Let Spring Bloom at Phipps Conservatory

The weather is finally starting to break, the snow is melting and the temperature is rising.  What better way to get into the “Spring” mood than a trip to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, but first, you will want to fill up with the well-known pizza joint, Mineo’s.

Mineo’s

When you walk into Mineo’s, you are surrounded with tons of awards  along the walls that date back many years letting you know you are in one of the best pizza joints in Pittsburgh.

Mineo’s recently expanded its building, which added 40 additional seats, also broadened the menu and opened a full-service bar.

All of the ingredients at Mineo’s are made daily.  Mineo’s grates its own cheese, makes its own sauce and dough.

So if you’re out-of-state and reading this and are dying to try a Mineo’s pizza, you’re in luck. Mineo’s will FedEx you a pizza overnight and will be at your door the next morning.  Mineo’s prepares the pizza half-done, freeze it and then ships it out priority shipping. mineos2

When I go to Mineo’s my favorite menu option is the cheese pizza.  When I bite into the delicious, warm pizza the cheese just melts off into my mouth.  Mineo’s is unique in its own way because most of the toppings on the pizza are baked under the cheese.

No matter what time of day it is, Mineo’s is sure to be to be busy.  If you are craving Mineo’s pizza you will have to drive to one of their locations in either Squirrel Hill or Mt. Lebanon because of their non-delivery service.  Make sure you have enough cash to cover the bill because Mineo’s is a cash only restaurant!

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

With spring right around the corner, the perfect way to spend the afternoon is at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens with friends and family.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a 13-room glasshouse and gardens that feature tropical plants, palms, orchids, ferns,

phipps

It’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon at an affordable price.  To tour Phipps it is $15 for adults, $14 for seniors (62 and older), $14 student with a valid ID, $11 for children 2 to 18 and free for members and children under 2.  Perfect for the whole family or even just a night out with friends or a significant other.

My favorite attraction at Phipps is its Christmas display.  Phipps at Christmas time is definitely the place to be.  Phipps offers a unique festive light experience in an outdoor garden exhibit.  Take a walk through the one-acre holiday wonderland and enjoy all of the beautiful lights.  Trees are wrapped in colorful lights and there are glowing sculptures scattered throughout the garden.  Take a walk under the “tunnel of light,” which is an archway wrapped with lights and has glowing orbs hanging above.

Besides the outdoor light display, Phipps also has impressive indoor winter garden attractions.

phipps xmasIf you can’t get to Phipps during the holiday season, don’t worry.  Phipps is open year-round with exciting attractions.

Thinking about smelling the flowers at Phipps Conservatory or biting into a delicious slice of Mineo’s pizza?  Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear!

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Fill up Before a Night on the Town

How does a big, juicy burger sound?  Amazing, right?  Did I get your taste buds excited?  If you’re looking for a filling meal to indulge on before a night out on the town, then the place to go is BRGR in East Liberty.

BRGR

This is the place to go to when you are in the mood for a gourmet burger and all of the regular, plain burgers just aren’t kicking it.  Also, where else can you eat and feel like you’re sitting in the comfort of your own house.  Try the unique setting at BRGR by sitting on one of the leather couches or chairs.  I promise you, you won’t want to move after you’ve finished your burger!photo 3

I’ve personally only gone to BRGR twice, but have enjoyed it each time and will continue to go back!  Both times I have gone there I have ordered the same burger with bacon, lettuce and swiss cheese.  I’m a picky eater and only like the plain condiments on my burgers.  Instead of French fries, I got the housemade chips served with the crack dip.  You might be thinking, crack dip?  Yes, I said crack dip and it isn’t exactly what you’re thinking!  This dip is part of the reason why I continue to order the chips as a side every time I go to BRGR.  The crack dip is a cheese and meat combination that almost taste like your dipping your chips into chili!  If you’re in the mood for French fries, then make sure to try the BRGR fries.  These aren’t your traditional French fries, BRGR fries are tossed with parmesan and herbs. photo 2

If you’re not in the mood for a burger, don’t worry. BRGR offers many other options.   Those options include: salads, hot dogs, bison, salmon and more.  I can’t forget to mention the handcrafted shakes.  If you’re 21 and older, be sure to try one of BRGR’s spiked shakes that contain a mixture of alcohol, ice cream and many other ingredients that will definitely excite your taste buds.  Next time I dine at BRGR, I plan to try the Salty Carmel, which is a mixture of bourbon, caramel sauce, sea salt and vanilla bean.  Yummm!

