Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Trunks, Hot Dogs, and Chili

Saturday was a day where we kinda sorta had an idea of what we wanted to do, but no definite timelines.  DB~ got an e-blast from Construction Junction about some storage trunks they got in, so we wanted to get down there early on Saturday before they all got sold.  We also knew that we wanted to check out a chili cook-off in Swissvale to support her not-really-a-blood-relation uncle Paul.  But in between we were just going to wing it.

We got to Construction Junction at 9:15 and there was still one trunk left to buy.  DB~ will strip it and re-stain it, so that will keep her busy and off the mean streets for a little bit of time.  We wandered all throughout the warehouse and saw some cool things; DB~ was making a mental checklist of future Pinterest-inspired projects and what she could scavenge from here.  We spotted some old slate roof tiles -- 10 in a bundle for $8 -- and thought they would be cool to use as menus for when guests come for dinner.  We'll just write the menu in chalk on them.  Then DB~ had the really good idea of putting some felt on the bottom and using them as serving trivets, as well.

After we walked out of the Junction, I suggested we should check out the East End Food Co-Op, as neither of us had ever been there.  It was right down Penn Avenue from the Junction in a (presumed) renovated factory called... The Factory.  We didn't realize the Co-Op was on the complete other side, so we drifted all throughout the Factory following the array of signs directing us until we got outside and went around the block.  The East End Co-Op is like a less pretentious Whole Foods.  Lot of dirty hippies and earthy-cool-urban-dwelling parents and kids.  We got this awesome quinoa/kale/lemon prepared salad and couldn't wait to try it.

Since we were right down the street from Station Street Hot Dogs, I suggested that we hit that up for lunch.  DB~ had never been there so she agreed.  Showed up and who was working the line?  Kevin Sousa himself.  Nonchalantly tossing hot dogs together like he's a freshly hired newbie.  He was probably going to leave there and pop in on Union Pig and Chicken before prepping for dinner service at Salt of the Earth.  He may be a cyborg.  Not sure.

I had a Hawaii Dog (pineapple salsa, soy sauce, bacon), but DB~ made the choice of the day with a Falafel.  It had julienned carrots, diced cucumbers, a light application of tahini, and perfectly fried falafel -- not heavy at all.  It was wrapped in a tortilla-pita hybrid.  As it was only a "special", there's no guarantee it will be there when we go back.

At times, I'm a little socially awkward.  At times, DB~ is a little socially awkward.  Everything is fine when at least one of us is 'normal', but then you have lunch at Station Street.  Because we wanted to try our quinoa/kale salad, we felt weird about bringing outside food into Station Street.  So we decided to get it to go and eat in the car....except I parked in the front row where we would be looking into the restaurant as the patrons look at us through the large glass windows.  Solution -- drive next door to the Target and park in their parking garage...while situating the car to look at Station Street.  Urban picnic!

We stopped by to see DB~'s East End dwelling aunt for an hour and then headed to the Chili Cook Off at Pub in the Park.  It was located in....Swissvale?  Maybe?  I think?  It's pretty rare that I'm out of my element in the confines of Pittsburgh and its environs, but this was one of those cases.  I have never been to this part of town before in my life.

DB~'s kinda-sorta uncle was the frontrunner to defend his 2-time chili champ crown at the prestigious Chili Cook Off.  He asked his friends and family to essentially come and stuff the ballot box for him in his quest for a 3rd straight title.  SPOILER ALERT! -- He won again.

Pub in the Park is a neighborhood bar ('s surrounded by row houses) that is a hit with locals and others who drive a bit to hang out here.  It's a no-frills place that still hasn't joined the 2000's yet by accepting credit cards.  But they did have 25 different crockpots of chili to sample.  Her uncle's Baby Back Ribs Chili was very good, but truth be told my favorite may have been a Chicken Cheese Chili that was kind of a cross between chili and mac and cheese.  There was also a good Lasagna Chili, a Pork Shoulder Chili, and a Hickory Smoked 3 Meat Chili.

All in all, it was a very fun day that wasn't planned down to every minute of the day.  Otherwise known as a day kind of foreign to me.

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