Thursday, December 1, 2011


My first foray in to video blogging. Granted, it's really short, but still, I feel like Giada DeLaurentiis! I went to Paciarino last night for a birthday dinner celebration. It was my first time, even though it has been one of the restaurants in Portland that I have wanted to try for a few years. What can I say, once I like a place I keep going there because I know it's good, whereas if I try a new place there is always that chance that I might not like it! My meal consisted of pumpkin ravioli with a balsamic reduction, that our server referred to as more of a dessert for dinner. It was amazing.

Just look at that beautiful, handmade that day ravioli. I have misplaced my digital camera, so Iphone photos will have to do for now. Hopefully it turns up somewhere. I managed to eat all the ravioli on my plate and finish off the pasta that my dining partner was unable to eat. IT WAS SO GOOD. Also, their meal was more of a salty dish, whereas mine was so sweet. It was a nice balance to be able to have a little bit of the salty and a lot of the sweet.

My Tiramisu. This picture does no justice to how large it was and is, because I have most of it in my refrigerator as leftovers. After eating all that pasta before dessert, there was no way I could eat it all. It was so tasty. It is a slightly bizarre fact that I do not drink coffee, but I like coffee flavored things. Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts. This one was made up of layers of actual lady fingers, which the ones at Whole Foods are not. The Whole Foods ones are my go to "I need tiramisu right now!", but I can tell that in the future when I want the authentic, I will be going to Paciarino.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It is quite often that you don't even need a fancy cupcake to hit that sugar spot. Sometimes those cupcakes that are prepared from a box mix, by a friend, are just what is needed. These were for a pumpkin carving party that happened over a month ago and were enjoyed immensely by those who attended. To put it very simply... I really love sprinkles.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Y-Limes Gourmet

As I said in my entry about the Portland Buy Local Indie Biz Awards, I won a gift certificate to Y Limes Gourmet for a dozen of their gourmet cupcakes. I decided that the perfect opportunity to use my gift certificate was for my significant other's surprise birthday party that I had been planning for the past few months. With the kindness of two of my best pals, they allowed me to use their amazing house to throw the bash at. My mind immediately thought of my recently acquired gift certificate, since the baked goods snob that my S.O. happens to be, only Y-Limes meets their highest standard for cupcakes. I browsed their massive listing of flavors and came to one of the hardest decisions I made all week; I mean how can you really decide between the Fat Elvis- a banana cake with peanut butter frosting and brown sugared bacon, the Chocolate Covered Strawberry-chocolate cake swirled with fresh strawberry buttercream or the Grasshopper-chocolate cake swirled with mint icing and chopped Andes mints. I finally settled on the Peppermint Mocha, a mocha cupcake with peppermint buttercream and chocolate ganache drizzled over the top. I knew that there were going to be a lot of coffee and chocolate lovers at this surprise party and I wanted to make sure to please them all, which this cupcake definitely did.

(I may have accidentally dropped this one on it's side prior to the photo op)

The cupcake was quite honestly huge. It was more of what I would call a personal sized cake, like those personal pan pizzas that TV commercials tout so often. I think that once everyone in the room saw the cupcakes, their eyes lit up and once they had tasted them, they had become fans of Y-Limes Gourmet. I must have told more than three or four people where they could find Y-Limes cupcakes on a regular basis (Coffee by Design, Stonyfield Cafe, Gorham Grind and the Perx-U-Up Cafe) and they were all quite excited to hear some of the other flavor offerings. This cupcake was everything I could ask for in a cupcake. The cake was decadent; not too dense and very flavorful. The peppermint buttercream was light and creamy. It was also not overly sweet, but just sweet enough. I find that a lot of cupcakes try to make up for a lackluster cake portion by having an overly sweet frosting, but Y-Limes did not have to worry about either one of those downfalls. They have perfected the delicate balance of frosting, in this case buttercream, and cake. I think it is also a singing praise for the cupcake that I could even taste it to begin with, since I have been suffering from a massive cold and can barely taste anything.

I first had Y-Limes cupcakes at the Picnic arts and crafts festival in late August, where I had their S'mores cupcake:

Just look at the attention to detail on that cupcake; the lightly toasted edges on the marshmallow frosting and the tiny crumbles of graham cracker all along the top of the cupcake. These cupcakes are a testament to the art of the cupcake. It was ridiculously delicious, in addition to being beautiful. Y-Limes is not kidding when they say that they are artisan bakery. I also would like to mention that the owner is really nice. I love it when someone who loves their product, what they do and are also just a genuinely nice person to interact with. Y-Limes Gourmet has become the front runner for the Portland cupcake scene; which is to say a lot, because the competition is becoming quite fierce. There are currently a lot of high quality cupcakes being produced in our city.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Swap Maine

Yesterday was the second Swap Maine event, located at the East End school in Portland. I went to the first swap, but a little too late in the day for the exciting swap action. I did still manage to get a pretty nice pink sweater, but this time I was in it to win it. I went for the pre-swap brunch, that included so many tasty treats from local restaurants/food vendors such as: Stonyfield Cafe, 13th Cookie, Local Sprouts, Katie Made Bakery and many more. That tiny cupcake was a peanut butter cup cupcake. The frosting was so peanut buttery! It was a little intense. I love Katie Made Bakery and their muffins, so I immediately grabbed one while I was going through the tables of food. I also snagged the cheesy bread thing on the far right, which came from Stonyfield Cafe. I don't know what it was exactly, but it had a crazy amount of garlic on it and it was amazing. I wanted another piece, but by the time I had finished they had all disappeared. At the Swap they had a couple of raffle prizes during the pre-swap brunch and I won a gift certificate to Stonyfield Cafe and TWO cases of yogurt. I don't even know how much yogurt that is. It's a good thing I love Stonyfield yogurt! I put my raffle tickets into that box (you could choose between the prizes to enter your tickets in), because I have never gone to Stonyfield Cafe, but I have always wanted to. Now I have no reason to put off going, since I have a very awesome gift certificate to use there. Overall I had so much foodie fun at the Swap, before the fashion fun even started!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gelato Wars-Portland Showdown

Seriously. This new development that is going to occur in early December is just too overwhelming to me. "What new development?!" you might be asking...well...*GULP* My original favorite gelato shop is opening across the street from my PORTLAND FAVORITE GELATO SHOP.

