Snack Trek: Lark Cake Shop

January 30, 2011

Hark, a Lark!

I heard about Lark Cake Shop via LivingSocial. They were offering $25 worth of baked goods for $10. I’d never heard of Lark, but noticed that it’s pretty close to my place. My cupcake-dar began to ping. (Obviously my cupcake-dar could be better, since it took the LivingSocial email to trigger it.)

I browsed Lark’s website and fell in love with the old fashioned ice box cake (look at the bird!), and was totally sold when I found out that I could purchase an old fashioned ice box CUPcake.

What IS old fashioned ice box cake? This is how it’s described on the site: “Thin chocolate wafers or molasses ginger cookies layered with whipped cream, like a 7 layer mini cake.”

Yes, please.

But I didn’t need a $25 LivingSocial to buy a $3 cupcake, so I ditched the internets and took my parents to Lark because they happened to be around that day– and of course they are cupcake fans. I might have to disown them if they weren’t.

(Full disclosure: Earlier that day, I’d already had a bite of a red velvet cupcake at Toast.) (Which is Magnolia and Joan’s adjacent.) (Cupcake-dar ping ping PING!) (Full disclosure: I was so intrigued that I hightailed it to Lark the SAME DAY I got the LivingSocial email.) (Last Sunday… I’m behind in things.)

SADLY Lark did not have any ice box cupcakes that day. Trek fail! But we tried a red velvet cupcake, a carrot cake cupcake, and a Sara’s famous chocolate mousse cupcake.

And I thought the vanilla ones were pretty. Purple!

Don't call these cupcakes plain.

Here’s a cross-section of the red velvet. After some disappointing brushes with red velvet, I was glad to encounter a good one. This was comparable to Sprinkles, and much closer than Beverly Hills (Eastsiders, holla!).

Points for the edible petal.

Anatomy of a cupcake.

I like a good fluffy mousse, but the “famous” chocolate mousse on top of the mousse cupcake was a bit too hard… maybe from being refrigerated?

Mousse on the loose.

But the mousse cupcake redeemed itself, because the cake itself was really good. And there was a CREAM FILLING. Like a Hostess cupcake. I don’t know, I’m a sucker for surprise cream fillings. And it was a light, fluffy, whipped cream situation.

PING PING PING.

So that was Lark. But I will be BACK for the ice box cupcake. Because I am so intrigued. And I will probably get the vanilla one, too– because it is so pretty.

And next time I’ll call ahead and make sure they actually HAVE ice box cupcakes available.

Happy Sunday night. Is everybody PSYCHED to go back to work tomorrow? No?? What?!

xoxo…

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Holiday Binge: Cake Pops (by Daphne)

December 25, 2010

BUMMER.

At first I was delighted when I found that that snow was in the forecast for Philadelphia. I’ve never seen snow falling! Woohoo. But I am a very stupid West Coast person, and I just found out that thanks to said snowstorm, my flight– which is supposed to take off tomorrow morning– might be FUCKED.

Well, that’s just perfect.

If I don’t make it to Philadelphia this weekend, I am going to cry a thousand tears. Literally, I will sit here squeezing out tears and counting them until I get to one thousand. Then I will freeze those tears into a snowball, and I’ll punch that snowball in the face. Because snow is not delightful when it’s ruining everything!

But that won’t make me feel any better. Actually, it might hurt my hand.

In the meantime, let’s look at some cake pops, artfully created by co-worker Daphne for last week’s holiday shindig.

Food, glorious food.

Can you SEE that those are white chocolate Christmas trees and milk chocolate Rudolphs with RED M&M NOSES?! You know what I call that? ART. And DEDICATION.

Also: Deliciousness. The consistency and moisture of the red velvet cake hidden within the chocolate shell was… perfect. I don’t even want to ASK how she achieved such a feat.

Lovely innards.

And on top of that, we had aesthetically pleasing Christmas donuts. For you weirdos who do not appreciate the art of the cake ball on a stick.

Go nuts donuts.

Remember when Krispy Kreme donuts were the craziest craze? And now it’s like, eh, whatever. But I gotta hand it to them– very pretty Christmas donuts, you guys!

Blergh, this was not an amazing distraction from my anxiety. If you don’t feel bad for me, at least feel bad for that polar bear. His ice is melting! We’re all jerks.

Oh, and Merry Christmas to all the gentle gentiles out there.

xoxocry…

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Snack Trek: Ice Cream Cupcakes! (Frosted Cupcakery)

November 21, 2010

Aesthetically pleasing.

