Food

Onion Maiden

Most people define the vegan experience through what you put on your plate, but VegFest co-organizer Leila Sleiman says there’s a lot more to it.

“A truly vegan lifestyle actually also encompasses not buying products that test on animals, not wearing animal products and not supporting animals in entertainment,” she said.

looseends / Flickr

It’s part Chopped, part Guy Fieri’s Grocery Games, but with a local and educational twist.

Four students from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s culinary program will compete the in the first-ever Farmer’s Market Dash Culinary Challenge at the Green Tree farmer’s market Thursday afternoon.

Courtesy Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurants

Pittsburgh restaurant owners, chefs and farmers have teamed with Sustainable Pittsburgh to launch the Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant program, which recognizes southwestern PA restaurants for their efforts in operating energy efficient and socially responsible establishments, especially as the city’s eateries garner increasing national attention.

British-American Connections Pittsburgh

  Dust off your finest tea service. Queen Elizabeth II will become Great Britain's longest reigning monarch Sept. 9, and Pittsburgh's never been one to snub a good soiree.

“Britsburgh: A Festival of Britain in Pittsburgh” runs through Sept. 14 featuring a variety of food, drinks, music and activities from across the pond.

Festivals, Food and Fun: Social Club June 5

Jun 4, 2015

This jam-packed weekend begins with First Fridays at the Frick. Feel free to bring friends, family and even food to this free event, which begins with live music at 7PM in Frick Park.

The Three Rivers Arts Festival opens this Friday with food trucks, art and free entertainment. The event starts Friday at noon but runs all day and continues until June 14.

Larkin Page-Jacobs / 90.5 WESA

Eating can be mundane. Throwing another item in the grocery cart, ordering the same dish at your go-to restaurant or grabbing something from the fridge. It’s all apart of the routine. But it doesn’t have to be.

In this installment of On the House, food writer and teacher Jessica Server tells Larkin Page-Jacobs about using food as a conduit for mindfulness, exploration and reflection.

As a central H.J. Heinz Company product, pickles have played a key role in Pittsburgh’s past. And if you ask Jeremy Waldrup, president of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, they’ll play a key role in the city’s future as well.

The PDP on Wednesday announced plans for the first ever Picklesburgh food festival, slated for July 17-18 on the Rachel Carson Bridge and supported by prime sponsor H.J. Heinz.

Public domain, via Pixabay

    

Meat is in demand, and prices are up — 11 percent for beef and pork from 2013-2014. And as people pay more per pound at the counter, they may be more selective and interested in just how their meat gets from the farm to the butcher to the dinner table.

Joseph / Flickr

August Wilson is well known for his 20th century cycle of works about the black experience in America. But now an additional play written shortly before Wilson’s death is debuting in Pittsburgh. Actor Eugene Lee and Director Todd Kreidler, Wilson’s friend and protégé, explain what “How I Learned What I Learned” reveals about the playwright’s life as a poet in the Hill District.

"His quality of mind is actually something that comes out in the show, and that's something Eugene really brings out. The way he can twist and turn. I always say that August was a blues man with a jazz mind." - Director Todd Kreidler

Also in this show, a look at how the USDA is taking a new approach to fighting hunger, and CMU students prepare to launch a Xombie into space.

Tzuhsun Hsu / Flickr

Last month Bar Marco, a trendy restaurant in the Strip District, announced that they plan to do away with tipping this Spring. There’s been an outpouring of interest, curiosity and praise from all over the country.

Bar Marco Co-Owner Bobby Fry and Events Coordinator Andrew Heffner talk about how they came to this decision and how they plan to make it work.

A no-tipping policy has pros and cons for owners, servers, and customers. Offering their perspectives are Meg Fosque, the National Development Director for Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United), as well as Kevin Joyce, owner of the Carlton Restaurant in Pittsburgh and a member of the Western Pennsylvania chapter of the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association.

According to Fry, Bar Marco made the decision to discontinue tipping after encountering research that suggested eliminating the practice could help mitigate some of the restaurant’s scheduling concerns. Workers in restaurants and retail environments often face schedule fluctuations that make their financial and personal lives difficult, Fry says. Bar Marco’s plan to cease the tip system involves creating a conventional forty-hour schedule for its employees and paying the kitchen staff the same as the servers: a standard yearly salary of $35,000.

Look at a calendar lately? That’s right – Valentine’s Day is next Saturday. Wait - don’t panic! Josh and Rachel have a lineup of events for you to enjoy with your loved ones – whether that’s a spouse, partner, best friend, or sibling!

Thursday, 2/13 MAKEnight 21+, My Snarky Valentine 
2/13 & 2/14: Date Night: Wine & Chocolate @ TechShop

Already have plans for next weekend? Great! Book yourself some fun activities for this weekend too:

Yoga in the Square (indoors)
For the Love of Pittsburgh - Food Tasting Party
I Made It! Mine 2015
Carnegie Science Center 21+ Night: StormFest 

Rachel and Josh help you beat those winter doldrums with a slew of brewing and chewing-based events this weekend, and Josh endorses a favorite local establishment that challenges guests to break out of prison.

Saturday, January 31
Steel City Sampler: A Rust Belt Culinary Tour
East End Food Co-op: Winterfest
Pierogi Night: Pad Thai vs. Pierogi

It might come as no surprise that area food banks say they see an influx in people donating their time, money or groceries during the holiday season, but what many do not realize is that the giving spirit seems to hit a lull after the New Year.

“Member congregations are doing food drives … so we do see an influx (in donations) but the need also is increased this time of the year. It’s actually ever present throughout the year,” said East End Cooperative Ministry Executive Director Michael Mingrone.

75 Years of the Nestle Chocolate Morsel

Dec 19, 2014
Ana Liza / Flickr

1939 was an important year in American pop culture. Some of the greatest Hollywood movies, including "Gone With the Wind" and the "Wizard of Oz" were released. Lou Gehrig retired and the "World of Tomorrow" World’s Fair opened in New York.

In the annals of baking, the chocolate chip cookie was created at the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts. A key ingredient in this iconic cookie is the Nestle morsel, which turns 75 this year. Roz O’Hearn, Communications & Brand Affairs Director for Nestle, talks about the morsel’s past, present and future.

According to O’Hearn, the chocolate morsel has an “accidental” origin story. Near Boston, a restaurant owner named Ruth Wakefield ran the Toll House Inn. Wakefield smashed a Nestle semisweet chocolate baking bar into small pieces to put into her cookie recipe, creating the first chocolate chip cookies.

The Business of Food Banks

Dec 9, 2014
Nancy Furbee / Chatham Center for Women's Entrepreneurship

The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank's mission is to feed people in need and mobilize our community to eliminate hunger.

Their vision is for a hunger-free southwestern Pennsylvania. This week contributor Rebecca Harris looks at food banks in the region.

Leigh Kelsey / Flickr

Congratulations, you just made it through the biggest eating holiday of the year!

With the fridge full of leftovers, the last thing you probably want to talk about is food, right? Well, travel contributor Elaine Labalme, is here to talk about some food destinations in the region worth visiting.

As many families gear up for their Thanksgiving feasts, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey is calling attention to those who are struggling to put food on their dinner tables.

Casey is pushing for passage of a bill that would expand and make permanent tax incentives for businesses that donate to food banks. Nearly 2 million Pennsylvania residents are food insecure.

Courtesy Conflict Kitchen

Conflict Kitchen -- an Oakland restaurant that specializes in cuisine from nations with which the United States is in conflict -- recently introduced a Palestinian menu to coincide with Middle East talks at the University Honors College at Pitt. 

This week, the restaurant hosted Laila El-Haddad, a Palestinian journalist, blogger, chef and author of the book “The Gaza Kitchen.” She orchestrated a Gazan meal and gave a talk about Palestine, its food and its politics. She joins us to talk about food, culture and politics in the Middle East.

What's on Your Plate? Climate Change and Diet

Sep 2, 2014
Kara Holsopple / The Allegheny Front

Len Frenkel only has a minute to talk because he's rushing between presentations at the University of Pittsburgh’s Johnstown campus. The North American Vegetarian Society has their annual gathering here. Frenkel’s traveled from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

He’s not just a vegetarian, he's vegan. That means he doesn’t eat meat or butter or anything made from animals. He started for animal welfare and health reasons. But now, climate change weighs heavily on Frenkel’s mind.

Keeping Italian Traditions Alive in the Garden

Aug 26, 2014
Chris Squier / WESA

When Fenice and Nicola Mercurio moved to the United States from Italy decades ago, they brought their cooking traditions as well as a knowledge of Mediterranean gardening. As members of Pittsburgh's Italian Garden Project, the Mercurios and project founder Mary Menniti hold events and demonstrations in order to pass along their Italian heritage. See videos about the many other gardeners involved in the project.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Heinz Field’s new executive chef John DiMartini has only been on staff for three months, but he’s ready to roll out 10 new house-made menu items in time for the Pittsburgh Steelers pre-season home opener Saturday.

