Have you seen the You Tube video of Casey, the 9 year old schnauzer from Murrysville?  Rebecca, the family’s daughter had been in Slovenia for two years and when she finally comes home, he’s so excited he faints. Its pretty cute.

Pittsburgh’s always taken pride in our ethnic diversity.  Although we never received a huge influx of certain ethnic groups as many other large cities have, we still have our representation from around the world.  We have a number of ethnic bakeries that create a host of delicacies from their home as well as a fusion of items that’s a hybrid of different cultures.  We have several Asian bakeries like The Pink Box Bakery and Cafe  that just opened on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill.  In addition to cakes and cupcakes, they have more adventurous items like pork taro buns, strawberry coconut layered bun and green onion pork bun for the more adventurous.  Also on Murray Avenue is Bubble Pi Baking Arts.  She’s know for her flavored teas with tapioca “bubbles” on the bottom, many western sweets and standard Taiwanese bakery items.  For a Korean twist, also on Murray Avenue there’s Sumi’s Cafe.  She makes red bean bread, mango cream bread, taro buns in various flavors are available.  There’s several well known French bakeries around as well.  There’s some lesser know like Jean Marc Chatellier’s French Bakery on North Avenue in Millvale.  In addition to those pretty confections that look to pretty to eat like their tartelettes and Pari-Brest pastries they have pretty substantial quiche Lorraine and crisp and buttery Brenton cakes.  La Gourmandine Bakery and Pastry Shop on Butler Street in Lawrenceville also as those “too pretty to eat” pastries as well as more substantial fare like the Jambon Croissant  which has sliced ham, melted cheese and is covered with bechamel sauce.  There’s the Greek Gourment also on Murray Avenue that’s more of a deli but also carries homemade honey soaked baklava and some other Greek pastries.  Out in Beaver, there’s a Czech bakery that makes all kinds of Kolache, hence the name Cafe Kolache, a Czech tradition that doesn’t use overly sweet doughs.  So the fit well with traditional sweet fillings as well as more substantial ham, bacon and veggies.  For an Italian bakery, Moio’s Italian Pastry Shop on Wm Penn Hwy in Monroeville has been around since 1935.  Specializing in cannoli with a wide array of fillings and pasticciottie and sfogliatelle.  Main Street in Butler is the location of Dolce Mia, of Italian heritage and bent, she also does many non ethnic pastries like cream puffs, cheese cakes and lava cakes.  Biscotti Brothers is located in Greensburg, but you can find them all over the city (they also ship all over the country).  In addition to the many flavored biscotti’s they are known for, they also make cannoli, pizzelles, cakes and pies.  Over on Brookline Blvd, Pitaland has been cranking out Pitas and other baked on premise Mediterranean fare.  Besides their pitas (which you also see all over the city), they also carry baklava and rolls filled with everything from apricot, coconut, cashews, apples or strawberries.  They serve their Lebanese treats and meals in their Cafe.  It may be the excuse you need to go over to see Brookline’s new street face that was just completed.

Speaking of ethnic and Brookline, it’s one of our neighborhoods with a large diverse options.  In addition to Pitaland, there’s Daree Salam African Grocery,   they sell staple African cooking ingredients and are happy to share family recipes. There’s Las Palmas Carniceria Y Supermercado, they carry a lot of Latin food products not easily found in many Pittsburgh markets.  They also make street tacos right out front!  Their Mexican bakery is set to open soon right down the street.  Brookline also has a barbershop that’s been in operation continuously since 1947, Sal’s BarbershopCannon Coffee is the local coffee shop.  It’s Greek to Me is a Mediterranean restaurant with homemade hummus, gyros, souvlika and lamb kebabs among other Lebanese and Syrian foods.   For Italian fare, Mateo’s owner/chef, originally from Calabria, has been whipping out Italian meals there since 2008.  And for your sweet tooth, Party Cake has been in operation since 1964 with it’s 1960’s facade.

Are your ready to “cut the rug”?  The Pittsburgh Area Jitterbug Club meets twice a month at various locations.  Founded in 2003, they boast 200 members from as far away as Ohio.  And it’s not just Jitterbug, they also do Cha Cha, Hustle, polka, West Coast, East Coast and others.  Check out their website to learn more about they’re all about and schedules.

The Hollywood Theater in Dormont just passed a milestone.  They’ve been doing fund raising for about a year now, trying to buy the new projection equipment they need.  The film industry no longer sends movies out on reels and they are even phasing out DVD/Blu-Ray discs.  The new digital format is done as an anti piracy precaution as well as a better final product with the film.  But it doesn’t come cheap, the new projectors cost of $60K!  A lot of money for anyone, let alone a small non-profit.  When their old projector started dieing in June, they new they had to take a leap to stay afloat.  They started a Kickstarter campaign needing a little over $7k more for the down payment.  They ended up raising $10k and are ready to make the leap.

Speaking of Kickstarter, Randy from Randyland recently ran a Kickstarter campaign.  There’s that map of the Northside he painted on the side of one of his buildings a number of years ago.  The paint hasn’t held up and the vinyl he used for the street names pealed of years ago.  So he wanted to raise $10k to get the proper materials to make a more permanent map.  He also passed his fund raising goal.

Pittsburgh got a 200th birthday present early (we were incorporated in 1816), the National League of City’s will be holding their 2016 convention in the city.  Although the number of attendees doesn’t make it a huge conference (they estimate 5,000 attendees), those attending will be the folks that run most of the major cities in the country.  Very prestigious.  It is scheduled of November 16 – 19 of that year.

OK, this will be my only rant this post.  There’s a lot of people up in arms (pun intended) about the military downsizing because of sequestration.  #1, we shouldn’t be going through a sequestration, the lawmakers with all their lavish lifestyles should come up with a sustainable budget.  But putting that aside, they fired 1,200 captains last month and 550 majors got the axe this month.  They are going up to these officers, some still on duty in a combat zone in Afghanistan and telling them they need to leave, go home and prepare to be processed out of the army.  How cold is that?  The military are the organizations that “lost” BILLIONS of dollars of equipment in Afghanistan.  These are the organizations that have spend $800 on a toilet seat!  We can’t pave our roads, educate our children, replace aging water and sewer lines and the military has a 640BILLION dollar budget and are complaining about cuts.  Lets get real!

OK, thanx for being patient with me, my rant is over and I do feel better.

I also feel better because the numbers are in for July and we had the biggest month ever since I opened in Florida in 2000.  Thank you to all my wonderful guests, I love you.


  • Ed,

    Really great post. So much action in the city and you really have a great handle on it! Have some friends from Canada coming into town in the fall…. hoping to make our way to the Parador for a few!


    • Thanx Justin. I try and cover events around town to encourage visitors to da ‘burg to come and visit, as a resource for locals, support small local businesses and the occasional rant. 🙂

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