Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Pittsburgh Pastry Perfect

What is is with Pittsburgh and pastries? I'm serious.

Where else do thousands of people line up Soviet style for free cakes... and where else in the world would someone go to the effort of stealing free cakes.

Does not end there of course.  Remember back in the days of Twinkies, Pittsburgh was once the Ho Ho Capital of the world. Literally the global #1.  Even if the numbers didn't add up, the point is that nobody here ever questioned the magnitude.

or let's talk about The Cookie Table. Just another tradition that Pittsburgh has no particular uniqueness? Even Wikipedia explains "it is basically a Pittsburgh tradition."  Yes, Cookie Table has a Wikipedia page.
politics? Local A listers may skip the Pennsylvania Society Dinner in NYC, but would not be caught ashore when the Cookie Cruise shifts colors.

Some hard core readers here may recall when the question of what Custard is once utterly confounded our friend Mike M.   Flavored butter cream?? Hmmff!

Then there are the Cupcakes. I think some have forgotten already the scale of the late in coming cupcake craze in Pittsburgh. Long gone in a sense; can't get the pomegranate tea cupcake anywhere these days.   No, of course cupcakes are neither a Pittsburghism, nor are we any hot spot on the cutting edge of cupcakedom.  But remember when the mere hint that Pittsburgh was catching up to the wave of retro cupcake appreciation set off waves of a media frenzy; only in Pittsburgh did the cupcake phenomenon get raised to anexistential issue, to the point of becoming nonsensical. We really want to be cool, we really do.

The funniest pastry story however is what few remember of the great East Liberty resurgence.  Ready for this.  The original plan for the Eastside Whole Food development was that it would be paired with a Krispy Kreme. I do not make this stuff up!  Only in Pittsburgh.  Even if it didn't happen in the end.
But did we ever get the 105 Dunkin Donuts we were supposed to get?  I really do need to update my metric of bakeries per capita.

and if you ask me: http://www.paddycakebakery.org/

Ok.. got that out of me.


Blogger Bram Reichbaum said...

What is a Leprechaun filled cookie? I know it's popular for high-end pastries to be sinfully decadent, but that's overdoing it.

Maybe some nice Amalekite hamantashen.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013 9:59:00 PM  
Blogger Vannevar said...

Oh, they have irish soda bread! I must go get some.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013 3:31:00 AM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

I'm going to suggest this is a legacy of the immigration waves from Continental Europe.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013 8:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Not Ken said...

I still miss the bakery in Regent Square, but Heaven's Scent in Forest Hills is very good, with a great back-story courtesy of Chris Fennimore and WQED:


Wednesday, April 03, 2013 9:31:00 AM  
Anonymous MN said...

People still talk about the cookie table at my wedding. It was epic!

Wednesday, April 03, 2013 12:13:00 PM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

Regent Square is actually stealing Vanilla Pastry Studio from East Liberty (they are going into the new building that was developed next to Typhoon Lighting):


And yes, the fact all this is an ongoing hot topic in the community supports Chris's point.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013 1:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Not Ken said...

Yes and no. Cookie table? Definitely a Pittsburgh thing. Never saw it before I arrived here/never seen it anywhere else.

Bakeries, and their demise, has long been a topic of conversation throughout the Northeast US. I remember as a kid my parents lamenting the loss of the corner bakery.

What killed them? I don't know. I suppose supermarket bakery convenience helped in the homicide. But places like The Corner Bakery, Panera and Au Bon Pain show there is still a real, live market for these places.

There is also something that a old G-man once told me. That most corner bakeries only survived because they were fronts for the book-making operations in the back. The bakery never made money; the bookmaking operation did. When the government began to prosecute organized crime effectively and, even more, run legal lotteries, the source of profit for the bakeries dried up. Who knows?

Thursday, April 04, 2013 9:16:00 AM  

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