The Squirrels in Squill

Ever wonder how the neighborhood of Squirrel Hill got its name? According to the Squirrel Hill Historical Society:

“Before the advent of the Europeans, Squirrel Hill was a wilderness area used as an Indian hunting ground. During the 1760’s, Squirrel Hill was a pioneer farming community that also included Indian traders. Its main attraction was that it was a wilderness area where land was free, there was wild game to hunt, etc., but it was nonetheless not too far from the protection of Fort Pitt.

“Squirrel Hill has always been known for its abundance of gray squirrels in the days of the early pioneers, the squirrels were so numerous that their chatter created a din.”

Find more than you ever wanted to know about the pioneer days of this neighborhood from the group’s web site. The site is regularly updated with news and events, and the group meets regularly at the Sixth Presbyterian Church on the corner of Forbes and Murray Avenues.

Your vote can help the Steelers beat Green Bay

Show your support for the STEELERS! It only takes 5 seconds & end world hunger

Go to and vote for the
Pittsburgh Steelers! This year, two NFL teams will earn donations of
Campbell’s soup to the food banks of their choice. For the team with the
most clicks, Campbell’s will get the stats for all the players on the
team’s official roster and donate the team’s total weight in cans! So
far, the Green Bay Packers remain the undefeated Click for Cans champs
will they stay on top, or will they get a run for their money this year?
It’s up to you! Take a moment and click and pass it on to others to
help fight hunger in The Burg.

The place for Sunday brunch

When you think of the finest in Pittsburgh cuisine, you tend to think of delicious foods that go straight for the old ticker. Perogies and onions dripping in butter, sandwiches stacked six-inches high with fries. You probably don’t think of organic vegetarian fare served up on thick painted glass inside an antique store. The Zenith Café on 26th and Sarah in the South Side serves up some amazing grub. Sunday brunch done right. For 10 bucks, you get a choice of entrée, coffee, and access to the buffet. My recent Zenith experience was all about their egg and veg creation. Not sure what it was but damn was it good. Now there’s all sorts of stuff on the buffet, but the cake and pie selection is phenomenal. Vegan chocolate cake, peanut butter pie…

So the food is amazing but the vibe is what makes the place. I recently brought an out-of-towner to Sunday brunch and we sat at a table with four others. We shared eggs with two artists, a computer engineer, and bartender/singer. Good people, some hilarious stories, and helpful info (I learned about Free Ride — a non-profit recycle-a-bike shop in Point Breeze.).

Yeah, Pamela’s knows pancakes, and the egg sandwich at Ritter’s is immortal, but Zenith is worth a visit. Go there once and you’ll be back.

Check out their website at

Weekend Wrap-Up

Alrighty, so it’s 5am on a Sunday morning in the Blitz and even though there’s about 20 hours left to go, I feel inclined to write a weekend wrap-up. Forgive me. I hope every ‘burgher, be they resident, transplant or visitor, had a wonderful holiday.

Here are 3 things I am thankful for this weekend:

1. The downtempo playing at Tuscany Cafe (in the South Side on Carson St.) on the weekends. Smooth. I don’t know why more of you aren’t there on Saturday night! 😉

2. The only graffiti in the women’s bathroom in the Shadow Lounge which reads: “You are infinitely beautiful.” I mean, it’s bathroom graffiti.

3. The ice sculpter we met today at 4am in Tom’s Diner on Carson in the South Side. He specializes in Indian weddings and the goddess of love. (Sorry, we didn’t get his card. But he wears Steelers gear and hangs out at Toms. ) This ice sculptor also moonlights as a chef, and told us about a tasty appetizer: deep-fried bananas … wrapped in bacon. (!) (Yes, this was revealed without any prodding from me.) We’ve got some fascinating folks in this town, I am telling you.

Thanks for a fun weekend, PGH!

Bloomfield Sandwich Shop

On Tuesday, a friend) and I were wandering around Liberty Ave. in Bloomfield looking for some ice cream. Instead we ended up at The Bloomfield Sandwich Shop for some scrambled eggs and toast and homefries. And good conversation. And friendly people. All for only $1.99! Breakfast is served all day, and it’s so cheap, you might think you need glasses.

We learned that owners Roz and Mike started out working there, and eventually acquired the business. We learned that folks from the neighborhood have been coming in every morning for years. We learned that one regular even buses it from McKeesport every single day to see old friends. No wonder – Roz was totally awesome and made us feel completely at home.

Don’t be shocked – the joint is small – and probably has less counter space than your own kitchen, and there isn’t even enough room to open the refrigerator door. You get the feeling that you are in your auntie’s living room (if your auntie had a counter, diner chairs, and deep fryers in the house.) The food is cooked right in front of your eyes. It’s all part of the charm.

Roz even asked us if we had any Thanksgiving plans – the shop is offering a free T-giving meal (tomorrow, from 10am to 2pm) for anyone far from home or in need of impromptu friends and family.

The Bloomfield Sandwich Shop is open from 8am to 4pm Monday through Saturday, and from 8am to 2pm on Saturdays. It’s on 4613 Liberty Ave. 412-687-8443.