Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17

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Ralph Melton
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2012/05/01 19:52:56 (permalink)

Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17

I've now been on three of the Roadfood tours. I've enjoyed them, but it's made me want to try to organize one myself, to see first-hand what's involved with organizing such a tour.
 

I had plans of starting with a food tour in Pittsburgh, the city whose food scene I know best. I planned a timetable. I recruited buffetbuster as a guide in the Strip. I started negotiating with bus companies about prices. I started to make arrangements with local restauranteurs.

But two things have thwarted my plans:
- My work has been keeping me very busy. I've been working a lot of late nights through March and April, and I think it's only reasonable to expect that work will continue to eat my time.
- I had planned to arrange this through Kickstarter, because I liked the aspect that no one is charged for a Kickstarter project unless there are sufficient pledges. But it took longer than I expected to get this polished and submitted to Kickstarter. And then, Kickstarter said "this isn't the right fit for Kickstarter." I'll ask why it wasn't the right fit, but even if I were to convince them to change their minds, I think it would clobber the schedule I had in mind.

So I am declaring myself unable to do anything as fine as I had hoped for 2012. However, if you'd like to join us in Pittsburgh on June 16 and 17, we will do our best to make it a splendid venture.

#1

31 Replies Related Threads

    Tex-Max
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/05/01 23:58:36 (permalink)
    Ralph, not sure what you need for such an event but have you tried Eventbrite. 
    http://www.eventbrite.com/
     
    I read about it in the following article on Networking:http://finance.yahoo.com/...working-134348835.html
     
    TM
     
     
    #2
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/05/02 07:45:54 (permalink)
    Ralph-
    Whatever we decide to do that weekend, Mariton and I are in.  We both have a long list of places we want to try and there is nothing wrong with revisiting old favorites.
    #3
    JRPfeff
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/05/06 12:21:28 (permalink)
    Ralph - Have you considered just throwing it out there on Roadfood (right here in this thread) and seeing what comes of it?  Unless there is a mega-turnout, buses aren't needed & people can drive themselves.  We may be Midwest hayseeds, but The Contingent always seems to get it done.
     
    With the right itinerary you never know who will show up.
    #4
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/05/06 15:07:33 (permalink)
    I wish I could say that lleechef and I will be there, but at this point it doesn't look as if we'll be able to make it. Our plans call for lleechef to be eating her birthday fill of steamers, fried clams and lobster on June 15 in Connecticut.
    #5
    Ralph Melton
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/05/06 22:39:55 (permalink)
    JRPfeff: Here's the itinerary I had in mind for a bus tour of folks who were new to Pittsburgh:
     
    Saturday morning: start in the Strip, because no self-respecting food tour in Pittsburgh could bypass the Strip. But the restaurants in the Strip are too small to handle a busload, so my plan was to split into smaller groups to explore the Strip and stay in touch with GroupMe, which allows multiway text messages.
     
    Special events in the Strip could include a meeting with Larry of Enrico Biscotti and a tour of Parma Sausage.
     
    Early afternoon: to Oakland to visit the Original. If we got a large enough busload, I was entertaining ideas of ordering a large fry, just to behold the sheer enormity.
    From the O, it would be a short walk to Dave and Andy's for ice cream.
     
    Then for dinner, a trip down to Hazelwood for a multi course Hungarian dinner at Josza's Corner.
     
    Saturday:
    Breakfast at Pamela's in Millvale, whose thin pancakes have been praised by Barack Obama.
     
    From there to Isaly's in West View. The Isaly's chain has declined to just a few stores, but it's still one of the best places to meet the Pittsburgh tradition of chipped ham.
     
    From there to a church in Ambridge for pierogies and haluski. I learned this year that there is a group of old ladies in red head scarves who go from church to church in Ambridge doing all the pierogi-pinching. I had aspirations of getting one of these roaming pierogi-pinchers to talk to us about the pierogi tradition and how it gets carried out today.
     
