Asiatique opening in Bakery Square
Asiatique, the BYOB Thai bistro that someone is bound to confuse with Eyetique sooner or later, will open in Bakery Square on Sunday, November 16. It’s the latest restaurant from Ling Robinson, owner of The Green Mango in Monroeville and a former restaurant of the same name in Regent Square—the latter was always one of our favorite Thai joints in the city, so our expectations for Asiatique are high going in.

Update (Friday, 3:12 p.m.): a spokesperson for Bakery Square says that Asiatique’s opening will be delayed at least a week.

Blowfish Blowout at Brew Gents
Wrapping up the outdoor dining season, Blowfish BBQ will make its final Friday evening appearance of the year at the Brew Gentlemen on November 21 and owner Justin “Hootie” Blakey is pulling out all the stops.

In addition to his usual menu of smoked sausages, drumsticks, vinegar-dressed slaw, smashed red potatoes and that incredible mac & cheese, Hootie plans smoking brisket and ribs—two items which don’t usually make it onto his regular vending menu because the fluctuations in the meat market make them tougher to consistently price.

“The brisket is the big one because that’s my favorite and I think it’s what I do best,” Hootie says.

He’s not kidding. If you’re a meat-eater we highly recommend it. The Gents have created a Facebook page for the event, and they’ll be posting updates, along with the full menu, as they’re finalized. They’ll also be tapping kegs of their Smoked Cayenne Porter and Southern BBQ beers for the evening.

In a related story…
While some vendors will pack it in for the winter and start planning for next year, Thom Gulish won’t be one of them. He plans to add flaps to his Gyros N’at tent and soldier on every Saturday outside the brewery through the winter, having developed a loyal following among Braddock residents during his first year on the scene.

“They love him down there,” Hootie says. “People walk by on Friday nights when I’m there and ask if I’m the gyro guy.”

The new Willow is ragingly good
On Monday, Eat/Drink lunched at Willow, the decade-old North Hills restaurant from chef Brian Pekarcik and business partner Rick Stern (owners of Spoon, Grit & Grace and BRGR), which reopened in September after being closed for three months for renovations.

If you’re ever going to catch a fine restaurant slightly off its game, chances are it’ll happen on a Monday—that’s the traditional day off for most service industry employees who labor through hectic weekends in their kitchens and bars.

Not only did Willow bring its A-game on a Monday afternoon, it did so with incredible style. The highlight was a salad of shredded kale and grilled chicken with pecans, chevre, pickled red onion and grapes, dressed with maple and balsamic. The bahn mi sandwich wasn’t far behind.

If you haven’t been to Willow since its recent overhaul, make a point of getting there—it’s the new crown jewel in the S+P Restaurant Group’s empire.

Six years of Mad Elf at D’s
Normally, we would not jump start the winter holiday season before Thanksgiving, but after hearing about this, we just can’t help ourselves. D’s Six Pax & Dogz in Regent Square has been saving kegs of Troeg’s Mad Elf Ale, the Hershey-based brewery’s wildly popular winter seasonal, for each of the last six years.

In addition to rolling out this year’s version, D’s will tap Mad Elf which has been mellowing in the cellar since 2008, which is more than enough time to transform it into a completely different beverage. D’s does this every October with Southern Tier’s Pumking, but this will be a whole different ballgame. Made with Pennsylvania honey, sweet and sour cherries and three kinds of malts, Mad Elf clocks in at an absurd 11 percent alcohol by volume—just what you need to get through that long weekend with the extended family.

Harvest Tasting this weekend at the Public Market
The Pittsburgh Public Market and Wigle Whiskey will host the third annual Farm to Table Harvest Tasting on Sunday, November 16 from 3 to 7 p.m. More than 60 vendors will be on hand, lining 24th Street with everything from locally made cheeses and breads to local veggies, sauces, meats, cider, cocktails and beer.

Tickets to the Harvest Tasting are $25 in advance or $35 at the door ($10/$15 for kids ages 2-17), and are available through the event page.

Speaking of Wigle…
The Strip District distillery announced last week that it has secured a loan to purchase a new 950 liter still and an additional fermenter, enabling it to produce what experts estimate as “significantly more whiskey.”

The still will be made to order in Germany by the CARL Company and be ready to start cranking out new spirits in about a year.

Leona’s rolls out Thanksgiving set
Sure, pie is the traditional Thanksgiving dessert, but variety never hurts and what’s better than a touch of Pittsburgh? Leona’s, the city’s finest purveyor of handmade ice cream sandwiches, has rolled out Fall Holiday Sampler Sets. Each set contains six ice cream sandwiches—two each of pumpkin caramel with shortbread cookies, butter pecan on vanilla cookies, and our personal favorite, apple cinnamon on oatmeal lace.

You can order sets through Leona’s website and pick them up at 52nd Street Market or Allegheny City Market, or you can arrange for delivery. Leona’s is planning two similar releases in December to coincide with the winter holidays.

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.