Pittsburgh Food Tour

This post is long delayed…
Remember that trip to Pittsburgh my friend Melissa and I took back in September to visit our friend Rachel? We had so much fun and I had really good intentions to blog all about it, but then life got in the way.

Considering that it was a trip for pleasure and my highest priority was spending time with my friends, I wasn’t my typical crazy note-taking, camera-happy self. So I can’t be quite as detailed about all of our food adventures as I normally would be, but I’m definitely going to do my best to describe the fun tour that kicked off our weekend.

I found out about the ‘Burgh Bits & Bites Food Tour after a fellow Fido Wine Class graduate (and Pittsburgh native) suggested that we check out the Strip District during our visit. I went home, googled, and found the Neighbors in the Strip District website. And what do I see on the home page? These words: Food. Tasting. Adventure. Walking Tour. Could I get more excited? I think not.

A little research led to the discovery that the tours are offered twice a day on Thursdays and Fridays for $35/person and feature a behind the scenes look at a variety of eateries in the historic Strip District, tastings included! With Rachel and Melissa’s blessing, I booked us 3 spots on the tour for that Friday afternoon.

Upon arrival to the Strip District, we made our way through the crowds to the historic Old St. Patrick’s Church courtyard to meet up with our guide and the rest of the group. Let the fun begin!

Parma Sausage
(Tasting: Meats)

For over 50 years, in their manufacturing plant on Penn Avenue, the Spinabelli family has been making fresh sausages from family recipes that have been passed down through the generations.

This was our first stop of the tour, and it was my favorite. I’m not sure if it was because the guys were so nice or I was insanely hungry since it was after 2 p.m. and we hadn’t eaten lunch yet. No, really, the meats we sampled were so ridiculously good that I would have loved them even if I wasn’t ready to gnaw off my own hand. Samples included: Proscuitto, Hot Sopressata, Salami Rustico, Peppered Salami, Pepperoni, Pancetta, and Coppa Secca. I even brought home some of their dried chorizo as a souvenir!

Penn Mac
(Tasting: Cheese)

Wow. This was a pretty amazing place. It’s like stepping into an old-world Italian grocery store. They have a full line of grocery items including loaves of fresh breads, huge vats of olives from all over Italy, sausages, pastas, the list goes on and on. But what impressed me the most was the biggest room full of cheese I’ve ever seen in my life. Oh what I wouldn’t give to have this in Nashville.

Other stops on the tour included*:
Mancini’s for a pepperoni roll
Labad’s for hummus
Enrico Biscotti for biscotti
Pittsburgh Popcorn Company for gourmet popcorn
Colangelo’s for a Mele (this puffed pastry was huge and addictive)
Bella Notte for pizza

*The stops on the tour vary based on the day and time.

If you take a trip to Pittsburgh, you MUST add the ‘Burgh Bits & Bites tour to your itinerary!

Without going into a full review, here are a couple of other spots we hit while in Pittsburgh that I highly recommend:

Square Café
1137 South Braddock Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15218
(412) 244-8002

Green Eggs & Ham
Ham, Fruit, and Eggs scrambled with fresh basil pesto and cherry tomatoes, topped with melted provolone
Not pictured: a Gingersnap Latte that almost made me shed a tear it was so good

Buckwheat pancake special with apples, whipped cream, and butter with a side of chicken sausage

Café Du Jour
1107 E Carson St
Pittsburgh, PA 15203-1153
(412) 488-9695
(cash only)

This cozy little spot is a place that I would go back to again and again and again if it were here in Nashville. The kitchen is part of the dining room, so the smell of all the delicious food cooking envelopes you (and makes choosing just one dish incredibly tough). The food was absolutely incredible, and very reasonably priced. And you can bring your own wine, which made our meal a total bargain!