Monday, August 23, 2010

Cupcake Insanity [Chicago]

As I wrote before, I had almost 30 fricking cupcakes in Chicago. That's basically like one cupcake a day for a month! gosh! I am home and luckily I only gained 2 pounds. I thought I had gained at least 10. Anyways, here is a compiled list of the cupcake madness I went on in Chicity. I think I m only missing like 4 places. Get ready to freaking drool if you love cupcakes.

The first one I ever went to was Swedish Bakery in Andersonville. I really didn't mean to buy a cupcake here but that was what the worker there recommended me getting. Now this is a nice little bakery.. but I didn't find there goods to be very traditional.. especially if you are recommending the red velvet and chocolate cupcakes to me and not having any fresh cinnamon rolls around. The cupcake was large, but it wasn't very good in my opinion. it was rather sugary.

I went to Sugar Bliss Cupcake Boutique located in the loop after lunch at elephant & castle one day(whyyy did I go there, when they are in vancouver. ugh). It is rather new and filled with beautifully decorated cupcakes. They also have mini ones if you can't have the whole thing. They have a good selection of cupcakes, unforunately the pretty flowers they decorated on my cupcakes fell off when I got home :( They weren't bad, not super good.. but this started my cupcake craze..

I found More which was only 2 blocks from my apt. They don't have a ton of selections at the counter, but here, it is quality over quantity. The cupcakes are a bit more expensive but you can find some very different unique cupcakes here.. including Blt, lemongrass, etc etc. On the day I was there, I chose the white chocolate and chocolate marshmallow. What can I say? they were both HEAVENLY. I really wanted to come back here and try the rest of the flavors.. but there were too many other cupcake stores.. on to the next one!

Everyone in Chicago raves about Molly's Cupcakes. Everyone I talk to asks if I've been here so I knew this had to be a to-go place for me. Stepping inside, I see them hard at work making a batch of frosting for their cupcakes and I was already smiling. The place is extremely cozy serving all kinds of cupcakes. Delicious! I really liked that they had incoporated real fruits in the cupcakes, and the frosting on all 3 were absolutely to die for.

Another popular recommendation I received was Sweet Mandy B's. The shop is really cute but I personally found the cupcakes to be rather normal and nothing out of the ordinary..

We decided to have a picnic at the contemporary arts musuem one tuesday because they have jazz in the back. I brought the cupcakes and I decided to try out Swirlz. She was extremely gracious and kind but the cupcakes was a complete letdown. It was expensive and they were nothing amazing. Especially the "surprise" one which wasn't much of a surprise at all..

Sensational Bites is located by Southport. It is an extremely cute store with lots of delectable goodies. I got 3 cupcakes- red velvet (my staple), cookies & cream, and strawberry lemonade . unforunately, they didn't wow me like the first couple places I went to.. :( A week after, my friends tell me of a place called Southport Bakery and Cafe where, they only serve vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, but they are SO good people line up for them and there is a limit to how many each can buy. Dang, I wish I had stopped by there..

The day Sprinkles Cupcakes opened, I heard there were lineups down the street, for blocks, for this place. I was going to stop by after work, but in fear of the lines, went to Hershey's Chocolates down the street instead. The cupcakes are SO cute, with chocolate bar sticking out. I also got a smores bar, and I think of all the cupcakes I've had, these here at Hersheys were by far the sweetest!! Every bite was sugar.

I made a point to go to Phoebe's Cupcakes and got ABSOLUTELY lost and ended up giving up on this place and going for banh mi instead, but the banh mi I wanted to go to was extremely sketch so I wandered to Cupcake store after an hour.. and I am really glad I tried this place. Though I haven't heard much raves or reviews for them, This has got to be hands down my favorite cupcake store in Chicago. The cupcake was So fluffy, So moist, So Perfect! I was in love.