Today my family summoned me to lunch in Long Beach, on the cute 2nd Street in Belmont Shore. When I arrived at Open Sesame they served me with my traffic school papers. There’s no such thing as a free lunch!

But seriously now, why are there so many traffic schools called “Pizza 4U”? Are they serious? Is there pizza involved? I’ll bite! (Pun intended.)

Unfortunately it appears that all the comedy and improv and pizza and fabulous gay traffic schools occur during business hours on weekdays. Which happens to be when I… work. So I guess you only get delightful traffic school options if you are unemployed or don’t have a normal day job. Poopers. Looks like internet traffic school for me… hopefully. Or just Screwedsville.

[Just kidding, I realized that the M-F thing is when the COURTS are open. I can do comedy pizza school if I want. Let's stop the letter-writing campaign. But I think I'm going to do an internet comedy class... and I can incorporate pizza IF I SO CHOOSE.]

Anyway, I wasn’t about to go all the way to Belmont Shore and NOT drag my family to Frosted Cupcakery for dessert. (There are two locations– the other is very close to my LA life-things, but I haven’t visited yet.) I recently heard about their ice-cream filled cupcakes, and that is EXACTLY the kind of thing my family likes.

The design of Frosted is so fun. I couldn’t take a proper picture of the huge colorful cupcake mural-thing on the wall, but it was very… energetic. The store is a very inviting space. Accordingly, it was packed with people for the majority of the time we were there.

They only have the regular cupcakes on display, because the ice cream ones are in the freezer. Makes sense. Don’t be afraid to ask when you go, because the ice cream ones ARE back there!

The normals... still lookin' mighty tasty.

We started out with a “royal white” cupcake filled with pumpkin (pie) ice cream, and a regular old red velvet. (The red velvet came out too blurry to feature, but you can see it here. Yes, that’s an acorn-shaped chocolate on top.)

Moment of ice creamy truth!

The stuff dreams are made of.

The red velvet (and the pumpkin in the next round) was extremely moist. (I know… we all hate that word.) Like, moreso than Sprinkles. Watch out, Sprinkles! The cake part of the ice cream cupcake was still fairly frozen, but was nonetheless had a great flavor. We didn’t really give it time to thaw. We just hacked away at the frozen-ness and devoured it.

After we finished those, we decided to go for two MORE cupcakes. This time we went with chocolate filled with mint chip ice cream, and a pumpkin cupcake.

Another round, Barkeep!

I ate the pumpkin chocolate that was on the pumpkin cupcake. I couldn’t tell if it was strictly white chocolate, or if it maybe had a little bit of spice in it. Feel free to enlighten me if you know.

It's what's inside that counts.

As you can see, the ice cream cupcakes are about twice the size of the regulars. They appear to be baked in some sort of special hollow mold, and then the ice cream is inserted and the frosting covers up the hole. Nice work. (You can also see that the non-frozen cupcakes aren’t overwhelmed by a mountain of frosting… that’s a pro in my book.)

Every once in a while I’m struck with horror at the thought that if Flickr fails or somehow these photos all get unlinked/the links go dead, this blog will be totally boring/ruined. That’s what keeps me up at night, kids. That, and the knowledge that a solar flare could just reach out and incinerate our planet AT ANY MOMENT. Like, super casual. Oh oops, did I just wipe out a whole planet?

Why does that worry me more than the much more likely possibility that the Big One (the earthquake) will inevitably (supposedly) strike within the next few years? I really need to buy some emergency bottled water.

Way to bring down a frivolous cupcake post, right? I’m good at this game. The worry game.

But until we all die at the hands of fickle, mindless nature– ice cream in cupcakes exists! Wahoo.

(I hope the aliens are taking notes on this stuff, in case our civilization is wiped out. The universe should not be deprived of these treats, just because Earth is gone.) (Let’s be real– they’re probably not eating a grain-based diet.)

xoxo…

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Snack Trek: YOGURT STOP

August 15, 2010

Where's the yogurt?

At long last (as in, I heard about this place last week), Sara and I visited the mythical Yogurt Stop. It’s in the heart of gay West Hollywood (or WeHo), where parking is a bee-yotch. Luckily, I found a lot to park in… and they didn’t charge me? Or I just didn’t pay? (Not sure.)

It may APPEAR that I have no willpower, but on Friday afternoon I went to a different (and unnamed because it was very annoying) self-serve yogurt place for my co-workers and didn’t partake– because I KNEW I was going to Yogurt Stop. That place had red velvet cake as a topping, but it was offered up in big, dry chunks– and was a rather unsettling bright red in hue. I was hoping Yogurt Stop would have better offerings.

