Food Column: Eat local, for Restaurant Week and otherwise

Pittsburgh-area restaurants strut their stuff Aug. 13-19 with special deals and menus for Pittsburgh Restaurant Week 2012.

The celebration will commence with a "Pittsburgh Restaurant Week Kickoff Party" featuring summer cocktails, free samples from Downtown restaurants and charity raffles at 6 p.m. next Thursday, Aug. 9, in the lobby of the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel. Tickets for the kickoff party are $50 per person and must be bought ahead.

During Restaurant Week, some restaurants are featuring three-course dinners for $20.12 per person, while others have different deals.

To check whether your favorite restaurant has a deal or to order tickets for the kickoff party, go to

Meanwhile, some other food events:

Eat local, part two

Eat Local: The East End Food Co-Op in Point Breeze joins others across the country to mark the fifth "Eat Local, America!" promotion. At 6:30 p.m. each Thursday this month, consumers can explore the benefits of eating the region's best local foods at workshops on topics such as home cheesemaking and food preservation. Tonight, it's "Gardening" with Robert Madden from Garden Dreams Urban Farm. On Aug. 9, the French film "Food Beware" will be shown. The series winds up Aug. 30 with a potluck dinner.

For more information, visit Connect with the national community at


Bavarian Fun Fest: Old World-style festival featuring cabbage and pierogies, German wurst, Munich-style pretzels, Bavarian strudel, beer, polka bands, ethnic dancers, crafters, children's activities and fireworks. 2 p.m. to midnight today, 2 p.m. to 1 a.m. tomorrow, noon to 1 a.m. Saturday and noon to midnight Sunday on the grounds of Quaker Steak & Lube, Sharon. $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and kids. Information:

Washington Wine, Jazz & Pops Festival: Live music, wine tasting, crafts and food. Noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 5, at Mingo Creek Park, Finleyville. $20 online at, or $25 at the gate. Bring a chair or blanket.

Italian Day Festa: Ethnic foods, entertainment, dancing, bocci tournament and fireworks. 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 10 at Idlewild Park, Ligonier.

Fermenting things

Introduction to Fermentation: Join the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture and learn to make your own fermented goods from seasonal farm-fresh vegetables. Presenters Carrie Hahn of Weston Price Foundation and Jackie Cleary of Auburn Meadow Farm ( will demonstrate kimchi and kraut. 1 p.m. Aug. 18 at Harvest Valley Farms in Valencia, Butler County. $5 for PASA members, $10 for nonmembers. Register ahead at


Act I Winefest: Sample local wines, fine chocolates, olive oils, vinegars and cheeses while benefiting Ellwood City's Red Barn Players. 1 p.m. Saturday at Red Barn Theater, Fombell. $20 per person or $5 for designated driver. Email reservation to or call 724-650-3054.

Benefit Dinner for Pittsburgh Human Rights Network: Buffet-style dinner with one drink, 7 p.m. Aug. 14 at Mad Mex, Shadyside. $35 benefits the network's micro-grants program. Register ahead:


New oven or big vacation: Through Aug. 11, Thermador and Sur la Table are accepting entries for some high-end prizes. One person will win a Thermador Pro Grand Steam range, and another person will win a Sur la Table culinary vacation to France.

One winner per week will receive a $100 Sur la Table gift certificate. To enter, go to

Feed Rebecca Sodergren events and other food news at


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