Tag Archive | Travel

Let the good times roll!

February 9-15, 2011 – Houston, TX and New Orleans, LA

Cicely and I on Bourbon Street

For a good portion of my life, I have had a small obsession with New Orleans, LA.  It has always had a certain allure and mystique. Then, I discovered Cajun and Creole cuisine in college. I was sold. I had made several plans to visit through the years. One year, I was supposed to go with some college friends to Mardi Gras. An overprotective guy friend put a halt to that. He didn’t like the idea of me “earning beads”. Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. For a moment, I thought I would never see the city. New Orleans recovered slowly, but surely. At one time, Rob was working on-location for the “Great Debaters” in Louisiana. We made plans for me to meet him in New Orleans. Again, those plans fell flat. Last year during our cross country roadtrip, Cicely and I were going to make a side trip to New Orleans. Our driving schedule fell apart and we didn’t make it. I was beginning to feel like it just wasn’t in the cards for me to visit the Crescent City.

Last summer, Cicely put her foot down and said that we were definitely going to go. One way or another, we were going to make it happen. New Orleans is a short drive from Houston. I was told that if I found my way to Houston, we would find our way to New Orleans. While I was in Denver, I signed up for the Mardi Gras Half Marathon in New Orleans. I sealed the deal.

I flew into Houston where Cicely happily awaited my arrival. I won’t bore you with the Houston portion of my trip. It was brief and not particularly noteworthy. Besides, I’d visited Houston several times. The only thing I like about it is that Cicely is there. The only things worth mentioning is that I finally met… FRASIER! (Cicely’s Boston Terrier)

Frasier C. Puppykins

and I had some heavenly Chinese food.

Pan-fried Noodles with Chicken and Chinese Broccoli from Tan Tan

Beef and Scallions on Flat Rice Noodles from Tan Tan

Once we handled some business in Houston, we headed for New Orleans.

Bridge on the way out of Houston

After a few hours on the road, we had arrived… New Orleans! At last!

Jackson Square

We met up with a few friends. I met the lovely Julia Pretus who I knew from Twitter. Our friend L joined us and eventually D rounded out our party.

The guys give their approval to the highlights of a NOLA bar

We had a simple agenda – enjoy a few sights and all the food and drink our stomachs could handle. Oh yeah.. and I was supposed to run a half marathon.

A motto I could live with

It wasn’t difficult to stick to our agenda. We ate a lot. New Orleans is a gastronome’s dream. You can’t get a bad meal anywhere and you don’t have to spend a lot for a delectable meal. This put my eating in Denver to shame. In New Orleans, I ate like someone who had been lost in the wilderness for months and ate nothing but nuts and berries. Here are a few of the tantalizing meals.

Shrimp and Grit Cakes from La Bayou Restaurant

Seafood Gumbo from Coop's Place

Oyster Po' Boy from Coop's Place

Rotisserie Beef with Burgundy Mushroom Glace from Zea Rotisserie & Grill

Thai-style Ribs from Zea Rotisserie & Grill

Mini-cupcakes from Kupcake Factory

Cobbler from La Bayou

Bananas Foster from Palace Café

Beignets from Cafe du Monde

For more of my food exploits, feel free to checkout my Foodspotting account.

You can’t go to New Orleans without drinking. Alcohol is plentiful and readily available. Again, I won’t say exactly how much we all drank. It’s not because I’m being discreet. Frankly, I’m not sure how much was imbibed. All I can say is that this is the most inebriated I’ve been in YEARS. I am a happy, giggly drunk who loves everyone. So, Cicely, L and D were in for quite a treat.

