Pittsburgh's Best Resource for Food Adventures
Archive for October 2011
Oct 31 2011
Although it’s only Halloween, the next few months fly by, so my “2011 holiday local food-ish gift list” begins today. Yahoo!! Why the non-word food–ish in the title? Well, there is so much negativity – really silly, in my opinion – in the food world around “foodie” as a word to describe someone uber-interested in edible treats . . .and since this list doesn’t just include food . . . . and since the word culinary is sounding too snooty to me today, I am using food-ish. Don’t be a hater of words. Just keep reading. And read alllll the way to the end to find out how you can be a winner.
My first gift suggestion is a beautiful cutting board by Cutting Board Art, Inc., made in nearby Girard, Ohio. The boards come in various sizes, are safe for using with food and are made with various woods (maple, cherry and oak.) They are stunning. A Cutting Board Art board works as serving piece for cheese and crackers, sliced bread, charcuterie or dried fruit . . but it’s also great used simply as a cutting board. It can be used every day in the kitchen and also on special occasions. I think it is a perfect gift for everyone .. .whether a new homeowner or someone who has everything. Timeless and beautiful.
Owner Ralph Teets, a master woodworker, makes each and every board himself and he will happily ship to you in time for the winter holidays. Lucky for my blog readers, Mr. Teets has offered to give a cutting board to one of my lucky readers. All you have to do is leave a comment below about your favorite local food gift. Tell me what it is and where we can buy it. Then, on November 8, I will randomly choose a winner using an online random number generator. What a way to kick off the 2011 Holiday Local Food Gift List! Good luck!!
Oct 17 2011
Sorry for the long gap since the last post. A few new fall tours and some charter tours were underway and things got crazy.
Let me tell you about some of the many wonderful people and stops from recent trips.
First of all, my tours are pretty informal, so by the end of the day, my guests feel like old friends to me. This really is one of the best parts of the tours. The people are just the best. Just had to say this.
Second, the stops are great ( or I wouldn’t have selected them in the first place ) but the owners of the businesses or the docents at the museums or the managers at the stores . . or whoever welcomes us . . .really do make each tour special. These are hard working folks who have a real passion for what they do. And they want to share their enthusiasm. I am truly honored that they are wiling to share their time and expertise with my tours.
Okay, so if you missed the tours this fall, I’ll give you a few places to visit on your own. The Compass Inn Museum in Laughlintown is just a treasure. If you go, which you should, please ask for Jim Koontz (see his photo above.) Jim is the innkeeper there, and he continually delights my groups with his knowledge of the inn and of much, much more. During the holidays, The Compass Inn does candlelight tours. The small gift shop is a real gem, too. Check out the MANdles (man candles) and the books of word trivia. THE BEST.
While you are in the Ligonier area, stop at Connections Cafe for lunch. Sharon Detar, the owner, once worked for a vegetarian restaurant and her attention to healthy and fresh really shows. Try her curried chicken salad and the white chocolate raspberry tart.
If you’re out in the Mon Valley, take a drive through Belle Vernon to visit Melanie Patterson at the Good Ol’ Days House. You can usually find Melanie in her store across the street, and if you’re lucky, she’ll give you a quick tour of the bed and breakfast across the street. Melanie carries lots of old time candy and also sells some delicious Gene and Boots ice cream.
For some delicious food that is close to the Burgh, drive on over to the Tin Front Cafe in Homestead. The lovingly prepared vegetarian food is a treat. Ask for Ellie, Daniel or David to fill you in on the history of the building. And then mozy over to Judy’s cookware store next door.
The next sunny autumn day, take a few hours and visit some of these real gems right in our backyard!
A food adventure might be sleuthing out the juiciest June strawberries at a farm market, learning about gone but not forgotten area food treasures, working with a chef during a hands on cooking class or touring Pennsylvania’s artisan cheesemaker’s farms (and meeting a few cows along the way) . . or any of a zillion other fun ways to explore foodie things within a day's drive of Pittsburgh.