Okay, you're probably thinking: "WAIT WAIT WAIT. It tasted homemade?? Why would you buy a cupcake that you could make yourself at home?!?! You could have a dozen little cakes for half the price!"
(Well, that's what I said to myself at first.)
And this is how I responded to myself:
1) I don't want a dozen little cakes. There aren't always enough hungry cupcake-lovin' people in my house to eat the other eleven, and I really ought not eat all twelve. So in a way, I'm wasting less food by purchasing one cupcake for myself than by baking twelve and only eating one.
2) Sure, I'm paying for labor, service, supplies, ambiance, and the cuteness factor of the-little-white-box-and-brand name. But sometimes I'm willing to pay the price when I don't have time to bake and I want to eat a cupcake.
3) I would rather my cupcake taste homemade if homemade means delicious. (I'm sure you could debate over the definition of delicious and proper taste and what not, but perhaps you should do so over some coffee and cupcakes.) I've always preferred the taste of a cupcake made from scratch over a cake mix cupcake. Not as springy, but with a tender crumb and melt in your mouth moist. ...Ahhhh.
4) Context? I don't eat cupcakes every day. Rather, they're saved for celebratory occasions like birthdays or surviving finals, etc.
Of course, not every cupcake shop experience has been wonderful. There are dry crumb days, and overly sweet frosting days, and even service-is-really-horrid-I-wonder-if-those-girls-eat-lemons-for-breakfast-days. But I think I'd rather try a bakery first before I deny the possibility of good cupcake shop experiences.
That being said, you can guess what H. and I did in New York.
I was very, very happy to have a Partner in Dessert (A PID?).
And although I'm still a bit sheepish to admit it, I was wildly excited that we bought cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery.
Banana Cake with Caramel Buttercream, Devil's Food with Mocha Buttercream,
and Chocolate with Traditional Buttercream.
(We could only finish the Banana and Devil's Food that evening.
Chocolate was saved for breakfast the next morning.)
H. and I also stopped by Sweet Revenge, where we enjoyed their Pure Vanilla cupcake with a glass of milk. (I'm still not telling how much I paid for that glass of milk. But it was worth it.) We didn't bother to photograph anything since the room was very dark and the shop was closing.
Many thanks to H. for joining me with much enthusiasm on my cupcake search!
H. and I also enjoyed non-cupcake delectables during our trip:
Gelato on a stick from PopBar?
H. chose Almond dipped in Dark Chocolate.
(There's your Asian tourist picture for the day.)
H. very graciously allowed me to drag her to one of my very favourite places: Le Pain Quotidien.
This restaurant will always remind me of my Dad, since he was the one who first took me here. It also reminds me of Sam, since we often stop in the bakery to pick up a muffin or cookie. And now the café will remind me of New York, too.
(Please pardon the terrible image quality!)
H. tried the Tuna Tartine and I tried the Quiche Lorraine.
We also shared a bowl of Fresh Tomato Soup,
And we had a very fine supper!
(I suppose it makes up for all of the cupcakes. Or maybe not.)
Next: Part III--Parks, Parties, and a Tour of the Hostel