We may be in a deep freeze right now, but there are plenty of delicious bites to warm our hearts (and fill our stomachs) in Pittsburgh this month. These are the dishes, drinks and events that we’re most excited about in January, so mark your calendars accordingly.
1. Enjoy a slice of summer at Legume.
For a limited time each winter, Legume brings back their famous cherry pie, made with Kistaco sour cherries that were preserved this past summer. This year, the pie makes its winter debut on January 9, the same day that Legume puts their cassoulet back on the menu for the season. The cherry pie is only available for about a week or so since sour cherries supplies are limited, but the cassoulet will stick around for a little bit longer.
In its first 24 hours, Driftwood Oven’s Kickstarter campaign raised more than $10,000, and now they’ve officially reached their goal of $28,000. Help them make their pizzeria dream a reality (and then some) as they prepare to open their own brick-and-mortar at 3615 Butler Street in Lawrenceville. Pledge rewards include die-cut pizza magnets ($10), a 16-inch pizza ($20), exclusive t-shirts ($40), a pizza workshop ($200) and a pizza-of-the-month club membership ($250).
4. Sign up for your summer CSA.
It’s officially time to start thinking about summer – that is, it’s time to start thinking about your summer CSA. Support your favorite Community Supported Agriculture program and your favorite local farm by signing up early for their CSA program, which will ensure that you get on the list to receive farm-fresh produce as soon as the weather warms up. Our list of Pittsburgh CSAs is a good place to start if you’ve never been part of a CSA program before, and Visit Pittsburgh offers a solid list, too.
Or, eat many burgers. There’s something about freezing weather that makes us want to bite into something substantial, and for us, that’s a big, juicy, burger. Find a little inspiration here, or try one of the favorites we’re currently crushing on right now: The burger with white cheddar and dijonnaise at brunoise, the Burger of the Moment (currently with smoked blue cheese, onion jam, bacon relish and lemon aioli) at Provision PGH in the Federal Galley, the Cease & Desist (with American cheese, caramelized onions and Thousand Island) at BRGR, and the Impossible Burger (which is impossibly vegan) at Burgh’ers.
6. Get a milkshake at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.
Okay, we know that the Pennsylvania Farm Show (running January 6 – January 13) is about four hours away in Harrisburg. And, yes, that’s a pretty long way to drive for a milkshake. But have you ever had a Pennsylvania Farm Show milkshake (by the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association)? It’s the best. THE BEST. It’s turning 65 this year, and if you have the time or the energy, make a day of it and take a road trip. It will be the best $4 you spend all week.
Local blogger Lindsey Smith just released her latest book, Eat Your Feelings, a cookbook and guide to help you “transform your lifestyle by learning from your cravings and using mood-boosting ingredients every day.” Illustrated by food stylist Quelcy Kogel, the book is not only gorgeous, but useful for keeping those healthy-eating New Year’s resolutions, too.
8. Make Valentine’s Day reservations now.
Because, why not? Valentine’s Day is on a Wednesday this year (kind of a bummer), so you can technically get away with celebrating the weekend before, or the weekend after – or, even the day-of, if you’re a stickler for tradition. Lots of restaurants offer special Valentine’s prix fixe dinners, but most just have their regular menu available. Since it’s one of the busiest restaurant days of the year, reservations fill up quickly, so the earlier you can make them, the better it will be. Go with an old favorite (romantic restaurant picks include Altius, the Commoner, and Spork, or roll the dice with Poulet Bleu, the soon-to-open French-inspired bistro from the Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group that just started taking reservations for February.
9. Have breakfast for dinner at Spoonwood Brewing.
Every Thursday in January, Bethel Park’s Spoonwood Brewing is serving up our favorite: Breakfast for dinner. From 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., enjoy a mid-week br-inner with Belgian waffles, French Toast, omelettes, and a couple of varieties of Chicken & Waffles, too. And the best part? It’s definitely not too early to drink.
You never know what kind of treat you’ll find when you shop at a small , local market. A few of our favorites include Bryant Street Market in Highland Park (which has Glen’s Custard Chocolate Chip Cookie sandwiches!), the 52nd Street Market in Lawrenceville (which makes killer soups and sandwiches), and McGinnis Sisters, a specialty food mecca that always has new and interesting local products on the shelves.11. Have a taco (or ten) at Baby Loves Tacos
After a long wait, Baby Loves Tacos has really, truly, officially, opened its doors in Bloomfield. The menu features tacos, burritos, rice bowls and salads, with a rotating selection of proteins, from chicken and brisket to Buffalo cauliflower and barbecue mushrooms. Hours aren’t totally regular yet, but if you follow them on Instagram, you can find out when they’re open.
12. Try a new restaurant during Pittsburgh Restaurant Week.
Of the more than 60 restaurants participating in the winter edition of Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, there’s bound to be a few that you haven’t tried. So while there are special deals abound ($20.18 lunches and $35.18 dinners are the most popular option), get out and try something new during PRW, which runs from January 15 – January 21. A few on our list? Superior Motors, Paris 66, Le Lyonnais, and The Twisted Frenchman are solid bets.