Luckily, Yogurt Stop’s red velvet cake was crumbly and soft.

Whew.

Cake and Art is a bakery, also in WeHo. (Thanks, internet.)

The flavors at Yogurt Stop are famous for being very… gay. Sadly the dim lighting was making my camera phone flash, so this is a bit blinding…

"Milk My Harvey Chocolate."

I really like the little smiley face on the sign. (I was so distracted by the smiley face that I’m not sure I read/heeded the sign.)

Why did they call it “Milk My Harvey Chocolate,” and not “Harvey Milk Chocolate?” Is the former just a tad more sexual? Like, not only does it pay tribute to Harvey Milk, but ALSO it sounds like innuendo? Haha. (Not pictured: I’m Comin’ Out Cake Batter.)

The red velvet yogurt was called Ribbed & Rockin’ XL Red Velvet “Cheban” Cake. (I have no idea what that’s referring to… help?) I tried a sample of Lezbionic Tonic, because it was a tart flavor. I imagine Lezbionic Tonic as some sort of Jekyll/Hyde potion that turns you into a lesbian… but I had not even the slightest urge to make out with Sara. (No offense, Sara… I’m sure the feeling is mutual.)

I wasn’t much in the mood for tons of yogurt (I took a bit each of cake batter, red velvet, vanilla, and milk chocolate), but there were many intriguing toppings. So I went to town on those, forgetting to take a picture of the yogurt first. Once I got to the table I had to excavate for a white before that yogurt saw the light of day.

But before we look at the yogurt, let’s examine some of those toppings…

Dig! Dig! Dig!

Can you spot the following? Cinnamon Toast Crunch, red velvet crumbles, crushed Andes mints, peanut butter chips, crumbled Kit Kats, rainbow sprinkles…

I almost went overboard, but it all turned out all right. (It took me a few disappointing trips to Yogurtland to realize that you just can’t mix everything at these places, or it becomes a disgusting soup of incongruous flavors. I have to choose: Tarts and sorbets with fruit toppings, or the creamy mocha/cake batter-esque flavors with candy toppings. For me, at least.)

(Although I just read about putting toppings on the bottom and layering yogurt with toppings, and I’m intrigued. Maybe the toppings could create barriers.) (I think I read that in People interview with Julianne Hough, at the hair salon. Haha.) (Did you think I was reading academic studies about self-serve yogurt?)

And here’s your moment of zen: Red velvet on red velvet.

In the red.

Once again– such a big difference between the color of the yogurt and the cake. I’m guessing that if they actually used enough red dye number whatever to achieve that dark red hue in the yogurt, it would probably kill the consumer on impact. (I’m guessing the deep red in the cake means a high cocoa ratio?)

Regretfully, I did not sample any of the cake on its own. I just scooped the whole kit and caboodle into my mouth. Next time I’ll slow it down and sample the cake individually. But it seemed to be of the highest quality, and I’m quite sure it was delicious.

The whole time we were in there, Madonna remixes were playing on the stereo. I felt as though we were at last weekend’s Bootie LA all over again– in a good way. I was dancing in my seat. A nice bonus.

And as it turned out, my stomach was bigger than my eyes! I almost went back for another round. (But then I didn’t… and ended up getting pizza later. That’s what you’re seeing in the new header– you like?) (I wanted the carpet to match the drapes… AKA I wanted the header font to match the photo-font.)

So… although some of my co-workers warned me that Yogurt Stop was overrated (and also that yogurt is not an appropriate dinner… haha), in my humble opinion the ambiance and the superior red velvet/topping selection made it worth the trip. I’m down to go back any time.

And I can’t wait to try the seasonal flavors, such as Pumpkin Party Patch and Snickerdoodle Surprise Me. (That reminds me: Pumpkin season starts in… less than two months? YESSSSS.) (Something to live for!)

xoxo…


Snack Trek: FROYO LIFE (Featuring Red Velvet Frozen Yogurt)

August 5, 2010

At last, we meet.

As the old expression goes, when the gods of LA close the door on one friend, they open a window to another. (Is that how the old expression goes?) In other words, Brent is now in NYC (probably enjoying delicious pizza and bagels AS WE SPEAK– I’m jealous), but my friend Sara just moved back to LA! YAY! (And I think I’m allowed to use her name as long as I don’t show any pictures of what she ate… a funny request, but I will honor it.)

Last night we reunited for the first time in two-ish years, and of course a great feast was in order. (A great feast is always in order, don’t you think? Life is short.) We had Brazilian food for dinner. The steak was so thin. So thin! Masterful.

