Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New 'Burgh Bloggers

Heidi Price Brayer, a dear friend and fellow O-R alum, has penned an interesting piece for Pop City about several new Pittsburgh bloggers.

Here's an excerpt:

Bite of the Burgh: Julie Gongaware, Mandy McFadden, Sarah Sudar, Laura Zorch

You can never go wrong with a Primanti's Pitts-burger Cheese Steak and an IC Light. 'nough said.

"We're not afraid of food, never have been," says Laura Zorch, one of the four authors and a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University. "I have never been one for diets or even moderation. I said if its good, I'll eat it."

The four friends started Bite of the Burgh in July after the mutual realization when they talked, they often dished about food. Their blog offers up dishes they make at home with thoughts on local dining spots. "I liken it to a 'Have you eaten here?' What's good?'" Zorch says.

Coauthor Mandy McFadden worked for two years as a social media specialist at a firm in the Strip District. She was laid off in July and one of the things she missed most about working in the Strip was all the walkable lunchtime opportunities.

"My favorite is Enrico Biscotti. A lot of people know they have pastries and breads, but they also serve an amazing lunch," says McFadden, who also maintains a personal blog and a photography blog. "I love food. It's a wonderful part of life when you can sit down with people and have a meal and enjoy a conversation. Why wouldn't you take part in that?"

How can life get any better? You have not lived until you have tried Pamela's famous crepe pancakes. (And having them at a very un-breakfasty time makes them even better!)

And while McFadden recently secured a new job in social media, she will miss the former lunchtime opportunities offered by the Strip. But there's hope. "I'll be working in downtown Pittsburgh. The new job's very exciting, but so are the lunch opportunities," she says, adding that she's now within walking distance of Franktuary, another favorite haunt. "They serve all sorts of amazing hot dogs."

Co-author Julie Gongaware, 27, says the four friends are united by their love of food as well as a desire to celebrate the city's unique food offerings. "Pittsburgh food is unique. People underestimate it. If I wanted Ethiopian, I would go to Abay. If I wanted Indian, I go to Ali Babba," Gongaware, 27, says. "There's so many good places in Bloomfield and Lawrenceville."

I don't usually stray away from my go to, cheeseburger. Sometimes that isn't always an option though, say at an Italian restaurant. So I had the next closest thing, angel hair pasta with pesto… I made a fantastic choice which really shouldn't surprise you because I'm full of those. That pesto was the best I've had since high school which is a long story and I don't want to bore you. Just know it was good. Actually better than good.

Gongaware says plans are in the works for a new feature, a "Girls versus Food" with a local Pittsburgh restaurant that's similar to the Travel Channel show Man Versus Food. They're on the hunt for a local food challenge. Any takers?

The photo above of blogger Mike Beattie at 61c Cafe in Squirrel Hill is credited to Brian Cohen.

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