In our new Monday column, we’ll give you recommendations on what to eat, drink and do in the week ahead.

Eat: The Winter CSA from Wild Purveyors

For many food lovers, the arrival of the final CSA box is the death knell of summer. Subscriptions to community-supported agriculture programs provide a way for eaters to get convenient boxes of local produce throughout the summer and give farmers some much-needed capital at the start of the season. Of course, that season is short in Pennsylvania, and the lack of local food is one of the many dreary things about a Pittsburgh winter.

Thankfully, Wild Purveyors is brightening things up. The local food retailer, which closed their Lawrenceville storefront in July, is now focusing on a Build Your Own Winter CSA. Though they are not the first local winter CSA (others include Kretschmann Family Farm and Penn’s Corner), Wild Purveyors’ offering is unique in its customizability. Participants choose exactly what they want. You can sign up for shares of produce, meat, dairy or dry goods, or get a combination of more than one. Plus, subscribers only commit to two months at a time, meaning you can opt in or out of shares for future rounds.

A winter produce selection will look quite different from a summer one, of course: think root veggies and hardy greens. But given Wild Purveyors’ penchant for foraged and specialty foods, it won’t be boring. Other shares should be equally interesting. Elk and venison, great winter meats with deep local roots, will find their way into meat shares, and subscribers to the dry goods share can expect things like pawpaw shrub and chanterelle salt.

Signups for the first round, which will run from November to December, close tonight at midnight. If you miss the window, not to worry: there’s still plenty of time to enroll for January/February and March/April.

Read more about Wild Purveyors and sign up for a share here.

Drink: Local drafts at Pig Iron Public House

There once was a time, not so long ago, when eight was a perfectly respectable number of taps for a bar. A few domestics, an import or two, and a handful of rotating seasonals. But times, they are a-changin’.

According to the Brewers Association, breweries are opening in the U.S. at a rate of 1.5 per day. That meteoric rise in options means that brewers need places to sell all of that beer. And with 66 draft lines, Cranberry Township’s new Pig Iron Public House is happy to oblige.

The restaurant offers an array of creative spins on classic bar food, from seasonal salads to hearty burgers. The extensive lineup of craft beer, however, is the real star. Want an IPA? There are 15 of them on draft. Prefer something dark? There are at least a dozen stouts and porters to choose from. Even more impressive is the sharp focus on local brews. Almost all of those 66 taps dispense a Pennsylvania beer, including multiple options from area breweries like Spoonwood, Full Pint and Grist House.

Pig Iron Public House officially opens today. And if a massive draft selection is your thing, keep an eye out for City Works. The Downtown restaurant and bar, which is slated to open in the summer of 2016, will feature an absurd 120 draft lines.

Do: Sign up for Dinner Lab—for free

When I attended a Dinner Lab dinner a few months ago, I was impressed. The national pop-up supper club finds up-and-coming chefs and allows them to create and execute a completely unique menu, all in a surprising location. The meal had a communal and experimental vibe that was completely different from a typical evening in a restaurant.

However, Dinner Lab wasn’t exactly accessible to the average diner. The club charged $125 just to become a member, on top of the costs for individual dinners. In Pittsburgh, at least, this wasn’t necessarily a problem—dinners were routinely selling out. Nevertheless, Dinner Lab made a nationwide announcement last week that they would be scrapping the membership fee, opening up the events to a whole new audience.

“Our goal is to be inclusive versus exclusive and gather as diverse a group of diners as we can,” explains Heather Cunningham, community manager at Dinner Lab Pittsburgh. “We want everyone who’s interested to be able to come and experience Dinner Lab. I think as a new startup, membership fees helped us ‘keep the lights on,’ so to speak, and as we’ve grown, we’re now able to open it up to everyone.”

Interested diners can sign up for free online. Dinners, which usually include at least five courses paired with wine and cocktails, will cost between $50 and $80 per person. Dinner Lab devotees still have the option to pay a yearly fee that will grant them access to discounts, early bird tickets and special events.

Dinner Lab Pittsburgh currently holds a dinner every three weeks, though Cunningham expects that number to grow. Learn more about Dinner Lab and sign up here.

Drew Cranisky

Drew Cranisky is a writer, bartender and recent graduate of Chatham University's Food Studies program. He enjoys cats, pinball and fancy burgers.