Tag Archives: Strip District

Spiced From The Strip

17 Apr

Dinner was Strip District-inspired last night.

If you’re not from Pittsburgh, you are probably asking yourself what racy, scandalous inspiration that is.

The Strip District is a wonderful area which connects to downtown Pittsburgh.  It’s called “the Strip” because its just a little “strip” of property that runs parallel to the river.  It’s actually the historic location of one of Andrew Carnegie’s first steel mills, ALCOA aluminum production HQ, and Westinghouse’s first factory to product air breaks.  I just love history.  At the turn of the century, the Strip become the center of produce in Pittsburgh.  The city’s main train station runs through the area, so produce merchants were able to get fresh fruits and veggies through easily accessible channels.  Today, the Strip has changed a lot, but its heartbeat is still the same.  It’s now home to many ethnic grocery stores, a destination for fresh produce, meats, cheese, and pasta.  There are so many little niche restaurants and cafes and bakeries, that you can get lost there for hours on the weekends.

We ventured down there on Monday morning, before I reported for duty at the laundry facility, to visit a novelty toy wholesaler named Mike Feinberg’s.  We had to buy prizes to give the big kids at the Great Cloth Diaper Change on Saturday.  Changin’ Time is in charge of kids games and activities!  Just across the street is one of my favorite places: Penzeys Spices.


I had accrued 4 coupons for free or discounted spices, so I had to stop for a spice haul.

Next door to Penzeys is a gourmet coffee dealer called Prestogeorge Coffee Roasting Company, a company which was founded locally in the 1960s and eventually found its home in the Strip.


When you walk in the door, the smells which lured you in from the sidewalk are amazing.  The walls are lined with interesting and rare blends of coffee beans and teas, biscotti, baked goods, deli meats, and all things delicious.


We were just stopping in for some tea, but I could have spent hours looking at all the different blends.

So – what ended up in dinner last night, you ask?

The featured spice at Penzeys this month is called Berbere, a fiery Ethiopian spice blend.  Because I subscribe to their catalog, I received a coupon this month to try it for free!  You can order it online or find it in the store for $4.39.  We love spicy food, so we had to try it out.  I used it as a rub on chicken.


At Prestogeorge, they had been sampling something called “Caribbean dip.”  We liked the sample and are constantly looking for new spicy items,  so we bought it.  When we got home, we realized that it was a little bit too mayo-based to really use as a dip.  However, I thought it would be excellent to use as a spicy breading base for the chicken, so I brushed some on!


Then, I lightly dusted the chicken with Panko.


And baked it for about an hour at 350F.  When it was done, I topped it with just a dab of the dip and served it.


It was seriously SOOOOO good.  And spicy!  Like, I served it with celery spicy.  A yummy entree which supported two local business. 🙂

Don’t forget to enter my Earth Week Giveaway over here.  Find out how you can get a second giveaway entry if you all ready like SOLE for the Soul on Facebook ♥

Mixin it up!

5 Oct

I am the type of person who religiously packs  a lunch.  I feel like that eliminates any compulsive decisions along with saving she♥ and I some cash we need for the current remodeling projects we have going on.  However, I have been really lazy about getting to the grocery store.  Not a ton of lunch options in the house right now!

I work in the Strip District of Pittsburgh.  For those of you who have never been – it is one of my favorite places in the ‘burgh.  It is a long strip that contains dozens and dozens of street vendors, ethnic food and anything else you can imagine! 

One of my favorite lunch spots is called Mix Stirs  – located in the Senator John Heinz History Center.  They have amazing smoothies with whey protein that I sometimes grab for a quick-fix lunch, but my favorite thing to get there is the Chef Salad.  It has only 307 calories and tops out at 28.6 grams of protein.

Turkey, Roast Beef, Ham, Swiss, Provolone, Cucumbers & Red Onion

Side note about the Heinz History Center…

The current exhibition is called Vatican Splendors.  Pittsburgh was one of only three cities chosen to host the largest Vatican exhibit EVER in North America.  Pretty cool, right??

*Bust of an Angel:* Giottto di Bondone, after 1304. Polychrome mosaic. The Reverenda Fabbrica of Saint Peter, Vatican City State.

via HHC gallery

Their website lists some of the amazing and unique pieces:

  • Original works by Michelangelo, as well as a first generation cast of the Pietà from St. Peter’s Basilica, alongside signed documents and personal objects used in work on the Sistine Chapel.
  • 17th century works by Bernini, including carved, gilded angels and a baroque urn depicting the Last Supper from the Basilica of Saint Mary Major.
  • A reliquary containing the remains of Saint Peter and Saint Paul that has never been outside of the Vatican.
  • Guercino’s c. 1622 “Portrait of Christ with Crown of Thorns” painting, the first modern representation of Jesus, that has never been on display at the Vatican.
  • Objects discovered at the tombs of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.
  • A bronze Cast of the Hand of Pope John Paul II, which visitors are encouraged to touch during their visit, alongside a handwritten poem from John Paul II.

Hopefully my dear♥ will decide to take me 🙂  Some of these pieces have never left the Vatican and it doesn’t sound like a place I’ll be visiting anytime soon!!!

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