The Food Column: A Bac'n Crawl

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Bacon surged in popularity a few years ago as more than just a breakfast food, and it’s not showing any signs of going away. It started showing up in ice-cream flavors and on fancy menus. And as documented in a recent Post-Gazette Food & Flavor story (http://www.post-gazette.com/life/food/2014/05/22/Forget-the-cookie-table-This-Pittsburgh-couple-is-having-a-bacon-table/stories/201405150444), a local couple decided to offer a bacon table at their wedding in lieu of the traditional Pittsburgh Cookie Table.

Now Dishcrawl, an Internet-based event service that plans restaurant “crawls” in various cities around the U.S., is planning its first themed crawl in Pittsburgh around bacon.

Dishcrawl came to Pittsburgh last year, but until now, its events have had no more cohesive theme than the neighborhood in which each crawl was held. For instance, there was a Downtown crawl in February, a Strip District crawl in March and an East Side crawl in May.

Pittsburgh ambassador Colleen Coll, new to the Dishcrawl gig this year, was looking for a way to spice things up a bit. Dishcrawl staff told her a “Bac’n Crawl” had been popular in other cities, so she decided to try it here.

Here’s how it works:

Go to dishcrawl.com/Pittsburgh and sign up for the Bac’n Crawl, to be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 24. Forty-eight hours before the event, you’ll get an e-mail announcing the first restaurant, where everyone will meet up and enjoy a first course. The remaining two restaurants – and the specific foodstuffs they’ll serve – will remain a secret until the actual event, though they’ll be no more than a 10-minute walk from the first restaurant. The cost is $45 per person.

Participating restaurants all signed on to present bacon-related dishes for guests that evening.

Sure enough, before doing any serious publicity, Ms. Coll had already sold 20 tickets – half the number at which she must cap Dishcrawl events. So despite high pork prices due to a swine virus and rising corn costs, bacon appears to remain as popular here as it was in other cities that have held bacon crawls.

She is pondering future themed events as well. The opening of “Godzilla” would have provided a good one, with monster-themed dishes, but she was a little slow to think of it, she said. She’s considering a paleo crawl, and other cities have done seafood crawls also.

Strawberry festivals at farms…

The following farms will hold strawberry festivals with strawberry picking, strawberry refreshments, children’s activities and other attractions:

Soergel Orchards, Wexford: 11 a.m. Sunday, June 15, soergels.com.

Trax Farms, Finleyville: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 13-15, traxfarms.com.

Triple B Farms, Forward: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 14-15 and June 21-22, triplebfarms.com.

...and churches

Strawberry Festival Along Strawberry Way: Lunch items and strawberry desserts served al fresco on Strawberry Way. 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, June 6, at Smithfield United Church of Christ, Downtown. 412-281-1811.

Strawberry Festival at Shadyside Presbyterian Church: Fresh strawberries, ice cream, shortcake, hot dogs, chips, salads and more, plus kids’ activities, games and music. 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, June 6, at Shadyside Presbyterian. Proceeds benefit Sojourner House, a residential rehab facility for women and their children. shadysidepres.org.

Parkwood Church Strawberry Festival: Food, hayrides, mission fair and family games. 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 7, at Parkwood Presbyterian in Allison Park. parkwoodchurch.org.

Other events

Sizzle Showdown: Three semi-finalists will compete for the chance to be crowned the Grilling Guru, who will go on to compete in New York City later this month. 1 p.m. Saturday, June 7, at Macy’s parking lot, Ross Park Mall. RSVP: sizzlerosspark.eventbrite.com.

Urban Supper: Join eatPGH and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership for a dinner under the stars and skyscrapers of Downtown Pittsburgh, featuring Chef Kate Romane of E2 and Liz Moore of Bluebird Kitchen. 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 7, at Seventh and Liberty, Downtown. $125. 412-566-4190 or eatpgh.com.

Chicks-in-the-Hood: Pittsburgh urban chicken coop tour. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 8, at various sites in the East End and North Side. Tour is self-guided, and tickets ($10 each; free for kids) will be available on tour day at Commonplace Voluto in Garfield, Tazza d’Oro in Highland Park, Animal Nature in Regent Square and other sites. A guided East End bike tour is available starting at 9:15 a.m. at Animal Nature. E-mail noblechoder@gmail.com with questions.

Grilled Cheese Party: Sewickley Public Library kicks off its “Kitchen Reactions” program with samples of various cheeses so students in grades 6 through 12 can build their ultimate sandwich. 2 to 3 p.m. Friday, June 13, in the library’s community room. Registration recommended: 412-741-6920.

Rebecca Sodergren: pgfoodevents@hotmail.com or on Twitter @pgfoodevents.


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