Girasole in Shadyside - 10 years old & going strong!!

It's hard to believe been that Girasole Restaurant opened its doors in Shadyside 10 years ago. The family-owned favorite will present three special Mondays in April to highlight a decade of serving the community with good food and hospitality. "We are so thankful for our loyal customers and local businesses who support us," says Patti Girasole tells OTM. "Every single day we open our doors, our priority is great food at fair prices in an upbeat atmosphere. Our passion for family, friends and excellent food is at the heart of our business."

April 12, 2010, 7pm: Taste seven excellent wines from various regions of Italy. Vito Girasole, director of Girasole's wine program, will host this fun and informative evening. Each wine will be paired with small plates of specialties from their corresponding region to tantalize the palate.

April 19, 2010, 6:30pm: Years ago, Brent Young worked at Girasole as a line cook, before heading to New York, where he became a founding member of The Meat Hook at the Brooklyn Kitchen Labs, which specializes in charcuterie. Join Brent's dinner of 6 petite plates highlighting the meats from his shop and including salad, soup, pasta and dessert.

April 26, 2010, When she was just a "kid", Haley Zelicoff started out picking parsley leaves for the chefs in the kitchen at Girasole. After completing four years at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, Haley is returning to Girasole with a fabulous 5-course meal, finishing with a dessert of lemon cornmeal cake and olive oil gelato.

Girasole is a small family-owned restaurant located in the heart of Shadyside in Pittsburgh. Its charming European-style atmosphere complements the innovative and traditional cuisine which features seasonal menus, and includes appetizers, salads, pastas and daily meat, chicken and fish specials. Call 412-682-2130 for more information.

Charleston Dining Rocks!

Charleston South Carolina that is...  OTM is here for the 5th annual Food & Wine Festival, a magnet for food & wine enthusiasts from around the country - we met a foursome from Cleveland last evening.  Star attractions included OTM's good friend Daniel Boulud and star Pastry Chef-Restaurateur Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake & Orson, San Francisco.  We found time to visit what local's name as the latest & greatest eatery, Amen Street, where Chef Todd Garrigan is playing to a packed house - emphasis is on the freshest possible seafood.  Mike Lata of FIG and Sean Brock of McCrady's, everyone's to pick for the city's best, were so busy we didn't even have chance to say hello.  We did hook up with Frank McMahon at Hank's Seafood (after failing to include this in previous visits).  This 10-year-old Seafood Bistro was packed, and we can tell you why - traditional (and a bit untraditional) seafood preparations are just great!  The best Bouillabaisse broth we've tasted in decades is just one example.  Sommelier-Manager Joey Ryan took great care of us and Frank found time to help us choose our menu.  Listen for our interview with Frank and other conversations in next week's program.  Thanks to Laura Bright of Maverick Southern Kitchens for finding us a spot to do some interviews during a delicious (and boisterous) Low Country Breakfast.  Mark your calendars for next March to head for Charleston and enjoy what is fast becoming one of America's best Food & Wine celebrations.  On a sad note iconic Restaurateur and Opera singer Robert Dickson is closing his restaurant in June after 34 years of delighting the palate and ears - do go here before June for a unique experience!

Dateline - London is for Lovers!!

Close OTM followers will know that being in London for Valentine's Day is our tradition for more than a decade.  So despite 3 feet of snow in our home town and some travel planning ingenuity - here we are again.  We'll be spending Feb 14 with cousins who live here, because they tell us V-Day menus lack gourmet interest. 

But in the days before OTM has been out and about as usual.  Corrigan's Mayfair was superb, living up to all the accolades and awards they've received.  Richard C is in fine form, as you'll hear in the Feb 21 program, and Chris MacGowan's lusty food is all that it was at Lindsay House.  Octopus Salad with Black Truffle shavings, long-braised Shin of Beef with Snails in Spinach sauce and an inspired portion of Peppered Bone Marrow, Goose Fat fried Potato Chips to die for and much more....

