Helpful ReplyPittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report

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joerogo
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2016/05/02 18:13:00 (permalink)

Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report

NOTE:  It is with great reluctance that I am doing this trip report.  As you all know, I said I was done doing them.....but......I was hired by Dale as a subcontractor for this one!
 
We started this trip on a very somber note after hearing about Al's passing.  Al, I hope you forgive me for all the times I tried your patience.  You are roadfood.com!  We are all here because of your Solomon like wisdom.
(Photo Courtesy TTM)
 
 
Everybody, please jump in at any time with your photos and stories.
 
My first stops on Thursday were Union Grill for a Turkey Devonshire.

 
And Primanti's in Oakland for a sweet sausage sandwich.


 
Both were home runs!  Believe it or not, the food only got better as the Crawl went on!!!
post edited by joerogo - 2016/05/02 18:31:09
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MetroplexJim
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/02 18:55:51 (permalink)
Good start!
 
No pressure, but - as you emerge from 'retirement' - I'm sure you realize that all we Burgh ex-pats are expecting a Roadfood Hall-of-Fame Report here.  No pressure at all.
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/02 19:21:47 (permalink)
Good start, Joe!
 
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/02 19:53:45 (permalink)
I'll gladly provide Joe Rogo with a lifetime supply of snail salad to finish this report.
We did not spend the entire time with the group, but for the time we did spend, we had a blast.  One thing I did notice is that we barely Saw Mike S and Tricia during the time we were with the group yet it seems like they did participate....My personal highlight during the Pittsburgh Crawl was the Saturday brunch At Enrico Biscotti
By the way.... We are no longer in Charleston and WV and I'm still trying to figure out..... WHERE'S ROGO???
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ann peeples
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/02 20:21:54 (permalink)
I was kinda wondering where you all you were??
 
 
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/02 20:33:35 (permalink)
That Turkey Devonshire looks good. I still don't get the whole Primanti's schtick with the fries on the sandwich. They're opening one of their chain places near me soon, maybe I'll have to give it a go, even if fries aren't my thing.
 
Looking forward to seeing what else you folks came up with.
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/02 20:58:37 (permalink)
Root-Beer Man
That Turkey Devonshire looks good. I still don't get the whole Primanti's schtick with the fries on the sandwich. They're opening one of their chain places near me soon, maybe I'll have to give it a go, even if fries aren't my thing.
 
Looking forward to seeing what else you folks came up with.


Try it.  MH said the same thing.  "EWWWWWW........pastrami on white bread with fries, coleslaw and tomato?  GROSS!"  He tried it once and now he's hooked. 
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/02 21:25:12 (permalink)
Nice start...keep it coming....
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/03 09:16:16 (permalink)
Tuesday, April 26th
 
Arriving at Chicago O'Hare, I had planned on meeting up with ChiBears15.  After having him paged several times with no response, I had worked up quite an appetite, and when you're at ORD, there's only ONE solution for the hungry traveler. 
 

 
Rick Bayless' Tortas Frontera!  Owner of 3 very successful Chicago restaurants including my favorite Xoco, Rick has also produced a beautiful PBS series on Regional Mexican cooking inspired by Mr Regionality, wanderingjew.
 

 
The menu will please everyone from the yogurt bar with numerous toppings to the open-faced molletes, but my go-to, among my All-Time favs is the Tortas.  Enter the line with the warning that everything is cooked to order and will take 10 minutes. 
 

 
While there are several freshly made cold drink choices, Tortas Frontera puts out a killer cup of Joe and it takes all of the ten minute wait for it to reach a safe drinking temperature. 
 

 
The house baked breads are special and really differentiate these tortas from any other.
 

 
The Bacon and Egg combines both ingredients with avocado, cheese and a fantastic bean spread.  The panini roasted sandwich is boxed and accompanied by a small container of Rick's fire roasted pepper salsa.  This is the breakfast of the Gods! 
 
While we're off to a great start but I still need to find ChiBears15 for our flight to join wanderingjew, who was in seclusion at an undisclosed location. 
 
We're just getting going....more to come! 
 
 
post edited by ChiTownDiner - 2016/05/03 11:15:40
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/03 10:02:24 (permalink)
Tuesday, April 26th - continued
 
As wanderingjews seclusionary habits made it difficult to tell the pilot where to go and ChiBears15 had seemingly headed off for a long weekend in Gary, IN. the hand picked selection by Buddy Roadhouse for next year's crawl, I was left alone and opted for direct Pittsburgh.  After the uneventful flight to PIT - didn't everyone have an uneventful flight (CNW)? - I arrived at the beautiful and completely underutilized Pittsburgh Airport. 
 

 
Picking up my rental car, I made the 80 mile drive quickly as Chicago traffic jams stop just short of Pittsburgh.  My destination - Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece, Fallingwater!  Located some 20 miles off the interstate system, my tour began at 2pm with a short walk (1/4 mile) down a stone path.  The house was not visible until we turned around the last bend...and then, our group of 11 all stopped and gazed silently in amazement! 
 

 
Fallingwater is set in the woods, over a stream and waterfall and built into the rock and boulder strewn landscape.  No inside pictures are permitted so you'll either have to visit Fallingwater yourself or go to the website or one of the numerous books written on this unique masterpiece. 
 

 

 

 
Utilizing a well engineered system of cantilevers, the home/mansion is an exciting work of art and piece of history. Ninety percent of the furniture is Wright designed and preserved for generations to come.  Built in 1936 and turned over to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in 1963, considerable sums have been spent on restoration and continued operation.
 

 
Words fail....
 

 
Taking the path to the right on the hike out, a photo op presents itself down a narrow path resulting in The Money Shot!  The path to the right also provides a chance to return to the starting point by the famous 101 step walkway with is breath taking in and of itself.  The house is built over a 20 feet waterfall and I benefited from arriving at peak water flow season. The floating indoor to outdoor staircase shown above is also worth noting.
 
Fallingwater is listed on the top 28 places to visit before you die by the Smithsonian and was a bucket list stop for me.  I was so glad to have enjoyed Frank Lloyd Wright's Masterpiece.  As I write this post, I'm drinking fresh ground, well brewed coffee (attention wanderingjew)  from my new Fallingwater mug...and it tastes even better. 
 
We're just getting going....it's day 1 and there's more to come!
 
post edited by ChiTownDiner - 2016/05/03 11:17:04
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/03 10:10:32 (permalink)
ChiTownDiner
Tuesday, April 26th - continued
  
  As I write this post, I'm drinking fresh ground, well brewed coffee (attention wanderingjew)  from my new Fallingwater mug...and it tastes even better. 
 



I was wondering if the coffee breaks into a cascading fall out of the mug and onto your table as you post your report.
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/03 10:16:10 (permalink)
 
Tuesday, April 26th - continued
 
After the the tour, I made the 80 mile trip back to Pittsburgh to join up with some friends that had moved to Pittsburgh from my hometown.  We spent an hour or so catching up and then it was dinner time.  We drove a short distance and arrived at....
 

 
With a new chef, Breakneck Tavern features an eclectic menu spanning the USA. 
 

 
Most of pictures were lost, but we did squeeze in 7 courses.  Here's a copy of my Facebook post with 3 of our appetizers.  Pork belly sliders (upper right), cheesy shrimp 'n grits and fish tacos.  The food was really good, the company even better. 
 
Presented with a dessert menu, we all were ready to pass until the words homemade gelato were spoken.  Somehow, we all found another gear.
 

 
The only surviving photo from that night features (l-r) blueberry stout, fresh raspberry and Andes mint chocolate chip.  All were very good but the fresh raspberry was the winner for us all! 
 
While it's time to turn in...there's still much more to come!
 
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ChiTownDiner
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/03 10:52:47 (permalink)
Wednesday, April 27th
 
After sleeping in til 6:30am, we enjoyed a nice morning of coffee and conversation and a light breakfast.  Then it was off to the airport to return my rental car and kick things up a notch as I was soon to meet up with Mr. Pittsburgh, the man, the myth, the legend - buffetbuster
 
Cruising around the corner right at High Noon, I knew I was in for a showdown, a week-long showdown.  Glad I brought my big boy pants!  And so it began in Carnegie, a Pittsburgh suburb that like so many, has that gritty, urban, blue collar, backbone of America feel.  After parking, the two of us hiked a full block to our destination...Bakn
 

 

 
Perhaps hipster to some, the place was packed for lunch and we were seated at what appeared to be the last table as this photo was taken after the lunch rush subsided.  As the name implies, Bakn features several styles of bacon on their menu.  What better way to kick things off....
 

