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Best of the best in Pittsburgh

You don’t know Pittsburgh. Sure you’ve heard bad things about the decline of industry and Quarterbacks, but that’s all in the past. These days the Steel City is hot and vibrant. Young Pittsburgers – many of whom sojourned in NYC – are returning home, taking advantage of the low cost of living, and opening fun, quality restaurants and bars in the city’s 90 neighborhoods (car rental is advised).

This guide is limited to a manageable few, but be open to venturing beyond. Such as: if you’re around on a Wednesday check out the Pittsburgh Banjo Club @ The Elks Lodge (400 Cedar Ave.), 8-11pm, $2 beers. Literally banjos. And old timers. And the hip. The 300,000 people who call this city home are in sync. Join them.

A perfect place to start your Pittsburgh trip is the lovely Point State Park, and not just because we suggest waking up at the convenient, massive, adjacent Wyndham Grand (600 Commonwealth Pl.; 412-391-4600; 712 rooms, from $219. A $40-million, six year renovation of this 36-acre park was completed in June. Here is where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers converge to form the Ohio (the Three Rivers). Water is everything, of course, so what you really need to know about the City of Bridges(!) is it’s worth fighting for (French-Indian War; American Revolution).

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Reinventing the Library: Washington’s New Centers for Learning

Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library
The century-old Washington DC Public Library (DCPL) system is selecting an architect to lead the renovation of the 1972 Ludwig Mies van der Rohe-designed Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, which has been the city's main branch. 60 firms showed for the initial request for qualifications, earlier this week. It's a project to watch, for sure. In the meantime, you can see the results of an already 7-year-old quest to bring world class architecture to DC, and reinvent the idea of a branch library.

“Reinventing the Library: Washington’s New Centers for Learning” is on view at The SIGAL Gallery at the District Architecture Center (421 7th Street NW, Washington, DC) through September 28.

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Dehydrating summer produce: Preservation meets concentration

Don't can it. Dry it.
Home-canned vegetables are the most common cause of botulism outbreaks in the U.S., says the CDC, in case you need a scary reason to read my (long) Washington Post story on another method of preserving all the amazing fruit and vegetables we're surrounded by Right Now: dehydrating.


Like links? Here are a number of ways into the piece (the website is tricky; you're welcome; perhaps Bezos + crew will alter)...

Sidebar #1 on Tips for Dehydrating Food
Sidebar #2: Dry Your Own Peaches

Recipes: Ancho Chile Burger with Lime Aioli  (thank you, Pati Jinich)
Cracklings  (thank you, Chef Michael Bonk)
Oven-Dried Cherry Tomatoes in Olive Oil  (thank you, Chef Michael Friedman)
Zucchini "Pasta" Sheets (and Ravioli) (thank you, Chef Jonathan Seningen)

Biggest thank you of all: Deanna DeLong:

Full story on Dehydrating Summer Produce: preservation meets concentration

Lend us your ears! Maize-centric dishes are all the rage

I can't compete with excellent NY Post headlines so I'll just say this: corn, corn, corn.

Maybe it’s because it’s naturally sweet; maybe it’s because peak season coincides with the waning days of summer. Whatever the reason might be, just about everyone loves corn — which is a good thing, because this year, the USDA expects a record-high corn production of 13.8 billion bushels (that’s 772.8 billion pounds of kernels, in case you were counting). And trendy restaurants around town are ready, using the vegetable in everything from pasta to ice cream.

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