Sir Terence Conran is a serial restaurateur with 51 openings "under his belt", and his latest venture Boundary does not disappoint.  Peter Prescott, his partner, helped create and now runs this multi-function/purpose establishment in a lovingly restored industrial building in previously gritty - now trendy Shoreditch, just over the eastern boundary of the City of London's financial district.  Chef Ian Wood is master of Boundary's Basement fine dining room - and in season Rooftop Grill, with the Albion Cafe and Bakery at street level in between.  OTM overdosed on native British Oysters here, and at Corrigan's so our Zinc level is where it needs to be for the 14th.  Ian is a Charcuterie Master as well.  Heirloom breed Manx Loaghtan from the Irish Sea's Isle of Man was a Lamb-lover's delight.  Oh and by the way you can stay at Boundary in elegantly designed rooms all with great views over the city.

Oz (Hobart, Tasmania) native Paul Merrony and spouse-partner Tracey serve a packed house at Giaconda Dining Room on tiny Music-instrument intensive Denamark Street on the edge of the West-End Theatre district and Soho - hearty dishes with Offal features like Tripe & Kidneys plus Seafood which arrive overnight from England's SW fisheries.  Michelin noticed and gave them a Bib Gourmand designation.

And in the cosmopolitan Notting Hill-Bayswater area, native-Syrian Mohammed Bader-Alden Antabli serves outstanding Lebanese-Syrian specialties at Al Waha, widely praised and award winning - and OTM now knows why!!  And creditable Lebanese wine is the beverage must.  Come with a group to enjoy bounteous meze and grilled mains - or as we did enjoy a table for 4 entirely covered with delicious dishes.  Stylized Arabic sayings by Lounner al-Shaarani grace the walls.

OTM doesn't "circle back" often, but our good friends Sam & Eddie Hart demand an exception.  Back in 2004 one of our very first "out of studio" interviews featured their Tapas restaurant Fino, and we returned to catch up with the Harts to find all was the same if not better.  Sam & Eddie, we congratulate you on this, plus Barrafina and Quo Vadis.  Pork belly to die for, Fried Artichoke Hearts, Calcots a mysterious seasonal Catalan vegetable similar to a Green Onion on a bed of Romesco sauce, great Quail Ann ate single-handed and a fine Ribera del Douro red recommended by Anna Mateo who just happens to be from Vallidolid.

And we're not done yet, today we join Bernard Yeoh to sample new dishes at Kai Mayfair.

So be sure to tune in February 21 and 28.........

Saints Rule, was there a Secret Ingredient?

OTM Congratulates the Superbowl 44 Champions!!!  "Back in the day" it was rumored that the great 1950s Hungarian National Soccer team fortified themselves with Goulash at half-time in their matches.  Was there a similar Culinary Secret behinds the Saints' Success?  Perhaps we'll never know - but a visit to the Crescent City is recommended nevertheless.  We love NOLA and plan on attending the 2010 New Orleans Wine & Food Experience in May - there must be a culinary equivalent to successful recovery of a 2nd half on-side kick-off, and we can't wait to find out what it is!!!

Benedictine's 500th Birthday, We'll Drink to that!!

In commemoration of the 500th anniversary of its creation, BÉnÉdictine liqueur, together with Esquire magazine, launched a search for the Alchemists of Our Age, mixologists who embody the same spirit and innovation as Dom Bernardo Vincelli, the creator of the French elixir.  After a cross-country search, five mixologists were chosen by BÉnÉdictine Global Brand Ambassador, Ludovic Miazga, and on January 13, 2010, New York's Damon Dyer was chosen as the Alchemist of Our Age.   Dyer's cocktail, The Monte Cassino, is an impeccably nuanced combination of equal parts BÉnÉdictine, Yellow Chartreuse, fresh lemon juice and Rittenhouse Rye.  In his cocktail, which was named for an ancient and resilient Benedictine monastery, Damon opted for simplicity over extravagance. Other contestanrs were Boston's Jackson Cannon, New Orleans' Daniel Victory, Chicago's Lynn House and San Francisco's Brandon Clements, whose Greyhound's Tooth was crowned Fan Favorite.  Those Monks would be proud!!


Damon Dyer - New York City


3/4 part BÉNÉDICTINE Liqueur

3/4 part Yellow Chartreuse

3/4 part Fresh lemon juice

3/4 part Rittenhouse Rye

Shake, fine strain into a chilled coupe (or small cocktail glass).  Lemon twist garnish.


Fan Favorite:

Brandon Clements - San Francisco

3/4 part BÉNÉDICTINE Liqueur

3/4 part Russian Standard Platinum

3/4 part Grapefruit juice

1/3 part Lemon juice

6 drops of house-made grapefruit bitters

3/4 tsp sugar

Combine all in mixing glass. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into 
chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with thick cut grapefruit twist.



Quince Restaurant San Francisco-"In Residence" Program

It didn't take Chef Michael Tusk and new Wine Director David Lynch very long to come up with an innovative "extracuricular" series of food & wine events.  Only recently re-opened at grand new digs in Jackson Square, Quince just announced an exciting program to help cheer you through the winter months.  Too much detail to include here - just imagine exciting combiantions of foods & wines with an Italian flavor and call Quince for details - 415-775-8500.  Hurry because the first event featuring wines from Joe & Lidia Bastianich's Italian vineyards is January 21.  We've been to this vineyard and tasted all the wines - and you'll be in for a treat! Quince's website says it's still under construction, but we're sure that will change soon.

Tragic accident takes the lives of two sons of Chris & Deanna Bailey of Vermont Smoke & Cure

OTM joins the entire food business community in expressing our sadness at the tragic death of Solon L., 12, and William T. (Liam) Bailey, 10, sons of Chris Bailey of Vermont Smoke & Cure, and his wife, Deanna. The boys died in a  house fire on Christmas morning. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to the Beauregard Foundation: Solon and Liam Bailey Memorial Fund, c/o Chrysalis Ventures, 101 S. Fifth St., Ste. 1650, Louisville, KY 40202. Donations will be used for nonprofit, children's education programs in Central Vermont that were favorites of Solon and Liam. Further details and the link to a guest book for messages to Chris and Deanna can be found at

2009 was a great year for Barry Sterling & Iron Horse

OTM thought you'd love to see Iron Horse Vineyards 2009 seasonal message - . We'd like to add our congratulations to Barry on his 80th Birthday and Iron Horse on its 30th anniversary of great sparkling wine making in Sonoma County's Green Valley.  Here's to you Barry, and our best wishes to your wonderful wife Audrey and Winery President Joy.  We must come and see you again soon.  Not familiar with Iron Horse's fabulous sparkling wines?  Try some soon and you'll become an enthusiast like OTM.

Roma's GHVV-style personified!!

Grand Hotel Via Veneto - luxury personfied too!!  OTM is just back from "the Eternal City" where we had the pleasure of reacquainting with Cinzia Fanciulli, now General Manager at THE swankiest hotel on Via Veneto, Italia's swankiest street.  The best word to describe GHVV - WOW!!  And to echo the twinkling black interior Domenico Maura "Head Barman" of the Time lobby bar serves a Black Martini.  His grand libation features black olives from Taggiasche, near Genova, and is a tribute to famed bartender Martini Armaditaggia.  GHVV takes La Dolce Vita to a new level.  For details and reservations,

Oysters for the Holiday's !!!

OTM "Oyster Hero" Jon Rowley just reminded us about Taylor Shellfish Farms ultimate holiday gift for oyster lovers. Celebrate the holidays like the French with oysters on the half shell. Give as a gift or order for yourself four types of oysters in the shell (Olympia, Kumamoto, Totten Inlet Pacific and Totten Inlet Virginica), just harvested from Taylor oyster beds in the legendary, nutrient-rich waters of South Puget Sound. Gift boxes are shipped directly to the recipient's door for festive tasting, comparing and sharing with friends. An unprecedented holiday opportunity for half shell enthusiasts. New this year, for those who would like to settle in with their favorite oyster, we offer gift boxes with only Totten Inlet Virginicas or only Kumamotos.

*Each Holiday Oyster Gift Pack includes an oyster knife, shucking instructions, oyster guide and Jon Rowley's essay "Art of Eating an Oyster"

For those whose holiday traditions include oyster stew, oyster dressing, scalloped or fried oysters or gumbo, Taylor also offers freshly shucked Pacific oyster meats by the pint and half gallon, plump, firm and sweet. Order by the pint or half gallon for holiday stuffing, oyster fry, scalloped oysters, oyster stew or gumbo. Different size meats available.

To order Holiday Oyster packages visit or call (360) 432-3341.