Daiquiri Shop - the daiquiri bar in the 'Hood with the awesome drink names

Hand Grenades from Tropical Isle

Hurricanes from Pat O'briens

I won’t share any more photos. I think you get the drift. Don’t worry.  Despite being blitzed beyond belief, I retained my dignity and didn’t try to “earn beads”. Besides, it was cold out 😉

It’s not a startling revelation that this was not my most stellar half marathon performance. Between the eating and being hungover, I did not fare well. In fact, it set me up for some serious asthma issues in the middle of the race. There was a moment were I even considered pulling out of the race. I was given the option, but decided to continue and finish. The course while flat and scenic was peppered with potholes and very uneven roadways. I saw quite a few people take spills and roll ankles. It wasn’t pretty. The worst part is that many of the water stops were undermanned. There wasn’t enough cups of water ready for those of us that started towards the back of the pack. It was such a rough go that D and I didn’t even stay for the post-race festivities. This is easily my least favorite half marathons of the ones I’ve done thus far. I’d be hard-pressed to run it again.


On a slightly sappy sidenote, D and I celebrated Valentine’s Day in New Orleans.

enjoying popsicles from Meltdown

The verdict? New Orleans was better than I could’ve dreamed. Although, I couldn’t live there. I’d be bigger than a house even with all my running. Also, I won’t be running any races there again, but I’ll certainly be back to eat.

Mile High Hijinks

October 13-19, 2010 – Denver, Colorado

I was graciously invited by Regina and her sister Claudina to visit Denver, CO.  And Regina has been quite persistent. She’s been trying to get me out there for YEARS. 5 years to be exact. Rob and I shied her off with a variety of excuses.  Then, I divorced Rob and ran out of excuses. I hadn’t seen these two since my wedding in 2007. I love them to pieces. They’re like long-lost sisters or cousins. On occasion, I’ve even told people we were cousins.

Regina, me, and Claudina - August 2007

I cashed in my Frequent Flyer Miles and booked a flight to Denver. Regina has had slightly ulterior motives. She’s trying to get me to move to Denver. Since I was in the midst of my city search, I added Denver to the list. What did I have to lose? By many accounts, Denver would be my kind of city. It’s accessible to the mountains where you can enjoy as many outdoor activities as you can stomach. It has an art scene and an award-winning restaurant scene.

Regina's dog Bruiser - Jr. Host

I couldn’t have asked for better hostesses. I stayed with Regina and Claudina in their cozy townhome/railroad-style apartment. I wish I had taken pictures of the place because it was so cute and chic.

I did a lot of exploring while I was there… most of which was by choice on foot.  Denver is a very walkable city with wide well-maintained bike/walking paths. You can definitely feel the altitude difference, especially someone like me who lives at sea-level and has asthma. That didn’t stop me. My only disappointment is that I didn’t get to go out to mountains and hike. I suspected that happened as a ploy for me to plan a return trip.

Invesco Field, which was literally right up the street from Regina's house

A view of the Millennium Bridge in Downtown Denver

Night view of the same bridge

Larimer Square

Falling Rock Taphouse

Big Blue Bear: Colorado Convention Center - "I See What You Mean." 40-foot high steel sculpture, encased in a fiberglass and cement composite, by artist Lawrence Argent.

Denver also has a thriving art and craft scene. It’s a little on the hipster side, but I can’t help but envy them for it. Claudina and I perused much of the Craft and Yarn stores in the immediate vicinity.

Crocheted public art adorning construction site near Union Station

Fancy Tiger - Craft shop

Fancy Tiger Craft shop

Local Craft Show

Of course, I ate like someone who was just rescued from a desert island. I do this every time I go out-of-town. It’s now part of my modus operandi.

Spring Rolls, Vietnamese Iced Coffe, and Phở from Phở So

Tom Ka Kai and Thai Iced Tea from Thai Basil

Drunken Noodles with beef from Thai Basil

There was also some drinking involved… I shan’t disclose exactly how much except to say the margaritas were fantastico.

Margaritas from Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant - They packed a big punch. The little one in front was mine.

Out of all the eateries, my favorite was Snooze A.M. Eatery. By Saturday, Darius had arrived. Snooze was recommended to him. We waited over an hour for a seat, but it was oh-so-worth it.

