Do You Have A Favorite City? January 24, 2015

I do. And perhaps I should prequalify my question asking that your choice be confined to land within the continental United States. Mine is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For me, Pittsburgh provides a feeling of belonging; a sense of ‘this is who I am.’ It is a steel town or “tahn” as true Pittsburghers would say – which lays in a valley alongside three rivers and was built on a foundation of tough hard-working people; dominated by a vast majority of European ethnicities…Italians, Polish, Hungarians, Germans, Irish, Slovaks and Greeks. The people who call this beloved city ‘home’ – are steeped in a mix of cultures predominantly revealed over the dinner table and throughout the unique and interesting neighborhoods. It’s a blue-collar steel town at the base of it’s history….that said, it’s rich in culture.

I describe Pittsburgh as a mini-New York City or a fly-by through Europe. If you’re shopping the Strip District, you can start with the divine European mele pastries from Colangelo’s and an espresso from LaPrima as they snug tightly together just off the main drag.

An Apricot Mele from Coangelo’s…

A sure scene you’ll pass by as you enter will be the old Italian men, some with cigars and playing cards very seriously as they spend time whittling away the hours on cheap white plastic porch furniture ever so happily engaging one another in their native language. Pierogi’s for lunch from the Polish deli are artfully made from scratch by Polish women who still retain their thick eastern European accents. A Pierogi on Polish Pottery…

Or, Wholey’s seafood market, equipped with enormous vats of oil stands ready to make you the freshest fish sandwiches or smelt snacks in a jiffy. Don’t forget to pick up some fresh rolled sushi if you plan on entertaining the same evening or perhaps halibut steaks for the grill before departure. Still hungry? Stop on in at Jimmy & Nino’s for a pepperoni-cheese loaf and tomato dipping sauce that will take your taste buds on a flavor ride not to be forgotten. Jimmy Sunseri selling pepperoni rolls…

As you continue to wander Penn Avenue, the aromas of aged cheeses, fresh biscotti and breads will dance invisibly in the air over your head. There’s sampling of proscuitto and salamis to be done at Parma’s Sausage while the friendliest of faces await just ready to weigh out your selections or help with any inquiries you throw their way. @ Parma Sausage

There are over 40 vendors and to name each one would require much space so here’s hoping I’ve enticed you with a few so if you find yourself here one day, you’ve got some great starters sure to please the palate. The market area of the Strip is diverse and teeming with activity Friday through Sunday. If it’s a Steelers home game weekend, be forewarned as the city air hangs thick with excitement and the music pumps out base to get the anticipation soaring.

Pittsburgh’s topography is extraordinary. Back in the days when the steel mills ran thick through the valley along the rivers, most working class had to ride inclines down the steep and mountainous hillsides to start their work days. There were many inclines which dotted the valley walls back then, however only a few remain in operation today. These funiculars can be taken to the peak of Mount Washington for fabulous dining opportunities overlooking the famed city of bridges. The view at night with all the city lights is spectacular and it’s a unique ride to the top. No memorable trip to this city is complete without an incline entry jotted on the final itinerary.

The Incline overlooking Pittsburgh on descent…

I could write a book of thoughts about this fabulous city to which I called home for less than two years. I’ve only been back for a few short visits since my residence changed but it remains ever in my heart as a place to share with others. Numerous Hollywood movies are filmed here because the city offers such diverse choices in landscape, arts, the rivers, old architecture, etc. To name just a few I would give you Jack Reacher, Unstoppable, Independence Day, The Next Three Days, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Clearing, Wonder Boys, Silence of the Lambs, Pretty Woman and Groundhog Day! It’s a plethora of palate pleasers – adventure, arts, entertainment, dining, laden in activities and teeming with things to do!

Perhaps you’ve been there – if not, here’s hoping you’ll make it there someday to glory in the richness of my favorite city.

So, back to the original question – Ever thought about it? Do you have a favorite city?

Author Details


How to describe oneself is not an easy task despite the fact I often hear I have a penchant for writing. To try and encapsulate myself into a few sentences is challenging at best since I am filled with a heart for constant curiosity and the desire to keep learning. I take great delight in most all outdoor activities... especially those which involve hiking or being around the water. Camping in our pop-up or in a tent is always an invitation to discovery which I cannot turn down. A 'memory collector' is how I'd label myself, largely because I have this unending zest for life... I don't want to miss a thing! I love surprises, love to laugh and I get the biggest kick out of being married. I adore animals and my favorite happens to be a precious Golden Doodle named Zoe who came into my life as my 40th birthday present and has been the biggest gift that keeps on giving!! Sunflowers make me instantly smile and traveling makes my heart pound with excitement. Fortunate and very blessed to have traveled many places, my all-time favorite is the land of my ancestors, Ireland. Ireland calls me by name and beckons me to exploration like no other place I've been. And speaking of that, researching my ancestry has been a fun endeavor which often takes me down rabbit hole after rabbit hole as I seek to unveil mysteries of the past. Hanging out or traveling with friends is another area which I derive great joy from... and purposely nurturing friendships through cooking meals, entertaining or planning events gets my creative juices flowing. Once again.... it's that making memories thing! Beyond that, I could list a thousand things I find interesting, stimulating and feel so blessed to experience, indulge or simply wish for the day I get to investigate with a feverish glee. That's me!

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