Pittsburgh’s Picklesburgh 2017 is a Big Dill

Pittsburgh's Picklesburgh is a Big Dill! #Picklesburgh2017

Pittsburgh's Picklesburgh is a Big Dill!

Though I reside in a little town called Mars, our "big city" is Pittsburgh.  Just 30 minutes from Mars (hard to believe eh?!), Pittsburgh is really where all the "action" is.

This past weekend (July 28-29, 2017), one of Pittsburgh's 446 bridges (the Roberto Clemente or 6th Street Bridge) was closed down to automobile traffic and opened up for a dill-lightfully dill-licious celebration of all things pickle!  Picklesburgh 2017.

So what to do at "life in between?"  Why visit Picklesburgh of course!

Why Pickles?

Pittsburgh has a particularly popular pickle-loving history beginning almost 150 years ago when the H. J. Heinz Factory was built.  I remember going on a Heinz factory tour as a grade school field trip and receiving one of the now iconic pickle pins.  (My granddaughter now has one in her Grandma Memory Jar from our visit to Picklesburgh this past weekend.)

Picklesburgh celebrates EVERYthing pickled!  You could find pickle-flavored sodas, pickle beer and moonshine, and pickle-flavored cocktails.

Dill-acacies included pierogies with pickles, pickled funnel cakes, pickle-flavored custard, and deep-fried, bacon-wrapped pickles on a stick.  There were pickles and dip and grilled cheese sandwiches with pickles.  There was pickle fudge and pickle peanut butter cookies.

There were pickle balloons – small and large – including a giant flying Heinz pickle balloon, custom built by a team that also crafts balloons for Disney and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

There were pickling food demonstrations

And pickle samples from local farm-to-table shop small vendors like Epic Pickles

and the Pittsburgh Pickle Company,

where I bought one of each flavor!

And if you don't have one yet, who could live without a dill pickle talk-to-text Linabag?

It sure was a dill-leriously dill-lectable way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

Thanks Picklesburgh!  Next year, I may just try that Pickle-flavored Italian Ice……


Cheers & Hugs,


A Trip to the Strip – It’s a ‘Burgh Thing

Anybody that knows anything about Pittsburgh (aka da ‘Burgh) knows a Trip to the Strip  – –  Strip District that is – –  is a must to get the full “flavor” of our amazing city.  Whether you are shopping for fresh produce…

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Produce

in a range of colors…

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Produce 2

or looking to “spice up your life”

Penzy's Spice Strip District Pittsburgh PA

with the best smoky paprika – or my (are you ready for the “big reveal?”) top secret ingredient to my baked beans recipe – Penzy’s Barbecue of the Americas spice,

Penzy's Spice Pittsburgh PA Strip District

The Strip District is the place to go.  The Strip District is a neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that is about a half square mile area of land northeast of the central business district bordered to the north by the Allegheny River and to the south by the Hill District. The Strip District runs between 11th and 33rd Streets and includes three main thoroughfares — Smallman Street, Penn Avenue, and Liberty Avenue — as well as various side streets.

So Saturday was the day for my buddy Janet and me.  Janet had not been to the Strip since she was a child, and since she is only around for a few months in the summer before heading South, we decided to squeeze a field trip in.

Penzys Strip District Pittsburgh

After sniffing our way through Penzy’s, we visited In the Kitchen where we admired this beautiful Polish Pottery.  Can you find Janet?  Her top blends in with the pottery pattern! 🙂

In the Kitchen Strip District Pittsburgh Polish Pottery

The streets are filled with yummy treats – like these whoopee pies, cannoli, apple strudel, macaroons,

Strip District Pittsburgh PA

lady fingers, and sticky buns, and mini pineapple upside down cakes – oh my!

Strip District Pittsburgh PA

Mike Feinberg’s is THEE iconic place to find your ‘Burgh-theme party supplies.

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Mike Feinberg Co

It is black ‘n gold through and through

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Mike Feinberg Co

for anything Pixburg or Stillers

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Mike Feinberg Yinz Yinzers

even black ‘n gold flamingos to go with the sweet glasses Janet found!

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Mike Feinberg Black n Gold Flamingos

I wanted to get her these tights for Christmas – we’ll see…..  look out Jan!

Strip District Pittsburgh PA

There are colorful fruit kabobs…


and colorful artistic displays…

Strip District Pittsburgh PA

and a trip to the Strip is just not complete without a visit to Pennsylvania Macaroni Company – Penn Mac to us Yinzers.

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Penn Mac

You will find bucket after bucket of every kind of olive

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Penn Mac

pickled peppers, and pickles

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Penn Mac

pitted and stuffed….


or fresh and unpitted.

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Penn Mac

The Parmigiana Reggianno and fresh homemade mozzarella is the best outside of Italy (and of course I bought both AND some awesome olives).

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Penn Mac

Here’s a little glimpse of my basket…

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Penn Mac

Some of the sweetest music can be heard on the streets by local street artists.


But Black ‘n Gold definitely reigns supreme on these streets.


