Thursday, January 30, 2014

PITTSBURGH PA: Best Melting Pot Neighborhood is Pittsburgh's South Side.

The best example of a melting pot neighborhood, as it always may have been, is Pittsburgh's South Side. Carson Street's arts-and-bars redevelopment bears little trace of the neighborhood's multicultural roots, but its 2000 population was multi-ethnic.  Food photos are above each category. 



 22.6 percent German
  • German restaurant link from Urban Spoon LINK
  • German Restaurant HofbrauHaus Link from Yelp  LINK


21.5 percent Polish
  • S & D Polish Deli link from internet LINK . This place is unusual. A few small tables are scattered throughout but the place has cases and shelves of Polish foods that you can purchase and they ship Nationwide!!  Food was good!! AWARDS:  

>> Pittsburgh Perfect Pierogi 1st Place<<
>> Best Pierogi in Pittsburgh 2009 <<
>> Best of the Burgh "Best Polish Deli" 2010 <<
>> Finalist in Pierogi Contest by WQED TV 2011 <<
                         >> CBS Pittsburgh Best Ethnic Grocery Store 2012 << 



20.7 percent Irish
  • Harp & Fiddle  LINK
  • Claddagh Irish Pub LINK


12.9 percent Italian
  • Italian multiple restaurant link from Urban Spoon  LINK
  • Italian multiple restaurant link from Downtown Pittsburgh  LINK
  • Italian restaurant link Lidia's from Yelp  LINK . Food and Service is great!!


4.4 percent Slovak
  • Could find no Slovakian restaurants in the South Side 


4.0 percent Ukrainian
  • Could find no Ukrainian restaurants in the South Side



Even though Greek percentage is not listed in this particular article here is the LINK to five Greek Restaurants/Market in the South Side. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

THE PA MELTING POT - Part 11 - Ethnic Jews


Part 11 – ETHNIC JEWS - The Melting Pot

A look at the evolution of food in southwestern 

Pennsylvania – ETHNIC JEWS

About 88% of the Jews in PA live in either Philadelphia or Pittsburgh. 5% of the households in Allegheny County are Jewish. Jews arrived in Pittsburgh in the 1830s and in Uniontown in the 1860s.  The Jews who settle here were of various nationalities:  Spanish-Portuguese, German, Russian, Hungarian, Romanian, North African and the list goes on.
Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood is considered to be the city's primary Jewish hub since the 1920s.  According to a 2002 study by the United Jewish Federation, 47% of the Jewish population live in Squirrel Hill and the surrounding area. The report states that "The stability of Squirrel Hill, a geographic hub of the Jewish community located within the city limits, is unique in North America." Squirrel Hill contains numerous Jewish day schools, synagogues, restaurants, a Community Center and an annual festival.
FISH:   With kosher meat not always available fish became an important staple of the Jewish diet.  Gefilte fish and lox are popular.  Gefilte fish was made by mincing it and mixing with finely chopped browned onions, eggs, salt, pepper, and vegetable oil. While traditionally made with carp, gefilte fish may also be made from any large fish: codhaddock, or hake, whitefish or pike.  The combination of lox (smoked salmon) or whitefish with bagels and cream cheese is a traditional breakfast or brunch in American Jewish cuisine and made famous at delicatessens.  Gehakte hering (chopped herring), a popular appetizer, is made by mixing chopped herring with hard-boiled eggsonionsapplessugarpepper, and a dash of vinegar.
SOUPS:  Chicken soup may be served with noodles, rice, or croutons. Other popular ingredients are kreplach (dumplings) and kneidlach (matzo balls or a mixture of matzo meal, eggs, water, melted fat, pepper and salt).  Soups such as Borsht were considered a staple in Ukraine. Soups like krupnik were made of oatmeal, potatoes, and fat.  There are a number of sour soups in the borscht category. One is kraut (cabbage) and beet borscht.
BREAD AND CAKEChallah bread, Homentash (a triangular cookie/turnover filled with fruit preserves), Mohn kihel (a cookie sprinkled with poppy seed), Pirushkes (little cakes fried with honey or molasses), Strudel and Kugels (made from rice, noodles or mashed potatoes) are popular.
MEATS:  Gebratenes (roasted meat) and essig fleisch (vinegar meat) are favorites. Another popular dish is Pierogi (dough filled with minced beef).  A spread of chopped liver, prepared with onions is served with rye bread or crackers. Stuffed cabbage aka "cabbage roll" is also a European Jewish dish that emerged out of more impoverished times.
SIDE DISHESTzimmes (cooked vegetables or fruits & sometimes with added meat) and Kreplach (ravioli-like dumplings filled with finely chopped, seasoned meat or cheese) are popular.

SWEETS:  Teiglach (marble-sized balls of dough drenched in a honey syrup) and Ingberlach (ginger candies) are popular. Jellies and preserves made from fruit juice were used as pastry filling to be served with tea.  Compote (with no dairy products made of whole or pieces of fruit in sugar syrup) is a staple.


Next column will be German Sects 2 - Bavaria, Moravia, Holland and Swiss.
For blog posts and recipes visit www.ThePAMeltingPot.comChristine Willard, a native of western Pennsylvania, researches and blogs about the food unique to western Pennsylvania. She currently resides in North Carolina.