As one of the founders of the Pittsburgh Canning Exchange, Gabe Tilove knows and appreciates good food – especially when it’s local. In his day job, Tilove coordinates adult education for Phipps Conservatory, and spends his spring and summers gardening, and home preserving his own food.
So it’s easy to understand why his first Five Spot Friday pick is the Canning Exchange, an organization that he started with three friends to help others in Pittsburgh learn how to can, and to share recipes, and exchange their own homemade food. If you’re interested in being part of the exchange, you can sign up for their newsletter, where they distribute information about future events.
In his own words, Tilove shares his favorite Pittsburgh dishes:
Chang Mai Curry from Noodlehead: Noodlehead, a beautiful little Thai restaurant in Shadyside, has a pared down menu where everything is delicious and affordable. My favorite dish, especially for a winter warm-up, is their Chang Mai Curry. The yellow curry coconut milk sauce is rich and luxurious. It also has egg noodles, pickled mustard greens, crispy shallots, and either chicken or tofu. Careful on the heat level – it can really build in this dish. (Noodlehead, 242 S. Highland Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA)
Pittsburgh Seitan Steak from Spak Brothers: This sandwich can also come with typical sandwich steak, but for a vegetarian who still wants to chow down, the Pittsburgh Seitan Steak is what you have been craving. Spak Brothers makes their own seitan in-house, and it really makes a big difference. Pile on lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and banana peppers, and then top it all off with French fries and a fried egg in a perfectly toasted roll. Perfection. (Spak Brothers, 5107 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA)
Beans and Greens from Enrico Biscotti: This simple dish – just kale, white beans, garlic and Parmesan – is so satisfying. Enrico’s is tucked away in the middle of the Strip District, hidden in plain sight. It’s only open for lunch (and brunch on Saturdays), so plan ahead and build it into your next visit to the Strip. (Enrico Biscotti, 2022 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA)
Bibim-Bop from Green Pepper: A staple for anyone familiar with Korean cuisine, Bibim Bop is a bowl of rice with mixed vegetables, meat or tofu, and a fried egg. If you get the dolsot option, the rice comes in a piping hot stone bowl that helps keep everything hot and crisps the edges of the rice. As delicious as this is, my favorite part of Korean cuisine is the pre-dinner snacks of pickled and preserved vegetables, including kimchi. Green Pepper’s selection is always delicious. (Green Pepper, 2020 Murray Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA)