From Umami to Casellula and beyond: this week's events

Written by Melissa McCart on . Events

alicewaterboardFrom an Alice Waters tribute, to previews of new restaurants, here are a few cherry-picked food events for your week and beyond:

1. Last week, I visited the menu run-through for the Alice Waters tribute gala to be held on September 12, at the Ada and George Davidson Event and Culinary Center, in a restored 1870s barn.

Chefs cooking for the event include Sonja Finn of Dinette; Kate Romane of E2; Derek Stevens of Eleven along with Bill Fuller of Big Burrito; Justin Severino of Cure, Trevett Hooper of Legume and Butterjoint and Chad Townsend of Millie's Homemade Ice Cream.

This charcuterie board is a possibility as a starter, with pickles from Mr. Hooper, meats from Mr. Severino and additional items from Derek Stevens. The main course will feature Elysian Fields lamb from the Waynesburg, Pa. farm. Tickets are available here. 

2. Tonight, Roger Li from Umami-- the restaurant that will open upstairs from Round Corner Cantina in Lawrenceville --cooks at Bayardstown Social Club in the Strip District for a backyard izakaya party, with Allegheny Wine Mixer of Lawrenceville serving cocktails. Things kick off at 4 p.m. Click here for the menu. 

3. If you're curious about the upcoming City of Asylum restaurant, Casellula from New York -- the restaurant that will be opening in the non-profit's North Side space-- will be serving food at A Taste of the Future, a celebration on August 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. at a private home in the Mexican War Streets.  Click here for tickets. 

4. A
lso on the 29th, Vallozzi's Downtown and Wigle Whiskey will be hosting Fig Fest! from 3 to 6 p.m. to honor the gardeners of the Italian Garden Project.  The event includes cocktails, cooking demos, small plates and a talk from the inimitable Hal B. Klein on the burying of fig trees. Afterward, Vallozzi's Josiah Henry is cooking a multi-course dinner for Terra Buona. Both events will be held at the Wigle Whiskey Barrelhouse. Click here for tickets

5. It's a good week to visit Soba in Shadyside. Through August 28 the restaurant offers the late summer dinner menu for $45, with beverage pairing an additional $25. Click here for the menu. 

Melissa McCart photo

 

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What's dishing on the blogs: Summer plates

Written by Dana Cizmas on . Shared Plates

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This week, we have colorful summer dishes and coffee-flavored desserts. Here's what's dishing on the blogs we follow:

The Hungry Hounds baked a vibrant Summer Harvest Pizza, while Jessica from How Sweet It Is cooked mouthwatering Summer Skillet Gnocchi. If you're in the mood for tacos, the Spicy Barbacoa with Chilies from Dinner Plan-it or the Walleye Fish Tacos with Roasted Corn and Peach Salsa from the Parmesan Princess are both great options. For something simple, try Sugar Pixie's Cheesy Garlic Bread.

For a sweet bite, try the airy Mocha Mascarpone Mousse from The Hungry Hounds, the smooth and Creamy Chocolate Pudding from Yum Yum, or the amazing Vietnamese Iced Coffee Ice Cream from How Sweet It Is. If you're searching for something slightly more traditional, Brown Eyed Baker's Fudgy Pudgy Brownies are an excellent choice.

On the restaurant scene, the girls from eatPGH ventured out to Park Bruges Cafe for some traditional French flatbread and hearty braised short ribs; Yum Yum dined at Hough's where she tried the Grilled Cheese Sliders and Hough's House Burger; Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie reviewed her first dinner at Gaucho Parrilla Argentina where she ordered La Casa Salad, with Grilled Shrimp from Gaucho, and Chorizo Blood Sausage among others; Hal B. Klein at Pittsburgh Magazine assessed the food at Station, The Vandal and Driftwood Oven; and Good Food Pittsburgh announced that Dinette will be hosting a Tuscan Wine Dinner on Aug. 24; the menu will include Roast Free Range Chicken with Panzanella and Pancetta-Wrapped Black Mission Figs with Greek Yogurt and Clover Honey.

See you back here soon!