I finally stopped by Sprinkles at 4pm, and the line up was a little more bearable. Funny I actually tried to go to Sprinkles back in LA but we got lost and went to Spago instead (I get lost quite often, it adds to my adventure). I bought 4 cupcakes here just to see what the hype was about. They were pretty good. Very moist cupcakes, but I don't know if I would line up for blocks for this place..

Fox & Obel is a supermarket that supposedly has great cupcakes too. They are MASSIVE! I had to eat it with a fork but it was alright. The Last place I tried was Sarah's Pastries & Candies located near More and Sprinkles. Their selection of cupcakes is not as large, but I got a vanilla buttercream.. and it sure lived up to it's name. the frosting was EXTREMELY buttery.. felt like I was eating butter..

I also bought some cupcakes from Twisted Baker the last day for my coworkers. I also heard great things from here so I hope they liked them!

And to top it all off, here's a giant massive cupcake I decorated when I shadowed the pastry chef for a day at one of our restaurants. gawwgeous. hahah

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Table fifty-two [chicago]

Oh my god I've had 26 cupcakes in the last 2 months..and counting.. I don't even know why, I never even eat Cupcakes in vancouver!? major cupcake post to come..

I've never had southern home cooking before and always wanted to. Good ol fried chicken with a side of buttery mashed potatoes.. that's all I really know and how can you go wrong really? I don't know much about this type of food but if it's anyone who was going to cook me some southern food, who else better than Art Smith. I don't remember much about him from Top Chef, just that he was really happy jolly guy.. :)

The restaurant off elm street did not fit in to its surroundings. It was a small white building with touches of green and the number 52 on the front. next to this was a empty grass ridden lot, and a ton of tall apartments. On the corner was a Popeyes and an old man selling knock off handbags. Walking into the restaurant, we were transported to a whole different world.

Dark with sunlight coming in from the windows, the white and green with the wood fire oven in the back created an extremely cozy atmosphere. The plates were absolutely gorgeous and the room was also decorated with paintings of singers with upbeat music playing in the back. Right when we sat down, we had about 3 different waiters serve us water, deviled eggs, and goat cheese biscuit to start. It was a little overwhelming at first, seeing all these staff running around, but they all flowed with each other.. that's a weird thing to say, but the service all worked together and it was really attentive.

We ordered the duo crab cake to start for 16 dollars, and I had the salmon, friends had fried chicken and sweet potatoes and cornbread, and the other had the fish of the day.. which was striped bass I believe.

The deviled egg was very creamy, a nice little appy to start, and the goat cheese biscuit was soft and cheesy. That was nice, since I have grown a fondness for goat cheese..Last week, I sat in on a cheese tasting and sampled at least 30 AMAZING cheeses (mostly goat), and wow.. talk about mega cheese overload coming from a girl who usually buys the cheapest mixed cheese at superstore. I felt so fat after I walked for 3 hours.

Our crab cake was alright.. a little expensive for what we ordered.. but they were good nonetheless. I don't have much to say about this one, but I guess I could have done without. Our mains arrive and my salmon was SOO delicious. I asked for medium rare and it was perfectly cooked. Perfect! it was like butter, the fish. and the blueberry sauce added the sweetness it needed and the vegetables that came along were soo fresh it was amazing. Friends had no complaints on their dishes.. I will comment the sweet potatoes were a little too sweet (syrupy) for me but the cornbread was HEAVEN. it was sweet, warm, crumbly.. yum!!

Dishes were swooped away and we were presented by the desserts menu. The pecan pie and hummingbird cake looked great, but alas no room in my little belly. We were given little marshmallow sweet potato pie that was a nice little after thought to our dinner.

My friend, who was from Texas, had no complaints to this dinner. She said the dishes all reminded her of southern home cooking, and the fried chicken was quite good, but not as good as her mothers :)

The ambience, service, food, all transported me to a different time and's rare to find a restaurant that good, but I think art smith did it for me. Good way to end my Chicago summer, home soon..

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