La Gourmandine will take over the former Penn Avenue Fish spot on Forbes Avenue
Latrobe to go bananas
To celebrate being named the official "Birthplace of the Banana Split," Latrobe is throwing a three-day party, complete with ceremonies, a banana-themed street fair and of course tastings of the chocolate-vanilla-strawberry ice cream dish.
The Great American Banana Split event kicks off at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 23, with the unveiling of the state historical marker and a banana-themed art show. A Dole Banana Daiquiri Cocktail Hour begins at 6 p.m. at the Quatrini-Rafferty Building, followed by a yellow-carpet Yellow Tie Gala featuring banana splits and bananas Foster.
Activities on Saturday, Aug. 24, include a Dole Banana Family Stroll through town, a banana-baking contest, a street fair and car rally and a sock hop at the Latrobe Art Center from 6 to 9 p.m.
The most banana-tastic event, though, is reserved for Sunday, Aug. 25, which also happens to be National Banana Split Day. That's when the world's largest banana-peeling flash mob is expected to converge on Chuck Noll Field on Saint Vincent College campus in nearby Unity.
Details are still being finalized.
Break the Ramadan fast
The Turkish Cultural Center of Pittsburgh and the Intercultural Dialogue Group of the University of Pittsburgh once again are inviting people to join them in a tent on the lawn of the Cathedral of Learning in Oakland to break the Ramadan fast, or iftar, at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
During the daylight hours of the holy month of Ramadan, which began July 8 and continues to Aug. 9, observant Muslims the world over abstain from all food, drink and sensual pleasures (there are exceptions for children, the elderly, the sick and the pregnant). In the evenings, however, people gather to enjoy a meal and each other's company.
The TCCP notes, "Ramadan is a time when the principles of generosity and hospitality become especially important."
The dinner and the chance to meet and mingle with local Muslims are free to the first 200 people each evening.
Night Market is big
The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership's fifth Downtown Night Market is Friday and this one is the biggest ever, with twice as many vendors.
The event runs from 5 to 11 p.m. in two adjacent parking lots at Eighth Street and Penn Avenue in the Cultural District, where there will be 40 vendors of food as well as art and crafts.
Food vendors are Allegheny City Smokehouse, Aunt Carol's Dips, Bar Marco, Betsy's Ice Cream, Bluebird Kitchen, BRGR, Burgh Bites Cart, Cafe Byblos, Del's Restaurant, Fabulous Homemade Cookies, Healcrest Urban Farm, Istanbul Grille, Kous Kous Cafe, Lascola's Italian Ice, Lomito Truck, Meat & Potatoes, Pittsburgh Pie Guy, Pretzel Crazy, Soup Nancys and Zeke's Coffee.
The partnership notes that the market will be powered by solar energy as well as "bikerators," brought in by Zero Fossil Energy Outfitters, which will allow attendees to pedal to pitch in and help. You also can hit the dance floor and move to the tunes of DJ Soy Sos and play cornhole.
Like previous markets, this one will be held in conjunction with the Cultural Trust's Gallery Crawl. Get the full list of vendors at pgplate.com.
More Church bling
Church Brew Works' head brewer Matt Moninger happily reports that the Lawrenceville brewpub won several medals at the Los Angeles International Commercial Beer Competition.
Pious Monk Dunkel won a gold in the European Dunkel category.
Pipe Organ Pale Ale won a silver in the International Pale Ale category.
Celestial Gold won a bronze in the German-style Pilsner category.
Read a full list of winners at fairplex.com/wos/beer_competition.
-- Gretchen McKay and Bob Batz Jr. Some of these items also appear on the food and drink blog The Forks