Share This Page

This year, Three Rivers Arts Festival also a trip for your taste buds

| Friday, June 7, 2013, 9:29 p.m.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Food trucks are featured for the first time this year at the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, Friday, June 7th, 2013. The trucks will be offering a variety of food on Friday, June 7 and 14 from 12-9 pm.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Food trucks are featured for the first time this year at the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, Friday, June 7, 2013. The trucks will be offering a variety of food on Friday, June 7 and 14 from 12-9 pm.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
With the variety of food kiosks in the background, Sydnee Guinn, Jah'mir Adams, Ariyana Andrews, and Sanai Chatman (from left,) of McKees Rocks, have lunch at the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, Friday, June 7, 2013.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Food trucks are featured for the first time this year at the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, Friday, June 7, 2013. The trucks will be offering a variety of food on Friday, June 7 and 14 from 12-9 pm.

Part of the appeal of the Three Rivers Arts Festival is its dependability. You know that, year after year, some things won't change, like the same food choices of chicken-on-a-stick, pierogies and deep-fried Oreos.

Yet, there's change in the air, as there is in the city surrounding it. Food trucks are finally allowed to add some variety to the menu — at least on Fridays. The food booths have spiffy new signage, which coincides with the subtle-but-remarkable improvements to Point State Park and the fountain, finished at last.

The Downtown crowd clamoring for lunch Friday afternoon seemed remarkably diverse. The variety of people was offset a little by the uniformity of outfits: business casual, Penguins gear, or some combination of the two, in the solemn hope that hockey season would continue a little longer.

This diversity can show up in strange, surprising ways. You could be fairly certain that the “Chicken on a Pita” ($6) would be both tasty and a big, sloppy mess. It was both. But you wouldn't have expected it to be served by a model and Miss Lebanon runner-up.

Marie Lou Nahhas, 23, of the country of Lebanon, has been working at her family's food booths at the Arts Festival for six years, in between modeling gigs and semesters at Pitt. They sell spinach pies ($4), gyros, tabbouleh, grape leaves, falafel (all $6) and other items from a triple-sized set of booths facing Point State Park.

“Modeling isn't something you do all the time,” Nahhas said. “I was fifth place in the Miss Lebanon contest.”

Juan Jiminez' booth seemed to offer something new: chocolate-covered strawberries ($2), in addition to ice cream, sundaes, crepes and other sweet stuff. But no, he's been here for “like, five years — my boss for, like, 15 years.”

“I enjoy the seeing all the people, many different personalities, the music, the weather,” he said. “Yeah, it usually rains at the beginning, but then the weather is usually good.”

Food trucks, parked on the Penn Avenue Extension near Stanwix, are a welcome change this year. They included Bella Christie'z and Dozen (baked goods, treats), BRGR (gourmet burgers), Franktuary (gourmet hot dogs), Zum Zum (pierogies) and Oh My Grill (gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches).

Oh My Grill's Sicilian Melt ($6), featuring fontina, mozzarella, provolone and diced pepperoni on Texas Toast with a “tomato soup dipper,” was particularly good. Unfortunately, the food trucks are only there on Fridays, so your next chance is June 14 between noon and 9 p.m.

The free water stations at various points around the Arts Festival offer a chance to refill your water bottles and cut down on waste.

On June 14, there will be a special pop-up take-out restaurant appearance from Conflict Kitchen, the Pittsburgh art/food project that has gained international attention for serving food from countries that the United States is “in conflict” with, as well as information about the countries on the wrapper.s Right now, they're featuring Iranian street food. It will be part of the food court at Point State Park.

Michael Machosky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at mmachosky@tribweb.com or 412-320-7901.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.