BRGR also has a traveling food truck to meet your hunger needs.  What a better way to satisfy your cravings.  Keep an eye out for the BRGR truck on the streets of Pittsburgh and upcoming Pittsburgh events.

After you have a hefty meal on your stomach, it’s time to hit up the nightlife of Pittsburgh right around the corner in Shadyside on Walnut Street. Warning:  This is for those 21 and over.

Shadyside: Walnut Street

As a newly 21-year-old I am new to the bars and nightlife of Pittsburgh.  I have been to Shadyside multiple times and can say it is the perfect place to go grab a drink with a few friends.  Shadyside is a lively experience at night.  The nightlife offers many choices of bars including the most popular Mario’s, the elegant Shady Grove, Stack’d, West Penn Tavern and the newest outside/inside bar Steel Cactus.  Mario’s is my favorite and seems to be the most popular spot as stated above.  What you experience in Mario’s can range from a casual night watching a Penguins game or a friendly gathering in the top and lower parts of the bar.  Be sure to walk upstairs and feel the sweet summer breeze coming in through the open side of the bar.j

If you’re a night owl and like to close down the bar, be sure to grab a smothered chili dog from the sidewalk stand as you end your night.  Remember if you’re going to experience the nightlife in Shadyside, be responsible, be safe and don’t drink and drive.

Are you thinking about biting into one of BRGR’s burgers, or experiencing the nightlife in Shadyside?  Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear!

The In’s and Out’s of Pittsburgh’s Strip District

Are you ever looking for something fun and unique to do on the weekends in Pittsburgh?  One of my favorite things to do is to go down to the Strip District, get breakfast and walk around the different shops with my family.

Deluca’s

The only place that can say that they have the “best” breakfast in town. Come hungry, but come early because there’s always a line!  Deluca’s holds a capacity of 90 people and nearly serves 1,000 people every Saturday and Sunday.  delucas collageI’ve only been to Deluca’s twice, but I can vouch for myself that it’s the best breakfast I’ve ever had in Pittsburgh.  If you’re looking for plate-sized pancakes, then Deluca’s is the place for you.  My favorite dish to get at Deluca’s is the cinnamon bun pancakes with a side of eggs and bacon.  If you’re not in the mood for pancakes, don’t worry because Deluca’s comes stacked with options!  Some of the options include: massive breakfast omelets, crepes, lunch  food and even waffle sundaes.  photo 3Did you ever think you could have ice cream for breakfast?  Well, Deluca’s gives you the option.  The waffle sundaes come topped with ice cream, different fruit options, chocolate or carmel sauce, nuts and loaded with whipped cream.  Deluca’s food has been so popular, that it has even been featured on Travel Channel’s Man v Food.  Adam Richman, host of Man v. Food, indulged in all of the offerings Deluca’s serves. With Deluca’s, you’re not burning a hole in your wallet, but you will pay for eating too much from all that is on your plate.

