Stroll through Lawrenceville and you’re bound to run into more than a few folks who’d fit the infamous description of a hipster. Whether it’s a love of obscure music, ironic retro fashion statements, or DIY-everything, there’s no denying the fact that hipsters are everywhere.
And here’s another thing we know for sure, they’re eating really well in Pittsburgh.
Our city is packed with restaurants serving ultra-cool standards like kombucha, cold brew, and fancy tacos. The presence of more and more food trucks makes it easy for a hipster to score some street eats. Of course, vegan, raw, or juiced anything has never been easier to come by.
Just to be clear, we’re not hating. We’re simply pointing out the obvious: Pittsburgh’s food scene has gone hipster. And here’s your guide to enjoying the hippest eats our city has to offer.
Yes, you read that correctly – the simplest of foods is now a fad. Freshly baked and toasted bread is just plain delicious, but if you want to join the ranks of Pittsburgh hipsters, you have to make sure it’s expertly crafted. Stop into Smallman Galley and place an order at Josephine’s Toast for the best speciality toast in town.
These days, cracking open a Yuengling just won’t cut it. Craft beer is in, and if you aren’t sipping the latest IPA or microbrew, all the flannels in the world won’t save your reputation. Local breweries embrace their hipster roots, as demonstrated at last year’s Craft Beer Week (yes, we have that) when Penn Brewery gave a collaborative concoction the name “The Mash Paddle Vs. Hipster”. See, everyone is getting in on the craft beer craze.
Report for duty, Wigle Whiskey and Arsenal Cider House, because we’re looking at you. Yes, we love your delicious cider, and have probably drunk more of it than strictly necessary on occasion, but this delicious drink absolutely ventures into hipster territory. Nothing draws the Lawrenceville/Bloomfield crowd more than small batches, craft distilleries, and drinks that manage to capture the hip factor without tasting terrible.
Do you like charred butternut squash on your vegan tacos? How about kimchi? If not, your taco game is not where it should be. Hipster-ized foods are all about unique additions and variety, and tacos have gone from deliciously greasy snacks to works of modern art. You get extra points if your taco featuring locally sourced ingredients is served at Tako.
Cold Brew Coffee
Coffee shaken with ice is so last year. Besides the fact that your coffee is fuller, richer and less diluted when brewed cold, it’s also cooler. And the coolest cold brew of them all? Try some nitro brew, also known as morning beer. Blue Canary is known for having this stuff on tap. Stop in to sip some for yourself.
It’s impossible to talk about the hottest trends in food without mentioning Pittsburgh’s beloved Red Star Kombucha. It’s become even more of a hipster trend than the infamous PBR Pounder. But Red Star isn’t the only fermented thing to take hold in a big way. Pittsburgh even has a fermentation festival, where chefs from ultra-hip joints like Legume and the East End Co-op show you how to make your very own yeasty treats.
No, we aren’t talking about a Tequila Sunrise with a splash of lime. Any hipster cocktail worth its salt has to have a fair amount of just that — salt. Drinks featuring things like burnt citrus, ramps or anything that has been pickled are standard at places like Butterjoint or Apteka. They might not be cheap, but they will be damn tasty.
Full-size anything seems to be out of fashion. Which explains why mini-donuts are all the rage, especially among hipsters. Say hello to Peace, Love and Little Donuts. Something about a palm-sized dessert food elevates these tasty morsels from ordinary snack to a radical must-have, and the appeal is so strong that they don’t even have to be vegan to fly off the shelves.
Pittsburgh’s young and hip are practically tangled in a nest of noodle shops. Do you want spicy noodles, noodles with meat, vegan noodles, rice noodles or noodles with an array of unpronounceable roots and spices? You’re in luck because just about every neighborhood boasts a noodle shop or three. Try Noodlehead, Pusadee’s Garden, or Everyday Noodles for a sampling of the local noodle scene.
Fancy Ice Cream
Artisanal ice cream is real, and it’s all over Pittsburgh. Shops like Millie’s in Shadyside and Dave & Andy’s in Oakland are serving homemade ice cream, and the hipster crowd can’t resist. Anything homemade is cause for excitement, and we have to say, the finished product is pretty awesome.
Vegan, Raw or Juiced Anything
“Raw” seems to be the keyword for hipsters worldwide. If it isn’t totally organic, uncooked or liquefied (preferably a combination of all three), it simply isn’t edible. Many restaurants in the ‘Burgh that offer this ultra-healthy fare, like Eden or Zenith, explain that they make healthy delicious.