The Hungry Hounds photo

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What's dishing on the blogs: Tropical dishes

Written by Dana Cizmas on . Shared Plates

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This week, we have exotic breakfasts and stone fruit desserts. Here's what's dishing on the blogs we follow:

Jessica from How Sweet It Is spoiled us with these juicy Tropical Banana Rum and Melon Breakfast Bowls. If you're looking for a more traditional breakfast, try Linda's tasty Cornbread Buttermilk French Toast Fingers at Dinner Plan-it or Sam's loaded Blueberry Orange Bread at Haute Pepper Bites. If you prefer eggs for breakfast, you'll find Chef Chuck's post on eggs at Cooks and Eats very informative.

On the savory menu, the Parmesan Princess prepared a quick Roasted Chicken Salad, while Yum Yum opted for a fantastic Shrimp Salad. If you're in the mood for pizza, try Bill's Roasted Eggplant Sweet Sausage Pizza at Three Dogs BBQ or Jessica's Smoky Grilled Chicken Pita Flatbreads with Creamy Feta at How Sweet It Is. And since a good meal ends with dessert, The Hungry Hounds made some creamy Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Peaches, and the girls from eatPGH baked adorable Mini Spiced Peach Pies. Not into stone fruits? No problem! Try Brown Eyed Baker's spiked Chocolate Mudslide Poke Cake.

On the local food scene, Yum Yum dined at Sienna where she tried the shrimp with deep fried polenta, tomatoes and microgreens, and the prosciutto wrapped salmon; Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie enjoyed her lunch at Eden where she ordered the butterbean veggie burger with a garden side salad; Good Food Pittsburgh dished about the new boozy floats at Osteria 2350 including the Salted Caramel Float and the Root Beer Float; the girls from eatPGH invited us to the Urban Supper event on Sept. 19; Dan from Pizza Walk with Me was all over Spak Brothers' new shirt; and Hal B. Klein at Pittsburgh Magazine introduced Andrew Moore's engaging new book "Pawpaw: In Search of America's Forgotten Fruit." Also, don't forget to dine across the city this weekend for the last days of Pittsburgh Restaurant Week!

See you here next week!

How Sweet It Is photo

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Pittsburgh Restaurant Week: Blogger Dinner at Grand Concourse

Written by Dana Cizmas on . Events

8. PRW Summer 2015

The summer edition of Pittsburgh Restaurant Week 2015 is in full swing! From Aug. 10 to Aug. 16, over 85 restaurants in and around the burgh are offering prix-fixe menus, delicious food and special deals to impress the Pittsburgh patrons. After a fun kick-off party at the National Aviary last week, the Pittsburgh blogger community gathered for the traditional Blogger Dinner on Monday evening.

During the winter edition of Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, the blogger dinner was held at Kaleidoscope Cafe, but this time around director Brian McCollum hosted the event at the legendary Grand Concourse in Station Square. Needless to say, the historic venue was a glorious location and so were the food and company. A fine group of local bloggers attended the dinner and made the evening an entertaining affair, showered with inspiring discussions and splendid food.

I opted for the Restaurant Week Special Multi-Course Dinner Menu, which included your choice of starter, entree and dessert for $30.15. For my appetizer, I decided on Charley's Chowder, a flavorful Mediterranean-style fish chowder that has been a favorite on the menu for more than 37 years. My husband ordered the Summer Chopped Salad, a colorful and refreshing salad peppered with grilled peaches, berries and crumbled gorgonzola.

2. PRW Summer 2015

For the main course, I went with the Roasted Sirloin with Sweet Pepper Chutney & Chili Oil, which was tender and spicy, and according to the restaurant manager, the most popular item on the menu. My husband, on the other hand, preferred the Lemon Scented King Salmon on a bed of roasted corn and sweet potato hash. Both dishes were excellent choices!

5. PRW Summer 2015

Finally, for dessert, I had the classic Creme Brulee, while my husband thoroughly enjoyed the rich and chocolatey Media Luna cake.

7. PRW Summer 2015

In the end, it turned out to be another successful and tasty dinner among fellow food bloggers to inaugurate yet another exciting Pittsburgh Restaurant Week. So, dine across the city and take advantage of this great week-long event to rediscover the Pittsburgh restaurant scene!

Dana Cizmas photos

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Bakn delay, Winghart's, Sienna on the Square and other news

Written by Melissa McCart on . The Forks blog

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Here's today's rundown on restaurant news: 

1) Bakn, the breakfast and lunch place from chef Randy Tozzie and Susan McMahon in Carnegie, had planned on a May debut. The partners are still waiting to open. 

