On Saturday I headed to Pittsburgh to visit my one of my oldest and dearest friends Jenn and her young daughter for a fabulous morning at IKEA. We here in the Land of Cleves are not fortunate enough to have one nearby and while this makes me sad, at the same time my bank account sighs with relief.
Of course, as I was traveling to Pittsburgh of all places I had to wear a fabulous shirt that showed off some fierce Cleveland pride courtesy of the CLE Clothing Co. (trust me, if you lived in Northeast Ohio you'd understand).
After IKEA, we were trying to decide where to go for lunch when Jenn asked if I had been to the Giant Eagle Market District before. When I said no, Jenn made an executive decision that is where we would be heading. Admittedly I was curious -- I've seen the store from the freeway when driving to and from Pittsburgh so I was fine with her choice. She pretty much said it was the food court to end all food courts and while I'm prone to trust her (she's one of my go-to people for book recommendations) I was still a little skeptical.
Then we actually got there.
This doesn't even begin to give you an idea of what the cafeteria section was like. They had a bar, people. Like, an actual serving beer and wine in the grocery store bar. Which is a really big deal in Pennsylvania where liquor stores are the law. I always take for granted my ability to just pop on over to my local grocery store for some alcohol. And there you could buy single bottles of beer too which is a really genius idea. If you're like me and don't drink a lot, an entire six pack seems kind of excessive. It's also a great way to try new beers you are unfamiliar with.
The food stations were everything from stir fry to pizza to sandwiches. Not only did they have a bakery with some serious baked goods but they also had gelato and crepes.
Like... I... What?
I was also greeted by one of the most beautiful salad bars I have ever seen.
It was just so bright and colorful and fresh. I wanted to marry that salad bar. It's ultimately where I got my lunch from, loading it up with all sorts of veggies and they had small chunks of tofu as a protein for us vegetarians (swoon, thank you Giant Eagle). Next to the salad bar was a section with hot ready-to-eat foods like various forms of chicken and lots of really good looking veggie sides, like cooked squash and asparagus and couple different types of potatoes.
There was also a big prepared food section with things that were sort of half cooked -- like the sort of thing you'd buy and take home and bake or heat up for dinner that night.
Oh, and lest I forget the sushi station.
And this was just in the cafe. We didn't even go into the regular grocery part of the grocery store so I can't even imagine what that looked like. Luckily I won't have to keep imagining as there is a Giant Eagle Market District opening in Solon, Ohio later this week. It's not super convenient, like it would take a special trip to go out that way, but at least the cafe means I can easily plan lunch around my grocery shopping. Plus that new Earth Fare is out that way, too!
Love from the ashes,