Now when I get the hankering for gelato, I won't only have the option of Gorgeous Gelato in Portland. It was quite simple: I would want gelato and if I was in Portland I would simply go to Gorgeous Gelato. If I happened to be in Brunswick or driving through Brunswick, I would stop by Gelato Fiasco. Now it won't be that easy. I might just have to give it all up and go to Go Berry, the new frozen yogurt place that just opened at the corner of Exchange and Fore street. Portland, specifically Fore street (what with East End Cupcakes and Old Port Candy Shop) is quickly becoming my sweet tooth haven. I need a gym membership.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Portland Buy Local's Indie Biz Awards

Tonight I went to the Indie Biz Awards which was put on by Portland's Buy Local. It was the first time I have attended this event and it was definitely worth attending. There was so much amazing free food, ranging from Local Sprouts to Dean's Sweets. I was quite excited to go tonight, because I knew that there would be cupcakes! I managed to try three different varieties of cupcakes from Y-Lime's Gourmet; this isn't the first time that I have had one and I am definitely going to be seeking out their cupcakes more frequently. My favorite of the three was the Chocolate Raspberry that you can see above. It's not the best picture, but I was trying to balance the mini cupcake in one hand while trying to get a picture in macro mode with a low iso in the other hand... a slightly difficult task. A very delicious cupcake, however poor the quality of the photo is. The chocolate cake was very moist and the raspberry buttercream was very creamy and delicious. Not too sweet or overpowering. This isn't the first time that I have had Y-Lime's Gourmet and I am definitely going to be seeking out their cupcakes more frequently.

I loved how the Indie Biz Awards was such a gathering of delicious food. One of my favorite places in Portland to get chocolate is Dean's Sweets and they were there tonight with a table filled with different samples of their truffles and chocolate covered potato chips. Their chocolate is a step above anything else I have had so far. Cadbury has nothing on Dean's. I even managed to win one of the raffle prizes and thankfully it was the Sweet Tooth one, which included a dozen cupcakes from Y-Lime's Gourmet, a bag of popcorn from Coastal Maine Popcorn Co (amazing popcorn), a Portmanteau bag, a gift certificate and hot fudge from Beals, a gift certificate to Old Port Candy Co and a gift certificate for two for the Maine Foodie Tours! This is very exciting for me, since it will satisfy my sweet tooth for the next couple of months. Thank you, Portland Buy Local!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Magnolia Bakery

I have always wanted to eat a cupcake from Magnolia's, well by always I mean ever since I heard "Lazy Sunday" by the Lonely Island and saw the skit on SNL. It's amazing!
"Let's hit up Magnolia and mack on some cupcakes!"

A pal of mine brought me back two cupcakes from a recent trip to NYC. We've been having discussions of how we aren't all that fond of red velvet, so I was a bit surprised when one of the two happened to be red velvet, but it turned out I liked that one much more than the vanilla with chocolate frosting. She said that when she was in there the selection was limited, which isn't surprising since they are always crazy busy. I honestly expected something magical, but the cupcakes were just okay. I did really like the frosting on the red velvet cupcake. It was the frosting equivalent to homemade whipped cream. Obviously it wasn't that, since whipped cream would not make an hour six hour bus ride back from New York, but that was exactly how it tasted and the consistency was just a little bit thicker than whipped cream is. My friend guessed that it was a traditional boiled frosting, which is officially my favorite type of frosting now. Two Fat Cats, here in Portland, has amazing boiled frosting. I won't be making any quick trips to NYC to have Magnolia's again, but I would definitely go there the next time I am in the city. It would be interesting to see their physical location and to actually have the Magnolia's experience myself.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I tried to get to the new bakery last night, but when I called them to see if they had cupcakes, they didn't answer their phone. Interesting... I kind of like the thrill of the hunt though. I will put out the request again, if anyone knows of cupcakes in the area that need to be reviewed, let me know! It's quite easy to pop into East End Cupcakes now to pick one up, but sometimes I like to have that more challenging quest of finding them at coffee shops or out of the way bakeries.

In the meantime, here is a hilarious (only in how unflattering it is) photo of me eating a cupcake in the USM library a few years ago when I was working on my undergraduate degree there. I'm not even sure where I got that cupcake from.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Breakfast Crepes

I tried to track down a new bakery today, but turns out they are not open on the weekend. Alas, I will have to wait until next week. I did however eat these amazing breakfast crepes that a friend made for me. Peaches in the first one, strawberries in the second and bananas in the third, all with a brown sugar reduction on top. I demanded bananas like the bananas in bananas foster, but my friend informed me that they did not have a blow torch. I have no idea what they did to the fruit inside the crepes, but it was all oh so tasty. It was an amazing way to start off my weekend.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

East End Cupcakes

A week ago a few friends and I decided to go down to Fore Street for some gelato at Gorgeous Gelato and also a stop into East End Cupcakes. I was excited to try them again, since my first visit to their new retail location happened to be on their soft opening and they had limited flavors available. This time when I went in there had to have been more than seven varieties available for me to pick from. They also had a few of their more creative combinations available, such as the Lime cupcake with Coconut Buttercream.

