Tag Archives: Treats

Oakmont Bakery

25 Jul
The Oakmont Bakery
531 Allegheny Avenue
Oakmont, PA 15139

As some of you know, I am a podcast junkie. I love all kinds of podcasts. I have been known to use some fun fact or interesting bit of information as an illustration in my classes. I could go on and on about all the different podcasts that I love such as This American Life or Stuff You Should Know. The other day I was listening to a very interesting story on Freakonomics about social psychology and the power of social influence. They had a professor from the University of Arizona explaining how individuals are more likely to engage in a particular behavior if they think that others are engaging in that behavior. To me this makes sense. When we don’t know how to do something the first thing we often do is look around to see what others are doing. What is interesting is that we often don’t like to admit that we are influenced by what others are doing. I think some of this has to do with our culture and how we are raised. We get early messages that tell us to stand strong against peer pressure. We have all had our mom use the question, “if all of your friends jump off of a bridge would you jump too?”, as a response for not letting you go out with your friends when you were younger. Now sometimes this is a protective response to prevent you from getting in trouble; however, there are times when doing what everyone else is doing is exactly what you need to be doing–and there are a lot of people frequenting the Oakmont Bakery. For those in Pittsburgh I am very confident that you have heard of this Mecca of treats. If you have not made the trek to The Bakery you should go, seriously stop reading this and go…now!

When you arrive there is high likelihood that you will have trouble finding a place to park, especially if you go on a Saturday morning. There is a reason that everyone is venturing to this northeastern Pittsburgh ‘burb….it’s freakin awesome. The crowds alone attest for this. Don’t let them deter you from waiting. The staff at The Oakmont Bakery are used to its popularity and move through the customers very quickly…just make sure you grab a number.

When you walk in The Oakmont Bakery you will immediately be taken back by its size. It is the largest bakery in which I have ever been. As you approach the glass cases your mouth starts to water as you see every baked treat you could possibly imagine waiting for you to make a decision as to which you will eat at this particular visit. The 2010 Retail Bakery of the Year has an amazing assortments of breads, cakes, cookies, pies, cupcakes, cake rolls, doughnuts, croissants, sandwiches, coffee/espresso, cup cakes, cheesecakes and more. It’s dessert heaven! Let me recommend one of their cupcakes and thumbprint cookie to start you off. I have already been here a few times and I cant get enough. The first time we went I got the red velvet cupcake, a fruit tart, and a chocolate thumbprint cookie. Another time we tried the carrot cake cupcake, I love carrot cake, and the Oakmonter cupcake. The carrot cake was good not too sweet topped with a cream cheese icing. The Oakmonter is a variation of a cupcake that I would recommend on your next visit. Its cheesecake, topped with chocolate ganache, topped with a brownie, topped with chocolate frosting. Super rich but so yummy! Most of their cupcakes have a bit of icing in the middle of the cake for a nice extra sweet surprise. We usually get a cinnamon doughnut hole for Gray each visit for a nice sized, easy to eat treat for him. In our most recent visit we decided to have a go at the sandwiches. I got the chicken sandwich on ciabatta and Morgan got the chicken salad on their croissant. We also got a cup of their wedding soup. Every sandwich comes with chips and your choice of a cookie. I got the iced sugar cookie, it was of course wonderful. The bread on both sandwiches was great. I think we both loved the chicken salad on the croissant the best. The croissant was so light and buttery (sorry we ate it before we could get a picture). The chicken on my sandwich was just ok. The soup was really good and satisfying.

I still plan on going back to continue trying all the deliciousness that is at your disposal inside The Oakmont Bakery. So when your mom asks “if all your friends gained 5 lbs eating at The Oakmont Bakery would you?” Answer with a resounding yes because sometimes it is great to be socially influenced.

Oakmont Bakery on Urbanspoon

Moio’s Italian Pastry Shop

5 Jul
Moio’s Italian Pastry Shop
4209 William Penn Highway
Monroeville, Pennsylvania

One of my favorite things to partake in is dessert. I have a sweet-tooth and I love to indulge it! I have driven by Moio’s many times since moving here but have never stopped in. This pastry shop is awkwardly located in a small strip mall next to one of the “Beer-Lottery” stores at a busy intersection near the I-76 entrance ramp in Monroeville. Nothing about its location particularly draws one in other than the fact that you know its a Italian pastry shop that must be full of delicious treats. Two weeks ago I decided to go for a run, I am in the process of training for a half marathon. I did my first half earlier this year and now I want to do another. I hope to do a marathon after this. Interestingly, I used to hate running–I mean I despised it. However, I have learned to love running (mostly after the encouragement of my brother and then later my wife both who have ran marathons) and discovered a few things: 1) I enjoy setting goals for myself and achieving them, 2) It makes me feel healthy, 3) I feel more liberated to freely eat pastries when the mood strikes. I guess I have a mild sweets obsession. There is something about a really good run where I feel like I am owed a treat. I reward myself for a job well done. I had a really good run two weeks ago. I did 3 miles on a course with rolling hills. Now I don’t obsess over a treat after every run I complete, at some point it becomes counterproductive. However, this particular day I was running a new route at a new location. On the way home I drive past the bright red, white, green sign and the mood strikes me to pull in to see what Moio’s is all about. As I walk up I am not sure what to expect. The door boasts a rather large neon “Open” sign and the windows display decorated cake mock ups. Once you walk in you see small tables on the left and a horseshoe of display cases full of the most decadent looking pastries in front of you. Both times I have been to Moio’s, at least 6 other people have been inside preparing to indulge there sweet-tooths as well. Now just because a lot of people enjoy a restaurant doesn’t mean I will. I have never seen the Golden Corral not busy but, come on, you are paying for quantity not quality there. But the location of Moio’s does not lend itself to draw people inside unless the product inside is truly legit. As you look around at the pastries, you quickly see that there is an authentic Italian influence.  One of my favorite desserts in the whole world is an Italian cannoli and Moio’s Italian Pastry Shop makes one of the best cannoli’s I have ever had. They hand fill each cannoli to order with either a creamy ricotta filling or a rich chocolate custard or both. I highly recommend both. The pastry shell is flaky and flavorful. The filling, unlike many cannoli’s I have had, is not too sweet its the perfect balance of creaminess and sweetness in the ricotta. They also boast a delicious pasticciotti  and sfogliatelle. I have not had these yet but I am sure its only a matter of time before I return. After my first experience with the cannoli, I have been craving them ever since. I took my wife and son back to Moio’s earlier this week where we got, of course, another cannoli and some of their Italian cookies. Now if you have not had an Italian cookie you are missing out. Moio’s sells all their cookies by the pound so you can mix and match however you wish. The cookies are extremely light and crumbly, they almost melt in your mouth. So be prepared for a little mess. I recommend the raspberry filled, Morgan loves the jelly filled, and Gray loves everything, he is a bottomless pit (though he did gobble up the butter cherry cookie very quickly). Moio’s also has an assortment of cakes, pies, and other pastries that shouldn’t be missed. If you are on the east side of Pittsburgh and you feel your sweet tooth acting up, make a trip over to Moio’s and try the hand filled cannoli.

Moio's Italian Pastry Shop on Urbanspoon

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