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Plus, a smashing good time (literally).
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🇵🇱 Your Pittsburgh paczki playbook

Plus, a smashing good time (literally).

Hello and welcome to Tuesday.

It's officially paczki season. Drawing a blank? Here's our ultra-quick primer:

How do you say it? Pawnch·kee

What is it? Paczki is a sweet pastry that's often filled with jelly or some kind of sweet, fruit-based filling. They're sometimes referred to as Polish donuts. 

When is paczki season? It runs roughly from the beginning of the year to the beginning of Lent in mid-February.

How did the tradition start? Atlas Obscura explains: "(Paczki) were first made by Polish people using up the last of the sugar, lard, and fruit in the house before the austerity of Lent. In Poland, they’re filled with rose petal, prune jam, and even fried rose buds, and are eaten on Fat Thursday (the Thursday before Lent) as part of the zapusty, or 'carnival season.'” 

Any spin offs? We've heard of paczki beer, paczki vodka, and savory versions, too.

Where can I get some? Party Cake Shop in Brookline, S&D Polish Deli in the Strip, Bethel Bakery, and more

How can I make my own? Watch, learn, and enjoy

Here's what else we have for you today: Good news/bad news: vaccine edition, meet Dr. Rachel Levine's replacement, move fast and break stuff irl, and meet an Incline Insider.

What Pittsburgh is talking about

📍 Allentown. | Tag #theinclinepgh to be featured in our Instagram of the Day. (📸: @mihalskyphoto

4 things to know today

➡️ Good news: Millions more Pennsylvanians are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine under expanded guidelines meant to speed up the slow rollout. Bad news: There simply isn't enough supply to meet the demand, and frustration is mounting. TribLIVE has more.

👋 Who will replace outgoing Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine? Alison Beam. Who is Alison Beam? Gov. Tom Wolf's deputy chief of staff and a coordinator of the administration’s pandemic response. PennLive makes the introduction here.

🏗 A big, new Oakland development project is on the agenda for today's meeting of the city's planning commission. It's another step forward for the proposal, which would replace the Marathon gas station at 3500 Forbes Ave. with a 10-story apartment building. Find more details here.

  • Related: A contested office tower project at 3400 Forbes Ave. is moving forward but with new height limits, the result of a legal settlement in a lengthy legal battle. The Post-Gazette has more.

🏈 Pittsburgh is not in the Super Bowl this year — or is it? While the home team won't be taking the field, there are plenty of Pittsburgh connections — and we're not just talking about Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. WTAE has a rundown here.

4 things to make you smile

💥 Still just a rat in a cage, despite all your rage? 412 Rage Room helps you unleash all that pandemic tension with a baseball bat and a roomful of fragile stuff. NEXTpittsburgh explains

Sen. Bernie Sanders has turned his mittens meme into a sweatshirt, with proceeds going to charity. In case you missed it, here's our 'Burghy contribution to the social media craze.

👀 Artist Virgil Cantini made some of Pittsburgh's most memorable public art. Belt Magazine has a look at his life (and life's work) here.

🍳 If you're looking for a definitive guide to finding breakfast burritos in Pittsburgh, Very Local Pittsburgh has you covered.

Meet our Incline members: Emma Yourd

Incline Insider Emma Yourd. (📸: Courtesy of Emma Yourd)

Supporting members (aka Incline Insiders) make what we do possible, so we like to put them in the spotlight when we can. Today we’re introducing you to Incline Insider Emma Yourd, of Mount Lebanon, with a quick Q&A:

Where in town might people run into you?

Mexican War Streets, North Side, Strip District on weekends, running along the South Side river trail or up to Washington's Landing, shopping in Shadyside or Squirrel Hill. 

What made you decide to become a member of The Incline?

I love that they crowdsource all the key local news from lots of different news sources and I can read the highlights in one place! I also LOVE the events calendar — I've checked out some different events that wouldn't normally be on my radar as a result (like outdoor movies at Carrie Furnace!).

What’s something you’re working on — in big ways or small — that you could use help with?

As a born and raised Pittsburgher who moved away for 10 years, I'm loving exploring corners of the city I've never visited before and supporting local businesses. Share your favorite local spots with me!

What local business do you think deserves a shoutout (and why)?

More Than Words. It's a card shop based in Carnegie that specializes in sassy greeting cards. In fact, all of West Main in Carnegie has great small businesses, and I encourage people to check it out!

What’s a local event you went to recently that you loved?

I've been participating in virtual Bottles and Blooms classes with Blue Daisy Floral and DG Winemaking this year. They're local businesses who host monthly classes teaching you about wine and flower arranging! It's been a great opportunity to learn more about wine and flex my creative side.

What’s a recent story you’ve read about Pittsburgh that you wish more people cared about (and why)?

Allegheny Eats is an opportunity to order meal kits from three local businesses AND they provide free meals to restaurant workers. I've seen some information about it but I'd love to see it talked up more widely!

Want your turn in the spotlight? Want to plug a project you're working on in front of the 14,000 people who receive this newsletter? Become an Incline member today and we'll send you a handy little form with questions like these. You'll also get special perks like event discounts, and bonus/exclusive content in the newsletter. 

Promotion from PA Cyber Charter

📓 Make PA Cyber Your Choice for Online Education! 💻

Join PA Cyber in celebrating National School Choice Week – January 24-30, 2021. Because EVERY student learns differently, making an informed choice regarding our children’s education is necessary. 

Every child deserves an effective, challenging, and motivating education. 

School choice ensures that each student can select a learning environment that inspires successful, happy life-long learners. Take the time to make the right choice for your student’s success.

Join the National School Choice Week Conversation

Things to do 

Submit your events to our calendar.

Today

⭐️ Embrace the light side of the force with a discussion of author and knitting expert Tanis Gray's newest work, "Star Wars: Knitting the Galaxy: The Official Star Wars Knitting Pattern Book" (Online)

❄️ Marvel at the wonders of nature in winter and what lies above and below the snow with this free virtual story event (Online)

Tomorrow

🌱 Explore the many options for bringing more plant-based ingredients into your cooking and baking with this lunchtime webinar from Phipps and the Pittsburgh Vegan Society — multiple dates (Online )

Thursday

🎧 Develop audio and interviewing skills in this free podcasting workshop geared toward Mon Valley teens — multiple dates (Online)

Friday

📸 Explore this history of African American hair culture with a new art exhibit at the Brew House Association Gallery — through March 6 (South Side)

Monday

🗳 Get ready to run for office with this non-partisan campaign training session for women — multiple dates (Online)

Tuesday, Feb. 2

💌 Hand make your Valentine's Day cards with inspiration from this virtual Somerset County Library workshop (Online)

Thursday, Feb. 4

🗞 Celebrate the 130th Anniversary of the Women’s Press Club of Pittsburgh and the accomplishments of pioneering journalist Nellie Bly (Online)

One more thing ....

We always need a good laugh. Good thing there's a "comedy incubator" planned for the former Stanton Heights United Methodist Church.

It's the work of Los Angeles-based comedian Steve Hofstetter, who plans to move across the country to turn the renovated church into a “live-work-play space” for stand-up comics. 

Hofstetter says Pittsburgh is the perfect place for a comedy incubator. Why? Because of its low cost of living and because it's within a 2.5-hour flight from more than half the population of the U.S. and Canada.

Hofstetter is also behind the Nowhere Comedy Club, a digital comedy venue meant to give aspiring comics a launching pad as COVID-19 grinds the live entertainment industry to a halt. 

NEXTpittsburgh has more about Hofstetter and his Pittsburgh plans here.

Thanks for reading to the bottom. We'll see you back here tomorrow.

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