Just home from West Virginia, where my wife's family gather at her grandmother's house to celebrate Thanksgiving. The traditional turkey feast was pleasant as always, but the real culinary high point of this trip was on the way home...

The closest major airport is Pittsburgh, we had a couple of extra hours on Saturday before our flight, and Karen and I are both graduates of CMU. So we decided to detour into Pittsburgh and and drive around a bit to see how things had changed over the years and what was still familiar.

The biggest visible differences to us were on the river fronts, from the new stadium that replaced Three Rivers to what looks like a technology park built along the Monongahela under the parkway, where steel mills once stood. We didn't take time to do more than drive around the CMU perimeter, but even that let us see that the campus landscape has changed dramatically since we were students. Otherwise, most of the major landmarks that matter to us remain unchanged, including the apartment on South Millvale I lived in for all but my freshman years at CMU.

But best of all, 'the O' was still alive and well on Forbes avenue! I'm sure I ate there an average of at least once a week from the time Steve Fisher introduced me to the place until I moved to Colorado. I often tell people that the best part of having to travel a lot for work is that I get to sample interesting foods from around the world... and many of my strongest travel memories are of meals enjoyed with interesting people and wonderful food. However, despite all those experiences, 'O' fries continue to rank near the very top of my list of foods I'm willing to go out of my way for. Even my 5-year-old son, who can be a lot pickier about what he'll eat than I like to admit, thanked me repeatedly on the flights home the rest of the afternoon for "making me try those french fries with cheese".

Sometime, I'd love to spend enough time in Pittsburgh to see how many of the other places I used to love to eat are still around... In the meantime, a regular fix of chili dogs and fries at the 'O' are one of the few things I really miss about the years I spent in Pittsburgh.