In the suburban communities of the South Hills, poverty has been on the rise. As many as 12% of the population—approximately 5,000 families—lives at or below the federal poverty level. South Hills Interfaith Ministries works to help these families regain their self-sufficiency. Along with two food pantries that provide emergency groceries, and a community clothing room, the organization runs utility assistance programs, coat drives, and family-support services such as teen mentoring and financial literacy programs. And the community impact is significant. In 2012 alone, the organization donated school supplies to 425 students, distributed more than 1,500 pounds of fresh produce, and provided $30,336 in utility assistance.
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Eden's Market, known as a gluten-free emporium, carries a range of health grocery and all-natural beauty items. For an easy-to-make meal, frozen food items include seafood, pasta, and pizza from a variety of brands such as Udi's and Starfish. Locally made breads and pastries help those with food intolerances fulfill their most forbidden cravings, while nutritional supplements make up for any dietary slip ups. The health and beauty section stocks gluten-free skin care and soap products including Aura Cacia essential oils and Grandma's Lye soaps.
Unlike a shark's instinct to bite stuff and never stop swimming, most sea creatures are known for their anti-survival instincts, which include tasting delicious and come-hither claw gestures. Wright's starters highlight ocean fare's succulent Freudian death drives with a rich lobster bisque ($4.50), seared Ahi tuna over seaweed salad ($12), and baked New Zealand green-shell mussels with aged cheddar ($12 for 12). The New Orleans shrimp or oyster po' boy ($10.50) and an Angus steak burger ($9) headline the bread-padded entree selections while Wright's crab cakes ($21.50) mimic their hot- and pound-cake brethren in deliciousness.
Applelicious sates saccharine chompers with hand-dipped granny smith apples adoringly coated in a savory concoction of sweet and salty toppings. Each dewy-eyed apple is ensconced in a layer of creamy vanilla caramel and two extra layers of rich milk chocolate before tumbling down a salty slide of nuts and candies and drizzled with a salacious sprinkle of white or peanut-butter chocolate ($9.95/small, $12.95/large). Eschew lackadaisical lollies for Applelicious's bestselling roasted-cashew apple, which tickles ears with the sweetened crunch of freshly roasted cashews enveloped in ribbons of white chocolate.
Sugar Cafe owner Kelly James, a fixture in Pittsburgh's gourmet-pastry scene, opened the doors in February 2011 to reveal a menu of delectable sweets and savories crafted in-house by a team of dedicated chefs. Visitors can dine on specialties such as a black forest ham sandwich with sliced granny smith apples, gouda, and spicy mustard on a french baguette, or a sandwich with eggplant and tomato roasted by the heat of food-grade fireworks and topped with parmesan cheese and toasted garlic mayonnaise on ciabatta bread. An elevated bakery exhibits the mouthwatering work of prodigious bakers and sous chefs, who converge each morning to whip up desserts such as Grand Marnier cheesecake, vanilla-chai cupcakes, and lemon pound cakes. Complimentary WiFi keeps patrons comfortably connected, and a BYOB policy allows guests to bring along a bottle of wine to accompany meals or christen a ship on the way home.
As Steelers fans cheer and jeer the Hofbrau's flickering TVs, frothy mugs of Miller Lite gush from foam-flecked taps and glide across a burnished wood bar. These sudsy drafts chase chews on a trim menu of traditional bar fare, from half-pound burgers to slices of square pizza, and cool palates scorched from signature hot wings drenched in lemon pepper, Cajun, or teriyaki sauces. Clacking pool balls and clinking glasses add makeshift percussion to the occasional live band, who can underscore meals with original tunes and recollections of that one time they smashed their guitars.