What's dishing on the blogs: Pizza feuds

Written by Dana Cizmas on . Shared Plates

PizzaBoat online

This week, we have pizza feuds and frozen desserts. Here's what's dishing on the blogs we follow:

Dan from Pizza Walk with Me uncovered a new and exciting pizza rivalry between Pizza Boat and the new competitor in town, Bread + Salt. To learn more, Pittsburgh Magazine invites us to get familiar with Pizza Boat, this new mobile vendor that serves 9-inch pies on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays outside Bar Marco in the Strip District. And Linda from Dinner Plan-it focused on a different kind of pizza: a dreamy True Blue Maryland Crab, Artichoke and Jalapeno Dip Pizza. Pizza seems to be on everyone's mind these days!

On the non-pizza-spectrum, Jessica from How Sweet It Is prepared a satisfying Nectarine and Fig Summer Salad with Crispy Pancetta, Katy made a colorful Chicken with Strawberry & Avocado Salsa in her BakingDomesticityandAllThingsMini kitchen, and Kathy from Chew me! was impressed with her Easy No-Knead Artisan Bread. For something sweet, head over to Haute Pepper Bites for a fruity Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake.

On the ice cream front, the girls from eatPGH are still taking ice cream stores by storm. Yum Yum whipped up flavorful Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream, while the Brown Eyed Baker churned lovely Coffee and Doughnuts Ice Cream. And Chef Chuck from Cooks and Eats encouraged us to cool off with The Climate Reality Project that's giving away free Ben & Jerry's ice cream around town, next week.

See you here next week!

Pittsburgh Magazine photo

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After 37 years, D'Imperio's Restaurant in Wilkins will close next weekend

Written by Melissa McCart on . Closings

Dimperios
An Italian-American special-occasion restaurant since 1977, D'Imperio's Restaurant in Wilkins will close Aug. 2.

"It's time to quit while I still have the energy," said owner Tony D'Imperio.

In recent years, the restaurant had been busy during holidays, " but during regular service we had been spending $10 to take in $9," he said.

Former staff has been stopping in to say goodbyes, since D'Imperio's will not celebrate the restaurant's run with a party. Among visitors was Joseph Schilling, executive chef of the restaurant for 33 years until he resigned three years ago.

As a child, Mr. D'Imperio moved in 1955 from Italy to the area with his family. A year later, when he was 11, he got his start in the restaurant business by washing dishes at the Sons of Columbus Italian Club in Clairton, a job he took to help his family out.

From dishwashing, he learned to cook, then left Pittsburgh to bartend in the Poconos and took a break from the business to serve in the Vietnam War. He returned to Pittsburgh to finish college and to open D'Imperio's, a restaurant inspired by the Italian dishes of his youth.

D'Imperio's is among the last of its kind. Originally on 10th floor of the Jonnet Building in Monroeville, the restaurant became known for its piano bar and lounge singers.

"Walt Maddox is singing the Stephen Sondheim song, 'Send in the Clowns;' the accompaniment is a chorus of conversations, laughter, clinking glasses," wrote Marilyn McDevitt Rubin in a 1981 edition of the Pittsburgh Press.
"Anticipation. Pretty women. Blond. Dimpled. Low-cut dresses. Handsome, broad-shouldered men. Tall. Dark. Macho."

Even then, the restaurant was a classic. "It was as if you had drifted back in time to when elegance was epitomized by New York's Stork Club and San Francisco's Top of the Mark."

The restaurant moved to its current location in 1982, smaller than the original, with a 100-seat patio Mr. D'Imperio added in 2001.

He gave away the baby grand piano to a bartender a couple years ago.

"We're now in a keyboard era," he said.

D'Imperio's photo

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New winery open in McDonald

Written by Elizabeth Downer on . Wine

Reece
Looking for an unusual outing this weekend?

Reese Winery is celebrating its opening in McDonald with free wine tastings all weekend.

Winemaker Teresa Reese and her husband, Mitchell, moved here last year from North Carolina. He  is the district manager for the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain. She already had bought all the equipment needed to start a winery, so they shipped it all to Pittsburgh, and in a 100-year-old home they bought on the edge of Robinson, she set up her winery in the basement. (That's the home on the label.)

With grapes purchased from California, Washington and Argentina, Mrs. Reese is making a number of varieties including Merlot, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurztraminer. There are also sweet wines from Moscato grapes and fruits from North Carolina.

Tastings normally cost $5 for seven wines but this weekend a taste of four wines will be free.

The winery will be open 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday, 1 to 9 p.m. and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Reese Winery is located 132 Fourth St., McDonald, PA 15057. The phone is 724-492-1569 and here is the website.

Reece Winery photo

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What's dishing on the blogs: Summer staples

Written by Dana Cizmas on . Shared Plates

cherry-pepper-cheeseburgers-I-howsweeteats.com-1-2

This week, we have summer staples and sweet things. Here's what's dishing on the blogs we follow:

With summer in full swing, grilling is a must! Jessica from How Sweet It Is was obsessed with these mouthwatering Smoky Sweet Cherry Pepper Cheeseburgers, whereas Bill from Three Dogs BBQ grilled some creamy polenta. Likewise, Alex and Kathy broke out their smoker with deliciously looking ribs at Chew me! and the Sugar Pixie taught us how to harvest garlic, another summer staple activity. And Chef Chuck shared useful tips on how to get your grill ready for a lengthy grilling season at Cooks and Eats.

To keep our sweet tooth in check this summer, Katy baked really good Tropical Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting in her BakingDomesticityandAllThingsMini kitchen; Linda made crunchy Beer Caramel Chocolate Almond Bar Cookies at Dinner Plan-it; and the Brown Eyed Baker created a fabulous Chocolate-Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie with Pretzel Crust.

Lastly, we can't overlook the ice cream concoctions! Yum Yum churned a smooth and rich Gianduja-Stracciatella Gelato, Sam from Haute Pepper Bites whipped up a nice combo of Kahlua & Coffee Malted Ice Cream, while the girls from eatPGH continued their ice cream month adventures with seven new ice cream places.

See you here next week!

How Sweet It Is photo

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Paint Nite at Notion. No, really.

Written by Gretchen McKay on . Events

paintnite

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.  

dave1Unfamiliar 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. morningbreakthrough

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

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Maggie's Farm calls forth the undead

Written by Bob Batz Jr. on . Spirits

07172014QueensShare

Pittsburgh's craft rum distiller, Maggie's Farm, is releasing a specially made reserve rum named the Queen's Share by closing off its 3200 Smallman Street block for its first annual Zombie Party. 

From 4 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, July 27, the street should be crawling with zombies -- some from House of the Dead, "Pittsburgh's premiere zombie store" in Lawrenceville, and others from among party-goers who are encouraged with the prospect of prizes to dress up their undead best/worst. 

They'll be able to sample the Queen's Share and other rums and buy, for $5 each, four different Zombie cocktails created by four top Pittsburgh bartenders (the release doesn't say if they're living or dead). 

Live (sorta) music will be provided by The Graveyard Rockers with DJ Zombo.

And to keep the carnage to a minimum, the zombies will be able to feed from the PGH Taco Truck, the Mac & Gold Truck and South Side BBQ Co. 

Tickets -- $10 in advance and $15 at the door -- are availble via Showclix07172014ZombieParty

The new Queen's Share, writes owner Tim Russell, is made from the end-runnings, or "tails," of usual cane rum distillations, resulting in a more complex spirit made even moreso by being aged in bourbon casks and virgin oak casks; there's also an unaged version. 

Maggie's Farm images

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