Food & Drink

We delve into the local food scene, from the farms that grow your food to how it ends up on your plate.

When McDonald's recently announced the introduction of a vegan burger in Sweden and Finland, Twitter responded with a mix of earnest enthusiasm (@themodvegan: "So exciting- I hope we're next"), a little disgust (@JenaRoberta: "why would a vegan ever...support a company that sells millions of dead cow burgers a day?), and a touch of guilty hand-wringing from aging ideologues (@siniauer: "Feels like I'm cheating the 90's me").

Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

Seven Pittsburgh chefs and establishments have been named semifinalists for this year's national James Beard Foundation awards.

Whitfield, the restaurant inside the Ace Hotel in East Liberty, houses semifinalists in two categories: Casey Renee for Outstanding Pastry Chef, and Executive Chef Bethany Zozula for Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic region.

As superhero origin stories go, this one is pretty low-key. No radioactivity. No other planets. Just a Swede, his love of pastry, and a noble quest for accuracy. It's a bun, it's some cream, it's ... Semla Man!

Mushrooms have been used in Eastern medicine for centuries to treat everything from asthma to gout.

Now they're being marketed in the West as functional or medicinal mushrooms that can prevent cancer or stimulate higher brain function, but there are relatively few trials in humans to back up these claims.

It was the tiny streams of slime that stood out.

As a microbiologist who studies the rinds of cheeses like Stilton, Gruyere and Taleggio, Benjamin Wolfe had done plenty of experiments on bacteria, yeast and mold. But he'd never seen anything like this.

Trump's USDA Moves Closer To Scrapping Animal Welfare Rule

Jan 19, 2018
Pete and Gerry's Organic Eggs

A carton of organic eggs can cost more than double the price of regular eggs — so, what are you paying for? When it comes to the treatment of livestock and poultry, there are some murky areas. Many in the organic industry pushed for a new rule, issued at the end of the Obama administration, aimed, in part, at ensuring that the green and white organic seal on the egg carton means the chickens actually spent time outdoors.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

The annual Pennsylvania Farm Show is right around the corner, and for many attendees a visit to the food court will be at the top of the agenda.

Greg Sousa / AP

Most drivers who hit roadkill leave the carcass on the ground, but several thousand Pennsylvanians in 2017 wanted to make the dead animal their next meal.

 

Oh Boi-lo! Holiday Beverage Source Of Cheer And Warmth

Dec 11, 2017
Mike Steinhoff / Flickr

'Tis the season for a hot beverage that warms from the inside out.

For many residents of the coal region, that means it's time to heat up a batch of boilo.

The sweet citrus drink has remained a popular beverage for cold winter days, even as other traditions from coal region's eastern European immigrants have faded.

Why It's Hard To Know If Your Food Is GMO

Nov 23, 2017
Okanagan Specialty Fruits

Jean Halloran is director of food policy initiatives at Consumers Union. That’s the policy and lobbying arm of Consumer Reports magazine — the people who test EVERYTHING, then tell you about it. Halloran’s been looking at GMOs with a critical eye, and Kara Holsopple spoke with her recently about them.

Kara Holsopple: How much of what’s sold to consumers in the produce aisle is actually GMO?

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

When entering Knead Community Café in New Kensington, Pa., guests are greeted by a host at the door.

Would This Bleeding Veggie Burger Get You To Skip The Meat?

Nov 20, 2017
Kara Holsopple / Allegheny Front

Few things have as big an impact on our environment as the food we eat. Agriculture accounts for one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. And beef production, in particular, uses copious amounts of water, when compared with other foods. So, some environmentally conscious meat lovers have been working in the lab, to create a vegan burger that bleeds like beef, without all the downsides.

They’re serving these so-called Impossible Burgers at select restaurants around the country, so we went to check it out at Pittsburgh’s high end burger place, Burgatory, on the Waterfront.  

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

As University of Pittsburgh junior Brooke McEvoy walks through the Pitt Pantry, she points out some of its selection: cereal, soup, fresh produce. The pantry is located in the basement of the Bellefield Presbyterian Church in Oakland and McEvoy is the president of its student executive board.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

The first new candy bar to carry the Hershey's name in more than two decades is set to hit shelves next month.

The Hershey, Pennsylvania-based candy maker says Hershey's Gold will go on sale Dec. 1. It's described as a caramelized cream bar embedded with salty peanut and pretzel bits. Hershey's says the bar is a response to trends that it says show "the rising popularity of crunchy multi-textured candy."

Secretive Foragers Are Cashing In On A Mushroom Bonanza

Oct 7, 2017
Max Whittaker

There, not a dozen yards from the road, was an enormous downed oak tree and, growing from it, about 50 pounds' worth of orange-gold chicken-of-the-woods mushrooms.

