Where We're Eating in August
Disparate foods — cookies, fruits, wings — draw us to various parts of the city.
PHOTO BY HANNAH HARLEY
Fortuitea Café & Bakery
The cashew-milk-based macaroni and cheese is worth the drive alone; dense rice noodles mingle with onions, broccoli and coconut “bacon” in the rich sauce, making for a filling dish. This vegan eatery excels at creating soups, pizzas and baked goods — including standard types of cookies — without relying heavily on soy products. We recommend branching out a bit and trying the millet “meatloaf.”
[1445 Washington Road, North Strabane Township; 724/222-2442, fortuiteacafe.com]
When you just want cold beer and wings, head here. Navigate the list of wing sauces carefully; the ones bearing a more offbeat name often are gems, including the “Gnarley,” a combination of hot sauce, barbecue sauce and garlic. Burgers, such as the breakfast-inspired option served during brunch, are solid.
[321 Bigham St., Mount Washington; 412/431-9313, bighamtavern.com]
For years, Norman’s Orchard has offered a pick-your-own option, appreciated by those without green thumbs and/or ample garden space. The family-run orchard grows apples, cherries, pears, grapes and blueberries; the latter two items still should be available, potentially with apples. Wander about the property with the provided container in hand, pick and tote home the fresh crops — sold by the pound, peck, half-bushel and bushel — and enjoy.
[2318 Butler Logan Road, Frazer Township; 724/224-9491, normansorchard.com; photo by Hannah Harley]
Tony Giaramita knows a thing or two about pizza, as his family runs the Mount Washington stalwart La Tavola Italiana. Giaramita and his kitchen staff here make Roman-style pies. We’ve liked most every type we’ve tried — particularly the previously offered one featuring asparagus and blood orange — but the classic margherita always is a safe bet.
[126 S. Highland Ave., East Liberty; 412/404-7410, facebook.com/tagliopgh]
After pairing late-summer heirloom tomatoes and basil with burrata, Cocothé serves the ingredients on its housemade foccacia. The caprese-esque sandwich, dubbed the Bella Donna, is a lunchtime hit at the fairly new Sewickley cafe, which also specializes in chocolate confections. Leave room for another seasonal dish: the honey-drizzled grilled peach plate.
[541 Beaver St.; 412/259-8847, cocothe.com; photo by Laura Petrilla]
Cedars Mediterranean Cuisine
The self-proclaimed “king of the kabobs” is a prime place to park for a quick lunch or dinner; it also fills carryout and catering orders. Usual suspects — such as gyros and kafta, a sirloin-lamb mixture — are great, but you’d be remiss for skipping over the Saturday special: kibbi nayyi, raw lamb that the restaurant equates to beef tartare.
[4071 Washington Road, Peters Township; 724/942-0159]
Tom Hambor Co-owner/Pastry Chef | Food Glorious Food
Homey bakeshop Food Glorious Food originated as an under-the-radar place to buy baked goods on Saturdays and hone kitchen skills. Pittsburghers are grateful that owners Tom Hambor and Brad Walter have expanded hours of operation. Hambor got his start in the kitchen working alongside his mother while making cakes and other special-occasion creations. His time in the culinary classroom instilled a sense of efficiency and precision. Over the years, Hambor and company have tweaked recipes for such necessities as buttercream and shortened the menu of choices. Good news: They often make other items, such as seasonal pies, at regulars’ request.
Best ways to balance dessert flavors?
For individual desserts, I like things less sweet. … My secret weapon is salt.
Fads you’ve seen?
One of the new trends is 3-D printers — chefs are using them for chocolate work. They’re also making food — a cracker is the perfect example [because] they’re making spherical crackers to put other foods inside.
Most memorable pastry?
When I go to Italy specifically, I [try something and say,] “I have to make this at home.” I may not be successful because ingredients [differ].
Personal culinary ethos?
We try to simplify the pastry as much as we can … [Our style is] a mix of the American palate and the European palate.
[5906 Bryant St., Highland Park; 412/363-5330, facebook.com/foodgloriousfoodpgh; photo by Laura Petrilla]