Spaghetti for breakfast

Written by Bob Batz Jr. on . Events

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Spaghetti breakfast?

That's one of Pittsburgh's quirky food traditions, now in its 31st year, started by the late KD broadcaster John Cigna.

The NewsRadio 1020 KDKA Spaghetti Breakfast will be served from 5 to 9 a.m. this Friday, Sept. 19, at the Heinz Hall Garden Plaza at Sixth and Liberty, Downtown.

KD's Larry Richert and John Shumway will be broadcasting the morning news, which will be leavened with entertainment, including Jimmy Sapienza and his band. Other KD personalities and local celebrities will be serving the public free plates of penne pasta, sausage and bread.
 
If that doesn't sound like breakfast fare, Mr. Shumway points out that plenty of people take it back to their offices and have it for lunch.
 
And its not only hungry Downtowners who benefit. The Little Sisters of the Poor will be collecting donations of canned food and cash at the breakfast. They'll also get the proceeds of an auction of three prints by South Side artist Johno -- Johno Prascak -- including the lovely "Tomatoes," a copy of which graces the Post-Gazette food room. 09172014tomatoes
 
You can read more about the breakfast and its sponsors here.

KDKA photos

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A Prince of Porc Pig-Out

Written by Melissa McCart on . Events

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Last night Justin Severino of Cure hosted a Cure'ated dinner at his Lawrenceville restaurant, part of a series that incorporates the cooking of guest chefs from around the country.

Washington, D.C., chefs, Scott Drewno of Wolfgang Puck's The Source and Top Chef season 6 contestant Mike Isabella of the Italian-inspired Graffiato and the Greek-inspired Kapnos, displayed their cooking styles and humor throughout the night.

The James Beard-nominated chefs have both competed and won the D.C. title, "Prince of Porc," for Cochon 555, a ten-city tour that's a pimped out pig roast competition in which chefs show their skills through a multitude of dishes and wild thematic displays.

Their titles inspired Mr. Severino, with his pig-centric focus, to invite them to cook at his restaurant. Mr. Isabella invited Mr. Severino to cook in his Graffiato kitchen last year. 

The course above is a crispy pig ear from Mr. Isabella, with green tomatoes, pickled eggs and kale in a burnt-honey vinaigrette. 

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Bartender Colin Anderson's drink called The Brazil, with dry sherry, dry vermouth, absinthe and angostura was served with Mr. Severino's salumi board, below.

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The salumi course was served alongside Mr. Severino's baked Wellfleet, with nduja, giardiniera and pecorino Romano, below. 

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After the pig ear course, Mr. Drewno served a series of dumplings, one of many dishes that have earned him acclaim, paired with a Hitachino White Ale.

The first was a seared pork dumpling abd the second set was filled with pork and shrimp siu mai and "strange flavor eggplant," pictured. The third dumpling was a purse of boiled pork and crab wantons with a chili-shallot sauce.

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Dumplings were followed by a char siu pork bao, paired with a 2011 Trimbach Gewurtztraminer. Here's my before plate.
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A formidable pork crepinette from Mike Isabella was served as the savory finish, with sunchoke puree, grilled escarole and mostarda and a 2011 Domaine du Pas Saint Martin La Pierre Frite. 

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Dessert was a decadent, shared number, a prune and maple-braised bacon tart with bourbon paw-paw custard, paired with NV Rare Wine Co. Historic Series Boston Bual, a memorable Madiera. 

Melissa McCart photos

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Taste the season's bounty at Chatham

Written by Rebecca Sodergren on . Events

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Amber Webb (class of 2015) and Brittany Thorp (class of 2014) at work on Chatham University's Eden Hall campus.  

Chatham University’s Eden Hall campus will present a “Harvest Tasting” dinner featuring produce from its own fields and other local foods at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20.

Google Pittsburgh Executive Chef Lee Keener and Chatham Executive Chef Daniel Dooley are planning a five-course menu.

The menu is still in development as the chefs assess which vegetables will be most plentiful that weekend. But Mr. Keener is definitely planning to prepare a selection of house-made charcuterie, including cured meats, rillettes, terrines and other items made from local organic pork and chicken.

A master’s degree student who harvests the wheat on campus will prepare bread for the dinner, and local wine and beer pairings will be offered, as well.

Faculty and students in Chatham’s sustainable agriculture program grow more than 200 types of vegetables and flowers at the Eden Hall campus. The produce typically supplies Chatham’s Shadyside campus cafeteria and a food bank, but some of the season’s bounty will be culled for this fundraising dinner that will benefit Chatham’s Falk School of Sustainability scholarships.

The farm’s harvest is abundant this year. A recent week’s delivery for use at the Shadyside campus included 150 pounds of organic and heirloom tomatoes, more than 10 pounds of heirloom cherry tomatoes, three cases of sweet peppers, a 25-pound case of red cabbage and a 50-pound case of green cabbage.

About five faculty and 20 students maintain the extensive fields, which Harvest Tasting attendees will be able to tour at the event. They will have access to parts of the campus that are not usually opened to the public, allowing for a comprehensive look at how the sustainability program works.

