Essential Pittsburgh
2:15 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Meatballs a la Carte with Melissa McCart

According to food contributor, Melissa McCart, meatballs are making their way back onto menus in Pittsburgh.
Credit 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.

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10:26 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Vegan Pittsburgh Wants To Help You Find Your Next Meal

A sign outside of Schwartz Living Market on Pittsburgh's South Side.
Credit 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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Essential Pittsburgh
1:00 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving & Hanukkah Traditions Converge with Thanksgivukkah

American Gothikkah is just one of the images used to popularize the once in a lifetime holiday, Thanksgivukkah.
Credit Thanksgivukkah/Modern Tribe / Facebook

This year we will experience a once in a lifetime convergence of holidays. Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah occur on the same day.

In celebration of what she calls a "Jewish-American mashup," Dana Reichman Gitell, a native of Squirrel Hill, has popularized the term “Thanksgivukkah” online.

She says most people are tickled by the playful cultural juxtaposition of imagery that can be found on sites like Modern Tribe.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:11 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Pittsburgh's Homestyle Cuisine are Coming into Season

Pittsburgh home-style favorites like Pierogis are starting to draw more attention as the weather gets colder.
Credit Liz Gosselin / Flickr

All over the country there has been a resurgence in down-home, comfort foods, especially heading into the winter months. In Pittsburgh home-style meals have never gone out of style and these days regional cuisines are being translated by and for Pittsburgh diners.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette restaurant critic Melissa McCart notes that Pittsburgh takes great pride in their home-style meals and picked up on another restaurant trend, single concept restaurants.

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3:07 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Smorgasburgh to Showcase Pittsburgh's Foodie Scene

The free beer from PortaBeer should be enough to draw a crowd out to the premiere installment of Smorgasburgh, but it’s the food that will take center stage.

Urbanist editor Michael McAllister and local startup investor Kit Mueller are launching Pittsburgh’s first pop-up all food (and beer) flea market on Saturday.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:53 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

What's on the Menu for Fall Dining in Pittsburgh?

Expect to see more small plates and veggies at some of Pittsburgh's most popular restaurants this fall.
Credit Muy Yum / flickr

If this week’s weather has put you in the mood for Autumnal spices and rich-flavorful comfort foods, you’re in luck. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette restaurant critic Melissa McCart says in the coming weeks, roughly  20 new restaurants will be opening in the Pittsburgh area.

"We're seeing a lot of casual fare. But then again we're also seeing casual small plates with more refined details," says McCart.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:16 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Preserving the Harvest, Beyond Canning

Pickling is a fairly simple preservation method. Find out how to create bread & butter pickles
Credit Rhonda Schuldt / Local Goodness

Food contributor, Rhonda Schuldt of knows a number of ways for you to preserve your harvest this time of year. She shares some simple methods which go beyond the process of canning.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:29 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

A Wide Variety of Authentic Mexican Restaurants for Pittsburghers

Nic DiCio at Casa Reyna in the Strip District, built a mini tortilla factory in the back of his Mexican restaurant, because he says authentic tortillas should be made fresh each day.
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Even though the Steel City is hundreds of miles away from the southern border, Pittsburgh has recently seen a rise in restaurants offering authentic Mexican cuisine. The new establishments are finding Pittsburghers to be eager customers.

One such customer is food critic Melissa McCart. A fan of Mexican food, McCart says these authentic restaurants have brought an increased variety of regional flavors.  McCart points to how Pittsburgh has begun to approach a Tex-Mex favorite: the taco.

“Six years ago you might not have seen a tongue taco or a chorizo taco, but now you can find them at four or five different places,” says McCart.

Although the number of restaurants has been rising, McCart says the important trend is the variety of styles and approaches within the cuisine.

Arts & Culture
5:12 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Exhibit Highlights the Role of Food in American Slavery

Two Pittsburgh institutions are teaming up to show the importance of food in African American slavery.

The Heinz History Center, along with Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, is hosting “Beyond the Big House Kitchen: A Culinary History of American Slavery,” a demonstration showcasing how African American slaves were able to cook and eat on the run.

Sarah Rooney, community programs manager for the Heinz History Center, said the exhibit will show the everyday struggles of freedom seekers.

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:49 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Kitchen Conversations with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Food Section and Joey Fatone

Special cooking guest, Joey Fatone does some grilling with Post Gazette food writer Gretchen McKay
Haldan Kirsch 90.5 WESA

We recently teamed up with food writer, Gretchen McKay, dining critic Melissa McCart and food editor Bob Batz Jr., the folks behind the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Food Section and PG Plate for a discussion on outdoor cooking trends.

And just in time for Father's Day, pop music singer, dancer, father and cooking show host, Joey Fatone was recently in town for the Pittsburgh CLO production of 42nd Street. So Gretchen made him a classic Pittsburgh dish with a twist in the Post-Gazette Outdoor Test Kitchen.