Monday, May 20, 2013

Springtime staycation!

Was that today or yesterday? 

And so goes the question I asked myself again and again this weekend.  In other words, there was so much fun jam-packed into three days that I could've sworn I'd been off work for an entire week.  Many, many good times were had :)  And, those good times were had all over this glorious city of bridges -- I hit 10 different neighborhoods, 5 on my run alone.  Staycation!

Friday got off to an early start (6:00... without an alarm, ugh!) with a few chores before a glorious 8-mile run in the sun! The rest of the day flew by: I baked a cake (recipe to come this week), watched TV and read, had friends over for said cake, brews, playoff hockey, and hit the hay after midnight.  Wild child alert!

A cup of green tea and a homemade breakfast sandwich, and we were off to savor Saturday.  We headed to the North Side of the city to the Mexican War Streets area for a neighborhood-wide yard sale.  But not before a quick stop at the bank to get cash and free lollipops.

The weather could not have been better for a day spent outdoors: sunny, almost 80 degrees, and a light breeze!  While yard sales aren't really my thing (I did score this doughnut pan for $1), Laura and Matt had quite a knack for spotting treasures and bargaining.  Matt bought a few books, terra cotta planters, and a telescope.

And Laura scooped up a vintage hamburger sign and this table for $7.  Major steal!  Around 12:30, we couldn't ignore our growling stomachs anymore and headed to the next stop on our Pittsburgh tour: the Strip District!

Since the Strip District is the food capital of Pittsburgh, we opted to employ a progressive lunch strategy.  Snacking our way down the street ensured each of us got something we loved.

The first stop was the new Argentinian grill, Gaucho.  Laura raved about her first visit a week ago, so we couldn't resist stopping in for a snack.

Beef empanadas for the win!

Flaky little pastry pockets filled with beef, onion, egg, and Spanish olives.  To die for! 

We strolled and sauntered and found ourselves at the Pittsburgh Public Market.  It's an indoor space where local butchers, farmers, bakers, and crafters can come together and sell their goods.  Vendors rotate week to week, so you never know what goodies you'll find.  The sign out front says it all!

Did I mention many of those vendors provide samples, too?  A sure-fire way to lure in customers.  Per a coworker's urging, I made a bee line to Om Nom Bake Studio and bought a cookie called the Besto Pesto because it was so intriguing.  A sweet buttery cookie with lots of chopped fresh basil and lime icing and pine nuts on top.  AH-MAZING!  Must recreate this.

Amidst all of the exploring, we had to stop for a cigarette break of the candy variety :)  No lungs were harmed in the making of this moment.

Despite our grazing, the three of us were hungry for some legitimate food, so we made our way to Lawrenceville.  The guy went to Franktuary for a hot dog and a beer, while the ladies dined across the street at Piccolo Forno.  We shared that gorgeous salad before diving into our main dishes of polenta wedges and risotto with pancetta, ramps, and peas.  Delicious!

We dropped Matt off at home (gotta commend the guy for basically shopping with two women for 6 hours!) and headed to the mall for a bit.  We left around 8 o'clock and were starving -- you'd have thought we hadn't eaten anything all day!  We were so hungry that it was nearly impossible to pick a restaurant, but we finally picked Paris 66

From the abnormally late meal time to the Parisian setting, we felt totally swept away and enjoyed every second of our dining experience, especially the sweet ending: salted caramel macarons with sparklers.  Pure bliss!

Since I spent a good 12 hours out and about on Saturday, Sunday was relaxing, peaceful, and delightfully average.  Church, groceries, and soaking up sunshine with a walk and fro-yo.  Heavenly, I tell you!

Three days, one city, and one of the best weekends I've had in a long time.  Made for a rougher than usual Monday morning, if you know what I mean.  Hope you had a swell one!  Back to regularly scheduled cooking tomorrow :)

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