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A Local’s Guide to Pittsburgh

A Local’s Guide to Pittsburgh: Best Place for Ice Cream

You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream! In my case, I scream for the ice cream at Oh Yeah! Ice Cream and Coffee Co. located in Shadyside on Highland Avenue. With a continually shifting menu of rich, adult (alcoholic), or vegan ice creams, variety is certainly not lacking at Oh Yeah! Added to the flavor variety are the number of mix-ins available, scrawled on the shop chalkboard, which range from Swedish fish, to bacon, to squirrel meat (actually a donation to a local charity). Note that I did not say toppings, but mix-ins. Oh Yeah!’s signature is the process of blending/pulverizing the mix-ins into the ice cream to create a unique tasting ice cream, rather than chunks in the ice cream. My favorite? Marshmallow and graham crackers mixed with caramel ice cream.

Waffle at Oh Yeah! (photo pittsburghmagazine.com)

But Oh Yeah! serves more than ice cream. They serve waffles. That’s right, waffles, especially those of the buttermilk, buckwheat, or vegan cinnamon variety. What’s better than waffles? Waffles topped with Oh Yeah! ice cream. What’s better than waffles topped with Oh Yeah! ice cream? Adding Oh Yeah! mix-ins into the waffle batter, and then topping with ice cream. The buckwheat and vegan cinnamon are also gluten-free, for those concerned.

Go check out the fun and crazy decor the next time you are in Pittsburgh, or take a virtual look around the shop. Grab a waffle or ice cream, you won’t be disappointed.


Have you been to Oh Yeah! Ice Cream and Coffee Co. ? What is your go to combination? Comment below!


A Local’s Guide to Pittsburgh: Two(Too) Extreme Road and Mountain Biking Events

Photo courtesy of Lenny Lucas!

Have you been hitting the bike trainer hard this winter, dreaming of new races and places? Are you looking to do something Extreme this year? Look no further.
Pittsburgh’s Dirty Dozen
The Dirty Dozen serves up generous portions of pain and determination. Cyclists are tasked with racing the 13 steepest hills in Pittsburgh, each with at least a 20% grade. Most infamous is Canton Avenue, a 100-yard long cobblestone street with a 37% grade. First held in 1983, the race continues to be organized by founder Danny Chew and remains an underground event; No title sponsor, no city permits, hand-drawn chalk finish lines, $15 registration fee.  Race takes place at the end of November. Registration can usually be done here, although the site seems to be down. I’ll update if the registration site changes.
24-Hour Champion Challenge at Seven Springs Mountain Resort
Be warned, the 12-mile course at Seven Springs Mountain Resort ends with riding *up* the North Face slope.  The objective: to ride as many laps as you can in a 24 hour period either by yourself or as part of a team (2-8 members). Enjoy the morale booster of seeing the sun rise after your middle of the night lap. Camp in tents and enjoy the camaraderie of your team. The relay format allows racers of varying ability levels to participate. Race takes place around the first weekend in September from noon on Saturday to noon on Sunday.

Related Links:
Dirty Dozen WQED Feature (27 min): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oiu-y-WxHqc&feature=related
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11331/1192933-53.stm#ixzz1jj0he4LG
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11331/1192940-491.stm
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10255/1086838-140.stm

Other Pittsburgh Biking Resources:
Commuter bike map: http://bike-pgh.org/campaigns/commuter-bike-maps/handheld-bike-map/
Cycling events calendar: http://bike-pgh.org/events/calendar/
Mountain biking: http://www.pittsburghmountainbiking.com/
Pittsburgh to DC, Great Allegheny Passage: http://www.atatrail.org/ 334.5mi

Have you participated in either of these events? Would you? How gnarly are the people that do? Comment below!


A Local’s Guide to Pittsburgh: Best Place for Breakfast

Serving up big breakfast portions for small prices is Rocky’s, located in the heart of Bloomfield on Liberty Avenue. Rocky’s seethes with community atmosphere, as the same Bloomfield residents stop by every morning to eat and mull for hours.

You won’t find granola or vegan choices here! The laminated one-sheet menu serves more as a placemat than anything else. Options are straightforward: eggs, bacon, sausage, French toast, and any combination thereof. My ‘usual’ consists of the breakfast sandwich special: scrambled eggs and thick slices of bacon on a toasted white bagel with a generous side of fried potatoes. However, you may prefer the Rocky’s special of eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries, toast, coffee, and orange juice for around $5.00.

And who is cooking this, umm, ‘heart-healthy’ feast? Usually after taking the order himself, Rocky, the store owner, cooks on the large griddle situated at the back of the seating area.  ‘Yinzer’ small-talk often accompanies food preparation with topics ranging from politics to Steelers.

I became hooked on Rocky’s while rowing for the Carnegie Mellon crew team. Tradition called for a stop on Fridays after morning practice to replenish our calorie loss. The staff expected our visits, knew us by name, and never needed to provide menus. Those mornings hold their place as some of my fondest college memories. I still drop in whenever I’m in town to enjoy my breakfast sandwich over a cup of coffee with friends.

Also serving lunch (although I’ve never been there for it), Rocky’s is open Monday-Saturday from 7am-1pm (I think 1pm, like I said I haven’t been there for lunch, and its small enough that store hours aren’t listed online!).

Have you been to Rocky’s? What is your ‘usual’? Or do your taste buds swear allegiance to another diner in the Burgh? Comment below!


A Local’s Guide to Pittsburgh: Best Place for Sushi

Packed with sidewalk vendors, specialty shops, and unique restaurants, the Strip District of Pittsburgh lives large in its one-half square mile. Squeezed inside the entrance Wholey’s Fish Market is a sushi stand that will surprise you.

The stand would be easy to overlook, but Andy’s Sushi Bar is anything but unassuming. Andy’s entertaining style will draw you in for a first taste but the fresh, generous, and affordable portions will make you a regular. A one-man gig, Andy works quickly to keep lines moving. By striking up conversation, cracking jokes (No money, no honey!), and handing out free samples, he diverts his waiting fans.

We’re on a first-name basis, Andy and I. Despite moving to North Carolina three years ago, he still addresses my husband and me by name when we visit.  No better customer service exists!

You won’t find this stand stocked with premade rolls. All orders are made on request with the freshest ingredients available. Although the menu is quite extensive, I’ve stopped ordering from it. I opt to give Andy the price I want to spend on lunch and let his creativity take over. Andy always crafts a unique masterpiece. Typically, other customers will remark on how delicious the roll looks and will ask what I ordered.  Although “no idea” is my usual response, I am never disappointed.  Stuffed with fresh tuna, scallops, and crab and layered with more fish, mint, and sauce, my lunch is both beautiful and filling.  Andy ensures that your take-out box contains ‘cheap ham’ (ginger) and ‘ice cream’ (wasabi).

Although the sushi is take-out only, you can dine upstairs in Wholey’s.  Andy’s is open seven days a week! The hours are as follows:

Mon-Thu 8 am – 5:30 pm

Fri 8 am – 6 pm

Sat 8 am – 5 pm

Sun 9 am – 4 pm

Have you been to Andy’s? What did you think? Will you go next time you are in Pittsburgh? Comment below!

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A Local’s Guide to Pittsburgh: Introduction

'Three Sisters' bridges, photo courtesy of Pittsburghskyline.com

Pittsburgh has been lauded considerably this year (see below).  As a Pittsburgh native and alumna of Carnegie Mellon University, I  know what it means to ‘bleed black and gold’, how to drive ‘dahntahn’, and that everything tastes better with Heinz ketchup. This weekly feature will cover the places and events that aren’t found in a guidebook, including those hole-in-the-wall restaurants that only a local would know. Stay tuned!

2011 Accolades:

One of the 20 Best Places in the World to Visit (National Geographic Traveler Magazine)

#1 Most Livable City in America (Economist Intelligence Unit)

29th Most Livable City worldwide (Economist Intelligence Unit)

#1 Best City to Relocate to in America (CNBC)

One of the Most Affordable Cities in the World (Mercer)

6th Most Affordable City in the US (Forbes Magazine)

One of the 10 Hottest Areas for Jobs (Monster.com)

Home of 5 Fortune 500 Companies

6th Best City for Sports (Sporting News)

Home of the first LEED certified National Hockey League arena

One of the 6 Best Cities to Kayak (National Geographic Traveler)

Home to one of America’s Coolest City Parks (Travel + Leisure)

Home of the 4th Safest Airport in the US (Travel + Leisure)

One of the Most Affordable Airports in the United States (Cheapflights.com)

One of the 10 Best Airports for Kids (TODAY.com)

Home of the 4th Best Area for Working Mothers (Forbes Magazine)

One of the 10 Best Children’s Hospital in the Country (US News and World Report)

Home to the Best Park for Families (National Amusement Park Historical Association)

Home of the 7th Best Children’s Museum (Parents Magazine)

One of the 5 Best Places to Retire (US News & World Report)


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