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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What's dishing on the blogs: Burger competition

Written by Dana Cizmas on . Shared Plates

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This week, we have local food events and tasty recipes. Here's what's dishing on the blogs we follow:

September is packed with food events! On Sept. 13, Chef Chuck from Cooks and Eats invites us to The Pittsburgher, the annual gourmet burger competition and music festival. Pittsburgh Magazine informed us of the garden-to-table dinner inside the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden on Sept. 21. And the girls from eatPGH are giving away a pair of tickets to the A Taste of Grow Pittsburgh, the annual fundraiser for Grow Pittsburgh, which will take place on Sept. 21 at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.

On the homemade menu, Katy transitioned from summer to fall with this Cheesy Mushroom Tomato Chicken in her BakingDomesticityandAllThingsMini kitchen. Bill from Three Dogs BBQ shared his recipe for Stuffed Biscuit Fattie, a great dish during football season. Linda from Dinner Plan-it fancied this Fresh Corn, Potato, Tomato, Jalapeno and Bacon Chowder, while Jessica from How Sweet It Is also mixed fresh corn in her Lobster Bisque Pot Pies. And if you're hungry for more seafood, try Yum Yum's Crab Salad Stuffed Zucchini Boats. For something sweet, head over to Cooks and Eats for some nutty Candied Chocolate Bark, or to the Brown Eyed Baker for some fantastic Salted Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls.

On the restaurant scene, D&T: in the burgh dined at The Oven Pizza Co. in Wexford and Yum Yum stopped by Downey's House in Robinson. In honor of National Cheese Pizza Day, Dan from Pizza Walk with Me listed the cheese pizzas he's eaten in the past few months, while the girls from eatPGH explored more Cleveland restaurants.

See you here next week!

Cooks and Eats photo

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Russian restaurant, Diyor Cafe, now open Downtown

Written by Melissa McCart on . Openings

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Diyor Cafe & Lounge (14 Smithfield Street) opened Downtown last month, a Russian restaurant with an interesting bar and tapestry-covered tables and walls. It's owned by Oybek Babajanov who started Diyor Pizza that had been in the Parkway Center Mall, now closed.

He's one of three cooks who offer plov ($9), samsa pastries ($2.75 each), manti ($7.99), and delicious khonim ($9) among other dishes. 

Here's the menu and the interior, below. 

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Melissa McCart photos

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Bea's Taco Town now open Downtown

Written by Melissa McCart on . Openings

beastacosBea's Taco Town opened on 633 Smithfield on Monday, the little taqueria from the owner who had briefly set up shop last year on the South Side near the Birmingham Bridge.

Bea Martinez mans the cash register as the line files out the door for a super inexpensive pair of tacos ($2.50), dorados (also called taquitos or flautas for $7.50), burritos ($7.50-$8.50), enchiladas ($9-$12), quesadillas ($7.50) and sides such as rice and beans, chips and guacamole. 

Don't set your heart on the beef and chicken on the chalkboard menu overhead, since additional meats are listed at the register. Though seats are available, perhaps on afternoons such as this one it's preferable to order take-out and head over to Mellon Square Park a block away.

Bea's is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

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Vegetarian tacos. Melissa McCart photo. 

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Time to harvest some beer events

Written by Bob Batz Jr. on . Beer

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From 1 to 4 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 13, it’s the Mars/Cranberry Craft Beer Tap Fest at the Double Wide Grill in the Adams Shoppes on Route 228. Under a tent in the parking lot, you can sample more than 60 beers from 20-some breweries. Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 at the door and include live music, and there’ll be food for purchase. More here

It’s a festive season, as other places around town gear up for Oktoberfest. Penn Brewery’s Oktoberfest will be held Sept. 19-21 and 26-28, and for the first time, are offering a VIP package. For $30 each, according to a Penn news release, 50 people on each Friday and Saturday can get: 

“• Access to a tented, reserved seating area

“• One meal including sandwich, side, and non-alcoholic beverage ($9 value)

“• VIP-only lines for beer in the Biergarten and upper tent

“• 22-oz. plastic Oktoberfest souvenir mug ($3 value) and one fill ($4.75 value)

“• Private indoor restrooms.”

It’s that last one that might make other revelers really hate the VIPS. 

Get tickets via Showclix; get more information here.

Over at Southside Works, Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh’s Oktoberfest is Sept. 20-12 and 27-28 (more at hofbrauhauspittsburgh.com).

Focusing on fall brews of all sorts will be the Harvest Brew Fiesta at Mad Mex Robinson on Sept. 20. A ticket ($35 in advance or $40 at the door) includes sampling from 1 to 4 p.m., a tasting glass to keep, fall games and “a never-done-before Gobblerito Taco plate.” For tickets, go here. 

Also on Sept. 20 is BrewFest in Mt. Lebanon. Tickets are $40 for craft beer, music and more from 4 to 7 p.m., and there'll be barbecue for purchase; proceeds benefit the Mt. Lebanon Veterans Memorial.

Lawrenceville’s Hop Farm Brewing is celebrating its one-year anniversary on Sept. 27 with “Hoptoberfest,” where harvest beers will be paired with small plates from local restaurants and food vendors. Tickets are $45 (plus a service fee), and 100 percent of proceeds will go to Children's Foundation of Pittsburgh’s Camp Chihopi (for kids who have had organ transplants). Details and tickets (limited to 300) can be found here

Hop Farm Facebook photo

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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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