Black and gold baklava, anyone?
Football food makes most people think of chips, dip and hot wings, but here in Pittsburgh -- where our passion for the Steelers underscores every aspect of life -- bakeries, grocery stores and restaurants get a little more creative with their offerings.
Zelfa Khalil, owner of The Baklava Company, originally tried an apricot and date filling for her Steelers-inspired pastries, but it was more orange then gold, so she spent a weekend making lemon curd. She sells her football-shaped, phyllo dough pastries at the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip District.
Sweet treats combined with a passion for football bring out some creative decorating techniques. At Whole Foods Market in East Liberty, the bakery team headed by Tiffany Olden has been working around the clock making football-shaped cakes, chocolate torte cakes decorated in black and gold, Steelers cupcakes and more.
"Anything that's yellow and dark chocolate really goes," said Ms. Olden, who predicts that the Saturday before the Super Bowl will be "madness" at Whole Foods.
Bethel Bakery in Bethel Park sells an incredible variety of Steelers sweets, include football-toting Steelers gingerbread men, Terrible Towel cookies and giant Steelers cookie cakes.
At Prantl's, Downtown and in Shadyside, the cakes shaped like football helmets are particularly impressive, but it would be hard to resist their famous burnt almond torte emblazoned with a black and gold logo.
Keep your eyes peeled this week and you're likely to see suitable treats everywhere you go. Aldo Coffee Company in Mt. Lebanon will have black and gold football cookies. Dozen Bakeshop will have cupcakes and other assorted Steelers-inspired treats. Its Lawrenceville location will be open from 9 a.m. to noon on Super Bowl Sunday to accommodate last minute pick-ups.
Loafers Bread Co., with four area locations, tomorrow and Saturday will be selling Black and Gold Challah (pre-order the day before to be sure you get a loaf).
Along with a bevy of sweets, there are savory options and drinks as well.
Mexico City, which now has two Downtown locations as well as one on the South Side, offers a black and gold burrito decked out in a cheese sauce and a spicy, savory black sauce.
At the Quiet Storm in Garfield, the Black and Gold plate is always a popular choice. Black beans and scrambled tofu, plus roasted vegetables, basmati or brown rice and vegan onion gravy is far from typical football food, but then again, Pittsburgh is far from a typical football town.
Last week, I even spotted a black and gold dish at the upscale Spoon in East Liberty. The "split bean soup," pureed white bean and black bean soups served side by side in the same bowl, garnished with smoked ham hock, chicken and smoked paprika creme fraiche, was either a subtle tribute or a fun coincidence. Either way, the soup was delicious.
Beer may be the libation of choice for some football fans, but a nice glass of wine goes just as well with victory, and Dreadnought Wines has some suggestions. Pittsburgh "Redd Up Red" Cabernet and "Yinzer Blanc" Chardonnay from Sylvester Winery in California were originally produced in a limited run for Pittsburgh's 250th anniversary, but they were so popular that the winery decided to keep them around.
They're available exclusively from Dreadnought, and this being Pittsburgh, prepare to place a minimum $50 order and call no later than today for Saturday pick-up.
Morton's The Steakhouse, Downtown, expects a crowd for the game, so its mixologists went to work crafting an appropriate drink. The Black and Gold Margarita puts a twist on the classic tart cocktail, combining Gran Centenario Tequila, Grand Marnier and sours mix and garnishing it with fresh blackberries. This special drink will be available only on Super Bowl Sunday starting at 5 p.m. Black and Gold Margarita also will be served at the Morton's in Dallas.
At home, brew up a cup of black and gold coffee from Commonplace in Squirrel Hill and Indiana, Pa. The coffee blends a very light roast and a darker one, so the beans actually look black and gold.
"It's the only coffee we have with a little window on the bag" said owner TJ Fairchild. The price of the coffee changes based on the point difference in the last game. Right now, it's $9.30 for a one-pound bag.
Of course, one can't overlook what is probably the most popular black and gold food of all: Eat'n Park's black and gold Steelers Smiley cookies.
The chain expects to bake and ice more than half a million of the cookies between now and Sunday, said Kevin O'Connell, senior vice president of marketing for Eat'n Park.