Breakfast at Bakn

The Pittsburgh neighborhood of Carnegie boasts the cutest local restaurant called Bakn.

Their logo is a little carton pig. It’s used in the wall art, menu and all through the restaurant. Nichola laughed as we discussed what an unorthodox choice this place was for a plant based eater. While they don’t have much on the menu for a vegan eater, there were a few vegetarian choices. This worked great because I’m not super strict, especially when I travel.

I was perfectly happy with my hot cakes, a real treat that I like to indulge in while traveling.

They are Food Network endorsed with good reason. My breakfast was tasty and there was plenty of it. even the menu is fun to read here.

In the neighborhood? Hungry? Just enjoy dreaming over a good restaurant menu? Here you go!

Tomorrow we leave Pittsburgh and move on to other topics. Hope to see you back then!

Christmas at the Phipps

The Phipps is a gorgeous place any day of the week but it turns magical during the holidays.

Nichola knew that my holiday spirit was lacking and kindly took me to the Phipps and some other places that would help with this effort during my Pittsburgh stay.

We will just let the pictures do the talking today.

Katherine Hepburn at the Frick

Katherine Hepburn is known for her acting talent, distinctive voice and daring fashion sense. She’s also one of my favorite film stars.

There’s a traveling exhibit dedicated to her fashion and career and it is currently living at the Frick in Pittsburgh.

The exhibit does a nice job using movie posters, photographs and scripts to tell the story of the costumes. Some costumes are from popular films while others are from her early career and films a bit more obscure.

They also have a selection of her famed trousers which she wore long before it was socially acceptable for women to wear pants.

Check out the quote on the wall. I like her spunk.

As an aside, these pieces are on loan from a large collection at Kent State here in Ohio.

It’s available at the Frick in Pittsburgh for a limited times it will wrap up on January 12 and admission is $15. There’s a lot to see at the Frick and I wrote about that a few days ago. Read more here. It’s a wonderful way to pass a day and I would highly recommend a visit to the Frick of you enjoy art and. history.

Plan your visit here.

At Home with the Frick Family

Imagine being so wealthy that your child’s playhouse is a full size home with a bowling alley addition.

When you buy a Rolls Royce, you have your monogram added to the door. You buy one, not just for yourself, but for your wife and daughter at the same time.

Your art collection is museum worthy and your homes are decadently furnished with the most expensive decor of the day.

As a contemporary of industrialists like Andrew Carnegie, you dabble in manufacturing and financing and build an empire the envy of businessmen everywhere.

This is the story of Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Clay Frick. His family’s story is fascinating and it’s told every day thanks to the forethought, planning and generosity of his daughter Helen who saw to it that the family’s Pittsburgh home and art collection would be accessible to all.

Today, it’s simply known as The Frick. You can walk the grounds, enjoy the hot house flowers, marvel over their car collection and be inspired by their art collection for free. For just a few dollars you can tour the family home as well as whatever special exhibition they have at the time.

When I was there, it was decorated for the holidays and the docent related stories of how the family celebrated Christmas as well as stories of their everyday life.

They also had the traveling Katherine Hepburn exhibition for which there is an additional fee.

I benefited from the generosity of my friend Nichola who purchased a membership for her family, gaining me free access to everything.

If I lived in a city like Pittsburgh, I would have memberships to the Frick and many of the museums I love. Alas, I live in the sticks where museums are rare.

If you go, allow plenty of time to enjoy everything. House tours sell out pretty quickly so it’s best to arrive early to schedule your tour. There’s plenty to do including a cafe and gift shop. However, we had lunch in nearby Shadyside which I wrote about earlier this week. Check it out!

I’ll soon tell you more about the Katherine Hepburn exhibit as well as my friend’s happy place – the Phipps. Come back tomorrow for more!

Shadyside Sweets, Nerd Stuff and a Diner!

If you ever find yourself in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, make your way to Prantl’s Bakery.

It’s a quaint landmark for good reason. Truth be told, I’ve only ever had their Burnt Almond Torte, a delicious little treat that literally melts in your mouth. However, if this decadent morsel isn’t your speed, there’s more to choose from. Lots more.

And while you’re in the neighborhood, there’s a host of cute stores including a fantastic little nerd shop called Kards Unlimited. It’s packed with books, games, stationary and some of the most unique gift items you never knew you needed.

My big splurge this trip was a pretty little pair of green turquoise earrings to match a necklace I purchased there last year. Plus I finally found a black cat Christmas ornament that I couldn’t live without.

Next door to Prantl’s is a Pamela’s Diner. Click here if you want to read about my experience with this funky local chain.

In addition to places to eat and shop, you’ll find that Shadyside is walkable and is home to some talented buskers. This gentleman made my day.

Quirky shopping, sweets and music in the air? Sign me up! In fact, I told Nichola this should be a stop every visit! The neighborhood is also just a stone’s throw from the Frick and some other attractions to keep you entertained.

Want to visit Shadyside? Read more on the Visit Pittsburgh site. If you go, I expect to hear all about it!

Santas From Around the World

If Light Up Night is an indicator, Pittsburgh knows how to throw a party. The atmosphere Friday night was festive and fun, providing ample opportunity to eat, drink and be merry.

There was live music and a fantastic artist who used a chainsaw to create ice sculptures. We shopped a little, heard a fun barbershop quartet, took a spin through Fort Pitt and saw a great laser light show. Not to mention Santa, gingerbread houses, multiple tree lightings, a European Christmas marketplace and fireworks throughout the.evening.

It doesn’t hurt that Zambelli Fireworks is a Pittsburgh company that consistently provides the city with the best fireworks displays around. Friday night was no exception.

But my favorite attraction of the evening was an exhibit called Spirits of Giving From Around the World. It features life sized, lifelike Santas and paintings that depict them in action.

This is a very American thing for me to say but I had never considered how drastically different Santa might be in other countries.

Here’s their American Santa.

But then, this one is from China. Christmas Old Man fills children’s stockings with gifts from a wicker basket he carries. One little girl in line ahead of us was concerned that his basket wasn’t very big. I loved Ireland’s St Stephen. He looks the embodiment of life and fertility. And I was amused by the French Pere Noel who stashes gifts in wooden shoes left out by good children while his mean spirited companion leaves only switches for bad boys and girls. Norway’s Julesven is stunning and reminds me of Old Man Winter personified.

Look at how intricate the details are on his beard.

Here are a few more pictures. Note that Haiti is represented by a woman!

They were just stunning and frankly, the experience was eye opening, leaving me a little ashamed that I had never realized this giving soul would look different in every country.

And you know something? I loved it. I loved learning through this display. And I loved how art and enlightenment were brought to the young and old, disguised as little more than a neat Christmas display.

This exhibit will be available to the public through January 1, 2020. Click here for hours and location.

Christmas, Friendship and Fun in Pittsburgh

I spent the weekend adventuring through Pittsburgh with a friend who lives there.

We kicked off the weekend at Light Up Night, a true Pittsburgh tradition that marks the start of the holiday season. Tree lightings, fireworks, music and food headline a host of activities throughout downtown.

We packed a lot of fun into the weekend and did a good bit of gabbing and eating too. There’s lots to say so I’ll get busy telling these stories soon.

She loves her town and I can certainly see why. Her insider’s tours of the city’s neighborhoods and museums always make me wish for more time – but this means there’s always an excuse to visit again.

How do you know you had a great weekend away? You don’t want to come home and you miss your friend terribly when you do.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about my favorite feature of Light Up Night! Stay tuned!