Blueberry cupcake with Maple Syrup Buttercream

This cupcake was sort of similar to a blueberry muffin, but I really liked it. This cupcake is what prompted our now ongoing discussion of when a cupcake moves into muffin territory. When they are dense, like this one was, it seems to be more of a muffin. I always kind of hope that blueberry cupcakes will be like the Melt in Your Mouth Blueberry cake recipe that Marjorie Standish has in her book "Cooking Down East", which is kind of unrealistic on my part. My mom makes a few of those blueberry cakes every year and it is one of the highlights of summer. My family always fights over who gets the middle piece, since it doesn't have any edges to it. This is the ultimate piece of blueberry cake and often is the first piece taken from the cake, which looks a little odd.

The East End Cupcakes blueberry cupcake was delicious and I would totally eat it (or a few of them) again. For me, however, the Maple Syrup Buttercream really made the cupcake. It was light, creamy and delicious.

Lime cupcake with Coconut Buttercream

Let me say, I hate coconut, so I didn't even try the Coconut Buttercream. I did try the cupcake part of this one, because my friend offered to share it with me, knowing how much I loathe coconut. The lime cupcake was delicious. There were even little lime rind bits in the cake itself.

There were so many options to choose from on the day that my friends and I went into East End Cupcakes. I love that they have already begun to bring out some of their more interesting flavors to complement their staples. I also love the simple decor that they have and the chairs are really nice to sit in on a hot summer day. They are surprisingly cool, which seems odd to say, but I appreciated it on the hot summer night that we went in.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I'm not sure how many cupcake aficionados who read this blog have seen, but if you haven't already you have to go see it. The same friend that made my birthday cupcakes is trying out a few of Ming's cupcake recipes and made cupcake 32, the graham cupcake with key lime cream cheese frosting. My friend took some liberties with the frosting recipe, incorporating some of the rind in it, as well as making a candied lime rind garnish. It was so delicious and so beautiful, as you can see above. I liked the frosting much more than I liked the graham cupcake, but the flavors worked so well together.

My friends and I have an interesting debate going on (which started at East End Cupcakes one night), as to when is it a cupcake and when has it actually crossed into muffin territory. This cupcake was more of a muffin consistency, which was one of the reasons that I didn't like cake part as much as I had wanted to. I hope that the next test cupcake will be one of the cupcakes from 17-19, because they look amazing. Perhaps even 18 specifically...a sour cream apricot cupcake with a mascarpone frosting and toasted almonds...yes please!!!

Another interesting cupcake tidbit, I am currently watching Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. I love this show! I have always liked the food challenge shows on food network, specifically the ones where they have to build massive cakes or sugar sculptures and then move them to the display table, which resulted in at least one cake or sculpture falling over from the transport. Very sad for the competitors, but very funny for me.

Friday, July 22, 2011

My fantastic mini birthday cupcakes

They were the cutest! Vanilla cake, with strawberry puree in the middle, strawberry frosting and chocolate ganache to top them off. An amazing friend made them for me and had been planning exactly what to make for weeks. They were utterly perfect and delicious.

I apologize for the hiatus. I've been busy enjoying the summer, taking an intensive summer course and minimizing my internet time.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

East End Cupcakes

Yesterday was the opening day for East End Cupcakes (formally Buttercup Cupcakes) located at 426 Fore Street. I ordered cupcakes from them for an Oscars party I was attending earlier this year. I decided that pear cupcakes with vanilla bean buttercream would be a fantastic choice for such an event.

Those two photos were taken by Joel Desmond of the Maine Effect.

The pear cupcakes had a puree of pear at the bottom and the buttercream was the most amazing "frosting" that I have ever had on a cupcake. It was so good that I would just eat the buttercream off the cupcakes first. I managed to eat at least half of the dozen pear cupcakes that I ordered. It was after doing so and also the fact that I was quite upset once I had consumed the last one, that I realized just how good these cupcakes are. East End Cupcakes specialty flavors are definitely an adults cupcake or specifically aimed for those who have a higher standard in cupcake quality.

Last night at their soft opening, a friend and I shared two of the cupcakes that were available that night. I think that there were five different flavors available last night and the owner mentioned that they will normally have four standard flavors with four specialty flavors also available. We decided on trying the chocolate cupcake with salted caramel buttercream and the chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream.

Chocolate cupcake with salted caramel

Chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream

I was interested in seeing how the normal flavors were going to compare to the impressive pear with vanilla bean buttercream. Both of the chocolate cakes had a rich chocolate flavor, but were slightly dry. I preferred the salted caramel buttercream over the vanilla, which had an overwhelming butter flavor to it with very little vanilla in comparison. Both of the buttercreams were light, much lighter than I remember the vanilla bean buttercream being. I quite frankly prefer the pear cupcakes with the vanilla bean buttercream to these chocolate cupcakes, so I look forward to when they have more of their special flavors available. Nevertheless, the cupcakes were both good last night and well worth the $2.50 we spent for each one.

