Eat your books

Written by Bob Batz Jr. on . Events

04082014ediblebook
Eat any good books lately?

So asks the news release from the Univeristy of Pittsburgh announcing that the University Library System is holding its annual Edible Book Fest this Thursday, April 10.

Above is an entry from last year's. Then School of Information Sciences grad student Magna Esposito made this homage to "The Night Circus," a 2011 fantasy novel by Erin Morgenstern, using white cake and buttercream with fondant and chocolate accents.

Here are the details of this year's event:
 
The University Library System at the University of Pittsburgh has a tasty way of celebrating the world of books and preparing for National Library Week (April 13-19). Its sixth annual Edible Book Fest will take place April 10 at the Cup and Chaucer Cafe, ground floor of Hillman Library, 3960 Forbes Ave., Oakland.
 
Contestants are asked to design an edible creation inspired by a book, literary character, or scene and bring it to the café between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. Festival-goers can view the entries and vote on a favorite between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Then awards and prizes will be given out, and the entries will be sliced up and eaten!
 
The International Edible Book Festival was launched in 2000 and now takes place in 20 countries around the globe.
 
The University of Pittsburgh Library System is the 22nd largest academic library system in North America. Under the administration of the Hillman University Librarian, it includes 14 libraries and holds more than 6.7 million volumes, world specialized collections, and major foreign language materials from around the world. The ULS offers state-of-the-art facilities and services, including innovative digital library collections and services and a robust Open Access publishing program. Visit www.library.pitt.edu for more information.

Top: Justin Pastrick/University Library System photo. Below, Tony Tye/Post-Gazette photo from the Whitehall Public Library's 2012 Edible Book Festival. Whitehall's Jane Hatfield won Adult Best in Show and Adult People's Choice for her adaptation of "The Giant Jam Sandwich." People's Choice for her adaptation of "The Giant Jam Sandwich."04072014jamsandwich

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A taste of Superior Motors

Written by Gretchen McKay on . Events

superior motorsConstruction has yet to start on Superior Motors, the Kickstarter-funded restaurant chef Kevin Sousa is building in Braddock. But already, the ideas for what kind of food he'll serve are percolating.

On Monday, April 7, Mr. Sousa will preview Superior Motors' menu at Bar Marco in the Strip District, as part of its No Menu Monday.

The five-course pre-fixe menu will cost $55, and you also will be able to order ala carte items at the bar. To whet your whistle, guest bartender Sean Rosencrantz will be preparing specialty cocktails. 

Proceeds will benefit Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia Make-A-Wish Foundation.

You can make reservations online at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or by calling 412-471-1900. 

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'Salt Sugar Fat' author to speak

Written by Bob Batz Jr. on . Events

04042014MichaelMoss

Next week, the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health is offering the public a free chance to hear a talk by Michael Moss, who wrote the bestselling book, "Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us."

Mr. Moss is a New York Times investigative reporter who's made a name for himself exploring the country's sometimes unseemly food landscape. In 2010 he won the Pulitzer Prize for articles on contaminated ground beef, including the ammoniated pink slime.

04042014SaltSugarFatPitt GSPH is awarding him its Porter Prize, which recognizes an individual’s performance in health promotion and disease prevention (past recipients have included Bill Cosby).

Mr. Moss will deliver a keynote speech at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8, in the ballroom of the William Pitt Union (3959 Fifth Ave., Oakland).

After his address, he'll join a panel discussion titled, "Healthy Lifestyle Choice: Combatting Obesity." The panel -- moderated by Patricia L. Sigerj of United Way of Allegheny County -- is to include:

• Esa Davis, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor, Department of Medicine and in the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, University of Pittsburgh

• Tamara Dubowitz, senior policy researcher at the RAND Corp.

• Karen Hacker, M.D., M.P.H., director, Allegheny County Health Department

As space may be limited, attendees are asked to reserve by contacting Jill Ruempler at 412-383-8849 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Mr. Moss last spoke here this past September, when he opened the Ten Literary Evenings -- Monday Night Lecture Series presented by Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures.

