NEXTpittsburgh

Powered by NEXTpittsburgh |   Tom O’Connor

Late-night menus are making midnight food adventures in Pittsburgh more interesting. When late-night cravings hit, it’s nice to have fresh options to go along with the all-night diners, pizza joints and food trucks. And it’s safe to say that food tastes pretty fantastic when you’ve been fueling up on beers and cocktails all evening, or just wrapping up a busy work week. But when you find that perfect “still open” spot to match your mood, it’s magical.

Ready for a little late-night culinary exploring? Here are a few places to add to your map along with some of the midnight classics:

Robatayaki at Umami. Photo by Tom O'Connor.
Robatayaki at Umami. Photo by Tom O’Connor.

Umami – Lawrenceville

Umami feels like the perfect late-night destination. The red lanterns give off a comfortable glow and the vibe feels relaxed with just enough “night market” energy to keep the fun going.

There’s a lot to choose from here: platters of colorful sushi and sashimi, temaki sushi rolled into handheld cones, rice bowls and ramen, gyozas and shumai all bursting with flavor.

The tantalizing smells of the robatayaki grill are immediately mouthwatering. This Japanese barbecue-like method involves small skewers of meat or vegetables slow-grilled over hot charcoal. The point is not to flame up and scorch the food, but to slow grill everything to its sweet spot, where juices start to flow. Beef and chicken take on smoky flavors and a crunchy outside while the inside is melt-in-your-mouth tender.

The robust cold sake menu offers many different flavor profiles to experience. The cocktail list is peppered with Japanese-leaning elements like flavored shochus (Japanese distilled beverages), ginger, coconut, wasabi and matcha. There’s also a full wine list and a great selection of Japanese beers that pair perfectly with bold flavors.

Our pick: The Wagyu beef tenderloin and pork belly from the robotayaki menu.

Location: 202 38th St., Lawrenceville (above Round Corner Cantina). Open: Tuesday – Thursday 4:30 p.m. – 12 a.m., Friday – Saturday 4:30 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Seafood Wontons and "Moon" Sauce at Cambo-dican. Photo by Tom O'Connor.
Seafood Wontons and “Moon” Sauce at Cambod-ican. Photo by Tom O’Connor.

Cambod-ican Kitchen – The South Side

People light up when you mention the name—“Oh, Cambod-ican! Love that place!” Mentioning it often leads to flashbacks of post-bar adventures and crazy nights: late-night munchies at the famous food cart that eventually morphed into a real restaurant on the South Side. Cambod-ican Kitchen is now an after-hours staple in the neighborhood.

Cambodian and Asian fusion cuisine, with all kinds of noodle dishes, curries, wontons and kabobs, is a big draw. Cash only orders are placed right at the kitchen window which, since it’s open most nights until 5 a.m., sees its fair share of interesting customers.

What Cambod-ican lacks in atmosphere, it makes up for with quirkiness, good prices and a friendly feel. Owner Dan McSwiggen keeps the energy level up, enthusiastically pushing wife Moeun’s kitchen creations like the Cambodian noodle soup, Caw Goh beef noodles and General Tso’s chicken.

Our pick: Crispy wontons with “moon” sauce. If you’re lucky enough to be offered the pickled Thai peppers from the back, say yes.

Location: 1701 East Carson St. on the South Side. Open: Tuesday – Saturday 6 p.m. – 5 a.m.

Late night empanadas and tacos at Pirata.
Late-night empanadas and tacos at Pirata. Photo by Tom O’Connor.

Pirata – Downtown

A late-night visit to Pirata is like a little island vacation. Open since October, the rum bar and Caribbean restaurant features 200 different rums and a late-night menu packed with big spices and savory island flavors. There’s a crowd-pleasing selection of empanadas, tacos, wings and sliders. Pirata keeps it simple with a special late-night menu that doesn’t overwhelm. Everything is easy to eat and share right at the bar. The late-night menu is offered Monday through Thursday from 10 p.m. to midnight.

If you want to learn about rum, this is your place. The bartenders are knowledgeable and sampling is made easy with a variety of rum flights. Pirata features rums from as far away as India, and as close by as Maggie’s Farm in The Strip.

Fortunately, the beer list is more about keeping beer lovers happy than sticking with the Caribbean theme. Spain and Argentina feature heavily on the wine list. For a little late-night pick-me-up, there’s cafe cubano and cafe con leche.

Our pick: Order a few different things to share but don’t miss the Jamaican beef patty empanadas.

Location: 274 Forbes Ave., Downtown. Open: Monday – Thursday 11 – 12 a.m., Friday – Saturday 11 – 2 a.m. and Sunday 12 – 9 p.m.

Yucca fries at Tres Rios. Photo by Tom O'Connor.
Yucca fries at Tres Rios. Photo by Tom O’Connor.

Tres Rios – The South Side

Tres Rios is a relatively new option along Carson Street on the South Side. The Mexican kitchen and tequila bar serves an upscale spin on street food until midnight on Friday and Saturday. Pork belly tacos and slow-roasted lamb tacos share the menu with crab cake and chicken tortas (Mexican sandwiches) served on grilled crusty bread. In addition to more unique combos, the Tres Rios kitchen prepares classic burritos, fajitas and made-to-order guacamole.

The bar menu features margaritas and cocktails made with a range of tequilas including blanco, reposado, and añejo. There’s a great beer list as well.

The pick: The delicious crispy yucca fries, served as a side or as an appetizer bowl topped with cheese sauce, beer-braised jalapeños, and chorizo.

Location: 1719 East Carson, South Side. Open:  Monday – Wednesday and Sunday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Thursday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. – midnight.

The "special sandwich" late night choice at Apteka. Photo by Tom O'Connor.
The “special sandwich” late-night choice at Apteka. Photo by Tom O’Connor.

Apteka – Bloomfield

Apteka makes for the perfect late-night spot that feels a little more soulful and nourishing. The vegan menu has a way of pleasing with its unique potato dumplings in rich broth and some of the most delicious pierogi you have ever tasted. There are also sandwiches, soups and small plates to try.

Place your order at the bar and grab a seat there, or at any of the tables. There’s a comfortable feel here that’s calm, homey and relaxed. There’s always good music in the background. At night, the ambience shifts to a pleasant darker and more lounge-like feel. On some nights, there’s a DJ handling the music. It’s a great place to dive in and explore different kinds of Central and Eastern European cuisine.

One tasty late-night option is the “special sandwich” featuring smoked chili paste, smoked apples, red cabbage slaw, garlic, salted turnip, savory sauce and a veggie pate. It’s a delicious explosion of flavors that work so well together, with just the right amount of crunch all served on tasty bread.

The cocktails are unique and seductive, often featuring a rotation of liqueurs, simple syrups, specially preserved fruits like cherries and black currants, fermented and pickled things, shrubs, and herbsall things that lean toward experimentation but also tell a story. Embracing something different can lead to great rewards here.

Our pick: The special sandwich is THE late-night choice, hands down.

Location: 4606 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. Open Wednesday – Sunday 5 p.m. – 1 a.m.

"The Korean" taco at Täkō. Photo by Tom O'Connor.
“The Korean” taco at Täkō. Photo by Tom O’Connor.

Täkō – Downtown

Täkō is all about street food, small plates and savory tacos with fresh ingredients served in unique combinations. Entering next to the streetfront kitchen feels like walking into a night market busy with revelers. The DJ spinning tunes and the vibrant visuals add to the nighttime energy. If you’re lucky enough to grab bar space, you’ll be very happy. Getting a table can sometimes be tricky without a reservation, so plan ahead if you need to because its really worth it.

Once you settle in, the menu has a big range of bold flavors with all kinds of tacos to try including grilled octopus, chorizo, grilled chicken and duck confit. There’s street corn, poke, ceviche and wings that make great late-night shares.

While many menu items are only offered until midnight, Täkō rolls out a special late-night menu “starting around 12-ish till we run out.” It’s a simpler, rotating selection that often includes loaded nachos and straightforward taco selections more in line with people’s post-midnight decision-making abilities.

All of these great tastes are served up alongside a big selection margaritas with bold and delicious taste combos. There’s a great list of tequila-based cocktails, beer, sangria and wine.

Our pick: The Korean—a scrumptious taco made with wagyu short rib, peanuts, fermented cucumber, cabbage and cilantro.

Location: 214 6th St., Downtown. Open Monday – Thursday 5 – 11 p.m., Friday – Saturday 5 p.m. to beyond midnight (times vary), Sunday 3 – 9 p.m.

English style chicken pot pie at The Pub Chip Shop. Photo by Tom O'Connor.
English style chicken pot pie at The Pub Chip Shop. Photo by Tom O’Connor.

The Pub Chip Shop – The South Side

British pub food classics like fish and chips, Scotch egg, sausage rolls and sandwiches made on fresh baked buttery rolls called “baps” are just some of the late-night highlights.  The Pub Chip Shop serves until midnight on Friday and Saturday. Locals know this place as the early morning home of Just Good Donuts. If you’re having a really late night, it’s almost worth hanging around for them to open at 6 a.m.—the doughnuts are that good, but that’s another story. 

The English-style savory pies here are neatly shaped with a homemade lard crust that is irresistibly flaky and delicious.

Our pick: Try the chicken pot pie or a steak and ale for an extra hearty late-night snack.

Location: 1830 East Carson St., The South Side. Open: Monday – Thursday 6 a.m. – 10 p.m., Friday – Saturday 6 a.m. – 12 a.m., Sunday 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Chief Pizziolo Joe Pepe at Fiori's Pizzaria. Photo by Tom O'Connor.
Chief Pizziolo Joe Pepe at Fiori’s Pizzaria. Photo by Tom O’Connor.

Fiori’s Pizzaria – Brookline

Pizza preference is hotly debated topic in this town. Spak BrothersMineo’sFiori’sA’Pizza Badamo—a lot of players with a strong pizza game. There’s also a good variety of styles like the wood-fired Italian classics at Piccolo FornoAnthony’s coal-fired pizzas, and the interesting cold-cheese-on-top twist at Beto’s. But who’s going to be there for you in the wee hours? Two Pittsburgh legends, Mineo’s in Squirrel Hill and Fiori’s in Brookline both serve up hand-tossed pies very very late (Mineo’s until 2 a.m. and Fiori’s until 3 a.m.).

If you’ve made the uphill trek on the cobblestone road to Fiori’s in Brookline, you know the payoff is delicious. Pizzas so heavy with cheese you need a furniture dolly to get to the car. Their crusts get raves for hitting the sweet spot between crunchy and chewy. The white pizza special is also a big hit.

Our pick: You can’t go wrong with any pizza choice here, but add on a calzone to-go with your order. They’re huge, and make great leftovers. Don’t forget to say yes to the extra container of sauce.

Location: 103 Capital Ave., Brookline. Open Sunday – Thursday 11 – 1 a.m., Friday – Saturday 11 – 3 a.m.

Honey-dipped fried chicken at Ritter's Diner. Photo by Tom O'Connor.
Honey-dipped fried chicken at Ritter’s Diner. Photo by Tom O’Connor.

Ritter’s Diner – Bloomfield

When you can’t decide if you want dinner or breakfast, it’s good to have all the options available. Ritter’s is a trip down memory lane for a lot of Pittsburghers, and most things here don’t change very often. There’s comfort in that. And sometimes in the middle of the night, you need comfort.

Breakfast can be a great way to end the night, and there’s nothing better than a stack of pancakes or a cheesy omelet with bacon on the side. But if your cravings are leaning more toward fried chicken or cheese fries or some Greek specialties, Ritter’s can still hook you up. Best of all, they’re almost always open.

Our pick: Honey-dipped fried chicken.

