Monday, July 28, 2008

Cute Cupcake Things

A friend of mine showed me some cute cupcake stuff that I just had to share!
Cupcake Placecard Holders. They come in sets of 4 with 8 blank cards, and you can get them for $8.49 at Organize or $8.95 at Wrapables.

Cupcake Plates. Hand-drawn with a scalloped edge, you can get these cute plates by Rosanna by clicking the link. They come in a set of 4, are microwave and dishwasher safe, and go for $40.

Cupcake Soap. By Irie Star, they're $8.95 each and come in Lavendar, Lemongrass, and Peppermint, and they've even been featured on HGTV!

Key West Cupcake Store

Alright, after a week of vacation (and thus slacking on blog posts), I'm back! And before I go back to all things cupcake in DC/MD/VA, I have to show you this cupcake bakery I found in Key West. So cute!

It's called Cupcakes & More (from what I saw, the "more" is ice cream and panini's), and is situated by Captain Tony's off of Greene Street (talk about expensive real estate). There were a little over 10 flavors on the menu. I tried to order the Red Velvet and Carrot Cake, but she was out, so I went for the Key Lime & the Pirate.

The Key Lime cupcake was disappointingly dry, and the Key Lime flavor was pretty overwhelming, not to mention a little too much on the sour side. The Pirate cupcake, on the other hand, made up for what the Key Lime lacked; it was a moist chocolate cake with a cherry jam filling and a pink tinted vanilla buttercream frosting. Tasty.
If you have any plans to be in Key West any time soon, you should drop in! The owner doesn't have a website up yet, but said she is working on it. One piece of advice though, either eat the cupcake in the shop or eat it fast outside; that Key West heat will melt frosting faster than you would believe!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Washington Post Chat with Sprinkles

If you're not busy this afternoon at 2:00pm, you should get on and check out the discussion with Charles Nelson, founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes. Nelson will be online to provide business leadership advice for the Post's weekly Voices on Leadership series.
You can submit a question for Nelson ahead of time or during the discussion by clicking here!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cupcake Candles in Key West

While strolling down Duval Street in Key West today (I'm on vacation!) I came across these cupcake candles in a little boutique. They smell so good! They're from the ReminiScent Collection by the Fragrant Passage Candle Company. I found the site for you guys but it looks like they don't list any of the products yet, but if you want to save it to check out in the future, click here!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Meetup 2 - Sticky Fingers Bakery

This past Saturday we had our second DC/Metro Cupcake Group Meetup! (By the way, the group is now 103 members strong!) It was held at Sticky Fingers Bakery in DC. Sticky Fingers is a vegan bakery that was voted Best Bakery by the readers of Washington City Paper for their 2008 Best of DC Contest, so we thought it would be a fun and different place to try out.

Despite delays on the metro lines all day, there were about 14 or 15 of us that came out. We staked out our little corner of the shop and sat down with some iced coffee and cupcakes. (You'll have to forgive me...I don't have a lot of pretty cupcake pictures this time as a lot of them came out pretty blurry.)

The first cupcake we tried was the Cookies n Cream. It was a chocolate cake cupcake with a white frosting. The chocolate cake was decent. It was thick and moist, which was good, but the frosting had this flour-like after taste that a lot of the group members didn't like. I mean a frosting that tastes like flour? Blah.

Next up was the Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Frosting. The frosting here was much better, definitely on the sweeter side compared to the Cookies n Cream frosting, but still with that floury after taste. The vanilla cake, on the other hand, was no good. Very bland and a little on the dry side.

The last one I tried was the Peanut Butter Fudge. The chocolate cake in this cupcake tasted better than the Cookies n Cream version. It was very dark, practically black, and very moist. The frosting on top was good, not sweet but definitely not bland, and had a nice dollop of peanut butter in the center. This one, along with the Almond Creme, were the group favorites. I didn't try the Almond Creme because I was too stuffed from everything else, but if you're ever around Sticky Fingers I would keep these as your go-to flavors.

Other members tried the Raspberry Chocolate, but weren't too crazy about that one either. I wish we had a vegan join us so they could tell us how these cupcakes rank of the list of other Vegan desserts they've tried!