Dinner will be served in a large barn on campus, and a musical group will perform. Tickets are $100. To register, go to chatham.edu and click “News & Events,” then “Campus Events,” and search for “Farm-to-Table: Harvest Tasting” under Sept. 20.

Annie O'Neill photo for Chatham University







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It's a Mega Challah Bake!

Written by Bob Batz Jr. on . Events

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We love that Barb Segel, development coordinator for Chabad of the South Hills, sent us a heads-up about this cool event, because it's fun to say "Mega Challah Bake."

That's what girls and women from all over Pittsburgh will be doing at Beth Shalom Congregation's Ballroom in Squirrel Hill on Thursday, Sept. 18. The event, called "Loaves of Love," starts at 6:30 p.m. with participants mixing, kneading and shaping two challahs -- the braided Jewish egg bread that is special for the Sabbath and holidays. 

When the event is over all over, they'll have one loaf to take home and one to give to a friend as a mitzvah ("which means good deed," as Ms. Segal explains). If you don't have anyone to give your extra one to, we here at The Forks would be happy to take it.

Tickets are $18 in advance or $25 at the door. You can reserve at megachallahpgh.com or by calling 412-860-4390. 

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Notion to cook for yinz n'at

Written by Gretchen McKay on . Events

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Chef Dave Racicot of Notion is at it again with his imaginative, push-the-envelope food artistry.

On Sept. 17 through Sept. 20, he'll offer a special six-course tasting menu at his East Liberty restaurant that aims to redefine -- while also paying homage to -- more than a half-dozen iconic Pittsburgh foods.

Consider it his version of the TV cooking competition "Chopped," only at a more relaxed pace and with more choices on your plate, n'at.

The $85 meal ($121 with wine pairings) will include Chef Racicot's modernist spin on such quintessential 'Burg dishes as cabbage rolls, kielbasa, Pittsburgh salad (topped with french fries), haluski, pierogies and chip-chopped ham. For dessert, there'll be something sweet involving Clark bars and Klondikes, created by the Isaly Dairy Co. in the 1920s and enjoyed by kids both large and small ever since.notionlogolite

"Notion is redefining beloved local dishes  ... to show guests that high-end food doesn't have to be unfamiliar," according to a release. "Expect dishes that creatively combine old- and new-world traditions with modernist techniques and imaginative plating."

Reservations are recommended, and can be made by calling the restaurant at 412-361-1199 or filling out a request here. You also can send an email to reservations@notionrestaurant.com.  

Notion photos

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Paint Nite at Notion. No, really.

Written by Gretchen McKay on . Events

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Chef David Racicot is well-known for the ultra-creative, modernist dishes he cooks up at Notion and the absolutely gorgeous way he plates them. It's the very definition of culinary artistry.

By hey -- we eaters like to dabble in the arts, too, given the chance. Especially when booze, good food and a few friends are involved.

Nice guy that he is, Chef Racicot (pictured below) has cooked up a series of events that give all you would-be Picassos that chance in exactly that scenario.

At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 22, and every Tuesday after that for the foreseeable future, he'll host Paint Nite at his East Liberty restaurant.  

dave1Unfamiliar with the sip-and-paint movement? It's basically a step-by-step art class during which students get to knock back a few drinks. For a set fee, participants get everything they need to create a masterpiece from scratch:  a 16-by-20-inch canvas, primary-colored acrylic paints and artist's brushes. You even get a painter's smock in case the drinks fly too frequently and things get out of, ahem, control.

Which, of course, is kind of the point. Adding alcohol to mix, say organizers, helps customers loosen up and not worry so much about whether their work is any good.

It's a philosophy shared by a lot of aspiring amateur artists, some of them sober: Established in 2012 by a pair of Boston entrepreneurs, Paint Nite now has events in 87 cities across the U.S. and in four countries. Some 2,200 painting parties are held each month, entertaining more than 65,000 people. 

On July 22, Pittsburgh artist Ben Carley, who studied graphic design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, will be teaching the painting "Morning Break Through." Rated a "2" on a difficulty scale of 1 to 5 (so relatively easy), it depicts a schooner sailing through a big puff of clouds into a brilliant sunrise. morningbreakthrough

Along with the "ultimate social painting experience," Notion will offer a special menu during the event. The small bites and sweet treats will range from Beef Tartare Lettuce Wraps ($8) and Truffle Popcorn ($4) to Chocolate Nutella Cake and Vanilla-Berry Cheesecake (each $8).  If fine wine isn't your thing, there also will be a selection of handcrafted cocktails, including a Ginger Julep for $11, an Aperol Negroni for $11 and Strawberry (Vodka) Lemonade for $9. 

The two-hour class normally costs $45 (with food and drinks extra), but for next week's kick-off event, the artist is offering a special rate of $25 here; simply type in the coupon code PNBEN. Space is limited.

Notion is located at 128 South Highland Ave., East Liberty (412-361-1188). Ben Carley also will be teaching Paint Nites on July 29 and Aug. 5, 12 and 19.

Paint Nite and Notion photos

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