Some friends and I went to a student karaoke night during my semester abroad in London. As we were heading over to the university pub, I decided that I’d sing “Wonderwall.” Classic crowd-pleaser. Just as I walked over to the signup sheet, some English chick starts on the mic with “Today is gonna be the day that they’re gonna throw it all back to you.” Brit stole my song.
The only obvious choice at that point was “Let it Be.” The Beatles and a room full of wasted British people; I couldn’t go wrong. The university pub was packed by the time I got to the stage, and I clearly remember three blonde guys immediately put their arms around one another as I started to sing. Things were getting real emotional. So I sang, drink in hand, while my friend Jeff took pictures and my friend Rebecca (likely) tried to convince the bartender to let her dance on the bar.
Things were going really well. Everyone was swaying and singing along. Then I got to the musical interlude. I didn’t want to just stand there for a whole 40 seconds, so I decided to take the opportunity to make a speech. (Might be beneficial to queue up the song for this part right here, for storytelling purposes). “I’d like to give a shout out to my mom, asleep on Long Island. To my dad, who asked my mom to stop calling me because my international phone bill is ridiculous. To my friends, here tonight. And finally, to America. God Bless the USA!”
I actually don’t have any idea WHY I said that last part, but with the crescendo in the interlude, it just felt right. Those three British guys with their arms around one another cheered. I honestly think people were too drunk to realize I’d just proclaimed US prominence in international waters. It was a great night.
This story has absolutely nothing to do with my recent trip to Pittsburgh, except for that I read Mindy Kaling’s book on the plane. In it she suggests everyone have a curated inventory of karaoke songs on hand for any occasion. Noted.
I went to Pittsburgh to visit my friend Danielle, who is there for grad school. She’s about to become an architect! It’s so strange when people you’ve known since you were five go off into the world and do real things with large pieces of paper and rulers. Danielle and I had a great time exploring Austin together, so I was really excited for this trip.
My friend Halley–a chef, and someone who knows A LOT about food–is a Pittsburgh-to-Brooklyn transplant, so she sent over some great food recommendations.
Pittsburgh is suuuupah cute. Like a little mini Georgetown in some parts, a little mini Downtown Manhattan in other parts, and a not-so-little-or-mini college town in other, other parts. Clean, walkable, good people. Everyone “bleeds black and gold.”
Here are some restaurants we really enjoyed:
Sriracha on every table is ALWAYS a good sign. Wood tables, cool decor. Get the Pork Belly Steamed Buns. I completely could have eaten 25 of these. Danielle got Pad Thai and I got Street Noodle 1, which was topped with perfectly crisp, light, and not at all greasy Thai fried chicken.
Not too hungry when we walked in for dinner, we ended up finishing off two pies (Fresh Ricotta and Prosciutto) and a bottle of wine. Only weird part, and I’m not complaining here, is that the waiter brought us all the desserts. Not a figure of speech here, we literally got all of the desserts without ordering them. The Arborio Rice Pudding was my fav.
I initially didn’t want to go here because I was doing the no cheese/not much meat thing since New Year’s BUT as you know from the blurbs above, that was thrown out the window over Thai friend chicken and pizza. We went and it was a great decision. Danielle and I split their classic sandwich–which is piled high with french fries, tomato, coleslaw, and provolone by default–with roast beef. A pickle, too, for good measure.
Overall a very exciting and seemingly up-and-coming restaurant scene in Pittsburgh! Now go figure out your top three karaoke songs.