Another weekend on the go! But certainly one that, like my birthday weekend at home, I wouldn’t trade for anything. I’m back in Chicago, once again, but this week is going to be pretty busy itself—no rest for the wicked, you know. Before that happens, however, I want to reminisce about my fantastic 40-something hours (is that all?!) in Pittsburgh.
My reason for going to Pittsburgh this week was my dear friend Caitlin’s wedding. For those who don’t know—Caitlin and Sarah are actually the reason Suzlyfe exists! I had become friends with them on their blogs and social media, and it was a result of their final push/encouragement and support that I created this little place. I really think that my trip to meet Caitlin last year marks the beginning of a tremendous period of growth for me—I had just left my job, I was sort of adrift (and injured), and I was taking a leap of faith in so many ways. But that trip and our friendship has been one of the best investments I have ever made. And even though Alex couldn’t make the wedding, there was no way I was going to!
What to do with 40 hours in South Side Pittsburgh:
Eat. Drink. People Watch. Hang out with Friends. Explore.
I can do that.
Friday night I ended up at Nakama, a sushi and hibachi restaurant that I had seen in some publication, and let me tell you, I made a good choice. And after Jess had mentioned Asahi on twitter during one of our conversations, I decided to try that! Um, love it! I got Nakama onion soup (like a like French onion soup of sorts), seaweed salad (unpictured), and the Mango Tango roll (avocado, tuna, and asparagus wrapped in soy paper topped with mango, scallion, jalapeno, and a mango sauce). So freaking good.
After hanging out there and finishing my beer, I decided to go in search of froyo, which I did photograph and share but which I nevertheless have no guilt over.The reason that I wanted to share it was because they had one of my favorite flavors: Taro! You know the white and purple speckled chips in the Terra chips bags? That is taro. It is a very popular tropical root, and the flavor of the froyo is like an Original tart but with more sweet than tart. That’s pretty much the only way to describe it. Plus, it’s purple.
After that, I went and hung out at a coffee shop with a decaf Americano while I waited for Caitlin and Joe to finish up at the rehearsal dinner so that we could go for drinks at Acacia. Once they were en route, I headed over there and ended up chatting with the bartender about Chicago dining, liquors of various types, and mixology. BTW Acacia isn’t your ordinary bar—it is a speakeasy, and the “drinks” are incredibly crafted creations that often become entries in the cocktail competitions throughout the city. I couldn’t decide on what to get (and none of the cocktails were really speaking to me), and then I saw a Rye whiskey from Chicago and wanted to try that.
So Japanese beer, unaged Chicago whiskey. In Pittsburgh. Hmmmmm.
Hang with Friends:
Finally, the crazy kids arrived, I bought them a round, and I hogged Caitlin for an hour or so as we watched drinks get made. Sorry, NOT sorry for monopolizing her. And doing it again the next morning!
Saturday was FREAKING GORGEOUS. C and I met up early for a walk along the river (we would have run, but she was threatened by her stylist under pain of death not to mess her hair up).
After we parted, I went and changed and got my run in before brunch with Gretchen!
Eat and Make New Friends:
Saturday, I had breakfast at the hotel and then brunch/lunch with Gretchen! We met at Urban Tap and chattered away for well over an hour. Such a sweetheart! And I’m so jealous, she is going on a crazy amazing trip to Europe at the end of the week (?). I DIE. But she had Frisbee business to get to, and I had to go and get somethings before I got ready.
Pull a Suz:
Fall asleep for a very brief nap, sleep through your alarm, wake up at 3:15 when you have to be at the venue at 4 and it will take you a good 40 minutes to get there (2 miles, in heels). Get CRAZY blisters walking over there, but luckily you are in wedges.
(People) Watch one of your favorite people in the world get married to her love (who you also adore) in a fabulous venue filled with people who love them. By chance sit next to the one person that you really connected with from the Bridal Shower.
A beautiful ceremony, a gorgeous bride, a groom with hair on point (lol, Joe), and just so much love and happiness.
Eat (and drink), Make new friends:
A great cocktail hour, fabulous drinks, omnomnom. Chatting with runners, non-runners, about everything while the bridal party gets taken around for shots around PGH. Bell’s Oberon for the win.
(Watch the couple) dance. I DIE.
Salad and then a magnificent steak. Way too much of it, but it wasn’t like I could give it back, and hey, girl needs her protein!
After a great speech by Joe’s brother and the cake cutting, the COOKIE BAR was opened. I remember from the beginning that Caitlin wanted this, and OMG she is a genius. I am so, so sososososo mad at myself for not taking a picture of it. Think like 20+ types of cookies on a 15 ft long table, with to-go boxes for you to fill as you desired.
This was my “take home” pile. Obviously not the ones that I ate….
And then the cake. Not only was it gorgeous, it was, honestly, one of the best “simple” cakes I’ve yet had. C told me the flavors exactly, but what I would say is that it was a vanilla sponge with a layer of almost Chantilly cream and then a light chocolate mousse that had a hint of coffee to it. Perfectly light, perfectly flavored, and just wow.
Dance, and throw down!
Though I didn’t see any live music during my time in South Side (which I could be berated for), I had a great time chatting with other guests and then dancing with everyone. And you know I danced till the end, particularly after “Turn Down For What” was put on.
It was a beautiful wedding, which I knew it would be, but more important to me than anything was the looks in Joe and Caitlin’s faces when they were looking at each other during the ceremony, and how at ease Caitlin (who is rather spotlight-averse) was in the midst of everything. Being a firsthand witness to her and Joe’s shared and individual happiness and shared love… I couldn’t have asked for more for her. And I wouldn’t have missed it.
Even for Boston. Yup. I said it.
Now I am back in Chicago, after one last morning walk through South Side for some pics for my architecture buffs (hello, 1901 church for sale!). I am back with my little family, making dinner, and getting prepared for the week (probably still doing so as you read this, haha). And now it is raining after a weekend of perfect weather. But I’m almost ok with it, because how can I not be? I spent the weekend watching one of my closest friends marry her best friend, and now I get to come home to my best friend.
A little rain? I can take.
Who else thinks that a cookie bar is genius? When was the last time you went stag to a wedding (most importantly, where you knew minimal people)?
What is more important at a wedding: a good drinks selection or good dessert?
What would you have done with an evening to yourself?