Road Trip: Hartford to Pittsburgh

I am settled in Pittsburgh after a weekend of driving, eating, and blasting Queen along the highway. This wasn’t as involved of a drive as last year’s, but it was still plenty of fun, with many neat stops along the way. I spent the night in Williamsport, PA, about halfway between Hartford and Pittsburgh, and stopped in Milford and State College for a rest each day on the hunt for breweries, coffee, and dive bars.wpid-img_20150528_123244664_hdr.jpgMy first stop, in Milford, PA, yielded an amazing lunch at a local hotel, the Pâtisserie Fauchère. After sampling their thick, rich mint brownies, I couldn’t resist a pot of freshly made vanilla bean yogurt and monkey bread for one. The monkey bread left much to be desired- it wasn’t as fresh or moist as I’d have liked, but the yogurt was perfect on a hot day.
wpid-img_20150528_154441680_hdr.jpgI asked some local storeowners where to go in Williamsport- the kind couple at Le Chocolat pointed me toward Alabaster Coffee, Acme Barbecue, and Bullfrog Brewery, all within walking distance of my hotel. My first stop was Alabaster, for a very cool shirt and a cold brew. The coffee was excellent- a rich, dark roast with a hint of effervescence and light milkiness. The staff and coffeehouse were amazing- a modern oasis in a small town.wpid-img_20150528_155743423_hdr.jpgAcme Barbecue was an absolute hit and along with the Faygo in the grocery store, reminded me that I wasn’t on the East Coast anymore. From the smoker in the back to the eight homemade barbecue sauces, including a remarkably hot blueberry habanero, the brisket sandwich was perfection on a plate. My sole regret was not taking a bottle of sauce or homemade pickles along with me.wpid-img_20150528_202944074_hdr.jpgFor dinner, Bullfrog Brewery’s burgers and cider filled me up, but the star of the meal was the IPA lemon torte from their new pastry chef. Made with their very hoppy, citrus-forward IPA, the torte had a classic composition and texture with a boozy finish. It was one of the most unique brewery desserts I’ve ever had.wpid-img_20150529_121851334_hdr.jpgFinally, before I hit the ‘Burgh, I stopped by State College to check out the Happy Valley Brewing Company. While I was reluctant to have a full beer, the friendly bartender gave me a taste of the Nitwit, a fluffy, honey-forward Belgian white that satiated me for the rest of the drive. Next time, their smokehouse is a must-stop. And now I’m here, and I have plenty of treats in store for my next post- can’t wait to show you my tastes of Pittsburgh.

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