Pittsburgh, PA, home to the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, Heinz Ketchup and great Top Chef fans, who came out in record numbers even braving the rain on Day One. It was also the fifth stop on our 21-city tour across the country. Friends Richard Blais and Eli Kirshtein put on a great show over the course of two days in the Strip District of Pittsburgh. Eli referred to me as Phil Donahue all weekend and I felt like I had Abbott and Costello on my show as the back and forth banter between the two of them had myself and the audience in stitches all weekend. As usual Richard Blais, otherwise referred to by himself as the Menudo or Clay Aiken of Top Chef gave me a lot of great blog material. And once again, the fans in Pittsburgh gave me great joy by not laughing at his jokes.
Both Richard and Eli used the technique of sous vide cooking in their dishes, which means under vacuum and this technique cooks your meat perfectly sealed in a bag with a vacuum sealer and placed under water in a sous vide machine. According to Richard, sous vide machines will be just as common in households as a microwave. Richard showed off this technique by making a sous vide lamb with microwave apple sauce and on Day two he made a beef sparerib with lemon grass and pumpkin. Delicious! Eli stepped it up a notch from his meatballs and sauerkraut in St. Louis and Kansas City by making sous vide strip steak with pickled mushroom and miso tofu mousse. According to him, hate, brutality and elegance went into creating his dish. What does this mean? I am still not quite sure so you will have to ask him.
Richard, Eli and I had a great dinner in Pittsburgh at Eleven. I highly recommend this restaurant if you are ever in Pittsburgh. It was my second time there and it hasn’t disappointed. After dinner, Richard and Eli revealed a couple little known facts about themselves as Richard let me know that he was looking forward to going back to the hotel and shaving his legs in the tub while Eli revealed that he wants to give up all meat except pork which makes him Jew…”ish”. Thanks guys for a great weekend. Next stop…The Kentucky Derby!