These photos are from a year ago. Not timely and yet, timely enough. A reminder, really. These photos take me back to a special dinner, a collaboration between a rising chef and heartfelt farmers. They take me back to the first summer in our dream house. I was covered in sawdust, deep in projects, and missing the summer bucket list activities we usually prioritized. This midsummer celebration was a way to press pause and feel present in the season.
Pittsburgh's Washington's Landing is largely a quiet place with the occasional rower skimming the Allegheny River or a runner looping over the landscaped trail. Once an industrial brownfield, it's now a small haven that boasts the brightest autumnal palette (and a connection to George Washington himself). In short, it's an ideal spot for a picnic, and fall picnics call for thermoses of piping hot Curry Pumpkin Soup!
On the day of the Tree of Life Synagogue attack, I was styling a wedding. The severity of the situation began to hit as I tied a blue swag of fabric over a chuppah. A Jewish man and a Dutch woman, and their nearest and dearest, gathered to celebrate love and the hope of a long life together. A full band smiled as they sang and played their instruments. The dance floor emitted a palpable joy. It was the most beautiful contrast to one of the city’s darkest days.
Where to Eat in Pittsburgh? Pittsburgh has become quite the foodie destination. Each year, Pittsburgh Magazine tackles the growing list of restaurants and releases its "Best Restaurants" Issue, followed by a major tasting party at Heinz Stadium. This year, I had the opportunity to attend. If you're considering a visit to Pittsburgh, bookmark these restaurants (I've linked to all their websites), and check out the magazine's full guide for a more complete glimpse into the scene. And you can always hit me up for more suggestions. I love talking food!
In addition to the many hats he wears- farmer, beekeeper, graphic designer, photographer, environmentalist– the Urban Farmer also wears a kilt from time to time. Marching and playing the bass drum in the Balmoral Pipe & Drum band is one of the very few activities that motivates my soil-loving fella to wear shoes. These kilt & shoe gigs have made for many a unique weekend adventure to cathedrals, parades, historical festivals, a “Tartan Day” and most recently to the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix.
The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix is an annual car show and races right through the winding roads of Schenley Park, one of the city’s valuable green assets. In architecture school, we learned to use perspective and contour lines to translate our drawing professor’s slides (slides!) of Grand Prix automobiles to paper. Aside from the many sketches and hearing the yearly rumble of cars in race mode, I never really explored this massive gathering of car enthusiasts. However, bagpipe performances, vintage cars, and a sunny day in Schenley Park all called for a picnic, so I packed a farm-influenced egg salad, and to the car show I went!
Strolling through but a small section of the Grand Prix, I gained a new appreciation for these car enthusiasts. I once discounted this annual event as a pompous waste of resources and a flashy display of expensive collections. While I still see elements of excess (i.e.: semi trucks, with more amenities than my apartment, for carting car collections?), I also came to see the celebration of design, quality, old values and the idea of building something to last.
I had to quell the judgmental idealist inside me, acknowledge the charitable underpinnings of the event and simply indulge the side of me who believes in nostalgia, tradition and bringing people together. I also indulged the side of me who really just wants to cruise around town in a vintage, red beamer. After all, I am the owner of this beauty, who awaits some much needed love and care this winter (i.e.: when the Urban Farmer puts on his “mechanic” hat).
I hadn’t the slightest understanding of the racing rules or categories, but the people and car watching enthralled me. Plus, I may have discovered my spirit animal in this real-life Luigi. Consider this a glimpse of my future, white overalls and all!
The engine of this forest green car (above) might be impeccable. It might trace its roots to a pastural English village. I have no idea. I was simply blown away by the leather detail on the spare tire!
I went for the bagpipes, the sunshine and the park picnic, but as it turns out, I’m really a sucker for a red, vintage set of wheels. Whether you’re browsing beamers, a flea market, or simply a park on a sunny day, try this egg salad for your next picnic. You’ll revel in some sandwich nostalgia made healthier and more vibrant by farm-fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Farm Fresh Egg Salad Sandwiches
About this Recipe: Greek yogurt, dijon and local eggs come together with accents of local celery and sweet peppers. You don’t need to measure anything. Just trust your tastebuds and your eyes to achieve the right flavor, color and texture. Using local celery makes a big difference in flavor, and be sure to include the greens. Pick a flavorful mix of greens for the sandwich such as mustard greens, which add a pleasantly bitter accent, much like a hint of wasabi. For a little sweetness, add a slathering of organic relish to the bread.