Each month we ask one of our favorite Pittsburghers the question:

If you only had 24 hours to show a friend the best that urban Pittsburgh has to offer, where would you take them?

Quelcy T. Kogel

Blogger & Recipe Developer,  With the Grains,  http://www.withthegrains.com
Live: Polish Hill
Work: Strip District
How Long: 3.5 years


After college, I nannied in Paris and simultaneously fell in love with the city, accordions and almond croissants. When La Gourmandine opened in Lawrenceville, it filled the croissant-shaped void in my life. Any visitor of mine will definitely start the day there, but if it comes down to the last almond croissant, it’s all mine! If it’s one of those rare, perfectly sunny, blue-skied, breezy and warm days in Pittsburgh, we’ll take our French delicacies and maybe some Espresso A Mano cappuccinos to the cemetery for a lovely morning picnic. However, if we’re pursuing the full brunch experience, the beignets at E2 will beckon, and I won’t refuse their call.


I consider myself a professional picnicker, so for lunch, we might load up on cheeses and cured meats from Penn Mac and eat by the river. If the weather does not cooperate, the speck and mascarpone pizza at Piccolo Forno is the perfect indoor solution. Since our sole priority will be eating and visiting, we might as well add some red wine to that lunch and then head to Marty’s Market in the Strip for our next caffeine fix.


For those months of the year when the garden is in full bloom, my dinner recommendation is Pusadee’s Garden. In addition to providing fresh ingredients, the garden makes me feel so far away from everything. It’s delicious respite at its best. Otherwise, we’ll have front row seats at Cure, watching the antics and brilliance of the kitchen while eying the last slice of duck speck.


If any cocktail could, the Sergeant Pepper’s Old Fashioned at Meat & Potatoes could make an alcoholic out of me. On the rare occasion I venture beyond my favorite black pepper and thyme concoction, the rest of the prohibition style cocktails are sure to impress. Though we’d probably be stuffed by that point in this Pittsburgh foodventure, there always seems to be room for poutine or one of the other “small” plates. Plus, sitting at the beautiful, marble-topped bar enables one of my favorite pastimes: people watching!