More info. for G-20 visitors to Pittsburgh

Due to space constraints some information Ann prepared was not included in todays' Tribune Review article.  OTM is pleased to provide this below.  Welcome to Pittsburgh, we're sure you'll enjoy your visit.

Green Dreams

Chefs everywhere buzz the words: fresh, local, sustainable, organic, all-natural. But Pittsburgh’s connection between farm and table is especially tight and long-standing. Even before the 1992 establishment of The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), farmers linked to local chefs.

The Pines Tavern, in Gibsonia, held “dinners in the fields” before national media grabbed at the phenomenon. big Burrito Corporate Chef Bill Fuller recalls that, early in 1997, he addressed PASA to facilitate Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance, a cooperative of farmers in Southwestern Pennsylvania that provides a large variety of fresh, healthful food products directly to local restaurants. bB restaurants—especially Casbah, Soba, Kaya and Eleven—support local farm suppliers and train scores of young chefs in that m.o. to carry on the mission.

Of course Southwest Pennsylvania is blessed with riches of fine producers. The Pittsburgh region rates tops in the US for per capita count of farmers’ markets. And the area’s Slow Food convivium is among the largest and most active in the country. All these factors merge into a host of ingredient-focused menus in local restaurants.

Pittsburgh also rides in the forefront of chefs and restaurateurs growing their own. The Pines Tavern plants over two acres of heirloom tomatoes, herbs and other organic produce for its kitchen. Chef Keith Fuller of Six Penn Kitchen tends a roof garden as well as an off-campus farm. For years The Café at the Frick has partnered with farmers and now also has its own, tended by Grow Pittsburgh, producing organic foodstuff on the grounds and in the greenhouse of its estate venue. Ditto romantic Hyeholde, and others too many to name.

Day-Parts

Breakfast is a keen sport here. For those who like funky and Formica, there are diner-esque places like DeLuca’s, Jo Jo’s and Ritter’s. On the campaign trail, President Obama enjoyed Pamela’s so much he invited owner Pamela Cohen to cook her pancakes for a Memorial Day event at the White House. Popular Square Café, in Regent Square, has a more healthful menu and a good neighborhood vibe.

Recommendations for Sunday Brunch always point visitors to the grand buffet in the Grand Concourse, a restored gilded age P&LE Railroad Station. While the setting is magnificent—marble, stained glass ceiling, palms—if you’d prefer to avoid steam table cuisine, check out Casbah instead. Sunnyledge, in a former Shadyside mansion, sets a classy historical backdrop.

Expect restaurants to be crowded at 7-8 pm, when everyone wants to eat, and don’t expect massive options in late night dining. Count these on one hand. Restaurants in the Cultural District may offer pre-show and post-theater menus—but only when shows or concerts are running. Best to check.

Other Quirks

Pittsburgh is a big wine town, boasting numerous tasting groups, private wine cellars and exceptional restaurant wine dinners. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust runs a sell-out series of Wednesday Wine Flights, at the Theater Square Cabaret, led by wine guru Dave DeSimone, with light fare by Chef Toni Pais of Café Zao. Expect to find excellent wine lists at: The Carlton, Eleven, Mio, Sonoma Grille, Nine on Nine, the Wooden Angel in Beaver, Le Pommier, LeMont, Pines Tavern and Capital Grille—to mention just a few.

On the other hand, Pennsylvania is a Liquor Control state. Always verify that the restaurant has a liquor license. If not, you’ll need to visit a State Store and take in your own.

 

 


Let's hear it for OTM's good friend Mike Novak

Congratulations to Mike Novak and his team at The Pines Tavern, in Gibsonia, PA, on being named a 2009 Santé Restaurant Award Winner for Sustainable Restaurant. Santé, the Magazine for Restaurant Professionals, created the Santé Awards as a way of recognizing excellence in restaurant food, wine, spirits, and service hospitality. The Santé Awards program is the only peer-judged restaurant and hospitality competition in North America. The Culinary Hospitality Award for Sustainable Restaurant honors restaurants and professionals that exhibit outstanding achievement in sustainable culinary service and hospitality. The Pines Tavern got additional accolades for their sustainable agricultural achievements. So do check out The Pines' great wine list and dishes based on produce from their lovely garden .  For further details visit www.santemagazine.com and www.thepinestavern.com.


Check out 2 recent photos of Co-Host Ann, more pics to come soon

We appreciate Joanne Stultz-Dauer of the Tuscan Inn, Pittsburgh and Greg Silva of Manresa, Los Gatos CA for sharing these recent photographs.  We're going to start rebuilding OTM in Pictures very soon.


Nate Appleman - San Francisco's loss is NYC's Gain

It seems like only yesterday that OTM sat down with Nate Appleman at SPQR in San Francisco, sampled the lusty Italian fare that established SPQR and A16 as Bat Area favorites, and talked about future plans like an A16 namesake in Japan.  So it was quite a surprise to read that Nate has moved to NYC, where he's signed up as Chef-Partner with Keith MacNally at Puliono's Bar & Pizzeria, ste to open in December on The Bowery.  Chef Nate is reported to still be working on Pulino's menu, but initial indications include "whole animal" butchery and the signature hearty, down to earth dishes so popular at A16.  OTM is glad Nate will be closer, and the Bowery & Houston location seems like a great choice - right in the same neighborhood as Brad Farmerie's Double Crown and Daniel Boulud's DBGB.


Wild about Game Festival, with Chef Chris Cosentino, Mt. Hood OR, September 27

San Francisco based Chef Chris Cosentino, Incanto is his Noe Valley food haven, loves Offal, but he also loves Game.  So if you're into Game, or just "Game for a good time", check out the Wild About Game Cook-off coming up at The Resort at the Mountain near Oregon's Mount Hood just outside Portland, September 27th.  Chris heads a of judges including Seatle restaurateur Tom Douglas who'll assess the Game cooking skills of some of the NorthWest's "Top Toques".  OTM is still trying to figure out how to fit this into our schedule, it sounds like so much fun.  For more information go to www.nickyusa.com


We love Daniel Boulud - Check out his Culinary Empire at The James Beard House & you will too

Perhaps Daniel is no stranger to you too.  Regardless, if you can find time to be in NYC on September 14, the James Beard House has arranged an evening you won't want to miss.  And if you've never experienced the range of dining delights Daniel has created, all the more reason.  A very special group of Chefs from several DB restaurants will be presenting a very special menu, in celebration of their very special mentor!  Daniel himself notes "It is a rare privilege to have so many of my finest chefs cooking under one roof".  He compares it to culinnary equivalent of a family reunion.   For further information and tickets call the Beard House, 212-627-2308 or go to http://jamesbeard.tix.com/event.asp?event=210940.  For more information about Chef Daniel and his restaurant family, www.danielnyc.com.


The Stately Homes of England......... You can enjoy them as OTM has done

These are the first words of a ditty by Noel Coward or somebody like that.  What fun to experience for yourself the comfort and elegance of yesteryear, but with every modern luxury and modern cuisine to match.  It's one of OTM's favorite things, and we just returned from a tour we'd like you to know about.  We started out at Cliveden (pronounced Cliffden for the siting on high ground above the River Thames.  History at Cliveden begins with George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, something of a lady's man in the 1660s - movie versions of The Three Musketeers have Villiers connected with the Queen of France.  Today's structure dates from the 1850s, and its elegance today a tribute to the Astor family and Von Essen Hotels.  Amidst all this history Executive Chef Chris Horridge, formerly of The Bath Priory, is inventing and serving modern food with an emphasis on local & organic that brings the hedgerow to your plate.  Cliveden is only 15 minutes by car from Heathrow, 45 minutes from Gatwick, and they'll send a Bentley to pick you up or drop you off - a great fitst/last night stopover. www.cliveden.co.uk.

Move directors  looking for a beautiful English Village backdrop have selected Castle Combe in the Southern Cotswolds several times, and when you visit you'll know why.  Better still The Manor House offers a combination of traditional historical accomodation, ultra modern plumbing and fine food that's hard to beat, even if it rains all day, as it did when OTM stopped by.  It's less than 2 hours west of London by car or trainwww.manorhouse.co.uk. Or as nine paries did on the same day you can drop in by helicopter.

Speaking of helicopters, how about using this as a way to drop in for lunch?  A mysterious but obviously wealthy Russian did just this while we were staying at Gidleigh Park and he brought his children along. Snuggled as it is on the edge of Devon's Dartmoor National Park, reaching Gidleigh along the narrow lane from the village of Chagford is a challenge for nerves and steering!  Recently renovated with new rooms added to the faux Tudor half-timber mansion, Gidleigh offers the ultimate country experience for the energetic who seek to commune with nature on foot, or the indolent, like OTM, who just enjoy the view.  Super-chef Michael Caines, MBE, just celebrated the 10th anniversary of his 2nd Michelin star.  We've tried it before, and can report that it just keeps getting better!  www.gidleigh.com.

If you have a really good GPS (our Garmin came up trumps) you'll find Percy's Country House & Restaurant in West Devon even though the most direct country road is closed to traffic.  Here Tina & Tony Bricknell-Webb serve delicious meals based on crops and animals grown on their estate, and you stay in ultra-modern rooms built in what was once a ruined barn.  Increbibly energetic Tina somehow managed to find time to write a cookbbok, to be published in September, and Tony will not only serve you, he'll offer you the opportunity to invest in one of his racehorses.  And he'll make sure that seafood lovers get the best by making an early morning drive to the fishing village of Looe.  Hope for fine weather so that you can tour their estate and admire their agriculture and animal husbandry first hand.  www.percys.co.uk.  And enjoy!!!!

 


250 Year Old Guinness - now that's well aged beer!

Brewers of the iconic Stout (very dark beer!) don't rush into things, befitting a business that started brewing in Dublin, Ireland in 1759.  Draft Guiness back in 1967 was their only previous "innovation", unless you count Harp Lager (which Guinness fans certainly don't).But celebrating a quarter century of it's signature Stout, Guinness is launching a 250th Anniversary version.  Peter will admit to not having tried it yet, but his confidence is high that this will become another favorite.  Ann is less excited since her Guinness habit was always to mix it with Champagne as "Black Velvet".  Funny thing, when Peter received his BA at Cambridge, Dermot Guinness (a descendant of the founding family) was standing right next to him, being a classmate at St. Catharine's College and "alphabetically adjacent" as we're sure you can figure out.  And a piece of advice for travelers to Ireland - if you've tried and enjoyed a mixture of Guinness Stout & a lager or ale, don't order it in Dublin as a "Black & Tan", call it a "Mother-in-Law" (stout & bitter, you get it?)  If you want to know about Black & Tan, do a web search, or just drop us an email or tweet.


Join OTM at Savor Pittsburgh, South Side Works, September 2

A collection of Pittsburgh’s finest chefs gather on Wednesday, September 2, 2009 to share their favorite recipes in a culinary competition for prestigious "Best Dish" honors. Savor Pittsburgh: A Celebration of Cuisine, presented by McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant and the SouthSide Works, benefits the American Respiratory Alliance of Western Pennsylvania. Guests will enjoy unmatched cuisine from Vsome of Pittsburgh's Best Chefs while voting for their favorite dish; Cocktails & live music from "No Bad JuJu" and silent and live auctions to benefit the American Respiratory Alliance of Western Pennsylvania are also featured.

Participating Restaurants Include (as of July 1, 2009): Bella Vista Ristorante Italiano (Mt. Washington), Bettis Grille 36 (North Shore), Bravo Cucina Italiana (Cranberry), Capital Grille (Downtown), Church Brew Works (Lawrenceville), McCormick and Schmick's Seafood Restaurants (Downtown at Piatt Place and SouthSide Works), Mitchell's Fish Market (Mt. Lebanon and Waterfront), Morton's The Steakhouse (Downtown), Nemacolin Woodlands (Farmington), Palate Bistro (Downtown), Pizzutti's (Shadyside), Red Room Cafe (East End), Salt of the Earth, Silk Elephant (Squirrel Hill), Scoglio's (Robinson), Sonoma Grille (Downtown), Tusca (SouthSide Works) and The Tuscan Inn (Allison Park).

Jim Lokay of KDKA will emcee this incredible event. Throughout the fesitivites, culinary creations will be judged by a panel of local food critics and other celebrity judges, including OTM Co-host & Fanfare Magazine columnist Ann: Victoria Bradley, WHIRL and Edible Allegheny; Christina French, TABLE Magazine; Rick Sebak, WQED-TV; Bruce May, Pittsburgh Magazine; Chef Ray Wesolowski and Chef Art Inzinga, Pennsylvania Culinary Institute; Margi Schrum, Nancy Anderson & Marlene Parrish, Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

The American Respiratory Alliance is the premier lung health organization in Western Pennsylvania since its establishment in 1904. The Alliance originated as a grass roots society to fight tuberculosis and has evolved to offer programs for adults with chronic lung diseases, children with asthma and their parents, adults and adolescents who would like to quit smoking, health professionals who require the most current information on tuberculosis, influenza, and other lung diseases, as well as anyone wishing to learn more about their lungs and how to keep them healthy. For more information, visit www.healthylungs.org.

In addition to McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant and SouthSide Works, Savor Pittsburgh is sponsored by IKEA, TRANE Clean Effects, Asthma Institute, C.S. McKee, Baxter Healthcare Corporation, Dollar Bank, Green Grocer, Capital Wine & Spirits, Frank B. Fuhrer, Ketel One Vodka, WHIRL Publishing, Edible Allegheny, Comcast and WWSW-FM.

Tickets & More Information:  There's a VIP Champagne Reception inside of McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant from 5-6 p.m. which gives guests the opportunity to mingle with celebrity judges and hors d'oeuvres. Tickets for the VIP Champagne Reception and Savor Pittsburgh are $75 per person. For Savor Pittsburgh tickets are $50 per person, and the event begins at 6 p.m. For more information or tickets please call (724) 772-1750 or visit www.savorpgh.com. And well see you there..........


Attention Asian OTM Listeners - Fine Dining for a Worth Cause!

The Miele Guide is launching a very unique charity drive, The Miele Guide Restaurant Month, in August 2009 is planned to raise funds for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to combat hunger and poverty within the region. As the very first independent restaurant guide for Asia, The Miele Guide aims to provide recognition to well deserving chefs and restaurants in Asia. Through this month-long initiative, 57 restaurants in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand & Vietnam, a majority of which are listed in the 2008/2009 edition of The Miele Guide, will be offering special set menus or promotions unique to Restaurant Month. Fifteen percent of revenue derived from these special menus will be donated to the WFP. These proceeds have been earmarked for WFP’s activities in Timor Leste, one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia. According to WFP, it takes only US$50 to feed one child a year. We hope our target amount of US$200,000 raised will therefore be able to feed 4,000 children this year. We hope you'll consider supporting this worthy cause while enjoying some great dining! Formore information about The Miele Guide Restaurant Month, go to www.mieleguide.com/restaurant-month.