Relaxing Weekend Pittsburgh Staycation

By Styleanthropy

Dinner at Ember & Vine Restaurant and Bar

We had dinner reservations at Ember & Vine. Our table was next to the chef’s kitchen, which was pretty neat.

We started out with Beer Flights and their White Sangria – all of which were pretty good. If you wanna test out their beer selection, we suggest Pizza Boy – a fruity beer that smelled so delicious. The E&V -made just for them – is smooth and light!

We then moved on to soups and appetizers. The soup of the day was this cheesy broccoli soup that tasted as good as it looks. It was my favorite that night. I hope they make this a regular in their menu because IT. WAS. THAT. GOOD.

The crunchy Brussels sprouts was our chosen appetizer. It was delicious and so flavorful. It was sweet and savory all at the same time, thanks to the bacon and golden raisins. However, it was too rich for my taste that a few bites was enough. Thankfully, they serve bread which balanced out the richness of the Brussels spouts.

Moving on to the main dishes, we opted for pan roasted chicken and a wood-fired Margherita pizza. The roasted chicken was delicious, not dry, and seasoned well. We both loved the potato salad that came with the chicken too.

The pizza was also good and flavorful. The pizza, in my opinion, would be good for 2-3 people. We ended up with so much food that we brought back to the room.

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When To Staycation...

By The Thrifty Yinzer

The chefs at Ember and Vine come from all around the country, love farm to table, and truly enjoy their craft. The menu shows! I had oysters on a half shell as an app - could've sworn I was at the shore! For entree I had the gnochi on special and Jamie had the filet!  Yummmmm!

One of my favorite things about picking a hotel for any trip is taking into account the hotel restaurant and the nearby eateries. The Doubletree Cranberry hit all of our hotel must-haves: amazing sit down dinner, and brunch! I love when a restaurant can take on a full menu throughout the day - it makes planning so much easier!! I also loved that I could see right down into the atrium from our room, so we knew exactly when the dinner rush was finishing up and could head right down! 

Let's talk about brunch. Can you even with this bloody mary bar? And above is me customizing my Made-to-order omelette at Ember & Vine!

Fun fact: Ember  & Vine is open to the public and they have a phenomenal brunch with live jazz every Sunday from 11am-2pm! Brunch buffet is only $15/person and includes so many vegan and vegetarian options, as well as non-dairy and gluten free choices!

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Hidden Gem Pittsburgh: Ember & Vine

By the gal-ivanter    April 03, 2017

Story time. 

Way back in January (it is already April, so I can say that) I visited a restaurant called Ember & Vine, located inside of the Double Tree Hotel in Cranberry. I was with mom, and we went because we noticed the place had a pretty good Pittsburgh Restaurant Week deal. 

We walked in with absolutely no expectations... actually, we walked in really confused, because neither of us knew that it was located in the Double Tree, and we didn't understand why the GPS had taken us there.

However, both of us have been pretty much raving about the place ever since.  So why haven't I blogged about it? Good question.

Today, I was asked by someone if I had a favorite cocktail in the city of Pittsburgh.

This question really stumped me... and that annoyed me. I have spent so much money on cocktails in Pittsburgh - sadly, I'm talking hundreds of dollars - and in that moment, I didn't have an answer. (All that money, all those Instagrams...) 

Finally, something emerged in my head: a drink I had tried at Ember & Vine. I felt weird about calling it my favorite cocktail because it hadn't even been my drink (my mom ordered it).

Still, it stuck.  

So here I was, thinking the best part of a Double Tree Hotel is the cookies they give you for checking in, having no clue there was a high-end restaurant located in the lobby.  

The menu is fabulous - woodfired pizzas, salads and sandwiches - the portions are huge, and everything is really tasty.  My favorites include:

  • Potato Pizza: thinly sliced roasted yukon gold potatoes, fresh rosemary, provolone, pecorino, arugula, champagne vinaigrette, garlic oil 
  • Ceasar Salad: romaine hearts, house-made caesar dressing, garlic-thyme croutons, aged parmesan reggiano, white anchovy 
  • Fried Cauliflower: beer-battered golden brown cauliflower, pickled jalapeno aioli or cilantro-ranch
  • Sticky Cake: I think this is the name, but just TRUST ME - you have to get it

The "Tequila Mockingbird" (tequila, watermelon, basil, lime, agave, jalapeno) is the drink I have been dreaming of. I also tried the Woodpecker and the French Rose (it was one of those days, okay?) - both were awesome. 

The decor, the service, and (obviously) the cocktails were divine.... and it was inside of the Cranberry Double Tree?? What an unexpected gem! This is a restaurant that would survive Downtown - in fact, I think it would thrive. 

Link to the original article

What I am trying to say, is if you are looking for a place to have a meal in Cranberry, there is no better spot than Ember & Vine.  Don't believe me?  Go see for yourself. 

