Social Hour with Three Pittsburgh Bloggers
WORD TRAVELS | Dana Cizmas of Simply Romanesco has made Pittsburgh her new hometown, bringing with her a love of good food, a Romanian heritage, and as many recipes from her Romanian grandmother as she can gather. Her grandmother’s recipes for Gomboti cu Prune (potato plum dumplings) and homemade pretzels should be the first you try. The plum dumplings are absolutely decadent, and the homemade pretzels, seasoned with sesame seeds or Parmesan, would make a perfect foodie gift. Cizmas says, “I’ve always enjoyed good food and loved to watch my grandma Vicki, from Transylvania, cook — but I didn’t know how to cook until I was 22. Now, every time I go to Romania, I not only watch my grandma in the kitchen, but we also cook and learn new dishes together.” Dana then shares these experiences on her blog and takes readers step by step through her recipes. For easy following, photos illustrate the entire process from the ingredients stage to finished products, and after each post, Dana wishes us all “Pofta Buna!” — Romanian for “Bon Appétit!” simplyromanesco.blogspot.com.
TASTE TESTING | The semi-anonymous author of the blog Yum Yum, Nicole, and her husband are avid restaurant patrons — just check out the blog’s restaurant index. You’ll have to do quite a bit of scrolling to read Yum Yum’s entire list of reviewed restaurants. Most are in Pittsburgh, including favorites like Piccolo Forno and Bistro 19, but those met in travels weren’t left out either. And Yum Yum doesn’t stop at reviews. The husband and wife team also loves to cook, and Nicole doesn’t shield her own recipes from critique. You’ll always know which were a hit and which won’t be making the list. Pleasing both of their picky palates can sometimes be a challenge, but with a name like “Yum Yum,” inspired by a whoopie pie dessert at Bethel Bakery, sweet treats most often do the trick. “It was my grandma who was the baker and who used to have me over every December to help her bake holiday cookies.” On her blog, Nicole shares family recipes and new favorites alike. blueeley.blogspot.com.
SPROUT IDEAS | Whether you’re equipped with a green thumb or starting your first sprout, Phipps Conservatory’s horticulture and education experts behind the Porchside Gardening blog can help you tackle the growing season, from starting seeds to preserving a successful harvest. They’ve got a handle on that powdery mildew that plagued the plants last summer and solutions for flowering broccoli and cracking tomatoes. If you don’t have space for a full garden, bookmark the blog’s many posts and resources for container gardening and get started on a “salsa container,” complete with tomato and jalapeño plants, cilantro, and basil. Posts frequently include simple recipes for using up your harvest, such as sweet, honey-glazed carrots, pumpkin butter, and homemade chai tea. Phipps never forgets the little ones either, and its blog always offers suggestions on how to get the kids involved — measuring rainfall, scooping out pumpkins, and tasting new veggie favorites. With help from Phipps, plan for a long season of plump tomatoes, bright peppers, and even fresh microgreens this year. porchsidegardening.wordpress.com.
FOLLOW FOODIES | Check out the Twitter feeds @EdibleAllegheny is following:
Tender Bar + Kitchen @TenderPGH
Stay on top of the newly opened Lawrenceville cocktail lounge and restaurant with this follow.
With tweets about tequilas of the week and mouthwatering specials, you’ll always remember where to grab an after-work margarita and satisfy your craving for modern Mexican.
Stir Society @StirSociety
Stir Society specializes in mixology demos and custom cocktails, so expect suggestions on where to try that new acacia or find kombucha on tap.
The Fare Foodie @FareFoodie
The Fare Foodie promises fair reviews of all the fare he comes across from Pittsburgh to his many travel destinations.