Category: Around Pittsburgh

Sushi 101!


I totally love sushi! Beautiful colorful sushi rolls, the variety of fresh fish, and the artistic presentation most definitely put sushi making into the art category. Having never attempted to making sushi myself, last week I had the opportunity to take a Sushi making class- part of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s Get Creative program.

My first roll ever! Ahhh!



The talented Chef Aaron Hoover led the class by demonstrating and explaining each step. I attended with my food blogger friend Tasha from The Food Tasters Pittsburgh. We started with the sushi, the rice.


So sushi rice, a Japanese rice, is cooked, then mixed with a heated vinegar- sugar -salt mixture. The mixture is added while the rice is being fanned to cool it down to create a shiny rice.


We each had our own stations set-up and prepped with cutting boards, knives, sushi must-haves (pickled ginger, soy sauce, wasabi), and mixing bowls with bright vegetables and fish to add to our sushi rolls.


We chopped a few of the vegetables with Chef Aaron’s instruction. It’s always really cool to see how a pro chef chops a bell pepper. Bonus! You don’t even need to pick out the seeds his way. Just chop the sides of the pepper on the indents leaving the top, all of the seeds, and fleshy middle in tact as the waste. Voila! Awesome!


We made various types of sushi, maki, futomaki, temaki, nigiri, and gunkan sushi. A bamboo rolling mat was provided and we got to take it home!




Inside Out Rolls look so beautiful! Especially with the addition of some black sesame seeds.
I know super fancy, right?

Cones – Temaki Sushi




We even learned how to prepare miso soup! By including stories of Japanese culture, explaining Japanese cooking ingredients, and making the sushi class fun, Chef Aaron was a great instructor. I loved this class and can’t wait to explore other new genres of cooking! Cajun, Creole, and Chinese to name a few! We ate and took home a ton of sushi, recipes, and instructions!


The best part for me…we didn’t have to clean up! HA! Just cook and take your sushi home, leaving the mess.

Other offerings include photography, art, and fashion!
Check out The Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s Get Creative program!

Does your city offer these “creative” classes? I would love to hear about it!


I was invited to attend the Art Institute’s Get Creative Sushi Class free of charge.  All thoughts in this article are my own. You know me- If I don’t have anything nice to say, I don’t say anything at all.

New Adventure: Between The Eats!

So we totally have something to celebrate…drumroll, please… I am co-hosting a new cooking show called Between The Eats!! My quiet, recipe sharing, Pittsburgh food website “hobby” has turned into a crazy fun roller coaster and I never want it to stop!


I am co-hosting Between The Eats with the very talented Chef David Carmine, Executive Chef at Andora Restaurant in Sewickley. After his award-winning journalism career, Chef David decided to switch gears and enter the growing Pittsburgh food scene. With a flair for the unique, his foodie website was born. Great name, right??


After our paths crossed over Pittsburgh foodie social media, David decided I would be a great co-host. Laughable…I know. He was serious. So in true princess fashion I held my head high, studied my lines, impressed when possible, and tried to maintain a cool, calm , and collective nature. BECAUSE ON THE INSIDE I WAS A CRAZY PERSON!! Thus, a star was born. Lol!


About the show…
Between The Eats was created to fill a void in food video content. Creator of Pittsburgh’s food channel and Between The Eats Producer, Bob Steranko saw a need to push more video across Pittsburgh’s growing food scene. His company Reel Mill currently produces online video marketing in Pittsburgh.

Putting a fun, creative twist on everyday recipes, Between The Eats showcases new recipe trends and everything “in between.” Light, fast-paced, and entertaining, the shows co-hosted charm shines through with the the pro chef/home chef dynamic. We are ecstatic about our new partnership with Whole Foods Markets!


The show is available right now on Between The Eats You Tube channel or visit the website for more info and to get the recipes!
Click the Link below to WATCH EPISODE 1: Rethinking Mexican ! Don’t forget to Subscribe!

Episode 1: Rethinking Mexican

Celebrate with us Friday June 26th 12pm in Downtown Pittsburgh’s Market Square!! Live Launch Open to the Public! Hope to see you there!

Follow Between The Eats on Social Media!
Instagram- BetweenTheEatsTV

Umami Flavor Pops Up in Lawrenceville!

As umami as parmesan cheese? Yes, Parmesan fits into the category of the umami taste sensation, which is a savory, robust, and mouthwatering flavor. The distinct and totally necessary umami was named the fifth taste sensation a little over a decade ago on top of sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Japanese for “yummy” or “good flavor,” Umami is the perfect name for a restaurant. Don’t you think?

Executive chef of the recently closed Tamari in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood, Roger Li will open his Izakaya, or Japanese Pub called Umami a few blocks away above Round Corner Cantina.