Today's delay stems from a wait to get the gas turned on. With the reorganized Equitable now Peoples Natural Gas, the company has apparently not committed to a time to visit. A representative did not return a Post-Gazette call. 

2) After closing for the second time after a second fire, Winghart's in Market Square has reopened after ten months. One difference in this go-round is that the upstairs is billed as an unpretentious cocktail bar. With an interesting selection of vermouth and straightforward cocktails-- see the menu above-- it is more laid-back than the buzzy ground level. And the spot also offers outdoor seating. 

3) @bobbatzjr points to the newish Cool Beans Truck, (@coolbeanstruck on Twitter) on the road since July, serving variations on greens and beans. Over in Bloomfield @eastendbookspgh says she's expecting a new neighbor in September focused on peanut butter and jelly, according to the sign in the window at 4709 Liberty Ave.; pbjpgh.com is not yet up and running. 

4) Sienna Sulla Piazza in Market Square has rebranded and is now called Sienna on the Square. Chef de Cuisine Jason Watts says the restaurant has added pastas to the menu and will roll out new antipasti, salads and soup. Sienna is the flagship from Matt Porco, behind the trio of restaurants at Sienna Mercato Downtown that opened in 2014. A second location for Emporio: A Meatball Joint will open in Wexford in the fall. 

5) A few upcoming events: Big Burrito is holding the Cranberry IPA Jam on August 22. For $35 in advance at Mad Mex in Cranberry (or here), $45 at the door, attendees can try samples among 40 hoppy beers on tap. Lunch is a pork picnic plate and tunes are courtesy of the Skipper Johnson Band.

On August 29, Wigle Barrelhouse and Whiskey Garden in Spring Gardens holds Fig Fest from 3 to 6 p.m., an event with Vallozzi's Downtown and the Italian Garden Project that will showcase figs and other late-summer Italian food traditions. Tickets are $40 per person.

Later that night from 7 to 9 p.m. it's Terra Buona, a five-course dinner with Vallozzi's, which will use ingredients from various gardeners from the Italian Garden Project, Under the leadership of Mary Menniti, the organization states a goal of preserving and celebrating the Italian immigrant experience.

These two events help support the Italian Garden Project heirloom seed and fig tree preservation and Italian American vegetable garden documentation efforts. Tickets are $110 per person at wiglewhiskey.com or via 412-244-9297. 

Melissa McCart photo


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What's dishing on the blogs: French desserts

Written by Dana Cizmas on . Shared Plates

1.SRBlueberryGalette

This week, we have delicious French desserts and intriguing breakfast choices. Here's what's dishing on the blogs we follow:

At Simply Romanesco, I baked a glorious Blueberry-Pistachio Galette, a super easy dessert for any novice baker. Haute Pepper Bites decided on a French Silk Chocolate Pie for her husband's birthday. Jessica from How Sweet It Is made decadent Nutella S'mores Puff Pastry Pop Tarts, while the Brown Eyed Baker whipped up a rich Peanut Butter Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting. And Leah from Brazen Kitchen listed her 10 Easy Frozen Treats to cool you down this summer.

On the unconventional breakfast menu, Linda from Dinner Plan-it prepared classic Breakfast Sausage Corndogs, whereas Chef Chuck from Cooks and Eats went with fancy Breakfast Grits. For something less eccentric yet equally tasty, try the colorful Berry Dutch Baby from The Hungry Hounds. And on the more substantial menu, Yum Yum cooked a tender Rack of Lamb, while Three Dogs BBQ experimented with this Bacon Pesto Stuffed Turkey Breast recipe.

Locally, the girls from eatPGH embraced the rich dishes at Paris 66 including the classic French onion soup and the snails served with garlic, parsley and butter; Chef Chuck from Cooks and Eats paid a visit to Istanbul Sofra where he ordered stuffed grape leaves and mixed eggplant among other dishes; Yum Yum revisited BRGR for some Pork-N-Tots and Grilled Cheese Bites; Dan from Pizza Walk with Me gave us another Pittsburgh Pizza update; Good Food Pittsburgh announced the Southern-Style Beer Dinner at Burgh'ers on Aug. 16; the Sugar Pixie bragged about this year's garlic harvest; and Hal B. Klein at Pittsburgh Magazine shared insides from the Tales of the Cocktails festival in New Orleans.

See you here next week!

Simply Romanesco photo

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