The Post-Gazette's Marilyn Pitz interviewed him for a story previewing his appearance, in which he talked about helping young people, including his two sons, navigate the huge aisles of bad foods with packaging that gives questionable nutrition information.

He made a strong case for keeping ones guard up because food manufacturers and retailers "are doing everything they can to steer you toward the center of the store where the less-healthy stuff is. Knowing that the most sugary stuff is going to be at eye level enables me to better dodge that stuff. Knowing that the produce is at the end of the store helps me focus on spending more time there."

Top photo of Michael Moss on "The Daily Show"


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Get your game on

Written by Gretchen McKay on . Events

gamedinner.jpg

If you grew up in a hunting family in Western Pennsylvania, you've probably grew up eating game. And who knows? Maybe you even liked it.

Me, I was never too crazy about the ground venison my mom was always sneaking into spaghetti sauce, meatballs, chili and stew. But the rest of my siblings sure did, and so did my dad, who deer hunted until he was in his early 80s.

Luckily, you don't have to have be a whiz with a rifle to enjoy a sumptuous wild-meat meal. On Thursday, March 20, Restaurant Echo in Cranberry is more than happy to do the procuring and cooking for you at their annual Game Dinner.

As in year's past, the gourmet meal will include five courses, all paired with a different fine wine. Here's the menu. It ain't your mother's cooking:

First course: Seared Laurel Hill trout, fiddlehead fern, sea bean and white asparagus ragout, mushroom consomme, artichoke foam and pickled roe. Paired with Broadbent Vinho Verde, NV (Alvarinho, Portugal).

Second course: Pan-roasted pheasant wrapped in coppa, pheasant sausage, black garlic sunchoke gnocchi, braised kale with royal glacage. Paired with Chappellet Cervantes Mountain Cuvee 2011 (Napa Valley).

Third course: Roasted beet terraine, sheep's milk farmer's cheese, field greens with sherry walnut vinaigrette and honey orange blossom gel. Paired with Gruet Brut Sparklng Wine, NV (Albuquerque, New Mexico).

Intermezzo: "Bloody bullshot" of vodka, tomato juice, veal broth, chilis and salt.echochef.jpg

Fourth course: Spice-crusted venison medallions, savory bread pudding, charred broccoli rabe with smoked apple verjus gastrique. Paired with Ravenswood "Big River" Single Vineyard 2009 (Napa Valley).

Fifth course: Burnt apple budino (custard) with Laphraig cream, smoked sea salt, black walnut and dried cherry shortbread.

The meal dinner costs $65, and includes wine pairing,. You can reserve online at restaurantecho.com/reserve or by calling 724-779-3246.

Restaurant Echo photos

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Eat cookies, raise money for cancer research

Written by Gretchen McKay on . Events

cookie table

Pittsburghers are nothing if not crazy about cookies.

One of the longest-standing traditions for brides who’ve grown up here is the Cookie Table, whereby dozens (and dozens) of homemade cookies are served to reception guests, often with plastic takeaway containers, as an edible “Thank You” for attending. But the sugary love fest isn’t restricted to weddings.

For the fourth year running, UPMC CancerCenter will pair with the national Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation to raise money for cancer research in this very Pittsburgh way — by feting donors with cookies. The March 2 event is called Cookies4Chris, and once again will feature more than 4,000 tassies, iced cut-outs, shortbreads and other cookies for the taking after a luncheon.

The cookie fundraiser is named for Pittsburgh native Christine “Chris” Sapienza, a musician and small business owner who lost her battle with colon cancer in 2009. Mrs. Sapienza was well-known for the many cookies she baked for special occasions, and so when her son, Michael, created a foundation to raise money for research in her honor, he found a way to make her signature treats an integral part of it.cookies4chrisposter

Dozens of friends and family spent weeks baking, decorating and collecting the cookies that will be served at the event, which will be held at South Hills Country Club. Shelley Duffy, co-host of 100.7 Star Morning Show and KDKA Radio’s lifestyle editor, will emcee.   

