On my last trip to Pittsburgh, MAD2Go had the chance to stop in at Kelly O’s Diner in Pittsburgh. I must admit I’ve always been a bit suspicious of restaurants featured on TV shows. Even if they were good prior to filming, they are often victims of their own success as viewers mob well-rated venues.
I was pleasantly surprised by the meal I had at Kelly O’s after it was showcased on Triple D. I visited the downtown location, which featured a vibrant nouveau-retro décor.
Copyright Gail A. Sisolak 2013
I particularly wanted to try the haluski, which I had never seen on a menu. Apparently it’s a church fair staple in Pittsburgh, since the city has a large population descended from Eastern European immigrants.
Haluski is Slovak Soul food; a dish I have made and enjoyed many times. Its three main ingredients are cabbage, noodles, and onions. When I was young, my mother used to make the noodles, but like most people she now uses store bought. I don’t have a written copy of the recipe, because every Slovak woman had her own version and they probably varied depending on the amount of cabbage and onions on hand.
My Mother taught me to make haluski in the following proportions:
1/2 stick of butter
1 medium head of cabbage
2 large onions
Salt and Pepper to taste
A healthy dash of paprika
In a heavy skillet, brown the onion in butter. When browned, add salt, pepper, paprika and cabbage. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes. Add a little water or broth as needed; cook until cabbage is tender. My Mother usually served it over good quality egg noodles.
Kelly O’s adds a couple of twists to their version of haluski—they top theirs with bacon and a dusting of shredded cheese.
While I loved the addition of the bacon, at first it seemed a little strange. Then I remembered early cooking lessons with my Mom. Back in the day, she saved the bacon fat from the skillet and poured it into a clean glass jar. Instead of using shorting or butter when pan frying, she would use a scoop of bacon fat. It was obviously not heart healthy, but the fat added a tremendous amount of flavor. There is a good chance a made haluski with bacon fat at some point.
Kelly O’s Diner