As a sneak peek, Roger held a pop up at neighbor Domenic Branduzzi’s Grapperia. A sampling of small plates, I tasted the Japanese street food dishes that will be served at the new Umami. Since it was negroni week, there was even an umami negroni on the menu!


The pork gyoza, pot sticker- like dumplings, tasted incredible. A traditional “drinking snack.” Yep, that’s what Li is going for!


Holy Robatas, Batman!
Probably my favorite of the night, I tasted every variety of the Robatas, which included chicken thigh, hangar steak, chicken heart, chicken skin, and shrimp!

Chirasi-Sashimi Rice Bowl
For those of us who don’t want to order a la carte sushi, the sashimi rice bowl is a perfect menu option!

Don’t miss Umami’s next Pop Up on the patio at Round Corner Cantina June 22 at 4pm! Umami is scheduled to open its doors this fall!


A Family Feast ! Sarafino’s Restaurant

One day I had a meeting at a little Italian restaurant in Crafton. I asked, as I typically do, “What is your most popular dish?” The server responded, “Well, the beans and greens, the homemade gnocchi, the pizza, everything is great!” Of course, the table ordered all of it to share.


When the dishes started arriving I couldn’t believe it. The beans and greens were perfect! Big chunks of sausage with a little kick. The homemade gnocchi- fork marks and all-were little pillows of heaven coated with red sauce and clinging crumbs of fresh grated Parmesan cheese.




“Everything was fantastic,” I told Joe Caliguire, Sarafino’s owner, a humble man who behind his smile knew I would be totally blown away by his restaurant’s “lunch.”


Caliguire recently traveled to Luca, Italy to gain more culinary knowledge and to cook with a family in their restaurant. When he got back he hosted a special tasting party for family and friends. I was lucky to be included!
Family and friends meant a traditional Sunday Supper set-up…

…long tables with close place settings, food served family style, and one hundred loud, passionate conversations happening all at once! I had the pleasure of sitting with some of my faves! Pennies Pints Pittsburgh, TheFoodtastersPittsburgh, yajagoff, everybody loves you, and the great Rick Seback!

A special day for the Caliguire family!




Sarafino’s is BYOB so we had plenty of wine and beer to accompany our 10 course meal. Yes, 10!

Here were a few of my favorites!
Grilled Artichokes With Lemon!

Stewed Squid Bruschetta

Homemade Pasta With Braised Rabbit

Not to mention…Soup, Pizzas, Chicken liver páte over polenta squares, penne with mint prosciutto and Parmesan, stewed wild boar over polenta, and roasted pork with rosemary potatoes!

Poached Fruit with IceCream and Biscotti! It’s too bad we had nothing to drink ; )


Visit Sarafino’s! One of Pittsburgh’s best kept secrets! Take a bottle of wine and tell Joe I sent you!


40 East Crafton Ave.
Crafton, PA

Pittsburgh’s Ramen Bar

Located in the heart of Squirrel Hill’s Forbes Ave. business district, Ramen Bar is just what its name suggests, a traditional Asian noodles and broth restaurant. Offering both dine in and take out service, Ramen Bar serves the city’s need for an intriguing Japanese -Asian influenced menu using the ramen technique.


Open now for about two years, Ramen Bar is the first of its kind to arrive in Pittsburgh. The atmosphere is modern Asian with a cool art cartoon of a character wrapped in noodles. With a BYOB policy, you can enjoy your favorite wines, maybe a nice cold Sapporo, corking fee free!


So what is Ramen?
The package you get at the store for 10/$1 that college kids live on for 4 years? Ummmm…no! Ramen Bar’s ramen is a much bigger version! The ramen base is a traditional broth. Thick chewy noodles and chunks of vegetables are added. At Ramen Bar you can add an egg or even a wonton to your enormous soup bowl.


I enjoyed the Takoyaki appetizer ($6.50), a seaweed salad ($5.50), and Kimchi Ramen noodles (9.75).  Takoyaki is round balls of octopus pan fried in a batter. The seaweed salad was amazing!
The ramen alone was a whole meal!! Next time I hope to master eating the Ramen with chopsticks. I made a hilarious attempt!




Definitely, a unique date night spot or a great place to catch up with friends! Stop by! You might love it!


Join A CSA! Make A Primavera!

Thinking produce? Us, too! We cannot wait for fresh, local vegetables! Have you ever thought of subscribing to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program?  Although the name suggests you need to roll up your sleeves and help farm along with others, the exact opposite is true… You pick up your box. Done.