Circular Booths at Snooze

D's Pancake Flight - Buttermilk, Sweet Potato, and Pumpkin pancakes

D's Chorizo breakfast taco

My "Sandwich I Am" - soft pretzel roll filled with scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese and a sausage patty, served with a side of smoked cheddar hollandaise & house hash browns.

I was also there to run Rock N Roll Denver Half Marathon with Regina who was running with Team-in-Training.

Regina and reminder of who she was running for

It was freezing at the start!

Regina, me, and Darius freezing at the start of the race

The Rock N Roll Denver Half Marathon was a great Half Marathon. The course was very scenic. It brought you past many of Denver’s landmarks like Pepsi Center and Coors Field. My favorite part of the course was in City Park. There was a point in the park where you had breath-taking vista of the city and the mountains. Unfortunately, my ankles were not fans of the crowned roads through the park. I learned the hard way not to run on the outsides of crowned roads.
Darius started well ahead of us. Regina and I kept a good pace… until we needed to take a potty break. There wasn’t nearly enough portapottys along the course route. We eventually stopped at a coffee-house to use their facilities. The wait cost us about 10-12 minutes on our overall race time. It did give us a nice opportunity for a photo-op.

Regina and me at our Potty Stop

Somewhere in city park, Regina had some hip troubles and I continued on without her. I was doing well until I got to some of the uphill sections around mile 9 and 10. After that, it was a struggle to finish. The altitude didn’t help with my asthma. I did finish. It wasn’t pretty, but I did it.

Sprinting to the finish - photo by Darius Daniel

Darius and I at the Finish

Regina and I at the Team-in-Training tent - photo by Darius Daniel

After the race, we had my favorite post-race meal – burgers! Don’t ask me why I love burgers after a race, but with a 1900 calorie post-race deficit I’m not going to question it.

Citygrille Burger from City Grille - Half lb. freshly ground sirloin, melted Swiss, bacon and the Grille's zesty Caesar dressing

This was a good trip. In case it isn’t obvious, I really liked Denver. If it was the 27 year-old version of myself who was an avid climber and outdoorswoman visiting, I’d probably just have Myles and my things shipped to me in Denver. I wouldn’t even bother with my return ticket. However, my current incarnation is very gun-shy about moving halfway across the country again. As much as I love Regina and Claudina, I think they’d get tired of me quickly… hahaha. So, Denver is going to stay one of my favorite vacation destinations. Besides, I have some mountains I still need to explore 😉

Phenomenal Philly

September 17-19

I’m continuing my tour of the U.S. for the Great City Search. Next stop Philadelphia. I went to meet with some friends and to run another Half Marathon. It was decided that a road trip was in order.. I was surprised to discover that it was only a 5.5 hour drive.

Veterans Memorial Bridge - Delaware

Philadelphia City Hall - Hipstamatic Pic iPhone 4

Reading Terminal Market is a food-lover’s dream. There are stalls and stalls of tantalizing food. Fresh fruits and veggies. Cuisine from around the world. Cheeses. Desserts. It was sensory overload.

Reading Terminal Market

Bassett’s Ice Cream is absolutely delicious. If I hadn’t been so full from the Pad Thai we ate, I would’ve probably gotten my cone… or fought D for the rest of ours.

Bassett's Ice Cream at Reading Terminal Market

D with the Ice Cream we shared.

Even though it was too early for Halloween, we went to Eastern Penitentiary’s Terror Behind the Walls. This was a big deal simply because I don’t like going to Haunted Houses. I’m jumpy and easily rattled. It makes for a nerve-wracking time for me and oodles of entertainment for anyone accompanying me. D can vouch that he was highly entertained by my level of hysteria. I’m not the best person to be the judge of scare level since I’m easily frightened, but D claims that this show is among the best he’s seen. Despite screaming the entire tour, it was definitely fun.

We met up with my dear friend Ben! (I feel compelled to always exclaim his name… Don’t ask).

Ben and I

We went to Monk’s Cafe which was highly recommended by a Philly Food Blog. After eating and drinking there, there is good reason. First, the beer selection is listed in a booklet! I love Belgian ales. I felt at home. They are renowned for their mussel pots, which was great for us, but poor thinking since we were dining with my Jewish friend. (slaps hand to forehead!). Thankfully, Ben had already eaten and didn’t mind that we gorged ourselves on shellfish.

My Thai Curry Mussels - Monk's Flemish Sour, fumè, Thai red curry, bais, garlic & coconut milk

D's Ghent Mussels - Ghent Saison Dupont, fumè, parsley, carmelized leeks, bacon, bleu cheese & garlic

We want to sample more of Philly’s nightlife and headed to Good Dog Bar. Of course, I was enthralled by the decor. They have a gallery of dog portraits on the wall.

Good Dog Bar - Philadelphia

Saturday was first full day of sightseeing. Perhaps, the phrase FULL DAY was taken too literally. We had breakfast at Bonte. They make Belgian street style waffles. They mix the fruit into the batter and cook it.  It was light and tasty.

Strawberry Waffle from Bonte

After our light breakfast, we walked to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. I’m a history buff. I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting those sites. The last time I was in Philly was for a high school field trip.

Liberty Bell

Independence Hall - Hipstamatic Pic - iPhone 4

Room where Declaration of Independence was signed

Clock on Exterior of Independence Hall

We had lunch at City Tavern, which is a reconstructed replica of tavern where many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence socialized. It was über touristy, but we didn’t care. The food was good and in keeping with our historical theme for the day.

Bread made from recipes that date back to the 1700s

Fried Oysters appetizer

My Turkey Pot Pie

Next was the worst call on my part – the Philadelphia Zoo. The zoo wasn’t bad, but it was the worst choice the day before a Half Marathon. I really wanted to catch up with my childhood friend Michelle and her family. It didn’t dawn on me that there would be A LOT of walking. By the end of the zoo visit, we were beat. I feel horribly about it because it put D and I in a bad position for the next day’s Half Marathon.

Lucia, Me, Delia, & Michelle

Lucia with her favorite statue

Polar bear napping

We power-napped after the zoo and attempted to Carbo-load at Nodding Head Brewery.

Salmon from Nodding Head Brewery

Of course, Sunday was devoted to my 2nd Half Marathon. It’s hard to believe I chose to run my 2nd Half Marathon just 2 weeks after my first one. I have D to thank for that. He made it sound as though it wasn’t a big deal. To a certain extent, it wasn’t.

 

On our way to the start of the race

Bright and chipper before the start of the race

I cannot fully express how much I love race day. I’m nervous and jittery, but I enjoy every minute of it. The Rock N Roll Philadelphia course is scenic. It starts in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and goes through downtown Philadelphia. It continues along the Schuylkill River. While picturesque, that portion of the race felt endless.

 

sprinting the finish of the Philadelphia Half - iPhone 4 photo by D. Daniel

iPhone 4 photo by D. Daniel

I hit the wall at Mile 10 and started having problems with my asthma.  I struggled and still finished 8 minutes faster than the Virginia Beach Half. Woohoo!

With my finisher's medal

After the race, we paused from some tourist shots.

The infamous steps of the Philadelphia Musuem. No running up them


We had lunch at Q BBQ and Tequila. I love a good burger after a race.

A much-deseved post-race Burger and Fries

All in all, I really like Philadelphia. It has the big city feel without being quite as overwhelming as NYC. It’s definitely on my list of places to consider.

Escape from L.A.

September 3-4, 2010

Trek from my old place to LAX - total distance 25 miles

While I was ready to leave Los Angeles, Los Angeles wasn’t quite ready to let me go. On the morning that I was scheduled to depart, Rob asked me to give him a quick ride to his mechanic’s shop. He said “quick” and I thought it was the least I could do. BIG MISTAKE.

No good deed goes unpunished.

I got stuck behind a big accident on I-10. I sat in traffic for 20 minutes. I then arrived at the car rental facility later than I planned. I pulled my bags out of the rental just as the shuttle to the airport pulled away. I stood in the wrong check-in line. When I finally got to the gate agent, I was told that I was 5 minutes too late to check-in for my flight. My flight was set to depart at 1:00PM. It was a Labor Day weekend. Another flight wasn’t available until 12:50AM. As if I hadn’t cried enough, I was trapped in L.A.

I checked in my bags. Then, I called Rob and had him fetch me from the airport. There was no way I was going to stay at the airport for 12 hours.

Upon picking me up from the airport, Rob and I went back to the mechanic in attempt to pick up his car again. The car wasn’t ready. Rob had to go to work. I was left at the mechanic’s shop. The plan was for me to take the car run errands and drive myself to the airport. Rob would then pick up the car from long-term parking. That didn’t happen. I sat at the mechanic shop in the heat for 1.5 hrs before I threw a fit and had them drive me back to my old place.

Dottie wasn’t at home, but neither was Rob. At least, I had the place to myself. I napped then walked to the closest grocery store and bought dinner. I called various friends for a ride to the airport. No one was available. I had no choice, but take public transportation. What ensued is the stuff of screwball comedies and it all played on Twitter. Here are my tweets with maps of my journey.

I lived in that neighborhood for 4 years and had never walked to the train station during the day or at night for that matter.


My timing was off and I was nervous that I wouldn’t make my flight again. I’d never taken public transportation in L.A. I’d had always driven.

In the midst of my color commentary, I had several Twitter friends offer to give me rides and hope that I make my flight.

My friend John had the funniest comment of the night.

I made my flight… it only took me 2.5 hour to travel 25 miles. :/

Adíos Los Angeles

August 26-Sept 2, 2010 {Los Angeles, CA}

I have a love/hate thing with Los Angeles. Obviously, there was a time when I loved it. Why else would I have been willing to pack up everything and move there? There are lots of things to love about L.A. The weather. The food. Shopping. Nightlife. Music Scene. City Life in general. I could go on and on.  I met Rob, who as a native Angeleno showed me facets of the city which I might never have seen nor appreciated. For a time, I happily called myself an Angeleno.

Then, the city lost its luster.

I’m not sure if the city lost its luster because my relationship with one of its native sons was falling apart. All I know is that my time in L.A. was tumultuous. There were some highs, but far too many lows. For the last 1.5 years that I lived there, all I could do was plot my escape.

I finally moved from L.A., but I’ve been back several times. Each time I visit, I say a farewell to L.A.

This time I mean business. I won’t be making any trips back to L.A. for a long while. My psyche can’t take it. As I said in my earlier posts, visiting L.A. is emotionally gut-wrenching. Being there is like picking the scab off of a wound that has already begun healing.

I wanted to make this trip count. I made a checklist of things I wanted to do. The list was extensive.

Here some of my list

• Spend time with family and friends.

• Run a race.
I participated in the San Diego Fire Run 4 Mile race

• See a show at the Hollywood Bowl
I saw the Chemical Brother with Chromeo and Yacht

You can see a short clip here. Chemical Brothers at the Hollywood Bowl from Anne K. on Vimeo.

• Go to a few Farmer’s Markets

• Shop. shop. shop
I went to all of my favorites. Melrose. The Grove. Garment District. Old Towne Pasadena.

Tokidoki Store on Melrose

Johnny Cupcakes on Melrose

• Wander downtown and take photos.
• Eat
As someone eloquently put it, I ate my face off while I was in L.A.

Chile Relleños with Carne Asada

Steak Sandwich from Dave's Chillin' N Grillin'

Fish Tacos

Tuna Poke

Yogurtland

Shrimp Tacos

Sourdough Jack

Tacos and Chimichurri Fries from a food truck

Ramen and Gyoza from Daikokuya

Mochi and Rainbow Dango

Macaroons from Bottega Louie

There are countless other meals, but I forgot to photograph them 😦

That’s an overview of my trip.

As I reveled in my favorite things, I was reminded of the things that just didn’t quite go right, of the dreams that never came to fruition, and an overwhelming sense of failure. This is not what I had imagined would become of my career when I arrived in L.A. I would see places that were meaningful to Rob and me and I would be overcome by the sadness of it all. This is not what I had hoped for when I married Rob. So, I would cry. I didn’t think it was possible to cry so much. I’m relieved that I had a great pair of dark sunglasses to hide behind.

While this was painful, it was necessary. I needed this trip to close this chapter of my life.

I have no regrets. I’m ready to move on.

Musings about TheEx

August 26-Sept 2, 2010 {Los Angeles, CA}

Rob & Dottie - Old Town Pasadena

When people say that divorce is a long process, they aren’t kidding. It is a painful and seemingly never-ending ordeal. Imagine your worst break-up and drag it out over a course of a year or more. By most standards, Rob and I are having an amicable divorce. Despite this, it’s still been a gut-wrenching affair.

I had to head back to Los Angeles to handle divorce business. No need to get into the specifics, except to say there were more papers to be signed and an appointment at the courthouse. In the weeks and nights preceding the trip, I lost a considerable amount of sleep and the stress was eating at me. I hadn’t seen Rob, whom I’ve conveniently referring to as TheEx, in 6 months. We have talked over phone during the last couple of months, but seeing him in person would be different. I wasn’t sure how I would feel – angry? sad? indifferent?

My emotions have run the gamut. For a long period of time, I was angry at him, like raging lunatic angry. I have hundreds of tweets that can attest to this. {Sorry, twitter friends}. Then the anger would turn to pity when I would speak to him and hear about what had become of his life. Then, of course, he’d say something to piss me off and I’d be back to being angry. Then, I would be sad when I ponder why our marriage was among the many that fail. It was a terrible roller coaster to be on.

After several flights and a short car ride, I was standing in the home that I had shared with Rob. It felt familiar and foreign all at the same time. Then, there he was… Rob – the man that I had been married to for 2 years and left 9 months prior. He hugged me and I felt like I was hugging a stranger. I had spent nearly 6 years of my life with this man and now it felt odd for him to even touch me. It was unsettling and upsetting. I did not expect that. I thought I’d feel differently, but I didn’t expect to feel so disconnected. It may be a defense mechanism.

I left Rob, but I left because I had no choice. In my angry tweets and ranting about Rob, I omit the part where I have been deeply hurt. I’m sure that the hurt could be inferred. I loved Rob to the point where it nearly killed me… literally. The stress of our failing marriage had caused my health to degrade. I was overweight, clinically depressed, had daily migraine headaches, and the beginnings of an ulcer. I had persevered for nearly a year when I realized that I was the only one trying to save a sinking ship. Rob’s promises were empty and simply lip-service. They were terrible realizations to make. This man I had loved so much didn’t love me nearly enough.

There was a question of whether or not I missed Rob. The answer is a complex one. My life with Rob wasn’t all bad. We had some good times. After all, I was married to Captain Fun. This blog has dozens of entries detailing our adventures and exploits. It’s just that those good times were few and far between. I will miss Rob’s sense of adventure. Although, I still have my own wanderlust to keep me moving. More than his sense of adventure, I miss Rob’s friendship and the familiarity we had. He knew me and all my idiosyncrasies well… sometimes to my disadvantage.  How else did I stay for so long? The man knew how to play me. He’s not nearly that nefarious, but I think you get the idea. I’m confident that after some time Rob and I will be able to establish some kind of friendship.

Because I’ve had some time and some space away from him, I can honestly say I don’t hate Rob. The anger has subsided and I’m reveling in my freedom. I don’t think Rob’s a terrible person, just a horrific husband for me. Despite some of the unforgivable things he has done, I still wish the best for Rob. Everyone deserves a happy life… even Ex-husbands 😉

NYC: Eat ‘Til You Drop

March 11-16, 2010

Warning: This post is not to be read on an empty stomach. Also, this post is heavily laden with images. It’ll take some patience, but it’s worth the wait.

