You’re gonna want to check these off your list.
1. Support David Piquard and get some pastries at Gaby et Julius
The Post-Gazette published a devastating story this week about pastry chef David Piquard, who has owned and operated famed Squirrel Hill patisserie Gaby et Jules for the last six years, and his current immigration status. As Amanda Zhou reported, Piquard has learned that his application for an immigrant visa has been rejected by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and unless his temporary visa can be extended, he (and his family) will have to return to France in April. In situations like this, when it feels like there aren’t any real things that you can do that feel actionable, the best we can offer is our business. So, get yourself to Squirrel Hill, stock up on some insanely good macarons (or a canelé or two), and support a local business that has chosen to make Pittsburgh its home… because that means something.
2. Enjoy all things apple at Smallman Galley’s Apple Celebration
If you’re like us and you can’t get enough local apples this time of year (That crunch! It’s sooo good.), Smallman Galley is hosting the perfect event. On Thursday, November 9 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., join them for an Apple Celebration with Threadbare Cider and Wigle Whiskey. They’ll be featuring tastings of three ciders from Threadbare Cider House, along with samples of Wigle’s Walkabout Apple Whiskey. Plus, all four of their resident chefs will have apple dishes on the menu for purchase.
3. Book a brewery tour
Because in November, we should celebrate beer. East End Brewing Company’s $25 Grains to Glasses tour is a classic, and includes samples of four East End brews, a guided tour, and a Growler of fresh beer. Penn Brewery’s guided tours include a 16 oz. beer or a filled growler. Hitchhiker Brewing in Sharpsburg offers tours on the first Saturday of every month, too. They’re $25 per person, and include a beer tasting and glassware. Or, if you want to hit more than one brewery at a time, both Porter Brews Tours and City Brew Tours offer all-inclusive tours each week at some of the city’s best.
4. Have dinner at The Vandal
Big news for fans of the Vandal – the Lawrenceville restaurant has just announced that they’re officially open for dinner five nights a week, so you can get your fill of hyper-seasonal, beautifully-plated dishes (almost) whenever you want. The menu changes every week, but their salads (we just had an out-of-this-world one with roasted root vegetables and hazelnut vinaigrette) are always a show-stopper. The Vandal is now open for lunch and dinner Tuesdays through Sundays. The Vandal (4306 Butler Street)
5. Pretend you live in a seaside town at Legume’s Maine Shore Dinner
Legume’s Trevett Hooper (a Maine native) shares some of his favorite home state cuisine at the Oakland restaurant’s yearly Maine Shore Dinner. This year, they’re featuring a menu that not only includes traditional shoreline favorites, but also incorporates some seasonal Pennsylvania-inspired dishes. The menu includes Lobster & Clams, Shaker dried corn, cole slaw, homemade rolls and pumpkin pie. Seats are $58 per person, and reservations can be made by calling Legume at 412-621-2700.
6. Eat all the pizza at Spirit’s Pizza Dojo 4
Driftwood Oven and Pizza Boat are going head to head for one (final?) round in the Spirit parking lot, with all of us being the real winners, because we get to have some excellent pizza. At Pizza Dojo 4, each spot will have a plain pie, and a specialty pie on the menu, each priced around $10. Spirits’s full bar will be open inside, and there will be heat lamps and seating available on the patio, too.
7. Get a daily dose of healthy inspiration on Instagram
Our Instagram feed is not exactly where you want to go if you plan on making healthy choices (I mean, we’ve never met a milkshake that we didn’t immediately drink), but there are some fantastic Pittsburghers who are killing the big salad/acai bowl/monster smoothie game. A few to watch: Carley Snoznik at @snoznikca, who (every single day), shares her gorgeously-crafted breakfast, lunches and dinners (think, lots of smoothie bowls, plus healthy dishes like Vietnamese Tuna Bowls, and Moroccan Spiced Pork with Middle Eastern Chopped Salad). She even makes leftovers look good. We’re also obsessed with @thealmondeater, a local food blogger who shares healthy-ish recipes on her site, and has an Instagram feed that will inspire you to make something happen in the kitchen. And @fooduzzi, a plant-based blogger who shares healthy takes on sweet treats, like vegan Tagalongs and banana bread carrot cake muffins.
8. Slurp down a Lucky Lime at Merchant Oyster Company
Merchant Oyster Company has been open for less than a month in Lawrenceville and we’ve already made it there twice. And both times, we couldn’t get enough of the Lucky Lime oysters from Prince Edward Island (major hat tip to Angelo behind the counter for recommending them). Yes, the house-made mignonette is delicious, but these gems were perfect with a squirt of olive oil and hint of salt. Merchant Oyster Company (4129 Butler Street)
9. Start prepping your holiday baccalà now
It’s the first sign of the holiday season… all of the Italian markets in the Strip District start bringing out the baccalà! We spotted the season’s first big boxes of dried salted cod at Pennsylvania Macaroni Company earlier this week, and we’re eager to get our hands on some. If you’re unfamiliar, preparing baccalà (it makes an appearance for Thanksgiving and Christmas in our family), can be a little tricky, though this is a pretty solid primer. We usually prepare ours with a simple oil, seasoning and lemon marinade, or doused in spicy red sauce, but this recipe for Baccalà Mantecato is calling our name. If you have a favorite recipe for baccalà, share in our comments… we’d love to hear them!
10. Catch one final show at the James Street Gastropub
When James Street Gastropub announced that it was closing, music fans in Pittsburgh went in mourning. If you want catch one final show (and one final drink) at the North Side music venue, you still have a few more opportunities before the venue closes for good on November 11 – but shows are selling out quickly. Get a ticket and say goodbye properly.
11. Take a drive to Harmony for some of the best Italian food you’ve ever had
If you haven’t made the trek out to Harmony to visit Della Terra, Fiore Moletz’s Italian bistro, we suggest rectifying that as soon as possible. We were due for a revisit a couple of weeks ago, and were reminded yet again why we think Della Terra is simply one of the best restaurants in Western PA. The menu changes seasonally, but you’ll always find fresh-made pasta (the pappardelle with braised pork is a favorite, and always available), plus wood-fired pizzas, using dough that’s naturally leavened in-house daily. Trust us… no matter where you’re coming from, it’s worth the trip. Della Terra (100 Perry Highway, Harmony)
12. Get a taco from the soon-to-open (maybe?) Baby Loves Tacos
Baby Loves Tacos hasn’t officially opened their permanent Bloomfield storefront, but they have been hosting a lot of pop-ups there… and a lot of other events around town. You can find out exactly where they’ll be every day by incessantly checking their Instagram feed (like we do). They’re also offering a weekday lunch delivery, with $25 min. order made by 10:00 a.m. for lunchtime tacos at your door. Baby Loves Tacos (5408 Liberty Avenue)