At the same time, the chefs on Top Chef had an international cooking competition, and NOBODY wanted to do Brazil. And (spoiler alert) the Brazilian dish lost. I don’t really get it. Is Brazilian food that much harder to cook than Japanese, Italian, French, Spanish, Indian, Mexican… was that all of them? Etc.

I mentioned yesterday that I’m a fan of ordering dessert. I deferred and it was a no, so I was a tiny bit sad. But THEN we agreed that there’s always room for frozen yogurt, so we decided to try out the (new? new to me?) Froyo Life down the street. I had a half-off coupon on the back of my Vons receipt, so… why not? Right?

(The name Froyo Life just makes me think… run fro yo’ life! Am I alone here?)

Froyo Life is basically Yogurtland. But they had one flavor that I’ve never seen at Yogurtland. Of course, the flavor that taunts me. Red velvet.

I’ve tried the red velvet Yoplait. No dice. Last time I visited Lauren in Redlands, she wanted me to try red velvet frozen yogurt at her local store, but we got to the yogurt place about thirty seconds after it closed. Ridiculous. I traveled all that way, only to be denied. (That was the day before my red velvet identity crisis occurred, bee tee dubs.)

So it was quite exciting to finally encounter red velvet frozen yogurt, even though my opinion of red velvet cake is in flux. Once again, the color didn’t quite match the appetizing deep hues of the actual cake (compare this to the picture at the top of the post).

Cup of many flavors. Before I defiled it with toppings.

(With all the good-sounding flavors to try, I ended up with way more yogurt than I meant to take.)

I thought the red velvet yogurt was good, but I don’t know if it tasted much like red velvet. The weird this is– I don’t know how red velvet is supposed to taste. I know how chocolate and vanilla and lemon and coffee etc etc etc taste, but honestly– what is the flavor of red velvet? The color red? The color red with a hint of cocoa?

When it’s done right, red velvet is a really great piece of moist cake. But what FLAVOR is it? Hard to pinpoint. One of the many confusing things about red velvet, if you ask me. (Apparently the Alcove has BLUE velvet. So… does that taste like blue? Or is it the same as red?) (Paging all synesthesiacs…)

Sara’s favorite frozen yogurt joint (yeah, I’m old school) has crumbled red velvet cake as a topping. It would be great to stir that in with the yogurt and see how THAT all works. (I’m guessing… really well. I spoke in the Yoplait post of wanting cake texture in these cake-flavored dairy products, so I’m sure I’d be a fan.)

Not that I was lacking in the toppings category…

A dusting of graham cracker, and the rest is self-evident.

I love how the color turned out in that picture. Whoaaa, man. Psychedelic. Magic mushroom frozen yogurt.

And I was also a fan of the decor. Somehow it matched my selections perfectly. (All part of the plan.) And the hibiscus table-mat things added a touch of YES.

Just add hummingbird.

Oh, and it’s August in LA, right? I wore TWO JACKETS while eating my frozen yogurt. And I was INDOORS. Is something wrong with me, or is something wrong with the weather? (Or both?)

Epilogue: Sara and I must have entered into a mind-meld last night, because we ran into each other in yoga class tonight. I’m not sure if we were there to work off our steaks & dairies or to become one with our bad/amazing life choices. Er–our fabulous eating habits.

I think I’m going to get more Froyo Life coupons every time I go to my local Vons, so you and you and you are cordially invited to come with me and split the buy one/get one half off deal.

My mantra for tonight: I am one with the universe, and if the universe wants to hand me deliciousness, who am I to say no?

Also– Wizard of Oz moment– the yoga instructor played Ingrid Michaelson’s cover of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” during corpse pose (the very end– the just-lie-there part) (the best part). I’d never heard this version before (found out that it was Ingrid’s after class), and it very much felt like a song about heaven, moreso than I realized before. (Maybe because it was out of the context of the movie.) Kind of an emotional moment, since Wizard of Oz has been special to me for… my entire life. And I am going to die. Wah wah wah. And SO ARE YOU. And is there anything over the rainbow? Will we ever see it? Are we just little sugar sprinkles in the great big frozen yogurt cup of time, tiny and sweet and insignificant, melting away into the murky coldness?

Deep life thoughts.

Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto?

(Ugh, on top of everything I really miss my dog now.)

But wait!– we can’t die yet. There is so much delicious cake to be had, right here UNDER the rainbow. (And so many rainbow sprinkles.) In glorious Technicolor!

Life is too short not to eat cake with friends as often as possible.

xoxo…

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