In our new Monday column, we’ll give you recommendations on what to eat, drink and do in the week ahead.
Eat: Local lamb at Poros
Some of the country’s best lamb is raised just miles from Pittsburgh. Lamb from Latrobe’s Jamison Farm graces the menus of internationally renowned restaurants like Alinea and Daniel, and Elysian Fields Farm in Waynesburg counts superstar chef Thomas Keller as a partner and devoted fan.
Even so, lamb isn’t exactly a staple in Pittsburgh, generally making appearances as a special or finding its way into the occasional meatball. Poros aims to change that. The new Downtown restaurant, which we wrote about earlier this month, officially opened today. The Greek and Mediterranean inspired menu devotes an entire section of its menu to the often-overlooked protein.
Diners can feast on a number of interesting preparations, including the Jamison Farm Lamb Heart Souvlaki (a skewer of grilled meat) and the Elysian Fields Lamb Pastitsio, a baked pasta dish with a rich béchamel. There is also a more familiar lamb chop dish, which pairs Colorado chops with sundried tomatoes, lentils and figs.
If you still aren’t a lamb convert, not to worry. The Poros menu includes plenty of small plates (many of which are vegetarian) and seafood, including whole grilled fish. Check out Poros’ whole selection here.
Drink: Tea at Bantha Tea Bar
You might think that the Bantha in Bantha Tea Bar refers to a signature tea blend or a particularly productive growing region in North India. But if you’re a Star Wars fan you’re already yelling at your screen, because of course the Bantha is an elephantine beast of burden native to Tatooine. Of course.
The name is the first clue that Bantha Tea Bar, which opened in Bloomfield last month, is not your typical tea shop. But it’s certainly not the last. The interior, with its rounded ceilings made from natural building materials, looks like it would be right at home on Tatooine. Art surrounds you, from paintings by local artists on the walls to a striking mosaic tile floor underfoot. Classic rock pours out of the speakers, completing an atmosphere that is as homey as it is funky.
As for the tea, the offerings range from the classic to the unexpected, like the excellent Black Fennel Chai. Local options abound, including herbal tea blends from Healcrest Urban Farm and pastries from Eliza’s Oven. There’s coffee too, but with both Constellation and Commonplace just blocks away, tea is definitely the way to go. And don’t worry: none of the tea contains real Bantha.
Do: Back of the House Fall BBQ
It may be time to let go of summer, but not before one more blowout cookout. This Sunday, check out the 2nd annual Back of the House, a barbecue featuring more than a dozen of Pittsburgh’s best chefs. Proceeds from the event will benefit YouthPlaces, which provides after-school programs for teens in underserved communities, including job training for the food service industry.
This year’s bash features a stellar lineup of chefs, including Kate Romane of e2, Curtis Gamble of Station and Brian Little of Six Penn Kitchen. According to TABLE Magazine, one of the event’s sponsors, a barbecue theme was the natural choice. “When we ask our favorite chefs what they cook when they cook for themselves, the answer is always the same—barbecue.” Tickets, which are $35 in advance, will include five food tastings with the option to purchase additional food tastings and beverages.
Back of the House will be held this Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m. at YouthPlaces on the North Side. Purchase tickets here.