Kevin Sousa’s Farm Dinner at Churchview Farm

Churchview Farm Kevin Sousa Dinner
The Churchview Farm table is set, and ready for Kevin Sousa to work his magic!

*DISCLAIMER*: I do not seek monetary benefits from neither Kevin Sousa, Superior Motors, nor Churchview Farm. I am just a Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie, who enjoys sharing her foodie adventures! Photos captured on an iPhone 5s, and edited in Instagram and Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended!

Sunday, September 6th was the Kevin Sousa (creator of the LEGENDARY Salt of the Earth! Original owner of Union Pig & Chicken, Harvard & Highland and Station Street Dogs. His next restaurant is called Superior Motors. Stay Tuned for its opening in Braddock, Pennsylvania!) Farm Dinner at the Churchview Farm (located in the Baldwin neighborhood of the South Hills of Pittsburgh).

I REALLY lucked out; a few months ago, Churchview Farms announced that a few tickets had opened up for his dinner (Kevin’s dinner was originally sold out), and I was fortunate enough to grab two tickets!

The Churchview Farm is truly a sanctuary of peace for animals! As far as I know, the goats are just used for milk and cheese, and the chickens are just used for their eggs. There’s a playful dog on the farm called Frannie (“Oh dear! Frannie’s going to chase the chickens again!”), and a cat that keeps the rodents on the farm under control.

Chicken Friend
Once I befriended the chicken, I knew right then & there, that it would be very hard for me to eat chicken in the future. This chicken is too cute to eat!

I’ve never had the chance to dine at one of Kevin’s restaurants; since Braddock is about an hour away from where I live, I jumped on this opportunity to taste his food at the Churchview Farm!

Drinking glass
My drinking glass of the evening, that was (later) full of tasty beer from The Brew Gentlemen! 😀

Before the meal started, Kevin served all of us a cocktail called “Wigle Genever”, also with Galliano, surnac tea, Queen Anne’s lace, and cara cara orange. This was DELICIOUS, and really packed a punch! So sad that I forgot to take a picture of the cocktail.

Chicken of the Woods Eggplant Pate
Chicken of the Woods- eggplant pate// matsutake koji// cucumber// radish, paired with Garden Party beer from The Brew Gentlemen (not picture)!

Course #1 was INCREDIBLE! I’m so glad that Kevin took the time to explain the dish to us. I was a little leery of trying this dish (normally, the only eggplant dish I like is eggplant parmesan), but this dish was REALLY good! Very Japanese-inspired (which kind of fits into Kevin’s zen-like personality).

Tomato Dish
Tomatoes// shisito peppers// shoyu molasses// parmesan// cultured cream// shiso// basil// paired with Sunshine Elixir from The Brew Gentlemen (not pictured)!

Course #2 one of my FAVORITE dinner courses of the night! I also really liked the Sunshine Elixir beer from The Brew Gentlemen! The tomatoes and peppers (both from the farm) were packed with flavor! Pair that with cream and basil, and you have a WINNING combination!

Pasta dish
Casarecce// egg// braised kale// orange// fennell// shaved raw beans// Rutherford Saison from The Brew Gentlemen (not pictured)!

Course #3 was my FAVORITE dinner dish of the night! Pasta + poached egg = HEAVEN! Plus, Kevin gave us this SCRUMPTIOUS sourdough bread, that I enjoyed dipping into the egg! 😀

Corn dish
Corn// nixtamal pudding// huitlacoche// fermented// dried// ash// Akamai from The Brew Gentlemen (not pictured)!

Course #4 was another favorite! A VERY original & cheeky take on a corn dish! Plus, I liked that Kevin ground up corn, and made it into “ash”. VERY tasty! Plus, I really liked the Akamai beer from The Brew Gentlemen!

Pound Cake
Pound cake// raspberries// honey// nuts// flowers// vanilla ice cream// anise hyssop// White Sky from The Brew Gentlemen (not pictured)! 😀

This was my FAVORITE dish of the night! Since the dinner was running a little late, Kevin was nice enough to pack up my Mom’s dessert and mine in “to go” containers, and we enjoyed this lovely dessert from the comfort of home!

All in all, this was an EXCELLENT farm dinner! I have added Kevin Sousa to the list of chefs in Pittsburgh that have totally BLOWN my mind, and have revolutionized my dining experience here in Pittsburgh.

He is truly a “thinks outside of the box” chef, and I love that! Also, I really appreciated that he incorporated his Buddhist belief into this dinner, by not including any animal meat in this dinner. I think it’s great to see a Chef saying true to himself; it’s so easy to just give customers what they want. Chef Sousa challenges the diners’ taste buds, and makes them think “trust me, you will want this, and like this”! 😀

I’m already anticipating my next trip to Churchview Farm for next year’s Summer Dinner Series!

Cheers to good food & health,

-Friendly Fitness Foodie

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Up Late Dinner at Studio A.M. (featuring Guest Chef Jamilka Borges)

Studio A.M. Pittsburgh
The front window to Studio A.M., which leads to one of the happiest, most creative & intellectual places on Earth.
*DISCLAIMER*: I do not seek monetary benefits from neither Studio A.M., Baron Batch, Chef Steve, Jamilka Borges, Bobby Fry, server Dan, nor The Food Tasters. I am just a humble Pittsburgh Foodie & Yogini, who enjoys sharing her adventures around Pittsburgh & beyond!

