Pittsburgh Restaurant Scene
The Farm-to-Table movement is still in full swing, especially in western PA. However, a new trend is developing, Dinner on the Farm. The idea is so simple and beautiful I am not sure how restaurants haven’t been doing this for years. Cure has really embraced this idea already hosting numerous events like this. I don’t think I need to get into our love affair with Cure, if you know us, then you know it is hands down our favorite restaurant. But this experience is totally different from dining at the restaurant, and it’s amazing. These events take place at White Oak Farm, located in Hampton Township. The 50acre farm is gorgeous the barns, the ponds, the chicken coop, the garden, and they all feel miles away from civilization. Once you step out of your car it feels like you are already breathing easier and thinking clearer and you are only 2 miles off of Rt. 8 and tucked right behind Hartwood Acres. As you walk up the driveway you hear people chatting while sipping cocktails and munching on apps. We always say hello to the crew first, then start mingling. Usually for these events Justin has a guest Chef participating, but this time he is cooking solo. Everyone stepped up and you never even noticed the missing guest chef.
The day started off nicely, it was overcast, mid 70’s and light humidity. In fact, the weathermen had all said there was a 0% chance of rain. You know what’s going to happen when the weathermen say no rain, IT’S GOING TO RAIN!!
Well just as we were about to sit down to eat Mother Nature decided to give us a shower, and a long shower it was. As the 35-40 guests were hiding under the trees to stay dry the Cure Team tried to come up with a plan of action. Boss Lady Jen was in charge of keeping things under control, and as always she did a wonderful job! FYI, we love Jen, she is the best! Eventually they talked to the owner of the farm, Nicola DiCio and asked if they could set up the kitchen in one of the barns and have the guests eat on his back porch and deck. He gave the OK and things started moving. Now, if you are attending one of these events and it’s raining and you see a small number of workers scrambling and running around trying to save the day, HELP THEM! It won’t kill you, and the guys at Cure will greatly appreciate it. So with everything moved around and Justin cooking like a madman we were finally ready to eat. All the food at these events is served family style and you serve yourself.
The apps we enjoyed before the storm were Cure’s salumi and pickled veggies on crostini, always delicious and spectacular! The entrée for the dinner was Porchetta, which is one of my favorite foods of all time! If you haven’t had it, find a place that has it and get your butt down there (hint: Cure does it quite often!) it was served in large slices over pickled zucchini and hazelnut soffritto. Since you are dining on a farm, the veggies are heavily featured; this dinner was no different. One tray had garden beans, beets, dill flower, cucumber, goat feta and golden crumb; as amazing as the colors of this dish were, the flavor was even better! Another tray had incredible Chanterelle mushrooms with smoked spelt berries, with peaches, bacon and pesto. If you have never had Chanterelles or spelt berries, than you my friends are missing out. The third tray was the Cheese Tray, really great cheddar served with blueberries, candied walnuts and honey olive oil.
Some may say that the rain ruined the day, not us! The rain may have been inconvenient but the whole day was a blast, we would do it again in a heartbeat. We always have an amazing time with the whole team from Cure and are extremely excited that they keep planning more dinners on the farm. The tickets are presold on their website and they have a few planned out already so call them and reserve your spot now. Once you attend one dinner on the farm you will already start looking forward to the next one. If you are looking for a more adventurous dining experience, this is it. Hopefully we will see you guys at the next dinner on the farm. A quick side note; you will be dining on a working farm, don’t wear heels, and don’t wear your most expensive fancy clothes. Wear something comfortable that you won’t mind getting a little dirty. DUH!