It will be interesting to see how the space transitions over time, but I thought that the current layout was quite adorable and it had a lot of seating available. I love the idea that there is now a shop in the Old Port that is devoted entirely to cupcakes and that it is right next to Gorgeous Gelato. I will be making frequent visits to East End Cupcakes to continue trying different flavors and highly recommend others to make the trip down to the Old Port to do the same.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. One of my friends made these for a Chellie Pingree fundraising event that happened last night. They are amazing! I brought in a few of the extras to work today to share. I managed to only eat two, sharing the rest of the them with some very happy coworkers.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ahimsa Custom Cakes

Today I went to the Vegetarian Food Festival at the East End school. I wanted to go last year and the year before, but something always managed to come up, making me unable to attend. This year, once I realized that it was happening this weekend, I made the decision that I had to go. A big draw for me was the free food samples (I love free food!). There was food to try from Green Elephant, Blue Elephant and a few other vendors were also offering samples for visitors to try.

I think that Blue Elephant had the best display for their samples. It was exciting for me to be able to try food from places that I have not been to yet or might not be able to try (for various reasons), such as Blue Elephant or Girl Gone Raw. The specific draw this year for me, was the hope that Ahimsa Custom Cakes might have samples that I would be able to try. I "like" them on Facebook, which allows me to see new cake photos in my news feed every so often and it always intrigued me how they only made vegan cakes. I love vegan food in general and I love to try new vegan cupcakes specifically. I will be honest and say that the cake samples were not actually cupcakes, but they were served in tiny little cups, so I will stretch my definition of a cupcake to include that.

The cupcake on the left is the French Toast cake with Maple Cinnamon frosting and the one of the right is a Double Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Bean frosting. It's always hard to determine a cupcake's quality based on such a tiny sample, specifically this time since I did share my sample with another person and they shared theirs with me. That just means that I can't go in depth in my judgment of the cupcakes or the frosting, since I really only had a brief taste for each one.

Both cupcakes were very moist and delicious. The French Toast cake was definitely the favorite out of the two, with a very strong cinnamon flavor and a very smooth frosting. The chocolate cake was also good, but I felt like it would make a better Whoopie pie than a cake. Specifically because the frosting was gritty, just like the Whoopie pies of my youth that I loved oh so much. I have been looking for a Whoopie pie with a gritty sugary filling for years, but have yet to find it. The Vanilla Bean frosting would make my ideal Whoopie pie filling and I think that is really the only reason that I immediately made that Whoopie pie connection. Plus, as a Mainer aren't Whoopie pies supposed to be on my mind at all times?

The French Toast cupcake was also a little more attractive than the Chocolate one, but that was only because the poor chocolate cupcake's frosting had been stuck to the cover of the cup, which might have occurred because I tipped it over a few times...

So adorable! I am pretty sure that if someone didn't already know that the cakes Ahimsa Custom Cakes makes are vegan, that they would be able to tell at all. They also make sculpted cakes, which you can see some samples of in the portfolio on their website:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wild Oats Bakery

I often have doctor appointments in the morning over in Brunswick, which makes me extremely happy since I can stop into Wild Oats after the appointment to get breakfast and a treat for later in the day. For breakfast I like getting the morning glory muffin or sometimes a bagel if the mood hits. Recently on my trips in I have been buying cookies, but the last time I went in I decided to get a cupcake. Their cupcakes are massive. Usually, I would cut it in half and either share with a friend or save the other half for later, but that day I decided to eat the whole thing. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that it was a really good chocolate cupcake.

I unfortunately didn't write any notes down about this cupcake, but it was good. Much better than the carrot cake cupcake I had there previously. I loved the sprinkles and the cake was dense, moist and delicious. If Wild Oats is open and I am in Brunswick, I always go in to buy a treat or three. They have an amazing cookie and dessert bars section, as well as fantastic prepared foods.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Tulips Cupcakery- Mini Cupcakes revisited

The first time I had Tulips Cupcakery's mini cupcakes, I wasn't won over by them entirely. I love mini anything, so that alone made me like them, but the cupcakes themselves were not as mind blowing as I had hoped for. This time around, a little over a week ago at this point, they finally succeeded in making me a fan.

At Kamasouptra (in the Portland Public Market) there were at least three flavors available that day: chocolate with raspberry frosting, vanilla with vanilla frosting and lemon with raspberry frosting.

All three cupcakes were moist and very tasty little treats. In my notes I said that they were "tiny pillows of delicious" and they definitely were.

The lemon cupcake with raspberry frosting had a nice light lemon flavor in the cake and it had an overall tartness to it. The frosting was light and creamy.

The vanilla cupcake was light and fluffy. The frosting was a little more solid than the raspberry frosting and was a delicious vanilla butter cream.

My favorite out of all three of the mini cupcakes was the chocolate with raspberry frosting. The cupcake was moist and had a nice chocolate flavor to it. The frosting was again the light raspberry frosting that was on the lemon cupcake, but the combination of the moist chocolate cupcake and the light frosting made the experience reminiscent of eating a truffle from a fine chocolatier.

I could have eaten so many of these tiny cupcakes and I'm glad that I had saved the chocolate one for last. The amount of frosting on top of each one of them was the perfect amount to complement the cupcake. One of my pet peeves with cupcakes is having an obnoxious amount of frosting. It is often enough to simply put enough on that will complement, while not overwhelming. However, there are also times when I do want a lot of frosting, so perhaps it just depends on the day and the cupcake. Tulip Cupcakery's cupcakes do not need a lot of frosting and I'm glad that they simply put enough to highlight the flavors.

Tulips Cupcakery's cupcakes are available at Kamasouptra in the Portland Public Market and other locations around Portland. Check out their website for more information.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Aurora Provisions- Memorial Day

I have to admit, I am a gigantic fan of the complicated cupcake. However, there are days when you just want a simple and really effing good cupcake. Thankfully Aurora Provisions was able to provide that simple, yet fantastic tasting cupcake for the Memorial Day weekend. I love when food is decorated for holidays, so the patriot sugar sprinkles and flag were the perfect finishing touches to the basic chocolate and vanilla butter cream frosting cupcake.

