More Pittsburgh propaganda in my continuing obsession with hyping my favorite city.
We just spend another Saturday in the city. Our justification for the day was to visit the Heinz History Center, because admission was free (how cool is that?) for the weekend and they are currently hosting the traveling exhibition of the Steam Packet Arabia, an 1850’s era steamship that sank in the Missouri river 160 years ago and was found a few years back, it’s contents wonderfully preserved by the river mud that quickly sealed it into a cold, anerobic tomb. The artifacts include Pickles that are so well preserved they could be eaten today. I’ve had a visit to the full exhibit in Kansas City on my “to do” list for years, so when a part of it came to Pittsburgh for free, there was no way we’d miss it.
There was a practical element to our trip as well–we scored imported canned tomatoes, pasta, and cheeses for the upcoming JunkChuck Holiday Lasagne (from grandma’s worn and yellowed recipe–not my grandma, mind you, but someone’s) at the legendary PA Mac–that’s the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company. Of course, it’s worth the time just to go into the place and breathe–it smells that good. Other stops included Reyna’s Mexican Groceria, one of the several Asian Markets, the delightful Pittsburgh Popcorn Company, where hipster employees joke, tell stories, and engage those enduring the inevitably long lines for the best gourmet popcorn in the world. We’re talking crazy good popcorn in all manner of varieties. Mrs. Junk and the Junkettes favored “zebra stripe,” freshly popped popcorn coated liberally with chocolate and white chocolate, but I’m an old school cheddar man. They make literally the best cheddar popcorn I’ve ever tried, and I’ve tried my share.
The weather was cool and crisp, but clear and sunny enough to keep things comfortable. My favorite part of the day, despite the popcorn binge, was our visit to the Pittsburgh Public Market, where we perused vendors whose wares ranged from handmade ravioli to custom flavored olive oil to alpaca knitted goods to–oh yes–the Growler Shop for the legendary East End Brewing Company. For a buck you can sample a brew, all of which are delightful and some more than others. I opted for one of my favorites, the Nunkin Ale (a Pumpkin ale without the pumpkin–get it?). Besides awesome brew, the best thing EEBC has going for it is the guy who mans the tap, who treats everyone like a long-lost friend, offering broad smiles and handshakes with each tranactions. I’d buy, and probably drink, used motor oil from this guy (blue and white striped shirt.)
And, please add this to my Christmas List. That’s right, it’s a vacuum-insulated 64oz beer thermos.