A trip wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t sample as much of the local fair as I can. This trip was no exception. I was feeling particularly deprived since Virginia Beach doesn’t have quite the selection of eateries that Los Angeles does.  Our main focus was ethnic cuisine and CUPCAKES! Good Gawd! I’m thankful we did a lot of walking. Otherwise, I would have returned 15lbs. heavier. Here’s a pictorial of some, but not all of our epicurean exploits.

Magnolia Bakery
401 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10014

Review: With cupcake afficionados, there is a bit of debate over who has the better cupcake – Sprinkles cupcakes (L.A.) or Magnolia Bakery (NYC). As someone who has sampled both, I can honestly say it boils down to personal preference. Both make superb cupcakes. With Magnolia, I enjoyed the moistness of the cake as well as the airiness of their frosting. Because of the nature of their frosting, I did find the cupcakes best consumed immediately lest the frosting turn into a gooey mess. Oddly enough with Magnolia, my favorite dessert is not their cupcakes. I am HUGE fan of their banana pudding. {I blame my cousin Rhed}. I won’t recount how many cups of Banana Pudding I consumed except to say the amount bordered on the obscene.

Thai
Yum Yum 3
658 9th Ave
New York, NY 10036

Italian/Pizza
Don Giovanni
358 W 44th St
New York, NY 10036

Cupcake Cafe
545 9th Ave
New York, NY 10018

Review: While extraordinarily gorgeous, the cupcakes were dry and dense. The flavor was akin to cupcakes made from Betty Crocker box. We were very disappointed.

Cupcake Cafe cupcakes

Chinese
New Wonton Garden
56 Mott St
New York, NY 10013

Babycakes NYC
248 Broome Street
New York City, NY 10002
Review: A visit to this cupcakery turned out to be a tad controversial and a bone of contention. Babycakes is a Vegan and Gluten-free bakery. The former Cali girl in me really wanted to try their confections. Babycakes bakes with all-natural, organic and delicious alternatives free from the common allergens: wheat, gluten, dairy, casein and eggs. The majority of their cupcakes are sweetened agave nectar. As someone who has had many Vegan desserts, I wanted to see how Babycakes stacked up. The problem came because I did not warn my dining companions Cicely and my cousin Rhed that it was a Vegan bakery. As a Southerner, Cicely was particularly disappointed. I captured the look on her face as she tasted the cupcakes, but I shan’t post the photo lest she kill me and never speak to me again.

The verdict? They cupcakes are pretty good considering how they are made. Do they compare to regular cupcakes? Absolutely not. As compared to other Vegan desserts, they are quite tasty.

The Hello Kittys with Babycakes Cupcakes

Magnolia Bakery
Rockefeller Center
1240 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, NY

Note: Our trip to Babycakes angered the Sugar Gods according to Cicely. The wrath of the Sugar Gods entailed several delayed trains and getting completely drench in the torrential downpour. To appease the Sugar Gods, we needed to make a stop at a cupcakery that served “REAL” cupcakes. There is some credence to her claim. Once we got cupcakes, our night improved, as did Cicely’s mood.

The Hello Kittys with Magnolia Cupcakes

The Hello Kittys with Little Cupcake Bakeshop Cupcakes

Little Cupcake Bakeshop
9102 3rd Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11209
Review: We scheduled a tweetup at this bakery. Because Cicely and I were not familiar with Brooklyn, we did not realize that this bakery was inconveniently located. With the inclement weather and several train delays, we arrived shamefully late to our own tweetup. I would like to say that the cupcakes made up for the delay, but I can’t. I found that the cupcakes were inconsistent. Either the cake was dry and seemed old or the frosting was gritty and too sweet. The company with whom we had the cupcakes with more than made up for the trek.

Gray’s Papaya
539 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10018

La Crepe
51 Spring St
New York, NY 10012

Japanese
Oh Taisho
Frnt C, 9 Saint Marks Place
New York, NY 10003-7850

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria
19 Old Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201