I spend all year looking forward to the Best Restaurant Party. At the party, the winners of awards in Pittsburgh Magazine’s Best Restaurants issue set up tables, and serve small bites to the crowd. It’s a nice opportunity to have tastes of a whole lot of restaurants all at once. It’s also a massive completely insane Saturday-Morning-at-Costco style feeding frenzy. Just because the women are in heels and the men are in ties does not mean they’re acting civilized. Lots of yinzers and lots of food means lots of crazy.
None of the dishes stood out to me as a culinary revelation, but many of them were very good. My favorite dish of the night was the peppercorn crusted, onion-topped sliders from Burgatory. You can never go wrong with Burgatory. It was a simple dish, but fresh (they were using the Heinz Field grills) and flavorful. Mr. Beez’ favorite dish was a noodle salad with duck and scallops from Spoon. It’s hard for chefs to put together fresh tasting, creative samples when they’re stuck cooking off site and serving from chafing dishes, but I do think most chefs did a very good job. I should have taken pictures of the food, but I was just too busy eating everything in sight.
All the Pittsburgh-famous chefs were there. I of course did not speak with any of them. What would I say? “YOU MAKE TASTY FOODS.” That would just be creepy. But if you’re interested in meeting the chefs/owners of Pittsburgh’s most exciting restaurants, this is an event you should try to attend.
The party tends to have logistical hiccups, but I think each year they get better at ironing out issues. The setting at the Convention Center a couple years ago was my favorite location, because there was plenty of space and the way that the stations were set up encouraged the steady flow of traffic. Last year was at Heinz Field but it was uncomfortably crowded. This year was again in Heinz Field, but it was hosted in both club lounges instead of just in one, and that made a huge difference. The traffic flow is still tricky because they way that the stations are lined up, half the people wait angrily in one supposed one continuous line from one station to the next, while the other half pop in and out from station to station. It would nice to see if they could either stagger the tables in such a way as to discourage one long line, or set up ropes that would create a small line at each station.
We also went to the after-party at the Casino. It was open bar and there were generous food sampling stations, but I was so full from chowing down at the party for 2 straight hours, that I couldn’t even eat anything. All the food looked really good though. I gambled a whopping $5, and came home with $19.22, so I feel like a winner. I wish gambling were more fun for me (just a little more fun). I’m so risk averse that the casino pains me, because I just watch my money waste away. I have been to Vegas plenty of times, but I think the most I’ve ever gambled in my life at one time was $20. I think of all the shopping I could do with the money instead, and the slot machines lose all appeal.
Ok, this has nothing to do with the party, BUT I had the Locavore Southern Belle dog (topped with cole slaw and chili) from Franktuary for lunch yesterday.
OMG SO DELICIOUS.