Friday, September 7, 2012

Savor Pittsburgh 2012: THE Culinary Competition

It's so hard to try a lot of different restaurants.

I was SO BUSY this summer that I really didn't get out to many new places.  In fact, the majority of my writing this summer was about Kennywood, the place where I spent the majority of my hours this past summer, working away, answering phones, making announcements, filing papers....

...I guess I didn't SPEND as much money that way.  More to spend in the winter months!

Savor Pittsburgh is a fantastic way to sample what many of the best restaurants in Pittsburgh have to offer.  Although it's a sampling, it gives you an idea of how creative our local chefs are, and how lucky we are to be in Pittsburgh - a city with more to offer than I could ever cram into this little blog post.

Pittsburgh = Awesome.

I attended the event last year with my brother, as he bought my ticket for me for my birthday (awww!). This year, I was fortunate enough to WIN two tickets from the Savor Pittsburgh organizers though a Facebook competition.  I would have probably gone anyway, but it was VERY nice to save money (again) on the price of the ticket.

I got more than my money's worth, even if I had paid!

I sampled from every restaurant, with myself and Burgh Gourmand, my date for the evening (duh), alternating getting small plates for each other, while the other saved a place at the table we had staked out with another couple.  Here are just a few of the foods that I tried:

From Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina: Carnitas Tamales with Mango & Jalapeno BBQ
From McCormick & Schmick's, South Side: Seared Ahi with Creme Fraiche in a Sesame Cone 

From Jackson's, Moon Twp: Short Ribs with Roasted Apple, Root Vegetables, and Natural Reduction
From Walnut Grill: Tuna Tostado

From Cafe Chocolade: Gluten-Free Crab Cake with Mascarpone Aioli
 Although I didn't get pictures of everything I ate, I did want to mention a few standouts - the Beer-Cured Salmon from Church Brew Works was a favorite of mine, as were the Vanilla Bean Scallops from The Wooden Nickel.  I can never guess who the actual winners will be (not to mention that I couldn't eat a few of the dishes, because they were pork/rib dishes...grrrr), but here they are:

Best Appetizer: "Chocolate Ravioli" - SAVOY Restaurant & Lounge

Best Entree: "Short Ribs with Roasted Apple, Root Vegetables & Natural Reduction" - Jacksons-Restaurant-Rotissiere-Bar-Moon Twp 

Best Dessert: "White Chocolate Cappuccino Cannoli with Balsamic Glazed Strawberries" - Grand Concourse - Pittsburgh (yeah, that was pretty good, too!)

Dish of the Year: "Smoked Pig Wings" - Meat & Potatoes (yup, didn't try that pig dish!)

People's Choice Award: SAVOY Restaurant & Lounge  (You can never go wrong with chocolate!)

However, the people also make the event so fantastic.  The entertainment was courtesy of "No Bad JuJu", a band that rivals any band you could ever find in any big-city venue.  With great sound and powerful voices, they kept the party going all night!

A shot of the crowd, with No Bad JuJu performing on stage.
And I FINALLY got to meet Leah Lizarondo of Brazen Kitchen, which is featured monthly in Pittsburgh Magazine.  She and I had exchanged Tweets and talked on the phone before, but had never met in person.  I made it a point to meet her, knowing that she was judging the competition.  What a sweetheart she is!  I hope we can work on something together in the future!

And...AND...I also met the man, the myth, the legend - Mr. Rick Sebak himself.  We have played Scrabble via the iPhone/Facebook application for awhile, and I am - of course - one of the current "Voices of Kennywood", so it was only appropriate that this meeting occurred.  He is a class-act, an all-around Pittsburgh legend.

And I swear this pic is NOT Yinztagrammed!  It's not even the right colored shirt for it to be so:
The Voice of Kennywood + Rick Sebak.  It was meant to be.

Savor Pittsburgh will be an annual tradition for me, for sure.  No doubt about it.  I sampled foods from more new restaurants in that evening than I have in many, many months...

...but that needs to change.  Guess I'll be spending that money I saved at more restaurants soon!  Stay tuned!

Savor Pittsburgh

27th & Sidney Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15203 (South Side)

No comments:

Post a Comment