I love a new pocket-sized book titled, "Where We Like To Eat n 'At!"
Subtitled "Celebrating Pittsburgh Neighborhoods," the cute self-published booklet presents mini-profiles of 57 (get it?) little eateries around the region.
"It had to have been somebody's favorite place," says Mt. Lebanon's Gail Nesbitt Jones, who co-authored the book with her Coalition for Christian Outreach co-worker Marsha Dugan Kolbe of Highland Park. What started as their quest to find quirky, inexpensive restaurants for celebrating office birthdays mushroomed into this spiral-bound book. It's illustrated with pen-and-ink drawings of each spot by their Mt. Lebanon friend Lani Walker.
In addition to addresses and hours, the women give history and color in every one-page profile. They include many of my favorites -- C.C.'s Cafe in Sharpsburg, Tram's Kitchen in Bloomfield. But what I love most is they also tell me about finds I've never found, including Boston Waterfront, and tidbits such as how Banksville's My Brick Oven used to be a coal mine entrance, plus tips such as where to get the region's best cheese sticks (Redbeard's on Mount Washington).
Her advice for people who say, "We go to the same places all the time"? Don't.
You'll miss out on the charms of hyper local places such as Becker's Cafe in the McKees Rocks "bottoms," where, when Ms. Jones arrived, a server knew to ask, "Are you the one who called for directions?"
"I love Pittsburgh. I love the history here," says Ms. Jones, who also loves to eat and have fun. "I think this is Pittsburgh, too: When people had a place to recommend, they were excited about it."
In the weeks the $10 books have been available (at Entertainment Tonight in Mt. Lebanon, Borders Books in East Liberty and other outlets, plus the Web site www.eatnat.com), readers have been excited, too.
As a neighbor told her, "I'm going to eat my way through Pittsburgh using your book!"
Have a fresh food find? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .