Lunch break! Noshing in Philadelphia

There are certain days that are absolutely made for open-air dining. You know the ones–blue skies, zero humidity, light breeze–when those friendly little street-side cafes just seem to call out, “Come! Stay awhile! We have wine!”

Okay, well maybe not always that last part. In any event, my boyfriend and I found ourselves in Philadelphia on just such a Saturday not long ago. We contemplated our dining options: Reading Terminal Market? Always a hit–no matter what you or your dining partner are in the mood for, you both can let the spirit move you until you find the cuisine you fancy. Margaret Kuo’s? One of our favorites during undergrad, but alas, neither of us were having that very particular craving for Asian at the moment. The choice, it seemed, was clear:

Creperie Beau Monde.

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Snickerdoodles: Sugar-Coated Nostalgia

This past weekend, I hopped a train and chugged down the Northeast Corridor to the City of Brotherly Love–Philadelphia, home of such illustrious denizens as the Liberty Bell and the cheesesteak. I was invited to a party given by a friend of mine who’d just graduated from college the week before, and as I welcome any excuse to return to Philly, I was more than happy to attend.

Cookies for a Cause! — Share Our Strength Bake Sale

This weekend, I had the privilege of helping out at the Great American Bake Sale‘s New York City location. The event was organized by the nonprofit group Share Our Strength, which works to educate people about childhood hunger and, by increasing awareness, take steps to supply children with healthy, affordable food. I found out about the bake sale as I was perusing one of the other baking blogs I frequent, and I thought it sounded like a fantastic opportunity to give back (after volunteering became second nature to me during my undergrad years, it seems odd to me that it’s so hard to get involved now).

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If you give a Tara a cookie…

Well, clearly she’ll want some milk to go with it, but the cookie is the only real non-negotiable part. On this, a gorgeous Mother’s Day weekend, Middle Chip and a took a mid-morning jaunt to a lovely little mecca called Milk & Cookies. We oohed. We aahed. We got there 20 minutes after opening.

Cookie porn after the jump.

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Throwback: The Boss

No, not Bruce Springsteen.

I’m talking about a far sweeter sort of boss…the Cake Boss. A few months ago, the Little Chips and I decided to make a journey–a pilgrimage, really–to the now-infamous Carlo’s Bakery. We had seen too many delicious cookies and pastries and cannolis consumed on our TV screens to go another day without tasting them ourselves.

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Bite-sized? Fun-sized!

Happy Friday! In honor of the weekend (weekend), you could watch this video. Or, if your brain cells can’t take it anymore, you could look at these yummy (yummy) pictures and plan your next cupcake excursion in New York. I know which one I’d pick. But that’s just me.
So, today my coworker found out that her boyfriend got his job placement (he studied to be an air traffic controller) and…it’s in New York! Yay! (Yay because it could have been at any airport in the country. Oof.) And to celebrate with us, she went out and bought a tray of these teeny little cupcakes from Baked by Melissa. Now, I had never heard of this place before–a rarity when it comes to me and cupcakeries–but I was, of course, immediately enchanted by the meticulously applied toppings that each tiny cake had. (It’s hard to tell from this picture, but each cupcake top is only a little bigger than a quarter in circumference.)
What a lovely Friday treat! Clearly we’d already started to indulge when I whipped out my phone to take this picture.
Know what my favorite part of mini cupcakes is?
You can eat a bunch of them and they all add up to one regular cupcake. True story.
S’mores on the left, and Cookie Dough on the right

Above are my initial two choices, and both were scrumptious. All of these cupcakes had a super moist cake–one of my coworkers commented that they almost didn’t look like they were done cooking (they were; never fear). But as a girl who’s had many an unfortunate crumbly cupcake, I’ll take that just-baked taste any day. Also, in spite of their deceiving size, the majority of the cupcakes were filled! So the S’mores cupcake had a tiny bit of graham cracker inside, and the Cookie Dough one was packing another little daub of dough like the one you can see in the picture. The icings on both were also spot-on–that delicious fudge-y chocolate that’s not quite a ganache but richer than a buttercream. Mmm.

I may or may not have gotten peer pressured into having a third cupcake. No, it didn’t really take a lot of arm twisting. But the Chocolate Chip Pancake was calling my name (it’s the one with what looks like vanilla icing [it's actually maple syrup buttercream] and chocolate chips in the picture above). That little guy was actually made out of pancake batter-dough, according to the menu:

And it tasted like it! Now, perhaps you’re not interested in the uncanny experience of eating a pancake in cupcake form. (I don’t know why you wouldn’t be.) But if you are, this cupcake somehow made that magic happen.

Thankfully (or not so much), I was able to stop myself at three. But according to my fellow noshers, all of the other flavors were equally divine (Red Velvet was lauded in particular).

If you’d like to celebrate spring’s arrival (finally), or maybe just escape the April showers, Baked by Melissa has not one, two, or three, but four locations in NYC! Chances are, there’s one near you. And if there isn’t…I  mean, that’s what lunch breaks are for, right?


Links in this post:
http://www.bakedbymelissa.com/#

TGIF, f’realz

So, just a short post to say that in spite of the fact that today included:

  • savagely burning myself on the office toaster oven
  • a wicked paper cut resulting from jogging my proofs too earnestly
  • hellacious email drama and
  • walking out the office door to rain–surprise!–with no umbrella,

I did not throw myself in front of a passing city bus because my dear Middle Chip brought me a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery. Vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. In its own jaunty little Magnolia Bakery carrying case. I may or may not have shut my office door at 4 p.m. to eat my cupcake in peace because it was the bright spot in my life at that moment. So, dear sister, thanks from the bottom of my heart to you.

(Please excuse the crappy photo quality; I had to use my iPhone camera due to the spontaneity of such a wonderful gift.)

I think the cute boxes are half the reason I like boutique cupcake shops so much. Okay, maybe 25%.
Bringing much more joy and happiness to my office than my fake gerbera daisies ever can.
Just before digging in. :)

Happy weekend!

Links in this post:
http://www.magnoliabakery.com/home.php

Having my (cup)cake, eating it too

I’m sure most everyone is aware of the cupcake craze that’s swept the American food industry. Cupcakes are the new cool kids, and boutique cupcake stores can be found in literally any town or city.

Does that make me any less interested in sampling as many delicious cupcakes as I can. Hell no.

I’ve been hearing about the wonder that is Robicelli’s for some time now. A rotation of cupcakes with flavors like Rue McClanahan and Butterbeer? Whose interest (and taste buds) wouldn’t be piqued? So when I happened to read last Friday that Robicelli’s had started stocking at Joe in Grand Central Station–aka the very location where I happened to be getting dinner that evening–I knew it was fate.

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