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La Gourmandine, New French Bakery in Pittsburgh

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Lawrenceville has had some awesome changes already this year and I'm incredibly excited since it seems I moved there just in time to see the neighborhood go from bulb to blossom. La Gourmandine opened in the beginning of June and I waited hungrily in April and May as they built and painted the facade. As luck would have it, I was out of town for the opening and the consecutive two weeks so I missed the big opening.

Needless to say, now that I'm back in Pittsburgh I rushed right over as it's just down the street. The baked goods are amazing and I mean it when I say they cut absolutely no corners in their process. The stuff is baked fresh daily and in fact, the first time I entered they had just brought out a tray of fresh eclairs to go with the ones that were already out. I haven't tried their bread plain but I've had a sandwich on their homemade, traditional baguette and it was amazing and almost melted in your mouth (as the interior of a proper baguette should).

Back to the sweet stuff, so far I've had their eclairs, a strawberry tart and an almond croissant. I have never in my life had baked goods of this caliber in Pittsburgh. I really hope they get awesome business so they can continue to produce such unadulterated food. I've heard so much criticism of Dozen and their cupcake recipe that even though my cupcake tastes are pretty lax, I know that a lot of bakers are disappointed in their quality and the hype they receive. To all the hardcore snobs and to those of us that just enjoy food in general (I belong to the latter), check out La Gourmandine and try to tell me it's not an experience genuinely unique in Pittsburgh.

Also, even though I got all riled up and posted a sizeable summary of La Gourmandine here, I want to point you to my review on my blog, http://www.eatinginpittsburgh.com/201... it has some delicious photos and goes more into my experience.

Thanks!

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  1. We recently tried a few different desserts/pastries. Honestly didn't care for any of them, in fact we didn't even finish any of them. The baguette was excellent and I'd go back to try a sandwich, but I'm sticking to Enrico's in the strip for my baked goods when I'm in that general area. Being that the baguette was so good, I'm thinking maybe I just don't like French pastries all that much. The eclair was kind of hard and crispy, the chocolate filling not extremely flavorful. The tart was too dense, the crust not very flavorful, the filling (apple or pear?) not all that great. I wanted to try an almond croissant but they didn't have any on my visit. The prices were good at least. Very nice people and I wish them all the best.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Rick

      I agree with you, Rick. I tried the fruit tart - the crust was very hard and flavorless. The cream was too sweet. I also tried the almond croissant. After one bite I pitched both items in the trash. My recent trip to Paris spoiled me a bit.

      1. re: six dower

        At least it wasn't just us then, I read nothing but rave reviews of the place and was pretty disappointed. I always feel bad just throwing away stuff, but figure there's no point in all the calories if it's not worth it! We went to Enrico's after and had a brownie, chocolate covered coconut macaroon, and a chocolate dipped peant butter cookie, $4 total, none of that went in the trash!

        1. re: Rick

          Same here...not worth the calories. Try the nutella filled cookie or the polenta cake next time at Enrico's.....my fav's.

      2. re: Rick

        I've also been surprised at all the gushing about La Gourmandine. I know you have to cross the bridge and all, but Jean-Marc Chatellier has been right over in Millvale for almost 20 years working his magic with butter, sugar, and flour - http://www.jeanmarcchatellier.com/

        Enrico's is amazing too (ex: the chocolate radicals), but they're completely different animals in my book. I certainly wouldn't go to Enrico's looking for a flaky buttery croissant, and I wouldn't expect to find biscotti, etc. at Jean-Marc's.

        1. re: skoledin

          Definitely wasn't saying they have similar offering, just that Enrico's are better. My favorite bakery in Pgh has to be Food Glorious Food that I recently learned of here on chowhound.

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          Food Glorious Food
          5906 Bryant St, Pittsburgh, PA 15206

          1. re: Rick

            I haven't heard of it before this. Is it as good as Jean-Marc or Oakmont Bakery?

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            Oakmont Bakery
            531 Allegheny Ave, Oakmont, PA 15139

            1. re: yayadave

              Haven't been to either of those places to compare. If you do go, make sure you get a vanilla cupcake no matter what, they're that good. Puts places like Dozen to shame. They are only open Saturday. I had a chocolate cupcake (very good), vanilla cupcake (excellent), and a bread pudding made out of croissants with some vanilla and orange (excellent). Prices are very reasonable too. How I just found out about this place I'll never know, they've been open for several years!

              1. re: Rick

                Rick!!! Stop telling people about this place....the line is long enough! :)

                1. re: six dower

                  lol sorry!