Ice cream from Brunton Dairy in Independence

There are no off-the-wall, hip or funky ice cream flavors at this Beaver County family-owned dairy farm — only plain-Jane ones such as vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, cookies and cream, orange cream and cherry vanilla. That is plenty fine by me as the creamy and smooth chocolate and vanilla flavors had me screaming for more. Both are straight-talking ice creams that will win over any purist and taste rich without leaving that unpleasant glaze on your tongue. You cannot get them in a cup or cone, but only in 56-ounce containers.

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Brunton Dairy ice cream.(Alexandra Wimley/Post-Gazette)

The store selling the ice creams, in addition to white and chocolate milk in glass bottles, sits a few yards away from the Holstein cow barns and near where the ice cream is made by plant manager Herb Brunton. The cow-to-container experience is real. 3681 Ridge Road, Independence (Aliquippa) — Arthi Subramaniam

202 Hometown Tacos in Bellevue serves a variety of tacos, including carne asada ($4) with Mexican street corn and pickled red onions.

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Steak salad at Union Standard, Downtown

Whenever I’m trying to feel virtuous when eating out, I order salad. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I go hungry. The steak salad ($24) at Union Standard is a bit pricey for a weekday lunch, but it’s gorgeous, and it will fill you up.

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Union Standard’s steak salad.(Gretchen McKay/Post-Gazette)

Nestled on a bed of sweet and tender mesclun studded with rich and nutty Goat Rodeo Cowboy Coffee cheese, it comes with 6½ ounces of perfectly grilled (still pink in the middle) prime strip steak. It’s so tender, you almost don’t need a knife. House-made pickled green beans and toasted sunflower seeds add a wonderful crunch. I’m in love. 524 William Penn Place, Downtown — Gretchen McKay

Coppa di testa at Bar Marco in the Strip District 

Coppa di testa isn’t on the menu here, but it is on the meat board ($10).

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Coppa di testa, or head cheese, at Bar Marco.(Melissa McCart/Post-Gazette)

And while one wouldn’t think of Italian head cheese as elegant, this one, made in-house, actually is. Served with pickles, mustard and bread, it’s a humble yet impressive start to a meal. 2216 Penn Ave., Strip District — Melissa McCart

Faerie Perry at Stonewall Cider House & Meadery in Verona 

The lamb chops appetizer at Girasole in Shadyside.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette staffBest dishes and drinks in Pittsburgh right now

At this super-cute newly opened drinks destination, you can try some drinks that you may never have heard of before, much less ever have had a chance to try. Joshua Niese was surprised at how much his first customers have enjoyed his take on Paco’s Tapache, a rustic Mexican-style hooch traditionally made with pineapple peelings. It was gone when I stopped in the first weekand he was making more.

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Stonewall Cider House & Meadery’s Faerie Perry, second from left.(Bob Batz Jr./Post-Gazette)

But I did get to sample his Faerie Perry, which, as he’ll explain (along with the cheeky name), is a relatively unusual cider made with pears. His version gets a lovely blush and a little bitter complexity from the addition of cherry puree. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, lightly carbonated and light on alcohol (4% ABV). Try it as part of a flight of four 4-ounce tasters for $11 or have a 9-ounce glass for $5. He’s made more of all his products, but still is working to make enough to be able to also sell bottles to go. 723 Allegheny River Blvd., Verona — Bob Batz Jr. 

In case you missed it:

Alta Via, 202 Hometown Tacos, Someone Else’s Bar, Mindful Brewing Co. 

Girasole, Carmella’s Plates & Pints, Ali Baba, Graeter’s Ice Cream

Casa Amigos, Rocchio’s Italian Deli, LeoGreta

Burgatory, Ki Ramen, Pie for Breakfast, Azorean Cafe

Fairlane, Penn Avenue Fish Co., Masala House

Cure, Merchant Oyster Co., Sir Pizza, Legends Eatery

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