Chef David Racicot is well-known for the ultra-creative, modernist dishes he cooks up at Notion
and the absolutely gorgeous way he plates them. It's the very definition of culinary artistry.
By hey -- we eaters like to dabble in the arts, too, given the chance. Especially when booze, good food and a few friends are involved.
Nice guy that he is, Chef Racicot (pictured below) has cooked up a series of events that give all you would-be Picassos that chance in exactly that scenario.
At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 22, and every Tuesday after that for the foreseeable future, he'll host Paint Nite
at his East Liberty restaurant.
Unfamiliar with the sip-and-paint movement? It's basically a step-by-step art class during which students get to knock back a few drinks. For a set fee, participants get everything they need to create a masterpiece from scratch: a 16-by-20-inch canvas, primary-colored acrylic paints and artist's brushes. You even get a painter's smock in case the drinks fly too frequently and things get out of, ahem, control.
Which, of course, is kind of the point. Adding alcohol to mix, say organizers, helps customers loosen up and not worry so much about whether their work is any good.
It's a philosophy shared by a lot of aspiring amateur artists, some of them sober: Established in 2012 by a pair of Boston entrepreneurs, Paint Nite now has events in 87 cities across the U.S. and in four countries. Some 2,200 painting parties are held each month, entertaining more than 65,000 people.
On July 22, Pittsburgh artist Ben Carley, who studied graphic design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh
, will be teaching the painting "Morning Break Through." Rated a "2" on a difficulty scale of 1 to 5 (so relatively easy), it depicts a schooner sailing through a big puff of clouds into a brilliant sunrise.
Along with the "ultimate social painting experience," Notion will offer a special menu during the event. The small bites and sweet treats will range from Beef Tartare Lettuce Wraps ($8) and Truffle Popcorn ($4) to Chocolate Nutella Cake and Vanilla-Berry Cheesecake (each $8). If fine wine isn't your thing, there also will be a selection of handcrafted cocktails, including a Ginger Julep for $11, an Aperol Negroni for $11 and Strawberry (Vodka) Lemonade for $9.
The two-hour class normally costs $45 (with food and drinks extra), but for next week's kick-off event, the artist is offering a special rate of $25 here
; simply type in the coupon code PNBEN. Space is limited.
Notion is located at 128 South Highland Ave., East Liberty (412-361-1188). Ben Carley also will be teaching Paint Nites on July 29 and Aug. 5, 12 and 19.Paint Nite and Notion photos