I'm back and I have LOTS to cover! Many cupcakes were consumed by me and mine during the last week of December. I shall begin with the LA Cupcake Crawl.
Background: The LA Cupcake Crawl was the idea of my mom and her friend Donna after Donna received one of Yelp's cupcake e-mails that detailed some of the many cupcakeries in LA. Since my Mom and I have already hit most (if not all) valley bakeries and the ever famous Sprinkles, she thought we should focus on Pasadena and Burbank. Cupcakes near the 134, if you will.
*Jess - lover of all things cupcake
*Karla - mother of Jess, lover of strawberry cupcakes
*Donna - friend of Karla, the catalyst
*Emily - daughter of Donna
*Max - cousin of Jess, nephew of Karla, recruited to come along for the ride
The Mission: Visit 7 purveyors of cupcakes in one day. Eat ridiculous amounts of cupcakes. Try not to lapse into a diabetic coma.
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The Date: December 26 - the day after Christmas
Stop 1: Yummy Cupcakes in Burbank, CA
I have been to the Yummy Cupcakes in Santa Monica. The Burbank bakery includes a store full of cupcake related items, such as this cupcake alarm clock, modeled here by the lovely Emily:
and these cupcake hats:
Inside the bakery portion is a cupcake wonderland. The frosting table:
It's a good thing there was a counter between me and that table of deliciousness.
Jar of Hello Kitty cupcake toppers:
We each selected a cupcake and wandered back to the car. My only complaint about Yummy is that there wasn't a table or someplace to sit and enjoy the cupcakes.
Our final selections: Vanilla vanilla (the Hanukkah cupcake), chocolate peppermint, cinnamon roll, Yummy (chocolate with vanilla frosting), and red velvet. The verdict: cinnamon roll is the hands down favorite. The peppermint frosting is a bit off, like it was whipped too much. Still unclear as to why the dreidel decoration isn't actually a functional dreidel (it has a toothpick in it).
The Yummy cupcakes are the only cupcakes we attempted to eat in the car. We tried 2 and saved the rest for when we could find a table. The table was found at our next stop.
Stop #2: Martino's Bakery in Burbank, CA. Martino's is a standard bakery that happens to sell cupcakes. But the real standouts are the tea cakes and muffin tops.
The cupcakes were just OK.
Straight out of Seinfeld! Martino's sells these monstrous muffin tops.
The tea cake is on the right. It was amazing. The best treat we had enjoyed up to this point.
Post morning tasting. The casualties: 6 cupcakes, 1 tea cake, 1 mini carrot cake, 1 muffin top. All of our diets.
At this point it was around noon and we decided we needed some salt in our systems to balance out all of that sugar. I have to say, consuming that much sugar on an empty stomach provides a strange high. Anyway, the plan was to go to Auntie Em's Kitchen in Eagle Rock because in addition to cupcakes they also sold lunch. Alas, Auntie Em's was closed. So we decided to head to South Pasadena to our next destination and find lunch around there.
My mom and Donna had remembered this restaurant, Mike and Anne's, so we decided to stop in for a bite. I'm so glad we did. Everything on Mike and Anne's menu looked delicious. I settled on a fancified grilled cheese and we shared a basket of sweet potato fries. The service was a bit lacking, but the food was good enough to more than make up for it. Mike and Anne's also happened to be just a few blocks away from our next stop.
Stop #3: Heirloom Bakery in South Pasadena, CA. After lunch and the morning cupcake binge, we decided to gather the rest of our cupcakes and head to my uncle's for the grand finale tasting. Heirloom is actually more of a lunch spot that happens to sell cupcakes. Heirloom, we were told, is famous for their red velvet. They only had 3 flavors of cupcakes, so we got all 3.
I would say Heirloom wasn't memorable cupcake-wise. I do want to go back there for their lunch though, which looked delicious.
Next up the plan was to visit Violet's Cakes in Pasadena. Alas, Violet's was our second casualty of the day, it was closed. Luckily, stop #4 wasn't too far away.
Stop #4: Polkatots in Pasadena, CA. Polkatots is a cupcake bakery. I find cupcake bakeries have the best cupcakes. They also charge more. But I feel this trade off is worth it.
The lovely lady at Polkatots told us their specialty is the cupcake cake.
Being an avid reader of Cake Wrecks, I am usually not a fan of the cupcake cake, or CCC. However, I have to say, Polkatots makes them look good. In addition to this gingerbread house on display, we were also shown an amazing cake in the back of a Duck Hunt style duck and gun for a hunter. Subject was odd, but the final result was amazing.
One of my favorite things about Polkatots was the decor.
I also picked up a couple of these cute cupcake cookies:
Plus, how can you not love someone who embraces the deliciously tacky pink tinsel Christmas tree:
After picking our 5 cupcakes we headed back to the car. According to the directions I'd drawn up, we should have been done. But being that I remembered 7 places and we'd only visited 6, 2 of which were closed, I knew I'd missed something. A quick check of the e-mail revealed I'd left one place off the directions. We only had to back track a little bit to get there, but boy am I glad we did!
Stop #5: Dots Cupcakes in Pasadena, CA. Dot's was the hands down favorite of the trip and my new favorite LA Cupcakery.
When we walked inside I immediately noticed Dots had one characteristic that I love in a cupcakery: tons of different flavors.
Hard as it was, we limited ourselves to 6 selections and headed back to the car.
Last stop: Uncle Robert's for cupcake tasting/devouring.
Hostess, red velvet, and carrot walnut. As I said before, these were not memorable. Not bad, but not memorable.
Gingerbread, vanilla vanilla, strawberry, banana, and lemon. I really liked Polkatots, especially their strawberry. For some reason though, I think they use banana extract in their banana cupcakes which is a let down. The flavor was really artificial. The rest of the flavors were good.
Peanut butter, orange, apple pie, vanilla squared, raspberry cheesecake, cookies and cream. As I said, Dots was the favorite. Especially the peanut butter which Max, Emily, and I drooled over. The only let down was the cookies and cream which didn't quite have enough frosting, but the chocolate cake was really moist. Another big winner for me was the vanilla squared. Excellent vanilla flavor.
In case you weren't keeping count, that was 22 cupcakes. 22. Plus a muffin top. One day. We are champions. I can honestly say that once we were done, the absolute last thing I wanted in the world was a cupcake. I wasn't hungry again until the next day.
Some post-tasting cupcake destruction:
And, lastly, the crawlers themselves: