Where We’re Eating in June
Sincerely Yogurt crafts a refreshing, creamy green-tea fro-yo, while Franktuary’s chickpea fries are golden. And Dinette’s Serbian-inspired salad features homegrown tomatoes (drooling yet?).
Give It A Swirl
Fro-yo spots may be commonplace, but Sincerely Yogurt’s signature Greek-style recipe stands out. The green tea yogurt is delightfully tart and creamy with a hint of matcha (green tea in powder form). Fill your bowl with yogurt, and top with as much fresh fruit and honey as you desire for a healthy summertime treat.
(several area locations; sincerelyyogurt.com; photo by Michael Ray)
We can’t get enough of the perfectly cooked chickpea fries with tahini-lemon sauce. Moving on to the main attraction, hot dog options range from standard beef to tofu. Among the pre-selected topping choices, our favorite is the Bangkok (peanut sauce, cilantro and carrots). Boasting a full bar and killer cocktail menu, this is a perfect spot for weeknight trivia. The co-owners are active members of Pittsburgh’s mobile-food movement and operate a roving food truck, from which they serve hot dogs, fries and more.
(3810 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/586-7224, franktuary.com)
Pallantia Tapas y Paella
Spanish cuisine may be misunderstood here in Pittsburgh, but Gonzalo Cembrero is happy to show the ways it differs from Mexican food. Serving fare from his homeland, Cembrero aims to please with hits such as paella and croquettes, featuring ingredients flown in from Spain. Though the eatery’s name includes the word “tapas,” portions are very reasonable — most patrons walk out with boxes of leftovers. Sip homemade sangria while finishing up your meal and staring at the dessert menu, which includes flan, as expected.
(6044 U.S. Route 30, Greensburg; 724/837-8272, pallantiatapas.com)
You Say Tomato …
Sonja Finn admits that she didn’t inherit her father’s “green thumb.” Fortunately, he’s the one who maintains Dinette’s rooftop garden, the source of the tomatoes that star in salads such as the srpska salata. The Serbian-inspired dish, which chef Finn loves, blends sweet and spicy flavors, with the tomatoes paired alongside banana peppers, onion, feta and grilled bread (and topped with red-wine vinaigrette).
(5996 Penn Circle South, East Liberty; 412/362-0202, dinette-pgh.com; photo by Laura Petrilla)
Joe’s Rusty Nail
Whether you seek a large home-cooked omelet or stack of thick hot cakes, Rusty Nail won’t let you down. A longtime fixture on Bellevue’s main drag, this spot is famous for its hearty breakfast, served all day; on any given weekend, you’ll likely find a line forming inside and outside the restaurant. For P.M. diners, ham and provolone or “wild turkey” sandwiches don’t disappoint, and the friendly servers are happy to share daily specials if you’re in the mood for something different.
(565 Lincoln Ave., Bellevue; 412/766-9228; cash only)
Gaucho Parrilla Argentina
Lunchtime plans changed drastically when Gaucho opened this winter. While the Strip’s restaurants represent a variety of ethnicities, Gaucho filled the need for Argentine cuisine. Everything from the simple roasted potatoes to the all-veggie sandwich with asparagus and zucchini is positively delicious. This takeout spot is a meat-eater’s paradise: The short menu lists several types of steak, large and small. Can’t wait to eat? Take a stool at the little bar, grab a handful of napkins and dig in.
(1607 Penn Ave., Strip District; 412/709-6622, eatgaucho.com)
Micah Maughan, Chef/Owner | Chaat
Chef Micah Maughan came to Pittsburgh two years ago after learning under culinary legends in New York (and elsewhere). Maughan, who worked at Tamari and is now at Root 174, has evolved his pop-up restaurant concept, Chaat, since establishing it this fall. For this venture, Maughan draws from various cuisines (the restaurant’s named for an Indian snack). Though Maughan intends to open a brick-and-mortar eatery in the future, Chaat currently participates in collaborative tasting events hosted at area spots.
Describe your cookbook collection.
I’ve never been someone who buys and buys. I have a decent collection. Things have to pique my interest in a unique way. Early on, I was into classic French cooking and had been buying out-of-print books, but now I’m into Southeast Asia and India.
I will always love peanut butter — but not commercial. The truth is that I don’t eat it that often because I could eat a whole jar.
Primary source of culinary inspiration?
At this point in my career, having had the opportunity to work for big-name chefs, my biggest influence is collaboration; it fuels me.
Favorite dining trend?
Great food and great service. That’s the biggest thing I look for — good service.
(chaatpgh.com; photo by Laura Petrilla)