    Next stop: Jim's Drive-In West Mifflin. Their dark spicy hot dog sauce was the target of an attempted purchase by Heinz, but the rumors that the price was a million dollars are untrue.
     
    I thought that this might take enough time that people would need to plan to fly home. But for a last stop, I'd considered Rib Cage BBQ in Ambridge. I've only learned in the last few years that the Monongahela valley has its own barbecue tradition, and I think Roadfooders would be interested in learning more.
     
    This itinerary has obvious omissions, because I was planning for a busload. So my plans for a busload included a document of places we recommend, including places that we promised not to go. So, for example, you could come in on Friday night and go to Tessaro's, confident in the knowledge that you wouldn't be duplicating one of the tour stops.
     
    This itinerary will adjust to the tour group, of course, so I do not promise that exact itinerary. But I think that this does demonstrate that there are interesting Roadfood times to be had in Pittsburgh.
    #6
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/05/07 02:06:46 (permalink)
    Ralph,
    Let me join JRPfeff in suggesting you follow The Contingent's model for informal food touring.  Pick a handful of stops, maybe four or five total, then pick a finale stop for a more extended sit down dinner.  The choices can follow a theme (we've done a Caribbean tour featuring food of the islands and Central America, an all Italian Beef tour, a tour that went to a bunch of Roadfood type places that were featured in Saveur magazine's all Chicago issue, etc.), or focus on a particular neighborhood.
     
    You can lay out the basics and then solicit suggestions from other qualified (buffetbuster) parties.  You invite all interested parties and see who chimes in.  Finally, you lay out an itinerary with driving instructions.  Everyone meets at the first stop and you go from there.  Participants will figure out how to carpool, and it will all magically work out--at least it does for us.
     
    You should do a search and find some of our tour planning threads just to see the evolution and execution of one of these tours.  A lot of the dialogue is just plain silly, but once cut to the core of it, you'll see a well thought out template for achieving your food tour goals.
     
    Wish I could join you on this one, but a trip to Pittsburgh this year is not likely in the cards.
     
    Good luck!
     
    Buddy
    #7
    JRPfeff
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/05/07 09:08:17 (permalink)
    Ralph,
     
    Your tour sounds great. I could see making a special trip to join you if circumstances permit.
     
    Jim
    #8
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/05/07 09:25:20 (permalink)
    Flights r/t from PVD to PIT have consistently been over $300 - way out of my price range
    By chance and luck of the draw I found a flight on US AIR for $160 - one seat left at this price-I nabbed it
     
    So I'll be there!
    #9
    lleechef
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/05/07 14:14:35 (permalink)
    Dang!  You all are going to be next to my hometown and I'll be in New Haven, CT.  The itinerary sounds great and I'm sure everyone involved will have a great eating experience.  Unfortunately, at that time I will be devouring a 2+ lb. lobster with steamers and all the fixin's.  One has to sacrifice sometimes......
    #10
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/05/07 14:25:37 (permalink)
    lleechef-
    And we will be feeling very sorry for you!
    #11
    lleechef
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/05/07 14:33:30 (permalink)
    bb
    Thank you for you sympathy.......sniff.....sniff.
    #12
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/05/07 14:40:09 (permalink)
    Oh, sure. I'm buying the lobsters and clams and she gets the sympathy.
    #13
    icecreamchick
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/05/28 23:46:13 (permalink)
    I am looking forward to this weekend!  We will take some "eating breaks," and will show off some of Pittsburgh's unique sights if folks want to see them. I love Pittsburgh, and will be happy to share as much or as little as yinz want about the city. ("Yinz" is the Pittsburgh equivalent of "y'all")
     
    I am also willing to lead an expedition to Kennywood for famous roller coasters and famous fries if folks want to check it out. I have a foodie connection to Kennywood...my dad's first job was working the food stand closest to Noah's Ark when he was in high school.  ;-)
     
    If you've never been to Jozsa's Corner, you are in for a treat! Alex makes a wonderful meal. We will need to come hungry for that one, though. We took Ralph's family there tonight and as usual, the table was groaning under the weight of all that great Hungarian food. Best of all, we got fresh asparagus from Alex's garden!
     