It was, she said, the "mother lode." So Bischoff, 42, pulled over and got to work. "I had a pry bar. Some of those sections were like two feet across. They were huge!" It was enough not only to fill her refrigerator but also to sell (for an amount she declined to disclose) to friends, strangers on Facebook, and even a local restaurant.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Pennsylvania is giving its breweries a boost with a new marketing initiative designed to highlight local beer producers.

Bradley C. Bower / AP

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has posted this year’s earnings, and they’re higher than ever.

Despite overhead cost increases, the PLCB says the revenues are a sign the industry is healthy.

I have a problem.

I know I won't get any sympathy, but still.

On any given night, I can walk out my front door and within a half hour be at one of seven different taprooms serving up amazing fresh beer, brewed on the spot. Do you get what I'm going through? How could anyone possibly choose?

Here in the leafy western suburbs of Boston, there's Start Line in Hopkinton; CraftRoots in Milford; 7th Wave in Medfield; Medusa in Hudson; and Jack's Abbey, Springdale and Exhibit 'A' in Framingham.

In the Deep Run Pawpaw Orchard outside of Westminster, Md., Donna Davis is showing me how the pros eat a pawpaw.

She jams her thumbs into the fruit's soft green skin and splits it open, innards oozing.

"Just suck out the flesh," she instructs, slurping up the yellow meat. "They can [taste like] a cross between maybe a mango and a banana. Some people taste little hints of pineapple."

She hands me a chunk — and mmm. It's sweet and custardy. I taste banana pudding.

Matt Rourke / AP

Prices are on the rise for some of the most popular wines and liquors sold in state stores.

It’s the first hike more than two decades, thanks to a new law passed last year that gave the LCB the ability to flexibly price its products.

A new study may prompt hand wringing among you tuna poke and sushi lovers. When it comes to pollutant levels, researchers now say where your tuna was caught matters.

Ron Larson / Ace Hotel

Amid Pittsburgh’s restaurant boom, a new conference this week aims to tackle tough issues within the food and service industry, including gentrification, sexism and cultural appropriation.

Kevin Sousa / Studio for Spacial Practice

A long-awaited restaurant in Braddock is set to start taking reservations this weekend.

Superior Motors is the latest venture of Chef Kevin Sousa. 

Coca-Cola's marketing efforts during the weekend's heatwave in Pittsburgh backfired when the company mistakenly used a map of Philadelphia in a post on Twitter.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

On a drizzly afternoon in Bellevue, a small crowd gathered at the Rosalinda Sauro Sirianni Memorial Garden to tell stories, share laughs and take pictures. 

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Chopsticks clink against bowls over hushed conversations in Chinese, as the unmistakable smells of stir fries and rich sauces greet customers at the door of the Taiwanese bistro, Café 33, in Squirrel Hill.

Dave J. Bruce Photography / via Station

The Penguins just need four more wins before we're in the Stanley Cup finals ... AGAIN. 

A lot of us are super stoked -- and some of us don't really care (I know, I know).

But even if you don't care about watching the Pens play, there is another benefit to an extended hockey season, especially if you're a bit of a foodie: checking out one of the city's popular bars and restaurants that are usually hard to get into.  

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Uber is launching its food delivery service in Pittsburgh starting Thursday.

UberEATS general manager Casey Verkamp said the service will be faster, more reliable and more convenient than other delivery services, such as Postmates and Grubhub.

“We don’t think anyone else has cracked, to date, that problem so we’re really excited to be doing that, in Pittsburgh especially,” Verkamp said Wednesday at Franktuary in Lawrenceville.

Franktuary is one of the more than 100 Pittsburgh-area restaurants that had partnered with the app at its launch this week.

Yo Ho Ho! Pennsylvania Aims To Smash US Embargo On Cuban Rum

May 1, 2017
Ramon Espinosa / AP

Pennsylvania's Cuban rum run got its start in a chance meeting last fall in the parking lot in front of the state Capitol.

"'You know, we have rum,'" a visiting Cuban government liaison told state Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, who was walking to his car when he was introduced to her as the senator whose committee oversees how alcohol is sold in Pennsylvania. "And I'm like, 'Yeah, we should buy some.'"

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

When the first Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week kicked off in 2012, there were about five craft breweries in Pittsburgh, including Penn Brewery, which planned the inaugural celebration.

Now, as the 2017 celebration prepares to kick off, there are closer to 35 breweries in the region. Eighteen of them are participating in the week-long celebration this year – the largest number so far. Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week Board President Brian Meyer said that’s fitting.

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