There’s something infinitely enriching about discovering that there is a wealth of culture right in your backyard. Dr. McMahon decided to take our Honors Systematic Theology Class out for Thai food as a cultural enrichment.
I never knew cultural cuisine existed in the Squirrel Hill Neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Having lived in Johnstown, PA throughout high school, I always participated in the obvious events of Pittsburgh and went to see the obvious tourist attractions. But, I was surprised to see what a cultural center this neighborhood was.
We started with appetizers of dumplings and crab rangoon. We also endeavored to use chop sticks. When the entrees came, I had ordered Pad Thai. While I’ve enjoyed a mere smattering of Asian food in my life, I wasn’t sure if I would like Thai food. I was enticed by the river of flavors that came over my taste buds as I ate through my plate of Thai food. And there’s something amazing about Thai food in that it is completely satisfying, but I never felt overly full or like I needed a nap.
We headed down the street for our next cultural adventure: Waffallonia. As we walked there, we passed several cultural centers and various businesses. I was surprised to see such a flourishing neighborhood. As someone not from Pittsburgh, it had always appeared like a residential area from the major interstates surrounding it.
Waffallonia is an amazing experience in dessert. Belgian Waffles with various fruits and spreads such as Nutella or cookie butter. The waffles can also come with ice cream. The waffles made a nice palate cleanser for the sweetness of the fruit and spreads.
Finally, as we continued our walk around Squirrel Hill, we found ourselves outside a French Macaron shop. Naturally, we had to try some! It was amazing the array of flavors, ranging from various fruits to chocolate to a special Halloween variety of pumpkin. After the macarons, we headed back to campus, having spent a night getting culturally enriched.
Overall, this was a great way to bond with other students in our Honors class and learn about a cultural area of Pittsburgh I would never have known without the opportunities at St. Vincent College.