Authors take a bite out of Pittsburgh's dining scene
Dining out is a favorite pastime of Laura Zorch of Shadyside, Julia Gongaware of Bloomfield, Amanda McFadden of Mt. Lebanon and Sarah Sudar of Hopewell.
So, when research for their first book project required visiting 228 eating establishments in and around Pittsburgh, they were ready to dig in — to everything from the latest stadium food from vendors at Consol Energy Center and trendy eateries serving culturally diverse menus to chefs' signature dishes at the city's landmark restaurants.
“We ate at all of them within a two-month period,” says Gongaware, “but not all together. We divided up the places and ate, sometimes alone and sometimes with friends and family members.”
The result is “Food Lovers' Guide to Pittsburgh” (Globe Pequot Press, $14.95).
The four friends will talk about their dining experiences and offer a few of Pittsburgh's favorite recipes in two Giant Eagle Market District appearances Saturday.
The quartet of taste-testers organized their book by dividing Pittsburgh into regions and then venturing out to neighborhoods in each direction. They also traveled past the city limits to suburban restaurants and visited local craft breweries, distilleries and wineries for a chapter on the Local Drink Scene. The book ends with one dozen of their favorite recipes from places they've been.
Tucked within the restaurant reviews are sidebars featuring food-related articles, such as how to make a famous Primanti's sandwich at home, and the best way to shop in the Strip District. There's a Pittsburgh Must-Eat Cheat Sheet that narrows down favorites to a Top 10 list for those who don't have time to sample all 228 dining establishments.
The authors aren't new to the local food scene. For three years, they shared culinary experiences as food bloggers at eatpgh.com, writing about their favorite haunts and new restaurants. It was through their blog that the book publisher contacted them and proposed that they write a Pittsburgh edition of a series of local-dining resource paperbacks.
Zorch says they like to travel and enjoy writing about places they've visited in different cities on their blog, including their culinary tour last summer of Columbus and a recent weekend in Buffalo.
They don't profess to be good cooks, but Gongaware says they know their way around the kitchen.
“We all can cook, some better than others,” she says, “but if I have my choice to have a meal prepared for me, I take it.”
Zorch agrees, adding that she likes to bake but doesn't like to prepare a full-course meal.
“I want to eat it — but I don't want to make it,” she says.
The first-time authors all have day jobs outside of their writing hobbies. Zorch works at the Office of Public Art for the City of Pittsburgh, Gongaware is a social-media manager for UPMC Health Plan, McFadden develops digital-engagement strategies for PPG, and Sudar is a communications specialist for the University of Pittsburgh.
Zorch says writing the “Food Lovers' Guide to Pittsburgh” together gave them an opportunity to meet a lot of people and see how passionate people are about food in Pittsburgh, “whether they're creating it or eating it. Pittsburgh is very unpretentious, and the food scene reflects that. We'll never be a New York or San Francisco — nor should we be.”
Candy Williams is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Man dies after jump from Route 130 overpass onto passing tractor-trailer in Hempfield
- Pirates notebook: Reliever Holdzkom among three players cut
- Police investigate rush hour incidents in Shaler, Wexford
- Virginia Tech: Ex-Washington star McKenzie did not violate conduct rules
- Pittsburgh Mills to host hard-to-recycle collection
- Husband of accused drug-dealing teacher faces his own drug, intimidation charges
- Young Derry baseball team developing under 4th-year head coach
- Pa. Supreme Court upholds special prosecutor investigating AG Kane
- North Allegheny senior to take swim talents to Yale
- Monessen police investigating drive-by shooting
- Pirates again approach Polanco about contract extension