At the intersection of artisan food and tableware

Written by Bob Batz Jr. on . Events

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The Society for Contemporary Craft is at it again, bringing together edibles and art.

The Strip District center announced its latest annual CRAFTED exhibit like this:

"Dining is a daily part of life, and is often treated as a routine of physical necessity rather than a culinary experience. In our modern world of microwave dinners and take out styrofoam boxes, Society for Contemporary Craft (SCC) invites people to slow down reexamine the ritual of eating, through a celebration of artisan made food and tableware."

CRAFTED pairs handcrafted food with handmade ceramics to encourage visitors to reflect on "the relationship between the food we consume and the objects that hold it."

This year's showcases mugs, cups and tumblers by artists across the country, including, the one depicted above by Greg Cochenet of New Haven, Conn., and the one below by Anderson Bailey of Chattanooga, Tenn.

From 6 to 8 p.m. this Friday, Oct. 24, SCC celebrates the opening reception with food and drink by Bar Marco, which guests are encouraged to enjoy out of the cups they purchase from the more than 150 in the exhibition. Tickets $30 (there were some $20 early-bird ones and a few $40 VIP ones, too, giving early access and a 10-percent store discount and a cup made by BJ Watson). Get tickets here.

The exhibit runs through Dec. 29.

More good stuff from the society's announcement: "Through this exhibition and event, SCC hopes to draw connections between the maker and the user. The drinking vessels exhibited are artifacts of the potter’s hand, and are enriched by usage. Each time we drink from a cup, we add to that cup’s history. The mug becomes a vessel not only for the drink it contains, but also for the memories of all of the times it has been used before."

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Society for Contemporary Craft photos

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What's dishing on the blogs: Good eats

Written by Dana Cizmas on . Shared Plates

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This week, we have simple salads and magic desserts. Here's what's dishing on the blogs we follow:

How about we start with dessert. Katy baked smooth and chocolatey Zingerman's Black Magic Brownies in her BakingDomesticityandAllThingsMini kitchen. The Brown Eyed Baker made crunchy Chocolate-Dipped Banana Bread Biscotti. Haute Pepper Bites whipped up her favorite Apple Butter and Linda from Dinner Plan-it introduced us to Millie's Homemade Ice Cream.

On the salad menu, Yum Yum tried this delicious Red Potato & Green Bean Salad, the Sugar Pixie put together a refreshing Greek Salad, and Jessica from How Sweet It Is shared with us this seasonal Spicy Roasted Squash with Feta and Herbs recipe. For something heartier, try the mouthwatering Harvest Apple Chicken Burgers with Spinach & Cranberry Stilton from BakingDomesticityandAllThingsMini or Yum Yum's flavorful Chicken Breast Dijon. Good eats.

In other local news, Culinary Cory attended the One Woman Farm dinner in Gibsonia, Chef Chuck from Cooks and Eats lunched at the Olive Garden in Monroeville, while the girls from eatPGH invited us to check out the new Palestinian menu at Conflict Kitchen in Oakland and the newly reopened Willow restaurant in the North Hills.

See you here next week!

BakingDomesticityandAllThingsMini photo

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Piccolo Forno to open Grapparia

Written by Melissa McCart on . Openings

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Sometime next month, Piccolo Forno owner Domenic Branduzzi hopes to start the build out for Grapparia, a wine bar and grappa destination behind his Lawrenceville restaurant. 

"I wanted to have a space where my customers can hang out while they're waiting for a table," he said. Piccolo Forno will remain BYOB.

His landlord at Piccolo Forno suggested the space, in conjunction with the relocation of Jeffrey Smith Salon to Bryant Street in Highland Park.

The inspiration for the name, said Mr. Branduzzi, "is an inside thing with my dad. He wasn't much of a drinker, but he loved grappa." 

Originally from the Tuscany region, his father Antonio died in 2007. "When he still lived in Italy, he and his friends had a little shack where they'd get away to drink some."

Grappa is not for beginners. The fiery, clear booze is made from grape skins, seeds and pulp, remnants from wine making in the press. It often starts as a sipper and ends up a shot.

The late R.W. Apple, Jr. cited its use as "a form of central heating" by peasants in Northern Italy. "A shot in the breakfast espresso -- yielding a 'corretto' or corrected coffee -- got the motor started in the morning gloom." 