The Virginia-based nonprofit now is the second-largest colorectal cancer advocacy organizations in the country, raising more than $4 million for research for partnering hospital organizations across the U.S. And it’s pledged $3.1 million more over the next four years for research in general in key markets.

The cause is an important one: colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women combined, and research is still vastly underfunded. This year alone, some 140,000 new cases of colon cancer will be diagnosed and a third of those patients will not survive.

If you can’t make Sunday’s luncheon, which also will include local vendors, silent auctions, live entertainment and door prizes, other fundraisers include the Scope it Out 5K Run/Walk in Washington, D.C., which this year will be held on March 23. There are plans to expand the race to Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh and New York City. 

cookiesforchrisLast year, volunteers made some 4,200 cookies for the sold-out Cookies4Chris event, which attracted more than 250 guests and raised $35,000 for Hillman Cancer Center.

There still are a few tickets left for this year’s luncheon. They cost $35 and all proceeds benefit the Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation’s research fund.

More info: 412-885-2374 or chris4life.org/cookies4chris

Photos: Post-Gazette (top) and Spotted MP. 

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'A Celebration of Chocolate'

Written by Bob Batz Jr. on . Events

01312014chocolate

A new food fest in Cranberry promises chocolate in many, many forms --  fudge to fashion, candles to beer -- Feb. 22 and 23. That weekend the Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau's Celebration of Chocolate brings together a bunch of interesting businesses from the North to the Pittsburgh Marriott North in Cranberry.

There will be demonstrations including making chocolate; melting, filling and hand-making chocolates; and more. There's a fashion show featuring clothing and accessories in shades of brown, chocolate-basket raffles and chocolate-themed children's activities presented by Butler County Community College.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. that Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, kids can meet the chocolately character Willy Wonka.

The tentative schedule (it's still in the works):

Saturday

The Chop Shop                1 p.m. demo by chef/owner Bill Atkinson

Tin Man Sweets               3 p.m.

Eye Kandy                       5 p.m. fashion show

Freedom Farms                6 p.m. chocolate cooking smackdown

Sunday

Restaurant Echo              Noon demo by owner/chef Brian Hammond

Zanella Milling                   1 p.m. Chocolate-chip pancakes

Speckled Hen                  2 p.m.

01312014divanichocBusinesses participating with chocolate-themed displays include:

Angelic Imports (sampling and selling interesting Goufrais German chocolate)

Ashgrove Soaps, Sundries, and Beeswax Ornaments

Baldinger's Candy

Battery Giant

Butler County Federated Library System (with "I Geek Chocolate" stickers)

Cranberry Township Historical Society (presenting samples by the second-generation "Fudge Lady" who operates the fudge stand on Freedom Road, established in 1950)

Eye Kandy

Freedom Farms

It Works! (sampling chocolate protein shakes and brownies)

Mazza Vineyards

Nicolette's Tailor Shop & Specialty Gifts (sampling Divani chocolate from Foxburg and other treats)

North Country Brewing Co. (pouring samples of its Liquid Love Chocolate Stout and another brew)

Pfluger's Candy

Speckled Hen Chocolate Co. (offering hand-dipped-in-chocolate raspberries and strawberries, pecan turtles, pretzel rods and boxes of assorted chocolates)

The Enchanted Olive

The Pampered Chef

Tin Man Sweets

Westpark Alpacas

Zanella Milling

Zeke's Coffee (chocolate-covered espresso beans and other treats)

Purchase a $5 "golden ticket" from Willy Wonka for a chance to win a trip to either the Spa at the Hotel Hershey or Hersheypark.
 
The celebration runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sat., Feb. 22, and noon  to 5 p.m. on Sun., Feb. 23.  Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and younger, and all attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for Butler County food banks.
 
For more information, call 724-234-4619 or visit the Website.

Divani Chocolatier photo (divanichocoloate.com)

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