This is a really embarrassing fact that I have to share, but I had never been into Aurora Provisions before the other day when I was on my cupcake mission. I had a general idea as to what they have there, since I have a few friends who currently work there or who have worked there, but I had unfortunately not made the trip in to see for myself. I have a cupcake tipster who informed me that they had cupcakes there that day, since they don't always have cupcakes available and they often sell out quite fast when they do.

I am so glad that my tipster let me know they had cupcakes there that day, since it really was the best basic cupcake I have had in a while. The butter cream frosting was really light and not too sweet. The flavor for the frosting was spot on to complement the chocolate cupcake. The sugar sprinkles gave it a fantastic crunch and obvious visual appeal. The cake aspect itself was very moist and had a rich chocolate flavor to it. I could have eaten either the cupcake portion or the frosting by themselves, but together they were even more delicious and neither flavor overwhelmed the other. It says a lot about a cupcake if separately you could eat the frosting AND the cake. Some cupcakes I think it would be better without the frosting or the frosting is much better than the cupcake. That is a phenomenon that occurs more often than I would like.

My friend Meghan came with me and also enjoyed her own chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting. The first picture doesn't really give justice to how large these cupcakes actually are, but this one does. Meghan's facial expression is communicating: "How do I even start eating this massive cupcake!"

Thankfully, neither one of us minds getting frosting on our faces and we are both the kind of good friend who will let the other know when we have missed a spot with our napkin, as Meghan let me know...

Aurora Provisions has much more than delicious baked goods and I look forward to my next visit in to try something else. They are located in the West End, at 64 Pine Street. Check out their website for more information:

Monday, May 9, 2011

Scratch Bakery

This picture I feel really falls under the food porn category. Last week a friend of my posted on her Facebook page a picture of a banana cream cupcake that she had bought at Scratch, mentioning how amazing it was. Since I was in desperate need of a study break, I thought it would be nice to take the trip over to South Portland and see for myself how amazing this cupcake was.

I had heard previously about how good the cupcakes are at Scratch, specifically from fellow Portland food blogger Kate. I have had some of their other delicious desserts in the past, due to the fact that there were no cupcakes available on the days that I had made it in. All of their desserts are a safe bet if you are in need of a delicious treat.

My brain is a little fried from studying, so I am going to get straight to the point. This cupcake was definitely amazing and in contention for the best cupcake in the Portland area. The frosting wasn't so much frosting as it was a whipped cream cloud placed on top of the cupcake. It tasted exactly like homemade whipped cream that my mom makes every year at Christmas. In the middle of the cupcake there was pudding, which made the cake portion even more moist than it already was and added another delicious dimension to the cupcake. There were also little pieces of banana within the pudding and on top of the frosting.

I wish that I had bought more than one and justified my purchase of two by saying I would eat the second cupcake the next day, but then I would have totally eaten two in a row instead. That is how delicious this cupcake is; it results in a total breakdown of self control. It had the perfect amount of sweetness to it, not an overwhelming sweetness like some cupcakes have (ahem...Hannaford...Starbucks...)

Since my prior best cupcake in Portland is currently unavailable, due to a hiatus on cupcakery from Cupcake Cha Cha (however I think she still does special orders), it would be safe to say that Scratch's banana cream cupcake is currently the best cupcake in Portland. I love a moist cupcake, frosting that is not too sweet and quirky additions to the cupcake that distinguish it from the ordinary. Scratch Bakery is able to deliver all three with this cupcake.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dairy Corner

The Dairy Corner has quickly replaced my prior favorite ice cream shop, Beals. It is in Scarborough on the way to Pine Point beach. Pine Point is my favorite beach in the Portland area. I love the sand, I love the waves and I love that I can peer down the beach to see Old Orchard Beach, but not have to go all the way down there to deal with the craziness. Also, there are usually not that many people at Pine Point in comparison to Old Orchard. One additional benefit for Pine Point is that the Dairy Corner is conveniently located on the way to the beach, which makes it the beach that I have to go to when I have the need for some sand and sun.

The Dairy Corner has, hands down, the best soft serve I have ever had. Some ice cream shops have soft serve that is just too watery or has weird little chunks in it, but the Dairy Corner's is perfection. It has just the right amount of creaminess to it. They have a weekly special soft serve flavor, which is what I normally have. Some of my favorite flavors last summer were banana and strawberry. This week the flavor was butter pecan, which I wasn't quite sure that I would like. I've never been a fan of that flavor, so I decided that I would go with the classic vanilla/chocolate twist with rainbow sprinkles. I always have to have the sprinkles and honestly you can never go wrong with vanilla soft serve. I asked the woman who sold me my ice cream what next week's flavor will be and it will be Peanut Butter. I'm definitely making a trip down to Scarborough to try that one and take another walk at Pine Point.

Friday, April 29, 2011

First lunch time Dairy Queen trip. Blizzards are one of the best summer treats while working at the office in Bath. I tried a mini blizzard for the first time, a cookie dough one to be specific. They are the perfect size. Last summer my coworker and I would share a small blizzard, but now that they have these mini blizzards I don't have to defer to whatever she wants. I would much rather go to other ice cream places, but there is something novel about going to the Dairy Queen. It reminds me of being young and trying to talk my mom into stopping on the way home for a Nerd's blizzard. I would rank the Dairy Queen up there with the nostalgic value of McDonalds. That might seem odd, since I really don't eat that much fast food anymore, but there will always be a warm fuzzy spot in my heart for the Happy Meals that I enjoyed there as a child. Just like there will always be that same warm spot in my heart for all those Nerd blizzards that gave me so many upset stomachs...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My mom is amazing

She made these adorable bunny cream puffs for our family Easter brunch today. My niece loved them, but I think I loved them a little bit more, since I ate the entirety of my puff while she only ate her marshmallow ears and jelly bean nose. I think the morning of candy overload did her in. They were as delicious as they are adorable.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A fuzzy photo of my lunch at the Starlight Cafe in Bath. It is one of my favorite lunch spots, but not as frequented as some of the others, purely based on its cash only nature. I never have cash. I did however make the effort to stop at the bank on my way back to the office from a dentist appointment so that I could take my parents out to lunch at the Starlight Cafe today.

