Monday, May 18, 2009


lexy is leaving.  we are getting up right now to go to the airport.  what a bummer.  cleveland is way more fun with lexy around!


woooooohoooooooo!  It's Annie's birthday!!!  The moment we have all been waiting for.  She is officially in her MID-mid 20s (yikes! I'm glad I am still in my EARLY-mid 20s).  In honor of this glorious day in history, Annie and I did what we do best...Throw a dinner party, of course!  The theme was barbecue.  Josh got to get his grilling on outside while Annie and I made yummy treats.  The menu included: grilled veggies (carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus, bell pepper), grilled/roasted potatoes, Josh's special fried zucchini, burgers/veggie burgers, guacamole, salsa, and a new special bruchetta that we invented with some help from Josh's grilling book.  And, to end the evening we did it in classic Annie/Lexy style...with a crap load of cupcakes!  Cupcakes came from Mainstreet Cupcakes.  Annie chose (since it was her special day) white chocolate key lime, lemon, sugar cookie, hazelnut, and I got a special pink lemonade one!  Yummmm awesome birthday fun!  Josh's family was nice enough to come and share the time with us as well :)  

cleveland cupcake review #3: main street cupcakes

Main Street Cupcakes
Hudson, Ohio

Ambiance:  5 scoops of icing-- main street cupcakes has a lovely set-up with pretty wood tables and an adorable display case.  also adorable was the pretty green bike sitting in front.  

Customer Service:  5 scoops of icing-- the friendly staff was able to recognize josh's face (not sure if this speaks to their friendly nature, or the fact that josh is always there buying me cupcakes... probably both).  the woman on the phone was also very nice when we called at 9:45 to ask what kind of cupcakes they were going to have that day.
Flavor Variety:  4.75 scoops of icing!  there were so many flavors that is was difficult to choose!  we ended up ordering 18 cupcakes (it was my birthday, don't judge!) because it was just too overwhelming.  our only feedback was that it would be nice to know at the beginning of the week what the flavor options are going to be so that we can plan ahead.

Cupcake Size:  3 scoops-- they had the standard cupcakes, but not the super sized or tiny ones that we have seen in other stores.

Quality of Cupcake:  4 from annie, 3 from lexy.  annie wishes that they had the harder icing, like White Flower... lexy wishes that the frosting had lots of flavor, but the cake did not.  she wishes that her pear cupcake would have had the pear flavor in the cake like it did in the frosting, as she really enjoyed the frosting part.... so, in total, 3.5 scoops!

Overall Impression:  around 4.5-- i am super glad that we chose main street cupcakes for my birthday celebration-- we can't wait to go back again!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

cleveland adventure: west side market

yesterday, i took lexy to the west side market, a real cleveland treat.

i introduced her to the BEST FALAFEL EVER at maha's falafel:

and we purchased ingredients to use for birthday dinner tonight!  lexy also bought kevin a special gift that he is sure to enjoy.  yay west side market!!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Cleveland Food Review: Presti's

12101 Mayfield Road
Cleveland, Ohio

What's better than cupcakes??  Well...nothing, really.  But, these came in a close second.  For dinner Annie, Josh, and I went out to eat in Little Italy.  Its a cute and fun area of Cleveland full of Italians (my people).  After a yummy dinner of pizza we headed over to Presti's and got some
 pretty magical Italian pastries.  We got a puff pastry that was chocolate with some super good creme stuff in the middle, cassata cake (traditional Sicillian cake..with strawberries!), and a lemon cake.  We played a game where you got one bite and then shifted the plates, Josh had a little trouble keeping up, but Annie and I were ready to go!  

Stay tuned tomorrow for more adventures!!!

cleveland cupcake review #2

Baby Cakes
4145 Erie Street
Willoughby, Ohio

Ambiance: 4.5 scoops of icing.  Baby Cakes has some super cute whimsy, which every good cupcake shop should strive to achieve.  There were cute little awnings above the tables and plenty of seating.  Annie and I discussed that it would be a cute place for a party.  Downfalls include that the cupcakes were not well labeled and it seemed a little cluttered at the counter.  I would have liked a little more organization.

Customer Service: 5 scoops.  The woman who helped us was very nice.  She was super helpful (which was good since not all cupcakes were labeled--we almost missed out on a lemon cupcake!!).  Also, she was decorating cupcakes, serving hungry cupcake critique-ers, and caring for 2 small children that were in a crib...crazy.  (is that why its called baby cakes?)

Flavor Variety: 3 scoops.  There were quite a few to choose from, but all the cupcakes seemed to be chocolate or vanilla varieties.  I had a chocolate with coconut and Annie had a lemon.  One fun bonus was that some had filling in the middle.  We would have enjoyed a few more daring flavors.  

Cupcake Size: 3 scoops.  They had the basic size.  We are still in search of the elusive cupcake store that serves jumbo, regular, and mini.  Nothing super special to report here...

Quality of Cupcake: 3 scoops.  Annie was not pleased with the icing.  It was very creamy and we all know (or at least I do...) that Annie enjoys the harder/denser cupcake frosting.  The cake part of the cupcakes was pretty soft as well.  It was more like cake than a cupcake.  Good, but not as dense as a lot of cupcakes.  

Overall Impression: 4.4 scoops.  Baby Cakes was a new cupcake store for Annie so it was a fun adventure for both of us.  We never turn down a cupcake, so it was a good time, however we wish the quality of the cupcakes was just a tad higher.  But they definitely have the whimsy of what "magical cupcakes" means locked in.  Well done.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cleveland Food Review: Melt Bar and Grilled

14718 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio
mmmm... melty goodness.  what's better than melted cheese on buttery bread with french fries?  the answer:  nothing.  lexy and i both enjoyed our sandwiches from Melt-- lexy ordered the Winter Chicken (grilled 
chicken, creamy chipotle sauce, pepper jack cheese) and I ordered the Mushroom Melt (garlic portabellas, caramel port onion, provolone cheese).  lexy liked her 
sandwich so much that she ignored the pickles on the side and didn't freak out!  hooray!

cleveland cupcake review: White Flower

White Flower Cake Shoppe:  LaPlace Shopping Center, Beachwood, OH

Ambiance:  2 scoops of icing.  While the big pretend wedding cakes were quite impressive, it wasn't the cozy, sit down and lick-frosting-off-your-fingers kind of establishment that a cupcake shoppe should be.  It was very white and almost sterile looking... although the smell was quite yummy.

Customer Services:  2 scoops of icing.  The woman at the desk was nice, but not super-friendly.  She seemed like maybe she could take or leave our business, and also assume that Lexy did not want a cupcake... Lexy is wondering if this means the woman thought she was too fat to eat
 cupcakes... or maybe that she was so skinny that clearly she doesn't eat cupcakes-- either way, assumptions were made, and you know what happens when people make assumptions.

Flavor Variety:  4.5 scoops of icing.  There were quite a few yummy choices-- we had a hard time choosing what we should get...  there were lots of flavors and they all looked delectable.  Both Lexy and myself chose the banana cream cupcakes, which the website describes as 
NEW! Banana Creme Pie:
Banana cake topped with custard and vanilla creme, and sprinkled with graham crumbs.
We both agreed that this was a good choice.

Quality of Cupcake:  3 scoops of icing.  Individually, all the flavors were fantastic-- the custard, the cake, the icing... however, when they all came together, it was a big sloppy mess.  The cake wasn't physically strong enough to hold up that yummy thick icing, so it kind of just became a big goopy mess-- a yummy one-- but, nonetheless, a mess.

Cupcake Size:  4 scoops of icing.  White Flower did well in this department, as they carry large SUPER SIZE cupcakes with big pretty flowers on the top (meaning lots of yummy icing).  One suggestion Lexy had was that they also carry "mini" cupcakes as well, so she could have tried more of the flavors.

Overall Impression:  3ish scoops of icing.  White Flower was an excellent beginning to our cupcake adventures in Ohio and the Banana Cream cupcake was very good-- with just a little tweaking, it could be UNSTOPPABLE!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fancy Brunch Treat

In honor of mother's day I was making some fancy brunch for my boyfriend's mother. These little treats are super easy to make, and I think will impress those around you (which, I mean, isn't that what we're all about anyway?). Recipe comes from Taste of Home, health cooking.

So... all you have to do is take 10 wonton wrappers (you find these in the produce section at the grocery) and you mush them into cupcake tins (pre-sprayed with non-stick stuff). The recipe says "mini cupcake tin". I don't have a mini one, so I just used the normal one, and it seems to work out just fine. After you push them into the tin, spray the wonton wrappers and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, make the egg filling. Really all you need to do is make some scrabbled eggs. Recipe calls for 2 eggs, so I used the egg beater equivalent. It also called for salt and garlic powder and a little bit of hot sauce. I added some oregano and chopped up green onion. You can make the eggs however you like though...maybe with some sauteed peppers or tomatoes? Cook the eggs in a skillet.

Then, you just spoon the cooked scrambled eggs into the 10 wonton cups. You can decorate with a little bit of chopped tomato, green onion, or bell pepper on top! The recipe says that for 2 it is 110 calories, 4 fat, and 1 fiber. But, they use real eggs in theirs, so this has to be less. As it stands, that's 2 points for 2 (or, for you math geniuses out there... that's 1 point a per egg cup).

****REMEMBER***** On Wednesday night I (Lexy) am flying across the country in order to be with Annie for some more blogging craziness. We already have some cupcake stores scouted out and plan on cooking up some fun food! Also, its her birthday, so people should tell her happy birthday!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Oh oh Cheeri-O!

I never used to be a big cereal person, but I have found a lot of joy from Cheerios recently. There are two types that I currently love. The multi-grain Cheerios and the Banana Nut, and this is why...

You can have a WHOLE CUP of the multi-grain for only ONE POINT! That's pretty amazing. If you eat it with milk, then its two points, but still awesome for a cup of cereal. I like to take a cups worth to work and eat them dry for a great one point snack. The added benefit of this is that there is some sort of childhood joy of eating cheerios with my fingers out of a bag. :D

The banana nut Cheerios are super yummy, but not quite as healthy. You get 2/3 of a cup and if you eat it with milk its 3 points, but the taste is absolutely delicious if you love banana flavored things. Also a magical mid-day treat in order to regress like a child while at work.

EDIT: Kevin is throwing a wee bit of a fit right now because he is not getting any credit for being the person who first purchased the multi grain cheerios. Yes, dear Kevin, it was you who introduced me to the wonders of eating cheerios, and for this I am thankful and forever in your debt. Love you!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spoiler Alert!!

Just a heads up to all our faithful followers....

Annie and Lexy will be together again in 2 weeks from today!! Yes, that's right, two weeks!!! This time taking Cleveland by storm! Stay tuned for some excessive blogging and gluttony to ensue :)

Quick, Easy, and Super Yummy Dinner!

The other day I couldn't decide what to make for dinner. I spent many an hour scouring the internet (internets?) for something yummy to eat. Then low and behold on i found a recipe for a yummy spicy/sweet sauce to put on chicken. Now, we all know that Annie is not a friend of the meat, but there are boys in her and my life that are not satisfied unless there is a chunk of dead something on their plate. BUT the cool thing about this recipe is that I think it's really good and easy to make it meat-free, OR perhaps with some soy curls?!?! So, here is what I did (or rather what Kevin and I did...he helped).

mix together:
1 Tablespoon brown sugar (I use splenda brown sugar)
2 Tablespoons honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (about 3ish garlic cloves)
2 Tablespoons hot sauce (taco sauce...)

1) Cut some chicken up into stir fry size pieces
2) Grill chicken on your panini/george forman grill until cooked
3) Put chicken in skillet with sauce and stir around for awhile (about 5 minutes or so on medium heeat)
4) Cook a bag of frozen veggies (I just use a stir fry mix that you microwave for 5 minutes and cooks in the bag)
5) Take chicken out of skillet and put in bowls with some rice (rice is cooking while you are cooking the chicken)
6) Throw bag of veggies in the skillet with the left over sauce and stir around to coat
7) Put veggies in bowl with rice and chicken (if you're eating meat....)

AND THATS IT!! Super easy! This whole meal seriously takes maybe 20 minutes from start to finish. I usually cook about a cup of rice for 2 people. I make my bowl with just a little bit of rice and a ton of veggies. Kevin's has lots of rice, no veggies, and lots of chicken.

I also think that you could take soy curls and rehydrate according to directions and then put them in the skillet and cook just like it were chicken. I have big plans to try that at some point.

Monday, April 13, 2009

ranch dressing!

ranch with 1.5 grams of fat??!  i didn't believe it until i tasted this magical treat from trader joes.  this parmesan ranch dressing tastes like a drip of heaven (not like the typical nasty diet ranch dressing) and rings in at only 30 calories and 1.5 grams of fat per 2 T serving.  INCREDIBLE!  i promptly went back to the store and purchased 3 bottles, which are anxiously awaiting my tummy in the fridge.  you can find this yummy treat in the salad section of trader joes (with the bagged spinach) and it must reside in the fridge, even before it is opened.  

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Stuffed Pepper Goodness

This recipe is pretty easy, and it can work really well if you make it in advance. You can stuff peppers with pretty much anything under the sun... this is what i did with my peppers....

Rice (i make my rice in a rice cooker and i put about 1/4 cup salsa in with the water--use less water than normal)
black beans
sauteed zucchini
(i would also recommend corn, carrots, and onion)

How to stuff your pepper:
bring a pot of water to boil then put the peppers inside (they should be cleaned out.... you can cut them in half, or just cut the top off, whatever works for you).
Let the pepper cook in boiling water for about 3-5 minutes (you want it to get a little soft)
Put pepper under cold water to stop it from cooking
Stuff your pepper with your mixture
Top with a little bit of cheese

Bake in the oven at 350 for about 25-30 minutes

And there you have it! A yummy stuffed pepper!! I like the rice and beans as my base and then adding whatever sort of veggies i have laying around the house. yum yum :)

immaculate baking company

thanks to the incredible laura isaacs (thank you friend) i have discovered the wonder of immaculate baking company's oatmeal raisin cookies.  these little bites of goodness are 1 pt each, and are certainly one of the most magical organic treats that have ever hit my kitchen.  they also win props for being super duper easy to make (just break and bake).  woo-hooo!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

recreating portland noodles

as you may or may not know, while i was in portland, lexy and i returned on two occasions to a magical restaurant called Blossoming Lotus.  for all of you living (or visiting) in portland, you must go here asap and order the thai peanut noodles with soy curls.  it will change your life.

in fact, it changed my life so much that i came home determined to make some of my own-- and i did!  while it is not totally fat free (or even close to it) i am justifying it by saying that it is made mostly healthy and natural ingredients...  so, i think this is a health food.  regardless, it is amazing.

here is what you need:
-butler soy curls (these are a magical find that lexy made... it is most likely that they are not available in your area, and if you are not going to order them online, i suggest either leaving it out of the recipe or using tofu or chicken instead)
-some random veggies... i used french green beans, lots of broccoli, asparagus, and carrots... nex time i will probably add red peppers
-high fiber spaghetti noodles

(for the sauce)
-2 T soy sauce
-1/3 cup natural pb (i used creamy)
-1 T maple syrup
- 3 T fresh lime juice
-around 1ish t of chili paste (in asian cooking section)
-1 clove minced garlic
-1 T sesame seeds
-1 t powdered ginger
-fresh cilantro
-unsalted peanuts

so, what you do is this:

1) if you are using the soy curls, soak them in water like the directions say, drain, and then marinade in 1 T soy sauce and 1 t ginger powder... if you aren't using the curls, do the same thing with the tofu/chicken.  cook these two accordingly when you are done (to cook the tofy, cut it up and put it in the oven until dried up a little and browned)

2) boil water, throw in noodles... however many you want, i only made a little and went heavy on the veggies
3) steam veggies
4) after veggies are steamed, throw them in a frying pan to continue heating, toss in noodles and soy curls (or tofu or chicken) as well, put on low

5) mix up all the sauce ingredients and make smooth (i had to microwave mine to get the pb soft)
6) put as much as you'd like over the veggie noodle mix, mix all together
7) toss some fresh cilantro and peanuts on top... add lime juice to tastes-- VOILA!  

Monday, March 9, 2009

Good Bye Annie.... :(

Yes, dear friends... it is that time. Annie has to leave :( Well....she technically doesn't have to leave right now. Her flight does not leave until 10:30 p.m. and its only 8:13, but Annie is a bit of a crazy pants and believes that she has to be at the airport 6 hours ahead of time..... its not worth going into....

We hope all of you enjoyed reading about all of our adventures. We know that all of you found this weekend vacation as enjoyable to read about as it was for us to actually experience. I guess we'll have to go back to our individual blogs for a few months. Back to writing about food that we make in our homes... alone...

Here is a quick recap of what we did together:

Thursday: Vegan Restaurant and first cupcake review (st. cupcake)
Friday: Had lunch with Kevin (and brought him a cupcake!), went to Lexy's work, bought mexican pastries, had awesome kick-ass mexican fiesta, second cupcake review (sweet pea).
Saturday: Saturday Market downtown portland, third cupcake review (Bliss Baking Co.), Dinner at the movie theater Cinetopia (we saw Slumdog Millionaire, and it was awesome!)
Sunday: Massages! fancy chocolate time, fourth and fifth cupcake reviews (Cupcake Jones and second location of St. Cupcake), second time at vegan restaurant Blossoming Lotus.
Monday: Sat on our butts and watched Grey's Anatomy all day (season 4 = complete), left the house for a few minutes to go to Cupcake Jones again (had to try different flavors) and buy Annie some fiberful bars at Trader Joes. Made yummy veggie burger dinner.

booo. lexy and annie living in different states is stupid. BUT... only a few short months until Annie's birthday and some new and exciting adventures...this time in Cleveland!!

Adventures in Portland: Take 8

Cupcake Review #5: St. Cupcake at SE 33rd and Belmont (second location)

St. Cupcake has two locations and because every cupcake experience is unique, we HAD to go to this location to critique with our expert eyes and taste buds.

Ambiance: 4 scoops of icing. This is a very unique cupcake place. It is a cute little store in the front with jewelery and other fun trinkets. It was fun to look around, but it made you feel like you had to be super quiet (not able to ooh and aww over the cupcakes at the same level that we are used to). Also, there was no place to sit down. In fact, they had an antique couch that said you could not sit on it and eat your cupcakes. The cuteness factor of the store makes up for lack of seating... almost.

Customer Service: 5 scoops of icing. 5 words, dear friends: BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE! Oh yes, St. Cupcake was having a special. Buy one cupcake and get one free. Now, you might think that that meant Annie and I were able to get one of our cupcakes for free. Ohhhh no. That meant that we each got TWO! The friendly lady said that she does that on Sundays when business is a little slow, because they are closed on Monday and she does not want them to go to waste. Neither do we. Annie and I do not believe in waste, thats why we did our part in cupcake consumption yesterday.

Flavor Variety: 4 scoops of icing. Same review as before. This store has all the same flavors as their other store. Good variety, but we would like some more daring flavors.

Quality of Cupcake: 4 scoops of icing. This time Annie and I each got a banana pound cake and a toffee cupcake. Both were super yummy. Espeically the banana. The banana one was a little denser than a regular cupcake, hence it being called a "pound cake". It had cream cheese frosting as opposed to the usual buttercream frosting. I particuarly enjoyed that part, and came to the decision that I like cream cheese frostings more than buttercream.

Cupcake Size: 3 scoops of icing. Again, this is the same as before. They meet the standards for cupcake sizing. A jumbo would be nice....

Overall Impression: 4 (exact!) scoops of icing. We enjoyed the combination of store and shop, but some seating and more noise would have made it a little more welcoming. But, as always, St. Cupcake does not disapoint, and buy one get one free equals heaven.

Adventures in Portland: Take 7

Blossoming Lotus--Vegan Restaurant on NW 9th and Davis.

Annie is currently watching season 4 of Grey's Anatomy, and we need to make sure she finishes it before leaving for the glorious mid-west, so I am going to do some primary joint blogging right now.

This has turned into one of my signature locations that I take people to when them come to Portland. So, of course, I had to take Annie, and she found it as amazing as I do!! She responded just the way I needed her to. Blossoming Lotus is completely vegan, but don't let that scare you. Annie is pretty sure that her boyfriend Josh would even love this place!

Our favorite thing on the menu is the Thai peanut bowl with soy curls (you HAVE to get soy curls, they will change your life). On our second trip to Blossoming Lotus, Annie ordered a burrito that we shared as an appetizer so as to try something different on the menu, but still be able to have our peanut bowl. Don't you hate when you want to try new things, but you are worried they won't be as magical as the other thing you normally get? Its probably one of the harder things about life. That's why we decided to just order a crap load of food, look like gluttons, but eat a lot of super yummy vegan food.

1 bazillion scoops of icing for Blossoming Lotus!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Adventures in Portland: Take 6

Cupcake Review #4: Cupcake Jones on NW 10th and Everett

Ambiance: 1 scoop of icing. Cupcake Jones was seriously lacking in the ambiance department. If they had more space, we're sure they would create a wonderful cupcake eating environment. However, as it stands, it is, as Annie states, "the fast food of cupcakes". You walk in and it is a tiny area that no more than 5 people could stand. There was a bench that you could sit on, but that might be sort of awkward since you're pretty much right in the action. Annie and I decided to eat our cupcakes outside, only to realize there was no outdoor seating either. Major bummer. We ended up sitting on a crooked window sill/ledge thingy outside of the neighboring Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream (hmm ice cream....). People inside the Ben and Jerry's may, or may not, have been laughing at us (that could have been due to our excessive picture taking....). Given that we are in Portland, we feel that there needs to be some place to stand to enjoy a cupcake without the fear of being rained on at any moment.

Customer Service: 4 scoops of icing. The woman who helped us was nice enough, but not really the above and beyond, hyped up on sugar, friendly that we have come to expect from a cupcake store.

Flavor Variety: 5 scoops of icing. Cupcake Jones has a good mixture of "daring" and "safe" cupcake flavors. Therefore anyone can find at least one cupcake that they would want to devour. Annie and I had trouble making up our minds, and had to split our cupcakes so as to try the different flavors (we got chocolate chip with cookie dough in the middle and apple crisp with yummy apple pieces in the center). AND we plan on returning tomorrow because we couldn't pass up on the pear spice and lemon varieties.

Quality of Cupcake: 5 scoops of icing. Annie believes that the apple crisp cupcake has been the best thus far. And, I have to admit, she may be right. The added bonus of filling in the middle is a fun surprise. And anyone who can figure out how to put cookie dough in a cupcake is a genius by our standards.

Cupcake Size: 4 scoops of icing. While Cupcake Jones gets bonus scoops of icing for having jumbo cupcakes, they do not score a perfect 5 because there is no in between size. You have to either have a jumbo (which is awesome, but a little excessive--even for us....sometimes...) or a mini. A regular or mid-size would be nice. If they had all 3 it would be perfect cupcake heaven.

Overall Impression: almost 4 scoops of icing. Really the only downside to Cupcake Jones is that there is no place to sit. We can't even complain about them being downtown where parking is a pain in the butt, because the cupcake Gods shone upon us and we got a spot RIGHT IN FRONT! So, dear Cupcake Jones, get a little picnic table and maybe a fun umbrella, plop it up outside the store and you will have earned the 5 scoops of icing.

Adventures in Portland: Take 5

Spa Day!!!!!!

This morning Annie and I decided to treat ourselves to some wonderful self-care through massages. We went to Elixir Day Spas, which is on 110th in Beaverton. The lady was super nice (Clarissa). Since she was the only one working, one of us got to sit in the tranquility room while the other got a massage. In the tranquility room there were super good clementines and almonds and water. We also got a box of chocolate!!!!! Now, here is where the story gets interesting....

So... as many of you may know (or maybe no one knows....) our dear friend Annie is allergic to red dye 40. Not red dye 6. Not red dye 33. Not red dye 7 (who knew there were so many numbers of red dye....). Only red dye 40. So turns out the super cute ladybug chocolates that Clarissa got us had some red dye 40 in them. She was really nice and called Moonstruck chocolate to check and they were, in fact, ladybugs of chocolate death. So, she let us go over to the chocolate place around the corner and pick out new ones!!!

Annie decided to get one that she thought was amazing. It was a chocolate truffle with cinnamon and almonds and all around goodness ground up on it. The other one had goat milk, and salt, and caramel (and we all know Annie loves her salt). I got one that was an "ice cream cone" that was cookies and cream and another one that was toffee flavored. Both super delicious.

What a wonderful way to start our day!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

adventures in portland: take 4

cupcake review #3: bliss bake shop
4708 NW Bethany Blvd Suite E-5
Portland Oregon 97229

ambiance: 3 scoops of icing. bliss did the best they could, given that they are located in a strip mall next to a subway. we appreciated the children's toys and big bucket of marshmallows in the front of the store, and it also smelled magically delicious. lacking was some wall decor and perhaps a little more color... it is also important to add that bliss opened around 2 weeks ago, so we should cut them a little slack.

customer service: 5 scoops of icing. lexy and i appreciated the fact that although we each individually ordered 4 mini cupcakes a piece (yeah, i said it), the woman behind the glass was not judgy, pretty matter of fact (doesn't everyone eat four cupcakes at these places??!). also, after we finished our cupcakes, another nice lady took our plates and asked us if we enjoyed our treats. very nice.

flavor variety: 5 scoops of icing. as previously mentioned (see customer service) lexy and i each had to (had to) get four cupcakes each because it was too difficult to make up our minds on just one (or two.... or three) flavors to try. lexy got the strawberry with strawberry icing, smore, lemon with rasberry topping, and cookies and cream, and annie got smore, cookies and cream, vanilla, and mocha.

