Friday, June 27, 2008

The Great Cupcake Perlustration of 2008

OCD is defined as "characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts and conscious, ritualized, seemingly purposeless acts."

I have chocolate cupcake OCD. Probably medication-worthy. It's intense.

It all stemmed from the impending 30th birthday party of my husband, Dr. Handsome. I innocently asked "what kind of cake would you like?" and he innocently replied "I like chocolate cake with chocolate icing." Fine. Simple enough.

Now, were we back in NY where I have my grown-up kitchen, I would have produced a lovely chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. It would have been tasty. It would have been eaten. I am quite cocky about my baking skills, so of this proclamation I am certain. However, being that we are out in Waltham in a pre-furnished short-term-stay apartment, I have no mixer. No wooden spoon. No salt. OK, I have salt, but no cocoa powder. And I'm just not going to stock another kitchen for one cake.

So on the cake I choose to fixate. I must acquire the ultimate chocolate cake with chocolate icing. This requires taste testing, many layers of analysis, and likely at least one Gant Chart and one Ven Diagram.

The other day I worked to define my methodological approach. After extensive deliberation, I decided on a cupcake-based trial system by which I try 1/2 of one chocolate cupcake from each of the top bakeries. I take the other half home to my husband, whose opinion I then disregard.

This week I tried Lulu's. I will fill you in on my cupcakular experience then update with any further cupcake experiences I may have.

I read several reviews before making my jaunt to the North End, Django in tow, to try this miracle cupcake of which everyone speaks so strongly. People love it or hate it. "Greasy" was a word that came up a lot, which needless to say made me a little nervous. How could a cupcake be greasy? Eeew! Wouldn't "greasy" equate to "buttery" and hence "deliciousy?" Unless they were using suet or tallow and this was not actually a human bakery but rather a bird bakery or perhaps a soap-making shop. Whatever the case, there were enough raves about the place that I decided to give it a shot.

Whoever wrote "greasy" needs to be punished. Punished severely. Are there still stocks somewhere in downtown? If so, that's where s/he needs to go. The reason s/he thought the cupcake was greasy was that the buttercream frosting is actually made with *gasp* butter! No crisco, no stinkin' Wesson. Butter. B-U-T-T-E-R. Yeah, you heard me.

While insanely rich (I couldn't have eaten more than my half) it is absolutely wildly delicious. Wildly, I say! So what they do with the chocolate frosting is that they make the standard buttercream (BUTTER) and then add in some chocolate ganache. No joke. So you get that buttery deliciousness of a buttercream frosting with that bittersweet seductiveness of the chocolate ganache. (I have never written the word "butter" so many times in my life.) Mmmm. It's a tiny bit grown-up, but not so grown-up that you can't get a little frosting stuck to the bottom of your nose.

I've been waxing poetic about the frosting, but the cake was jsut as good. Totally moist as all heck. Crumbly, and so flavorful that you will want to pick the crumbs off your shirt and yes, eat them. It holds together quite well for a hand-food, as I'm sure we've all had cupcake-gone-wrong moments where half of the confection tumbles from our paw to the ground while we try to choke back tears and figure if the cupcake is worth the potential progeria or rickets we could pick up if we eat the dropped piece anyway.

So if you want a cupcake, for now I strongly recommend LuLu's. The staff is also wicked nice and gave me water for the pooch (who then ate the cupcake paper... ick) and explained their "baking philosophy."

I'll keep you updated on what else I find....

Lunch at Flour

As a new BB employee, one goal I have is to sample all of the nearby restaurants. Today I met a former co-worker for lunch and she suggested the Flour Bakery and Cafe.

As we approached the restaurant, I could tell that Flour was my kind of restaurant. The aroma of freshly baked pastries filled the air near Congress Street. The broccoli-bacon quiche special on the menu caught my attention, but I went with a BLT and a chocolate-filled croissant.

Mmmmmmmm, good.

Need I say more? While a little pricey, the food was tasty. I expect that the bakery and I will soon become best friends. Any place that serves several chocolate pastries is on my list. And, I want to return to sample that quiche.

We sat on the waterfront benches and ate outdoors near Children's Museum. This time, I was not blessed by any of the seagulls.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies... You Complete Me.

My will has been broken. I had to make a mid-afternoon cookie dash. Channel Cafe, you have a great chocolate chip cookie and an even better chocolate chocolate chip. Mmmmmm... Delicious.


My lunch excursions are typically limited to Summer Street...Mini Metro to be specific. Occasionally my work mates offer to bring me back food from Sebastians, where I get a hearty and very tasty salad.

I have heard that Sebastians is great but the lines are long and they occasionally like to throw in the occasional worm with the salads? I won't walk over there myself (I don't even know how to get there) but will always piggyback on the kindness of coworkers.


The Anti-Climactic Lunch

We've all been there... Waking up with an insatiable hunger, a hunger so consuming that the normal breakfast won't suffice. There's no time for something elaborate like an omelet, or breakfast potatoes or some other fatty and starchy plate full of comfort food. So we settle for a bowl of... oh, I don't know Cocoa Krispies with soy milk? Normally this is plenty to get from 9 – Lunchtime. But then there are those days, those days where we spend all morning with our stomach grumbling mid-meeting, you know at that exact time when everyone decides to shut their traps... thats when the awkward grumble comes out. "Sorry, that was my stomach... I'm staaarrrrving!"

Finally, lunch time rolls around. 12:01 and people are contemplating "Where should we go? What should we eat? Who wants this, who wants that?" If you people don't make up your mind, I am going to tear the limbs from your body and start gnawing on them.

Now comes the big decision. "What do I order," you ask yourself, "what is going to hold me over? Better yet WHAT is going to justify the suffering of being hungry ALL MORNING?"

That's when it happens, in a blind fury you select that menu item that has tantalized you for months... going away from your standards, the menu items you know will fill you up and leave you satisfied. For some insane reason you select that panini, at bottom of the list, the one that has all the ingredients to be a home run. You trust your decision, you think to yourself, "this is gonna be great."

Then you get back to the office, unwrap that panini... only to see it sitting there in the middle of the wax paper like some sort of enigma. "Why is this the smallest sandwich I have ever seen in my life?" Trying to stay positive, you pick up the tiny little wedge of sandwich—almost hordouvers-like in size—and bite into it, assuming small sandwich must mean better ingredients. If its not quantity, it must be quality... right?



This is a nightmare. You've waited all day for lunch and now you are stuck with this tiny, tasteless, generic excuse for a sandwich... all you can think about is how hungry you will be once its gone. "Where will I be getting my 3 PM snack from... because this isn't going to cut it!"

Yes, this is the emotional roller coaster I like to refer to as an anti-climactic lunch. I'd like to thank the Sleeper Street Deli for inspiring this entry, specifically the Tuscan Panini. Blech.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Let the Soft Serve Begin

i love the ice cream!
ice cream is very awesome!
everyone loves it