Food & Wine

Pickling plenty

As the garden tips from late summer to fall and the plants become a little woody, then crispy, the only thing to do — if you’re a gardener like me — is turn to the things you’ve put up during the months of productivity. It’s nostalgic, opening up a jar of tomato sauce or…

Raising a glass (and a local industry)

It is near mayhem inside the headquarters of Pennsylvania Pure Distilleries, a drafty warehouse next door to a glass factory along an industrial stretch of Shaler. A forklift topples over a pile of cardboard boxes waiting to be filled with vodka bottles. Giant fermentation tanks are hot with bubbling CO2.…

Shouf’s Café

Sometimes, when Rabih Fahed pauses during a hectic night at Shouf’s Cafe, the room filled with love and laughter, families and friends hugging hello and crowding in close, and exotic aromas teasing the air, he can close his eyes and be back in the Lebanon of his youth.

A cookware quest

Forget about Black Friday. If you’re interested in top-​quality cookware at great prices, you can sleep off that Thanksgiving meal and make the drive to Washington County on Dec. 67 for the All-​Clad Factory Outlet Sale in Canonsburg.

Apple Obligations

There’s a point after leaving Pittsburgh, zipping in and out of lanes on Interstate 79, when you distinctly hit Country. Even the dog notices it, sticking his nose in the air, half-​closing his eyes in window-​seat joy. It’s the moment when the air rushing in smells sweet, like hay and…

La Prima Espresso

October 2, 1988, was a brisk Sunday in Pittsburgh’s Strip District — then more a collection of warehouses than a bustling foodies’ mecca — and Sam and Debbie Patti were hoping the naysayers had been wrong. With their 12-​year-​old daughter, Jamie, they sat bundled on a bench in the chilly storefront that had just…

Mateo’s

Grandson Mateo, now 8 years old, was a newborn when Franco and Lisa Gualtieri started cooking real Italian food in a small kitchen for pickup and delivery. When Mateo was 4, his grandparents opened the tiny restaurant they now operate on Brookline Boulevard and named it after him.

Just Ripe

Our little house in Pittsburgh was wedged between two widowers on the South Side slopes; John to the left, George to the right. George liked to wander out into his adjoining backyard and give me lawn cutting advice. John talked about tomatoes.

Signs of spring

Pittsburgh turns green in more ways than one come mid-​March. Budding trees line the roads and crocuses pop up in sidewalk gardens. Along East Carson Street, the South Side’s main drag, drunken revelers laugh and shout, adjust their shamrock hats and “Kiss Me I’m Irish” T-​shirts as they search out…

The Maple

Long before Jim Pappas founded the Maple Restaurant in Ambridge, he and a partner ran an eatery that was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. One year they decided to close for Christmas and spend a few hours with their young families, but no one could find…

Kar Hing

Since 1937, the world’s first atom smasher – perched above Ardmore Boulevard at the confluence of Forest Hills, East Pittsburgh and Chalfant – has been a source of mystery and intrigue. The once-​gleaming six-​story-​high silver ball – with its faded, giant Westinghouse “W” still visible – is a relic of the atomic age, but it is not the…

The Beginning

Mid October, 2012. The leaves shift into yellows and reds. I harvest the perky green Brussels sprouts and fill a basket with end-​of-​season tomatoes, a couple of late pattypan squashes, an armload of poblano peppers, parsley, kale, Swiss chard, heirloom carrots, and the last of the zinnias for the kitchen…

The Box is Back

This was the first good sign: When I asked a group of friends to join me for a tasting of boxed wines, everyone thought it would be fun to participate. No “Ugh, boxed wines!” No questioning of my sanity.

The Bigham Tavern

In the early 20th century, weary men from Mount Washington finished their factory shifts on the banks of Pittsburgh’s three rivers and ascended the sharp cliff to Grandview Avenue on several inclines, disappearing above the cacophony and grime.

Anna’s Cucina Rustica

When she was a little girl, Anna Malvone would finish her classes and rush the few blocks to the neighborhood orphanage in Pianura, Naples. There, she helped the nuns in the kitchen, preparing simple meals with ingredients that were plentiful and cheap — tomatoes, garlic, basil and other staples of Italian life…
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