100 24th Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Here, Chef Dimitri constructs a white chocolate bow using white chocolate ribbons, melted chocolate, and condensed air for a instant freeze.
Gaby et Jules
5837 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
I’ve already claimed that this café near Highland Park has some of the most nuanced espresso I’ve found in Pittsburgh. This Friday Photo is dedicated to the beauty of their americano, gold-tinged, bubbled, haphazard – beauty.
1125 North Highland Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Monday-Friday, 7 AM-10 PM
Saturday-Sunday, 8 AM-10 PM
Gates Center 3rd Floor
Computer Science Building
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Monday-Friday 7 AM-7PM
Tasteless and overzealous or one of Baltimore’s holiday hits? This Friday Photo is of what’s known as “The Miracle on 34th Street,” not in terms of the movie but of the 700 block of 34th Street between Chestnut Street and Keswick Road in Baltimore, Maryland. According to Wikipedia, this display, which is a collaborative effort of all residents on this historic Hampden street, began in 1947 and can attract 1,000 visitors daily. Quirky themes include a Christmas tree made with old vinyls or bicycle-wheel snowmen.
This photo is of 34th Street in daylight, but click here to see photos of this miracle lit up at night.
It’s likely that we Americans get the coffee-and-pastry breakfast from France, where baguette slices are spread with Nutella and dipped into bowls of morning Joe, and fresh croissants are eaten with hot chocolate by afternoon. However, mass-produced Starbucks pound cake or stale Panera stick buns (with a dark roast in a travel mug) shouldn’t cut it for you. Return to the pastries of your grandmother with a rustic apple tart made by Short & Sweet Bakery, Lemoyne, and served at Little Amps Coffee Roasters, Harrisburg. It’s fresh apples folded into a flaky crust about then sprinkled with sugar for just a touch of sweetness — perfectly paired with the richness of one of Little Amp’s house-roasted coffee or espresso drinks. Also available for breakfast (and equally delicious) are biscotti, cookies, granola, macaroons, and quiches.
Little Amps Coffee Roasters
1836 Green Street
Harrisburg, PA 17102
It’s 11:35 PM on Wednesday, December 7, and I haven’t left home at this odd of a weekday hour since Black Friday. I bend over my steering wheel and crane my neck toward the sky: still no snow. Front Street is as clear as a country road, a sleek damp ribbon studded with lampposts. The black jogging path runs beside a silver Susquehanna. It’s a picturesque scene, but the weather forecast has been clear: snow advisory for Central Pennsylvania from 7pm to 7am tomorrow.
When snow is on the forecast, most of us slide into a familiar routine: check the quantity of milk in the fridge, the level of gas in the tank. For most of us, the routine stops there, except for the occasional glance at the sky. This is not the case for Harrisburg’s Department of Public Works, for whom the words “snow day” have an entirely different meaning.
Tonight, four men—Dave Spiroff, Enola; Rodney Keller, Hummelstown; Randy Sauder, Harrisburg; and David Jordan, Susquehanna township—have just arrived for work. I join them in a utility building on South 19th Street which is backlit by fog and orange light. Director Ernie Hoch sips coffee and shakes my hand, and the men greet me with a nod. “This is my A team,” says Hoch, by way of an introduction. “These are the guys that I call first.”
During heavy blizzards, up to 45 men, CDL licensed or otherwise, can be called upon by the department to help clear the city of snow, rotating over 12 hour shifts. Most snow removal strategies are systematic, including prioritizing primary and secondary streets, and mapping out the city into 8 sections to focus the work. However, trying to determine where to push the snow, or struggling to fit a snowplow down Penn Street, can make for white-knuckle work.
“There’s always that one street that you’re driving down with your heart pumping Kool-Aid,” says Spiroff, who has worked with the city for 16 years.
Tonight, expectations are minimal. The one- and five-ton salt trucks have already been loaded, the goal being to salt ramps and bridges and to keep a close eye on the roads near the river, where it’s colder. The crew scatters, taking their places among the city, and Hoch and I duck into a pick-up truck and drive up Cameron Street. We’ve barely driven five minutes before Hoch checks the weather on his phone. “I actually think the snow’s passed over us,” he says suddenly. There is no regret in his voice. “I’m not disappointed. It’s better to be proactive. The streets will be clear by rush hour.”
I will be awake again by 6:30 and part of that rush hour traffic that will move swiftly through a bitter cold sunrise. The students that I teach will be disappointed to have not had a delay, and I will secretly regret that I can’t sleep in, either. However, it’s clear that this privilege of safe driving has everything to do with the four trucks that are out on the streets right now, circulating like quiet watchmen, tracing the city silently beneath a snowless sky.
It’s two days after Christmas, the day that my extended Grove family gets together to exchange gifts wrapped in glittery paper and eat homemade ice cream cake off my grandmother’s Lenox china. We’ve just finished our traditional supper of potato roll sandwiches, seven-layer salad, Kay & Ray’s potato chips, and homemade Chex mix served buffet-style, right to left, across Grandma’s kitchen counter, and I have just commented to somebody that I can mark my growing up like a timeline by recalling my annual reaction to this 25-year-old menu: the elementary school year I first put mayonnaise on my potato roll sandwich, the high school year during which I abstained from mayonnaise, the college years when I ate everything like normal again.
My mom, the piano teacher, has just sat down at Grandma’s upright piano to play Christmas carols. One my one, my family puts down their dinner plates and surrounds her to sing, my father with his rich bass, my aunt’s contralto, my two brothers’ bass and tenor, my 90-year-old grandma’s warbling-yet-on-pitch soprano, and the alto and soprano parts that my mother, sister, and I seamlessly trade back and forth like playground candy. Our voices blend like Brethren-in-Christ memories, smoothing over rough textures and varnished pews. My immediate family used to sing together in front of the church on Sunday mornings, a fact which I’d almost forgotten, but by my mom’s elbow with my siblings pressed in around a hymnal that predates all of us, I somehow feel that if we were all to rise out of our seats and through the ceiling, our singing could shield us in a world of no sadness like a cord of three strands not easily broken.
I glance over my shoulder to find my boyfriend Jon standing slightly away from the group, his iPhone out, intently studying the screen. “Who are you texting, hon?” I say, feeling hurt.
Jon glances up at me, surprised. “I’m following the words,” he says, and then he joins in to the fourth verse of “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” an eager magnificent bass. I turn back around to face the open hymnal before me, a smile playing on my lips as we’re joined by my sister’s fiancé, and I flap my arms to get us all to laugh and sing the chorus a bit louder, lifting all of us into the night.