Munch goes to Ember & Vine Woodfire Oven + Social Bar

By Bob Batz Jr. / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

After 16 years of marriage, the fire still burns.

For our anniversary last weekend, I asked my wife if I could take her to a hotel.

Yes, she said, hungrily. 

That’s because I was inviting her to a hotel restaurant. With our kid. But still. 

Our special weekend was practicalized, as second-decade anniversaries can be, by a story I had to do (for this Sunday’s paper) on the Mighty Penguins Sled Hockey team and our 9-year-old’s ice hockey tryouts. Both took us to the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, as hockey regularly does. Amidst the mind-boggling sprawl, we’ve found some good places to eat, including the Breakneck Tavern. But a special occasion called for a special experience, so I made a reservation to try a new restaurant that’s been popping up on my radar: Ember & Vine. 

Subtitled “Woodfire Oven + Social Bar,” Ember & Vine is the centerpiece of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh-Cranberry (which is actually in Marshall and has a Mars mailing address) that last year got a multimillion-dollar makeover. The restaurant and bar are more spectacular than you’d expect in a suburban hotel, floating in a five-story atrium in sophisticated hues of woodtones and orange and blue.

But it’s down-to-earth: The Penguins game was on most of the nine TVs, and the place offered gold-clad fans game-day specials including half-priced pizzas from the wood-burning oven in the gleaming open kitchen. After we were seated at a table along a comfy banquette, I ordered the house Two Trees Kolsch (made by North Country Brewing of Slippery Rock) from the list of two dozen beers, many from breweries marked as “Close” and “Really close.” There are eight wines dispensed from Napa Technology WineStations ($12 to $24 a glass), plus a solid list of other wines by glass and bottle, and cocktails about which I’ve heard raves, including four shrubs and four mules.

My wife ordered an Austerity Cabernet ($12), and we asked if the bar could make our son a watermelony mocktail ($2.50), which he pronounced delish after we toasted.

I’d heard good things, too, about the food, directed by executive chef Sam Castrale, who says his philosophy is to shape quality ingredients with salt, pepper and fire. He had the winning dishes at last month’s Glass Slipper Ball to benefit women’s initiatives that was held at the hotel. In the fundraiser’s Best of the Chefs competition, his wild-caught diver scallops with celery root purée and preserved lemon vinaigrette along with adobo lamb lollipops, Mexican street corn, arugula and lamb jus won the People’s Choice Award for Best Overall Dish. 

Our young server was a little green -— he had to go ask if they had any specials that night — but agreeable, and we appreciated being maitre d’ed by the very warm director of restaurant operations, Harry Siebert. As attentive as he was, he had time to watch snippets of the hockey game. While there was a large group behind us and a party in the private dining room, the restaurant was surprisingly quiet for 7:30 on a Saturday night. I’m betting that the place will get busier as more people discover it. 

We liked the spare, one-page dinner menu. We were drawn to the dozen small plates, and it was hard to choose, but we were delighted with the two large glass plates of Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs with “deeply roasted rye bread crumbs” and dill ($6) and Woodfired Oysters with chili garlic butter and fresh thyme ($9). My wife didn’t even order one of the eight entrees, going instead with the Woodfired French Onion Soup ($7) and later tacking on an order of the Crispy Brussels Sprouts ($10), served in a skillet with house bacon, caramelized shallots, salted caramel sauce and golden raisins. Those were great. 

She gave the kitchen props for its way with vegetables, including the perfectly cooked broccolini, green beans and carrots on my son’s kids-menu plate of grilled chicken with buttered noodles ($8).

The atmosphere and the occasion made me decide to order the Steak & Fries ($28), which was a lovely filet with compound butter and seasoned-with-fresh-herbs hand-cut fries. We happily shared that, but the stark white rectangular plate could have used some more color — perhaps some of that broccolini — to look good enough to share on social media. 

Next time, I’d like to try one of the pizzas -— probably the Potato (thinly sliced roasted Yukon golds, rosemary, provolone, pecorino, arugula, Champagne vinaigrette and garlic oil for $13) and/or the Charcuterie Plate ($18), which includes a house-made duck pastrami. 

Did we get dessert? Of course: Chocolate Creme Brulee ($8) for the lady, the Fruit Cup ($3) for the boy, and flourless Chocolate Torte with coffee ice cream for me ($8) — all solid endings.  

The special dinner was a win. The Pens, in the second period, were leading the Caps.   

My team was full and sleepy, so I asked my wife if she wanted to go back to the hotel room.

She said, Yes.  

