Pittsburgh to Portland Series: The Bird’s the Word

Years ago, I was forced into becoming a professional foodie. My casual dining career suddenly upgraded with the launch of our new All-American bistro and, like most sales and marketing “experts”, I had to cram for finals, or in this case, our grand opening. With stacks upon stacks of Food & Wine issues to peruse, I learned two important facts: Coq Au Vin is French for “your entire day is f**ked” and Dana Cowin  is obsessed with Portland, Oregon.

Since then, I’ve finally “mastered” the preparation of Coq Au Vin simply by purchasing a Dutch oven and use of vacation days (the restaurant biz can be brutal). Also, several years and few boyfriends later, I hopped a plane from the Steel City to finally visit Rip City. Continue reading

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Pinball and Playmates

Tell us about a sensation — a taste, a smell, a piece of music — that transports you back to childhood.

On  a few occasions in the early 80s, my sister and I were dropped off at Grandma’s house in a small town, Herminie, PA. Both my grandmother and grandfather had died within a few years of each other (a mark of true love) and the three bedroom “estate” was now run by a few of their nine plus children (I still have no idea how many babies Edna Mae birthed), including my mother’s fraternal twin, Aunt Maggie.

She was a bit of a loner and, in my mind, one of the lucky ones. She never married but remained totally devoted to her parents, sisters and their silly children. I never liked Herminie. My grandfather’s brood was one of maybe three black families in the area and, well, it wasn’t fun being not white in a redneck town. This particular fact is what I attribute to why my Aunt frequently visited the local bar. And, babysitting would not deter her much needed pilgrimages to her Holy Grail containing whiskey. Or was it vodka?  Continue reading