Strip District

After you have a full stomach, it will be time for you to walk it all off!  What better way to do so, then by walking around Pittsburgh’s historic Strip District.  The Strip District is located on Penn Avenue right outside of downtown Pittsburgh.  Experience all the unique diners, sidewalk food stands and Pittsburgh shops.  Whether you need groceries, Pittsburgh apparel or have a sweet tooth, the Strip District is just for you!  Enjoy the smell of Mancini’s fresh cut bread at the Mancini Bread Company, fishy taste at Wholey’s Fish Market or hear the popping sounds at the Pittsburgh Popcorn Company.  If you’re in need of a Pittsburgh sporting apparel item, the Strip has everything from jerseys, jewelry, hats, banners or sidewalk vendor made “Yinzer” t-shirts and sweatshirts. photo 14 If you’re thinking of cooking an authentic Italian meal, then be sure to stop by the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company.  The store features all Italian imported goods including spices, pasta, fresh cheese and even deli meats.  If you’re craving something sweet don’t forget to drop by Mon Aimee Chocolat or Peace, Love and Little Donuts.  At Peace, Love and Little Donuts you won’t find just any ordinary donuts.  Try something new and find out what a bacon topped maple frosted donut can do to your taste buds.  No matter what you do when you visit the Strip District, it will be a new and entertaining experience for not only your taste buds and senses, but a sight for your eyes.

Does this food make your mouth water like it made my mine?  Let me know if you would try Deluca’s or the Strip District.  Better yet, let me know if you ever experienced Deluca’s or a walk down the Strip.  Share your favorite dish from Deluca’s, I’d love to hear!

Dinner with a view

If you haven’t been to Pittsburgh, then you might want to check out Mt.Washington.  It’s known for its view of Pittsburgh that you don’t want to miss.  I personally enjoy going there in the evening when you see the whole skyline of Pittsburgh shine in the night sky.

You might ask, what is Mt. Washington?  Mt. Washington is a neighborhood in Pittsburgh that overlooks the Pittsburgh skyline.

For those of you who might be looking for a romantic date night out on the town then you might want to consider venturing to Mt. Washington.  The best way to get up to Mt. Washington is by taking the Duquense Incline.  You can park at the bottom in one of the parking lots at Station Square and take the incline up for one of the many restaurants on Mt.Washington.  I’ve always enjoyed taking the incline when it is still light outside, eat and then take the incline down while it is dark.  As you ride up the incline, you will get a bird’s-eye view of the city.  Experience the wonderful engineering of the incline that has gone through many years of movement.  Listen to the creeks and turns of the wooden frame and steel cranks and smell and feel the warm breeze coming through the screened-in windows through your one of a kind experience.  Make sure you have cash, the incline is $5 roundtrip and takes the exact change.burgh

Once you have arrived at Mt. Washington, check out the top station that is filled with many photographs of Pittsburgh throughout the years.  Don’t forget to take a minute to look at the skyline of Pittsburgh by stopping at the observation deck right outside of the incline.  Pop a quarter into the binocular machine to get a deeper view of the city.  securedownload-2There are many restaurants up on Mt. Washington, but to get the “view” of Pittsburgh you want to eat at one of the restaurants on Grandview Avenue.  My personal favorite is Coal Hill Steak House.

The Coal Hill Steakhouse is a must when choosing places to eat on top of Mt. Washington.  The superb service, casual dining, sleek atmosphere and variety of foods and drinks are available for everyone’s liking.  The split-level restaurant includes an upper half dining area with dim lighting and a glass lookout window city view, that sets a romantic twist to the experience.  The lower level area includes a rectangular bar that is perfect for sporting events or just a relaxing evening for a few drinks.  Right behind the bar is the outside lookout deck area that includes a small tiki bar, perfect for enjoying the city view, smelling the summer breeze and enjoying a one-of-a-kind experience.  The dining, bar and deck areas are wonderful for a new experience in the quaint area of Mt. Washington. securedownload-1 The seating areas might set the mood, but the food on the menu adds to the experience.  Splurge for the night and try their wonderful steaks and seafood options or open your belly for a mouth watering burger and fries or triple stacked grilled blackened chicken salads.  Whatever you are in the mood for the Coal Hill Steakhouse can deliver and you will leave with an open mind, full stomach and a warm feeling from your wonderful dining experience.

With Valentines Day coming up, what better way to spend it than this perfect date night!  Take that special one out or even a friend and let me know what you think about the beautiful view!  Don’t forget to bundle up, Pittsburgh can be quite cold in the winter!  Make sure to bring your camera, you’ll definitely want to snap a picture of the view!  Do you enjoy the view as much as I do?  Share your thoughts with me, I’d love to hear!