Location: 5221 Baum Blvd., Bloomfield. Open: Monday – Tuesday 6 a.m. – 1 a.m., Wednesday – Saturday 24 hours, Sunday until 10 p.m.

The classic "O" fries at The Original Hot Dog Shop. Photo by Tom O'Connor.
The classic “O” fries at The Original Hot Dog Shop. Photo by Tom O’Connor.

The Original Hot Dog Shop – Oakland

The Original Hot Dog Shop, or the “O,” as its known, has been a late-night fixture in the city for decades. It’s a classic choice for hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, pizza and fries. Oh, and there’s beer, because you might need some to take home.

It’s pretty fun to watch the late-night lineup of slightly dazed people, fresh from the bars and now suddenly in harsh lighting, trying to make decisions about what to order. Lots of seating makes this an easy place to roll into late with a bigger group.

The pick: The “O” fries. Go big, then go home.

Location: 3901 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Open: Monday – Wednesday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Thursday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 1:30 a.m. For some of the history about this longtime Pittsburgh classic, be sure to check out their website.

Also worth notingBrillobox serves a late-night menu that includes burgers and banh mi sandwiches; Mike & Tonys Gyros serves late-night options until 3 a.m. Tuesday – Saturday.; Primanti Bros. in The Strip is open 24 hours; Eat’n Park serves a full menu including breakfast 24 hours a day.

The Original Hot Dog Shop. Photo by Tom O'Connor.
The Original Hot Dog Shop. Photo by Tom O’Connor.

 

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NEXTpittsburgh

Powered by NEXTpittsburgh |  Jennifer Baron

Festivals are not just for summer anymore. March has an epic event for every Pittsburgher—from foodies and knitters, to outdoor explorers and virtual reality enthusiasts. So strap on a pair of VR goggles and blast off into spring at our top 11 events not to miss in Pittsburgh this March.

Ace and the Desert Dog
Ace and the Desert Dog, Brendan Leonard, Forest Woodward and Stefan Hunt (2017).

1. Wild & Scenic Film Festival at Chatham University: March 9, 6 p.m.

Of the many niche film festivals in rotation all over the world, the Wild & Scenic Film Festival is one that eco-minded cinephiles should have on their radar. Showcasing 13 award-winning, short documentaries—such as Plastico and Nature Rx—the country’s premier environmental and adventure film festival explores everything from the elusive wolverine population in Utah to the impact of the U.S./Mexico border wall to the burgeoning fair trade clothing movement. Take a 60-day backpacking trip with adventure photographer Ace Kvale and his dog Genghis Khan, discover how Jim Cochran invented the organic strawberry industry and watch in awe as Wasfia Nazreen becomes the first Bangladeshi to scale the Seven Summits. Showcasing breathtaking ecosystems, films tackle issues like climate change, species extinction, environmental justice, and conservation. The event also serves as a call to action for residents, who can sign up on-site to volunteer with Pennsylvania Resources Council and Allegheny CleanWaysBuy tickets.

Bricolage
Bill Peduto and Tami Dixon. Photo by Louis Stein.

2. BUS: Bricolage’s Annual Fundraiser at the August Wilson Center: March 11, 6:30 p.m.

What if you had to produce an original 10-minute play in 24 hours—and it had to be based on a 90-minute Port Authority bus ride?! Find out how Pittsburgh’s top directors, playwrights and performers are embracing this formidable challenge at Bricolage’s 12th annual BUS. One of the local theater scene’s most anticipated happenings, the fiercely imaginative—and friendly—smackdown embodies the spirit of risk-taking and innovation that underscores the company’s mission. This year’s brave B.U.S. riders include 40 award-winning performers, seasoned playwrights, and local stars on the rise. From writer Gab Cody and director Patrick Jordan, to performer Wali Jamal—this team is bringing their A-game. The guerrilla theater adventure kicks off when six courageous playwrights get their creative juices flowing during a Friday night bus ride. Equal parts benefit bash, performance art and reality theater, B.U.S. also includes a Friday night VIP reception and live actor exhibition. Witness the artful and arduous results during the grand finale of plays and celebrate cutting-edge theater with a post-show toast. Buy tickets.

Hump Film Festival
Courtesy HUMP! Film Festival.

3. HUMP! Film Festival at Spirit: March 10 & 11, 7 & 9:15 p.m.

He has 288,000 Twitter followers, founded the award-winning It Gets Better Project, and slings advice via a wildly popular, syndicated sex column. But did you know that the oft-provocative writer, media pundit and LGBT activist Dan Savage is also the brainchild behind a festival dedicated to erotic home movies, amateur sex cinema, and DIY porn? What hatched as an eccentric idea in 2005—basically Savage asked people to send him “homemade dirty movies” and they did, in droves—is now an internationally touring festival 12 years in the making. With provocative titles like Sock Puppet and Boat Daddy, this year’s lusty lineup of 22 new films will showcase all body types, ages, colors, sexualities, genders, and fetishes under the sun. Equal parts hot and hilarious, HUMP has a way of simultaneously easing people out of their comfort zones while uniting viewers in an unapologetic celebration of sexual diversity, positivity and expression. HUMP is on a mission to redefine the genre, and you’re invited to come along for the ride. Buy tickets.

Carnegie Museum of Art
Hall of Architecture at Carnegie Museum of Art. Photo by Tom Little.

4. Virtual Reality Museum & Third Thursday at Carnegie Museum of Art: March 16, 7—11 p.m.

Strap on some VR goggles and morph into an imaginary future. No, you’ve not been cast as an extra in a science fiction flick: all of this and more await at Carnegie Museum of Art. The night blasts off with a free presentation on “The Virtual Reality Museum.” Be the first to see exciting new virtual reality and photographic technologies being created for CMOA by leading new media artists. Afterward, trek further into the outer limits at the Third Thursday party. Attend the launch of Styles and Customs of the 2020s, a virtual reality experience created by NYC-based art collectives Scatter x DIS. Watch firsthand as historic preservation expert Chad Keller uses laser scanning to create 3-D models of the Hall of Architecture, and take a tour of the new exhibition of fantastical fashions by Dutch design sensation, Iris van Herpen. Lori Hepner will teach you how to draw with light, and DJ duo Tracksploitation will help you get your groove on. Buy tickets.