    Happy Birthday to lleechef (early) and sympathies to Michael Hoffman on the fresh seafood buying. I suspect you'll enjoy it too, though! 
    #14
    eruby
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/06/07 07:25:43 (permalink)
    Ralph MeltonSaturday:
    Breakfast at Pamela's in Millvale, whose thin pancakes have been praised by Barack Obama.
    Sounds like a great plan Ralph.  I love Jim's in West Mifflin, but I've never been when they didn't say "we'll call you when it's ready, about 10 minutes", even when no one else was there.
     
    Not making any political statement, but I see the bolded Pamela's endorsment as no more important than if praised by C. Estes Keffauver, Tom Ridge, or Regis Malady, and less important than if praised by, say, Bruno Samartino or even by Mike (scratch my back with a hacksaw) Lange.
     


    #15
    The Travelin Man
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/06/13 11:14:36 (permalink)
    Is there an updated itinerary - or updated attendee list for this event?
    #16
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/06/13 11:21:12 (permalink)
    The Travelin Man

    Is there an updated itinerary - or updated attendee list for this event?

    I was wondering the same thing?- I'm surpised to hear this from YOU
     
    Kudos to Mr Go With The Flow
    #17
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/06/13 11:35:06 (permalink)
    Ralph and I had dinner Monday night to throw some ideas around.  From there, Ralph is going to put something together.
     
    I am wondering if there is anyone out there who can't join us for the day of eating around Pittsburgh, but would be interested in joining us for dinner Saturday night at Jozsa Corner?  If you are, please let us know ASAP, since reservations need to be made. 
    #18
    Ralph Melton
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/06/13 15:03:13 (permalink)
    We are still nailing down details, but here's what we have in mind:
     
    The folks who are attending are people that have been to Pittsburgh before and will come again. So we are trying to prepare an itinerary of places that are good but less well known.
     
    Friday
    We want to show off Pierogies Plus and Nancy B's. But neither of them are open on weekends. So we will host dinner at our house with pierogies from Pierogies Plus and cookies from Nancy B's - and whatever else we feel like adding. (The cookies will not be the amazing melted-chocolate extravagance that you get when they're fresh out of the oven, alas. But they're very good even hours later.)
     
    Saturday: 
    We meet at 9am at Deluca's in the Strip for breakfast.
    We can spend at least a morning in the Strip, and I haven't planned an exact itinerary. We at least want to visit Enrico's Biscotti, Sunseri's, and the Pittsburgh Public Market. wanderingjew can get his coffee on at La Prima Coffee Roasters.
    For lunch, I propose Chicken Latino; Pittsburgh isn't a haven of Peruvian immigrants, but Chicken Latino has been praised by a Peruvian friend of mine.
     
    In the afternoon, we'll want to allow some time to recover appetite, so we'll visit the National Aviary. We have hopes of getting a personal tour from a friend on the staff there. If it's a hot day, we can stop by Gus and Yiayia's cart for a snowball. (Unfortunately, I don't know how to locate the Pedaling Pierogies cart.)
     
    If this takes less time than planned, we can fill in the gaps with a stop for ice cream at Oh Yeah! or Dave and Andy's.
     
    For dinner: Josza's Corner, for a multi-course Hungarian feast.
     
    If appetite remains afterward, we can hop across the river to Page Dairy Mart.
     
