Pittsburgh, PA

We went to Pittsburgh for the weekend to celebrate our 5-year wedding anniversary/10 year dating anniversary! It was so much fun. We were able to spend time with friends and explore the city.

Pittsburgh is a really cool city. We lived in Pittsburgh for 3 years and then moved back to Columbus. We love that you can go to any burrow based on your mood, Southside for the crazy fun, Shadyside for more chill fun, downtown for a variety of fun, and Fox Chapel for a more low-key and elegant fun.

We stayed at the Omni William Penn Hotel downtown. It was one of the favorites in search results. There was construction going on, but the hotel was happy to accommodate. It was much bigger than expected. It has a large lobby, a restaurant, a Speakeasy, and a Starbucks.

Our room was a simple one bedroom. There was a TV that we did not use and the views overlooking the city were nice. We got there late after our amazing dinner at Eleven. We had been to Eleven 2 years prior to celebrate my birthday and were looking forward to going back. Eleven was amazing as always. I will do a post just on Eleven the next time we go, but for now here are the highlights of the meal.

 

After dinner, we grabbed a drink at Sienna Mercato. It is a three story building with a restaurant, a nicer restaurant, and a rooftop bar area. It was the first time I have ever had to stand in line to go to a rooftop bar. I felt like I was going clubbing ha

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We waited about 20 minutes and got up to the top. It was pretty neat and worth the wait.

Saturday

On Saturday morning we decided to order some room service. We were pretty unimpressed as it was all super greasy. We didn’t eat it and the concierge was happy to remove it from our bill.

We then decided we wanted to walk to the Strip District. The Strip District is awesome, it pretty much has everything you want all in one space. It was about a mile and a half walk and it was so nice out. We stopped halfway to get some Starbucks because I am not me without coffee ๐Ÿ™‚ We looked around a few cool shops, one of them was Jonathan Moran Woodworks.

This place prides itself on making everything from scratch from dressers, to tables, to beer tasting flight holders and more. They had a wall of Reclaim candles which were so different than any of the candles I have seen. They had scents of fig and almond and sea breeze and sea salt and I just could not leave without purchasing the Earthy Velvet and oak moss.

The smell just made me want to curl in a blanket on the couch with a good book and the candle burning in the background. Upon checkout, the owner shared that she found the lady who makes the candles on Instagram and tried a few and was hooked. She carries her whole line and the lady makes all of the candles by hand herself in her small storefront. Really cool.

We then went in to gaze at Wholey’s Fishmarket. It is pretty much a fantastical display of any seafood you should want. There were a few people who got joy from having the fish guy pick up a lobster and display its claws. The place was booming.

We continued to walk through vendors from pottery making, to incenses, to little finger puppets and jewelry. I bought a pair of glasses from a nice lady because I have now lost my nice Ray-Bans twice in less than a year. My husband says I need to learn a lesson and thus is not allowing me to buy another nice pair of sunglasses until I learn to keep track of my things ๐Ÿ™‚

We stumbled on a brewery called East End Brewing. We entered into a very clean space that had nice multi-colored merchandise from coasters, to travel growlers, to beer, to shirts. We both got a tasting flight.

I sampled one of their slightly sweet beers and guys it was so sweet. Yuck! Not my thing, but I know some people like more sweet beers. The GreenGiant IPA was our favorite.

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We went into the Spice Store which is just the most beautiful display of spices I think I have ever seen. They have sections for salad spices, cinnamon spices, seafood spices, vanilla spices and more. Each section has large and small sizes and the packages tell you what to do with the spices or what they pair well with.

My husband gives two shits about spices so I only had 10 minutes to browse before he pulled me out. I picked up the Sandwich Sprinkle seasoning which claims it is good on sandwiches, salads, potatoes, pasta and more. I also picked up a Sunny Paris seasoning and Penzey’s Salsa & Pico. I did wish they had some dip seasoning as I always think it is fun to try different dips for parties. The last time we went to Charleston we picked up 5 dip seasoning from the Wooden Spoon and it was so fun to make them and easy and everyone loved them.