My overall review is that considering Sticky Fingers cupcakes are dairy/lactose-free, egg-free, cholesterol-free, low in saturated fat, and made with soy and non-hydrogenated oils, they didn't turn out too bad. However with all the other fine and delleicious cupcakes in the area, I don't think I'll be returning to Sticky Fingers any time soon. Yes, other bakeries may be higher in fat, but at least I'm getting what I paid for (about $2.75 each).

One more thing before I leave this post, I thought I would see if anyone out there has ever made cupcakes, or any dessert for that matter, that are free of allergin's such as wheat and dairy, etc? One of our group members bakes for children who have severe allergies. She is looking for ideas and as you can imagine it's pretty hard to come up with a dessert recipe that doesn't contain these kind of products. If you know of or have ever used any recipe that's free of these ingredients, please share! Thanks!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Scented Cupcake Jewelry

Have you guys ever heard of Pancake Meow? I'd love to know what the name is all about...but it's a company that sells scented dessert jewelry and other accessories! It must be pretty popular because practically everything they sell is out of stock, but the one thing that isn't: a scented cupcake charm! It was just put up for sale so I'm sure it's only a matter of time before it's gone.

The cupcake charms are $25 each and are available for pre-order, shipping in August. You can even customize it! Choose your favorite icing color, cake color, and sprinkle color, and then you can even select your own scent from their extensive scent list. And let me just say, it's quite extensive...70 scents! Choose from flavors like Buttercream Frosting, Creamy Cupcake, Gummy Bears, Key Lime Pie, and Watermelon. MMmmm!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New! Nostalgia Cupcakes

Everyone get excited, because there is a new cupcake bakery coming to town! And you're going to love it! I had the pleasure of meeting Nostalgia Cupcakes owner Sharon White and tasting some of her delicious treats. But before we get to that, let me tell you a little bit about this new and fabulous cupcakery.

Nostalgia Cupcakes is set to open around Labor Day in historic Annapolis, Maryland. The shop will be located at 188 Main Street, Suite 102, which is walking distance to the city dock. And what a good location! You can pick up your cupcake and walk off those calories as you stroll along those quaint Annapolis streets. And when you do pick up that cupcake, you're going to have a lot to choose from! Sharon has over 20 varieties of standard flavors on the menu, with flavors like Coconutcake, Old Fashioned Spicecake, Banananut, Carrotcake, PB&J, and Lemoncello!

In addition to her standard flavors, Sharon also has 8 varieties of premium (alcohol-based) flavors which will not be on the daily menu but will be available for order. I love this idea, it's like having a special drink menu at a nice restaurant! Some of the premium flavors include Mardi Gras, a champagne infused Yellow Cake filled with orange curd and topped with a champagne buttercream, and Something Blue, a cognac-laced yellow cake filled with vanilla-bean mousse-tinted blue-and topped with cognac buttercream! Sounds pretty tasty, huh? There is a minimum order of 5 dozen for these delectable flavors.

Speaking of delectable flavors, lets get back to the good stuff. I had the privilege of tasting 4 different flavors, Gold Rush Carrotcake, Southern Red Velvetcake, Caramel Macchiatocake, and Rum Jungle.

These lovely little creations you see above would be the Southern Red Velvet. And let me just say, wow. This is without a doubt the best Red Velvet I have had so far. Rich in flavor, crumbly and just the perfect consistency...not too heavy but not too light, just how a Red Velvet Cupcake should taste. And that cream cheese buttercream...words do not do justice. Rich and smooth and full of sweet flavor, this is one of the best cream cheese icings I have ever tried. Before I had tasted this cupcake I had decided to share the second one with friends, but after that first bite, no way was I letting the other one go! I saved it for later :)

This little guy is the Caramel Macchiatocake. Sharon hoped that I would like this one, mentioning it is a work in progress, but I don't know what she has left to do with it because it's perfect! A delicious white cake with a savory caramel filling, topped with rich and tasty mocha buttercream, I couldn't get enough of this one. One of my friends who was tasting the cupcakes with me is a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato addict, and he loved this cupcake.

Now if you are a frequent reader of this blog, you know that Carrot Cake is my all-time favorite flavor. When I cut the cupcake in half before taking a bite, one side fell away exposing a sumptuous center rich in gold tones and scattered with spices. While one of the most attractive carrot cakes I've ever seen, this cupcake is more than just a pretty face. The culmination of spices, carrots, raisen's, and whatever else Sharon has thrown in there is a celebration for the tastebuds. Topped with that heavenly cream cheese buttercream from earlier, this is one delicious carrot cake.

