For years, City Paper has had a food section dedicated to showcasing the people and places responsible for building and innovating Pittsburgh’s culinary scene. We haven’t been short on inspiration, or new and delicious places to dine. In recent years, the “On the Rocks” column has been our sole homage to eating’s natural companion: drinking. This week, we’re proud to debut an extended food-and-booze section to match Pittsburgh’s growing interest in all things tasty and imbibable.
We thought: What better week to introduce these changes than our Drink Issue. Just like our massive bar crawl (featured on page 24), we want to keep the focus on the local and regional artisans who are setting our city apart. We hope to give farmers, brewers, distillers, bartenders, chefs and home cooks of all types a place to let the community know what things the city has in store for its palate.
First, we’re expanding “On the Rocks” to provide readers with more details about the subjects, places and products we’re highlighting. If you think of this column as a martini, thus far we’ve only been able to give you the vodka (or gin, depending on your preference) and the vermouth. But what’s a martini without the olives? It’s the little extras.
A new feature, “Booze Battles” takes a playful look at the nuances of cocktail-making that differ from bar to bar. While you may have your favorite cocktail that you can reliably order anywhere, we’re willing to bet it’s the little differences that separate your favorites from the bar next door. We’ll be traveling the city to compare and contrast the same drink at two different bars, or made by two different bartenders, in a light-hearted competition that our readers can sound off on.
Anyone who’s ever been to a bar — and we’re assuming that’s most of you — knows that it can be overwhelming to choose from the wide sweep of offerings. “One Bordeaux, One Scotch, One Beer” will temper some of that anxiety with weekly profiles on the beer, wine and spirits found at local watering holes and retail shops.
We’re not forgetting the food side of “food and drink.” For everyone who likes to cook, we’re introducing a new column called “Personal Chef.” Food is a very personal thing. It’s a universal human experience to gather and eat. We want to hear your stories about recipes you connect with and why. Send us that recipe you learned in college to impress a date, or maybe the comfort food your family makes in time of crisis. We don’t just want the list of ingredients; share the story of what makes it special.
Finally, we’re bringing you sustenance for your ears. “Soundbite,” our audio culinary segment, is expanding to its own short podcast. Since January, I’ve been talking to folks at their workplaces to give our listeners a closer look into the lives of those who help put food on your table. Additionally, we’ll be offering a quick look into the history behind various food, drink and products with our new short segment, “5 Minutes in Food History.”
Our goal with these new features is not only to educate and inform you about the Pittsburgh culinary scene, but also to inspire you to go out and experience it for yourselves.