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Ember & Vine Wins The Best Of The Chefs - "People's Choice" At The Prestigious Glass Slipper Ball

The Best of the Chefs is considered one of the best 'foodie fundraisers' in the country

CRANBERRY/PITTSBURGH, PA (April 4, 2017) Ember & Vine Woodfire Oven and Social Bar is the winner of the 2017 People’s Choice Award at The Glass Slipper Ball’s annual The Best of the Chefs competition. Since its inception in 2004, the Glass Slipper Ball, featuring The Best of the Chefs, has raised over one million dollars across U.S. cities such as Houston, Detroit, Colorado Springs and Naples. Funds have created educational awards for single mothers, encouraged girls to stay in school and provided assistance to women suffering from abuse and trafficking.

 Pittsburgh's Glass Slipper Ball is one of the city's premier culinary fundraisers. Restaurants from across the area participate in The Best of the Chefs competition for a chance to win the coveted People's Choice for Best Overall award. Other participating restaurants included: Il Pizzaiola, Andora, Atria’s, Café Notte, Diamond Run, Juniper Grille, Bella Frutteto, Ditka’s, Walnut Grille and Shakespear’s.  

 Ember & Vine served wild caught diver scallops with celery root purée and preserved lemon vinaigrette along with adobo lamb lollipops, Mexican street corn, arugula and lamb jus. Ember & Vine's dishes, created by Executive Chef Sam Castrale, were the crowd's favorites, granting the restaurant the highest honor.

 "This was one of our first opportunities to showcase Chef Castrale's talent at a prestigious event in Pittsburgh. Castrale's dishes are flavorful and imaginative and we're thrilled to have won the People's Choice for Best Overall," said Lance Rihn, General Manager of DoubleTree by Hilton Pittsburgh-Cranberry.

 Critically acclaimed chefs in every participating city have described The Glass Slipper Ball as one of the best “foodie fundraisers” they have ever supported. Participating chefs return each year with incredible enthusiasm, creativity and passion to support women’s causes locally and globally.

 “This is the first time in The Glass Slipper Ball's 14 year history that the restaurant in the hotel where the event was held won the People’s Choice for Best Overall,” said Event Chair and Founder Debra Dion Krischke. Previous winners include: Off the Hook, Hotel Saxonburg and Bella Frutteto.

Executive Chef Sam Castrale developed Ember & Vine’s menu to showcase his “scratch cooking” philosophy. Ember & Vine uses locally and regionally sourced ingredients and features American classic specialties with enhanced flavors from the restaurant’s custom-made woodfire oven. For more information on Ember & Vine Woodfire Oven and Social Bar visit emberandvinecranberry.com.

Our Executive Chef

bizjournals.com September 22, 2016

Sam Castrale

Date added: September 22, 2016
Submission Type: New Hire
Current employer: Ember & Vine Woodfire Oven and Social Bar
Current title/position: Executive Chef
Industry: Retailing & Restaurants
Duties/responsibilities: As Executive Chef of Ember & Vine, Chef Castale's responsibilities include developing the restaurant's menu, overseeing kitchen staff and ensuring guests' overall experience.

Link to original story

Our Director of Restaurant Operations

bizjournals.com September 22, 2016

Harry Siebert

Date added: September 22, 2016
Submission Type: New Hire
Current employer: Ember & Vine Woodfire Oven and Social Bar
Current title/position: Director of Restaurant Operations
Industry: Travel
Position level: Director of Restaurant Operations
Duties/responsibilities: As Director of Restaurant Operations, Siebert is responsible for overseeing all aspects of restaurant management including staffing, strategic planning and community involvement. 

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Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh-Cranberry Completes Multi-Million Dollar Renovation

patch.com by Jaymie Macek. September 29, 2016 4:06 p.m.

The renovations feature a modernized, comfortable atmosphere geared towards meetings and gatherings

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh-Cranberry recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation and is the brand’s first hotel north of the city of Pittsburgh. The project revamped everything from the exterior of the building, including the porte-cochere and parking lot, to the interior including the atrium and lobby space, meeting areas and ballroom.

The DoubleTree Cranberry is now beautifully modernized with eclectic yet comfortable furnishings and the open concept atrium and lobby area that have been transformed to a functional space strategically designed to accommodate corporate meetings and gatherings of all types. Situated directly in the center of the atrium is the new Ember & Vine, Woodfire Oven and Social Bar, a delicious, sophisticated restaurant convenient for hotel visitors and open to local guests.

“It has been an interesting process to get to this point but it is a truly impressive transformation that both our transient and local guests are really going to love,” said General Manager Lance Rihn. “Everything from the flow of the atrium and lobby to the comfort of the guest rooms and the functionality of the meeting spaces have been strategically thought through and it shows.”

The property features 23,000 square feet of meeting and event space. The hotel’s seven state-of-the-art conference rooms were upgraded with high-tech “smart” room capabilities including HD televisions, laptop compatible projectors and one touch digital lighting with audio control power sources. Other features include an expanded fitness center with new Life Fitness equipment, business center and indoor/outdoor pool.