This little trio represents the Rum Jungle flavor from Nostalgia Cupcakes' premium menu. I thought the rum soaked yellow cake was delicious, though I must admit I thought the swiss meringue buttercream could have used a little more flavor. It probably didn't help the meringue that I held the cupcakes in my lap for 45 minutes while I sat outside in the 80 degree heat talking to Sharon. While the other cupcakes were able to handle the heat, meringue is a little more fragile. So maybe the melty factor messed with the flavor.

My overall review? Divine, delleicious, delightful, say it any way you want, these cupcakes are wonderful! Sharon makes everything from scratch, right down to the Vanilla she uses in some of her recipes, and you can taste the special attention in each of her creations. And speaking of creations, Sharon also bakes cookies, brownies, wedding cakes, grooms cakes, & other special event cakes, and even homemade marshmallows!

If you live in or around Annapolis, are driving to/from Ocean City, looking for something to do on the weekend, or just really like cupcakes, you've got to make a trip to Nostalgia once the shop opens! I'm thinking my Meetup Group might be able to take a little excursion out that way in a couple of months! Would anyone be up for it?

I had a chance to ask Sharon some questions about herself and her bakery. Read what she had to say below!

Nostalgia Cupcakes Interview

1. What inspired you to start Nostalgia Cupcakes?
Turning 41 and knowing that there was more to my life than just my day-to-day job. My husband and I were never blessed with children and I finally found a comfortable place where I accepted that it will never happen (without pursing adoption). Then I looked at my day job and wondered: Is this it? Surely this is not how I want to spend the rest of my (albeight childless) life!

2. How long have you been baking and decorating?
I started baking VERY early! My mom, who was the oldest girl of 16 children, is fantastic in the kitchen. My sisters inherited her cooking ability and I got the sweet-tooth, which she freely and willingly let me indulge. I took my first Wilton class over 10 years ago, and then continued taking classes in all aspects of baking and cake decorating throughout the years.

3. How did you muster up the courage to quit the day job and start baking full time?
By getting frustrated with someone who originally agreed to let me rent their commercial kitchen. My original plan was to start slowly and work on a consistent client base around my day job. When that fell through, I said forget it, I’m not going to count on anyone else to build my business and when I looked around at all the options, I realized that I could do this on my own terms, in my own space..

4. You currently have over 20 varieties of standard flavors, along with 8 premium flavors. That’s a lot! Will you be adding more flavors in the future?
LOL, I know that’s a lot, and I come up with more flavor ideas every day! But no, I won’t put anything else permanent on the menu. I will have seasonal options that will be available during holidays.

5. So what is your favorite flavor of cupcake?
Believe it or not, something not even on my current menu! A sweet potato cupcake with brown sugar buttercream and toasted marshmallows. Yumm! I’ll probably try it out on my seasonal menu around Thanksgiving time and see if others like it as much as I do.

6. What do you think makes Nostalgia Cupcakes stand out from the competition?
I’m a decorator first, a baker second and a cupcake shop owner third. I think a lot of people who own shops start out the other way around. I believe in the art of baking from scratch and playing with different flavor profiles. Plus, my premium line I think is a different approach. It will offer flavors with liqueurs, alcohol, true butter buttercreams, better quality flour, eggs, and butter.

7. What made you choose the Annapolis area to open up shop?
My husband and I love visiting Annapolis. We considered getting married there and would visit almost every weekend when we lived in Bowie. It holds a special place in my heart!
8. Any words of wisdom for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Don’t take no for an answer! I seriously would have given up if it wasn’t for some people who believed in me. I had a lot of nay-sayers from the weirdest places, but strangely enough, a lot of support from some weird places too.
9. Do you have anything special planned for the Grand Opening?
I’m tossing around a lot of ideas and it all depends on when it will actually happen! Right now I’m still knee deep in the lengthy permit process, so I haven’t narrowed down anything specific. When I do, I’ll be sure to let you know!