One fateful Saturday night, I was invited to attend one of the limited-run “Up Late” Studio A.M. dinners, co-hosted by Baron Batch (Former Pittsburgh Steeler, now a popular Pittsburgh Artist, & the main brain behind Studio A.M.) & Bobby Fry (Former Owner & Manager of Bar Marco, Former Owner of The Livermore, Restauranteur, and Events Coordinator for Studio A.M), with TWO (count ’em, TWO) chefs: Studio A.M.’s in-house resident cook, Chef Steve, and the lovely & ever-so-talented guest chef, Jamilka Borges (Former Executive Chef of Bar Maro & Legume. She has recently accepted a fellowship with the James Beard Foundation).

My partner-in-crime for the event was Tasha of The Food Tasters, Eat Local and Shop Small! She is a local food blogger, event planner, and entrepreneur!

As soon as the two of us walked in, we were greeted by Jamilka (who I was DYING to meet! There have only been six Pittsburgh Chefs that have totally BLOWN MY MIND when it comes to their food, and she is one of them. One of the most talented chefs that I’ve met ANYWHERE)! The lovely Chef Borges led us to the downstairs cellar, where Bobby was eagerly waiting to make cocktails for us, and offer small bites of food that Jamilka made for the guests!

Shortly after the cocktails and nibbles of food, we met Baron Batch, our gracious master host of the evening! Both Bobby & Baron showed us their latest project: painting the SWING TRUCK (which was originally Jamilka/Bar Marco’s food truck, and is now in the hands of Chef Steve & the rest of the Studio A.M. crew).

Once cocktail hour ended, it was time head back upstairs, take our seats, and prepare for the first course!

I must apologize in advance: my phone was having a LOT of trouble with storage that night. Thus, I only was able to take pictures of two courses, but I’m hoping my writing expertise makes up for the lack of photos in this post. 😉

Course #1: Corn Custard & Tomato Salad, Ricotta, Basil and Arugula. This was absolutely PEFECT! Light and airy- perfect for that summer-to-fall transition! Everyone at the table (Baron, Tasha, and Baron’s Publicist) was RAVING about this dish!

Course #2: Shrimp, Green Goddess, Hackelback Potatoes, Picked Onions and Tostada. I loved this dish! I could tell Jamilka had some influence on this dish; green goddess was a staple on the Bar Marco menu.

Ceviche & Plantain
Watermelon, Bay Scallop, Jalapeno Ceviche, and Sweet Plantain
Course #3: Ceviche & Plantain! I love the contrast in this dish- spicy with sweet, and crisp with soft. The back story behind the Plantain: thanks to Jamilka, I have grown to LOVE Plantain! Growing up in Puerto Rico, she used to make this dish for herself all of the time. Thus, Plantain holds some childhood nostalgia for her.

Course #4: Chickpea, artichoke ravioli, black pepper, confit garlic. Artichoke & ravioli, together in one dish? I’m sol!

Course #5: Tomato Risotto, Roasted Beef, Tomato Hollandaise. This was the only dish that I didn’t like. The Risotto was thin & runny, and the roast beef was VERY rare (sopping in blood rare). Don’t get me wrong: I love a medium rare hamburger, but this was a little too rare for my liking.

Peach Bread Pudding
Peach Bread Budding, with a marshmallow fluff cloud!
Course #6 was my FAVORITE dish of the whole meal! I love a good bread pudding dish! Pair that with marshmallow fluff (which for me, was very nostalgic; reminded me of making S’mores with friends over a campfire), and you have a winning dessert combination! 😉

Our table’s server (Dan) did an INCREDIBLE job of bringing the dishes, explaining the courses, and clearing our plates from the table. I have officially dubbed him “Server Extraordinaire- DAN”!

Bobby Fry was the evening’s resident Sommelier and Mixologist, providing two glasses of wine for each person at each table, enlightening, intelligent, and fun conversation, AND he even made a special cocktail for everyone, to seal off the night!

It was REALLY fun to get to know Baron! He would comment on each dish, talk about his latest project, the next event he had to attend, and bantered quiet a bit with his publicist.

All in all, it was a truly SPECTACULAR night! Similar to the Salons of Paris (that I learned about in my Art History classes), I felt I was in a place with creatives, philosophers, and entrepreneurs, discussing ideas, observations, and life in general!

Once the courses ended, I chatted up Jamilka quiet a bit, and learned about her history as a Pittsburgh Chef, the story behind the Plantain dish, and what’s possibly in store for her in the future.

Studio A.M. Crew Pittsburgh
The Studio A.M. Crew! Clockwise: Bobby Fry (Events Coordinator), Jamilka Borges (Guest Chef), me, Baron Batch (Artist & Master Brain of Studio A.M.), Chef Steve (Executive Chef), and Dan (Server Extraordinaire)! 😀
I am eternally grateful for this night of fun! Thank you Tasha, for inviting to be your guest! Thank you to Baron Batch, for being such a generous host! Thank you Chef Steve & Jamilka, for cooking your butts off for all of the hungry dinner guests (including me); thank you to Bobby for creating a “dining experience”! The wine, the custom cocktails, and conversation were all additional layers to the night that brought an extra set of charm! Of course, I can’t forget Dan, our fearless master server!

Three cheers to good food, local entrepreneurs, chefs, and food bloggers!

-Friendly Fitness Foodie

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