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

Coffee Porter Release Party

Two of our favorite local businesses have teamed up and we couldn’t be more excited!  Come celebrate the union of East End Brewing and Squirrel Hill’s Commonplace Coffeehouse and the release of their offspring, the Coffee Porter – a Porter with Commonplace coffee.  Delicious!  Awesome!  Fun!  Yes!

The Release Party is this Thursday (tomorrow), December 15th from 6 – 10pm at Commonplace Coffeehouse in Squirrel Hill.  Tickets are $22 and get you a taster of the Porter, as well as a  gift bottle to take home and a half-pound bag of Commonplace’s Sumatra coffee. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

For more information, please visit:

East End Brewing: http://eastendbrewing.com/

Commonplace Coffeehouse: http://www.commonplacecoffee.com/

The Food Network Stops at The Waffle Shop TONIGHT!

Food Network's Logo used from 2000 - 2005

Image via Wikipedia

Worlds Weirdest Restaurants, a new show that is being taped for the Food Network Canada, will be at the Waffle Shop tonight (Friday, June 10, 2011) from 10pm-3am.  The public is invited to stop by for waffles and to watch the show.  Can’t make it East Liberty – as always you can watch the Waffle Shop streaming live at WaffleShop.org.

Worlds Weirdest Restaurants will be hosted by Bob Blumer – he currently hosts the show Glutton for Punishment.

WWR’s host Bob Blumer will spend the evening cooking, serving, and participating in a packed night of interactive talk shows. The general public is encouraged to come by, dine, and take part!

The evening’s line up will feature local artist’s talk shows designed to instigate intrigue and spur interaction. In addition to waffle cuisine there will be a variety of live interactive shows including Dave English passing his torch as the host of “The Unemployment Show”, T. Foley performing a talk show hosted by a ventriloquist dummy who’s reticent to perform in public, Terry Boyd’s “Anonymous Costumed Guest Hour” as well as cameos from other local favorites.

What is the Waffle Shop? Do they really serve waffles?

From the Waffle Shop website:

The Waffle Shop is a neighborhood restaurant that produces and broadcasts a live-streaming talk show with its customers, operates a changeable storytelling billboard on its roof, and runs a take-out window that sells food from countries engaged in conflict with the U.S. The shop is a public lab that brings together people from all walks of life to engage in dialogue, experimentation and the co-production of culture. The project functions as a classroom for students from Carnegie Mellon University, an eatery, a TV production studio, a social catalyst, and a business. Our customers are our funders, audience, and participants as we film during open hours, inviting interested patrons to express their unique opinions and personalities.

The Waffle Shop is supported by the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University, The Center for the Arts In Society, East Liberty Development Inc, We Do Property, Sota Construction Services, the Sprout Fund, Whole Foods, and the sale of waffles.

Intro Coffee Tasting Class at Aldo Coffee

Frank from Aldo Coffee on his home turf

Image by jakeliefer via Flickr

Aldo Coffee is a lovely and local coffee shop on Washington Road in Mount Lebanon.  They are offering an introductory coffee tasting class this weekend.

Introductory Coffee Tasting: This 90-minute course is designed to let you experience multiple coffee growing regions and roasting styles so that you expand your palate, learn more about this important crop and find one or more coffees you truly enjoy.  Our next “Coffee Tasting 101″ tasting class isSaturday, March 26 at 2pm . Register here.

They have some other classes this spring for all levels of coffee lovers – you can see the whole schedule here.

New Girl on the Blog Visits Espresso a Mano

latte art heart in our new double espresso cup
Image via Wikipedia

Note from Lindsay: Please welcome Amanda – she is a new blogger here at IheartPGH and she has been very patient while we upgraded the blog.  So now that we are upgraded and settled in at our new host – time for some new posts!  I am so happy she will be writing for us and this post is about a great coffee shop in Pittsburgh that I don’t think we have blogged about yet! Please welcome her to IheartPGH!

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Today, I almost went to see the art exhibit Ordinary Madness, currently showing at the Carnegie Art Museum, which I was excited about. The operative word here is almost. I put my scarf on; I was wearing my coat and my comfortable tennis shoes for museum walking, but I couldn’t make it. I have a number of school related commitments to attend to, and it’s starting to eat away at me in a way that I can’t deal with anymore. But—I loathe the idea of wasting an entire beautifully sunny Sunday working in my apartment. So, I ventured to my absolute favorite coffee shop, Espresso a Mano. (1)

Now, I could gush about the espresso here, and the French Pressed coffee, and the lovely heart shaped swirls Matt can make on your latte foam. But honestly, you can go to Espresso a Mano’s own website and read about much of that—and you should, my dear. I think it will be more informative for me to talk about what I love about this place, because it goes so far beyond the coffee. [Read more…]