Sunday, January 18, 2009
Strip District Sweets
Yesterday morning, if you had asked me if I liked caramel corn, I would have said no. I knew two kinds of caramel corn: Cracker Jack, and the kind that comes in a multi-compartmented Christmas tin-the stale, achingly-sweet caramel corn that always ends up contaminated with radioactive orange cheese corn. (Apparently some people like the half-cheese half-caramel option!)
And yet I felt a sudden urge to stop in the Pittsburgh Popcorn Company while I was in the Strip. It took over the space next to Colangelo's (formerly Il Piccolo Forno) that used to sell fancy stationery and ceramics. The owners met working at a popcorn shop in NYC. The interior is cheery and somewhat whimsical. You can watch someone drizzling chocolate over freshly made caramel corn while someone else, perched on a ladder, carefully monitors a giant kettle of popping corn.
I bought a bag of Chocolate Pecan Praline popcorn. This is the sort of sweet i'd rather buy than make myself; caramel corn recipes can be difficult (David Lebovitz has posts on multiple attempts, and Adam Roberts failed 8 times before succeeding), and it is dangerous to have lying around in big quantities. Amanda from Slow Like Honey said it looked like crack in a bag.
I don't see myself buying fancy popcorn regularly, but I did enjoy it (though I wished it had a few pinches of sea-salt thrown in). Good quality chocolate and toasted nuts make such a difference in taste. I also appreciated that the store had Steelers tins and a special "Black and Gold" flavor...I love Pittsburgh for things like that.
After my popcorn adventure I stopped by Enrico Biscotti for a chocolate croissant. Their croissants are some of my favorite in the city, though the plain ones have varied in consistency over the years. They have a nice yeasty flavor and flaky, yielding texture. I like to heat them up in the oven.
Saturday coffee and pastry is one of my favorite habits. I'm usually in the mood for pastries i'd never bake at home, and chocolate croissants definitely fit in that category.
at 9:28 AM