10. Anything else you’d like to add?
Even though cupcakes are small, they are still a medium to decorate beautifully and should taste as good as they look. Some of the other cupcakes I’ve sampled are barely a step above grocery store cupcakes with bland flavors or super-sweet greasy frosting. Take the time to learn how to make your products better, never stop taking constructive criticism, ask your customers what they want, and have FUN!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Rum & Chocolate Cupcakes

What do you think of these Rum & Chocolate cupcakes I made last night? I wasn't sure how the chocolate would go with the Rum, but it was surprisingly pretty good!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mrs. Fields Cookie Cupcakes

While at the mall over the weekend, I picked up one of Mrs. Field's Cookie Cupcakes! Cute, huh? It was $1.99. The icing was a little overwhelming (very sweet), but once you wiped a majority of it off, it was good. Just like a warm Mrs. Field's Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Friday, July 11, 2008

DC/Metro Cupcake Group Meetup

I've posted a new meetup for the DC/Metro Cupcake Group! This month we'll be going to Sticky Fingers Bakery in DC. Click here to join the group and come out to the meetup!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cakelove...Still Bad.

Cupcakes Take The Cake just did a posting on "the Cakelove backlash," and referenced my recent posting on the shock of Cakelove being listed at the top of Washingtonian Magazine's Best of DC list. Some readers who have commented on the CTTC post have described the Cakelove cupcakes as tasteless, horrible, dry, and nasty, ha. Check it out by clicking here.
I would like to point out that one of my blog readers, Emily from Washingtonian Magazine, did point out that this was not actually decided on by the magizine itself, but by more than 2500 Washingtonians. As Emily suggested, maybe not everyone is aware of all the choices out there?

Birthday Cupcakes

For her daughters 3rd birthday party, a friend of mine single-handedly decorated 96 Soccer Ball & Scooby Doo Cupcakes. Just the thought of that makes me tired! But aren't they adorable??

Peanuts, Cracker Jacks...and Cupcakes!

On Tuesday night, a friend of mine who works for a large advertising agency attended a client party in a private suite at the Nationals Stadium for their game against the Arizona Diamond Backs. And when the client came in with a large tray of cupcakes, she of course thought to take some pictures for me!

And not only that, she grabbed a couple brown bags and scooped up two of them for me to try. They were pretty large in size. The Cookies & Cream cupcake was actually just a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting and oreos on top. Had it not been a little dry, I think it would have tasted pretty good. The second cupcake was a buttery yellow cake with the same Vanilla frosting. I liked this one much better than the Cookies & Cream.
I'm assuming the client probably used the National's Stadium catering service...I wonder where they get their cupcakes from? Or if they make their own? Whatever the case, they were pretty good!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

Last night I whipped up these really delleicious Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes. In these summer months, they make a really good after-dinner dessert! Here's a recipe from Food & Wine Magazine so you guys can make your own:

Photo by Kana Okada, Food & Wine Magazine
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
Strawberry jam
1. Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
3. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the sugar with the eggs and vanilla extract at medium-high speed until smooth and thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the butter and oil and beat until incorporated, scraping the bottom and side of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and milk in 3 alternating batches, beating well between additions. Carefully pour the batter into the lined muffin tins, filling them about two-thirds full.
4. Bake the cupcakes in the center of the oven for 20 to 23 minutes, until springy and a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the muffin tin, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Meanwhile, make the frosting: In a medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the softened butter at medium speed until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and salt and beat the mixture at low speed just until combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until smooth. Add the milk or heavy cream and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
6. Mix the frosting with strawberry jam to taste. Spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes and serve.
MAKE AHEAD The unfrosted cupcakes can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month. The white buttercream frosting can be refrigerated in an airtight plastic container for up to 2 days. Return to room temperature before using.

Walmart Turtle Cupcake

I know this is a blog about DC/MD/VA cupcakes, but when I was in an Indiana Walmart over the weekend and came across this Turtle Cupcake, I couldn't help but buy it to snap some pictures for you guys. And hey, Walmart is everywhere. Actually, did you know there are 20 different Walmarts in a 30 mile radius of DC????? I definitely did not know that.

This Turtle had a brother, but he got decapitated on the car ride back from the I spared you the gruesome pictures. To my surprise, this Walmart cupcake tasted better than the cupcakes I tried from Safeway. It was a buttery and moist yellow cake that paired well with the sugary icing. Average grocery store cupcake, but not bad.

