Arancini House open in Mt. Lebanon
Arancini House, a new spot specializing in Sicilian-style street food, opened over the weekend on Washington Road in Mt. Lebanon.

In addition to its namesake balls of fried risotto, the restaurant offers rolls filled with pepperoni, sausage and peppers, panèlle (chick pea fritter) sandwiches and traditional Sicilian desserts.

Maggie’s Farm wins big in NYC
Maggie’s Farm Rum’s Queen’s Share took home a silver medal at the 2014 New York International Spirits Competition, and its producer, Allegheny Distilling, netted the Pennsylvania Distillery of the Year award. The Queen’s Share was one of just six rums to earn the silver, and no rum, international or domestic, claimed a higher honor.

On the heels of such lofty accolades, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board yesterday approved Maggie’s Farm’s white and spiced rums for placement in state stores around Southwestern Pennsylvania, and you could see them on shelves by the time the holidays roll around. If there’s any honor higher than medaling at an international spirits competition, it’s probably getting the PLCB to simply acknowledge that you exist.

Cure is getting a sister restaurant
Cure owner/chef Justin Severino and his wife, Hilary Prescott, will open Morcilla, a Spanish tapas spot, at 3519 Butler Street next summer. Morcilla will have a larger seating capacity and a more casual atmosphere than Cure, and offer everything from snacks to family-style Spanish dishes.

The space is currently occupied by state Sen. Jim Ferlo, who is retiring from the Senate next year.

Piccolo Forno owner won’t expand to North Side
Domenic Branduzzi, the chef and owner of Piccolo Forno in Lawrenceville, has opted out of the development that would have placed a new Italian restaurant in the Garden Theater block on North Avenue on the North Side. Branduzzi had planned to open a 4,500-square-foot eatery in the development.

Branduzzi does plan to open a grappa and wine bar in the building behind Piccolo Forno later this year.

Asiatique update
Following up on an item we reported last week, the owners of Asiatique, the Thai bistro which was set to open in Bakery Square last weekend, have pushed back the opening at least three weeks. A spokesperson for Bakery Square hesitated to pin down an exact date. This isn’t the first time Asiatique’s opening date has changed.

But while you’re waiting…
There’s no shortage of great Thai food in this town, and the dropping temperatures are a more than adequate excuse to turn up the heat next time you dine out. It’d be crazy to run through all of them here, but Eat/Drink has a deep-seated love for Pusadee’s Garden and its Shadyside sister restaurant, Noodlehead. Most restaurants do spicy on a scale of one to 10 with a great deal of variance—one friend of ours never asks for anything less than a 25 when dining at Squirrel Hill’s Bangkok Balcony. At Noodlehead, which uses a one-to-five scale, that friend breaks a sweat at five.

The other thing that makes Noodlehead so endearing is that they don’t have a phone—at least, they don’t have a publicly listed number—so you can’t call in with an order. Getting takeout requires you to show up, look at a menu, place your order and wait about 20 minutes. It’s a fun throwback to a simpler time, when our forefathers sent servants or children into town on horseback to bring back enough pad thai and red wine to last a fortnight. If you’re eager to kill the time, saunter a few doors down to Buffalo Blues and have a beer. It makes for a good evening.

Over in Bloomfield, the 4500 and 4600 blocks of Liberty Avenue are bookended with Thai Gourmet and Thai Cuisine in what’s become the Mineo’s-versus-Aiello’s debate of Pittsburgh’s Little Italy. We tend to favor Thai Cuisine, but encourage you to go out, perform your due diligence, pick a side and report back to us with your findings.

Square Café launches brunch truck
Pittsburgh already has trucks serving tacos, burgers, hot dogs, crepes and macaroni & cheese, so it was really only a matter of time before someone thought to serve brunch out of a truck. Lucky for us, the people behind it know what they’re doing. Square Café has partnered with Uncle Charley’s Sausage to deliver fresh brunch to various locales around the area. Keep an eye on Square Café’s Twitter account for appearance details.

Mad Mex goes north
The Big Burrito Group just opened its thirteenth Mad Mex location, this one in Erie. Props to Chef Bill Fuller and his colleagues for providing this frigid, lake-effect-snow-ridden town with a new burrito access point to help keep warm. After all, winter is coming.

The new Eat n' Park on Banksville Rd. NEXTpittsburgh photo
The new Eat n’ Park on Banksville Rd. NEXTpittsburgh photo
The new Eat n’ Park on Banksville Rd. NEXTpittsburgh photo

In a sort of related story…?
Eat’n Park opened a new restaurant earlier this months Banksville Road, replacing their older location in the same spot. The new building, modern and cheery, is far more environmentally friendly, meeting LEED Silver standards with energy-efficient technologies and sustainable materials. There’s a pick-up window, free wifi and a private dining room. And it’s continually packed, just like the old one.

National Cake Day
November 26 is National Cake Day. It’s just one of more than 175 food-themed “holidays” the United States recognizes each year. Consider this as Eat/Drink doing its part to raise awareness of cake.

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.