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EatPGH blog team joins Trib with weekly dining reviews

| Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Pine Creek Journal
The authors of the guide in the photo are Mandy McFadden, left, Julia Gongaware, Laura Zorch and Sarah Sudar. Submitted

The women of eatPGH.com will join the lineup of entertainment writers in Ticket with the first of weekly dining reviews running May 15.

About five years ago, the four friends — Julia Gongaware of Bloomfield, Sarah Sudar of Hopewell, Amanda McFadden of the North Side and Laura Zorch of Shadyside — banded together to write a blog on Pittsburgh dining.

“Mandy and I had this idea: Let's just start writing about food,” Sudar says. “We loved going out to eat.

They bill themselves as “four ladies eating our way through Pittsburgh.”

Readers of the blog multiplied and the 30-something women continued their food reporting with two books:

• “Food Lovers' Guide to Pittsburgh: The Best Restaurants, Markets & Local Culinary Offerings” (Globe Pequot Press, $14.95) came out in 2012. An updated second edition will be released in September.

• “Extraordinary Recipes From Pittsburgh Chef's Table” (Lyons Press, $24.95) is a cookbook, which includes recipes from more than 50 local chefs.

Their latest forays include the eatBRUNCH series, a progressive brunch in a single neighborhood with three stops along the way. Tickets are on sale for the Downtown brunch planned for May 31, which travels from Habitat to Grit & Grace to Meat & Potatoes.

And they organize occasional Urban Dinners, in which a Downtown, urban space is transformed into an intimate dinner party for 50 to 75 people. For the June 7 event, Kate Romane from e2 in Highland Park and Liz Moore from Bluebird Kitchen will be the chefs.

Their reviews in Ticket will offer opinions from each woman's palate. Each will take a turn writing the reviews, but all of them will give input.

“Since there are four of us, we can represent a lot of different points of view and taste buds,” Gongaware says. “We can cover a lot more ground. We all have favorites and things that we don't like.”

Zorch is the group's dessert lover, for example, and she doesn't do sushi.

“I'm always looking forward to end of meals, and the good chocolate stuff,” she says.

The women write about all kinds of eateries, from casual to fine dining. Readers will learn what to expect from the restaurant, what the atmosphere and food are like, and what they should order.

“I'm very passionate about all things food,” Gongaware says. “I think it's just an emotional connection to food. ... It's just very positive, and it can produce memories.”

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