A good friend of ours is staying with us this week and seeing as we are both between jobs, we decided to have some good cheap fun this visit. No movies at the Arclight, no expensive theme parks or museums, no shopping...just good, old-fashioned donut worship. And what better place to explore the magic of cheap fried dough than in the car-centric Southland?
Tag Archives: yummy
Yesterday was Elvis Presley’s birthday, and keeping with a tradition we started last year, Christine and I celebrated what would have been The King’s 74th birthday with some sweet Yummy Cupcakes! Yee-haw!
Last year, we were kind of bummed that Yummy Cupcakes didn’t feature their rocking Elvis cupcake on his actual birthday — they missed it by like, two or three days — and we told them so. Well, I guess the power’s that be made note of his actual birthday this year, because, lo and behold, guess which special cupcake they featured yesterday afternoon? You got it, the Elvis cupcake!
A sugar coma-inducing blend of peanut butter cake and chocolate/banana buttercream frosting, this cupcake was so sweet, and so totally Elvis that we were both kind of blown away. It was so rich, in fact, that we actually had to cut the sweetness with vanilla ice cream, something I’m sure Mr. Presley would have heartily approved of.
I think he also would have dug the other two cupcakes we purchased in his honor…a very tasty Chocolate Raspberry number with chocolate frosting and a raspberry filling and our old standby — and my Stepmom Wendy’s favorite! — the Peanut Butter Cup cupcake! If you haven’t tried it yet, get thee to Yummy, amigos, because this cupcake rocks!
The Peanut Butter Cup cupcake consists of chocolate cake topped with vanilla frosting, chocolate and peanut butter sprinkles and a wedge of an actual peanut butter cup on top…but the secret to it’s success is a dollop of peanut butter filling inside the cake itself. Man alive, Elvis would have loved that shit…amazing!
So, as we blow out our Graceland “Forever Elvis” candle one more time…we wish the King nothing but love on his big day. Happy Birthday, dude, we’re already counting the days till your 75th…
Farmer’s Daughter Bean here. I know it’s been awhile…but it’s too hot to bake during the summers in LA, so I haven’t spent much time in the kitchen. But now, with the harvest season in full swing, I figured it was time to make some goodies, and since my husband likes to say that Halloween wouldn’t be complete without my cupcakes…cupcakes it was!
First, I looked up some tasty recipes in one of my favorite cookbooks, Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans and came upon the Spiced Pumpkin recipe. Once I saw the pictures inside, I knew that I had to try these out! The batter looked so good I was dying to try some, but in my current state, I wisely resisted the temptation.
Tomás and my sister-in-law Laura — who were playing “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed” all night while I baked — said the batter on the beaters was “delish”, so, I kept baking. Trust me, it took a lot of willpower to wait for the final product with Cream Cheese Frosting and cinnamon frosting spiderwebs, but it was definitely worth the wait.
The cake was very light and had just the perfect amount of pumpkin spice. I did switch it up a bit by omitting the crystallized ginger from the recipe, partly because I didn’t have any on hand, but mostly because I just kind of needed immediate satisfaction at that point. But the cupcakes still tasted great.
The other cupcakes I made that night didn’t turn out as cute. For that batch I used the Butter Cupcake recipe and the Cream Cheese Frosting from Cupcakes! again. They were supposed to look like little pumpkins, but the Tootsie Roll stems didn’t really turn out as well as I had envisioned them.
They still tasted good though, but Tomás and Laura (and later Ryan!) raved about the pumpkin spice…so, I’ll definitely make those again.
For those of you who have never baked from scratch, you must try it. And with the holidays approaching, there is no better time to crack open your favorite cookbook and give it a whirl. It takes a little longer, but if you like to bake, the results are totally worth it. Just ask the nerdy gamers in my living room!
Happy Halloween, everyone!
If you haven’t tried this stuff, then you have not had truly incredible hot cocoa, amigos. It’s delicious…and since we first tried it a couple years back, Ghirardelli Drinking Chocolate has become one of the staples of our kitchen: salsa, eggs, tortillas, and Drinking Chocolate. Not necessarily in that order…but, I digress. Back to the cupcakes!
Kara’s has two locations in San Francisco, the one mentioned above at Ghirardelli Square and another storefront in the city’s happening Marina District just off of Chesnut Street. And though we usually frequent the one at Ghirardelli just out of convenience, I gotta say that the Kara’s in the Marina has a much bigger menu to choose from.
And what a menu it is! Even the most basic-sounding cupcake here is out-of-this-world incredible, but we have two favorites that actually start me drooling just thinking about them. Christine’s favorite is Kara’s dark chocolate Fleur de Sel, which is basically a chocolate cupcake with caramel filling, ganache frosting and fleur de sel sprinkled on top.
I’m not kidding, that cupcake is the most perfect union of chocolate and sea salt outside of those dreamy little morsels we had at Todos Santos in Santa Fe. Just incredible! And best of all, it travels well. You know, in case I pick one up for her while she’s busy shopping the Gift Show downtown.
But my favorite is, and always will be, the outrageously-good Banana Caramel. Now, I know not everyone loves bananas like I do, but wow…this banana cupcake with caramel filling and silky cream cheese frosting will change your life, baby! I have never had a cupcake as good as that one…and trust me, I’ve had a lot of cupcakes in my life, yo. This one is cupcake heaven!
Also good are the Coconut and Kara’s Karrot cupcakes, but if you only have time (or money!) for one $3.25 cupcake, I’d say go with the Fleur de Sel or the Banana Caramel. And if you are a true lover of cupcakes, then you have to stop what you’re doing right now and head on up to Kara’s…seriously, you’ll die!
Oh yeah, and I just saw on their website that they recently opened another Kara’s in Palo Alto…so, that’s even less of a drive from L.A.! Yay!
OK, I know it sounds like all we did in Santa Fe was eat and that’s probably because, well, aside from drinking — gotta love that high altitude buzz! — that is all we did. Literally.
At one point Christine and I were plotting out our day and realized that everything we wanted to do involved food. Of course, we eventually found plenty of other some awesome things to do and see, but, wow, with all that good food they got cooking, why not eat your way through Santa Fe?
And a great place to start your culinary day off right is at the rocking French Pastry Shop located inside the historic La Fonda Hotel downtown. Now, I should mention that my first visit here — yes, I went just about everywhere more than once…but, hey, I was in town for six weeks, what do you expect? — with Ginger was not that great.
I ordered a dry-ass crepe with ham and gruyere cheese that was way overpriced and, like I said, dry as, well…ass. Not my favorite breakfast. But when Christine and I went again a week later, things were much more to my liking.
To start with, they have no menus, so you have to stare at this chalk board hanging up by the register and pick out what you like then sit down and order. I didn’t do this the first time and simply ordered what the skinny waitress suggested…not a wise move at this place, as what I got was, no offense, skinny waitress food.
So this time, I studied that menu board HARD and, man alive, what a difference! Christine and I shared the tasty looking quiche-type deal with ham, cheese and spinach and wow…just wow. I think the picture below says it all.
For “desert” we ordered a fresh blueberry and raspberry crepe with whipped cream and here again, we ordered correctly. I kind of wanted to marry that thing…you know, if I wasn’t already married.
But the topper was a cold coffee drink made with two shots of espresso poured over homemade vanilla ice cream and lots of ice. I am not kidding…that just might have been the best cold coffee drink I ever consumed…and this from a former Peet’s barista!
All I can say is thanks again to “Santa Fe Sarah” for insisting that Christine try The French Pastry Shop when she came out, because had she not, I would not have gone back. Muchas gracias, Sarah…you were right, I was wrong.
Oh yeah, and one last thing, The French Pastry is a strictly cash-only enterprise, so bring some green, and don’t forget to study that chalk menu board up front, HARD. You won’t regret it…
While we tried tons of super cool restaurants in Santa Fe, these two were, hands down, our favorites of the bunch. And, trust me, with the caliber of kick-ass food being what it is in Santa Fe, that is really saying something.
