Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Come Hither Cakes - Dot's Cupcake Lust and Other East Side Treasures

I haven't blogged in sooooo long, it only figures that an orgasmic muffin-mound mouthful of incrediblicious chocolate cake stuffed with whipped cream from Dot's Cupcakes in Pasadena would be the thing to break me out of my stupor: Nothing short of divine, folks. I'm sure I'm really late on the band wagon here, I mean, cucpakes for god sakes. Still...

I went to Dot's for the first time last week after a sunny day rooftop-pool lounge with the magical blond duo Laure and Trevor, and bought 3 mini cupcakes - the likes of which survived about a 30 minute lifespan. And only so long because I had to savor some of them on the way home, careful not to spill over the sidwalk. The cake at Dot's is moist and dense but still very light and springy, somehow! After watching Laure bury her face in the big (normal size) cupcakes, I vowed next time I went there I would get myself at least two of those and go ape-shit on their fluffy, fresh, compact pastry asses. Sorry for the profanity, they're just that good.

Well that time has come and today I got two big ones: Strawberry Lemon and "Hostess" - the chocoalte bomb devil mistress-pie foodie version of an old school Hostess cupcake. I stuffed that thing in my face while waiting for the light to turn green on the way home, and finished the rest of it off with a glass of milk as soon as I got home! I also bought a tasty looking pumpkin and cream cheese mini cupcake to save along with the strawberry lemon one for later on.

The carnage was nothing short of heavenly. It fell apart at the last bite, the frosting yielding, the cream inside melting a bit with the top and sides of the whole luscious mess. The chocolate was dark but not too dark, evolving all over the tongue, with the tightest crumb I've ever had; a devil's food cake done classic but still gourmet. Familiar but heightned. Yet still very much in reach of the memory of a real Hostess cupcake.

Before Dot's woo-ed me back into cupcake land, there have been a few other highlights on the east side of Los Angeles, that I now call my home.

First were these gorgeous things from The Coffee Table - a little cafe near friend's Jordan and Vivien's place, with the most intense, juicy and lovely peach cupcakes (the one in front) that you could imagine.

That's frosting that would stop anyone's heart. Very fresh and bright, I remember that flavor. Not to mention how cute and pretty they look. MM!

Second was the absurdly beautifully tasting caramel cupcake at Lark Cake Shop in Silverlake.

HOLY COW!! I went with Jordan, Vivien AND Laure (I'm seeing a theme of accomplices here...) and we did it right. I dont' remember anything, however, besides that caramel cupcake. Or perhaps it was "burnt caramel"... I think it was. It didn't look like it would be so amazing but it was long standing the best cupcake in LA for me by far. Such a painfully true and wonderful caramel flavor, light and buttery cake...though I think Dot's Hostess has now taken the lead. At least until I get myself over to Susie's Cakes in Calabasas! From what I remember they have by far the best Red Velvet around! But that's for another post... :P'''

Friday, January 30, 2009

Blue Bottle Coffee - Dream Cloud Coffee Land in San Fran

photo by niallkennedy from

The first time I went to Blue Bottle I was just off the plane to visit my sister in SF, and abandoned my "no caffeine after 4" rule for a Blue Bottle "New Orleans style" iced coffee made with chicory and streaming down the edges of it's tall cold glass with white milk, stretching like fallen clouds. It was so cool inside, minimal yet comfortable, with tan, blond wood, stainless steel and cool, bright, open and lovely washes of light from outside blanching the entire room from the giant windows that covered most of the walls. I was so impressed and pleased with Blue Bottle that it's become a quick must-visit for coffee every time I've been to San Francisco since And what's better, my sister's made a habit of buying me their slightly expensive but lust-provoking pounds of fresh organic coffee beans for any occasion that warrants a gift.

Here's a shot from their downtown location where they use the trendy, everywhere-emerging siphons!

Best of all the last trip I went on we had Blue Bottle coffee out of it's original location, a garage off an alley in Hayes valley! Now we're talking! The best coffee I love in SF matched with the coolest concept, the most joyful foodie idea that exists to mankind: the "I just started this amazing gourmet thing in my garage and look how it's grown!?" dream - how totally fucking cool. That's really want it amounts to. We had coffee from Blue Bottle everyday I was in SF just this last weekend, and I'm sure the idea of just grabbing a cup out back in the alley way, chatting with fellow line-waiters and petting puppies that passed by with their owners on their morning promenade, was at least 50% of why I was so much more intensely obsessed and in love with Blue Bottle this time around. (Not to mention their label is so neat. Makes me want to cut potato stencil's and dip them in paint like I did in kindergarten).

Blue Bottle always joyfully reminds me that the "high end concept" of new and emerging coffee trends (the Siphon, single brewed coffees, etc) can marry the simple, unstressed and nonthreatening reality of a fun, creative business started by real people. It makes me feel happy, as pretty much any stimulant should! :D

To visit the "coffee kiosk" (in the garage) go here:
315 Linden St, San Francisco, CA