Saturday, August 20, 2011

Weekend Cooking: Farm to Feast (at the Phipps)

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of a food-related post to share. Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. 

On Monday, the kids and I spent part of the day at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens  here in the 'Burgh. (You can read my previous posts here and here.) Their Summer Flower Show "Living Harmoniously with Nature" was in full bloom, and one of my favorite exhibits was this garden party, featuring an edible garden and sustainable materials.

Your eye was immediately drawn to the gorgeous table setting (above) as well as the "guests."  This was a rectangular courtyard-like room, with the actual garden party scene in the middle.  There was an edible garden in the midst and along the perimeter of the display, various vegetables were planted.

Part of the edible garden.



Red cabbage.

I was trying to photograph the scene from every angle.  
It was impossible to capture the entire room.

The edible garden. 

This was the best shot I could get of the entire exhibit, just as you would walk in.

There were other exhibits featuring fruits and vegetables, including these strawberry plants. 

This was one of the kids' favorites.  Do you know what it is? 


And where there's chocolate, there is also .... 

And here's another plant with a fun name! 

The kids were getting antsy, so we headed downstairs to the Cafe Phipps for a late lunch. All the food is made in-house, and the emphasis was very much on local, seasonal, organic, and sustainable.  All cups and flatware are compostable (which they do on-site) and water is filtered daily.  

It was Meat-Free Monday ... something that the little face on the sign looks a little bummed out about.  (Rainy days - of which it was one - and meat-free Mondays always get me down ....) 

The kids and I opted for personal pizzas. Mine was the white pizza, below. 

Betty had pepperoni (despite it being Meat-Free Monday).

And Boo had a plain pizza ....

...which quickly disappeared. 

A funny thing happened at lunch. A woman at the next table noticed me photographing our food (what, everybody doesn't do that?!) and next thing I heard, she was talking with her friend about her blog and how she often puts recipes up on her blog. I wanted to tell her I was a blogger too (as if photographing the food didn't give it away) and I was DYING to ask her the name of her blog (I've been reading some really good Pittsburgh-based foodie ones).  Normally, I have no qualms whatsoever about going up and striking up conversations with total strangers in such situations, but for whatever reason, I didn't.

(So, if you're the blogger who was having lunch at the Phipps Conservatory on Monday, August 15, leave me a comment, 'kay?)

We had a great afternoon at the Phipps (well, Boo wasn't too thrilled about spending all of less than two hours looking at "boring old nature") and you can see more pictures from our visit here and here.  It reminded me of a smaller Longwood Gardens, located in Kennett Square, PA.  The Phipps is gorgeous and well worth the visit if you're ever in the Pittsburgh area.  (You can easily spend more than two hours here. With the kids in tow, we went through the exhibits faster than I would have preferred.  Plus, it was a drizzly and overcast day so we didn't get to see much of the outdoor gardens.)

I was not compensated for this post in any way, nor do I have any connection with the Phipps other than being a happy visitor.  Admission was free on the day we visited, thanks to a generous grant that the Phipps received from the Buncher Family Foundation.  

copyright 2011, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Beth F said...

Wow -- I *love* those people! OMG what a very, very cool place to spend the day, overcast or not. Wow.

TheBookGirl said...

What a fun and interesting day. I had no idea that's what a "chocolate tree" looks like :)

Your pizza would have been my choice among the three, although all three look yummy.

Col (Col Reads) said...

I have never heard of the Phipps, but will be traveling to Pittsburgh with my daughter this autumn, and will definitely make the trip. Thanks for your fun post!

The Pittsburgh House Wife said...

I might have to talk the husband into another family outing soon. lol. I love going to Phipps and actually mention the place a few times on my blog and I still had no idea they had a spice and fruit room!

Rose City Reader said...

That is a pretty amazing looking display. That bird thing on the table is my favorite. What was it made out of?

Rose City Reader

Joy Weese Moll said...

What a fun day! I love all of those pictures. I recognized a local food blogger at the Farmers Market from her photo on her website and introduced myself (we had commented on each other's blogs so I thought she would recognize my name). It was a fun way to meet someone!

Margot said...

Thanks for taking your camera and us along on your special trip. It looks like a wonderful place to spend a day. Those "people" are so creative.

I'm just me... said...

Hi Melissa, living a few hours south of you in WV I have to say I make very few trips to Pittsburgh. I usually end up getting lost when I do venture up your way. I do have an old friend from highschool who lives just outside of the 'burgh as she calls it. She is a foodie blogger and I thought I'd share her link with you.

Hope you enjoy.