Pittsburgh Vacation Recap

What an amazing birthday weekend! My western Pennsylvania road trip started on Thursday morning, and by the afternoon, I found myself at Steelers Training Camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA. 

I got my first look at some of the rookies. Number 26 Le'Veon Bell saw the ball a lot and made consecutive runs for short gain (pictured below).

Big Ben & Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley

Coach Tomlin running linebacker drills...

and taking time out after practice to sign autographs and pose with fans for pictures! What a great dude. Unfortunately, I was not one of the first 40 fans to hop in line for the post-practice photo session, but I did get to listen in and pick up some new Tomlinisms about "facing adversity," "overcoming adversity," and "dealing with adversity." 

The weather was beautiful in Latrobe on Thursday, but after sitting on bleachers and walking around camp for three and a half hours, it was time for a beer. The Creative Director and I continued west on Route 30 until we reached Full Pint Brewing in North Versailles. 

I don't know if it was the brand new menu or the Pirates game on TV, but the parking lot was packed. (Thursday night did just happen to be the brewery's first night of their new, full food menu, featuring a cheese board, charcuterie and paninis.)

I started off with the Little Brown Ale while the Creative Director had the Spruce Ale. We both ordered The Frenchie paninis with brie, ham, pear, red onion and dijon mustard. YUM.

We finally made it into the city on day two of our trip, starting with a visit to the Andy Warhol Museum on the North Shore. 

Photography is prohibited in the museum, but I did get to make this "Screen Test." A friend told me that you're supposed to sit still during a screen test, thus, I did it wrong. I say three minutes is too long to sit still - I'd much rather make funny faces. 

After we worked our way through all six of the museum's upper floors, I decided to treat myself to a coffee and Boston Cream cupcake for breakfast in the museum cafe. Why? Because Friday was my birthday, and you can do whatever you want on your birthday.

Next, we got some lunch around the corner at BZ's Grill. I had an awesome Cucumber Mint Lemonade and a Black and Bleu BLT with bacon (duh) and bleu cheese gremolata dressing, making that my second grilled and cheesy sandwich of the trip. 

Full of fried goodness, we continued over the (Monongahela) river and through the woods to the historic Duquesne Incline

The Duquesne Incline opened to the public in May, 1877 and still operates both as a mode of transport and as a sightseeing opportunity for those pesky tourists (i.e. us). 

Beautiful! The views from the overlook:

Speaking of beautiful views, my birthday wrapped up with the Pirates hosting the Colorado Rockies at picturesque PNC Park

The Creative Director even wore black and gold

Though my parents were all the way in New Jersey, they still sent me birthday wishes via the scoreboard (it's not photoshopped, I swear!). It was the Creative Director's job to make sure I didn't buy a hot dog, go to the ladies room, or mess with my phone before or during the middle of the fourth inning so that I wouldn't miss the surprise. Also, that guy on the big screen was having a blast mid-fourth. THANKS, $BILL AND KATHY!!

Just when you thought I couldn't eat any more sandwiches, I got a Primanti Bros. roast beef, pickle spears and a Church Brew Works draft. The draft handle wasn't labeled, but I'm guessing it was a Cherry Quadzilla. My abbreviated sandwich tour of Pittsburgh wouldn't have been complete without french fries on a sandwich...

The final day of our trip took us on a thrift shopping voyage between Pittsburgh and Irwin, where we visited my grandmother (Mom-mom). We started off with coffee and those lovely black and gold doughnuts from GetGo. 

We hit the Red, White & Blue Thrift Store in Pittsburgh, then the Salvation Army and Goodwill stores on Lincoln Highway (Route 30) in Irwin. Our scores included, but were not limited to: 1990s Kordell Stewart t-shirt jersey, Steelers Zubaz, Jerome Bettis t-shirt (with stats listed on the back), gold sweater, 1992 AFC Champs t-shirt, Norwin t-shirt, football cupcake papers (with "TOUCHDOWN" ornamental toothpicks) and a whole lot more. 

We picked up some pizza to take to Mom-mom's for lunch. The goal was to get some Fox's Den pizza, but since they were closed, we pulled an audible for Irwin Pizza Hut (which allowed me to snap a picture of the mural I've admired in their parking lot since I was little).

Mom-mom gave me an incredible gift during our visit - her grandmother's recipe book, with an original copyright year of 1910 (publication date pictured below, 1917). 

We thumbed through the delicate pages for ginger ale, maple cake and pickled vegetable recipes, along with tips on caring for your ailing horses and getting foul smells out of clothing ("wrap lightly and bury in the yard for a day or two").

After an amazing and action-packed weekend, we finally headed back east on the turnpike. I couldn't have asked for a better birthday. 

More off-season recipes coming this week, then - THE FIRST PRESEASON GAME NEXT SATURDAY

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