Ta-Nehisi Coates
John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

5. Ta-Nehisi Coates at University of Pittsburgh: March 20, 6:30 p.m.

He received the coveted MacArthur Genius Grant in 2015, was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2016, and is outspoken on Twitter, where he addresses current events and race relations while engaging with his 833,000-plus followers. Fans of the award-winning American author, journalist, and educator Ta-Nehisi Coates should mark their calendars now for his very special local appearance at the William Pitt Assembly Room. A highlight of the 17th annual Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series, the free reading will also include a Q&A and book signing with Coates. Author of the award-winning books, The Beautiful Struggle and Between the World and Me, Coates is a former writer for The Village Voiceand The Atlantic. He is the recipient of numerous prestigious accolades, such as the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism and the George Polk Award. Most recently, Coates wrote 11 issues of Marvel Comics’ Black Panther series, which became the first comic book to feature a black superhero when it debuted in the 1960s.

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Courtesy Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

6. FUSE@PSO at Heinz Hall: March 22, 6:30 p.m.

Radiohead and Brahms. Beethoven and Coldplay. To some, these may seem like incongruous pairings, but in the mind of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Conductor Steve Hackman, they are fruitful fodder for his genre-bending concert series. Continually seeking out cutting-edge composers to mine, mashup and reinvent—and forging refreshing connections between historic and contemporary musical genres—Hackman is now tapping into he artistry of Tchaikovsky and Drake for the next edition of FUSE. The world premiere performance will weave Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 with 12 Drake songs, including “We’re Going Home” and “Hotline Bling,” and will showcase rapper Jecorey “1200” Arthur and vocalists Malia Katherine Civetz, India Carney and Mario Jose. Arrive at 5 p.m. for a lively happy hour (in the tranquil garden, weather permitting) featuring cocktails, snacks, activities, and mingling with the musicians. The concert is open seating with drinks allowed. Buy tickets.

When Two Worlds Collide
When Two Worlds Collide, Heidi Brandenburg and Mathew Orzel (2016).

7. Carnegie Mellon University International Film Festival: March 23—April 9

Focusing its lens on personal, cultural and global identity, CMU’s International Film Festival is using cinema to examine highly potent and topical issues. Curated around the theme of “Faces of Identity,” the 11th annual festival boasts up to 18 features, documentaries and shorts—including many making their Pittsburgh debut. Spanning 18 days and countries throughout the world—from Peru to Poland—films will spark engaging dialogues about issues such as race, sexuality, gender, and ethnicity. Screenings are augmented by Q&A sessions, and receptions showcasing locally-produced ethnic cuisine. The world’s only international film festival run entirely by students from numerous universities, the event also seeks to celebrate Pittsburgh’s own ethnic heritage and dynamic culture. Don’t miss opening night on March 23 for the Pittsburgh premiere of With I, Daniel Blake directed by renowned English director Ken Loach—who is acclaimed for creating films such as Riff-Rafthat tackle pressing social issues. Additional highlights include an epic biography about the pioneering, Nobel Prize–winning scientist Marie Curie, a powerful portrait of a young Chinese woman emigrating to Argentina, and a story about political and environmental turmoil in rural Peru. Buy tickets.

Farm to Table Conference
Christina Emilie Photography.

8. Farm to Table Conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center: March 24 & 25

It may seem like science fiction to see daffodils, insects and birds before March, but one thing is certain: spring is on the mind of Pittsburghers. The best place to kick off a season of gardening, CSAs and dining al fresco, find out where your food originates, and learn tips for a healthier lifestyle is at the 11th annual Farm to Table Conference. Cuisine and culture will converge around this year’s theme of “Growing Roots for Healthy Communities.” Inspired by the idea that food is “the great connector,” the conference will focus on cultural origins, diverse preparations and local ingredients. Attendees have a dizzying array of offerings to choose from, including cooking demos, gardening classes, wellness seminars, exhibits, tastings, lectures, and the popular “Friday Night Food Tasting” kickoff. New this year is the “Farm to Flask Mixology” event, where foodies will sample wine, beer, and spirits made in Western Pa. Attendees will learn about how cooking can build community, discover the health and economic benefits of eating local, and will have plenty of time for mingling with chefs, farmers, food purveyors, businesses owners, nutritionists, and advocacy groups. Register now.

Pittsburgh Humanities Festival
Pittsburgh Humanities Festival speakers. Photos courtesy Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

9. Pittsburgh Humanities Festival in the Cultural DistrictMarch 24—26

Where can you hear thought-provoking talks by pioneering Egyptian comedian Bassem Youssef, Black Panther activist and law professor Kathleen Cleaver, former NEA Chairman Dana Gioia—and many others—all within three days? Get enlightened at the second iteration of the Pittsburgh Humanities Festival. Setting up shop throughout the Cultural District, the event is convening leading scholars, artists, and intellectual innovators for a shared exploration of what it means to be human. A mix of engaging formats is offered—featured talks, readings, performances, and 24 intimate conversations and interviews. Charismatic presenters will examine humanity via the framework of art, literature, music, science, and politics, with session topics exploring everything from the history of birth control pill and queer performance art, to Bauhaus design and foreign affairs. Not to miss is an evening with writers Seena Vali and Matt Spina from the inimitable, award-winning satirical news publication, The Onion. New components include an All Access Pass, a lounge at Crazy Mocha coffeehouse, a partnership with White Whale Bookstore, and a YouTube-based “Have-A-Chat for Humanity” video contest that invited the public to suggest discussion topics. Buy tickets.

Knit and Crochet Festival
Courtesy Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival and Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival.

10. Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet & Creative Arts Festival at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center: March 24—26

Move over Sixburgh, it’s time for Knittsburgh. The city’s fiber arts scene was thrust into the international spotlight in 2014 when some 1,847 area makers covered the Andy Warhol Bridge with the country’s largest yarn bomb project ever. From latch hook rugs and macramé to string art installations, the contemporary fiber arts genre is back with renewed gusto, creativity and innovation. This festival is your chance to dive in—whether you’re still wondering what “knit one, purl two” means or you’re eager to master new techniques. Choose from 90 classes and workshops, shop for hard-to-find fibers, and experiment with sewing, cutting and felting machines. Pop into the Creative Open Studio to sew a pillowcase for UPMC Cancer Center patients, watch instructional and DIY videos, and meet famed fiber artisan StevenBe—who’s been dubbed the “Rod Stewart of the knitting world.” A three-day extravaganza of all things stitched, knitted, felted, crocheted, loomed, and more, the festival also serves as the first stop for the 2017 SW PA Quilt Shop Hop. Buy tickets.

Bang on a Can All-Stars
Photo by Peter Serling.

11. Bang on a Can All-Stars at Carnegie Lecture Hall: March 25, 8 p.m.

Sometimes live music can provide the perfect antidote to the din and dissonance of the world, especially in our 24-hour digital age. This can be said for the legendary Bang on a Can All-Stars, who will bathe audiences in their immersive, otherworldly sounds. Named “Ensemble of the Year” by Musical America, the electric chamber sextet is appearing in Pittsburgh for the first time since 2000. Their production is part of Carnegie Museums’ adventurous new Nexus project, which kicked off in January with a 12-event series dubbed Strange Times: Earth in the Age of the Human. For their take on the concept, Bang on a Can will perform its multimedia Field Recordings, which fuses music, film, found sounds, and obscure audio-visuals. Showcasing works by Julia Wolfe, Bill Morrison, Christian Marclay, Steve Reich, Gabriella Smith and others, the epic soundscape explores the concept of duality, while fluidly blurring boundaries between classical, jazz, rock, world, and experimental music. Known for its dynamic and imaginative live performances, the ensemble features piano, guitar, percussion, bass, clarinet, saxophone, and cello. Expect to have your ears led into uncharted territories. Buy tickets.

Farm to Table Conference
Farm to Table Conference. Christina Emilie Photography.

Check out more terrific events every week in NEXTpittsburgh, including these and more coming up in March:

SUNSTAR Festival at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater: March 3
Aaron Draplin lecture at The Hollywood Theater in Dormont: March 3
Art auction and fundraiser benefitting Girls Rock! Pittsburgh at Percolate: March 10
Reel Q presents Reel Stories: March 10
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Park on Tap fundraiser for Allegheny Commons: March 10
From Pittsburgh, With Love fundraiser at Pittsburgh Public Theater: March 10
Standup Sisters presents Border Crossings at La Roche College: March 14
Steve Martin and Martin Short at the Benedum Center: March 15 & 16
The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center’s Shake Your Booties Down Bourbon Street! gala at Stage AE: March 25
Kathy Griffin’s Celebrity Run-in Tour at the Benedum Center: March 26
Public Source presents author J.D. Vance at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Lecture Hall: March 30
Opening reception for 2017 Solo & Collaborative Exhibits at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts: March 31

Looking for events for families and children? Check out our Top 10 family events in Pittsburgh this February feature story.

Looking for live music? Check out our 17 can’t-miss Pittsburgh concerts in 2017 feature story.

 

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Looking for a job? ImaginePittsburgh.com‘s got ‘em — more than 20,000 open positions on our powerful, 10-county job search aggregator, updated nightly.

Find a job, advance your career, build a life you’ll love: ImaginePittsburgh.com.

- See more at: http://explore.imaginepittsburgh.com/now/#sthash.MM32eDl4.dpuf

Bonnie Pfister

It’s baa-aack: the contest for the National Hardware Cup makes a three-peat in Pittsburgh this year, with the regional competition returning to TechShop in East Liberty on Thursday, Feb. 21.

The contest is brainchild of Pittsburgh’s own AlphaLab Gear, a leading product accelerator, and TechShop, the nation’s premier “maker” facility providing tools and know-how for do-it-yourselfers. The AlphaLab Gear National Hardware Cup aims to find the top ideas in hardware (that is, tangible products, as opposed to software or services) across the nation. This year. teams will compete in Los Angeles, Boston, Ft. Lauderdale, Washington D.C., Chicago and Austin, with the grand finale playing out here in Pittsburgh in mid-April.

The winning team in each city will take home $3,000 cash, a year-long license for 3-D design software SOLIDWORKS and other prizes. The national winner — which will be decided back here in Pittsburgh — will earn $50,000 from Startbot VC.

Watch six Pittsburgh teams make their four-minute pitches to local venture capitalists and hardware CEOs from 6-8 p.m. on Feb. 21 at TechShop. Admission is free, but space fills up quickly, so reserve your seat today!

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Looking for a job? ImaginePittsburgh.com‘s got ‘em — more than 25,000 open positions on our powerful, 10-county job search aggregator, updated nightly.

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Powered by NEXTpittsburghDrew Cranisky

“You pick the place.”

Few things set me to trembling like those four innocent words. Whether it’s a high school friend visiting for a night or a few relatives in town for the weekend, we all end up getting saddled with the unenviable task of selecting a dinner spot. And it’s not always easy. Your grandma wants something quiet, your cousin wants something cool, your uncle wants something cheap—and you just want to get it over with.

There’s enough to be stressed about during the holidays without panicking over reservations. Sure, you could just head to Primanti’s and call it a day. But iconic though it may be, Pittsburgh has plenty more to offer.

That’s why we’ve drawn up this handy guide to dining out with out-of-towners. Read on for recommendations tailored to all the family, friends and long lost lovers visiting Pittsburgh this holiday season.

Menu at Eleven
A special menu for a private party at Eleven.

The Visitor: Your well-off parents/grandparents/mysterious benefactor—and they’re picking up the tab.

The Place: Eleven, Strip District

Why: What to do when someone else is paying but you’re picking the spot? You don’t want to choose the fanciest place out there or select somewhere with strange or fussy cuisine. Eleven strikes a perfect balance between formal and casual, bold but familiar. Chef Eli Wahl and his talented team create unique takes on classic American dishes, from crab cakes to strip steak. Located in a former warehouse in the Strip District, Eleven sits at the intersection of elegance and good old Pittsburgh grit.

More Picks: Spoon, East Liberty, Alla Famiglia, Allentown

The Visitor: Your Dr. Oz-obsessed aunt, who is avoiding a new food every time you see her.

The Place: Eden, Shadyside

Why: Though Pittsburgh food has an artery-clogging reputation, Eden provides a cozy haven for nearly any dietary preference. The entire place is gluten-free (good news for those concerned about cross-contamination) and almost 100% vegan. With a seasonally rotating menu heavy on inventive raw dishes and chefs sensitive to food allergies, Eden pays attention to the eaters that other restaurants ignore.

More Picks: Apteka, Bloomfield, B52, Lawrenceville

Photo by Brian Cohen.
Photo by Brian Cohen.

The Visitor: Your childhood pal, who still lives at home and is perpetually broke.

The Place: Noodlehead, Shadyside

Why: Noodlehead is no-frills—they’re cash only, the menu rarely changes, and they don’t even have a phone number. But unlike plenty of places that make the claim, they actually pass the savings on to customers. Their small menu boasts a mix of classic Thai dishes and house specialties like the Street Noodle #1, an addictive combination of fried chicken, rice noodles and an umami bomb of a sauce. And with a BYOB fee of a measly 50 cents, you’ll leave full and tipsy for less than 15 bucks.

More Picks: Taj Mahal, West View, The Dor-Stop, Dormont

Meat's the draw at Gaucho Parilla, the Argentinian restaurant that packs them in.
Meat’s the draw at Gaucho Parilla, the Argentinian restaurant that packs them in.

The Visitor: Your gym rat brother, who wants heaps on heaps of meat.

The Place: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina, Strip District

Why: For the first two years or so that it was open, it was nearly impossible to get a seat at Gaucho Parilla Argentina. And now that the Strip District destination has tripled in size? Well, it’s still tough. But that’s a testament to just how good this Argentinian shrine to beef really is. Landing on Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. for the past two years, Gaucho cooks everything on a wood-fired grill, from blood sausage to flank steak—and even the occasional vegetable.

More Picks: Whitfield, East Liberty, Tessaro’s, Bloomfield

The Visitor: Your NYC/Chicago/LA friend, who still can’t understand why you’d live in Pittsburgh.

The Place: Max’s Allegheny Tavern, North Side

Why: You could try to wow a skeptical friend with any number of glitzy Downtown spots. But chances are that they’ll know a place back home that does it bigger or better. Instead, why not blindside them with somewhere that’s Pittsburgh through and through, of which no equivalent exists beyond our hills? Max’s Allegheny Tavern fits the bill. With old-school German food, friendly people and décor that looks like it’s been untouched for a century, Max’s is as classic Pittsburgh as it gets.

More Picks: Pierogies Plus, McKees Rocks, Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, Bloomfield

The Visitor: A gaggle of relatives who want a restaurant that suits everyone, from your picky younger cousin to your snooty brother-in-law.

Dinner at The Porch. Photo courtesy of The Porch.
Dinner at The Porch. Photo courtesy of The Porch.

The Place: The Porch at Schenley, Oakland

Why: This is always a tough predicament—you need a place with a diverse menu, moderate prices and a whole lot of space. The Porch at Schenley nails it. Surrounded by universities, the Porch is prepared for large groups of all ages and stripes, with ample seating indoors and outside. The menu features plenty of safe bets, from a prime rib sandwich to a rotating selection of pizzas. But with lots of local produce and a rooftop garden, there are enough unique touches to keep everyone happy.

More Picks: Pamela’s Diner, multiple locations, Smallman Galley, Strip District

At Morcilla, ranked tops in the country. Photo by Adam Milliron
At Morcilla, ranked tops in the country. Photo by Adam Milliron.

The Visitor: Your college roommate who’s a food trend hawk—she spends more time scouring Eater and Yelp than she does actually eating.

The Place: Morcilla, Lawrenceville

Why: Though I shudder at the word “foodie,” we all have friends who proudly embrace the label. And for a sure-fire bet to dazzle that friend, head to Morcilla. Though sister restaurant Cure continues to turn out world-class food, Morcilla is new darling of Pittsburgh’s food scene. Recently named one of Bon Appétit‘s Best New Restaurants for 2016, Morcilla excels at authentic Spanish tapas, charcuterie and drinks. With a menu ranging from single bite pintxos to huge platters of suckling pork roast, a spread at Morcilla will wow even the most jaded foodie.

More Picks: Pork & Beans, Downtown, Legume, Oakland

Burger and fries at Independent Brewing Company.
Burger and fries at Independent Brewing Company.

The Visitor: Your boozehound work colleague, who’s sweeping through for a night and wants great drinks to go with the food.

The Place: Independent Brewing Company, Squirrel Hill

Why: There are plenty of great breweries around town, and there’s a good chance they’ll have a killer food truck parked outside. But for a whirlwind chance to try the best of Western Pennsylvania beer, head to Squirrel Hill’s Independent Brewing Company. Despite the name, they don’t actually brew anything there. They do, however, dedicate all of their taps to the latest and greatest offerings from our region’s 50-plus breweries. Along with an impressive cocktail program and Chef Monique Ruvolo’s Middle Eastern-tinged bar food, the IBC is not your average neighborhood bar.

More Picks: Butterjoint, Oakland, Spirit, Lawrenceville

The Visitor: Your old high school flame—and you’re hoping something might be rekindled.