Many farms near Pittsburgh offer CSA programs that include produce, eggs, cheese, and even meat.  A farmer who is part of the Pittsburgh Public Market family, Elliott Lengel of Lengel Brothers Farm, offers the community a fabulous CSA program out of Mercer, PA.

Lengel Brothers Farm- Mercer, PA
Lengel Brothers Farm- Mercer, PA


The Lengel Brothers Farm CSA program runs August through November, pick up locations include the Public Market in the Strip, and they offer a discount for members starting now! The program runs 14 weeks and the pricing is $120 for a quarter share, $200 for a half share, and $350 for a full share.  Members can pick your own items for you basket or get what you get! Elliott also bakes homemade breads and offers jams and many other condiments at a discount for members!

Pasta Primavera is one of my favorite, quick and easy healthy dishes! Originating from LeCirque in New York City, Pasta Primavera was discovered by accident when Mr. Maccioni and his family were asked to prepare dinner for a food tour in Canada.  Mr. Maccioni was forced to do a vegetable fridge raid and tossed it with pasta and fresh grated parmesan cheese.  When the guests asked what he called the dish he responded, “Pasta Primavera!”  The dish is not on the menu at Le Cirque these days, but the dish is made table side for those who ask.


Pasta Primavera

2 tbsp. basil olive oil …The Olive Tap 
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped…Produce from Lengel Brothers Farm Market
1 zucchini, chopped 1/2 inch
1 cup snap peas, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 cups fresh grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese…Pennsylvania Macaroni Co.
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1 lb. dry or fresh pasta
salt/pepper to taste
extra fresh grated parmesan cheese
Heat olive oil in a large, deep frying pan.
Add garlic and cook until golden and softened.
Add vegetables according to cooking time. Longest first.
Add onion, zucchini, mushrooms, snap peas and cook until tender not mushy.
Meanwhile, throw in 1 lb. pasta and cook until al dente.
Drain well and toss with vegetables in the pan.
Add parmesan cheese and coat.
If too dry add a lithe bit more olive oil or a 1/2 cup chicken stock..
Throw in salt/pepper and basil.


For more information on Pittsburgh CSA programs Click Here!

NEW Market St. Grocery Store Opens Downtown Tomorrow!

Driving to McKnight Road, The Waterfront, or Eeek! Mt. Lebanon in rush hour traffic, all because the Strip closes at 4:30 and where else can you buy food?? It’s the downtown Pittsburgh grocery nightmare…


Downtowners know it well and Ralph Falbo is the superhero who took the old Ciao Baby restaurant location and turned it into a hot and trendy downtown grocery stop. With Vallozzi’s owners and Pittsburgh’s blessing, Market Square’s Market Street will house the first downtown grocery store in five years.

Maybe pick up some wine and cheese for the evening in Market St. Grocery’s wine bar!

Is it a grocery store? Like produce, pasta, cheese? Yes. With perks! Like a wine bar, and a French pastry shop…Yes! It needs to be as fabulous as downtown Pittsburghers!? Right? Hello!!


My favorite part of Market St. Grocery is the French pastry shop Gaby et Jules that sits against the front window. The colorful macarons and delicate pastries brighten the store! Perfect for dessert or a treat at the office, the Squirrel Hill based pastry shop is a beautiful and unexpected addition!

If you don’t feel like cooking Chef Michael Lamantia will have many prepared options.




What will the prices be like? I might pay $2 more not to sit in one hour of traffic. Would you?

Enjoy, Pittsburgh!

Market St. Grocery
435 Market Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

The stores hours are 7am-9pm. The wine bar will be open later.

Cook At Home! Easy Button Honey Mustard Parmesan Crusted Chicken!

“Cook at Home” …a resounding theme popping up everywhere. A command whose meaning encompasses healthy eating, a healthy lifestyle, and makes a mean case for family dinners. The theme at Pittsburgh’s Farm to Table Conference this year, Cook at Home -for some- is an anxiety ridden task chalked full of botched recipes, a race against time to get dinner on the table, and often a defeated conclusion when take out and drive thrus lessen the stress.

Fortunately, thanks to a growing interest in food preparation and origination, and an endless recipe box available on the Internet, people are finding easy, healthy recipes and cooking more. Food bloggers are popping up and want to share with others a lifestyle change that can and does save lives and families!

How about a sweet, savory, and totally simple family dinner recipe? Enjoy!!


Honey Mustard Parmesan Crusted Chicken

4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts, 8 thighs, 1-1/2 lb. chicken tenders
3 tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. brown mustard or yellow mustard
1 tsp Sriracha
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic salt
2 tsp. dried basil
2 cups Panko Breadcrumbs



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter, honey, balsamic vinegar, yellow mustard, and Sriracha.

Marinate the chicken in the above mixture overnight in the refrigerator OR Pour mixture into a Ziploc bag add chicken and move around until coated.

Mix the dry ingredients together and spoon into a pie plate. Press each piece of chicken into the mixture, flip to coat both sides, and place on a foil covered baking sheet.


Sprinkle the coated chicken with extra parmesan cheese and bake for 25-35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.




Farm to Table Pittsburgh 2015 Conference
David L. Lawrence Convention Center
March 27 -28th

Register Here !!

Meat Sauce featuring Clarion Farms Beef!

We would all love to meet the farmer that feeds and raises the cows that supply our beef, right?
You should and you can!!

Photo Courtesy of Clarion Farms Beef. John and son John-Scott hanging out!

If you are in Pittsburgh, Clarion Farms Beef sells their family farm beef at the Pittsburgh Public Market on Saturdays. Shop local and buy fresh, no hormone, no antibiotic beef from a local family farm. True farm to table and focused on sustainability, Clarion Farms Beef sources local feed and mixed it fresh on the farm. Go see John-Scott! Bonus, the prices are incredible!

I paid $4 for the 80% ground beef (that yields about 2 tsp. of fat!! So technically its a grocery store’s 95% lean?)
And $5 for the most lean ground beef! (That yields about 1 tsp. of fat- which is 98% lean or almost no fat?)

The ox tail ($5) for a 1lb. package. Cook it all day for a tender finish!!

The steak? Amazing!! Just buy some, seriously, I have no words. (Imagine that!) Timmy Reynolds from Penn Avenue Fish Co. and I made Clarion Farms Beef filets and lobster live for Valentine’s Day at the Pittsburgh Public Market ‘s Ikea kitchen!

I bought some ground beef this weekend and put it to the test in a quick and classic bolognese sauce. Local, fresh, and delicious! This beef did not disappoint!!


20 Minute Meat Sauce
1 32oz. can Ciao San Marzano tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion finely chopped
1 lb. Clarion Farms Beef ground beef
1 lb. of your favorite pasta, boiled until al dente and drained
1 tbsp. chopped basil
1 tbsp. chopped rosemary
1 tsp. olive oil
parsley for garnish



In your largest, deepest frying pan, heat olive oil and golden the chopped garlic.

Add onion and cook until softened and light.

In a separate pan, brown beef and drain.


Add beef, tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper to garlic and onion mixture. apart

Break apart whole tomatoes with a wooden spoon.

Cook for 8-10 minutes until heated through and bubbling.

Spoon sauce onto your favorite pasta.

Always top with fresh grated parmesan cheese and Enjoy!



Clarion Farms Beef
On Farm Store The Beef Barn
82 Port Farm Lane
Clarion, PA 16214
Hours: Tuesday -Friday 10-5
Saturday 8-5
Pittsburgh Public Market
Saturdays 9-5

Visit on Facebook

Farm To Table Ticket Giveaway! Plus, A Vegan Mexican Beer Chili Recipe!

Pittsburgh’s 9th Annual Farm to Table Conference is right around the corner. This year it is being held on March 27th and 28th at the David Lawrence Convention Center. The two day event will feature speakers, demos, local farmers, kids activities, and a taste of local food!


Spend your Friday Happy Hour at the Friday Night Tasting! Stop in for Breakfast Saturday! There are many ticketing options to meet your needs!

Get your tickets here!

Enter the ticket giveaway HERE!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This year’s theme is “Cook At Home,” the first step in your family’s health and wellness journey!

Here is an easy and delicious recipe I prepared at Farm to Table Pittsburgh’s For The Love Of Pittsburgh event in February!


Vegan Mexican Beer Chili
(serves 6-8)

2 tbsp. Olive Oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 12oz. bottle of your favorite Mexican beer or something lime, jalapeño, chipotle flavored
2 bell peppers, chopped
2 jars Clarion Farm Organics jar tomatoes- 1 32 oz.can of diced or crushed tomatoes
1 16oz. bag black beans, cleaned and soaked until plump, or 2-15 oz. cans of you favorite beans, rinsed.
1/3 cup chili powder
2 tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. cumin
3 squeezes of Sriracha
Salt/pepper to taste


Warm olive oil in a large, deep pan.
Add garlic and cook until golden.
Add onion, bell pepper, and beer.
Cook until vegetables soften, but are still crisp.
Add tomatoes and seasonings.
Cook 15-20 more minutes until bubbly.
Add beans and heat through.


Top with scallions, diced onions, a scoop of fresh guacamole, and/or your favorite Mexican toppings!


Farm to Table Pittsburgh will email the tickets to the winner directly! Thank you for entering and supporting Farm to Table, Cook At Home, and Shop Local, Pittsburgh!!