Food | BLOGH: City Paper's Blog |
Friday, October 17, 2014

Posted By on Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 12:40 PM

The East End Food Co-ops’s second annual Know Your GMOs event features a local expert on the subject as well as folks from the local food community committed to going GMO-free.

The expert is Denise Caruso, a senior researcher in Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Engineering and Public Policy. Her 2006 book Intervention: Confronting the Real Risks of Genetic Engineering and Life on a Biotech Planet questions the regulatory framework for genetically modified organisms, and the possibility of unintended consequences in their use. Caruso is a former New York Times technology columnist.

Other speakers include Trevett Hooper, owner and chef at the restaurants Legume and Butterjoint; Justin Pizzella, the Co-Op’s general manager; and Bryan Petrak, research and development director for snack-bar company NuGo Nutrition.

The speakers will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A session. Free copies of Intervention will be available to all attendees.

The event will also feature informational tables and free samples of Non-GMO Project Verified products and a raffle.

Genetic modification of food is common in the U.S., especially in animal-food crops like corn and soy. U.S. regulators have largely allowed such practices, but others say the products are risky or have been insufficiently studied for their effects on human health and the environment.

According to a Co-op press release, 64 countries either ban or label GMOs. And 37 states in the U.S. have seen movements to label GMO foods. The Co-op’s buying guidelines favor products that are Non-GMO Project certified.

Know Your GMOs takes place from 6:30-9 p.m. tomorrow in the Connan Room, in the Jared L. Cohon University Center, on CMU’s campus.

The free event is timed to coincide with Non-GMO Month.

For more information, see here.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Posted By on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Downtown hot-doggery Franktuary (ne Hot Dogma), on Oliver Avenue, is closing up shop next week. The last day to get locally sourced and creatively dressed hot dogs is Wed., July 23. That's also National Hot Dog Day, so that's at least two reasons to stop by for a wiener or two.
Franktuary will continue to sell hot dogs, poutine and more at its newer Butler Street location in Lawrenceville.
The collective hive mind that is City Paper has many warm memories of Franktuary — from the "zombie" dog topped with "brains" to the venue's big-screen debut in The Dark Knight Rises. And who can forget Franktuary's foray into the contentious 2008 Democratic primary when the Barackwurst went bun-to-bun with the Hillbasa?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Posted By on Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 4:19 PM

According to the website there are more than 20 varieties of edible trees in Pittsburgh. And one organization is suggesting that the fruit from these trees be harvested and given to local food banks.

This notion was behind one of the many innovations presented at the Public Allies leadership conference today. Public Allies places participants with local nonprofits, and several of the allies in this year’s class have spent the past year working on the issue of food insecurity.

Among them was Rose Smiechowski, who was inspired by one of her former Chatham University instructors, Carolyn Barber, to co-found Hidden Harvest Pittsburgh, an organization that promotes urban harvesting initiatives throughout the city. Similar organizations, like one in British Columbia, were able to harvest 30,000 pounds of fruit in one year from urban trees.

“Fruit tree harvesting is a way to make use of a neglected and valuable source of food,” Smiechowski said. “Apples down the street have the same benefits as apples from the store, and are often fresher.”

Meanwhile, according to Jacob Myers, another Public Allies presenter, 20 to 40 percent of the food that’s grown in the United States is never consumed.

Myers spent his year with the Pittsburgh Community Foodbank; his presentation focused on how individuals can reduce their own food waste. By reducing wasted food, Myers said, households can reduce their spending on food; the resulting savings could be given to the Foodbank, which takes every dollar donated and turns it into $5 worth of food.

Jessica Ruffin, who serves as the Public Allies site director, acknowledges the innovations presented throughout the day are ambitious, but she hopes the local leaders invited to attend the conference were listening.

“I know it's very idealistic, but the reason we have this conference is we realized some of the insight [our allies] had needed to be shared with a much broader audience,” Ruffin said. “We're hoping a good bit of the innovations are something they can grab and take back to their organization."

Another ally, Linda Kuster, recently accepted a position with the YWCA, where she has been helping individuals with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program application process. She said 35 to 40 percent of applications are denied, and more support is needed to help people navigate the process.

“It's no secret that there's a huge problem with Pennsylvania's food-stamp system,” Kuster said.

The conference concluded with keynote speaker Leah Lizarondo, a food and health advocate and creator of The Brazen Kitchen, a healthy-living blog. While Lizarondo praised initiatives like urban farms and food education in schools, she said local government needs to play a greater role in the health of the city.

“Those initiatives are limited because they're not mandated by the city,” Lizarondo said. “We need the backing of the city.”

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Posted By on Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 2:02 PM

Think of it as a mid-summer Mardi Gras.
After being closed for several months due to damage from a fire, NOLA on the Square will re-open on July 15 with lunch service. Pittsburghers can once again indulge in po-boys, crawfish, gumbo and other Creole cuisine, for lunch and dinner, as well as kick back with some New Orleans jazz.
The adjacent champagne bar Perle will also reopen that evening.
A "grand re-opening" tied to JazzFest will roll out on July 18-19.
Mark your calendars now to get re-acquainted with some frog legs.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Posted By on Wed, Feb 19, 2014 at 2:00 PM

The list of semi-finalists for James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards — a mark of distinction in the culinary world — is out, and Pittsburgh hit twice.

