Beet Greens, Bees, Bardine’s and Babies – A Beautiful Day!

Yesterday was  my idea of a perfect day. It kinda started the night before at a wine tasting at Palate Partners/ Dreadnought Wines, where Eric Miller from Chaddsford Winery was signing his new book, and Debbie at Dreadnought was sampling six different wines.  Too fun.  Too much fun, maybe?  Look at the photo below.

My best photo from the wine tasting. Hmm. A little too much wine, maybe?

The joy spilled over into Saturday, when I met so many great people, got to wander around, tasted some new foods and saw an amazing pre-Mother’s Day event.  Saturday started with a visit to the Farmers’ Market Cooperative of East Liberty for some PA cheese and a few baked goods. A quick drive to the Strip for the season opening on Farmers@Firehouse was next, where I bought some asparagus, tender beet greens and chard, and got to meet Lucinda from Paradise Gardens and Farm. I’ve enjoyed her super fresh goat’s milk products for a while now and love putting a face to the name behind the goodies.

Finally, I meet Lucinda!

Then on to Salem’s (2923 Penn Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15201-1518,  412- 235-7828) for some Middle Eastern goodies and Greek treats at Salonika, both in the Strip.  I love these stores because the selection is great, the parking is easy and they’re a little bit away from the Saturday craziness of Penn Ave on a Saturday. And look at the happy exterior of Salem’s.


Next stop?  A quick drive ( it’s on the way home) to Lawrenceville to find the perfect last minute M-Day gift.  The Gallery on 43rd proved to be the right choice – not only did I find the perfect mosaic for mom, but I also had energizing conversations with Jennie from Bee Happy Honey, Zo Re of  ZoBaby and Mona of The Artful Tart.  Wonderful women.  By then, I was way behind schedule, and I needed to check the route for part of my upcoming Italian tour.  Mapquest wasn’t working for the backroads out near Latrobe, so I had to test the route myself. It was one of those afternoons with sun, rain, dark clouds and blue skies, all within minutes of each other. Fabulous.

The sky outside of Bardine's

With tour route nailed down,  I decided to pop into  Bardine’s Smokehouse in Crabtree to introduce myself, as I had written about them in the May issue of Frommer’s Budget Travel, and although I shop there frequently, I thought I should probably let them put a face to the name on the story.  Gary Bardine, the owner, was there and we had a long chat about sausagemaking and his passion for quality.  Thank goodness for people like Gary.

On the way back to Route 22, through gorgeous spring farmland, I noticed a cow standing in the field, looking kind of odd. I stopped to stare and right then and there she gave birth to a calf. Oh, my.  I pulled over and watched for a bit, then took some photos as the little one tried to stand for the first time.  It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

A mom's first Mother's Day!