You’ve likely heard her across the airwaves or in your earbuds (or spotted her on those Eyetique billboards) hosting her award-winning podcast, Marta On The Move. A self-described “solo female explorer who travels the world bringing new and interesting cultural experiences back to her hometown,” Marta Napoleone Mazzoni delves into topics as diverse as pro tips for traveling alone “without being lonely” to songs for female serial killers to “general nerdery.” She’s had candid chats with everyone from mega-star Alec Baldwin and designer Peter Max, to Steel City psychic Leslie Gray and “Stranger Things” cast member David Harbour. Before celebrating her 100th episode on January 5, Marta dishes about comfort food, cocktails, escape rooms and more — plus what she does while not at the mic.
What upcoming events are you excited to attend?
A 412 Food Rescue dinner, podcast recordings, Castle Blood haunted house, and the Best Of The Burgh Party at the Ace Hotel, where I am honored to receive an award!
Best part of your job?
Podcasting is not what I do full-time. My day-to-day job is for my family’s food service company, Aldo’s Foods. We provide product distribution for the restaurant industry. This allows me to meet new people and discover different towns I otherwise would never get to see. Name a road in Pittsburgh, and the surrounding area and I have probably driven it. Plus, I never go hungry.
Challenge you are tackling this week?
I have my 100th episode celebration on January 5 at City Theatre, where I will be a game show host of “Marta Match,” a throwback of the “Match Game.” My goal this week is to find that perfect suit jacket, and print flyers for the event. I cannot wait for the party to come, but it is a lot of work getting there.
Your wish for Pittsburgh?
I have quite a few. That Pittsburgh continues to draw on its immigrant past, and continues as a welcoming city to visitors and people moving here. Expanded public transportation that provides a solution to the growing traffic on roads, and community development in neighborhoods that aren’t in the direct limelight. That Pittsburgh would receive more affordable and direct flights. (I have seen significant improvements in the last year, but I want more so folks can see the world!). I wish it would snow for Christmas and then go directly to spring weather. Anyone who knows me well, knows I hate the cold weather. I also realize that last request is not attainable, BUT a girl can dream.
Ideal date night in Pittsburgh?
Love this question! I am a planner at heart so an evening not planned by me that is a constant surprise would be delightful. I would never know where we were going next until we arrived. My favorite ideas for date nights include cocktails, dinner, escape rooms (Enter the Imaginarium), some sort of immersive theater experience, game night at Hambone’s, magic, and dancing (salsa Downtown, swing dancing at James Street or hitting up the monthly TITLE TOWN Soul & Funk Dance Party). Easy, right? Take notes, husband of mine 😉 He is pretty good at this, actually. Last week he took me to Bricolage’s DODO and a surprise dinner for my birthday; it was awesome.
What song in your playlist is on endless repeat?
Usually anything Queen, but as of late, the “Dear Evan Hansen” soundtrack is constantly played. I became obsessed with Ben Platt a few months ago, and I feel sorry for anyone that may see me walking in Pittsburgh with my earphones, singing.
We arrive for dinner. What’s on the menu?
My husband and I love to entertain, and cooking is one of our great passions! We would start with a signature cocktail, followed by cheese and charcuterie with homemade mustard, jam and various pickled things we have made. From there, the wine and conversation flows leading up to dinner. The main dish usually depends on where my travels have taken me last. One of my absolute favorite and most memorable things I love to do while traveling is stay with families and exchange recipes. Those are my souvenirs I bring home with me and share with the people I love. The menu also depends on the season. Fall/winter: roasted pork with root vegetables, Moroccan style lamb tagine with rose water prunes and almonds. Plus a lot of pasta, pasta and more pasta. Spring/summer: paella, fresh salad, burrata, whole grilled and stuffed fish. We try new things often, but these are a few staples. No matter the season, the evening always ends with amaro and laughter. Dinner parties are the greatest gift and the best way to get to know new people.
Best day trip escape from the city?
I know I am going to catch hell for this from some people, but I love Cleveland! It’s only two hours away, which makes it a prime spot for a quick day or overnight trip. I get in the habit of planning food/drink tours for friends who visit there. Head to their gorgeous art museum (free), take a walking food tour of my favorite spots around the area then go directly to my favorite bar, Porco Lounge.
What’s your Pittsburgh comfort food?
I am half-Italian/half-Lebanese. For me it is nothing but stuffed grape leaves, hummus and rigatoni. If I could somehow wrap rigatoni in a grape leaf and smother it with hummus … that is pure comfort right there.
You need a drink. Where do you go?
Allegheny Wine Mixer, Spork, Ace Hotel, Soba or Butcher and the Rye always hit the mark for me. There are a ton of new spots opening that are really stepping up their cocktail program. Pittsburgh is crushing that scene right now.
See who else is NEXT Up here.
Have a suggestion for NEXT Up? Email us!