The new Downtown venue Butcher and the Rye is nominated for Outstanding Bar Program. City Paper just reviewed the restaurant, and you can read more about its bar here.

Further up the river in Lawrenceville, Justin Severino, of Cure, is a semi-finalist for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic Region.

As always, it's an honor to be nominated; the finalists are announced March 19, and the awards handed out in new York City on May 2 and 5.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Posted By on Mon, Jan 6, 2014 at 1:59 PM

In the wee hours of the morning, Kevin Sousa sat in Braddock Mayor John Fetterman's living room, anticipating the success of their crowd-funded restaurant venture.

Sousa's phone had finally stopped blowing up with Twitter updates or alerts he gets every time someone donates to his Kickstarter campaign, an effort to raise money for a restaurant in a small, used-up steel town.

“I was in and out of consciousness,” says Sousa, owner of Salt of the Earth.

But by 6 a.m. today, the campaign to fund "Superior Motors" had reached its $250,000 goal, fueled by local and national media attention mixed with a frenzy of support on Twitter. It is Kickstarter's best-funded restaurant project ever.

"It took on a complete life of its own,” Sousa says, and earlier noted the project was only half-funded on Dec. 9. "It was seriously a critical mass ... I’m not that popular on Twitter — we picked up hundreds of followers last night."

"Superior Motors" — named after the long-vacant Chevy dealership whose space it will occupy — is Sousa and Fetterman's brain-child. It's billed as a "community restaurant and farm ecosystem" that will take full advantage of a nearby apiary, 4,000 square feet of farming space (including a rooftop greenhouse) and a convent, which will house the restaurant's culinary students.

Sousa says he turned to Kickstarter because "it was really our only option to build capital. Braddock is not a thriving business district; it’s not a business district at all.”

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Posted By on Wed, Jun 5, 2013 at 11:39 AM

A forum on food access issues in Allegheny County's communities will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, June 7, Downtown.

Hosted by Just Harvest, the forum will discuss the findings of a report also to be released at that time, "A Menu for Food Justice: Strategies for Improving Access to Health Foods in Allegheny County." The report features detailed assessments of the county's most vulnerable communities, according to the nonprofit.

The report "arms communities and policymakers with knowledge about how factors such as food access, food availability and transportation have an impact on area residents" and "draws on local and national programs to lay a framework of policy recommendations for city and county officials, businesses, foundations, nonprofits and community leaders to pursue."

The report was prepared by Zachary Murray, during his term as an Emerson Fellow of the Congressional Hunger Center.

The forum will be held at the Allegheny County Department of Human Services Building at One Smithfield Street, Downtown in the Liberty Conference Room. It goes until 4 p.m. RSVP to

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 12:12 PM

The guys behind South Side's Peddlin Pierogies are hosting a tasting party later this month. Check it out to sample their take on a Pittsburgh classic and meet the farmers behind the products they use.


There's a sliding admission: For $5, you get a craft beverage sample and 3 gourmet pierogies; $7 gets beverage samples and 5 tasty pierogies; $10 gets beverages from Red Star and Timber Ridge, 8 hand-made 'rogies and a gift. Check it out from 6-8 p.m., Fri. Jan. 25, at the Inn-Termission Lounge in the South Side. Looking for more info? Check them out on Facebook.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Posted By on Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Slow Food Pittsburgh has two events on tap this weekend. Both will be held at Marty's Market, 2301 Smallman St., Strip District.

A coffee tasting and brewing demo will be held from 2-3 p.m. on Sat., Jan. 12. The $10 fee gets participants a chance to do a sensory evaluation of aroma, body and taste of two seasonal, single-origin coffees from Coava. Participants will also receive a bag of Coava beans. You can register here.

The second event it is a whole hog butchery demo and dinner, from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., Sun., Jan. 13. Butcher Steve Beachy will demonstrate breaking down a hog from Clarion River Organics. A five course tasting-menu will then be prepared by Chef Matt Huggins. BYOB (no corkage fee). You can register for this event here.

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Friday, January 4, 2013

Posted By on Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 11:24 AM

Nomadic chef Brandon Baltzley is hosting his final series of collaborations with Pittsburgh chefs at his pop-up restaurant, Crux.

The next meal will be an 11-course modern Italian menu Jan. 14 at Stagioni on the South Side, working with chef Stephen Felder. The dinner ($65 for food / $35 beverage) starts at 7 p.m. and reservations can be made by calling 412-586-4738.

Another dinner is planned for Jan. 20 at Bar Marco, followed by one to be held at Root 174 in collaboration with Keith Fuller on Jan. 28. More details and menus for each will be released the day after the pop-up dinner held before it. Follow Baltzley on Twitter or @getCruxed to stay in the loop.

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