FOOD: Welcome to Pittsburgh, Let’s Eat!

Primanti Bros. grilled chicken sandwich (upper left), Pergoies (lower left), Iron City Beer (right panel)

Primanti Bros. grilled chicken sandwich, Pergoies, Iron City Beer (right panel)

The Couch Sessions has graciously agreed to let me share some amazing test kitchen experiences and foodie adventures with you, straight from the City of Bridge. The food isn’t too fancy here in Pittsburgh, more down home European, but there are 3—4 very important food and drink items you can find at almost any restaurant. I can’t promise you’ll find the best at every restaurant, but you’ll find them.

1. The French Fry – Pittsburgh is known for putting fries on EVERYTHING, from salads to sandwiches. Two of the city’s most popular French fry creations can be found at Premanti Bros. and Zorba’s. If you haven’t tried it yet, next time you’re out, reach over and grab some fries from your friend’s plate and add them to your guilt free salad. Hey, it’s a medium guilt way to get the best out of your meal, plus your friend doesn’t need all those calories anyway!

2. With the amazing population that derived as a result of Eastern European immigrants, Pittsburgh has some of the most amazing Eastern European food, which of course comes fully Americanized with American cheese for our pallets. Pierogies, if you haven’t tried them, are essential a dumpling stuffed with cheese and mashed potato (and sometimes lots of other yummy stuff), then sautéed with onions until golden and blistery. These puppies are another Pittsburgh favorite; often served with a side of Kielbasa and onions. Perogies can be found on almost every Americana restaurant menu in Pittsburgh, and even a few Greek, Asian, and Latino menus too. Every chef has their own recipe, in my opinion the best come from Gosia’s in the strip district’s Public Market. They always have the best balance in flavor and bang for your buck.

3. Third on the list is beer, and I guess what city doesn’t just love beer. For Pittsburgh, Iron City is at the top of the list. Here in Pittsburgh you can find the “imp and arn” (Imperial Canadian Whiskey and Iron City Beer), as a drink on just about any bar menu. I can’t speak much for the taste, personally I prefer the deconstructed version; just so I can drink my sweet whiskey on the side.

4. Pittsburgh doesn’t really have a traditional dessert but you can leave it to the wide variety of European population I mentioned earlier to make sure all your food bases are covered. What I’ve thus far found in just about any bakery is Baklava, Pitzles and donuts; yes I said donuts. They are great at any hour of the day. E2, a trendy little spot in the Highland Park area, has an amazing menu dedicated to fried dough. The Greek population can always hook you up with baklava and interestingly it can also be found in Asian restaurants as well (but I’d watch out for that if I were you).

When you’re tired of making that loop between New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC – swing down to Pittsburgh and check out our culinary artistry.