The grand ballroom is 13,440 square feet making it the largest hotel ballroom in suburban Pittsburgh. The space can be divided into eight smaller sections and was upgraded with new wall coverings, carpet, light fixtures, doorways and sound system and has the capacity to host dinner events for up to 900 people.

Guest rooms have been updated with new artwork, headboards and luxury linens and the most anticipated upgrade is the deluxe DoubleTree Sweet Dreams® Bed Package. The mattress and box spring set is specifically designed and constructed to offer continuous innerspring support and features a movement reducing foundation. The mattress is topped with quilted top bedding that promotes even more coziness and comfort.

“Walking into the hotel after the transformation is very impressive. The sense of arrival and open space plus Ember & Vine situated in the center are superlative to anything you will find in the Cranberry market,” said Will Smith, Director of Brand Performance, Full Service Hilton Hotels. “We are very proud to work with owners who have a deep understanding of our industry, and embrace our brand culture of creating a rewarding experience for our guests.”

Link to the original story

Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh-Cranberry Completes Multi-Million Dollar Renovation

prlog.org Sept. 29, 2016

The renovations feature a modernized, comfortable atmosphere geared towards meetings and gatherings

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh-Cranberry recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation and is the brand's first hotel north of the city of Pittsburgh. The project revamped everything from the exterior of the building, including the porte-cochere and parking lot, to the interior including the atrium and lobby space, meeting areas and ballroom.

The DoubleTree Cranberry is now beautifully modernized with eclectic yet comfortable furnishings and the open concept atrium and lobby area that have been transformed to a functional space strategically designed to accommodate corporate meetings and gatherings of all types.Situated directly in the center of the atrium is the new Ember & Vine, Woodfire Oven and Social Bar, a delicious, sophisticated restaurant convenient for hotel visitors and open to local guests.

"It has been an interesting process to get to this point but it is a truly impressive transformation that both our transient and local guests are really going to love," said General Manager Lance Rihn. "Everything from the flow of the atrium and lobby to the comfort of the guest rooms and the functionality of the meeting spaces have been strategically thought through and it shows."

The property features 23,000 square feet of meeting and event space. The hotel's seven state-of-the-art conference rooms were upgraded with high-tech "smart" room capabilities including HD televisions, laptop compatible projectors and one touch digital lighting with audio control power sources. Other features include an expanded fitness center with new Life Fitness equipment, business center and indoor/outdoor pool.

The grand ballroom is 13,440 square feet making it the largest hotel ballroom in suburban Pittsburgh. The space can be divided into eight smaller sections and was upgraded with new wall coverings, carpet, light fixtures, doorways and sound system and has the capacity to host dinner events for up to 900 people.

Guest rooms have been updated with new artwork, headboards and luxury linens and the most anticipated upgrade is the deluxe DoubleTree Sweet Dreams® Bed Package. The mattress and box spring set is specifically designed and constructed to offer continuous innerspring support and features a movement reducing foundation. The mattress is topped with quilted top bedding that promotes even more coziness and comfort.

"Walking into the hotel after the transformation is very impressive. The sense of arrival and open space plus Ember & Vine situated in the center are superlative to anything you will find in the Cranberry market," said Will Smith, Director of Brand Performance, Full Service Hilton Hotels. "We are very proud to work with owners who have a deep understanding of our industry, and embrace our brand culture of creating a rewarding experience for our guests."

Link to original story

DoubleTree by Hilton Pittsburgh-Cranberry Completes Renovation

hotelbusinessdesign.com September 28th, 2016 11:23 a.m.

CRANBERRY/PITTSBURGH, PA—DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh-Cranberry recently completed a multimillion-dollar renovation that included the exterior of the building, the porte-cochere and parking lot, the atrium and lobby space, meeting areas and the ballroom.   

The open concept atrium and lobby area were designed to accommodate corporate meetings and gatherings of all types. Situated directly in the center of the atrium is the new Ember & Vine, Woodfire Oven and Social Bar.

The property has 23,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space. The hotel’s seven state-of-the-art conference rooms were upgraded with smart room capabilities including HD televisions, laptop compatible projectors and one-touch digital lighting with audio control power sources. Other features include an expanded fitness center with new Life Fitness equipment, business center and indoor/outdoor pool.

The grand ballroom is 13,440-sq.-ft. making it the largest hotel ballroom in suburban Pittsburgh, according to the company. The space can be divided into eight smaller sections and was upgraded with new wallcoverings, carpet, light fixtures, doorways and sound system and has the capacity to host dinner events for up to 900 people.  

Guestrooms have been updated with new artwork, headboards and luxury linens, as well as the DoubleTree Sweet Dreams Bed Package. The mattress and box spring set is specifically designed and constructed to offer continuous innerspring support and features a movement reducing foundation, according to the company. The mattress is topped with quilted top bedding.

Link to original story