quality of cupcake: 4 scoops of icing. these were pretty awesome cupcakes. i mean, nothing extraordinary or off the charts, but absolutely satisfying with a magical flair. annie appreciated that there was a lot of icing on her cupcakes, and lexy took solace in the fact that although she ate four cupcakes, one of them contained fruit, thus making it healthy.

cupcake size: 3.5 scoops of icing. nothing special, but they should get credit for having both normal and mini sizes. thanks bliss.

overall impression: 4 scoops of icing. bliss was a little bit of a hike for us, but well worth the time and effort. it's good to see more cupcake stores opening in the portland area (for lexy) and we are excited to see what they do with the decor. good luck bliss baking!

adventures in portland take 3-- fiesta!

last night we decided to share our magical cooking skills with an elite group of friends.

unfortunately, we were so hungry, the food was not captured in film, only in our tummies.

here is a breakdown of the fabulous menu-- comment if you would like to see the recipes.

homemade salsa
nopales (yeah, that means cactus-- see previous posts)
mango black bean salad
annie's famous burritos
mexican pastries (we didn't make these, but they were authentic mexican-made!)

everything was yummy and served with some guiltless gourmet chips. after trying all 4 kinds of chips (black bean, black corn, yellow corn, and chili lime) we decided a few things:
1) these are a little pricey, given that half the bag is full of air.
2) chili lime-- not as good as it sounds. not enough chili, or lime. kind of like burnt cumin?
3) lexy feels they were a little salty, but given that annie could drink salt for breakfast, she kind of liked that. i should get a salt lick.

although no food pictures were taken, here are some pictures of our attractive faces wearing hats that were won while playing a serious game of loteria, otherwise known as a mexican face-off... or just bingo.

this evening earned 5 scoops of icing, although there were no cupcakes involved. mmmm...cupcakes.

lexy and annie.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Adventures in Portland: Take 2

Cupcake Review #2: Sweet Pea Baking Co. (SE Stark and 12th)

For Annie and my second cupcake adventure we chose Sweet Peak Baking Co. Something special about Sweet Pea is that its a completely vegan bakery. They are pretty cool in that they will make special orders for people with food allergies, and they have lots of wheat-free stuff.

Ambiance: 2 scoops of icing. Although the outside table and fun green sandwich board sign are cute and luring, the inside of Sweet Pea is a little stark. Sort of the industrial type of look with exposed pipes and stuff like that. Definitely not magical or whimsical or any other fun word that should be used to describe a cupcake store.

Customer Service: 5 scoops of icing. The man who helped us was quite nice. Again, very willing to tell the cupcake experts (ie. us-annie and lexy) what each of the flavors were and patient while we tried to make up our mind and choose just one.

Flavor Variety: 3 scoops of icing. Sweet Pea did not have tons of the flavors, but the ones they had were solid. Annie got a mocha, complete with espresso beans on top, which was a cute touch. Lexy got a cocnut cupcake with raspberry icing. They do deserve a little extra credit because we feel that its probably hard to make lots of random flavors and keep with the vegan-ness. Also, about half of their cupcakes are wheat/gluten free and that's pretty cool.

Quality of Cupcake: 4 scoops of icing. Annie really enjoyed her icing--possibly better than st. cupcake. The icing is a little stiffer, so for those of you that like stiff frosting this is the where the icing party is at. The texture of the actual cake was a little denser than normal cupcakes, possibly due to being vegan, different, but still good.

Cupcake Size: 3 scoops of icing. Annie's cupcake was bigger than Lexy's, which made Lexy a little sad. They didn't have mini and normal (or even big) size cupcakes, just all their "general" size, however the size of our cupcakes were quite different. This is sad because maybe you really want a cupcake so you want to pick one of the bigger ones, but the flavor of one of the smaller ones is the one you want to get. I think we all see the problem in that. This is serious business, people.

Sweet Pea averaged a 3.something (again, not math majors). They could afford to hire a deorator to revamp the place and bring it up to cupcake selling standards, but if its nice outside and you can sit at one of the cute tables, its a pretty enjoyable time. So enjoyable in fact, that you can see Annie, Lexy, and Kevin (we brought him one at work... what nice people we are) with our cupcakes. All looking pretty darn excited to have such a yummy treat!