My pick for best lunch there is the veggie home fries with anadama bread. Breakfast for lunch! AWESOME! Oh so good and includes two eggs anyway you want them. I also bought one of the biggest whoopie pies I have seen in a very long time to share with my father later in the afternoon. It's apparent that the Starlight Cafe got the memo that the whoopie pie is Maine's official state treat.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Maine Mead Works

This evening I went to a networking event that was put on by Propel. I had high expectations for this event; expectations that included finding my future husband. Unfortunately, that did not happen, but thankfully to soften the blow there was Maine Mead Works there to let me sample a few of their flavors that I had yet to try. I am a little wary of buying an entire bottle of something new, just in case I don't actually like it. I am the same way with six packs of beer or even trying a new beer at a bar. I'm pretty set in my ways and once I know I like something it is quite hard for me to try something new. As I talked to the owner about the differences between each kind, he let me sample two flavors I had as of yet to try: the dry mead and the blueberry mead. I am fairly certain that I have tried the rest of the flavors, with the Lavender and the Dry Hops being my favorites. I liked the blueberry mead much more than the dry, since the dry mead reminded me too much of what a regular wine would taste like and I am not that fond of wine. This fact could be surprising since I love the Maine Mead Works mead so much, but I am really much more of a beer girl, specifically PBR or Allagash. It was really nice to be able to express to the man who makes the mead how much I enjoy his product. Maine Mead Works mead is one of the few things that helped me make it through this past tax season. I say that as I sip some of the cranberry mead that I have left over from the craziness of last week.

I recently learned that they have a location on 51 Washington Avenue that offers tours! I can't wait to go see them actually making the mead that I have come to love so much. Also, it turns out you can now buy their mead at a few select Hannaford locations in Maine, including the one on Forest Avenue. This makes me extremely excited as I don't always like to have to go into Whole Foods to buy one specific thing (Lavender Mead) and then having to buy ten million other things just because I saw them (I am obviously an impulse buyer and have no control). I regularly shop at Hannaford and was always perturbed by the fact that they had as of yet to carry Maine Mead Works. Another recent addition for locations to buy it at is the Mobil on Forest Ave. If I am too lazy to make it to Hannaford or Whole Foods I could just walk down the street to the Mobil. Life is turning out to be pretty good (and tipsy!) this summer.

BTW, the owner is super nice and will answer any mead related questions that you can possibly ask him. When owners of companies are easy to talk to and obviously have a love of what they are doing, it makes it that much better for me to enjoy their product and tell others about how amazing it is. Even if it has nothing to do with cupcakes...however I think cupcakes and mead would make the perfect pairing!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Not so local...

Ok, so I am going to preface this by saying I am a huge buy local person. Well, most of the time. Sometimes you find yourself in a not so local location and in need of some sustenance. This is the situation where I found myself this past Sunday. Since tax season dominated my life so entirely, I hadn't been able to go grocery shopping in what seems like forever. I had to quickly eat something before I went to a roller derby bout at Happy Wheels and the only thing I could find were these raviolis in my fridge that I didn't even have time to cook. So I ate them. I'll be honest in saying and it shouldn't be that much of a surprise that they just didn't cut it. When it turned out that we had arrived at the bout around forty five minutes before doors were going to open; I took this opportunity to say to my fellow bout goers "Hey, let's go to Starbucks and get some drinks/food". Starbucks was the closest and quickest food location I could think of. I had been to this Starbucks, the Forest Ave one, a few months ago when a professor suggested it for a meeting location. While there I saw that they had these tiny and adorable cupcakes, however did not manage to snag one before our meeting started. This time, I made it a priority to get one and find out if the cupcakes at Starbucks could possibly match up to the local competition in Portland. The few times that I have been to Starbucks I have had the banana bread and always enjoyed it, so I had slightly high expectations before trying their cupcakes.

They had two options available, one a carrot cake cupcake and the other one was a peanut butter cupcake. I chose the peanut butter one, only because I really wasn't in a carrot cake mood. I feel like carrot cake is one of those things you really need to be in the mood for and I just wasn't feeling it that day. I am always in the mood for a chocolate peanut butter combination, especially if it has tiny piece of a peanut butter cup on top. The cupcake part itself wasn't all that spectacular. It reminded me of a cheap whoopie pie you could buy at a convenience station. It was moist and chocolaty, but nothing special. The peanut butter frosting made up for the cupcake part. It was slightly gritty and not very creamy, but I wouldn't say that this was a spectacular cupcake in any way. It was a nice treat to go with my iced tea, but I wouldn't go out of my way to get another one of these cupcakes, especially with how many amazing other cupcake choices we have in Portland.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I apologize for the hiatus!

I AM BACK. I am thankfully on the correct side of tax season (you know, when it's finally over and done with) and thankfully have days off now. The past two days have been a derby-palooza, with my friend DeAnne and I going down to Boston on Saturday night to watch the Boston Massacre vs The Philly Liberty Belles and then watching our two Portland teams yesterday. I love going to the Boston bouts, because as I have reviewed them before, Kickass Cupcakes are there with their oh so amazing treats.

I mean, look at those cupcakes!!! My favorite is the cookie dough, which is in the lower left corner. It has actual cookie dough in the middle. The two chocolate ones have caramel in the middle and the topping is a mocha flavor, while the frosting is just a mind blowing chocolate. The other cupcake is a lemon with white chocolate frosting. I had the cookie dough cupcake and one of the chocolate ones and DeAnne had the other two. They had ten flavors in total available at the bout, but the lady who was helping us said they had some crazy number available at the store, something like twenty five. I can't even imagine having to make a choice with that many options available. As it was I had couldn't narrow my choice down to just one and had to have two. I just realized by looking through my past entries that I had the exact same two cupcakes the last time I went to a Boston bout. Perhaps I should try something new the next time I make it down there. I'm pretty sure I will still get a cookie dough one (they are really good!) but I will try to change out the second one to something new.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I apologize for the lack in posting. My love of cupcakes has not waned, but my time for appreciating them has. For the next couple of weeks it is crazy tax time and getting a lot of homework done time. After that, it is cupcakes and gluttony and everything else fun time. Well, I guess I will still have to get a little bit of homework done as well. I keep hoping to find time to write up a review of an amazing cupcake I had for the Oscars, but it has yet to materialize. Until then, cupcake kisses for all!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kickass Cupcakes

Last night I went down to see the Boston Massacre versus Montreal's New Skids on the Block. This is roller derby people. I totally have the biggest crush on the New Skids, as they bring together an enormous amount of fun and skill to their league. They have been beating teams that are ranked higher than them left and right in the 2011 season and I can't wait to see what the rest of the year brings for them. The last time I went down to see the Boston Massacre play they had cupcakes for sale in the entryway. There is a bakery in Somerville ( that makes these amazing cupcakes. It was quite difficult to get a good photo of both of them (YES I HAD TO HAVE TWO), since I took it with them balancing precariously on my lap, with roller derby fans on either side of me.

The chocolate cupcake had caramel in the middle. It was good, but not as fantastic as this one:

THE COOKIE DOUGH CUPCAKE!!! There is cookie dough in the middle of this cupcake! It's crazy amazing delicious.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Bar of Chocolate

Last night my friend DeAnne and I went to The Bar of Chocolate on Wharf Street. It was our grand scheme for a few weeks to do a tour of "DeAnne's Favorite Bars", both of them I had not been to before (the other being the Armory). Our first stop was to The Bar of Chocolate. DeAnne had been there a few times and mentioned that sometimes they had cupcakes, so it was definitely something that I wanted to check out. They didn't have any cupcakes last night, but they did have a delicious boca negra, which was a bourbon chocolate torte. It was amazing. The torte was like the inside of a Dean's Sweets truffle. So decadent and rich.

DeAnne and I both had the torte and also absinthe, as you can tell from the pictures. It was the first time I have ever tried absinthe. The whole process was what I liked the most about it. We had to pour water over the sugar cube a couple of times for it to melt into the liquor. It was very sweet, if you have never had absinthe it has a licorice taste to it, and a nice pairing with the torte. The flavors balanced each other out really well. I really liked the whole atmosphere at The Bar of Chocolate. We sat in cozy chairs next to the windows, where we could see fancy patrons for Cinque Terre coming and going, while we enjoyed our treat. I can tell that for future ladies night's out on the town, we will definitely be hitting it up again.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The only thing that is getting me through this week is the fact that I can, on my one day off (Sunday), have a cup of soup at Kamasouptra, a fresh squeezed lemonade and a Tulips Cupcakery cupcake for lunch. Then, before my group meeting at five, you better believe I'm getting some gelato as well! Strange how the life of a full time graduate student and accountant during tax season makes you just wish for the simpler things in life. Like soup and cupcakes. Now if only Bangkok Thai was still around so I could have my old stand by tax season staple, Rama Tofu.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day Treat

Red heart shaped bagel from Mister Bagel in Brunswick, with cinnamon raisin tofu.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tulips Cupcakery: The Perfect Valentine

I went into Kamasouptra today to get some soup after a particularly long group meeting for my MBA Practicum course. I saw a few cupcakes from Tulips Cupcakery that I had not seen before! One with adorable pink frosting and another one that looked like red velvet cake. I asked what flavors they were and found that the adorable one was champagne with raspberry frosting and the other was in fact a red velvet cupcake. The champagne cupcake came highly recommended from the woman working at Kamasouptra, so I had to try it. She let me know that in the middle there was raspberry curd, which I think was the perfect complement to the cupcake. It was just the right amount of tart to offset the sweetness of the cupcake. The cake itself tasted almost like a sugar cookie. It was a nice base for the frosting and the raspberry curd in the middle. None of the flavors had to compete with each other, which is a nice change of pace from some cupcakes that are a little too overwhelming. The frosting was creamy and not too sweet, to the point that I could have a bite of just the frosting and not feel an immediate cavity coming on, like some frosting makes me feel.

One thing that I love about Tulips Cupcakery is the fact that most of their cupcakes look like a little flower. Seriously, look at how adorable that cupcake is! These champagne with raspberry frosting cupcakes would make the perfect Valentine's gift for a loved one. I was trying to save my red velvet cupcake that I bought for tomorrow, but I'm pretty sure after dinner tonight I will be eating that one as well.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Gorgeous Gelato

Caution: This entry has little to nothing to do with cupcakes, but everything to do with my other love, gelato. My love affair with gelato began at the ripe old age of sixteen. I was fortunate enough to take a trip with my high school to Greece and Italy, which was where I had my first exposure to the delicacy that is gelato. I’m quite sure that not many people, at least in the great state of Maine, can say that their first taste of gelato was in Rome. To say that I was thrilled when the Gelato Fiasco opened in Brunswick would be an understatement. Their gelato is utter perfection in my mind. That is another review waiting to happen though.

