Yes, Virginia, there is a vegan Pittsburgh. It may appear at first thought to be as mythical as the jolly and bearded man in red, but I have seen with mine own eyes the vegan goodness that Steel Town USA has to offer … and it is delicious.
Pittsburgh is known for many things: rivers, bridges, steel, a green revolution that is currently underway, Pirates, Penguins, and, of course, the greatest football team to grace God’s Green Earth: the Steelers.
Pittsburgh also has quite the culinary reputation:
Large, overstuffed sandwiches a la Primanti Brothers
Stuffed and fried pierogies
Chipped ham sandwiches
Iron City Beer (to wash down your big sandwiches)
Not exactly a vegan paradise, eh? Unless, of course, you enjoy pickle and ketchup sandwiches. Then I would say that’s totally acceptable because of your pregnancy and would hand you a water instead of an Iron City to wash down your sammie.
I grew up in Pittsburgh, and I love that city. My mother still lives in the city, as do friends, and it is always a joy to visit. Dan and I just spent 10 days in the ‘Burgh and we ate our way from one end of the city to the other. Previous visits have been hit or miss in terms of eating – I had a few places that I knew of where I could go for good vegan eats but not many. This time, however, Lena had done her research and was an awesome guide to the vegan eats of Pittsburgh. Here are my top recommendations for a vegan-friendly time in the ‘Burgh:
This place is amazing. You choose your base flavor of ice cream (there are vegan and non-vegan flavors) and then you choose from over 100 mix-ins (many of which are vegan) to create your own custom flavor. I got a little overwhelmed by the possibilities and went with one of their suggested combos – mint chocolate chip ice cream with crushed Newman-Os, espresso grinds, and crushed peppermint sticks mixed in – and it was memory-making. You absolutely have to plan a Sunday morning trip here, as well. Sunday is waffle day at Oh Yeah and you can have your choice of waffle (with mix ins) served with your favorite ice cream combo on top. We made it to waffle day both Sundays we were in town. I can enthusiastically recommend the cinnamon waffle Belgian style with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream on top. What a way to start your day …
Lena in front of Oh Yeah!
This super cute locally owned and operated bakery in Lawrenceville made me smile just for the fact that it is a locally owned and operated bakery in Lawrenceville that serves up both vegan and non-vegan goods to a crowd of regulars. I sampled a hostess-like cupcake and chocolate chip cookie. I am very picky with my vegan baked goods, and these cupcakes passed my litmus though they could benefit from a makeover – they are a touch dry and crumbly. The cookie reminded me of the grocery store bakery big cookies I used to love as a kid (my mom is not a cookies-from-the-oven kind of gal) and for that I found it quite endearing and enjoyable. The coffee here was quite good, as well. The staff is friendly and the gal behind the counter was open to answering my questions about their cupcakes and ingredients. I actually made a vegan cosmo cupcake for Lena and Ryan’s 4th of July barbecue that was inspired entirely by my conversation with the woman at Dozen.
I love this place. They are vegan happy and friendly and delicious. This time around I fell in love with the Thai Curry Burrito with tofu and the Herb O’Vore’s Tofu Tacos. They even have tofu sour cream to keep you happy.
If it’s summer then you should cook out. I love to visit northern cities because there is no better energy than that of a city that is coming out of winter hibernation to play in the sun. Toss some food on the grill, make some fresh lemonade, and eat outside. Those long days of summer can’t be beat (here in the islands it starts getting dark around 7:00 in the summer).
In non-food related notes ….
If you are in the Pittsburgh area, I highly recommend that you indulge yourself with an organic facial at Bloom Organic Skincare Parlor, another locally owned and operated small business in Lawrenceville. Erinn, the owner and operator, is a walking advertisement for why this is a good idea. When she opens the door to welcome you into the parlor you won’t be able to stop yourself from coveting her glowing skin. I enjoyed the Bloom Custom Facial Treatment – it was an hour of pampering at a reasonably priced $50.
Enjoy the city!