 
...than with some Starters!
 

 
And the bacon flight looked like a great place to start.  Cliff will have to chime in here but I remember regular, pepper, maple glazed, and three more. 
 

 
But the star of this show was the Grilled Cheese Flight and it would be one of my top ten dishes of the week.  Regular which means pesto grilled cheese, caramelized onion grilled cheese and both our favorite, blue cheese and fig grilled cheese.  We ordered a side of Bacon Slapped Honey Jam just for good measure and because it rolls off the lips so smoothly!   This stuff is addictive in the way I picture crack cocaine.  It's that good! 
 

 
For lunch, we split....
 

 
...the Pork Belly Cuban.  While we fully enjoyed our starters, and the potential for this sandwich was high, it didn't work.  The mustard was overpowering and would be better replaced by the Bacon Slapped Honey Jam.  The pork belly was unusually lean resulting in the thick cut to be very dry.  Here, fatty would have been better.  We didn't finish this baby.  I'd go back for the starters and a different main any day. 
 
Day 2 has begun...much more to come! 
 
post edited by ChiTownDiner - 2016/05/03 11:20:05
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/03 10:58:46 (permalink)
Grilled cheese AND pork belly. You two really do have serious hipster cred.

I thought Carnegie was rather upscale when I worked in the Burgh-tropolis. Certainly higher end than where I lived.
post edited by JRPfeff - 2016/05/03 11:01:04
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/03 11:07:24 (permalink)
 
Wednesday, April 27th - continued
 
As we began our hike back to the car, We passed this sign...
 

 
...and like a spirit calling out to us, we both turned and went inside.  It's always fun to find something both new and unique, and the The Flying Squirrel qualified on both counts.  Interesting decor and wall art was found in all quadrants.
 

 
But the wall art that got our attention was...
 

 
...this.  After looking over the ice cream, it appeared rather dated as evidenced by the ice crystals.  But our fortunes would change as we realized Leona's Ice Cream Sandwiches were available.  Owner and hostess Meg, pictured in the mirror, extolled the virtues of Leona's as well as alot of the local history and color. 
 

 

 
We made our choices, took delivery of the goods, got our photos and then Meg supplied a sharp knife so we could split 'em up. 
 

 
I went with the blueberry oatmeal lace.  Let me begin by saying that this was one of the best ever ice cream sandwiches...ever!  The ice cream had great flavor depth and was the perfect consistency.  Not to soft, not to hard.  The oatmeal lace cookie was soft enough to bite, not to brittle to break and provided a sturdy support structure as well as imparting its own flavor and texture.  Both of these were fantastic! 
 
With a half block to go and little time remaining on the meter, the first two arriving members of the Beefcake Team hustled back to the car. 
 
It's almost time to expand the group...much more to come! 
 
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/03 12:04:50 (permalink)
Wednesday, April 27th - continued
 
After a brief intermission to unpack and attend to a few communication requests, we were back on the road again for our first meet up at the Back Door Tavern in New Brighton.  Driving through the undulating countryside, I was a bit surprised when the car, seemingly on its own, made a u-turn.  Then it struck me!
 

 
Buffetbuster's car had spotted a candy store, the Rosalind Candy Castle.  Well trained and one up even on a Tesla autopilot system! 
 

 
With almost 75% of the building devoted to the candy preparation side of the business, the retail side was filled with a large variety of candy and chocolate goodies.  The malt cluster was a Bun candy bar sized patty of crushed malted milk balls enveloped in rich milk chocolate.  Yummm!
 
Picked up a pound of fruit slices which were discounted from Easter to $4/lb and still fresh!  Thanks to the buffetbuster-mobile for this stop!  And back on the road we go...to the Back Door Tavern
 
The first arrivals or first respondents all arrived simultaneously as the late sleepers were still outside city limits awaiting permission to enter the city.  We began with the daily soup...
 

 
...stuffed pepper.  I am a huge fan of this soup and while this was good, it lacked the full bodied flavor I know this concoction is capable of.  I enjoy it at a local establishment with bread and butter for dipping and it is much more flavorful and therefore, satisfying. 
 

