January marked the winter edition of another successful Pittsburgh Restaurant Week. It was a week-long event packed with prix-fixe menus, fine food and glorious specials at 57 restaurants around town. And last night at Franktuary in Lawrenceville, many participating restaurants and sponsors, including VisitPittsburgh, FuturePOS and PG Plate, gathered for a final wrap-up of a tasty week of food festivities.
The number of participating restaurants doubled from last year's winter edition of Pittsburgh Restaurant Week and increased by almost a third since the summer edition. Brian McCollum, organizer of the event, hopes the number will grow to at least 70 participating restaurants for the summer 2013 celebration.
Participating restaurants also benefited during Restaurant Week as patrons took advantage of the special deals to explore the local food scene. Patti Goyke from The Church Brew Works said that they experienced "their second best Saturday ever during this Restaurant Week."
Restaurant Week also represented a great opportunity for the Pittsburgh blogger community to get together. The special Food Blogger Dinner co-hosted by Pittsburgh Restaurant Week and the Buy Fresh Buy Local program took place at Alma Pan-Latin Kitchen in Regent Square on Jan. 15 and gathered a large number of local bloggers.
Before the blogger dinner, PG Plate hosted a Happy Hour celebration, where bloggers learned about The Forks blog and our plans to expand the food blogger participation. After partaking in "food talk" and mingling with fellow bloggers, I attended the blogger dinner. I opted for the prix-fixe menu that included a good selection of appetizers, entrees and desserts for meat-eaters and vegetarians.
For my appetizer, I ordered the Ceviche de Hongos, a vegetarian assortment of fresh mushrooms, green onions, black-eyed peas and grilled corn marinated in citrus juices, on a bed of arugula and julienned carrots. It was light and beautifully displayed in a cocktail glass. My main course was Chuletas de Puerco con Pina y Batata. The pork was nicely prepared, moist, juicy and tender, and perfectly complemented by the sweet potato puree and zesty pineapple, while the jalapeno and cilantro sauce added heat to the dish. Overall, a well-balanced plate! For dessert I went with Arroz con Dulce -- a Puerto Rican coconut rice pudding with a lucuma sauce and topped with citrus peel. It was sweet, light and the perfect ending to a great meal!
I'm already looking forward to the summer edition of Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, more restaurants to discover and tasty dishes to try. The Pittsburgh food scene is booming and 2013 is looking bright for our local restaurants!
Dana Cizmas photos