Photo courtesy of Erin Hart.

Ten years ago, before everything seemed to be prefaced with “farm to table,” Erin Hart gathered all the local producers she knew and held Pittsburgh’s first Farm to Table Local Food Conference. It was a small venue with a couple of hundred people attending. Now the spring event has grown to attract more than 6,000 people over two days.

Hart launched a complementary event in the fall four years ago called Harvest Tasting—a fitting end to the growing season. This year’s Harvest Tasting is set for November 21st from 3 to 7 p.m. at The Waterfront under the Homestead Grays Bridge. The all-ages event will feature samples from over 50 local and regional food artisans—including craft food and breweries, wineries, farms and restaurants.

It’s a busy season for this local food champion and while she often cooks at home, last week’s schedule required dinners at different restaurants. She shares her best meal with us.

My best meal last week was at Luma, a Mt. Lebanon restaurant. I was with my mom and sister for a birthday dinner for one of our friends. It’s funny because I probably go to Luma about two to three times a year, but usually it’s someone else’s idea to go there. But every time I go, we have a great time and the food is always awesome. After last week, it’s now my new favorite place!

 We started with fried calamari—it was amazing. They made it gluten-free for us and used cornmeal. So I think it’s special that they accommodated our request.

On Wednesdays, Luma has what they call their “ Wine down Wednesdays” where wine is half-off. Our table certainly took advantage of this!

For my entrée, I had their Asian-marinated Flank Steak – marinated in a Korean barbecue style sauce, served with pickled cucumbers over a jasmine rice blend.

 It was amazing.

Because I was working so much last week, we had gone out to dinner almost every single night and I kept on trying to top that meal and I couldn’t! That was probably one of the best meals that I’ve had all year long.

I made everyone taste it. Usually, we say, “hey guys, do you want to try this?” but I insisted— “you guys HAVE to try this.” I gave everyone a piece of it—and everyone said that was their best meal last week (laughs).

The cucumbers that were on the side were pickled lightly and they were incredible. They were very fresh and cut in substantial slices. I saved them all ‘til the end because the flank steak was so good but they were the perfect ending. The barbecue was a little sweet so this was a perfect foil.

I didn’t need dessert.

Another great thing about Luma? It’s right next to Hitchhiker Brewing—so you can have dinner at Luma and then go to Hitchhiker from some local brews. Perfect evening.

Looking for other best meals? Click here.

Leah Lizarondo

Leah Lizarondo is a food advocate, writer and speaker. She is also the co-founder of 412 Food Rescue, an organization that seeks to eliminate food waste to make an impact on hunger and the environment. She is the Chief Veghacker, recipe creator and curator at The Brazen Kitchen, where she writes about food and food policy. She writes about the intersection of food, health, innovation and policy.