Some restaurants are like rock stars. Everyone talks about them. They’re in every magazine, every newspaper, on every blog. First people can’t wait to be the one who discovered them, and then people can’t wait to be the first to dismiss them as nothing special. They have their devotees, their die-hard fans on one end of the spectrum and on the other end, a whole host of critics with complaints justified and unjustified.
But the point is, everyone knows about them. Rock stars, movie stars, and restaurants. Or maybe it just seems that way because I talk to a lot of people about food. But you know a restaurant has hit the big buzz when your mom brings it up:
“Salt? One of the women from work went there. They make you sit at long tables with other diners.”
Well, yes, Mom, they do. Sort of.
Since opening in last fall, Salt of the Earth has steadfastly proven itself the new diva of the local dining scene, which is kind of funny, considering how aptly named it turned out to be. While the restaurant has high-end trappings – at least for this city – the general feel, pace, and atmosphere of the restaurant is casual. Let me put it this way: I was wearing an old dress, my dining companion was wearing cords. We saw people in business type dress, we saw people in jeans. Nobody flinched. Nobody stared. It didn’t seem to matter in the slightest.
The main dining area of the restaurant is bordered by two opposing focal points: The large blackboard with the daily menu (the entire menu, including drinks, starters, entrees, and desserts, etc) on one side, the wide open kitchen on the other. The bar lines the far wall. There’s a smaller, more intimate setting upstairs and a few high-seater tables in the windows near the entrance, but the majority of the seating is exactly what my mother presumed, long tables lined by little benches. Oh, and of course, the counter seating that lines the open kitchen, which is exactly where me and my dining companion, Meghan, found ourselves when we visited this past Monday evening.
Posted in Dining Out, Dinnertime!, Food
Tagged bahn mi, blue cheese, cheese plate, cocktails, dining, dining out, dining out in pittsburgh, east end, east liberty, eating, food, friendship, kevin sousa, local restaurant, penn avenue, pittsburgh, Restaurant, salt, salt of the earth, seitan baguette, snails, softshell crab, sweetbreads
As I have mentioned before, me and my partner have signed up for a season’s CSA subscription to Garfield Community Farm, a volunteer-run, non-profit farm in the upper reaches of Garfield, just a hop, skip, and long jump away from James’s place in Friendship.
One of the reasons the CSA membership to GCF caught my eye is that while other CSA organizations offered more options on subscription length, type of goods, and pick up points, Garfield Community Farm seemed so direct, not just local but super local. Signing up for the subscription meant going to the farm to pick up the produce, walking the very land that was going to grow our consumable goods.
CSA subscribers are also asked to donate some of their time to the farm itself. On pick up days, starting around 6:00 pm, volunteers handle a variety of tasks and chores, all of which benefit the farm and the overall organization. After a few summers of half-heartedly growing a few herbs in my kitchen and on my porch, I’m looking forward to lending a hand… and getting that hand dirty.
But enough with the ramble. On to the veggies!
On the left, a pound bag of mixed greens. On the right, pea shoots.
Kale (L) and spinach (R). Mmm…
Fresh tarragon (L), a cup of brown rice (center), and field garlic.
I am envisioning a weekend of beans and greens. If anyone has a good idea of what to do with the field garlic, let me know.
Posted in Food, Good Morning, In the Kitchen
Tagged brown rice, community supported agriculture, CSA, CSA subscription, east end, farm, field garlic, fresh herbs, friendship, gardening, garfield, garfield community farm, greens, herbs, kale, open door, pea shoots, pittsburgh CSA, produce, radish greens, radishes, salad greens, Spinach, subscription, tarragon, vegetables