Yikes, started writing this post AGES ago and found out that when we transferred our blog over to WordPress (from Blogger), ALL of our links got messed up in the process. So, two hours later, and you should be able to click with ease! (Sorry about that, anyone who was trying to click in the past two weeks and was just getting ‘page not found’ errors!)
But now, without further ado, I can bring to you a post about a very fabulous annual event here in the ‘Burgh: Savor Pittsburgh. Savor is a yearly charity event that celebrates the finest food and drink in Pittsburgh, and also benefits the good folks at the Magee-Womens Research Institute & Foundation who are doing their part to fight prematurity and give premature babies a fighting chance.
We heard about the event on Twitter, and were fortunate enough to receive a pair of tickets from one of the judges of the culinary competition, our dear friend Linda from Dinner Plan-it.
Unfortunately, Michael couldn’t attend (because he’s avoiding carbs for awhile after our Restaurant Week extravaganza), but my foodie-in-training Mum was more than happy to be my date for the evening! (Please note our classic Kath-&-Kim-esque ‘wine time’ photo.)
It was hot as can be the night of Savor’s culinary competition, but we toughed it out to enjoy some of the most delicious bites that Pittsburgh’s budding dining scene could offer. Here are a few of our favorite things from the evening:
Nothing says ‘welcome’ quite like a glass of champagne at the entrance! (Although the cocktail competition wasn’t until the following night, free booze of all varieties was flowing all around the event.)
While I normally avoid the chain restaurant scene for a full meal, we stopped first at the McCormick & Schmicks’ table for these scallops, which wound up being one of my mum’s favorite dishes of the night. These scallops were juicy and cooked right at that scallop-perfection level where the texture was just right.
Since I can never say no to prosciutto, I was super excited to try this small plate from Vallozzi’s, a new Italian restaurant downtown. They served up their light, salty prosciutto with arugula, mushroom carpacchio, and a dry smoked buffalo mozzarella. It was the perfect appetizer, and even better, since they’re a brand new restaurant, we can stop in as part of our Newbie Restaurant Achievement! They’ve got a mozzarella bar and a large wine menu, so I’m really excited!
Speaking of wine, Engine House wines were in attendance as well! We got to sample some of their wines during Restaurant Week at the Blogger Dinner and closing party, and to say that I’m excited to have *real* wine being made in Pittsburgh is a bit of an understatement. These aren’t your juice-like Pennsylvania wines: they import their grapes from the real-deal wine country in California (ps, is it March yet??? feeling SO overdue for Central Coast!), and the wines are delicious. (They’ve apparently been around since the end of the ’90s, but I feel like they’re really up-and-coming right now.)
My mum’s favorite dish of the evening was the potato gnocchi from Braddock’s. With all of the food we were trying, I’m glad we decided to split our order of the gnocchi, because the sauce was SO rich and creamy, it wouldn’t have left any room for other samples! (Also think I may have convinced my mum to check Braddock’s out for their delicious pierogies too!)
My favorite dish of the evening was the striped bass from Tamari. Tamari is one of those places on my ‘must try’ list, and yet we never seem to make it over there. (Yes, I know. An Asian fusion place I haven’t jumped on. Shame on me!) What I loved about this dish was that I picked up on a different flavor and sensation in every bite: spicy, then salty, then juicy, then that special Thai-seasoning that I’m crazy for. Sealed the deal: we’ll be visiting Tamari SOON!
We tried every single restaurant in attendance that night, but I think for both of us, the stand-out dish overall was a dessert: the pomegranate galaktoboureko from Mediterrano. The galaktoboureko is kind of like a mix between baklava and a custard puff pastry. The custard and fruit filling were amazing, and the dough was so fluffy and crispy. I can’t lie: we went back for seconds before leaving the event that night. We’ve had dinner at Mediterrano before, and all of it was delicious, but their desserts put them in a class by themselves. Yum!!
Finally, we couldn’t leave Savor without trying the Stoli ice booze dispenser. They were making blueberry lemonades with their blueberry vodka. Let me just say this: I’m glad that Michael stayed home and I could only try a sip of this, or I would have probably just sat here all night with my martini glass under the spout. What a dangerously delicious drink! (Totally going to start making these at home.)
I think it’s safe to say that Savor was a huge success. The food was excellent, the staff from each restaurant wonderful (have I mentioned how much I LOVE people who are dedicated to their craft the way that Pittsburgh chefs and restaurant promoters are??), and we got to support a great cause! Without a doubt, we’ll be back next year, and hopefully Michael will be friends with carbs again so he can join us!