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ULNA CALLOWAY, right, Chef de Cuisine at Emporio: A Meatball Joint, located at 942 Penn Ave., Downtown. He’s holding the Pork Meatball. (Photos by Briana L. White)

Eat.Drink.Pittsburgh enjoyed by 1,200 at Rivers Casino

One night. 70-plus vendors. 1,200 attendees.

Eat.Drink.Pittsburgh was held at Rivers Casino, Feb. 22, for the second consecutive year. For the past five years, it has been one of Pittsburgh’s most anticipated foodie events. From wings to whisky and everything in between, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

When I arrived at The Drum Bar, inside of Rivers Casino, the line was wrapped all the way around the bar with voracious guests ready to sample everything! The event expanded this year as it took up the entire second floor of the casino, including the buffet area. At the top of the steps, you could either go left or right…

BURNT ALMOND TORTE, from Prantl’s Bakery

As I entered the first room, the smell of burgers caught my attention. So, I walked over, and King’s Restaurant was grilling mini sliders. To my surprise they were tasty; I say “surprise” because I am not usually a fan of their food. The burgers were topped with lettuce, tomato, bacon and cheese. I didn’t eat the whole thing, because I wanted to save room for the other food I was soon to encounter.

KING’S RESTAURANT BURGER

After eating, I was a little thirsty, and I was in luck because the next station was serving up Moscow mules. I didn’t spend much time there, because I was eyeing the tacos at the Tres Rios station. Beef and Duck tacos were on the menu and I had to sample both. The Duck taco gets my vote between the two. Equally satisfying were the meatballs from Emporio: A Meatball Joint, which is located on Penn Avenue, Downtown. They had a wide variety, but my fave was the pork with cheese. In my opinion, cheese makes EVERYTHING better!

As I kept making my way through the crowd, I ate and drank, then drank some more, then ate some more….and I was still in the first room!

LINCOLN BAKERY in Bellevue showcased these treats.

The second room had more libations than the first. However, the first vendor table was Prantl’s Bakery. Their burnt almond torte is to die for! In 2014, The Huffington Post voted it “The BEST cake America has to offer,” so you know it must be pretty darn good. I ate a piece there and came back later with a to-go bag for a midnight snack. Prantl’s has two Pittsburgh locations, Shadyside and Downtown.

Pretzel Crazy was also a vendor; I first encountered them a couple weeks ago at another event. They take ordinary pretzels and make them into something spectacular, by adding caramel, candies, chocolate, etc. Absolutely delicious! They won “Best Dessert” that night. You can find these tasty treats online.

CHILI-ORANGE-FENNEL wing, from The Foundry Table & Tap.

One of my favorite bites that night was a “Chili-Orange-Fennel wing” from The Foundry Table & Tap. Not only was the presentation beautiful, the wing had a crispy skip that was dressed in a sweet heat type sauce. I could have eaten about 10 of them. The next time I’m on the North Shore, I’ll be stopping by. You should, too.

I’m an avid snacker, and my go-to snack is popcorn. I like all types—sweet, savory, buttery, cheesy…you name it, I like it. EKernally Yours Gourmet Popcorn, which is in Charleroi, has some of the best I have ever tasted. The popcorn puff is big and fluffy, and you won’t find any kernels in the bag. The flavors are made with real ingredients, nothing artificial and the varieties are endless.

ADDIO FIORDIGIGLI of eKernally Yours Gourmet Popcorn

I can’t end this article without talking about some of the libations! PA Libations had a big section with all types of liquor. Not sure how many shots I had (don’t tell anybody). You can go to their store in the Strip and do free tastings there. Ole Smokey Distillery was serving a punch made with their Hunch Punch Moonshine, and it was a hit! There were many others, but those booths were on the top of my list.

Don’t worry, if you missed Eat. Drink. Pittsburgh, it’s sure to come around again. It’s something that you and your girls (or guys) should definitely attend…

Cocktails, Cuisine, and the Casino…what more could you want?

 

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