Anger Burger

Cupcakes of Ultimate Neutrality

Posted by Sunday on Sep 23, 2010 at 9:27 am

I sense a seething jealously from ya’lls when I mention the food truck blessing that has rained down upon Los Angeles over the last year, and for good reason.  It’s incredible.  I rarely have emotions that vary from WORRY (of which there are 17 complicated stages, I’ll tell you about it sometime), but I have some pretty strong ones for the food trucks.

There’s some semi-minor drama going down about the trucks, too.  Some Los Angeles council members are being leaned on heavily by brick and mortar restaurants that don’t understand we’d rather eat from roach coaches than their overpriced, underwhelming mega-plates of slop.  Tom LaBonge is the worst of these council members, vocally encouraging absurd limitations on the trucks whenever he’s given the platform to do so.  My favorite was to limit the number of trucks that can operate in Los Angeles at any given time.  I’m not sure how this guy figures out how to put his pants on in the morning.  In fact, I wrote him this letter, and I’ll accept your praise for not using a single swear word:

Dear Mr. LaBonge

I love Los Angeles.  I do!  My father moved to Los Angeles as a young teen and made the city his own — his stories are the stories of most Angelenos, filled with craziness, fame, adventure, and hardship.  Years after he’d left and raised a family, I’d also move to Los Angeles and make the city my own.  One of the things I list when describing the wonderful and bizarre L.A.  are the food trucks.

I would be spending at least $100 less a month on food if I weren’t eating at lunch trucks a few times a week.  I work from home and the trucks are my splurge.  Shaved ice, Brazilian hamburgers, hum bao, banh mi, Philly cheesesteaks, crepes, hot dogs and dosa — I love them all!  These foods are Los Angeles to me, and while I eat at brick-and-mortar restaurants with regularity as well, I am not exaggerating when I say that much of my motivation behind living in the La Brea area is walking distance to food trucks.  While there are a long list of cons to living where I live (expensive! no parking!) the list of pros is short, but contains one notable point: FOOD TRUCKS.  I’m not kidding.  Food trucks!

You see, when I call home, I tell my mom and dad what I ate that day.  It sounds bizarre, but it’s true: my parents are lovers of food strange and delightful, and a large part of my life here in California are the gastronomical delights. For better or for worse, my entire feeling for the soul of my adopted city includes – among many other things – the ability to walk to a busy street and see a vista of possible edible treats spread before me like a feast table in some Medieval movie.  It fills my heart with hope and my tummy with a rumbly.

Please do not limit the ability of these trucks to make people like me happy.  There should be no villains here — what a wonderful time to be a lover of food in our city!

Sincerely,

Sunday Williams

Some brick-and-mortar shops like Sprinkles – arguably the most famous cupcakery in Los Angeles – wasted no time recognizing the power of the truck and launched one tout de suite.  They aren’t shedding a single drip of sweat over lost business – they’re pulling up at street corners and selling out dozens of $4 cupcakes in the time it takes to drive from one end of town to the other.  Bitches is smart, yo.

This is all a very long introduction to say: I walked by the Sprinkles cupcakemobile entirely on accident – THOUGH ONE MIGHT ARGUE THERE ARE NO CUPCAKE ACCIDENTS – and had my first taste.   First: $4?  Too much for a cupcake.  Sorry, charlies.  Still: what beautiful packaging, yes?  Makes a nice little gift.  To your own face.

Unless you walk like the hunchback of Notre Dame with a sprained ankle, in which case this happens:

Whoops.  Oh well.  That’s what the frosting is for.  Slap that thing back into shape.

This is an orange cupcake.  And how’d it taste?   Well… boring.  I know!  But so entirely one-note.  Just: orange.  I couldn’t even detect any salt in either the cake or the frosting, and if there was vanilla in there I missed it too.  Admittedly I just got over the flu, but I kept taking bites expecting to be wooed and getting just somewhat buttery orange instead.  Even that sounds too interesting.  The frosting was a more straightforward disappointment: gritty.  It takes several minutes of whipping butter and confectioners sugar together before they become smooth and creamy – it takes a while, but the sugar will eventually break down.  But it takes patience.

Lets try this beauty: the marshmallow chocolate cupcake.

Very attractive, first of all.  Though, I admit a childish and petty irritation that the gumpaste dot on top was inedible.  It was technically edible, but in the same way that Hot Pockets are technically edible.

Here the chocolate flavor was very good, rich and fudgy, but would it fucking kill someone to use some salt at Sprinkles?  I thought America had unanimously agreed that salt was great all the time.

Sprinkles has a pretty solid cupcake, at least of the two I tried, but no way I’ll ever pay $4 for them again.  Until someone smuggles some sodium chloride into their kitchen, I’m out.

September 23rd, 2010 | Eatin' Fancy

10 Responses to Cupcakes of Ultimate Neutrality

  1. Ami says:

    Yeah, for $4 a pop I would expect a little more bang for my buck! And that little button thing on the top, what was that supposed to be exactly. Weak. I was looking at the local cupcake shop on FB that a friend frequents. Such inventive flavors! S’mores, hot fudge sundae, strawberry lemonade. They even have a drive-thru for lazies like me. You would think someone on the central coast would recognize the growth potential and start baking and make me the happiest of women. I am sorry your cupcake purchase did not live up to your expectations. I know how it feels to be disappointed by baked goods.

    Your letter to the city council food truck hater was great. You conveyed your message with eloquence and style. The “rumbly in my tumbly” line smacked of Winnie the Pooh a little bit but, you know, it worked.

  2. Jill says:

    I was devilishly excited to eat the dot when I was presented with their red velvet cupcake. I don’t remember the cupcake but I do remember being so disappointed that the beautiful dot was hard and tasted like chalk. I threw the cupcake to the floor and swore I’d never have another. That frikkin dot.

  3. Sunday says:

    Yeah, the button on top is super weak, as Jill confirmed: just a chalky sugar wafer, more chalk than sugar. And it makes me feel like an asshole for caring that much, but what can I say: I want it to be tasty. I’m a child.

    I also feel the need to clarify that apparently they are only $4 from the truck? And $3.25 at the shop, which sounds more reasonable to me. And I think the cake part of the cakes was great (if lacking in salt) – the chocolate especially was I think the best chocolate cupcake I’ve ever had from a bakery. But the frosting on the orange was so sadly gritty.

    I have to admit that I want to try more of their cupcakes now that I know the truck overcharges by almost a dollar.

  4. How are you going to tell a councilman how to playcate and a cupcakier how to cupcake all in one go!? You go girl!

  5. kneadspeedd says:

    Since cupcakes are so easily baked and frosted at home, a cupcake had better be DANG good if one’s going to pay $4 for it. At that price, you’d think it’d come with a steel armor box to protect the frosting from such injured hunchbacks of Notre Dame. ;)

    So sorry to hear those $8 went towards sub-par cupcakes! What a travesty.

  6. Alli says:

    Spinkles was the most disappointing experience of my life. Anyone could make better cupcakes from a boxed mix at home. They were dry and tasteless. The fact that everyone seems to think that they are amazing saddens me.

  7. Sunday says:

    Well, it’s a consistency among cupcake bakeries that I’ve noticed – they never seem to do the homemade ones justice, no matter how trashy or how gourmet. I’m not sure why. And while my personal experience with Sprinkles was more what I’d call mediocre (I realize how outrageous it seems that I can’t love them just because of salt, but it’s true), I’ve had others in town that are absurdly terrible. Basically giant muffins with a cup of frosting on top and then rolled in whole crushed candy bars and then topped with chocolate syrup or something. Like, it’s not a cupcake! It’s a fucking food ball.

  8. Beth says:

    They make a salty caramel cupcake that is truly divine.

    For the best cupcakes — and I’ve tried a lot of cupcakes in my day — Heavenly Cupcake in San Diego, CA and Dessert Club, ChikaLicious in East Village, NY.

    OMG, NOM.

  9. Maria says:

    Don’t know if you’ve been here, but these, in my honest opinion, are better than Sprinkles.

    http://www.frostedcupcakery.com/

  10. Pingback: Anger Burger » Blog Archive » Harder than it Looks

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