food fall

Where to get your decorative gourds
Sure, you could just grab a pumpkin at the supermarket but that’s boring. We’ve got some great farms in this area! Go forth and pick your own pumpkin, get some fresh local produce and break every last one of your teeth on a piece of fruit covered in sugar.

The most popular is probably Soergel Orchards in Wexford. On top of pumpkins and an extensive market, Soergel’s turns into an ongoing autumnal party at this time of year, with everything from hay rides to trick-or-treating for kids with food allergies.

If you’re looking for something more forward and less crowded, check out Shenot Farm & Market, also in Wexford. This 100-acre sustainable farm has some of the area’s nicest fresh produce and is Eat/Drink’s personal favorite.

We also have fond memories of annual trips to Schramm Farms in Jeannette. Schramm’s has a large maze of live corn, pony rides and, in our opinion, the best caramel apple around—but that’s just our inner child talking

North of the city, Renshaw Family Farms in Freeport has something there called the “corn cannon.” That could be a cannon made out of corn, a regular cannon which fires corn, or even a cannon made out of corn which, when loaded with corn, fires delicious popcorn. There’s only one way for you to find out.

Trax Farms in Washington County has dynamite apple cider.

In addition to a great garden center, Reilly’s Summer Seat Farm in the North Hills has fall festivals and night-time hay rides running every weekend in October and last but not least, Simmons Farm in McMurray allows you to pick your own apples and flowers.

Fall dining outdoors at Hartwood Restaurant
Al fresco dining doesn’t typically come to mind when restaurants turn over their menus for fall, but Hartwood Restaurant in Glenshaw is a notable exception. Eat/Drink enjoyed an evening meal on the patio there this week under the covered patio with the the umbrella heaters, fireplace and tartan blankets draped over every chair. The food is fresh, the wine is well-curated and the ambiance couldn’t get cozier. We heartily recommend going on a mild fall evening.

Food truck roundup!
The Heineman Company, a Lawrenceville-based food distributor, will host a food truck roundup on Saturday, November 1, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. oustide its warehouse at 151 39th Street. Mitch’s BBQ, Franktuary, Nakama, Burgh Bites and the Natrona Bottling Company (makers of fantastic local sodas) will make appearances and Heineman will be holding an open house to showcase its products.

Incidentally, this is on the same block as one of the three remaining structures from the Allegheny Arsenal. Fifty bonus points to whoever can identify that building.

Kohinoor re-opening tomorrow
Kohinoor, the Indo-Pakistani restaurant in Monroeville which closed following a fire two weeks ago, will reopen on Friday. Owner/chef Tamil Selvan’s brother will join him as a partner in restarting the restaurant, which will offer dinner service Tuesday through Sunday and lunch service Thursday through Saturday.

Selling, closing, closed
Lava Lounge, the Carson Street spot whose 85-cent tacos and $4 margaritas revolutionized Tuesday drinking for a whole generation of Pittsburghers, is up for sale. The $225,000 asking price includes the bar’s liquor license.

Joe Mama’s, the Oakland Italian joint which has been a fixture on the college scene for 13 years, will close on October 27, following the week of Pitt’s homecoming. Owners Mike Hanley and Jerry Dilembo will cede the space to Fuel & Fuddle owner Brandon Smith, the former Fuel manager who bought the restaurant earlier this year. Smith will redesign the space before reopening as Olio Trattoria, an entirely new Italian restaurant, on November 4.

AVA Lounge, which we reported last week would cease its café operations, has closed. Owner Justin Strong announced on AVA’s website late last week that Saturday’s event at AVA would be the last.

Matthew Wein is a local writer, editor, blogger, storyteller and proud native Pittsburgher. Once described as "a man of things," he covers city design, spirits and craft beer for NEXT, where he keeps all of the editorial meetings light-hearted and interesting. His interests include sorting books, looking at old things and candles which smell like old-growth pine forests.