1) Emmy Award-winning TV chef, author, and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich shined a bright food and dining spotlight on Pittsburgh when she opened a Lidia’s restaurant here in 2001. The comfortable, contemporary designed restaurant has survived and thrived by serving fresh, seasonal, time-honored Italian classics with Bastinaich’s distinctive touch. Menu highlights include Lidia’s Pasta Tasting Trio, zuppa di pesce, Serenity Hill Farms Dry Aged Strip Steak, and osso bucca. Make sure to try the zucchini fritters and Bastianich wine too. Lidia’s has recently welcomed a new executive chef with the arrival of Daniel Walker. He worked at several renowned restaurants and luxury hotels before becoming sous chef at Lidia’s flagship restaurant in New York City. Felidia’s. Walker then worked in the same position in his hometown at Lidia’s Kansas City. Growing up there he credits his grandmother for sparking his interest in food and cooking. He looks forward to applying his culinary knowledge, under Bastianich’s guidance, to the menu at Lidia’s Pittsburgh.
Lidia’s has also expanded its private dining spaces to include the Loft at Lidia’s, a revamped patio and two semi private dining spaces, under the direction of newly appointed Private Dining Manager, Ashley Tunney. These changes allow for flexible private dining spaces that can accommodate between 10 and 250 guests. Lidia’s is open for lunch (brunch on Saturday and Sunday) and dinner seven days a week.1400 Smallman St., Strip District.
2) With coal in the news so much recently, a play set in a mining town may be in order, for art often creates empathy. Moon Over the Brewery by Pennsylvania playwright Bruce Graham follows Miriam Lipsky, who waits tables for a living. However, her passion is painting.Guided by a miner’s lamp and moonlight, she paints at night. She also wants a husband, but her 13-year-old daughter, Amanda, scares away potential suitors. Amanda has an IQ of 160 and an imaginary friend, Randolph. When Miriam brings home mailman Warren Zimmerman, it appears history is going to repeat itself as Amanda aims verbal jab after jab at Zimmerman. He not only gains the upper hand but also guides Amanda back towards reality and helps bring the family together. Performances through August 6. Mountain Playhouse, 7690 Somerset Pike, Jennerstown. (CM)