Food & Drink

We delve into the local food scene, from the farms that grow your food to how it ends up on your plate.

A new study may prompt hand wringing among you tuna poke and sushi lovers. When it comes to pollutant levels, researchers now say where your tuna was caught matters.

Ron Larson / Ace Hotel

Amid Pittsburgh’s restaurant boom, a new conference this week aims to tackle tough issues within the food and service industry, including gentrification, sexism and cultural appropriation.

Kevin Sousa / Studio for Spacial Practice

A long-awaited restaurant in Braddock is set to start taking reservations this weekend.

Superior Motors is the latest venture of Chef Kevin Sousa. 

Coca-Cola's marketing efforts during the weekend's heatwave in Pittsburgh backfired when the company mistakenly used a map of Philadelphia in a post on Twitter.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

On a drizzly afternoon in Bellevue, a small crowd gathered at the Rosalinda Sauro Sirianni Memorial Garden to tell stories, share laughs and take pictures. 

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Chopsticks clink against bowls over hushed conversations in Chinese, as the unmistakable smells of stir fries and rich sauces greet customers at the door of the Taiwanese bistro, Café 33, in Squirrel Hill.

Dave J. Bruce Photography / via Station

The Penguins just need four more wins before we're in the Stanley Cup finals ... AGAIN. 

A lot of us are super stoked -- and some of us don't really care (I know, I know).

But even if you don't care about watching the Pens play, there is another benefit to an extended hockey season, especially if you're a bit of a foodie: checking out one of the city's popular bars and restaurants that are usually hard to get into.  

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Uber is launching its food delivery service in Pittsburgh starting Thursday.

UberEATS general manager Casey Verkamp said the service will be faster, more reliable and more convenient than other delivery services, such as Postmates and Grubhub.

“We don’t think anyone else has cracked, to date, that problem so we’re really excited to be doing that, in Pittsburgh especially,” Verkamp said Wednesday at Franktuary in Lawrenceville.

Franktuary is one of the more than 100 Pittsburgh-area restaurants that had partnered with the app at its launch this week.

Yo Ho Ho! Pennsylvania Aims To Smash US Embargo On Cuban Rum

May 1, 2017
Ramon Espinosa / AP

Pennsylvania's Cuban rum run got its start in a chance meeting last fall in the parking lot in front of the state Capitol.

"'You know, we have rum,'" a visiting Cuban government liaison told state Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, who was walking to his car when he was introduced to her as the senator whose committee oversees how alcohol is sold in Pennsylvania. "And I'm like, 'Yeah, we should buy some.'"

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

When the first Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week kicked off in 2012, there were about five craft breweries in Pittsburgh, including Penn Brewery, which planned the inaugural celebration.

Now, as the 2017 celebration prepares to kick off, there are closer to 35 breweries in the region. Eighteen of them are participating in the week-long celebration this year – the largest number so far. Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week Board President Brian Meyer said that’s fitting.

Some people call Jeremy Fox the "vegetable whisperer," the California chef who can coax remarkable flavors out of every part of his produce, even the flowers and leaves that most chefs throw away. One of his famous first-course dishes combines twice-shucked spring peas with macadamia nuts and white chocolate. He has reinvented cooking with vegetables, and in the process, reinvented himself, too.

Be it Easter or Eid, holidays in the Levantine region of the Middle East are incomplete without a shortbread cookie called maamoul. Stuffed with date paste or chopped walnuts or pistachios, and dusted with powdered sugar, these buttery cookies are the perfect reward after a month of fasting during Ramadan or Lent.

The dough is made with wheat flour or semolina (or a combination of the two), then pressed into special molds, traditionally carved in wood. And the fillings are fragrant with rosewater or orange blossom.

For the last 20 years, Americans have been having a conversation about sustainable seafood that was largely focused on fish purchased at restaurants or fresh seafood counters. Armed with seafood guides, thoughtful customers were encouraged to pose questions about where their fish was caught and what type of gear was used — questions that are far trickier to pose in front of a wall of canned tuna in the middle of a supermarket.

Above-Average Winter Temperatures Are Jumpstarting The Growing Season

Mar 7, 2017
Julie Grant / Allegheny Front

While many of us have been enjoying the mild winter, it has some food producers double checking the calendar. For instance, March is usually prime season for boiling the sap from maple trees down into syrup. But at the farm Nathan Goodell’s family has worked for seven generations in northeastern Ohio, record-high winter temperatures have pushed everything way ahead of schedule.

Sweeney Todd is a piece of theater that should make you lose your appetite. The grisly musical by Stephen Sondheim tells the story of a demonic barber whose clients become the filling for meat pies. Many productions leave the stage soaked in blood.

A heart-shaped box of chocolate is a sign of love, a symbol — and often tool — of romance, and an intrinsic part of Valentine's Day.

From at least the time of the Aztecs, chocolate has been seen as an aphrodisiac. So it's reasonable to assume that it has been connected to love's dedicated day of celebration for many centuries. But, that isn't the case.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Gina Merante grabbed a banana bunch from a red wall lined with gradually ripening fruit. She shuffled past boxes of apples and red peppers and pointed outside, past the large display window at the front of her store, Linea Verde Green Market.

Katie Meyer / WITF

 

Signaling that the 2017 Pennsylvania Farm Show is about to open, the event's annual butter sculpture has been revealed.

The sculpture unveiled Thursday is called "A Culture of Stewardship" and pays tribute to dairy farmers, who the artists say are stewards of the land, air, water and community.

About a half-ton of butter was used to create the piece, which shows a landscape of farms and undulating hillsides giving way to forest-covered peaks.

So, What's The Deal With Pennsylvania's Liquor Laws?

Dec 30, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP

For decades, Pennsylvania had some of the screwiest liquor laws in the nation. But this year, after decades of false starts and abandoned bills, the General Assembly finally passed laws to make it easier to buy alcohol.

This Pittsburgh Group Is Pioneering The 'Uber Of Food Recovery'

Dec 22, 2016
412 Food Rescue

Chances are,  all that leftover food from your office party or wedding might end up in a dumpster—and eventually the landfill. Unless a hero swoops in.

Because it’s the 21st century, that hero is a new app. It’s called Food Rescue Hero, and 412 Food Rescue—a nonprofit in Pittsburgh—has been working with local developers over the past 18 months to get it off the ground.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Nied’s Hotel in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood is one of a handful of bars where workers who clock out while most hit the alarm clock can still meet for coffee or a beer. Taverns that cater to third-shift workers aren’t a new concept to Pittsburgh, but over the years, their clientele has evolved.

In the wake of the presidential election, many in the LGBTQ community are organizing to protect legal progress they've made in recent years. For Kirsten Adorian, a home cook and nutrition specialist living in Brooklyn, New York, the call to help her community came naturally: She wants to feed them.

For Oakmont Seller, Protein-Packed Nutrition Began At Home

Dec 6, 2016
Marcus Charleston / WESA

Food makers, consumers and regulators have sparred back and forth over what constitutes “healthy” in food labeling for years. Last year, the makers of Kind Bars battled over their snacks’ nutrition merits.

Uniontown McDonald's Franchise Owner & Creator Of The Big Mac Dies

Nov 30, 2016
Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

The Pittsburgh-area McDonald's franchisee who created the Big Mac nearly 50 years ago has died. James Delligatti was 98.

McDonald's spokeswoman Kerry Ford confirmed that Delligatti died at home surrounded by his family on Monday night.

Delligatti's franchise was based in Uniontown, about 40 miles south of Pittsburgh, when he invented the chain's signature burger with two all-beef patties, "special sauce," lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

The region’s first pay-what-you-can restaurant is expected to open in January in New Kensington. Knead Community Café is modeled after similar facilities around the country that offer meals in exchange for donations or volunteer time.

Mary and Kevin Bode, cofounders of the café, said they wanted to renovate the $64,000 building with the hopes that it would spur revitalization in the city’s downtown.

Geoffrey Franklin / flickr

Big changes are coming to beer sales in Pennsylvania.

Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation Tuesday that will allow the state's more than 1,000 beer distributors to sell suds in any quantity. That includes individual 32-ounce bottles, four-packs, six-packs and growlers.

The law takes effect in 60 days.

Patrick Doyle / 90.5 WESA


 A Pittsburgh group named A Few Bad Apples has three missions.

 

The first is to teach people the lost skills of making use of homegrown fruit.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

First in an occasional series exploring Essential Pittsburgh.

Jacqueline Wardle was working as the executive chef at Isabela on Grandview, a Mt. Washington restaurant, when she received a beguiling email: Instead of working for someone else, did she want to own her own restaurant?

Mike Mozart / Flickr

    

Restaurant Opportunities Centers United is a national organization that advocates on behalf of restaurant workers, and Pittsburgh is home to one of its chapters. In this episode of On The House, Larkin Page-Jacobs talks to organizer Jordan Romanus and server Heather Freeman about the change they hope to see in the industry.

On The House: Pairing Music With Your Meal

Oct 28, 2015
Brooke Annibale

At a restaurant or bar, details make up a diner’s experience. Lighting, décor, music -- Brooke Annibale’s embraces each to enhance the experience of eating out.

She’s a Pittsburgh singer and songwriter, and works for the Big Burrito restaurant group as a music programmer. In this episode of On The House, the work of the behind-the-scenes DJ to countless meals at Mad Mex, Casbah, Eleven and Kaya. 

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