     
    Sunday
     
    I've heard that wanderingjew is planning a dinner in Morgantown, so we're planning a southward amble:
    9:00 breakfast at Isaly's in West View, because Isaly's and chipped ham are woven into the fabric of Pittsburgh's heritage.
    10:30 Mike and Tony's Gyros, because buffetbuster recommended them and I have not tried them. 
    12:00 Jim's Drive In
    1:30 Rib Cage BBQ, to expose people to Monongahela-style barbecue.
    #19
    Ralph Melton
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/06/13 15:06:06 (permalink)
    The menu for Pierogies Plus is at http://pierogiesplus.com/index.php/menu.html . I'm planning to get an assortment of pierogies, but if there are any flavors that you'd particularly like to sample, please do let me know.
    #20
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/06/13 15:53:07 (permalink)
    Ralph
     
    Everything looks great
     
    I won't be able to join all of you for Friday's festivities since I'll be enroute to Pittsburgh
    But I'll see everone on Saturday
    #21
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/06/14 09:09:41 (permalink)
    Looks good Ralph!  Very much looking forward to seeing everyone!
    #22
    icecreamchick
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/06/14 10:27:01 (permalink)
    A few updates from Ralph's personal assistant and tour maid of all work. 
     
    1. We have a 6:30 reservation at Josza's Corner, and Alex is looking forward to seeing us. If our numbers change, I need to know ASAP so I can update with him.
     
    2. Larry will be in at Enrico Biscotti and will be happy to spend a few minutes talking with us about his bakery and restaurant.
     
    3. Chicken Latino is a good idea, but I also recommend Larry's cafe which is attached to Enrico Biscotti (it might just be called Enrico's) for his delicious pizzas from a wood-fired brick oven, torta rustic, and his Italian "sangaweeches."  Or, what the heck, we can try both!  Just remember: you want to be a little hungry for Josza's! :-)
     
    4.  My trips to the Strip aren't complete without a stop at Mon Ami chocolates, for delicious, high-end, fancy chocolates.  In the warmer months, their gelato is a real winner. In fall and winter, they serve the thickest, richest hot chocolate I've ever had. 
     
    5. This crowd probably largely won't care, but there are excellent non-food shopping opportunities on the Strip too! 
     
    I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone, and it's not too late to join the fun! If you plan on coming, just reply here or send a message to me or Ralph, and we'll get you on the reservation for Josza's! 
    post edited by icecreamchick - 2012/06/14 10:29:41
    #23
    karilyn
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/06/14 10:28:01 (permalink)
    I am so sad that previous plans are keeping me from joining in on this adventure.  Looks like you'll have a great time!  Jealous . . . . 
    #24
    icecreamchick
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/06/14 10:32:27 (permalink)
    Karilyn, we'd love to see you again! We had a great time in Worchester!  We will be doing this again, though! 
    #25
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/06/14 10:33:22 (permalink)
    That is wonderful news about Larry from Enrico's going to spend a few minutes with us.  Very knowledgable, charismatic guy.  And he loves Jane & Michael Stern!
     
    I also love the fact that we are going to a few places I have never been to before.
    #26
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/06/14 11:01:57 (permalink)
    buffetbuster

    I also love the fact that we are going to a few places I have never been to before.

    Does not compute, does not compute...
    #27
    Suzy Gruyere
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/06/14 11:20:14 (permalink)
    Dave and Andy's... Sigh!!
    Sounds like a wonderful weekend. Have fun! (And I look forward to learning about this Monongahela style BBQ.)
    #28
    The Travelin Man
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/06/14 13:08:50 (permalink)
    Hey - I am the ultimate go-with-the-flow kind of a guy, but I was just curious. I am already checked in for my flight and I even have a car reservation and a hotel for the night prior to my departure.  If that ain't planning ahead, I don't know what is?
     
    Do I notice that we have changed from Pamela's to DeLuca's for breakfast on Saturday? 
    #29
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Pittsburgh Eating Weekend, June 16-17 2012/06/18 13:48:02 (permalink)
    The crowd was small, but the enthusiasm was high for our day of eating on Saturday.  Lots of highlights, but lunch at Enrico's and dinner at Jozsa Corner were the crowd favorites.  A fun side trip to the National Aviary allowed us to build up some much needed appetite.  A big thanks to Ralph & Lori Melton for the organizing and to WanderingJew and The Travelin Man for coming to town for the weekend.
    #30
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