Day 444 and Day 445

Day 444 – National Chocolate Cupcake Day
I think I am turning into a true Rhode Islander because when I was faced with finding a delicious pastry to celebrate this day, I once again turned to Gregg’s. Part of that decision was based on pure convenience as they have a location that is only two exits down from where I work, they are a bakery that stays open through dinner and they have a takeout counter for easy, fast transactions. I was looking for that kind of convenience too because I didn’t want to make a fuss and I really didn’t want to make my own cupcakes today. Gregg’s is widely known for their cakes and pies and would be a most-suitable choice for celebration, but I wasn’t entirely sure they sold cupcakes. I was pretty sure I had seen cupcakes in their display cases on previous visits which meant that their cupcakes were good enough to have left an impression in my subconscious, but I wasn’t sure if I was imagining this. I couldn’t recall having ever heard anyone rave specifically about Gregg’s cupcakes. That put the doubt in my mind. I looked at their online menu to make sure I wasn’t imagining all this, and although it took some searching, I found their cupcakes on the dessert list. They called them Not Your Average Cupcakes which made me think that this would be a good choice. I left work and within ten minutes, I was at the counter at Gregg’s. I saw the cupcakes in the case and I instantly knew why they had stood out in my mind. These things were HUGE! I ordered up two (which I knew was excessive), they packaged them up for me in a nice Gregg’s pastry box and I was out the door. It was really an in and out transaction.

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I busted them out after dinner and because they were so big, I actually ended up just splitting one with Lola, cutting the cupcake down the middle. The first thing you have to address is the icing. That gets a five-star rating. It had deep chocolate flavor – almost fudgy. It was think, sweet and piled high. More than enough to get a bite on every piece of the cake. The cake was good enough. It’s chocolate cake. Lola and I have learned after many years of cupcake tasting that while a chocolate cupcake sounds good, the vanilla cupcakes are always better. The chocolate gets too dry in cupcake form – never the moist piece of deliciousness you want. In this cake, the ample amounts of frosting offered good balance that ensured that you could get enough frosting to hide the dry cake. But if you thought about it, the cake was just ok. Still, points for wowing us with frosting. I think I would have rather just eaten the frosting alone. But that’s not how you celebrate national Chocolate Cupcake Day. You need the cake part to do that, so I choked it down (with some frosting of course).

Day 445 – National Pretzel Month
Today was a day that Lola and I were going to go see our pal David Sedaris again. He had a show at the Zeiterion Theatre in New Bedford which is less than a half hour away from our house. Regular followers of my blog will know that David and I have a special relationship that boils down to that if I make him a pie, he will give me free passes to the show. Fair deal, right? In any case, I was ready for today. I made him a Strawberry Milkshake Pie. In the past, I have only ever made him Raspberry Cream Pies which he enjoyed, especially the pretzel crust. I thought I’d make him something different just to mix it up a little – you know, keep the relationship alive. I am not particularly proficient in making your traditional fruit pies – I hate working with dough – so I tried to keep it cream based. As much as it sounds like I’m a stalker, I know that David cannot have (or does not like) chocolate so that wiped out that whole category which would have made it easier. I then thought about an old favorite of Lola’s: a Mudslide Pie. But I also know that David has been living a sober life and I didn’t want to give him any reason to stop. The Strawberry Milkshake Pie was a nice compromise and to spice it up, I made it in a crushed pretzel crust (which also  kept it inline with the month long celebration of pretzels). It came out pretty good. Lola liked it which is always a good sign. To be honest, the pie crust made the difference. Otherwise, it was lightly flavored cream. I guess it needed more strawberry. Still, it was something different and good enough to present to a world-renowned author. Did David like it? I don’t know – we never went to the show. Something came up last minute and we decided to skip it. It was too much. We kept the pie too and my apologies if I left David hanging with the hope that he would be eating pie by the end of his night. It just wasn’t in the cards.

We made the decision not to go when I got home from work a little later than normal. While we were debating the pros and cons of going, I realized that we should eat something or we were going to be in a tough spot. I had half a bag of pretzel sticks leftover from my pie crust, so I took those out and whipped up a quick cheese sauce by making a roux, adding in some cream and then melting in some cheddar cheese. It came together super fast and was a great little snack. It was cheesy with all that cheddar flavor and it was thick enough to stick to the pretzels. It filled us up in no time and allowed us the energy to make rational decisions. Unfortunately that meant that we were going to skip David Sedaris. But that’s ok, we’ll see him again. We can always make him another pie and find our way into the next show. It’s great entertainment. Maybe we’ll bring him some pretzel and cheese sauce next time?

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