September 06, 2006

Neighborhood Food

by psu

Earlier this year, my employer moved our offices from a building in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh to an area close to the CMU campus in Oakland. Being at CMU has a lot of advantages. It's an easier commute, and I'm closer to various people who I know at CMU. These things are good.

I miss Squirrel Hill though. I miss the lunches.

It's not like the food in Squirrel Hill is particularly superb. But there are several places that are almost without peer in Pittsburgh, and many of these places are also relatively cheap. Consider that within a reasonable walk of our old offices we had

- Rose Tea
- Zaw's (the KING of cheap eats in town)
- Napoli Pizza
- Mineos (not my favorite)
- Milky Way
- Pinati
- Uncle Sam's
- Squirrel Cage
- Ka Mei
- Taqueria Mi Mexico (sadly closed)

And several others I'm forgetting. In the new location, it's hard to get up the motivation to walk all the way to the heart of Oakland, so you find yourself picking from

- Newell Simon Hall (a fate worse than death)
- Orient Express (not bad, nowhere near as good as Zaw's or Rose Tea)
- A few places on Craig Street, all expensive.
- The Indian Store. This is the only really cheap lunch, and it's not that good.

If you make it to Oakland, there are few great landmarks

- Primanti's
- The O
- Sam's

And a few new places that are good

- Oishii Bento
- The Falafel Guy
- Five Guys

But the hike to this area is too far for a daily trip, and the range of available choices is still not as wide as our old neighborhood. It makes one sad.

I find myself craving food I was tired of when we worked on Murray Ave. I guess we'll just have to organize massive takeout runs for the whole office. You can only go so long without Zaw's for lunch.

Posted by psu at September 6, 2006 08:21 PM | Bookmark This

Count me in when you get organized. And let me know if I can help.

Posted by kim at September 6, 2006 09:09 PM

Consider yourself lucky. I miss being able to walk to Oakland for lunch. All I have now within walking distance is a government cafeteria (ugh) and a 94th Aero Squadron (much too pricy, and kinda ugh). The University of Maryland is a few miles away, but the food choices around there make Oakland seem like a paradise.

I would so kill for Sam's to expand down here. You all are getting Five Guys, I think it's a reasonable trade.

Posted by Adam Rixey at September 6, 2006 09:18 PM

I don't mean to claim that Oakland is *bad*... I just miss my old haunts.

Posted by psu at September 6, 2006 09:53 PM

good god, don't forget italian village...

Posted by noah at September 6, 2006 11:07 PM

Does 687-1189 still work (or did Larry and Carrol's finally get closed)?

Cheeseburger Hoagie or Taco Wedgie were my favorite staples of indigestion.

Posted by bbum at September 6, 2006 11:22 PM

Mi Mexico died? Was the office move responsible for that?

Posted by Julie at September 7, 2006 09:35 AM

What rates as "expensive"? I normally eat lunch for $5 at the place that changes name every other year (Eat Unique, currently), Veracruz, Ali Baba, and... well, everywhere else sucks.

But I have to agree that I was struck at the mediocrity of food offerings near CMU campus when I first moved here.

Posted by Benoit at September 11, 2006 10:27 PM

Zaw's rates a "good"? Really? I tried them years ago, and found it a pretty standard PIT mediorcre chinese.

I can't believe all the praise about Sam's. Standard issue cheesesteak grilled by the uninterested 20-somethings. Industrial frozen fries dumped out of SysCo bags. Ho. Hum.

Five Guy is yet another entry into the "premium" burger chain, ala Steak N Shake. Premium means not as horrible as the big 3, McD, BK, Wendy's, mainly because everything is MTO. So hot fries everytime. Except, why would you buy their fries when the twice cooked spuds at the dirty O are available?

I notice no mention of Lulu's. Ick. A true abomination, a lame hippie molestation of my favorite asain food. Pho. Be bim bop. Pud Thai. All horribly mutilated into bland safe PC hippie slop.

Posted by Amos the Poker Cat at September 12, 2006 01:29 PM

Benoit, the correct quote is "I was struck at the mediocrity of food offerings anywhere in PIT".

Hmm, seeing Napoli, and Mineos mentioned, I tried googling Tleaves, but I did not find any article about the best 'Za in PIT. Now there is a rant waiting to happen. Vincent's anyone? Well, the old Vincent's when he was still there.

Posted by Amos the Poker Cat at September 12, 2006 01:47 PM

What about Lulu's? I agree it can't hold a candle to Rose Tea, but it's still pretty cheap and good.

Posted by Rebecca at October 14, 2006 06:47 PM

With all due respect, LuLu's is crap. Except for a couple of noodle things that aren't completely terrible.

Posted by psu at October 14, 2006 07:37 PM

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