Available to all fans in the concession areas is the Emperor Burger, named for late Steelers head coach Chuck Noll: a beef patty with shaved kielbasa, onion bacon kraut and Heinz Field Secret Sauce on a brioche bun. Also new to concession stands this season are 8-inch personal cheese and pepperoni pizzas from Fox’s Pizza Den, based in Murrysville.

The Business of Breakfast (Why It's The Most Important Meal)

Jul 8, 2014
Wally Gobetz / Flickr

Breakfast is, as the saying goes, "the most important meal of the day," and businesses are really catching on.

Taco Bell has recently begun to offer breakfast choices, joining a long list of restaurants that seek to help you start your day in a tasty, if not exactly healthy way.

Business contributor, Rebecca Harris has some statistics that may make you, and food businesses, think twice about skipping breakfast.

The Business of the Barbecue (And Grilling)

Jul 1, 2014
Gepat / Flickr

This Friday is July 4th, and to commemorate the nation’s 238th birthday people across the country will march in parades, watch fireworks and, of course, fire up the grill.

Tons of hot dogs, burgers, steaks, and propane will be sold in the lead up to Independence Day, the biggest grilling day of the year. So it seemed to be an appropriate time to discuss the business of grilling with contributor Rebecca Harris.

Harris says that even though humans have been cooking meat for hundreds of thousands of years, backyard grilling didn’t truly become popular until the 1950’s. The sudden increase in popularity was spurred by the creation of suburbs, and the creation of the backyard grill.

Started by chef Jamie Oliver, Food Revolution Day is this Friday.

Described as an effort calling on kids and adults alike to "get cooking, share your love of food and inspire others to get excited too,” the second annual Food Revolution Day in Pittsburgh promises to be huge.

“We’re holding the biggest Food Revolution Day celebration in the world,” said BarMarco owner Bobby Fry. “It’s bigger than Jamie Oliver’s celebration itself. We’ve got 95 exhibitors, everything from local museums and art institutions to a petting zoo, a dunk tank for the teachers.”

Getting Students to Grow, Eat Local Foods

May 2, 2014

Food service directors, district officials and farmers are gathering at a conference in Pittsburgh today to talk about getting more locally grown produce into cafeterias. Schools around the country are now required to offer fruits and vegetables.


But it can be a challenge to get kids to actually eat the healthier items.  Schools that are having success in the cafeteria say they’re making food part of the regular curriculum. 

Community members, farmers, government officials and school administrators will gather in Pittsburgh Friday for the second Farm to Community Conference.

Hosted by Women for a Healthy Environment (WHE), the conference will focus on ways to make farm fresh food available in local schools and underserved communities, or food deserts.

Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis, executive director for WHE, said eight workshops are scheduled throughout the day, each focused on a different fresh food challenge.

Andy Schultz / flickr

For the thousands of people who have been training for the Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, the proper foods can make all the difference when it comes to race day performance. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette food writer Gretchen McKay has been training for the event and has written a series of articles on marathon meal ideas.

She’s been tracking her nutrition in a food diary and says as race day approaches, she's eating plenty of pasta and whole-grain foods. She says carbs and protein are especially important because they help repair muscles torn while running.

Food Revolution Pittsburgh Cooking Club / Facebook

At Barack Obama Academy in East Liberty, the long-tarnished reputation of school lunches may be coming to an end. Thanks to the Food Revolution Cooking Club, students have the opportunity to learn how to prepare healthy meals.

The idea for the club came after world renowned chef Jaime Oliver visited Pittsburgh in 2012 and challenged the community to focus on healthy food choices. Since then, the Cooking Club has partnered with many local restaurants where students are exposed to the kitchen and learn the importance of quality foods. 

Meatballs a la Carte with Melissa McCart

Mar 7, 2014
Kiran Foster / Flickr

As the polar vortex and extreme cold begin to wane, what’s new in the world of Pittsburgh dining?

Food contributor and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette food writer Melissa McCart discusses how comfort foods are making a comeback at restaurants in Pittsburgh because of this cold season.

Comfort food, homemade meatballs in particular, have been very popular this winter.

Vegan Pittsburgh Wants To Help You Find Your Next Meal

Feb 26, 2014
Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh’s reputation as a meat and potatoes kind of town is changing. As more diverse cuisine becomes popular, even the most old-school mom-and-pop sandwich shops are expanding their menu options for all dietary needs.

Vegan Pittsburgh is a project of Voices for Animals that is making it easier for people looking for vegan food to connect with options by way of a website and decals in restaurant windows.

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