Monday, April 9, 2012

...Sugar Cafe [off-topic]


"Los pasteles" is the word in Spanish - this could refer to any kind of pastry.  In Spanish 1, I teach it as a "breakfast pastry", like a danish or coffee cake.  Really, "un pastel" is any kind of pastry that you can think of, sometimes even a cake.

I love pasteles.

I've mentioned how I've gotten more into baking (Pinterest is not helping - go ahead, follow me on Pinterest and see for yourself that I'M NOT JOKING), and visiting bakeries gives me a certain thrill.  Over the summer, while working at Kennywood, we were having a conversation about local bakeries.  While we're - ok, I'M - mentioning names of dozens of bakeries, a co-worker interjected, "Geez, how do you know about all of these bakeries?!"

My response? "Duh - I used to be fat."

Really, though, I've learned more about these bakeries due to this blog.  One of the ones that sticks out in my head the most is Sugar Cafe in Dormont, for two reasons: A.) It was one of our stops on the 'Burgh Bits and Bites Dormont Food Blogger Tour, and it was so good that I got take-out for my dinner, and B.) Kelly James, the owner, was super-generous in donating cookies and cupcakes to our Coffee and Cookie Day Fundraiser to benefit Make-A-Wish.

On Easter Sunday, James and I had no doubt that we wanted to continue our usual Sunday brunch routine, but due to the holiday, a lot of places were closed.  One that wasn't?  Sugar Cafe - and they were sure to let the world know by tweeting it.

Good marketing.  We made plans to go.

Sugar Cafe - peek inside to see their new mural!
We weren't the only ones who got the message - the place was not empty, but it was not at all packed with people, so the wait was minimal.  We debated upon what to order - we had seen the specials on Twitter, but were torn.  Plus, I had a Groupon to use, and we weren't sure whether to use it today or sometime soon.

Well, I really wanted the Stuffed French Toast special - Cinnamon sugar cream cheese, granny apples, caramel sauce, maple syrup - so the Groupon went out the window:

Stuffed French Toast
This was the ULTIMATE "pastel".  So sticky and love love.  James agreed, as he asked for one bite...and took about 3 extra.

James chose another special - Chicken Ciabatta: a roasted chicken sandwich with bacon, sharp cheddar, grilled onions, field greens, and roasted garlic mayo.  He also got a side of home fries.

Chicken Ciabatta and Home Fries
 A savory sandwich, to say the least.  Roasted garlic mayo is an amazing thing - it gives so much flavor to sandwiches that otherwise would taste blah with regular mayo.  I did like this sandwich a lot, and it was something that I would have chosen myself, too, if it were closer to "lunchtime" (it was only about 9:30 when we got there).  After the food blogger tour, I had stopped for the Chicken Mole Wrap, which was another great choice - especially for the one who loves Latino foods.

James went back to the counter to order us dessert (Really? Dessert, after all of that sticky sweetness?  Yeah, I didn't fight it).   He brought me a Lemon Tartlette:

Lemon Tartlette
 Besides being an absolutely gorgeous pastry, it was lemony and tasty - just like lemon bars, and a sweet-but-tart complement to my gooey breakfast yumminess.  James always chooses well.

For himself, he chose the Carrot Cake - you know, Easter Sunday, Easter Bunny, carrots...

Carrot Cake
 This cake was very rich - I wouldn't have been able to eat it all by myself, but James devoured it (as it was for him, anyway), with me trying a few nibbles.  The cream cheese icing was the best part, as it is for most cakes, but the cake part was better than most carrot cakes that I have tried elsewhere.

Sugar Cafe has their own "Sugar Blend" coffee, roasted by La Prima in the Strip District.  I wanted to try the coffee outright, not as a latte or anything fancy.  They offer a bottomless cup for dine-in patrons:

Sugar Blend Coffee (forgive the light reflections!)
This coffee was great - not too acidic, not too strong.  It's a terrific blend for those with any coffee preference.

For the Coffee and Cookie Day, one of the items that Kelly James offered as a donation was their Large Chocolate Chip Cookies, which on their website they claim is the "World's Best".  Well, I can't disagree - I bought 3 of these huge cookies myself that day, simply because they were SO FANTASTIC.  I wish I had gotten a good picture - you just need to go yourself and see how HUGE and FANTASTIC they are!

Let's not forget the cupcake I had on the Dormont Food Blogger Tour - the Cosmo Cupcake.  Another sweet-yet-tart combination in cupcake form.  Beautiful.

Cosmo Cupcake
In addition, I'm fascinated with the color scheme of the cafe - this shade of blue, combined with black tables, all-black clothing of the employees, and a few white accents from the menus, makes me want to visit just to look at visual awesomeness!  I hear t-shirts are in the works - I will definitely buy one.  This shade of blue needs to be incorporated, though, ok?:

Pretty color scheme of Sugar Cafe
If I lived in Dormont, I'd probably be here any time that I could - they're only open from 8am-3pm, when I'm working, but I'd be a weekend and summer regular, for sure.  Seeing their weekend specials on Twitter makes me wish that I were closer, but Dormont's not THAT far, right?  I don't even need to cross a bridge to get there...AND, if it's your thing, YOU can even take the "T" there (the stop is MAYBE 100 feet away)!  

Sugar Cafe
1517 Potomac Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15216

Sugar Cafe on Urbanspoon

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