Urban Supper: September 2014
Laura Jackson, Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie, attended our Urban Supper on Saturday, September 20, 2014. She reported back on her evening! We hope you will join us for the next one!
Saturday evening marked the third Urban Supper, hosted by the ladies of eatPGH and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. eatPGH & P.D.P joined forces to turn a Downtown parking lot into a sophisticated “pop-up” restaurant for the night! This special evening included DJ Jarett Tebbets playing swanky tunes, sampling of wine from the Pittsburgh Winery (Strip District) and beer from the Four Seasons Brewing Company (located in Latrobe, PA). In addition, two mixologists, Wes Shonk and Tom McGraw, dressed in their finest prohibition-era attire were serving a special “punch,” infused with spirits from Wigle Whiskey. Volunteers were ever present throughout the night, serving appetizers, clearing dishes and re-filling water glasses to help the night run smoothly.
When I first arrived to the Urban Supper, I was welcomed by Julia Gongaware of eatPGH with a friendly greeting and assurance that my Mother and I were included on the guest list. The chefs (Richard DeShantz of both Meat & Potatoes and Butcher and the Rye, Keith Fuller of Root 174 and Brian Pekarcik of Grit & Grace, Spoon & BRGR) were already making preparations for the evening ahead of them. My Mom and I sampled wine from the Pittsburgh Winery (Merlot- so good!), and conversed with each other while we nibbled on the two “small bites” that were served during cocktail hour (a pate and devil’s on horseback).
Once the clock struck 6:30, Wes and Tom assembled the punch which consisted of Wigle Whiskey’s Wheat Whiskey and Landlocked (which is a spirit made from buckwheat honey, and falls between being a brandy and a rum). Wow- the punch was strong, but oh so tasty! The punch was a beautiful deep cranberry color, and was served in these petite and elegant punch glasses. Dinner started promptly at 7:00pm with the first course:
Salmon tartare- cream cheese/everything/hard-boiled egg/black caviar/pickle/ marble rye. This dish was prepared by Keith Fuller of Root 174. One of the reasons why I wanted to attend this Urban Supper was to FINALLY sample some of the incredible food that Chef Fuller serves! This was a very clever dish! What a creative concept to deconstruct the classic salmon & lox bagel, sans the bagel! I loved scooping up the salmon with a little bit of the cream cheese, the black caviar and the marble rye. Salmon is one of my favorite fish dishes; you can never go wrong with salmon.
Next up: Ginever Collins- Wigle Organic Ginever/yuzu/lime/Pinot Grigio/hopped bitters/grey sea salt/seltzer. This drink had a very interesting taste! This cocktail definitely had a savory favor. Also, I could not taste the alcohol in it; thank God I only had one of these drinks! I loved the stripped straw inside of the drink as well.
After the first cocktail of the night was served, course number two arrived: heirloom tomato- whipped ricotta/grilled bread/olives/cucumber/picked red onions. This dish was by Richard DeShantz.
It was evident that this was Chef DeShantz’s dish- Meat & Potatoes and Butcher & The Rye’s signature grilled bread was utilized in this dish. Those restaurants have the best bread EVER! As soon as I took my first bite of the heirloom tomato, I was in foodie heaven. Now, I wonder: “why can’t every tomato be an heirloom tomato”? This is just sooooo good! The ricotta cheese paired so well with the tomato, and the olives and cucumber brought a complexity of tastes and textures. In other words: I loved this dish!
Course #3: hot dog- black mustard/mustard seed/sauerkraut/brown butter/relish. This was my favorite dish of the night! Chef Fuller deconstructed the hot dog and created an artistic yet scrumptious presentation of the hot dog on the plate! The hot dog was INCREDIBLE! I LOVED the black mustard, the yellow mustard and mustard seeds, as well as the sauerkraut, brown butter, relish and little bits of hot dog bun. Comfort food at its finest!
Cocktail #2: Old Fashioned- Wigle Whim: Hopped Rye Whiskey/apple cider/allspice/bitters/lemon oil. This was one of my favorite cocktails of the night! Great work, Wes & Tom! So tasty, and the color of the cocktail in the star-lit night was (dare I say it) sexy. 😉
Dish #4: duroc pork belly- pastrami smoked/pretzel spaetzle/onion pumpkin beer puree/pickle mustard seeds/sauerkraut cracker. This course was by Chef DeShantz. I love me some pork belly! I am happy to report that this pork belly was even better than the Pork Belly taco that I had at Meat & Potatoes in May. The combination of the pastrami, pretzel, pumpkin beer, pickled mustard and sauerkraut was a heavenly combination! Even the gentleman sitting across from me was raving about this dish! Also, the pork belly paired well with the Old Fashioned cocktail.
Course #5: grilled hanger steak- corn, tomato, and zucchini sauté/bone marrow custard/chimichuri. I have to admit, I’m not usually a big steak fan, but Chef Pekarcik really made this dish work for me! I appreciated that he substituted these wonderful summer vegetables in place of potatoes. A healthier take on this classic dish! Also, I could taste the bone marrow (which, thanks to Meat & Potatoes, I have grown to love), which added a sophistication to this dish.
Last dish of the night: apple coffee cake- poached apples/streusel/salted caramel. This dish was INCREDIBLE! I loved the fact that Chef Pekarcik made me forget that I wasn’t having chocolate for dessert. This dish was just a beautiful dessert! It was tasty and visually vibrant. What more could any man or woman ask for in a dessert?
The final cocktail and toast of the night: Pousse-Café: Wigle Applewood Wheat Whiskey/spiced pear/cinnamon/maple bacon. This was my FAVORITE cocktail of the night! Dessert in a glass! I watched Wes & Tom meticulously craft this dessert cocktail, too. It’s evident that these two gentlemen take pride in their work and seriously love cocktails!
Well Pittsburgh Foodies, that’s my review of the Urban Supper! Make sure to stay tuned to eatPGH’s blog to discover when the next Urban Supper will be held! I highly recommend attending this event, and buy your tickets as soon as they go on sale (this event will sell out)!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, eatPGH PAL LAURA JACKSON: