{PRW} Blogger Dinner at The Porch at Schenley

For Pittsburgh's second Restaurant Week, bloggers from the area were invited to have dinner at The Porch at Schenley.  I'd been to The Porch before on a bright summer day, back when my best friend was visiting from Texas.  During that visit, we'd just walked around the University of Pittsburgh campus when we stepped into The Porch for late afternoon meal. 
 We ordered the farm bread, served with homemade strawberry jam, apple butter and honey butter.  Starting off a meal like this is perfection to me. Have I told you how much I love bread?

 We also ordered one of the fresh housemade seasonal sodas, which happened to be strawberry at that moment. 
 It was unexpected and bright. 
Husband ordered something light {after throwing back most of the farm bread}, and got the Garden Harvest salad, mesclun greens scattered with roasted beets, oyster mushrooms, goat cheese walnuts and a tarragon vinaigrette. {This isn't the last time you'll see the salad!}
 I, on the other hand, ordered what my stomach wanted: the smoked turkey sandwich with crispy potatoes, served alongside a tuscan-style curried ketchup. The sandwich itself was HUGE, and though I shared with everyone, there was still a third of the sandwich left!  The potatoes were delightfully crispy, and the ketchup was the perfect accompaniment.

 As for the Blogger Dinner during this week's events, there was more in store for us than just simply laid-back food.
The side garden of The Porch, overlooking the carousel.
 We stepped to the outside seating area, {the porch, as it were}, to meet folks from PASA, Eat N' Park, and other bloggers from the area.  During the first mingling session, we were able to meet Dana and her husband of Simply Romanesco, Gabby of Primped in Pittsburgh, and BeezusKiddo.  We also visited with some old friends from the last PRW Blogger dinner {at Braddock's American Brasserie}: Heidi from The Steel Trap and Lou {and lovely friend Michel} of Pittsburgh Happy Hour.
 Over drinks, I learned that The Porch is an Eat N' Park restaurant, which comes as a complete surprise to me.  I thought Eat 'N Park was all smiley cookies and midnight rendezvous.   I'm sure the shock registered on my face was one of disbelief, then appreciation. What a success for Eat 'N Park!
 The staff set out little appetizer areas, and Husband dug into the oyster and soup shooter station with wild abandon. 
I was enamored with the fruit and cheese table, and filled my plate with figs, creamed brie, and berries. 
 On our way back to our seat, the event began with Jamie Moore, the director of sourcing and sustainability for Eat N Park, giving the history of The Porch, as well as a primer on sustainable eating.
 Later, The Porch's Executive Chef, Kevin Hermann, told us about his vision for the food being something they're proud of. In fact, they butcher a whole half cow each Monday, in order to provide the best, freshest beef to their customers. 
 I briefly looked over the PRW menu, but the Chef had me at "half a cow"; I knew I wanted a burger.
 We waited to order our meals while looking out on the green area just to the right of the restaurant. Some might know this area as the sunbather's retreat.
 Husband stuck with his favorite salad on the menu, and went with his Garden Harvest salad.
 Others at our table ordered the prix fixe menu, which started with a beef tartar, and was followed by a pork saltimbocca. Two of our dining companions ate this dish, and both were underwhelmed.
 Lou from Pittsburgh Happy Hour enjoyed the tartar, but thought it has a few too many olives in it.
 Rachel of Yelp Pittsburgh ordered a skillet cornbread to start us off.  She generously let us have several scoops.  Cornbread is one of my favorite things on the planet. This one was no exception.
 She also ordered a tomato-laden late summer salad. I didn't have any of the dish, but it looked deliciously juicy.
 My burger came to the table with a pile of pickled vegetable and those delectable crispy potatoes. I had to hold back to not eat the entire plate. The beef was as fresh as I'd hoped.
 As we were finishing our dinner, the prix fixe folks were served their blueberry chocolate tart, with a honeyed nut brittle alongside.
 Lou was a huge fan of the tart, and the others at the table thought it was an interesting and attention-grabbing dessert.
 Even though we didn't have the stomach space at all, we ordered the banana nut cake, which is based off of one of the server's grandmother's recipes. Grandma did good!
 After dinner, we were invited to come do a tour of the rooftop garden and bee-keeping area. Yes, bees.
As we passed through the kitchen, I snapped a photo of their tub of tomatoes. Ahh.
 We climbed the ladder to the rooftop:
 Where we could see the surrounding area.
 We saw plenty of herbs growing along the sides of the roof,
 and then were led to the bees!
 It was nighttime, so there was no risk of swarming. They were quite silent, actually. 
 We chatted about the bees, 
 and looked at the vegetation growing on the roof.
 The views of the area were great!
Inside the foyer of the restaurant.
 As the tour came to a close, the manager told us about the sassafras soda they're planning to serve this coming week.
 The sassafras came from his own yard!
The event was a lot of fun, and I actually enjoyed it more than the last PRW Blogger dinner in January.  It was so nice to meet everyone, have fabulous food, and see familiar faces.

Neighborhood: Oakland
Good For: Casual Dining anytime
Gems: Fresh Beef, Housemade Sodas
Drawbacks: The menu changes often, and you might miss something great!

The Porch at Schenley on Urbanspoon


  1. Nice write-up of the event. I too was underwhelmed by the pork on the prix fixe...but I thought the tartar and pie was great. Still, I thought the event was great and it was nice to get to talk to lots of the bloggers at the event

    1. Thanks, Dennis! I am not a huge fan of pork that isn't in the bacon form, so I chose otherwise. Who can say no to a burger that fresh?!
      Maybe I'll catch you at the next PRW dinner!

  2. Hi Ashley! It was great meeting you and thanks for mentioning me in your post. Is there a way for me to follow your blog if I don't have a blogger account? I love it!

    1. Hi, Gabby! If you use Google and have a user account, you can use Good Friend Connect to follow. Or, you can insert the rss into whatever reader you use by clicking the top button under Subscribe on the left bar.
      I sorely need to update my blog, and get a real layout going; however, I just don't have the time! Maybe someday... :)

    2. Okay great thank you! Are you kidding? I love the look and feel of your blog! I was thinking that I need to update my layout when I saw yours haha.

    3. Not kidding at all - Many of the 'design features' are just Blogger defaults! I'm glad you like them though.
      I like a lot of the Wordpress features, too, but I've been on Blogger so long {since 2007}, I'll probably stick with them. :)
      Essentially, I need some professional design, STAT!

  3. Hi Ash -
    The food looks fabulous!! Put this on your Mom & Pop list as well....... and I would like an extra helping of the honey nut brittle. Yummy! You are a wonderful food blogger - keep up the good work!!!

    1. Will do! The Porch is much more accessable than Braddock's was, any that's possibly why I liked this event much more than the previous one.
      And, thanks!

  4. That bread! And those potatoes! Soooo yummy.


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