In Search of Croissants in Pittsburgh

Check out these 4 awesome places for a flaky, buttery snack in Pittsburgh – due to time and transit constraints the team didn’t make it to Jean-Marc Chatellier’s Bakery in Millvale – I promise you there will be a follow up on that.

(Beautiful pictures by Iva. Words by Sarah and Ray)

In order to bring you info on the best croissants in the city, the I Heart PGH gang went on a croissant tour, sampling four bakeries. (Eating delicious croissants all day was an enormous burden, but you’re welcome.) We chatted with the staff and rated each croissant by buttery-ness, flaky-ness and rip-ability.

La Gourmandine, Lawrenceville

This authentically French bakery has unique pastries and crazy buttery croissants. It’s owned and operated by a French couple who bring their recipes straight from the cafe of Paris. They make their own dough and bake each piece of buttery goodness fresh. They have a few different types of croissants, including a chocolate flavored morsel that perfectly blends cocoa, butter, and bread.

There’s a variety of pastries filled with the likes of pistachio and hazelnut cream and a basket of baguettes. But the real piece de resistance here is the croissants. Make sure the get there early if you want an almond croissant, they tend to sell out.

The space at La Gourmandine is also limited. There’s room to stand and eat your goodies at two tables, but if you’re with a big group, it’s maybe not the best hang-out space.

  • Price: $1.90
  • Buttery-ness: 8.5 (made with European butter)
  • Flaky-ness: 6
  • Rip-ability: 4

Crepes Parisiennes, Oakland

The croissants at Crepes Parisiennes are a delish, but a little more bread-y and dense. Their flaky and crisp outside are a nice contrast to some of the other croissants we tasted, especially when paired with a chocolate filing.

Crepes Parisiennes is a perfect place to meet a friend or two in Oakland. Its service was quite fast and its atmosphere was surprisingly relaxing for a busy cafe in the city. Anyone preparing for a French exam would be wise to study in Crepes Parisiennes for a few hours, so long as the delicious crepes don’t distract you.

  • Price: $1.75
  • Buttery-ness: 5
  • Flaky-ness: 6.5
  • Rip-ability: 6

Allegro Hearth Bakery, Squirrel Hill

Four words: bigger than your face. That’s how big these mega-croissants are at Allegro bakery. In addition to the lovely breads and pastries, there’s a small cheese case if you want to slap a savory topping onto your croissant.

Allegro is nicely situated in the heart of Squirrel Hill on Murray Ave next to the Pinskers Jewish book store. The staff is really friendly and the open space gives you a great view into the bakery. Anyone passing through Squirrel Hill should stop in to Allegro, even if its just to see the biggest Croissants in Pittsburgh.

Take your goodies to go though, this place doesn’t have anywhere to sit.

  • Price: $1.89
  • Buttery-ness: 8
  • Flaky-ness: 9
  • Rip-ability: 6

Paris 66, East Liberty

We all agreed that this was by far the best croissant that we tried all day. Although, we will admit, Paris 66 might have a slightly unfair advantage since they bake your croissants when your order them. Regardless, these babies are good. They’re aesthetically pleasing, in addition to having the most flaky crust and gooey inside we encountered all day.

Inside, the restaurant smells like heaven. Between the fresh bread baking filling the air, the authentic french cuisine, or the beautifully decorated walls, Paris 66 brings the full french cafe experience right to Shady side.  It’s more of a sit-down place, so it might be easier to plan on eating a meal rather than just a cup of coffee and croissant.

  • Price: $2.00
  • Buttery-ness: 7
  • Flaky-ness: 10
  • Rip-ability: 3 (it’s soo gooey)

La Gourmandine on Urbanspoon

Crepes Parisiennes on Urbanspoon

Allegro Hearth Bakery on Urbanspoon

Paris 66 on Urbanspoon

Needles’ Crowned

Deep in the belly of Lawrenceville, in the smoky Blue Moon bar, the Monday night crowd was breathless and rowdy, packed to the gills and glued to the television in anticipation.  In any other bar, it would have been the Steelers at the Superbowl or the Penguins in game seven for the Stanley Cup.  But no, it was the season finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Pittsburgh’s Sharon Needles was crowned winner of season four of the Drag Race amongst gales of cheers and slopped beers.  She distinguishes herself with her flair for horror and sharp wit.

Hooray, Sharon!  We’re so proud.  Can’t wait to see her back in Pittsburgh, a long summer of touring.

Alternative Fuel: East End Brewing 2012 Keg Ride

Say hello to Iva!  She comes to IheartPGH with photo skills and a super camera!  We’re excited for more of her posts that will have way better photos than the ones from my sad little Blackberry camera.  Check out her awesome photos from the East End Brewing Keg ride last weekend

Cyclists love getting together and riding in absurdly large groups.  I believe we’re entertained by the idea of being a spectacle — children shout “Wow! Bicycles!”, people stand on stoops taking video with flip cameras, traffic patterns react to the bikes and not the other way around.  And, in my experience, cyclists LOVE beer.  Why else would Pittsburgh have a bicycle bar on the South Side and maybe the most popular cycling jersey in town is the Big Hop jersey.

East End Brewing has it’s finger on that pulse.  The 8th annual Pedal Pale keg ride sold out 600 registrations — after adding an extra hundred registration slots four days before ride.  Proceeds from registration fees went to ABOARD’s autism connection and BikePGH.   Someone even donated $250 to pull a keg!

Part of the magic of the Pedal keg ride is that the destination is kept a secret, right up until the kegs pull over.  Beginning at the brewery’s new location on Frankstown Avenue   The procession mostly meandered through the beautiful neighborhood of Highland Park, making a full loop around the reservoir.  Then, 600 cyclists descended upon Station Street Hot Dogs, tapped some tasty kegs and destroyed hot dogs like it was our job.

 

 

Check out more photos at BikePGH’s public Flickr group!