Croque Madame, Salt of the Earth, Pittsburgh

I’ve already hinted elsewhere that, for being a French food fan, I’ve eaten surprisingly few French classics. Somewhere between my busy schedule and the price of the Euro, when in France, I have tended to stick to lunches of baguette, butter, and ham sandwiches (which are pretty incredible) instead of white wine, escargots, and oeufs…

Not like Mom’s: Authentic Belgian waffles, Waffalonia, Pittsburgh

I happen to be intrigued by almost everything about Belgium. Geographically, politically, and historically lodged between Holland (the country that introduced me to Europe) and France (the primary country that speaks the language that I study), Belgium is the intersection of Europe at which I feel most myself. The French accent seems softer here, and the…

Fresh, authentic, flavorful: Garden Vietnamese Restaurant, Harrisburg

Garden Vietnamese, Harrisburg, is one of those odd kind of restaurants that I love to recommend. Painted mint green and positioned just on the edge of Midtown, the Garden looks just as unassuming as its Harrisburg reputation is omnipresent. When we moved to Harrisburg five years ago, the Garden was one of the first restaurants…

Jean-Marc Chatellier’s French Bakery, Millvale, reinspires

Jean-Marc Chatellier’s French bakery in Millvale, PA, is just a stone’s throw across the river from Pittsburgh’s other well-known French boulengeries: La Gourmandine in Lawrenceville, Gaby et Jules in Squirrel Hill. However, in contrast to La Gourmandine’s rustic coziness and Gaby et Jules’ glittering elegance, Jean-Marc Chatellier’s bakery better gives the impression of being a…

Au Bon Lieu, Harrisburg: Crêpes that I actually stand behind

My students at the University of Pittsburgh recently asked me what an authentic crêpe was like, and I realized I have no good answers. I only have impressions. In my head, it goes like this: a crêpe must have a simple batter made of flour, eggs, milk, and occasionally some sugar, vanilla, or salt. The…

Kyoto drip, Bank Square Coffeehouse; Beacon, New York

Okay. I cannot say that I actually tasted this coffee when I stopped at this gem of a coffeehouse in Beacon, New York — but the sheer appearance of the brewing apparatus of Kyoto drip coffee certainly caught my attention. At Bank Square Coffeehouse, founded in 2009, this Kyoto drip steeps coffee through a thick…

Friday Photo: Morano Gelato, Hanover, New Hampshire

Being the daughter of a dairy farmer, I have an incredible weakness for dairy products, especially ice cream. However, even I admit that once you taste gelato, like that of Morano Gelato in Hanover, New Hampshire, there’s no turning back. According to the Morano website, gelato differs from American ice cream in three main ways:…

Cupcakes fit for spring, Dozen Bake Shop, Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh

I have a weakness for good cupcakes, especially those, like this one from Dozen Bake Shop, that taste like springtime and are made from scratch daily. This moist vanilla cupcake with deliciously thick passionfruit icing was crowned with coconut for a not-to-sweet but altogether beautiful crunch. Be sure to call ahead for the day’s flavors…

Miracle milkshakes? Burgatory Bar, Waterworks, Pittsburgh

I never thought I could be impressed by a milkshake enough to think that it was a gift from Heaven. However, those from Burgatory, a little joint that markets itself as serving up a “Helluva Burger” and “Heavenly Shakes,” might as well be. I don’t even know what “house-turned vanilla bean ice cream” is (is…

‘Uptown ginger brown’ cappuccino, Little Amps, Harrisburg

The “Uptown Ginger Brown” ($4.25) — a not-too-sweet cappuccino from Little Amps in Uptown — is made with ginger, fresh orange zest, and brown sugar. The first two ingredients bring a subtle brightness to the rich coffee, a tartness hidden in the rich and foamy mouthfeel. As for the third, owner Aaron Carlson prefers brown…