Today I will be focusing on Gorgeous Gelato! I heard that they had opened earlier this year, but for some reason it took me a little while to actually make the time to go down to their Fore street location (434 Fore St.) Upon walking into their shop, I was immediately impressed by the d├ęcor. I also really liked that you could see into the kitchen where they make the gelato.

They had a selection of gelato that was smaller than I am used to, Gelato Fiasco has a massive selection on a daily basis, but what they did have was more than adequate. I am sure as they continue to build as a business and have more customers they will add more flavors on a daily basis. I'm not sure they even need to though, as the flavors they had were really good. I asked the man who was working (who I am assuming was one of the owners) if I could have multiple flavors in my serving. He agreed to my request, probably thinking that I might want two, maybe three at most. However, I like variety as I have stated before. My love of tiny cupcakes has to do with the fact that I can have multiple flavors and yet not overeat. So I decided on having four.

Gorgeous Gelato allows the customer to taste test different flavors before deciding on the final one (or four) that they will purchase. I love this about gelato places, as the Gelato Fiasco also does this. After testing out the berries cream, I decided on the four flavors that would make up my small sized serving. Of course after my first taste of the berries cream I had to have that, as well as rum chocolate, orange chocolate and Oreo. When the man handed me my selection he said “here is your gelato puzzle!”

Both of the chocolate flavors were dark chocolate with a hint of either orange or rum. I could actually taste the rum in the rum chocolate, which was impressive. I’m not sure what I expected when I ordered it, but I didn’t actually expect to taste the rum. I think my favorite flavors (all of them were fantastic) were the berries cream and Oreo. The Oreo was much better than any Oreo ice cream I have ever had. I’ve always been a fan of Oreo ice cream, but after having Gorgeous Gelato’s version of Oreo I’m not sure I can ever have the ice cream version again. Once you’ve had the best, you can’t settle for the rest.

I’m fairly certain that Gorgeous Gelato will have a cult following through the winter and once the summer months start to show up there will be nonstop lines. Seriously, if you want to get in on a good thing before the crowds start to appear go there now. I am so excited for a fantastic gelato place to be in Portland.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tulips Cupcakery

This weekend I made it a priority to purchase a cupcake. Instead of just one, I bought four mini-cupcakes. I love mini-cupcakes primarily because I love variety. The more flavors that I can have at one time the better. Completely off topic, but this is why I love the Gelato Fiasco so much. They will let me have as many flavors as I want in my small serving of gelato. It is the same way with these mini-cupcakes. I can have four different flavors while not feeling like a gigantic pig.

I went to Kamasouptra in the Portland Public Market knowing that they sell cupcakes from Tulips Cupcakery. I had been told by a few of my friends that they had mini-cupcakes and I couldn't wait to try them myself. I bought each flavor that they had, which by going by the Kamasouptra menu for the day (as I can't remember what the lady who waited on me told me) I think they were: Chocolate Orange, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Lemon Chiffon and Pumpkin with Maple Cream Cheese. I'm not sure if it was actually a Lemon Chiffon cupcake, because there were three cupcakes with a chocolate cake part and the one pumpkin cupcake. My co-taster did say that one of the cupcake's frosting did have a bit of a lemon taste to it, so perhaps it was that one that was the Lemon Chiffon.

I'll start off saying that I liked the cupcakes, purely due to the fact that they were mini-cupcakes. I love miniature versions of anything! The best mini-cupcake was definitely the Pumpkin with Maple Cream Cheese. The cake was moist and the frosting was a perfect compliment to the cake. The flavor and the amount of frosting didn't overwhelm the cake. The first runner up was the the Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcake. Both my co-taster and I love peanut butter mixed with chocolate. The frosting was the peanut butter part and very light. The disappointing part was the cake for this cupcake and the other two cupcakes. It was dry and I am not a fan of a dry cupcake. I don't know why it was dry, maybe because they were tiny or maybe they were a few days old. I am going to go back and try one of the larger cupcakes sometime in the future to get a better idea of the flavor and to see if maybe the tiny cupcakes dry cake was a fluke. Also, it was kind of hard to have an accurate representation of the other two cupcakes, as their flavors were slight and not as powerful as the Pumpkin and the Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcakes.

Along with my four mini-cupcakes I had a lemonade from Kamasouptra. They have their own fresh squeezed lemonade made when you order it. It is the best lemonade, right up there with fair fresh squeezed lemonade. Every time I go into the Public Market I have to get one. The Pumpkin cupcake with Maple Cream Cheese was really good. I hope that Tulips Cupcakery has a larger version of it the next time I go into the Market. I'm really a sucker for pumpkin baked goods, especially a moist cupcake.

Both pictures are done my friend, Joel Desmond, of the Maine Effect.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

So far, I have failed on this diet. I have eaten cookies at Bard, but only because there were no cupcakes there that day. We in fact only went into Bard in the hopes that there would be some Cupcake Cha Cha cupcakes there, but it was surprising to me how good their chocolate chip cookie was. I also got a hot chocolate, which was almost a necessity as it was this past Monday and during a blizzard. So, I think I will allow myself a weekly treat of a cupcake and still continue the blog since it's obvious that there is no way I can give up ALL treats, but hopefully at least most of them.