On Sunday my Dad decided he wanted to go see a SmartCar so a few Google searches and a car ride later we ended up at the North Hollywood Smart Center.
My mom and I each test drove one. It's just like driving a normal car, except there's no back seat. It's a full-size front seat and is actually very roomy. It can switch between automatic and manual so that's nice for the manual unable of us. My only complaints are that you can feel EVERYTHING on the road and that you can feel when the car shifts gears, even in automatic. Apparently there is some way to finesse that last part, but I didn't figure it out in the 5 minutes I drove. They are really cool though. So tiny. 3 feet shorter than a Mini Cooper to be exact. Apparently the length is the same as the width of a normal car so you can park head in instead of parallel. My Dad is in love so he put his name on the waiting list. Unfortunately that list is 1.5 years long. We all agree: the convertible is the coolest.
So what was supposed to be a mini LA cupcake tour turned into somewhat of a cupcake marathon this weekend. Saturday was Sprinkles and Crumbs in Beverly Hills.
Sprinkles display case.
First I said, "look mom, they have minis!" Then I read the sign. I wish I had a dog to give a doggie friendly cupcake to!
After reading the article on frosting shots, it was only natural that I had to try one. I'm a purist, so I went for some straight vanilla. It didn't disappoint.
Pina Colada cupcakes at Crumbs.
We bought the mini sampler from Crumbs.
Clockwise from upper left hand corner: Dark Chocolate Banana, Strawberry, Red Velvet, Chocolate Marshmallow (for Scott), and Black and White.
The post-tasting destruction.
After shopping and lunch with my oldest friend, she introduced me to Milk. They claim to be an ice cream parlor but have all sorts of delicious food, including sandwiches and what not. Of more interest to me though were the pastries.
Red Velvet cupcake in an ice cream cone.
How cute are those?!
Never heard of blue velvet cake before. Didn't try it but I have a sneaking suspicion it tastes just like Red Velvet cake.
The winner of Day 1: Sprinkles HANDS DOWN. The cakes were moist, the frosting rich and delicious but not too much of it like some cupcake places. The red velvet wasn't too red which I actually appreciated since I think the food color can some times detract from the taste of the cake. The black and white chocolate cake was not as sweet, since it's made with dark chocolate. Definitely different and quite tasty. The banana cupcake was delicious. The strawberry was made with fresh strawberries (or some very fresh tasting artificial flavor) and was my favorite of the batch. Plus I really like the way they package their cupcakes and the whole set up of the store. Very professional looking.
I was disappointed by Crumbs. When I went to the one in New York it was my absolute favorite, but Crumbs LA was not a repeat. The cupcakes were very dry and the flavors weren't very good. They tasted like super market cupcakes. The fruit flavoring in the strawberry and lemon was so artificial it was gross. I know some people prefer Crumbs to Sprinkles but I think it's no contest. Maybe I just had a bad batch but they were pretty darn awful. They don't bake on site, so I'm wondering if this has something to do with it.
Milk's cupcake was good but I probably would stick with their ice cream bon bons. I'm not into cream cheese frosting and although cute, eating the cupcake in the cone was kind of a pain.
I thought the double coconut cupcakes at Big Sugar were so pretty!
The exterior. The interior was so cute. Lots of cookbooks, aprons, gifts, etc. One of my favorite interiors I've seen on a bakery/cupcakery.
Peanut Butter cupcakes at My Little Cupcake.
S'mores cupcakes at My Little Cupcake. Check out how high they get that frosting! I don't know how they keep the height with the weight of all that chocolate.
Later on in the evening we stopped at Ralph's and I noticed they've done some serious upgrading to their cupcake section.
They were only $0.99 each and since my dad was convinced they were probably just as good as those at a gourmet place we bought one to try.
The winner of Day 2: Big Sugar Bakeshop. We tried just a basic vanilla on vanilla and it was really good. It had a really nice flavor to it and it was the right balance of frosting on cake. Not being a strict cupcakery, Big Sugar Bakeshop also had some other delicious looking items, including Buckeyes. I had to have one and it was definitely worth the calories. Peanut butter yumminess!
At My Little Cupcake we tried two mini cupcakes: carrot and red velvet. The carrot was really good although this is one case where I would argue for a cream cheese frosting, or at least a thicker butter cream. The frosting was too lite and didn't complement the cupcake at all. The Red Velevt did use cream cheese and I wish it hadn't. I'm not really sure why cream cheese frosting has become the standard for red velvet. I really don't think they go together. Anyway, My Little Cupcake was good, but nothing to write home about. The Ralph's cupcake, by the way, was AWFUL. Clearly at least 2 days old. The frosting was so stiff when I tried to sample it by taking a bit on my finger, it didn't come off right away. $0.99 for a reason. This is why I spend $3 on a cupcake! :)
The overall weekend winner: Sprinkles. I loved every one.
Apparently executives are confirming that a Sex and the City sequel is a strong possibility. No! There is no more story to tell. You wrapped up all their stories in the movie. Take some advice from The Beatles and LET IT BE.
I have a confession to make. It shouldn't be surprising to anyone who notes that one of my favorite books is Helter Skelter, but I'm a follower of all things Manson. Not as in I am a Manson follower, but as in I am fascinated by Charles Manson, the Manson family, and all of their crazy shenanigans (using the word shenanigans to describe the Manson killings is now in the running for the understatement of the year award). It's weird, I know, but what can I say.
I was intrigued this afternoon by a little tidbit that popped up in Reader by way of CNN. It seems that Susan Atkins aka Sexy Sadie was denied compassionate release from prison. Apparently she is dying of brain cancer and had a leg amputated. I've been reading about Susan's attempts at parole for awhile. She's a born again, she helps the poor blah blah blah. In 1969 this woman stabbed Sharon Tate 16 times and when she begged for her baby she told her she had no mercy. Guess what Susan? You didn't show Sharon mercy and now the California Board of Parole hasn't shown you any. How's that for Karma?
I just witnessed the greatest moment in television history. Seen on Maury:
Man: "Baby, you know I love you, but I've been having an affair for 3 years with your ex-friend, Danielle." Woman slaps man and walks away. Man runs after her. Man: "Baby, it was a mistake. It was a accident. Baby, it was a accident. I was DRUNK!!"
Scott and I decided to hit up Kennedy's Irish Pub and Indian Curry House for date night on Friday. Unfortunately, the service was really awful.
That is Scott's sad face because our food was taking so long. The food though, was AMAZING. So the verdict is, have them deliver from now on and only show up in person if we're just planning on going to the bar.
Yesterday I was telling Scott that his hair is quite long these days so he needed to do something to it. He came into the bathroom while I was drying my hair and kept pointing at my blow dryer so I decided to have a little fun.
Without any product whatsoever I was able to get all of his hair to stand up. I even got the short ones on the back of his head to point upwards. It was pretty amusing and he wore it most of the day for fun.
This Saturday I discovered that I had managed to leave 3 bananas out long enough to become ripe enough for baking and 3 is the magic number when it comes to banana related baked goods. I quickly dug up a banana cupcake recipe which recommended chocolate frosting as a good match. Since I actually was making the batter from scratch, I cheated on the frosting and used canned. The final result:
The yellow dots are dark chocolate M&Ms. Yellow because that's the color of bananas. I'm so clever.
I'm quite pleased with the result and those who have tried them have also enjoyed them. They are perfectly moist with just the right amount of banana flavor.