a picture of me as I took the first bite – the sandwich was so large that I couldn’t get my mouth around it (for real). As he was taking the picture, he laughed and said, “It thinks it’s a face!” Meaning, the camera thought the sandwich was the face. THAT’S how big this sandwich is.

Needless to say, I hardly put a dent in it. I ate maybe 1/6 of it. It’s hard to really dig in when you can’t fit the entire thing in your mouth. So now I have lunch for tomorrow, and based on how dinner went tonight, I’ll probably need to go at it knife-and-fork-style. I feel like a traitor of Yinzers. :)

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