Dish Osteria and Bar on the South Side. Photo by TH Carlisle
Dish Osteria and Bar on the South Side. Photo by TH Carlisle.

The Place: Dish Osteria and Bar, South Side

Why: If seafood, pasta and red wine in a cozy neighborhood joint doesn’t scream romance, then I guess I’m hopeless. Dish Osteria and Bar has been a South Side staple for 15 years, but with Chef/Owner Michele Savoia at the helm, the quality never wavers. At Dish, the focus is on top-notch ingredients and classic preparations, and the super-fresh seafood is always a good bet. Accompanied by a pick from their mostly Italian wine list, dinner at Dish is the perfect way to kick off a romantic evening.

More Picks:  Avenue B, Shadyside, Altius, Mt. Washington

Brussel kale pizza at Piccolo Forno.
BrusselKale pizza at Piccolo Forno.

The Visitor: A total stranger.

The Pick: Piccolo Forno, Lawrenceville

Why: Once in a while, you get asked to choose a place for someone you don’t know at all. Your dad’s old work buddy, perhaps, or a friend of a friend who just moved to town. In these situations, I can’t think of a more crowd-pleasing food than pizza. Though everyone’s got their favorite place for a pie, Lawrenceville’s Piccolo Forno hits all the right notes. It’s classy but affordable (being BYOB helps), and the atmosphere is lively and inviting. And if you happen to find some weirdo who doesn’t like pizza, the homemade pasta dishes are every bit as good.

More Picks: Dinette, East Liberty, Il Pizzaiolo, Mt. Lebanon & Downtown

Looking for more great restaurants? Check out the 16 best restaurants that opened in 2016.

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Looking for a job? ImaginePittsburgh.com‘s got ‘em — more than 20,000 open positions on our powerful, 10-county job search aggregator, updated nightly.

Find a job, advance your career, build a life you’ll love: ImaginePittsburgh.com.

Bonnie Pfister

Check out our Facebook photo album for more images from the fall 2016 Pittsburgh student tours.

ImaginePittsburgh.com is getting Pittsburgh students off campus and on location at some of the coolest employers anywhere.

Google, UPMC Enterprises, PNC, startup incubator AlphaLab Gear, software maker Truefit and design/engineering studio Deeplocal were among the workplaces visited in two tours this fall.

Student journalists visit Deeplocal in the Strip District.
Student journalists visit Deeplocal in the Strip District.

“These students are getting up-close and personal with hiring managers, heads of startups and innovators in organizations large and small,” said Linda Topoleski, vice president of workforce programs for the Allegheny Conference, which operates ImaginePittsburgh.com. “These companies are hiring dynamic college graduates as well as attracting young professionals from around the country who’ve heard about Pittsburgh as next Brooklyn.”

The hope is that young journalists, podcasters and bloggers will share insights about career and lifestyle opportunities in the region with their readers, viewers, listeners and social media followers. Computer science students participated in a tour earlier this fall, because their skills are in especially high demand across all industry sectors and in nearly every company.

It can be hard for students to make time to explore beyond campus, and ImaginePittsburgh.com research indicates that even people who grew up in southwestern Pennsylvania are often unaware of the wealth of career opportunities right under their noses. Among the jobs in high demand across the 10-county region include information security analysts, software engineers, accountants, auditors, HR specialists, nurses, medical assistants, engineers and industrial technicians.

formal-group-shot-it-tour
In October, computer science students from Pittsburgh colleges toured regional employers with including UPMC Enterprises high up in the U.S. Steel building.

Pittsburgh is also a fun place to launch a career. The new Graduate Opportunity Index compiled by LinkedIn and Trulia ranked Pittsburgh as a top city for new entrants into the workforce because of its affordability and wealth of entry-level jobs and educated Millennials. The most recent tour broke for lunch at The Andy Warhol Museum – a destination for visitors from around the globe. Students got to mingle with young professionals who have chosen Pittsburgh about the career opportunities here, as well as and hear from Venture Outdoors staff about the wealth of outdoor recreation options here – including great skiing and snowboarding less than an hour’s drive from Oakland.

Fitt PGH

Powered by Fitt Pittsburgh / Ryan Deer

Serious question: Is it fall or not? Many Pittsburghers are asking the same thing and we don’t have any answers. With Indian summer after Indian summer, we may never get to use our flannel! Surely November though, right?

But while fall is having an identity crisis, we can take advantage of out-of-doors in all its leafy goodness before we hibernate. Yes, November is already an awesome month – football, Thanksgiving, pumpkin pie – but add in some healthy fun in [what’s left of] the sun, and it’s the greatest fall ever.

Vino & Vinyasa at Engine House 25

Vino & Vinyasa at Engine House 25
image via Vino & Vinyasa at Engine House 25 Facebook

 INFO

Some people say wine tastes best on a patio in the summer. Others say in front of a blazing falltime fireplace. Though, they’re all wrong. We know it tastes best after a 75-minute Vinyasa yoga session. Don’t know what we mean? Vino & Vinyasa, led by instructors Sarah Reed-Lieb and Kate Clingan, is back at Engine House 25 for the THIRD time (it must be nice if they do it thrice)! But this time when you head for a glass in their Lawrenceville cellar post-savasana, you’ll also get to peruse wares from local makers Boho Tribe and Sincerely Colleen with wine in hand. November 10

EQT 10 Miler

EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler
image via EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler Facebook

INFO

So you ran the Great Race 10k, then the Penguins 6.6k, and you just want to keep that train rolling. Well all aboard the EQT 10 Miler! Runners really love the 10 Miler; it’s the perfect way to experience fall in Pittsburgh, running through Station Square, North Side, West End, and the Strip District. Seeing Mt. Washington’s sea of colorful leaves is nice, but the free food to warm you up at the finish is even nicer. Don’t have the legs for 10? Don’t sweat it. They have relay and team challenges too. November 6

