Hungry for Something New? Where We're Eating in May
Spring has sprung. Fill your plate with colorful, nutritious fare.
Smiling Banana Leaf
Eating Smiling Banana Leaf’s fried tilapia with mango causes you to imagine a tropical clime. The colorful plate also combines carrots, cabbage, spinach and sweet-and-sour sauce to complete its slightly eclectic flavor profile. Because there’s no such thing as having too much mango, order the mango with sticky rice dessert.
[5901 Bryant St., Highland Park; 412/362-3200, smilingbananaleaf.com; photo by Laura Petrilla]
This spot exudes a casually cool vibe and gives brunch dishes a facelift: Maple anglaise and raspberry drizzles enhance the made-to-order French toast. The small buffet covers side and main dishes; stellar offerings have included potatoes au gratin and cheese-stuffed chicken. Coffee and juice are fresh. The studio doesn’t always offer Sunday brunch weekly; book your seats in advance.
[225 E. Eighth Ave., Homestead; firstname.lastname@example.org, studio-am.com; Sunday brunch only]
MIX Salad Concept
There may be a time and place for ranch-covered iceberg lettuce. But MIX Salad Concept’s offerings are the antithesis. The company offers four salad options every month — one each of vegetarian, vegan, poultry and seafood. We love the “spring chicken,” a combination of arugula, fennel and roasted chicken, dressed in a rosemary-blood orange vinaigrette. Beyond arugula, MIX is incorporating other nutrient-dense greens, such as Swiss chard, into its May selections.
[Available for delivery and catering; 412/447-8505, mixsalads.com; photo by Laura Petrilla]
Cioppino can be terrible if the seafood’s not cooked properly. Here, the elements — whitefish, scallops, shrimp — marry nicely in the broth. An unexpectedly filling appetizer is the polenta in tomato purée with lamb sausage and goat cheese. Dim lighting adds to the ambiance at this white-tablecloth establishment in charming downtown Greensburg.
[113 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Greensburg; 724/420-5711, oneelevengreensburg.com]
Feast on Brilliant
While you’re shopping the selection of artisanal goods, from local chocolate to cucumber soda, an expert can put together your toasted roast-beef and blue sandwich on a stirata roll. Perhaps you’re instead in the mood for soup or an apple-pecan salad. Either way, it’ll be ready in a jiffy, as will any of the prepared foods in the case, such as quinoa patties.
[27 Brilliant Ave., Aspinwall; 412/781-2323, feastonbrilliant.com; photo by John Altdorfer]
The Independent Brewing Co.
The sammich, with its caramelized beer onions and spinach pesto, is an optimum vegetarian option, not requiring the optional add-ons of sausage or falafel. Small, large and dessert plates are refined, yet they still match well with the local craft brews. The top-notch bar program includes draft cocktails.
[1704-1706 Shady Ave., Squirrel Hill; 412/422-5040, independentpgh.com]
Josephine Oria, Founder | La Dorita
Argentine-born Josephine Oria wears her many hats well: businesswoman, mom and wife. She established La Dorita in 2009 in honor of her grandmother, whose dulce de leche recipe she still uses. Many know dulce de leche, a milk jam, to taste sweet, but Oria says its uses span the gamut from coffee enhancement to turkey glaze. She sources raw milk locally for her all-natural product, which first hit shelves at Whole Foods Market. In addition to producing the addictive spread in original and dark chocolate flavors, La Dorita makes a liqueur and runs an incubator kitchen in Sharpsburg for startup businesses.
My first kitchen value is just real food … And I believe in cooking. I think you should get your kids into the kitchen as early as possible.
Favorite season for cooking?
I have no favorite season. If there’s one thing I like, it’s change … [I look forward to] going to the grocery store and finding figs again.
I look at [various] recipes and know I can swap white or brown sugar for the dulce de leche.
Best way to use the liqueur?
In the summer months, it’s great in shakes … One of our favorite ways to drink it is over ice.
[Sold at select area stores and online; 412/307-3052, ladorita.net; photo by Laura Petrilla]