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Full of Flavor

Wanderlust quite literally means a lust for wandering, and Richard DeShantz has it big time. One moment he’s skiing out West, the next he’s exploring the food and culture in Turkey. Trying to catch up with the chef and owner of nine successful Pittsburgh restaurants can be a challenge, but it also explains the myriad …

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If You’re Yurting for a Break …

Whether you’re dealing with stress from work, the pandemic or just need a reset, a trip to the Savage River Lodge (SRL) near Frostburg, Maryland, may provide the perfect respite for your body and soul. Situated on 43 privately owned acres within the 54,000-acre Savage River State Forest, the SRL will force you to slow …

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A Touch of Whimsy

Walk into the living room of Suzanne and Peter Friday’s historic home and the first thing you notice are the crows. Big black crows, perched on branches nestled into wall panels placed between the large windows. They inject a note of whimsy into the stately room, which is anchored by a large, cabbage rose-patterned Wilton …

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A Fresh Take on a French Classic

Salade Niçoise, that most famous of French salads, has become ubiquitous far beyond the reaches of the French Riviera. It is both a humble and elegant dish: a collection of everyday ingredients — tomatoes, olives, hard-boiled eggs, and often anchovy fillets or canned tuna — arranged beautifully and simply.   Variations abound, and for good …

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How About a Delicious Peach Cobbler (and more)?

There is something about comfort food that evokes a feeling of old-fashioned delight. And when it comes to dessert, there’s nothing like fruit cobbler, bread pudding, gobs or banana pudding to transport you to a time when calories didn’t count and a big scoop of dessert made everything better. Today, not everyone has time to …

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A Classic Colonial

Houses are like people in many ways. They tend to get better with age as they develop character and the rich patina that comes from living, and being lived in. Up to a point, that is. And then they start to require maintenance, and eventually, if they last long enough, more serious renovation. Such was …

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Burn Beetle, Burn!

I am going to torch a massive, 30-foot-long beetle tonight. I will fork over twenty bucks and the local fire department will hand me a long branch that’s been swathed at the top with fabric. It looks like a giant Q-Tip, ready to be dipped in kerosene or gasoline or something easily combustible. They will …

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An Urban Farmhouse

Like many couples, the owners of this Shadyside residence decided to sell the sprawling home they had lived in since 1972 when their children were grown and gone. That was 20 years ago. “We were early with the downsizing,” the wife says with a laugh. But they retained an acre of prime property next to …

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Holiday Temptations

As the festive spirit creeps slowly back into our lives, there’s a new appreciation for the simple pleasures of dining out. Take out was great during the pandemic, or at least it offered some variety and relief to homebound cooks. But not all foods travel well and some of Pittsburgh’s better restaurants chose not to …

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A Festive Sidekick

Hearty, comforting dishes might be the backbone of winter home cooking, but every stew or roast needs a trusty sidekick to balance and complete the menu. This salad fits the bill perfectly. Full of color, crunch and zing, it’s a breath of fresh air and flavor on even the coldest winter night. Brussels sprouts make …

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Little Flower Blossoms

Little Flower stands with stately elegance where it has always stood, on a small bluff overlooking Woodland Road in Shadyside. Built in 1910 by Daniel Clemson, a steel executive who lived at Highmont on the corner of Fifth and Shady, it was a gift for his son, Ralph. With nine bedrooms and a large carriage …

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A New Old Fashioned

As far as cocktails are concerned, it doesn’t get more classic than the Old Fashioned, a libation made with bourbon or rye whiskey, a sugar cube and a few dashes of bitters. The drink was supposedly invented by a bartender in Louisville, Ky. in 1880 and has become a staple in American bars. This play …

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Corning Museum of Glass

A Trip to Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

With fall approaching, who isn’t itching to hit the road? No matter your age or interests, Corning, N.Y. and the Southern Finger Lakes region might provide the perfect escape. Much of the 4 1/2-hour drive goes through beautiful tree-filled valleys that will be exploding with autumn color. Charming, walkable Corning sits along the Chemung River …

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Our Sleeping Porch

“There was nothing of the giant in the aspect of the man who was beginning to awaken on the sleeping porch of a Dutch Colonial house in that residential district of Zenith known as Floral Heights. His name was George F. Babbitt.” — “Babbitt” by Sinclair Lewis The joys of a sleeping porch are many, …

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Buckle Up!

Pie, crisp, cobbler, crumble, betty or buckle, the most beloved summer desserts are the ones that highlight ripe summer fruit, with a little bit of butter, sugar and flour to bring everything together. (And most, if not at all, are made even better with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.) Versions of …

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Pusadee’s Garden of Delights

Pusadee’s Garden closed even before the virus shuttered restaurants across the globe, and like a butterfly leaving its cocoon, it has emerged from hibernation with a resplendent new look. It took close to four years for the transformation, but the popular Lawrenceville Thai restaurant that once boasted a pretty garden and a small indoor space …

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Light as Air

Leanne Ford is working from home these days, just like everyone else. But home for Ford means Pittsburgh, as in the entire city and its environs. The interior designer and star of HGTV’s “Restored by the Fords” is positioning her new season, “Home Again with the Fords,” as part of a national trend. People across …

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Spring Greenery

After a long winter, the arrival of early spring, however damp and cool, is always welcome. This year especially so, as warmer weather on the horizon promises a reprieve after another pandemic winter. What better way to celebrate the cheerfulness of spring than with a pasta bursting with the bright, crisp flavors of spring’s early …

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A Passion for Cheese

Frequently in life, the people who are most successful are those who have a passion for what they do. When you cross the threshold of Chantal’s, the tiny cheese shop across the street from Children’s Hospital in Lawrenceville, the passion is palpable. These are people who love cheese! Anaïs Saint-André Loughran was born and raised …

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Eleven Mile Farm

“To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose, under heaven.” So says the book of Ecclesiastes, pirated by Pete Seeger for a song recorded by the Byrds. Those words come to mind when visiting Eleven Mile Farm, an old sheep farm in Indiana Township that has found new life with new …

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A Cozy Winter Dinner

It’s been the year of cooking at home. When COVID hit, there was a mad dash for canned items and other pantry goods. We cooked and cooked and cooked, then went out and restocked, and cooked some more. Sourdough, banana bread, homemade pizza, the list goes on. And yet after so many months and so …

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A Farm for All Seasons

With so many events being held virtually, who isn’t craving a “real” holiday experience? One can be had only a few hours north of Pittsburgh in Erie County, near Waterford, Pa. Port Farms has been a working farm since 1897. In 2003, fourth-generation owners Kelly and Jerry Port began a transformation of the 200-acre property, …

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