Yoga on Tap

Yoga, beer, and brunch are three things we’ll never get enough of. Taken on their own, a beer, some brunch, or a yoga class will make a bad day better. So imagine how epic your day would be if it combined all three. Well, that’s exactly what Urban Elementsand Allegheny City Brewing have done with Yoga on Tap. Prepare for a 90-minute power yoga class at Allegheny City Brewing, followed by a flight of beer and food truck eat for brunch. November 20

ZooZilla 5k

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
image via Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium Facebook

INFO

It’s back! One of the best runs in Pittsburgh, the ZooZilla 5k, is as wild as ever. You’ll run a circuit around and through the Pittsburgh Zoo, past rhinos, jungle cats and more. No matter if you run like a gazelle (they have those) or walk like a tortoise (they have those too), you’re welcome to join in on a thundering herd of animal-loving racers. The best part? Your race ticket includes a full day’s admission at the zoo, so you can go back to spend time with the animals you passed up (talking about the attractions, not your family). November 5

PNC YMCA Turkey Trot

PNC YMCA Turkey Trot
image via PNC YMCA Turkey Trot Facebook

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Of all the Thanksgiving traditions your family may have – like pulling the wishbone or giving thanks that the Steelers play on Thanksgiving this year – taking a fun morning trot is one you can never let die. The PNC YMCA Turkey Trot, run for the 26th time this year through downtown Pittsburgh, is too much fun. People dress up like pilgrims and turkey legs for the one-mile, 5k, five-mile, or Double Gobble (the 5k and five-miler back-to-back). And if you’re going to go hard on the Turkey Day feast (and we know you will), it’s a good pre-meal sweat sesh to ease some guilt. November 24

Dirty Dozen

Dirty Dozen in Pittsburgh
image via prweb.com

INFO

Every year, the Dirty Dozen tests cyclists in the most Pittsburgh way possible – you bike the city’s 13 steepest hills (including Canton Avenue in Beechview, the US’s steepest street). Meeting at the Bud Harris Cycling Track in Highland Park, you and other brave cyclists will set out on a 50-mile ride around the city (with a few breaks and refreshments along the way). Sad news, though: The Dirty Dozen’s founder, event runner, and leading cyclist, Danny Chew, was severely injured in an unrelated cycling accident early this fall. He insists that the race go on, and you really should ride – all proceeds from your epic trek will go towards Danny’s expenses (but you can always donate here). November 26

Farm to Table Harvest Tasting

Farm-to-Table Autumn Harvest
image via Farm-to-Table Autumn Harvest Week Facebook

INFO

On November 5th, you need to clear everything on your schedule. There will be tasty food samples…(glad we have your attention). But not just any food, we’re talking the region’s freshest, locally grown or prepared foods, straight from the source. In its 5th year, the Farm to Table Harvest Tasting gathers local farmers, chefs, and spirit makers (that means booze) at the Produce Terminal in the Strip District for a day of wholesome food samples and hearty conversation (usually about food). November 5

Marathon on the Mountain

Marathon on the Mountain
image via Marathon on the Mountain Facebook

INFO

Did you think the Pittsburgh Marathon was hard? Ha! You may be a runner of steel, but you’ll need all the energy gels, Gatorade stops, positive thoughts you can manage to tackle a marathon in the Laurel Highlands. Starting at the Foggy Goggle, you’ll run two laps around a circuit at Seven Springs Mountain Resort that’ll take you up ski trails, through wooded hiking and biking paths, and deep into the wilderness. Course difficulty: black diamond. But if you’re looking for that friendly green circle-type event, sign up for the half marathon or 5k distances. November 5

Hip-Hop & Hops Yoga

Yoga Flow
image via Yoga Flow Facebook

INFO

How does Pittsburgh yoga keep getting more awesome? We do it in Market Square, on a farm with ice cream, and with wine (at Engine House 25). It’s like you just take your favorite things and make it a yoga practice. So hip-hop and craft beer? Where do we sign up? (…here, by the way.) Yoga Flow in Murrysville is laying down an invigorating yoga flow to some hot beats from the likes of Drake, Kanye, Snoop, and more. And after your hip-hop comes the hops. Select craft beers will be on hand (and in hand) to cool down. November 5

Bunny Yoga

image via Bunny Yoga Facebook
image via Bunny Yoga Facebook

INFO

We just talked yoga and hops, but this takes it to a much more adorable level (though, without the beer). Bunny Yoga is back. We’ll say it again: Bunny Yoga. Thanks to Animal Friends on Camp Horne Road, we get a one-hour yoga session with the shelter’s family of rabbits hopping between your warrior II pose. Bring your own mats, but leave the carrots at home. November 18

Griffin Cross

Griffin Cross at St. Vincent
image via RoadBikeReview

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If Bunny Yoga is a little too cuddly for you, Griffin Cross might be up your alley. This inaugural cyclocross races winds around the rolling Seton Hill University campus in Greensburg (thus, Griffin Cross). And Flat Tire Bike Shop, the creators of this fun, un-timed race, want you to race whether you have a trail bike or not. We’re pretty sure they’d be cool if you rode a tricycle. November 20

Pittsburgh VegFEAST

Pittsburgh VegFest
image via @pittsburghvegfest

INFO

If turkey, or any meat for that matter, really isn’t your thing, get your fill of veggies the week before Thanksgiving. Back for another epic year, Pittsburgh VegFEAST at Spirit in Lawrenceville promises the best plant-based food Pittsburgh has to offer (and probably that you’ve ever tasted). Fueling the feast are some of our favorite vegetarian and vegan providers from around the city – like Amazing Cafe, Allegro Hearth Bakery, Onion Maiden, and more. Regardless of your dietary preference, it’s going to be a feast that rivals any Turkey Day. November 20

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Looking for a job? ImaginePittsburgh.com‘s got ‘em — more than 20,000 open positions on our powerful, 10-county job search aggregator, updated nightly.

Find a job, advance your career, build a life you’ll love: ImaginePittsburgh.com.