Mr. Branduzzi said he'll also serve wines by the glass and the bottle, amari, Italian-inspired cocktails and Italian microbrews. The 800-square-foot bar will seat 30 to 35 guests. 

He said he hopes to open before the year's end, but with buildouts and the permit process far from predictable, we'll have to wait and see. 

Speaking of waiting, Mr. Branduzzi said plans for ARDE on the North Side are on hold as the project developers "navigate issues with the city," he said. 

The wood fired oven at Piccolo Forno. Post-Gazette photo






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Cocktail bar to open in Squirrel Hill

Written by Melissa McCart on . Openings

CocktailrehabThere's a bar-in-progress from lawyers-turned-restaurant owners Peter and Matt Kurzweg, in a secret-ish location on Shady Avenue near The Independent Brewing Company.

The to-be-named bar will feature "innovative modern cocktails with respect to classics," says Lucky Munro, more widely known as Lucky the Painproof Man.

Mr. Munro has earned a reputation as a tiki-cocktail aficionado at Tiki Lounge on the South Side and has been making cocktails at The Independent once a week.

With low lighting, mutiple rooms and menus, the bar originally was scheduled to open by New Years Eve. The opening date has been pushed to early spring 2015. 

Creative Commons photo


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Joe Mama's to close, Lava Lounge for sale, Quiet Storm for lease

Written by Melissa McCart on . The Forks blog

JoeMamad1. Joe Mama's Italian Deluxe in Oakland has been sold, reports The Pitt News. The owners, Mike Hanley and Jerry Dilembo, will focus on their other properties, Burgatory and Uncle Sam's.

They'll turn over the space on Oct. 27 to new owners Brandon Smith, former general manager at Fuel & Fuddle; Greg Ripper; and Daniel Sutton -- all Pitt alums. The space will get a cosmetic update and will reopen Nov. 4 as Olio Trattoria. The trio bought Fuel & Fuddle at the end of July. 

2. The Lava Lounge is for sale at 2204 E. Carson St. for an asking price of $225,000. The 1800-square-foot space includes a liquor license. The phone number does not allow for messages. 

3. Several restaurants are listed for sale or lease Downtown.

One is for sale in Market Square: "Brand new kitchen, completely updated, turnkey. 2 hoods, 2 fryers, 4-ft flat grill, 2 gas burner, Baker's Pride double-deck oven, 6-foot cooler, 7-foot cooler, 4-foot under-counter prep cooler, ice machine and more! Includes $80K liquor license."

Another is for lease a block from Market Square.

4. The Quiet Storm space at 5430 Penn Ave. is for lease. The restaurant closed in October 2013 and was bought by E Properties and Development in February. It will be the anchor restaurant for the townhouse development project announced in January.

Joe Mama's website image

 

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What's dishing on the blogs: Pumpkin flavors

Written by Dana Cizmas on . Shared Plates

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This week, we have delicious pumpkin treats and savory autumn flavors. Here's what's dishing on the blogs we follow:

Since we are in the midst of pumpkin season, the Brown Eyed Baker opted for this amazing Pumpkin Spice Latte Fudge, while Haute Pepper Bites combined her favorite fall aromas in this glorious Maple Bourbon Caramel Sauce. Also on the sweet menu, Yum Yum prepared fudgy Caramel Filled DelightFulls Chocolate Chip Cookies, whereas Katy baked soft and chewy Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies in her BakingDomesticityandAllThingsMini kitchen. And the girls from eatPGH shared with us the top pumpkin treats around town, such as the Pumpkin Stuffed French Toast at Dor-Stop and the Pumpkin Roll Ale at Penn Brewery.

On the savory menu, Jessica from How Sweet It Is made good and filling Autumn Avocado Toast perfect for breakfast or lunch. Sam from Haute Pepper Bites incorporated the much loved apple flavors in her Apple Cheddar Grilled Cheese sandwich, while Yum Yum prefered a more substantial Pimiento Cheese BLT. Canning is also popular this time of the year so head over to Dinner Plan-it for step-by-step instructions on how to make Italian Vinegar and Oil Pickled Hot Peppers.

Lastly, Three Dogs BBQ participated in the Keystone Classic BBQ State Championship in Harrisburg, and the girls from eatPGH reviewed Pittsburgh's best breakfast spots.

See you here next week!

Brown Eyed Baker photo

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