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So I’m lounging at the pool this weekend when my brother-in-law texts me a photo of a pizza. And not just any pizza, but a new featured pie from The Pitch. And I happened to be full-on starving at the time.

That’s so not cool, but he gets a pass for giving me a good tip to try on my next visit.

I turn to friends sitting next to me and ask if anyone’s heard about this month’s specialty pizza at the sports bar and grill outside Shawnee Athletic Complex between Dunbar and Institute. The crowd went wild. Not only had several heard about it, some had already tried it.

And “it” is a Detroit-style (think thick, chewy but still crispy rectangle crust) topped with local Gritt’s Farm green tomatoes, bacon and pimento cheese. I mean, c’mon. How could that not rock?

Pitch co-owner/chef Paul Smith said it’s a creation he actually just whipped up for the kitchen staff one night and then realized it was too good not to share.

Good call, Chef!

In fact, it’s been so popular since then that Smith hopes to keep it on the menu as a special all month. If you’ve hankering for it, though, you might want to call first just to make sure it’s still available.

IF YOU GO: The Pitch, 2947 Fairlawn Road in Dunbar, is open from 3-9:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. For more information, call 304-205-4017, visit www.thepitchwv.com or check out the restaurant’s Facebook page.

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Ready for another round?

Last week I shared a sneak peek at the cocktail and food pairings Bar 101 and Black Sheep would be offering at this Saturday’s Capital Cocktail Classic, an upscale pub crawl benefitting a dozen local organizations supported by Fund for the Arts.

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This week I have the scoop on The Block and Sam’s Uptown Café.

And what a delicious scoop it is!

The Block will be serving up a lovely Hendrick’s Lavender Bees Knees cocktail that has immediately become my new favorite summer sipper. I enjoyed three of them the first day I got to sample them (hey, we had to perfect the recipe) and then two more a few days later.

Featuring a mix of Hendrick’s gin, lemon juice, lavender syrup and crushed ice, the drink is topped with a lemon rind twist and a sprig of lavender as well. The result is a refreshing drink featuring bright floral flavors, a hint of sweetness and just a touch of acidity.

It’s so good and it will be paired that evening with an equally lovely dish that I hope ends up on The Block’s appetizer menu as well. That gem is a honey and lemongrass sriracha chicken satay over a fresh kale salad with peanut dressing.

Just down the street, Sam’s will be pouring a Tito’s vodka and rose syrup sangria spiked with fresh fruit and a splash of sparkling water that put me in the mind of a “hard seltzer sangria,” if you will.

That drink will accompany a hot, bubbling Enchilada ala Vodka stuffed with braised beef and ricotta and topped with fresh mozzarella and bourbon Bellavitano cheeses with vodka sauce, roasted heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil.

Think of it as an Italian-inspired enchilada or maybe a slice of Mexican-inspired lasagna. Either way, it’s every bit as good as it sounds.

As a reminder, this Saturday’s event lets you sip and sample cocktail and food pairings at four downtown restaurants – then vote on which drink, dish and overall pairing you like best.

Tickets are $60 per person or $110 per couple and include food and drinks at all four locations, which you can visit at your own pace between 5 and 7:30 p.m. that evening. For more information, visit “Fund for the Arts West Virginia” on Facebook or check out https://bit.ly/3CrYYEn.

Steven Keith is a food writer and restaurant critic known as “The Food Guy” who writes a weekly column for the Gazette-Mail and has appeared in several state, regional and national culinary publications. Follow him online at wvfoodguy.com or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as “WV Food Guy.” He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or at wvfoodguy@aol.com.

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