Where is the time going?

Weeks are flying by and I can’t get caught up. Yikes.  Sorry for the delay with the winner of the contest.

The winner of the beautiful cutting board was Christine. Lucky girl.   Congratulations and thank you to Ralph Teets at Cutting Board Art for his generous donation.  His boards are lovely and make fantastic gifts, either by themselves or as part of a gift of wine, crackers, dried fruit and cheese.  Artisan made gifts are so much more valuable than factory made. Thanks, Cutting Board Art!!

Another fabulous holiday gift is the sampler from The Berry Patch.  You get to pick three different flavors of jams or jellies  in 4 oz jars.  Not only are they so tasty, but they have a multitude of uses from marinades to salad dressings and  come already packaged in a beautiful box ( notice the box in the above photo.)  Stop down to the Pittsburgh Public Market to select your flavors  today.  You can sample them before you purchase, too. Don’t forget to say hello to Scottie and Brenda, the owners of The Berry Patch.  The Berry Patch folks can be reached at 724-238-4714 or at  the.berrypatch@hotmail.com if you want to pre-order your gifts.  Things can get crazy on weekends and sometimes they do sell out.

Still looking for something to do on Thanksgiving?   The nice folks at the stunning TreeTops at Polymath Park  near Donegal would love to have you join them for Thanksgiving dinner. The menu includes roasted butternut squash soup, in house smoked salmon and many traditional goodies such as roast turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. Oh, and pumpkin pie brulee.  Call them today!!!

Two Pittsburgh Food Favorites

A Heinz ketchup dinosaur in the courtyard of PPG Place.


Pittsburgh’s largest (and most fun) food event, GoodTaste! Pittsburgh, has something new this year.  A chance to be a food star! Make a video highlighting your stellar cooking skills and your entertaining personality and send it to the folks at GoodTaste!    Four semi-finalists will be chosen at a cookoff on September 17 at the Carnegie Science Center’s Kitchen Theater. Two finalists  will them compete for the title on stage on November 5 at the show. And the prizes are good . . . . $1000, a professional video (you know, to promote yourself to the big leagues at The Food Network or  on a morning show), the opportunity to become the 2012 face of GoodTaste!Pittsburgh and other goodies, too.  There are a few rules and guidelines, so make sure to read the details here before you get going.    The deadline is coming up soon, so hurry and get your video sent into the nice folks at GTP.  Good luck!  Hope to see one of my readers on stage on November 5.

Cooking knife demo at the 2009 GoodTaste! Pittsburgh show.


My favorite Pittsburgh food destination is the Pittsburgh Public Market.  From Friday, September 2 through Sunday, September 4, they are celebrating their first birthday.   You’ll find samples, live music, giveaways, and a special Public Market birthday cake.  I have loved watching the market grow and grow, and I’ve met some wonderful people who sell their products there .  The folks at The Berry Patch and at Glades Pike Winery are near and dear to me. And, oh, the Pittsburgh Marshmallow Factory is just so heavenly.  Happy Birthday, Pittsburgh Public Market!  It’s been a great year.

Brenda and Scotty from The Berry Patch. Luscious local berry products.

Chef Dato’s Table

This post was written at the beginning of January 2011, after my first visit to Chef Dato’s.  I was hoping it would be the first of many visits.  The food was wonderful. The Chef wasn’t in yet and I was looking forward to meeting him the next time I drove out to Latrobe.  Sadly, this won’t happen. Chef Dato died yesterday (1/12/11), after a tragic car accident.  My sympathy goes out to his family and to his large following in Western Pennsylvania.

When it comes to food, I’m not usually into fancy or cutting edge. I like reading about that stuff, but I don’t have to try it.  I don’t really care about flavored foams, unusual tasting gels and freeze dried this and that.  Not that I would say no to dinner at Per Se or Alinea.  I would happily go to either of those restaurants if someone else is willing to pay the bill.   But on most days, more rustic fare is more to my liking.  Chicken and dumplings, thick  vegetable soups – that kind of thing.

A few weeks ago the folks from The Berry Patch at the Pittsburgh Public Market told me about one of their favorite restaurants, Chef Dato’s,  near their homebase of New Florence. I’d never heard of it, so with my current avoidance of putting away the Christmas decorations, I decided today was the day to drive out to Latrobe for some lunch. Tuesday turned out to be German day, which made me very excited. Perfect food for a winter day.  I found out  the menu on Tuesdays  always  includes German favorites and that Thursday is International Day, with a special ethnic menu from a different country every week in addition  to the regular menu.  This week, Thursday is Turkey day. . . the country, not the bird . . . and I wish, wish I didn’t have other plans or I would certainly be pulling into their parking lot again this Thursday.

I tried the cabbage and beef soup and a salad with   house made Adjika  dressing.  The soup was thick with cabbage and beef and I even spied a few beans in there.  The  salad dressing, a Georgian recipe from the chef’s homeland,  was seasoned with lime and cilantro, and it was zesty and not too oily. Yummm.  I could already tell that I wasn’t going to feel like making dinner, so I ordered chicken schnitzel with spaetzle and green beans to go for the better half.  I snitched a piece of the schnitzel and the crispy crust was irresistible. I snuck another piece, before forcing myself to stop before I had to actually make another dinner for the hubby.

I heard from Scotty at The Berry Patch that the Chef has an interesting life story to tell. Next time I am going to see if he is around so I can hear the story. And the next time is going to be real soon.