Where We’re Eating in October
This month, we’re saying farewell to old friend Quiet Storm and finding out what the beef is with Cuba at Conflict Kitchen.
In its many preparations, tofu remains a versatile source of protein, pairing with a multitude of ingredients. At vegetarian and vegan hot spot Quiet Storm, it’s scrambled and tossed in a bowl with edamame, broccoli, sunflower seeds, sweet-potato mash, brown rice, carrots and a peanut-ginger sauce. Order the ginger rice bowl with a mandorla latte during your final visit to Quiet Storm to end things on a good note.
[5430 Penn Ave., Garfield; 412/661-9355, qspgh.com; photos by Laura Petrilla]
We love a good plate of nachos. Here, local yellow corn chips remain crisp as they’re piled high with red beans, onion, cilantro, housemade salsa and cheese. Skip dinner if beer-infused desserts are your thing; the chocolate stout cake, crowned with airy Bailey’s icing, is still good the next day if you’d prefer cutting it in half. This lively spot is known to pack ’em in, even on weeknights. Beer remains the focus, complemented by pastrami sliders, smoked chicken drumsticks and monthly specials, such as asparagus fries.
[601 Amity St., Homestead; 412/461-6220, bluedustpgh.com]
Uphold the tradition of taking a hayride to the pumpkin patch by visiting Shenot Farms, where the orange-colored squash is grown on 10 acres. Shenot also has a fully stocked market, where you can choose the best gourd for your Halloween porch display or that new pumpkin-brownie recipe you found on Pinterest. Remember to dehydrate and save the pumpkin seeds — they’re perfect salad toppers.
[3754 Wexford Run Road, Wexford; 724/935-2542, shenotfarm.com]
The reopening of Conflict Kitchen as a Schenley Park kiosk was a blessing for locals who love the business’ takeout. The spot’s rotating offerings are inspired by countries in conflict with the United States; currently, Conflict Kitchen is serving Cuban fare. Most dishes are promising and straightforward, but we could go on about the filling ropa vieja, a generous helping of Cuban-style shredded beef with black beans, rice and a Cuban salad. Save room for one of the subtly sweet guava-cheese empanadas, with an exterior that’s more crisp than flaky.
[Schenley Plaza, Schenley & Roberto Clemente drives, Oakland; 412/802-8417, conflictkitchen.org]
If the red cabbage doesn’t hook you, the homemade bread will. Diners at Jozsa receive a warm welcome and feel as if they’re part of the family as they hear stories of the owner’s clan while enjoying family-style dishes. Those acquainted with Hungarian cuisine would do well with the goulash, stew beef served in a tomato-based sauce over egg noodles. Adventurous eaters may pick a mix of new and familiar items — pork with sauerkraut being more commonplace. Jozsa has held themed events and multiple-course dinners; call for details about the next gathering.
[4800 Second Ave., Hazelwood; 412/422-1886, jozsacorner.com; cash only]
Make Your Mark Artspace & Coffeehouse
Yes, coffee is a morning staple. How about a peach-pear-apricot smoothie instead? Maybe with a bowl of granola, fresh fruit and milk. That’s how regulars at the intimate Make Your Mark start their day if they’re not sipping an espresso while reading the paper. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. and includes a lineup of lighter fare, such as vegetarian-appropriate sandwiches, along with salads. For dessert, there’s usually a crème de menthe brownie with our name on it; a sheet of thick chocolate coats the top of the cake-like treat.
[6736 Reynolds St., Point Breeze; 412/365-2117]
Samantha Sloan | Chef/Owner, Hungry for Time?
Self-trained chef Samantha Sloan started out in the arts but later realized she wanted to cook for a living. Sloan, who owns Hungry for Time?, became a personal chef because she liked the idea of customizing meal plans for a variety of people.
When I’m planning for clients, I always make sure there’s variety — chicken, fish, steak. Mix it up. Time-saving prep method? I try to chop all of the vegetables first, then proteins. That way I’m not going back and forth.
Old-fashioned or new techniques?
I think some of the newer techniques are cool. But I prefer the old, tried-and-true basics.
Misconception about personal chefs?
People think they’re just for the “rich and famous.” It’s [a] very affordable [option]. Best
Pierogies, definitely. I always liked them growing up. Now I’ve moved back to the area and get them at the [Market Square farmers market.]
Chef’s golden rule?
Starting with quality ingredients is key.
Favorite fall feature?
I love [it] when fresh apple cider is available.
Easy weeknight dinner?
Soup — it’s a good one-pot meal. You can use vegetables, meat, pasta, rice. You can put it together in 15 minutes. It can last a few days.
[412/944-6464; hungryfortime.com; chef photo by Laura Petrilla]