So if Yinz need any Stillers or Buccos or Penguins gear – The Strip is your one-stop shop.


Janet and I discovered the most amazing store of all on this trip!

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Strip District Meats

Strip District Meats!

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Strip District Meats

Not only because you can find boneless python – for only $35.95 per pound – because who likes bones in their python?!?!?!

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Strip District Meats

But mainly because of Henry!

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Strip District Meats

Henry has worked at Strip District Meats for 11 years, and he is the most amazingly sweet, informed, fun, and charming salesperson and butcher you will ever meet!

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Strip District Meats

Not only did he specially cut Janet’s Lamb Chops exactly to her specification (which just so happened to be whatever Henry thought was best!),

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Strip District Meats

but that little charmer talked me into buying a couple of Wagyu Steaks for Marty and me at the GREAT DEAL of only $19.95 – drastically on sale from the usual $31.95 per pound.  Oh they better be good Henry!  He went through three cases to pick the best two out for me.  Did you know Wagyu Beef are given daily massages and beer to drink (which so appealed to another shopper near me that he asked to be signed up to be a Wagyu Cow, until Henry gently reminded him –   with a swift hand motion across the neck – that they get their heads cut off after about 18 months of this spa-like treatment…

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Strip District Meats

But if Wagyu or Lamb Chops are not your “cup of tea,” how about some Ground Camel – or Alligator – or Kangaroo – or Ostrich – or only the finest hind legs of rabbit?????!!!!!…..

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Strip District Meats

Melanie was Henry’s apprentice, and just as sweet – and even a little cuter (if that is possible 🙂 ). What a great place to shop that I will never miss again when visiting the Strip!


There is any kind of bread you might crave,

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Wholeys

and a visit to the iconic Wholey’s is a must before ending your day at the strip.


Strip District Pittsburgh PA Wholeys

And look what I found!!  Striped Bass!!  (Could our one that got away be in there?!?!?)  (and if you look really close – you can find me in this picture – you know – the one with the camera – caught in the mirror above the fish tank)


Strip District Pittsburgh PA Wholeys

In case you need some fish heads or bones, the price is right…



and they are quite fresh!


Strip District Pittsburgh PA Wholeys

Janet and I split an amazing Lobster Roll and one of Wholey’s Famous fish sandwiches for lunch before ending our shopping excursion and running out of money.
Strip District Pittsburgh PA Wholeys

It was a great day to go “dahntahn.”

Cheers & Hugs,


S’More Cookies Please!

smore cookies

I could barely wait to share this recipe for S’More Cookies that I made on Sunday!


smore broke

It’s like a campfire memory in a cookie!

I was inspired to make these as I began thinking about cookies to bake for Jackie’s Wedding (which is only a month away!!!  Sooooo excited!!!).


the beautiful bride to be, Jackie, at her bridal shower, with yours truly

For those of you that don’t live in or around Pittsburgh  – aka “Da ”Burgh,” – we have what I’ve come to learn is an unusual tradition at weddings.  (Much like french fries on salads, calling rubber bands “gum bands”, calling groups of people “Yinz,” being the ultimate “Stillers” and “Buccos” sports fans,  calling bologna “Jumbo” and – oh – I could go on and on about our wonderful Pittsburghese – isms! 🙂 )

We have Cookie Tables at weddings.

VERY large cookie tables.

Like where Cookies are APPETIZERS and DESSERT…  AND go with the meal…


The Cookie Table at Jake and Colleen’s Wedding on July 13, 2013 @ Gable Farms, Lake Latonka, PA

And just to be sure you understand correctly – this does not mean we don’t have wedding cake….  Oh my no – we have BOTH – cookies AND cake!

So when thinking of how to best celebrate our sweet Jackie and what kind of cookies to bake, I thought of S’Mores – which are Jackie’s favorite treat –  and I found this amazing recipe by Jen at CarlsbadCravings.com.

smore 1

I couldn’t think of anything to make it any better, so here is Jen’s recipe exactly as she posted.  I hope you don’t mind me sharing Jen! (Photos are of the ones I baked.)

The only things I changed were that I baked for only 7 minutes on baking stones in my convection oven.  I always under bake slightly and let set on stones to finish.  I also added about an extra 1/4 cup flour, which I often do to cookie recipes to give them more fullness and chewiness.

smore 3

Soft and Chewy S’more Cookies
Author: Jen@CarlsbadCravings.com
Serves: 3 dozen 2″ cookies  (of course I doubled the recipe 🙂 )
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Hershey bars, broken
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  1. Cream together butter and sugars; mix in egg and vanilla.
  2. Add flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda and salt. Mix until smooth.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips and chocolate chunks until well combined.
  4. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto cookie sheet about 3 inches apart.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Remove and quickly press marshmallows into cookies. Return to oven and cook until done, about 3-4 minutes

smore 4If you like s’mores, you will love these cookies.

I’ll be making these for Jackie’s wedding – most likely AGAIN – as I’m not sure these will last……

Cheers and Hugs,