The arrival of spring in Pittsburgh is one my favorite times of year. It signals the return of yard sales, gardens, farmers markets, cycling, baseball, and outdoor seating at my favorite cafes, when it’s not raining, of course. I suppose I love spring because although it is a busy time of year, it’s a fun busy. Being busy is a way of shaking off the winter doldrums.
Or so I thought. Thanks to Dormont’s new Sugar Cafe, I can now add another item to my spring To Do list: sitting still. One random Saturday last month, I found myself running errands in the South Hills. I had heard about the cafe and thought I would pop in while on my way to somewhere else. The quick bite turned into lunch and dessert. An hour later, I stumbled back out into the sunlight, so dazed by what I had just eaten that I could barely remember where I was or where I had parked my car. To Do list? The only thing I could think about was my current blissed-out state. Somehow I made it back home.
Sugar Cafe is something of a misnomer. In addition to desserts and pastries (more on those in a moment), they offer a wide-ranging menu, including breakfast items (bagels, waffles, granola) and a lunch menu (sandwiches and salads). On my first trip, I had the grilled cheese sandwich. Anyone who knows me knows my love of cheese, so the standard was high, which Sugar Cafe promptly met. The cheddar-monterey jack combo was excellent, and it was grilled to perfection: crunchy on the outside, warm and gooey on the inside. On a subsequent trip (less than a week later), I had the arugula salad with pear, candied walnuts, and shaved parmesan (I’m getting hungry just thinking about it).
But of course the real stars of the show were the sweets. Cupcakes, cakes, cookies, pastries, you name it, they have it. Each is the product of both good taste and a fun sense of creativity. There’s the S’mores Cupcake, Irish Car Bomb cupcakes, Blackberry and Raspberry cheesecake tart, Cherry Chocolate chip scones, an Almond Torte, chocolate and vanilla cream puffs. The Vanilla Chocolate Chip cookie cupcake (pictured below) was delicious and just plain fun to eat. I could go on and on (and on and on), but you get the point. The next time you’re in the South Hill, take time to savor a spring afternoon at the Sugar Cafe.