The last time we went to Charleston we picked up 5 dip seasoning from the Spice and the Spoon.  This lady makes all of her own spices and they are awesome! Highly recommend and she will ship to you if you ask her. I used them for a few parties and guests raved about the flavor and quality. The seasonings are unlike any other dip seasonings we have tried and the best part is all of them just require cream cheese.

I loved how the three little glass jars just made you feel like you were purchasing something really special even though they all amounted to a little over $12. I am looking forward to trying the seasonings on some upcoming meals.

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We decided as it was 2:00 pm we should probably have lunch as we never had breakfast and went into Luke Wholey’s Wild Alaskan Grille. Remember how I mentioned earlier we went to Wholey’s Fish Market? Well, you would assume they were related, but they are actually not related. They do not get their fish from Wholeys which I thought was odd as they have the same name. In speaking with our server, she said they source their seafood from all over, Tuna from Hawaii and more and they ship them in every day.

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I had the Steel City Lobster roll which was basically lobster with some lobster bisque and creme fraiche. I only ate the lobster and it was fantastic. Their fries are homemade and I had ranch which they make in house and had dill peppered throughout. Who eats fries without ranch:)?

We then decided we would head back to the hotel to take a nap and get ready for dinner. We left the hotel around 6 and Ubered to the Duquesne Incline. The Duquesne Incline is something you will see on every ” 10 things you need to do in Pittsburgh” list.

Our driver dropped us off and then waited in line. While we are standing in line we realize it mentions exact fare only and we have no cash. We get up to the front and they let us pay them when we returned. Now they are not the most friendly, so not aiming for customer satisfaction. We enter the cable car and depart up. It was pretty neat and quick and at only $2.50 per way, it is an affordable way to get to Mount Washington. Here is a picture of the view on our way up.

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We have a bit of time before dinner so we decide to get a drink at a place called Le Mont. Now stepping into Le Mont is like stepping into the 60’s. It was a weird and interesting experience.

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Most of the demographic are towards the elderly, but there are sprinkled younger couples. We were, by a good 30 years, the youngest couple, but they had live old school music so we still thought it would be cool for a drink. Unfortunately, we waited 15 minutes at the bar without a drink and decided to leave. The reviews online for eating there seem mostly good, but we would not come back just due to service.

Next, we arrived at Altius, it was incredible!! See my review HERE.

We then descended back down on the incline and ubered back to the hotel. I really wanted to check out the Speakeasy in the hotel, but they were closed by the time we got back.

Sunday

I usually am up before my husband, but not today. He woke me up around 10:00 letting me know I slept 12 hours and should probably wake up now ha. We had some coffee and then left to go to Oakmont Bakery.

Now, Oakmont could have its own page. You want the best donuts – Oakmont. You want the coolest cake ever – Oakmont. We saw a lady who had a champagne and strawberry cake with an actual champagne bottle in the cake. It was really cool. Another fun fact – our wedding cookies which were our favors for our wedding were at Oakmont. We had them screen print a picture of where my husband proposed which was really neat and delicious.

 

We got some donuts for his family as a thank you for taking care of our little fur children.

Pittsburgh is a really cool place with a lot to do. We definitely want to come back and try more places. I would highly encourage you to visit PA!

– Elle

Altius – Pittsburgh, PA

Upon entering Altius, it is a clean and modern layout.

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We were seated at our table which was a nice two person table right by the window. The view was amazing. I don’t think there is a better view in the city. It was beautiful and it was right when the sun was setting, which was really neat. After we gazed at the view for a bit, we were greeted by our server. She told us the specials of Swordfish and something else that I forget ha.

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We were offered fresh bread from a bread girl. She had three types of bread and two dip sauces. I am not sure why I find a bread girl so fascinating, maybe it is my love of bread or the option to have bread several times in a meal, but I just love it. I had the Tomato and Cheddar Foccacia. So frickin’ Good. The light chive and butter dip paired well, but the focaccia was so delicious and moist that you didn’t really need anything on it.

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We loved the view so much. It was just so relaxing. We ordered some of their scallops for dinner and it was a perfect starter. The scallops were cooked perfectly and it even came with risotto.

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Okay, so I have this thing about risotto…

My husband and I back in our college days wanted to make this chicken and risotto meal we found off of the Food Network. We wanted to pretend we had money at the time and were chefs because well who doesn’t? So we get the chicken and all the components, but when we had the pot of risotto boiling and were asked to add some white wine, it was at that moment, we remember we did not get white wine. No worries we thought. We were cooking in my husband’s apartment that he shared with 4 other guys. Guys don’t have wine, but they have beer. Same thing right? No. No. Not at all. If you learn nothing from reading my blog, please learn this lesson from me – Sam Adams Beer is not a substitute for a white Chardonnay for risotto. Oh, the smell was horrible and the taste… To this day we have never had risotto until this meal.

This risotto was fantastic and I guarantee they did not put beer in it ha

We were then greeted with this little cone item. We ate it because we were sure it would be good and it was. Our server informed us it was salmon and crab pureed together with chives and onion. It was pretty good.

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We are loving this experience so far. I asked for another glass of wine and that, unfortunately, was forgotten for 25 minutes. We then get our entrees and she remembers and immediately we are wine in hand again.

I ordered the Duck because it was between duck or filet and I had filet the night prior. It was just so hard because everyone loves filet, especially me, but the server noted that you can get a good filet at a lot of places, but not duck which I thought was a great point.

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The duck was cooked perfectly. It was crispy and golden brown and juicy and so very good. The little plantain thing you see in the crepe paper was not very good, but crepe does not with stand time very well so I imagine it would be good eaten immediately, just not after some time on the plate. The green beans were really good and the fruit compote log was good and different. I could only eat about 2 pieces and called it a day as I definitely wanted dessert for the anniversary.

My husband got their world famous or Instagram posted pork chop which he really loved. I ate his carrots because he is weird and does not like carrots. It was a humongous piece of pork. I think the server got him when she said, ” if you are feeling carnivorous this evening the pork chop is well known and really delicious”. My husband is always feeling carnivorous, so it worked out.

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The server then presented us with dessert menus and we saw cookie dough and the choice was clear. If you ever have the option for cookie dough as a dessert you choose that. It was a fun little presentation, she delivered it in a large ball form and then cracked it open with a spoon. The inside was a mini chocolate chip cookie, some creme, and chips. It was pretty tasty, but only a few bites as we just had this whole amazing meal.

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We then looked out at the city and a ship moving throughout the river and just feel really happy and thankful to have this experience. She gives our bill and these two little black bags as a goodbye treat. We opened and found a very small but tasty little vanilla bundt cake. It reminded me of the small kitchen food that TasteMade has on their apps. It was really yummy and there is no picture of it because it was so small to be eaten in one bite and we did that prior to a picture.

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Review

Service โ€“ 9

The server checked in on our table every 15-20 minutes. We also had several other wait staff who came to clear plates and help serve our food as soon as it was ready.

Food Quality โ€“ 9

Exceptional. You would expect fresh, but this is beyond just fresh and farm to table. It is innovative and exciting. Everything was cooked to perfection.

Price for Quality โ€“ 8

The entrees range from $24-40. You pay for quality and the price point definitely matches the quality of the meal. Altius is likely not a weekly dinner place but is almost unmatched for a special occasion.

Atmosphere โ€“ 9

Amazing. It is the whole package. From the journey to get there by taking the Duquesne Incline to stepping inside Altius. Altius is modern and elegant without being snobby. All age ranges were present and everyone was just there to relax and have a good time. Guests and servers are friendly, the seats are comfy and the view is breathtaking. I really can’t say enough about the atmosphere, definitely memorable.

Overall Experience โ€“ 9

All in all, Altius is an incredible restaurant. The service, the food, and you can not beat the atmosphere. It lived up to its 2,056 4.7 star reviews on Open Table and being rated Four Diamonds by AAA. I highly recommend Altius, you will not be disappointed.

– Elle

Where to find Altius:

1230 Grandview Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15211
412.904.4442
Reservations