{Over The Weekend} Cooking School, Cakes and Cat Tipis

I know it's already Monday again, but I wanted to share my past two weekends with y'all. {This post is weekend #1.} A friend of mine gave us tickets to a Market District Cooking School Class {as her husband was sick and couldn't go}, so we headed out to Robinson Township two Friday evenings ago. The class was structured around tasting the intricacies of wines and beers with food. 
Just Starting
We arrived in the large classroom above the wine and beer area of Market District, and sat down among approximately 30 people. A good size class, I thought. {If the class is too small, it can seem awkward at times!} We were offered appetizers of grapes, cheeses, lobster and red pepper dip, and water crackers.
It's a bit pricey at around $35 a ticket, but you get food, drinks, information and good company. {Go Pittsburgh food community!}

Deb Mortillado of Dreadnought Wines was teaching the course {with some help from a Market District Chef.} She is a hoot. Honestly. She said some of the most delightfully sharp jokes, mostly about wines.
Our pairings included a 'true' rose {Domaine Canto Pedrix Tvel Rose}:
Tempura-battered shrimp {cornstarch + Old Bay} with a spicy Thai sauce {Sriracha + Mirin}:
a Hefe-Weizen:
Caramelized onion pizza {Chicken + Fresh Mozzarella}:
Pasta Bolognese with Sauce {which Husband just died over}:
and finished with a Grand Marnier Chocolate Mousse {+ Whipped Cream}:
Served with Lindeman's Framboise Lambic {delish raspberry 'beer'}. And, for those dying to know, we also had Ommegang Duvel Rustica, Newcastle Brown Ale, Bodegas Varal Esencias Red {Rioja}, Marchesi Biscardo Valcolicella Classico {Veneto} and Eberle Muscat Canelli.
I was about halfsies on the beer and wine selections. The food was all great!
 - - -
That Saturday we did our errands, then went out to celebrate Pittsburgh's sugary arts at CAKEitecture! Cake Competition at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland. For a What I Wore Today throwback, check out this sweet cranberry Max Studio dress I picked up recently at a Nordstrom Rack rendezvous:
On to the cake. There were five entries {Fallingwater, Motor Square Garden in East Liberty, a PGH-ed Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, the Sydney Opera House and a modernest house in Holland [?].} The Post-Gazette did a lovely little write-up, but let's just enjoy the photos.

It got pretty crazy up in there. 
It was elbows out down there!
Husband and I at the event.
What my vote should have gone for {Judge's Favorite}:
However, I sheepishly admit, my vote went for Megan Hart of Dozen. {She won People's Favorite!}
 - - -
Afterwards, we didn't wait in the endless long line for cake, and opted to have a bite at Lucca. Just down Craig Street from the Carnegie, and steps from Dozen's Oakland location, this restaurant is often overlooked with noodles and coffee at your fingertips. We'd already had an official dinner, but that never stops us from having a few bites somewhere new. Second stomach? Extra treadmill time? Yes.
We managed to get a table in the somewhat busy restaurant {reservations are probably recommended}, and ordered an appetizer and a dessert.
First, we had the calamari {a safe favorite}:
Look at that marble table!
Three sauces came along side the crispy rings: a spicy mayo, spicy chili sauce and a classic cocktail sauce. Husband scarfed the first two, and I languished over the cocktail sauce. How often do you see something this simple served with calamari? Typically, we'd see a spicy marinara or {gag} just some sort of Ranch dressing. I'm glad Lucca stuck with a unexpectedly expected sauce.
We ended with - what else?! - the Chocolate Lava Cake. Their version was no disappointment, with a shard of sugar cone stuck in the ice cream topper.
I just wish there was more, Lucca
I did bring out the camera flash for this place though, as it was fairly dark inside.

Neighborhood: North Oakland
Good For: Darkly lit dinners.
Gems:  - - 
Drawbacks: Slightly uninventive desserts.

Lucca on Urbanspoon

 - - - 
The cats received their annual BirthdayChristmasValentinesSt.PatricksDay gift that weekend - A Cat Tipi! {If you haven't heard of this, check it out.} They LURVE it.
Pre-rug purchase.
They'll snuggle inside the tipi and stay warm for these last few winter months. That's the hope, at least.
Instagram friends, prepare for lots of tipi photos.
Stay tuned for this past weekend's post...whenever that actually gets to be written!


  1. 1. LOVE that dress and the way you look in it! So beautiful.

    2.OMGCATTIPI. So stinkin' cute.

  2. 1. Thank you! It was a good find.
    2. I hear Pup Tents are on their way. Sigh.


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