There were quite a few different animals to choose from. There were little dogs with some serious piping detail, armadillo's, and even alligator's. At $1.50 each, they would make cute desserts for a child's birthday party!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sydney Evan Sapphire Cupcake Necklace

A new cupcake necklace! Bergdorf & Neiman's are now selling the Sydney Evan Sapphire Cupcake Necklace. With a $700 price tag, it's a little cheaper than the KC Designs necklace, but is still crazy expensive!
This version however is 14k Yellow Gold with Pink Sapphires and a bead chain. Which one do you like better?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Open Invitations Cupcakes

So it was a crazy busy Fourth of July weekend and I didn't get much posting done, but I'm back! And with another review for you!
A friend of mine, knowing that I had yet to sample any cupcakes from Open Invitations in Olney, MD, dropped in on her way home and picked up a variety pack for me. For those that don't know, Open Invitations is a paper store that creates announcements/invites for various events, but they also carry cupcakes from Baltimore Cupcake Company. The cupcakes are actually baked in the Baltimore, MD store and delivered to Open Invitations for sale.
When I dropped by my friend's house to have a little taste test, I was surprised to open the bag and find a Just Cakes sticker on the top of the cupcake box. Does anyone know what the deal with this is??? When did they switch?? I'll have to get to the bottom of this. Anyway, I had never tried any of the flavors in this variety pack from Just Cakes, so it wasn't too big a deal.

The variety pack had 6 different flavors: Lemon, Rum (you can see I accidently stuck my finger in the "R"...), German Chocolate, Red Velvet, Neopolitan, and possibly a Gingerbread flavor? I thought they all had a cute little presentation.

We tried the Lemon Cupcake first. It was very buttery, with a nice lemon flavor with that just right...strong but not overpowering. The icing was very light and tangy. We went for the Rum Cupcake next. The cake itself was very rich and delicious, but the buttercream icing was way too sweet.
Third we tried the German Chocolate. The nuts were a little too big and chunky, but the coconut gave the cupcake some nice flavor. While the cupcake was moist, unlike my past experience with Just Cakes Cupcakes, it was still a little bland in my opinion. The "possibly Gingerbread" cupcake had a strong nutmeg flavoring, and the icing was good and sweet. If you like something with a little spice to it, you will like this cupcake. On to the Red Velvet. Unfortunately, the cake was very thick and very dry, making it pretty hard to chew and swallow. The icing was also too buttery. Definitely not the best Red Velvet I've ever had. And lastly, the Neopolitan. While it was overly crumbly, it was actually pretty good. A very rich cake with well done buttercream frosting, and big chunks of oversized chocolate morsels throughout.
While none of the cupcakes were bad, they weren't GREAT. I will say that my favorite of the bunch was the Lemon, while my friend's favorite was the possibly Gingerbread. The only ones I wouldn't eat again would be the Red Velvet and the German Chocolate.
Open Invitations is located at 17912 Georgia Avenue. If you're in need of a cupcake fix, you should definitely drop in. The only ones I would definitely avoid would be the Red Velvet and the German Chocolate. And if you happen to be in there, try to find out what why they've switched to Just Cakes!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Anthropologie Cupcake Apron

You can always count on Anthropologie to have adorable things, like this cupcake apron! The Baker's Delight Apron is made of cotton and has a darling cherry-topped cupcake print. The apron has 2 front pockets, is machine washable, and sells for $32. It even comes in a kid's size, which goes for $24. Happy Baking!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Another Cupcake Shirt

Another cute cupcake shirt for the collection. This one is from RedBubble and comes in 14 different colors! It sells for $33.92, and you can click here to buy it!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cupcake Pillow

Remember that oversized Cupcake Pillow by Claire's that Target couldn't keep in stock? Well just an FYI, you can find it in stock at Walmart for $12.88 by clicking here!

Best of Washington?

In a post from last month, I shared that Washingtonian Magazine will be throwing their Best of Party on July 8, from 7-10pm at the National Building Museum. Building up to that, Washingtonian Magazine released their Best of Washington July issue later last month. I didn't get around to picking up my copy until yesterday afternoon, but to my utter horror I flipped it open and read the following:

Best Place for Great Cupcakes
3. Baked 'n Wired

WHAT!?!?! Cakelove is number one?!?! Who voted on this and what drugs were they on?!!?! Of all the people who have read this blog, commented on it, or engaged in a cupcake discussion with me (which is quite a lot), not one single person has had anything positive to say about Cakelove cupcakes. If you're reading this and you've enjoyed Cakelove's cupcakes, please share with the rest of us what exactly you enjoyed, because I am rather confused.