Probably best known for their spectacular mole sauce, Cafe Pasqual’s has been one of the premiere destinations for gourmet Old Mexican and New Mexican dishes alike for the past 28 years. And while the prices are a bit higher than some of the other places in town and the lines are known to stretch down Don Gasper Avenue at all hours, once you’ve eaten at Cafe Pasqual’s, it all makes sense.
Ginger and I had an early lunch there one day where I sampled that legendary mole sauce on some of the finest chicken enchiladas I have ever tasted anywhere…including Mexico. The mole was dark as night, awesomely spicy and best of all, not too chocolate-y. I was in heaven…
The next time I went was with Christine for dinner and once again, the food was downright dazzling. I had some of the tastiest skewered filet mignon I’ve ever had and the bright green cilantro rice on the side was crazy good. In fact, we were so impressed with the food that we actually bought the newest of the two Cafe Pasqual Cookbooks they had for sale up front.
I should also note that I learned later from our friends James and Amy that if you ask nicely, the chef will add a fried egg on top of any of the dishes on the menu for the low, low price of $1.00. I don’t know that I necessarily needed the egg, but hey, I’ve done stranger things for a dollar…so, maybe next time!
But while we both loved Cafe Pasqual’s, The Shed is the place we’ll dream about in the years to come…huge thanks to Christine’s co-worker, “Santa Fe Sarah” for recommending it to us, you rock! Located in a cool little hacienda dating to 1692, The Shed has been serving some of the finest, Spanish, Pueblo, and New Mexican food known to man since 1953.
Housed inside the thick adobe walls of the hacienda, the dining area is spread out across a series of small, brightly colored rooms linked by narrow doorways and halls adorned with some of the coolest art in town. The place actually felt more like someone’s house than a restaurant, and with little round fire places up front and an intimate, low-ceilinged feel throughout, you could have sworn you were eating in Yoda’s pad on Degobah. And yes, that is a good thing.
And the food…my God. Amazing! Christine ordered the Chicken Enchilada Verde which is made with traditional New Mexican blue corn tortillas and bathed in a roasted green chile sauce that will leave you begging for more. Literally! I went back two days after she left and ordered the exact same thing…and it was even better the second time.
The other thing we really dug about The Shed was the garlic bread. Instead of chips and salsa — which you can still order separately if you like — every entree is served with this amazing, piping-hot basket of French Garlic Bread. I know it sounds kinda weird, but when you’re sopping up that spicy green chile sauce, that bread is exactly what you wanna have on hand. Whew…awesome!
And for desert, you gotta try the mocha cake. I’m not kidding, I actually woke up a couple of times craving that thing. Probably one of the best coffee-infused, chocolate mouse cakes I’ve ever had. If you like chocolate…you will die!
Anyway, like I said before, there were plenty of killer dining spots in town, but these two…wow…if you ever find yourself in Santa Fe, don’t miss them.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the news by now, but for those who haven’t…earlier this week, Herb Peterson, inventor of the McDonald’s breakfast staple, the Egg McMuffin, passed into immortality at the age of 89.
A former McDonald’s executive and owner of a whopping six franchises in Santa Barbara alone, Peterson said he was inspired to create the McMuffin in 1972 by his deep, abiding love for another rocking breakfast classic, Eggs Benedict.
Ironically, I had the rare treat — I say rare, because I am hardly ever awake in time to buy one — of a McMuffin for breakfast two days ago and, as always, it was f-ing amazing! Although I’m not a huge fan of the classic McMuffin (sorry, Herb) I have been a devotee of the Sausage McMuffin with Egg (not to be confused with the dry-ass Sausage Biscuit with Egg, which I seriously loathe) for years.
And knowing that my favorite fast food breakfast sandwich is a direct descendant of Herb’s original McMuffin, I gotta give the dude props for making mornings a whole lot more tolerable for me. Seriously, whenever I am called upon to get up early, I actually think to myself: “Cool, I can get a #8 (two Sausage McMuffins, hashbrowns and coffee) at McDonald’s!”
I know, the breakfast of champions, right? Well, luckily for me…I don’t get up early very often. But next time I do, I’ll salute you, Herb Peterson. Before you came along, McDonald’s was strictly a lunch and dinner business…you revolutionized the way the world eats breakfast, dude.
Que viva la McMuffin revolution!