Operated by the same family for nearly 90 years, the ovens at Keystone Bakery fire up fresh, preservative-free treats every day according to a catalog of more 1,000 family recipes for breads, pies, and cakes. Blackberry pies pack in bushels of berries from Oregon and Washington ($7.99), and each caramel-apple-walnut pie ($7.50) mixes White House apples with nuts cracked by reliable Secret Service interrogation tactics. Other sweets such as the toasted-almond-whipped-cream cake ($12.09) or mini cream rolls ($10.49/24) close out holiday meals on a decadent note. The powerful aroma of fresh-baked french or marble-rye bread ($2.59+/loaf) drifts throughout both bakeries, triggering nostalgic sense memories of peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches and chalk circles etched on sidewalks. Those ordering pies should call the bakery at least 24 hours in advance to make sure crusted pastries are armed for spontaneous food fights.
Sugar Cafe owner Kelly James, a fixture in Pittsburgh's gourmet-pastry scene, opened the doors in February 2011 to reveal a menu of delectable sweets and savories crafted in-house by a team of dedicated chefs. Visitors can dine on specialties such as a black forest ham sandwich with sliced granny smith apples, gouda, and spicy mustard on a french baguette, or a sandwich with eggplant and tomato roasted by the heat of food-grade fireworks and topped with parmesan cheese and toasted garlic mayonnaise on ciabatta bread. An elevated bakery exhibits the mouthwatering work of prodigious bakers and sous chefs, who converge each morning to whip up desserts such as Grand Marnier cheesecake, vanilla-chai cupcakes, and lemon pound cakes. Complimentary WiFi keeps patrons comfortably connected, and a BYOB policy allows guests to bring along a bottle of wine to accompany meals or christen a ship on the way home.
The sugar-savvy staff of The Gingerbread Shop furnishes holiday crafters with the oodles of candied accouterments needed to create their own delectable gingerbread domiciles, hosts candy-filled gingerbread-house-building workshops, and constructs premade edible abodes for sweets enthusiasts. Customers may opt to have a customized handmade gingerbread house shipped directly to their homes or to a loved one in all its royal-icing-bound and decorated domesticity. The house can grace your holiday table, be gifted to the acquisitions intern, or serve as a home for errant glazed hams. Each handcrafted house can be customized, allowing meticulous house builders to add a name, date, or Lilliputian real-estate appraiser to each delectable creation. Alternatively, in preparation for each one-hour gingerbread-house workshop, participants settle into the festive shop environs before settling down to embellish houses with a cornucopia of delicious items including red hots, mints, sprinkles, gumdrops, and candy-framed mortgage-payment checks. Royal icing in an array of hues binds walls and roofs together, and punch, cookies, and Christmas music twinkling in the background enhance the nostalgic and festive experience.
Shouf’s Cafe recently earned a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Reader’s Choice award for the Best Ethnic Restaurant of 2012. That’s thanks to the mouthwatering, accessible Lebanese cuisine that Tony Moses and his team of chefs have created here since 2006. They cook up lamb kebabs, moussaka, and slow-cooked pork shank, as well as entrees with influences from across the Mediterranean, such as filet mignon and spinach pie. The cross-cultural menu is augmented by hearty breakfast selections such as buttermilk pancakes and omelets. You can pair up your Mediterranean feast with a glass of wine or a coffee drink and cap off the meal with housemade baklava, the Death by Chocolate cake, or a eulogy for a misplaced napkin.
The proudly independent family crew that runs The Pittsburgh Bagel Factory brings the same commitment to tasty food and early-rising work ethics that made their bagels a local staple to their new Craig St. location. After baking their bagels, which include everything from savory onion to multigrain wildberry, the kitchen staff puts them to work, schmearing them with cream cheese concoctions or sandwiching them with deli meats including oven-roasted turkey and kosher salami. Custom blends of eggs, morning meats, and cheese gussy up handheld comestibles, while burgers flip from sizzling grills to challah buns dressed with toppings ranging from grilled onions and mushrooms to fried eggs and peach barbecue sauce. Staff also pull shots of espresso to add to steaming mugs that vanquish sleepiness from faces.
In her bio, Margaret Harris jokes that she "may have had her first 'cup of tea' when she was only one day old." That's because Harris was raised in Poland, where tea, she writes, "is the primary household beverage." Today, she applies her training at the Warsaw Medical College to discuss the health benefits of her brews with customers at her tea-and-coffee shop, Margaret's Fine Imports. In addition to stocking more than 200 types of loose-leaf tea, from Chinese green tea to British teas such as Taylor's Yorkshire Gold tea and PG Tips, Harris completes proper tea times with German and Polish sweets, Asian-style tea sets, and napkins autographed by the Mad Hatter.