Where We’re Eating in July

This month, we’ll have the quinoa fritters at Aji Picante, tuna tacos at Twisted Thistle, and at the PGH Crepes cart, it’s Nutella and berries to-go.




Photos by Laura Petrilla
 

 

Pick of the Fritter

Corn fritters may be a go-to side dish, but quinoa fritters show why the ancient grain has become increasingly popular. At Aji Picante, the browned treats are sprinkled with Parmesan. The taste of the slightly crunchy fritters is amplified when they’re dipped in the accompanying zesty red sauce, which gives a nod to the eatery’s name (aji is Spanish for “chili pepper”). Enjoy an order outside with your favorite bottle of wine.

1711 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill; 412/422-0220, ajipicantepgh.com; BYOB with no corkage fee

Las Palmas Carniceria
When waiting for tacos from Las Palmas, Pittsburghers don’t care about the weather. Rain or shine, there are always hungry locals contemplating which $2 taco they’ll order. Switch off between myriad filling choices, including potato, chorizo and chicken. Watch the crew grill meat and heat corn tortillas. Then crown your taco with red or green salsa, plus a lime wedge, from the salsa bar. This Mexican grocery doesn’t have seating, so you’ll need to plop down on the sidewalk with a few napkins and a drink.

700 Brookline Blvd., Brookline; 412/344-1131

Twisted Thistle
Farm-to table restaurants, such as this rustic spot, are favored for their dedication to local purveyors. Twisted Thistle’s American menu exhibits ethnic influences in such dishes as the veggie curry with tofu and the Asian-inspired tuna tacos, which pack heat via sriracha aïoli and red-pepper paste. Seasonal ingredients come from Freedom and Lingrow farms. Friendly servers and a relaxed barn-like interior add to the experience, which should always end with one of pastry chef Edit Herman’s house-made desserts. Try the cheesecake if you have room!

127 Market St., Leechburg; 724/236-0450, twistedthistlepa.com


Crepe Expectations

Striking the perfect balance between light and fluffy, crepes win us over any time of day. It’s virtually impossible to resist the French treats when they’re stuffed with sweet ingredients such as Nutella and berries. Ilmir Akhm whips up batches inside the PGH Crepes Cart in the Strip District and at local mobile-food events. Akhm uses only fresh ingredients for his in-demand delicacies, and his short menu also lists savory crepes, including a ham-and-cheese variety.

20th Street & Penn Avenue, Strip District, Fri-Sun; twitter.com/pghcrepes

Stone Neapolitan Pizzeria
Stone Neapolitan has become increasingly popular, thanks to word of mouth. Tucked off of Liberty Avenue, Stone is a prime spot for a lunchtime bite or after-work takeout. Prompt service and reasonable prices add to the appeal. The wood-fired pizza — thin, piping-hot and cooked in a jiffy in the Italian oven — is the obvious draw; pick from such options as the prosciutto-mushroom or just build your own. We can’t get enough of the del cafone, with fresh Mozzarella, sausage and rapini, and we suggest pairing it with a salad.

300 Liberty Ave., Suite 100, downtown; 412/904-4531, stonepizzeria.com

Piper’s Pub
Piper’s is known to pack ’em in on game day — for soccer matches, that is. Presenting a “taste of the British Isles,” menu items showcase flavors of such countries as England (“toad in the hole”) and Scotland (scotch eggs). You’ll want to saddle up to the bar come Sunday and try the salmon or corned-beef boxty during brunch. Stay a while, sip Glen Scotia, have an order of curry and chips, and make new friends. Next door, Piper’s sister restaurant, Pub Chip Shop, serves up true meat pies.

1828 E. Carson St., South Side; piperspub.com

Marie Perriello | Owner, Stir Society

For Stir Society, an at-home cocktail consulting firm, Marie Perriello reviews party agendas before crafting her list of original drinks to make at the shindigs. Perriello also tends bar at Acacia and offers interactive drink tutorials at Tender Bar + Kitchen. She has shaped bar menus at several local spots and continues to further her knowledge, having just finished her BarSmarts Advanced, a prestigious program for dedicated bartenders.   

What are you known for?
I nail savory cocktails. I love using cooking methods, such as smoking, and techniques you’d see in a restaurant. I’m always trying to use different foods. 

Best summertime ingredients?
Sparkling wine — it tastes delicious and refreshing. Fruit-wise, I’d say cherries or watermelon; they’re so good. 

Preferred liquor?
I like a lot of different spirits. Mezcal, it’s so good. And bourbon and Fernet Branca. 

Top drink pick?
My favorite thing in the world is a banana daiquiri. I make banana liqueur. 

Accidental success?
A sauerkraut and ketchup cocktail. It won second place in a cocktail contest. 

Tip for rookies?
If you can make a classic cocktail with the correct technique, you can make any cocktail.

Hot Reads

Review: Sienna Mercato

Review: Sienna Mercato

Matthew Porco, one of our Chefs of the Year, designs the menus at Sienna Mercato's downtown establishments.
An Open Letter to Local Sports Reporters

An Open Letter to Local Sports Reporters

PittGirl has had enough of the criticism of fanatics and asks the media to stop labeling everyone.
Film Noir Fall Fashion

Film Noir Fall Fashion

Fall into autumn with a fashion landscape awash in black, white and nifty shades of gray.
8 Foodie Day Trips (and a Few Weekends, Too)

8 Foodie Day Trips (and a Few Weekends, Too)

Hoping to take a leaf-peeping road trip? Keep food at the top of your priority list and consult our lineup of eight destinations, most within 150 miles of the city.

The 412

Awesome Hyperlapse Video Takes You Through Pittsburgh at Warp Speed

Awesome Hyperlapse Video Takes You Through Pittsburgh at Warp Speed

Instagram’s new Hyperlapse technology was made for Pittsburgh.
The 10 Most Important Concerts in Pittsburgh History

The 10 Most Important Concerts in Pittsburgh History

We went one on one with legendary promoter Rich Engler to get the scoop on which shows have stood out over time.
8 Photos That Best Capture Summer in Pittsburgh

8 Photos That Best Capture Summer in Pittsburgh

Just because the season's winding down doesn't mean you have to be glum. Savor these images that capture all that you love about the city.
Pittsburgh: America's Most Livable City ... Again?

Pittsburgh: America's Most Livable City ... Again?

It feels good to be at the very top of The Economist's list of high-ranking metropolises in the continental U.S.

Hot Reads

Review: Sienna Mercato

Review: Sienna Mercato

Matthew Porco, one of our Chefs of the Year, designs the menus at Sienna Mercato's downtown establishments.
Film Noir Fall Fashion

Film Noir Fall Fashion

Fall into autumn with a fashion landscape awash in black, white and nifty shades of gray.
An Open Letter to Local Sports Reporters

An Open Letter to Local Sports Reporters

PittGirl has had enough of the criticism of fanatics and asks the media to stop labeling everyone.
8 Foodie Day Trips (and a Few Weekends, Too)

8 Foodie Day Trips (and a Few Weekends, Too)

Hoping to take a leaf-peeping road trip? Keep food at the top of your priority list and consult our lineup of eight destinations, most within 150 miles of the city.
From Field to Fork

From Field to Fork

We put together this dynamic guide to help you find and engage with the region’s sustainable producers of meat, honey, alcohol, fruits and vegetables.
Sometimes Your Best Friends in Life Aren't on Facebook

Sometimes Your Best Friends in Life Aren't on Facebook

PittGirl wonders if it's still possible to raise kids to be big-hearted people in an age of self-obsession.