Thursday, October 10, 2013

What a nice day to Coffeeneur!

Starting out on the cool side, the weather slowly warmed up and we were shedding layers as we climbed up into Oakland on our way to Regent Square.

We stopped by the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill to see a sculpture out front by artist Daniel Kafri titled "The Menorah".  Inside we stumbled onto a bake sale and couldn't resist a pre-coffeeneuring treat.  The temptation was too great with all the fresh, kosher baked goods calling to us.

From there we continued on to our objective for the day: our second Coffeeneuring event of the season.  Our destination was the 61B Cafe in Regent Square.  The link actually takes you to the 61C's website.  61B is their new spin off coffee shop located along (you guessed it) the 61B bus route.  They opened this just one month ago and we'd been looking forward to checking it out.

Same type atmosphere as the 61C (where we coffeeneured last year), and same great quality.  They didn't have the apple cider I was hoping for when we stopped.  (Rats! I was looking forward to that.)  Even though the day was starting to warm up, I opted to try their steamed hot chocolate.  It looked like they used two different types of chocolate, ringing the inside of the glass with one of them.  I was afraid it was going to be overwhelmingly chocolatey, but it was perfect!  I believe this was the best hot chocolate I've had outside of my own kitchen.  Hmmm.  Maybe the best period.

Our only complaint was the absence of bike racks, which the barista seemed very interested in obtaining when we mentioned it. We suggested he start by contacting Bike Pittsburgh for that.

No, that's not whipped cream on top (I declined that), that's just the foam and it was so smooth and creamy you would have thought this barista had poured a perfect Guinness.

After coffeeneuring we road the obstacle course cut down into Frick Park to join the Nine Mile Run trail to the Duck Hollow Trail.  We were almost very unpleasantly surprised when we came up on a metal barrier gate that had swung down across the trail from an adjacent access road.  Wide, high and painted black - the gate was positioned perfectly to blend into the background and give a cyclist a concussion.  We stopped to try to move the gate, but it just swung back across the trail so we rummaged in our panniers until someone found something to flag this with.

Then we found a branch down across the Duck Hollow Trail, followed by the trail being blocked with utility poles at the six mile marker.

OK, the trail effectively ends at this point anyway right now, but it sure made it inconvenient.  It's bad enough to need to lift the bike over four railroad tracks in order to get to Second Ave.  Adding a couple of more obstacles is just annoying.

Back in the downtown area I split off from the guys to check out Market Square.  Next door I noticed that PPG Plaza was already setting up for the ice skating rink.  Considering it was another day in the 70's - sunny and beautiful - this looked very out of place to me.

Market Square, on the other hand, looked very seasonal with the Farmer's Market in full swing.

Everyone out having lunch in the square had entertainment provided by the Pittsburgh Opera too.

They've done a nice job of turning Market Square into a lively, attractive spot to meet friends, have lunch or just sit and enjoy a nice day.  It's come a long way from when it was better known as "Pigeon Square" when the birds were the only ones enjoying an outdoor meal.

Around the corner from the Farmer's Market I found the "Creped Crusaiders" food cart and decided on a savory snack of a chicken crepe with spinach and cheese.  From there it was a leisurely ride back to the car.

I still can't believe how fantastic the weather has been.  More than a week into October and we're riding in picture perfect conditions. I hope we don't pay for this next month.

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