 
Next up, appetizers in all directions.  Here's a trio from my end of the table with fried scallops, pepper jack cheese balls - fried of course, and a cheese stuffed pretzel with dipping sauce that disappeared faster then a shrimp sausage patty!  There were fried shrimp and lots more, but the reason we were here was for this.
 

 

 

 
Godzilla...say hello to a soft bun!  This Giant Fish Sandwich is a Pittsburgh tavern staple and comes in small (1/2 pound) and large - full pound.  This is the big boy - Dale, this is your que!, and it tilted the table.  While it's sacrilegious to say this, the giant fish sandwich doesn't thrill me like the fish sandwiches of the Florida coast.  Perhaps had Lisa - Lleechef, been here to feed me, it might have rated higher in my eyes.  It's a shame she choose to stay back and feed Michael Hoffman MY cookies!
 
All in all, a nice start to the group portion of the 2016 Pittsburgh Crawl. 
 
The night is still young, which means we've got more to go!  Stay tuned...and for the first, and certainly not the last, #Where's Dale?!
 
 
post edited by ChiTownDiner - 2016/05/03 12:45:42
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/03 12:14:49 (permalink)
Wednesday, April 27th - continued
 
Just down the road a bit is an enormously popular, single location custard stand.  Hank's Custard has provided frozen treats to the local folks since 1952.  It's quite different from the Wisconsin varieties as it is made and frozen solid much more like ice cream than custard.  To me.
 
The lines were long with families and excited kids...big and small!  I went simple...
 

 
...with a large hot fudge sundae with Whitehouse, which is a cherry and vanilla flavor combination.  I added in pecans, whipped cream and a cherry to make it official.  A nice sundae but not in the same league as Kopp's
 
We needed to finish our ice cream as the next stop was a full 20 minutes away!
 
We're gonna finish off the night with a big one-two punch!  Much more to come!
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lleechef
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/03 12:20:03 (permalink)
CHOSE TO STAY BACK????  I'm gonna get you for that one.
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/03 12:42:33 (permalink)
Wednesday, April 27th - continued
 
We headed towards Ambridge, PA. and the famous Police Station Pizza which as it turns out is not really its legal name, not located in a police station, not a pizza  "parlor", but still a unique type of operation.
 

 
Counter ordering only and trunk dining to add to the mystique, Police Station Pizza is a regional one of a kind.  Large rectangular dough trays, about a 1/2 inch thick are baked and stacked on racks.  The back room dough guy had to be 40-50 sheets ahead so I am guessing there are some big orders coming as the night wears on.  The boys up front take the order by slices - 1, 5, 10, 20...etc.   The other front room guys monitor the orders and when the need exceeds the available product, a sheet is removed from the rack, covered in pizza sauce and whisked into large steel-city sized pizza ovens. 
 
As they come out of the oven with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, the slabs are cut in squares, perhaps 3 squares by 4 or 5 squares.  Now the fun part.  You're asked to restate your toppings and they are added room temperature to the top, boxed and served.  Not, repeat not, back in the oven.  The result...
 

 
...looks like this.  Toppings = sausage, mushrooms, sweet pepper rings and extra cheese.  This hearty slice is less than $2.  My last visit to Pittsburgh and I didn't really care for this at another location.  Police Station Pizza made me want a second and third bite!  It's way different from the other 99% of the world, but I enjoyed it much more this time.  Perhaps it was the company! 
 
After some street scene pizza eating, we piled back into the car.  Beefcake1/2 headed back to Cliff's place where new arrival billyboy had just coasted into town from New York.  We joined forces and expanded as Beefcake 3/4 headed for Bruester's Ice Cream parlor.
 
At Bruester's, which was conveniently located for the hotel area many were staying at, our group swelled with new arrivals.  While we enjoyed our third ice cream stop of the day, I glanced at my watch and sent a message that Bruester's would be closing in 10 minutes.  Then, out of the darkness, like a ghost ship arriving in harbor through fog & mist, two headlights appeared and the Roadhouses, both Buddy and Susan stepped out to complete their order at 9:58pm!!!!  All was right with the world!  Another 30 minutes of hello'ing, catching up and chatting sprinkled in with a few hugs and it was time to call it a day. 
 
While it's the end of Day 2, we've got lots more to come...and add-ons to the above stops from all of the attendees...I'm hoping!  #wheresdale
 
Danny - how's things in Gary?
 
post edited by ChiTownDiner - 2016/05/03 12:48:30
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joerogo
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/03 13:03:46 (permalink)
I forgot some people started waaaay earlier in the week!
 
Plus, I don't have too many pics.  I spent most of my time being a hand model for a prolific photographer.
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Ralph Melton
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/03 13:08:37 (permalink)
Many thanks, y'all! I'm glad to see the trip reports.
 
ChiTownDiner
 

 
And the bacon flight looked like a great place to start.  Cliff will have to chime in here but I remember regular, pepper, maple glazed, and three more. 



When I've been there, the bacon flight has included candied bacon and Cajun bacon, but that still leaves one more.
#21
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/03 13:27:48 (permalink)
Sriracha.
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/03 14:55:17 (permalink)
Wow. It looks like a great time....oh that fish sandwich!!
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/03 15:32:54 (permalink)
Has a thread for the 2017 Providence Crawl been started yet?
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/03 15:47:35 (permalink)
JRPfeff
Has a thread for the 2017 Providence Crawl been started yet?



If there is one, I really hope they can find someone who actually has the time to coordinate it.
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/03 17:38:46 (permalink)
JRPfeff
Has a thread for the 2017 Providence Crawl been started yet?

I heard Springfield being tossed around!  Don't know what State, but I definitely heard Springfield.
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/03 17:42:34 (permalink)
joerogo
JRPfeff
Has a thread for the 2017 Providence Crawl been started yet?

I heard Springfield being tossed around!  Don't know what State, but I definitely heard Springfield.




And I found just the guy to coordinate it!
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ChiTownDiner
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/03 18:33:38 (permalink)
wanderingjew
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Has a thread for the 2017 Providence Crawl been started yet?



If there is one, I really hope they can find someone who actually has the time to coordinate it.




First Trip Reports, now Roadfood visits from out-of-state guests...you're quickly becoming a Taker and and dropping all pretense of being a Giver....
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/03 18:40:53 (permalink)
ChiTownDiner
wanderingjew
JRPfeff
Has a thread for the 2017 Providence Crawl been started yet?



If there is one, I really hope they can find someone who actually has the time to coordinate it.




First Trip Reports, now Roadfood visits from out-of-state guests...you're quickly becoming a Taker and and dropping all pretense of being a Giver....




Step inside my shoes for a week and you'll see what I mean..... Whatever spare time I had has been taken away from me. The dynamics of my job has changed dramatically over the last 2 1/2 - 3 years and there is nothing I can do about it and it certainly won't get any better...only worse and I should be be thankful I have a job to go to ....In addition, I can't sacrifice my health, which has already been compromised.
post edited by wanderingjew - 2016/05/03 18:43:36
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joerogo
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Re: Pittsburgh Crawl 2016 Official Trip Report 2016/05/03 19:58:56 (permalink)
While we wait for the next installment of Roadfood from this great city, let me ask residents, visitors and ex-pats if they ever heard of St. Nicholas Church in Millvale?  I know I never did, yet, it's on the National Historic Registry.  I can thank another Pittsburgh Treasure, Rick Seback, for bring this to my attention.  Rick is in the business of promoting everything Pittsburgh, and we were lucky enough to share two meals with him.
 
Several of us attended a tour of the church on Saturday.  I can tell you one thing, it's not like any other church I have seen.  The church is known for its murals painted by Croatian Artist Maxo Vanka.  Vanka first painted murals after WWI and the rise of fascism in Europe.  Then again after the start of WWII.  His themes of social justice and his disdain for war are striking in his presentation on the murals.  My pictures came out pretty bad, this is the best reference I can find on the internet.  My opinion, this rivals any artwork I have seen in my lifetime.  If you are in Pittsburgh, take the church tour, then, stroll around Millvale.  Watch this video first!  
 
I'll post some of the photos I can lighten up.
 

One of the most striking murals is called The Capitalist.  It shows a man reading the stock report while enjoying a table full of food and being served by his servant.  All while showing indifference to the man begging at the bottom of the table.  Above, an Angel is shunning him, and from the side, the fiery hand of Satan is reaching out for him.
 

 
Opposite is The Croatian Family.  Showing a Croatian family having a simple meal, being watched over by Jesus.
 
And that is basically the theme for the murals.  Showing two sides to war and immigrant life in that time period.
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