If you bring the same exact bottle of wine or the same, tired green bean casserole to Thanksgiving dinner year after year, it’s time to switch it up.
Thankfully, Pittsburgh shops and restaurants have plenty of fresh options for side dishes and drinks to help you curry favor with your family — without having to spend hours cooking or too much money. From appetizers to dessert, here’s our guide to Pittsburgh delicacies that will take your Thanksgiving table to the next level.
Appetizer: Severino’s charcuterie
In a dream world, Justin Severino would invite all of Pittsburgh to a home-cooked, carnivorous Thanksgiving dinner. But that’s not happening, so instead, opt to bring some of the celebrated chef’s creations to your table.
At both of his Lawrenceville restaurants, you can pick up some charcuterie. At Morcilla, choose from the chorizo or the morcilla, served as links wrapped up to-go in a traditional brown paper package. At Cure, pick from a variety of salami choices, such as the leek ash porcini salami. Both options start at $12.
“Thanksgiving is all about sharing food with friends and family, and I think it’s cool to be able to show up with something unique,” Severino said via email. “Our charcuterie is a great way to add something a little different to the feast.”
Drink: Arsenal Cider
A festive beverage adds a good bit of holiday cheer to your table (and might just be a necessity if your family is talking politics). Arsenal Cider to the rescue.
For the holidays, this Lawrenceville shop will sell a sparkling cider-style fruit wine called Calvaryman Cranberry that co-owner Michelle Larkin describes as “a little bit tart.” The cranberry beverage will be released Sunday, with a new growler selling for $25.
If you want something with more of a winter vibe and can wait until it releases on Wednesday, try the Snowbound Cinnamon cider, with a price tag of $20 per growler. The Snowbound, she said, “tastes like boozy apple pie.”
Either makes a great Thanksgiving addition, she said, because it’s something a little different.
“It’s so fresh and refreshing, you could have it with your meal and not have it compete with the flavors of Thanksgiving, or you could enjoy it by itself,” she said.
Plus, the shop’s customized growler makes an added host/ess gift.
P.S. You might be tempted to bring pumpkin beer. Don’t do it.
Side dish: Square Cafe stir fry
This beloved Regent Square brunch spot is a offering Thanksgiving catering menu for the first time this year. You can order all the classics — cranberry sauce, stuffing, even the turkey itself. Also on the menu: Something a little different.
Square Cafe’s quinoa stir fry with tofu includes a bunch of veggies like mushrooms, onions, shallots and peppers cooked in a sesame sauce, making for a hearty and healthy dish. For a 10-12 people portion, the dish costs $34.
“It accommodates so much,” catering manager Amanda Torres said. “It accommodates the vegetarian, the vegan, and it’s good for everybody.”
Be sure to order 48-hours in advance, and pick it up or have it delivered (there’s also a $25 fee for delivery) the day before Thanksgiving.
Dessert: A519 chocolates
These truffles are part sweet treat, part work of art.
A519’s fall collection includes the following flavors: dirty chai, red wine, five spice, cranberry caramel and pumpkin caramel.
“I think they are all pretty great,” chocolatier Amanda Wright said. “I think pumpkin caramel makes a really nice dessert.”
Every single truffle is hand-crafted to perfection.
“The visual wow-factor when you present them is a great conversation starter and topic to discuss the designs and the look of the truffles,” Wright said. “Beyond that, the flavor is just hard to beat. We use premium French chocolate and cook all of the fillings from scratch. They have a lot of depth and a lot of interest that goes beyond most chocolates that people are used to.”
A519, which makes its truffles in Millvale, will open its first pop-up shop on Saturday at 4415 Butler Street (Lawrenceville). A 15-piece fall box costs $30.
Decor: Simmons Market swag
Maybe the cook in your family insists on making *everything*. First of all, be thankful for this person. Secondly, you still don’t get off the hook for bringing something to table. So if you aren’t bringing along food, consider picking up some seasonal swag to decorate the table.
Simmons Farm in McMurray is a one-stop shop for pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, decorative corn and gourds, co-owner Scott Simmons said. You can put together a cute display for a couple of bucks.
It is decorative gourd season after all.