Rick Sebak.
Rick Sebak at The Independent Brewing Company with a keg of his own cocktail.
Rick Sebak at The Independent Brewing Company with a keg of his own cocktail.

Rick Sebak is beloved locally and across the country for making unusual television programs that feature his trademark friendly narrative style. His down to earth and quirky documentaries celebrate overlooked aspects of American popular culture and the unexpected charms of Pittsburgh.

If there’s ever a week to follow Rick around town, it’s this one. His two brand new documentaries, “A Few Good Pie Places” and “A Few Great Bakeries” premiere on WQED and PBS stations nationwide on Tuesday, August 25th at 8 p.m. Written, produced and narrated by Rick, the programs highlight sweet and tasty offerings from around the U.S.

Monday, August 24

This will be a bit like Christmas Eve, the day before a big event. I’ll be up early to be at Minerva Bakery in McKeesport by 6:30 a.m. to pick up bakery treats to take with me to Q92.9 FM downtown. I’m scheduled to be on with Jim Krenn & The Q Morning Show at 8 a.m., promoting my two new PBS shows (one about pie places; the other about bakeries) that are premiering tomorrow nationwide, and it would be bad form to show up without significant goodies. Minerva Bakery is in my show, and this way I’ll beat the rush at this beautiful little bakery.

It’s my first time on Krenn’s new show. He and I go way back, but I haven’t seen Jim in five or six months. He’s a good friend, and I’ll make him eat a donut (even if he’s dieting).

A Few Good Pie Places, WQED Multimedia©
A Few Good Pie Places, WQED Multimedia©

After the broadcast, I’ll head to WQED and make sure my editor Kevin Conrad has everything to finish the DVD extras we need to send to PBS today.

He and I go to lunch almost every day with Minette Seate, and it’ll be quick today, probably Lulu’s Noodles on Craig Street. My associate producer Matt Conrad will stop later to make sure everything’s OK with the DVD extras. He’ll compress and upload them to PBS. When we work Monday nights, I get us dinner from Oishii Bento on Oakland Avenue. Chicken katsu bento for him, galbi bento for me. We’ll work till 11 p.m.

Tuesday, August 25

I’m up at 5 a.m. again to get another box of goodies from Minerva for the gang at WDVE radio. I’m on at 8:45 a.m. with Randy Baumann, Bill Crawford, Val Porter and Mike Prisuta. I’m extremely grateful to them for having me on their Kennywood show earlier this month. Today I expect we’ll laugh about crusts and croissants.

By 10 o’clock I’ll be at WQED to tie-up loose ends. I’ll check in with folks at PBS, and invite them to watch the shows tonight with us at The Loft, upstairs from D’s 6 Pax & Dogz in Regent Square.

A Few Great Bakeries, WQED Multimedia©
A Few Great Bakeries, WQED Multimedia©

The party was Matt’s idea, and we considered many spots before deciding on The Loft with two big-screen TVs. Hootie from Blowfish BBQ will supply chicken drumsticks, pulled pork and smoked mac’n’cheese. We’ll gather at about 7 p.m. The shows are at 8 and 9 p.m. We’re not sure who will show up, but if you’re free, you’re welcome to come by. Seriously. If you’ve read this far, you’re invited.

Wednesday, August 26

I’m sleeping in. I will be late for work. I will make it in time for lunch. Maybe we’ll celebrate with spicy food at Thai Gourmet in Bloomfield. At 2 p.m., a Pittsburgh Magazine photographer is coming to take my picture in my messy office for a list of “hidden” Pittsburgh places. That’s all I have scheduled.

But Andy Wincko at Pittsburgh Smokehouse on Lower Rodi Road always has a Wednesday night special, and it’s been too long since I’ve been there.

Thursday, August 27

There’s always clean-up and paperwork at the end of a project, and today we start that.

Rick Sebak and Chris Fennimore judging Savor Pittsburgh.
Rick Sebak and Chris Fennimore judging Savor Pittsburgh.

I will avoid lunch because at 5 p.m. I have to be at Stage AE where I’m lucky to be a judge for Savor Pittsburgh, a celebration of great food in Pittsburgh. I look forward to this event every year, and I will “taste” too much.

Friday, August 28

Is this really the last Friday of summer? Let’s go to Emil’s in Rankin for lunch, always a celebration. Fish sandwiches. Reubens. Maybe a steak sandwich. Krissy Kochis, owner of Emil’s, made a cameo appearance in the Bakeries show, so we’ll want to hear her reaction.

That afternoon I might attend to some “business” on a bike trail. I haven’t been biking as much as I’d like. I will pedal leisurely on the Steel City Trail, out past Kennywood and over the railroad bridge to McKeesport. Probably stop at The Brew Gentlemen in Braddock for a beer on my way home.

Saturday, August 29

Back to my regular Saturday morning rounds today. I’ve been working weekends for the past four months, so I’m happy to start the day at my beloved East Liberty Farmers’ Co-Op. Fresh produce, coffee, local cheeses, an almond-pear tart and fresh eggs! Then I zip across the 40th Street Bridge to Millvale, see what’s cooking at Jean-Marc Chatellier’s French Bakery and indulge in a Breton cake. Then I head for the Strip, wander along Penn and end up getting excellent pints of Millie’s Ice Cream from Chad and Lauren at the Farmers @ The Firehouse market.

Saturday night I could stop by the Pittsburgh Comedy Festival. Wouldn’t mind some laughs.

Sunday, August 30

No breakfast. Just coffee. I’ve been warned to be hungry when I get to Hop Farm Brewing at noon where I’m helping to judge the King Of the Wing Festival. Seventeen different local restaurants participating, and I’m one of four so-called “experts” judging the Hot and Exotic categories. Luckily, Hop Farm beers will be handy to put out any wildfires in my mouth.

At 6 p.m., I’m booked at E2 in Highland Park for chef Kate Romane’s always scrumptious Sunday Sauce dinner. Held the last Sunday of every month, with all courses served family style, it’s another feast.

I will diet and exercise in September.

Jennifer BaronArts & Entertainment / Jobs Editor

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.