FOOD

For the holiday table

What do you do when someone arrives on your doorstep with a slab of homemade duck pastrami? At my house, we shout thanks and reach for a corkscrew. It’s a holiday tradition.

Jim’s Famous Sauce

Alex Damianos awakened from a troubled sleep at 3 a.m. on a hot July night in 1959 to find his smiling father standing at the foot of his bed, staring down at him.

Muscat Love

Mankind has been making wine for millennia, so it’s rare to find a wine that’s truly new. But sometimes we see a grape that’s ripe for a comeback. Consider the Muscat family of grapes: Muscat Blanc and its many mutations, including Muscat Ottonel and Black Muscat.

Buon Giorno Café

When austrian native Gustav Lindenthal designed and built the current Smithfield Street Bridge, he placed it on the stone piers originally laid by Prussian-​born John A. Roebling for the previous bridge at this site.

Cool It This Summer

Some guys will always go for the blockbuster red wine: the high-​alcohol zinfandel or inky shiraz. I can appreciate those big reds, too, if conditions are right (snow, cigars, a two-​inch-​thick porterhouse).

The Mighty Oak Barrel

When you think that you must have taken a wrong turn, you are almost there. The Mighty Oak Barrel sits at the end of a little twig of a road that is also the last chance for anyone who panics at the approaching Hulton Bridge and swerves to the right.

A Passion for Baking

Mary-​kay Fiore’s life turned out a little differently than she expected. But it sure has a sweet ending. In 2001, the single mother of three found herself downsized out of a corporate job and facing a crossroads.

Valliant’s Diner

Pete Valliant arrived in America in 1950 with $20 in his pocket, no English, and a vague notion that he had relatives near Pittsburgh. The Greek merchant sea captain thought he would give the mainland a try, leaving behind his island home on Cephalonia, where Louis de Bernières set his…

Quality Close to Home

I enjoy being a wine contrarian — advocating for delicious white wines when people are conditioned to order red, and pouring domestic for customers who wouldn’t dream of drinking anything but an import.

Triangle Bar & Grill

The Bermuda Triangle — that vortex in the Atlantic Ocean that starts at Miami, follows a line southeast to Puerto Rico, then north to Bermuda and back to Miami — forms a region that some have imbued with mysterious powers. Over the decades, many ships have entered this triangle, never to be seen again.

Try a blind tasting

We ran a fun little wine-​tasting experiment at the restaurant the other day, one you should try at home. It will be educational and thought-​provoking. And if it goes as ours went, you may be a bit miffed by the results.

Square Café

There are two features that are essential before any establishment can become a neighborhood joint, and Square Café in Regent Square has both.

Follow your Palate

All right people. Can we just chill out about food and wine pairings? It seems the more we’re interested in food and the more we learn about wine, the more stressed we are about choosing wines to have with dinner.

Girasole: Dinner and a Show

by Joseph Sabino Mistick
As the great American playwright Tennessee Williams once said, “I think Italians are like Southerners without their inhibitions.” Williams could have made that observation from a table at Girasole, which combines the best of Italy and Pittsburgh: sometimes it can be a little bit pazzo, but it is always honest.

Savoring Digestifs

Is it wrong that one of my favorite childhood chores was running to the A&P for my grandmother and buying her a bottle of Fernet-​Branca and a box of snuff? It’s probably not the kind of wholesome memory most people hope to create for their kids, but I can’t help…
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