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Hal B. Klein

Food and Drinks Writer

Pittsburgh, PA

Hal B. Klein

Hal B. Klein is a food and drinks writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. He regularly contributes stories on food, drinks, and nature to a variety of Pittsburgh media including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Magazine, Table Magazine, and The Allegheny Front. He is a Golden Quill awards winner for his weekly Pittsburgh City Paper drinks column "On the Rocks." His work has also been seen and heard on NPR's All Things Considered, Hawk & Handsaw, and Drink Me Magazine.

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Ranch-To-Table Trend Has Some Diners Asking: Where's The Steak?

Trevett Hooper was one of the first chefs in Pittsburgh to promote the local food movement. Now he and other chefs around the country are expanding their locally grown menus to include meat. But it's been a challenge to embrace this hot new ranch-to-table trend while still meeting customers' expectations for a fancy night out.
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Feeding the Penguins: The hockey team gradually is eating better and more healthfully

Tanner Glass of the Pittsburgh Penguins eats more for breakfast than most people eat all day. On a typical morning, the 30-year-old left-winger eats oatmeal enriched with chia seeds, coconut, "Hemp Hearts," and heavy cream. It's served alongside three organic eggs with a side dish of both bacon and sausage.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Link to Story
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How to shop at Pittsburgh's Asian markets

As the city's Chinese and Vietnamese populations prepare to celebrate Lunar New Year, it's clear that Americans are becoming increasingly literate about the nuances of Asian food. Chefs and home cooks are exploring geographic and cultural specializations -- such as the vast differences within regional Chinese cuisine -- in their kitchens.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Link to Story
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John Wabeck tests cocktails for new restaurant like a chef

Assembled on the bar at Spoon in East Liberty is an assortment of ingredients better suited for an early round of the Food Network show.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Link to Story
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Walmart and Farmers Turn Food Waste into Compost

What to do with too many leftovers? Even grocery stores have that problem. In fact, a report issued in 2012 by the National Resource Defense Council , finds approximately 40 percent of the food grown and processed in the United States goes uneaten. Now Walmart—fast becoming one of the nation’s biggest grocers—is working with the nonprofit Pennsylvania Resources Council to send truckloads of its unsold produce to nearby farms for composting.
The Allegheny Front Link to Story
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Unusual fruits can be found as the growing season winds down

It's 10 on a humid Saturday morning in early October, and I'm eating spoonfuls of a locally-grown fruit called a pawpaw that tastes like toasted custard mixed with mangos. I'm not on vacation in an equatorial paradise; the pawpaw grows wild right here in Western Pennsylvania. In fact, I shook mine from a tree not too far from where I live.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Link to Story
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Pittsburgh is at the forefront of an unruly food movement: Permaculture

Darrell Frey, a lanky 55-year-old farmer with a goatee and ponytail, peels back overgrown brush to reveal blueberry bushes. "I guess they call me 'The Original Gangsta' of Pittsburgh permaculture," he jokes as he plucks a near-ripe berry from one of the bushes at Three Sisters Farm, Mr. Frey's five acres in Sandy Lake, Mercer County.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Link to Story
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Trends from Tales of the Cocktail: vermouth, mezcal

I was face-deep in a plate of fried chicken at Dooky Chase, the iconic restaurant best known for its Creole-soul lunch buffet and stunning collection of African-American art. A friend of mine from San Francisco had just piled on a second helping of collard greens and red beans and rice. We were geeking out about the finer points of climate control in a whisky warehouse in Scotland versus a bourbon warehouse in Kentucky.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Link to Story
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Pittsburgh Writer Shares Pawpaw Passion

Andy Moore is a 28-year-old writer who lives in Pittsburgh, PA. In 2010, he spent a couple of life-changing days in Ohio. This wasn’t a romantic weekend when he met the partner of his dreams or had an Earth-shattering philosophical revelation. This was the weekend when Moore was taken by a friend to a festival that celebrates a curious fruit called the pawpaw .
The Allegheny Front Link to Story
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A cross of bacon + butter = lardo

At The Crested Duck Charcuterie in Beechview, owner Kevin Costa treats his pork fat gently. Squares of back fat from Berkshire hogs bathe in brine flavored with aromatic herbs for three months. Once cured, they air dry for several days, and then he places the cream-white squares inside his store's deli counter labeled "Lardo."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Link to Story
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Meet Pittsburgh chefs who are second in command

"There are still people who come in and say 'Oh, Kevin must be off tonight,' " says Mr. Townsend, referring to Kevin Sousa, the restaurant's much more famous owner and executive chef. Mr. Sousa checks in with the restaurant daily, but he's focused on numerous other projects: Union Pig & Chicken, Harvard & Highland, Station Street Hot Dogs, and his forthcoming Braddock flagship restaurant Magarac. The day-to-day operations of Salt of the Earth fall to Mr. Townsend. He's just one of a legion of mostly-unheralded helms -- people who are essential to the continued growth of Pittsburgh's booming restaurant scene. Their names might not be recognizable to those outside the restaurant industry, but it's this crew that maintains continuity at area restaurants while the head honchos are experimenting with new techniques or are off working on other endeavors. Mr. Townsend is a chef de cuisine. In the lists of restaurant hierarchy, that puts him one step below the executive chef. Unlike the executive, chefs de cuisine almost never have an ownership stake in the restaurant; yet in all practicality these colonels of the kitchen run their respective eateries. They don't need to ask for permission to make any but the most major decisions, and even when they create a new dish for the menu it's generally subject to just a quick check before going into rotation. The trust between an executive chef and a chef de cuisine needs to be near absolute.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Link to Story
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Heritage Grains Make Comeback on PA Farms

Across the street from a steel mill billowing blue smoke in Braddock, Pa., Rick Easton peers into a wood-fired brick oven. The lanky baker's overcoat is dusty with flour. This is no ordinary flour, however. It's Italian Tipo 00, and it's specially blended to give the pizza crust its characteristic chew.
The Allegheny Front Link to Story

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Hal B. Klein

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