Aside from my obvious disagreement with Cakelove's appearance on the "Best Of" list, I do agree that Baked & Wired deserves a spot up there. Unfortunately, Hello Cupcake hasn't opened yet, because I firmly believe that once owner Penny Karas opens up shop later this month and Washingtonian's have the opportunity to taste her treats, Hello Cupcake will be making an appearance on that top 3 (at number one, in my opinion).

I still have not tasted Georgetown Cupcake's goods. I know I know, but I just haven't got around to placing an order ahead of time since I refuse to wait in that line. I'll get on that in the next couple weeks.

What do you think of the list? Anyone you think should have been included or left off? Let's discuss!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Fun Cupcake Shirts

Johnny Cupcakes has come out with a bunch of new shirts for the summer, and this is the one I'm just dying to have. The shirt is 100% cotton and and has this cute cupcake graphic print. It only comes in one color, Pink Frosting, and is $35.99.

Another shirt I saw recently that I thought was funny, and is a little more on the pop-culture side, is the "My Cupcakes Bring All The Boys To The Yard" T-shirt. You may have seen this on Jess from Sugadeaux if you checked out Cupcakes Take The Cake's Picnic photos. You can pick one up for yourself by clicking here, or you can click here to take your pick from all Sugadeaux totes, aprons, tanks, and tee's.

Balducci's Cupcakes

Oh Balducci's Balducci's Balducci' are a disgrace to the cupcake. Let's start from the beginning.

One of my girlfriends tipped me off that Balducci's has cupcakes in their bakery. Being more of a Whole Foods girl myself, I couldn't tell you the last time I was in Balducci's. Anyway, when I was driving down Old Georgetown I decided to swing by and pick up a couple cupcakes so I could share my reviews. The gentleman behind the counter boxed up a Red Velvet and a Cookies n Cream cupcake for me. The two other flavors were Grand Chocolate and Grand Vanilla, but I opted for the more venturesome flavors.

To my dismay, after ringing up my cupcakes the checkout girl proceeded to turn the container upside down, smushing the tops of the cupcakes, and placed it in a bag. ???????????? I kindly told her that is no way to treat a cupcake, and had her go retrieve two new unsmushed cupcakes. Once home, I had some friends over who helped me taste test the cupcakes. Oh the horror.
First we tried the Red Velvet. While some of the word choices aren't quite appropriate for reposting, I will share that one friend choked, one friend ran for a glass of water, another friend used the phrase "worst cupcake I've ever had," and I myself immediately turned to the trash can and spit it out. Well, that was a lovely experience. Next!
Mildly scared for what the Cookies N' Cream cupcake would bring, we each took a piece. The experience was only moderately better. And I only say that because nobody choked, ran for water, or spit it out. The reviews of Cookies N' Cream included "awful," "gross," and "disgusting."
You'd be better off flushing $5 down the toilet than buying cupcakes from Balducci's, at least that would spare you the choking and gagging.

Juicy Couture Cupcake Charm

Yesterday I blogged about my recent splurge, the Juicy Couture Cupcake Necklace, so it's only fair that I blog about it's sister, the Juicy Couture Cupcake Charm. Which do you like better?
I picked up the necklace at Nordstrom, but you can find the charm at Neiman Marcus or in the Juicy boutique in Tysons Galleria. It's called the "Yellow Cupcake Charm," though it looks more lime green to me. Either way, the charm has a 14-karat gold plate with yellow/black enamel and a Limited-edition tag. The lobster clasp is embossed with the Juicy crown.
This one is cute too, but I think my necklace purchase was the wiser and cheaper option. If you buy this charm, you're going to have to pick up a charm bracelet. The cheapest Juicy Couture Charm Bracelet I know of goes for $42, and we all know you can't just have one charm...

Mia's Pizza in Bethesda Magazine

The July/August issue of Bethesda Magazine mentions Mia's Pizza in it's Dining Guide, which features all new write-ups of more than 200 area restaurants. The blurb says:

Voted "Best New Restaurant" by Bethesda Magazine readers in 2008, Mia's wood-burning oven turns out consistently good, Naples-style pies with a variety of toppings, homemade soups, and cupcakes in a cheery dining room with yellow, orange, and green accents.
The Magazine assigned Mia's two dollar signs (on a scale of 1 to 4, 1 being the cheapest and 4 being the most expensive) and noted that Mia's serves Lunch and Dinner only. My personal opinion? If not for the cupcakes, you definitely have to check this place out for the pizza.