Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
By Madison Krupp • Edited by Andrea Bosco Stehle • Photographs by Michael Fornataro
Celebrate the holidays with your loved ones and enticing, chef-suggested pairings.
This winter, Lidia’s Pittsburgh Executive Chef Nicole Neely is whipping up an octopus dish, called Polipo, with a simple preparation. “It has potatoes that I get crispy, then I throw in my octopus, a little bit of red onion, and red wine vinaigrette,” she says. “I toss it together and that’s it!” A surprising side note, Neely throws a handful of corks into the boiling water to help tenderize the octopus. She suggests pairing the dish with a refreshing glass of Bastianich Sauvignon Adriatico, which features tropical fruit flavors, typical herbaceousness, and hints of white Sambuca. Says Neely, “The wine pairs perfectly because of the harmonious balance of fruits, like grapefruit and mango, and it has a nice memorability.”
Lidia’s Pittsburgh, 1400 Smallman St., Strip District. 412.552.0150.
Get Down to Fizzness
Girasole Executive Chef Jennifer Gerasole is warming the souls of many with her grilled mortadella, served with Taleggio, fig, and hazelnut honey. Restaurant manager and head of the wine program, Vito Gerasole, works with the chef to pull a popular pairing from the charming Old World restaurant’s wine collection. “Braida La Monella is known for ‘irrepressible fizziness’ and nothing says holiday more than sparkling beverages,” she says. “With the wine’s hint of intense fruit and sour cherry, the richness of the mortadella and creaminess of the cheese pair perfectly.”
Girasole, 733 Copeland St., Shadyside. 412.682.2130.
Duck, Duck, Delicious
Altius Executive Chef Jessica Bauer adds a Pennsylvania Duck Breast with an array of fabulous accoutrements to her contemporary holiday menu. The dish embodies the festive flavors of a pear-cinnamon gastrique, and showcases hibiscus-poached Seckel pear, chestnut mascarpone, French green beans, cipollini onion purée, and toasted chestnuts. Bauer says its flavors pair nicely with the restaurant’s cocktail, Angels on East Carson, which is crafted with Angel’s Envy Bourbon, Kronan liqueur, apple cider, and apple bitters.
Altius, 1230 Grandview Ave., Mt. Washington. 412.904.4442.