Family Vacation to Pittsburgh!

Since I have an extra long winter break and my dad’s many businesses have down time in the winter, we decided to take a family vacation before I leave for Jordan. We wanted it to be within driving distance, but still a major city. I have already been to Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Nashville, so we chose the only one I hadn’t been to yet: Pittsburgh. I’ll admit, I didn’t have high expectations, but the trip turned out to be a lot more cultural than I expected!

We left Thursday night and arrived in Pittsburgh in time for a late dinner. We went to Meat and Potatoes. It was a very trendy little restaurant and we made the bold decision to try the muscles. Being a lover a food, I am not up to far in the seafood department. I can tell the difference between salmon and tilapia, but most white fish all taste similar to me. The same goes for muscles and oysters. I’ve had each numerous times before, but always mix up which I like better. The muscles were pretty tasty, but the poutine paled in comparison to The Senate’s in Cincinnati.

Friday was our first full day and we started it by eating brunch at Pamela’s diner. It’s apparently a Pittsburgh insitution, but I didn’t think it was anything special. Next, Mom and I walked around Carnegie Mellon’s campus. I briefly considered applying to CMU, but ultimately didn’t because it is primarily a science university. They do offer a wide variety of majors, but the sciences are what CMU is known for. The campus was very small and the buildings were not impressive. There was a nice amount of green space and I liked how the buildings were connected by skywalks, but everything seemed so dingy.

After the tour, we drove by the Frick mansion and then continued on to the Duquesne Incline. It is an old incline from the 1800’s that takes you to the top of one of Pittsburgh’s many surrounding hills. It offers a great view of the city!


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We ate a quick lunch at another Pittsburgh favorite: Primanti Bros. They have been featured on Man vs. Food, one of my favorite shows, so we had to go! Afterwards we had a bit of time to relax before dinner at Root 174. Getting there was an adventure. Our cabbie took us to the wrong location and then, once we arrived, the restaurant was so tiny that the constant opening and closing of the door made the entire building freezing cold! It was not an enjoyable dinner, but the food itself was good. I had pork belly and a beet salad. Yum!

On Saturday we ate brunch at the hotel and then went to The National Aviary. I do not like going to zoos but we were chalk out of ideas. It was cool to see the owls, flamingos, and penguins, but I am ambivalent about the other types of birds. I always feel so bad for the ones stuck in cages.

Afterwards we went to my favorite activity of the entire weekend: The Mattress Factory! No, not the bed store, but the art museum! It is Pittsburgh’s modern art museum and it is AWESOME. Here are just a few of the pictures we took.

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Even Dad liked the museum more than he expected. After we left the northside, we traveled to a shopping area Tiffanny suggested. It was an old train station, so my dad liked the history, but the shops were mainly targeted toward older people, so I didn’t find much to buy. We walked around the station for a bit and then went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

We ate at Salt of the Earth which was, by far, the best restaurant of the entire trip. It had a very cool and trendy atmosphere, but not the pretentiousness that usually accompanies newer restaurants. We ordered appetizers of hakamari, risotto, and lamb biscuits. Then our entrees were sturgeon, pork, scallops, and seitan. Tiffanny ordered the seitan and I was immensely jealous. It was delicious!!!

That night we went to an improv comedy show because most of the theater and music venues are closed for the holiday season still. The improv show was definitely heavy on the sexual humor. I don’t like when comedians have to heckle the audience and make people the object of their jokes. Not cool.

Sunday morning we had breakfast at Coca Cafe after an hour long wait. The food was very sugary and left everyone in a food coma during our last cultural visit to the Andy Warhol museum. For $20, it was definitely a rip off. The Mattress Factory was so much more interesting and interactive.

We spent all afternoon driving home and arrived just in time for dinner and grocery shopping!

It is hard to believe that I leave in exactly two weeks to go to Jordan. I am still in the process of lining up a summer internship, so hopefully my next blog entry will be about that!


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