Sep 16, 2010

Cupcake, Columbia SC: Take 5

Melodramatic soul bearing at the beginning followed by the cupcake review. Scroll down if you just want the cupcake review, which, by the way, if you notice below, Cupcake is getting sloppy. Even though the icing is high and plentiful, it doesn't cover all the cupcake, it's just kind of slopped on top as if the decorator was rushed.

The waiting time when you're near the end with one who is terminally ill becomes a block of your life with a life of its own. Life is suspended. New routines are developed and maintained during this interim, later to be quickly forgotten. "The drive" which starts so unfamiliar becomes annoyingly familiar. You become like a background movie extra in the lives of other people. Suddenly, briefly, you are an observer of or even a bit-part player in their routines: the smiling coffee attendant, the meticulous proprietor sweeping the sidewalk, the drooping homeless man packing up.

So it was I crossed the Edisto and then the Saluda, heading towards the Broad and much later, the Catawba. Cloud cover slowly rising as I resumed the drive, again, to Charlotte, the Queen City I had just exited three days prior where my Nana lay just outside Heaven's gates, life slowly leaving her. Taking my new routine's usual right on Gervais, left on Lady, right on Lincoln, squeezing into a parking spot, passing the Cupcake's inviting sign, enroute to Starbucks. Passing the homeless man who has had a knee brace on now for about 3 weeks, I suddenly stop and reverse my route, creating a fission in the fabric of everyone else's routine. Something different. Today I'm going to pop in the Cupcake store. It's about time we do another taste test on more flavors, don't you think? I resolutely order the four flavors of the day, faltering over the mocha chip (blech!) and quickly text the family that I'm bringing cupcakes with me.

Much later, after a visit to the nursing home, after a quiet dinner where grief has pulled up a chair, I whip out the cupcakes and cut them into tiny, bite sized pieces. We all know a taste test is serious business and we promptly get down to it.

We are all forced to try the Mocha Chip for the integrity of the blog. Mom pops the coffee bean topper into her mouth with the passion one would express with a chocolate chip. "Erg!" Quickly she is choking, spitting it out. "That wasn't chocolate," she gasps. "No.... No," I say, "That would be the mocha part of Mocha Chip." We all try the Mocha Chip to get it over with. "I'll try it," Lisa agrees, "if I don't like it, I'll put it on someone else's plate." But the Mocha Chip surprised us all. "Wow," Lisa shakes her head, "It's not too bad. If it's all they served, I'd eat it." Steve said the flavor isn't over powering, very moderate, while Dad, on the other hand, moaned in ecstasy, his perfect cupcake!

Next we bit into the watermelon. Right. Watermelon Cupcake. It consisted of a green vanilla cake with watermelon flavored pink icing sprinkled with mini chocolate chips. Very cute. Tom swallowed, "Tastes like a Now & Later." Mom shook her head, "Not for me. The good part is the chocolate chips." I thought it had too much of an artificial, fake flavor, you know, like cough medicine. A forced fake-happy flavor. Like when a kid forces an unapologetic "I'm sorry" out his mouth. Fake. Steve said he'd like the watermelon maybe one time a year while Lisa said it very well could be her favorite cupcake. Go figure.

The third taste was the White Chocolate Raspberry. You know it. Sweet mercy. A vanilla cake with raspberries baked in, white chocolate icing in pink and sprinkled with mini white chocolate chips. "Mmmmm," Lisa moaned. "Wow. Mmmmm. Wow," and she closed her eyes. Mom thought it was awesome. Dad grumbled, "And we paid for this??" Meanwhile, Tom announced that he could eat one every single day for the rest of his life.


Our final flavor for the evening was Mandarin Orange -- a chocolate cake with orange icing and an orange candy proudly atop (not unlike the Creamsicle one that I, in a rare moment of wild abandon, declared my favorite). "Mmmmm," said mom, "It tastes like a creamsicle." Dad said it's a little too overpowering. Steve said it'd be better on a vanilla cupcake. (I disagree) Lisa would certainly eat it again. Tom says, "Nah, too orangey -- too much zest, I taste orange peel zest." Dad said the chocolate cupcake was too rich, "I want my cupcake to be mild and sweet like my women." To which mom piped in, "Well then what are you doing married to me, you old fart?"

Taste Test Results:

White Chocolate Raspberry gets 3 votes as favorite.
Mocha Chip gets 1 vote was favorite.
Orange gets 2 votes as 2nd favorite.
Mocha and Watermelon tie for 3rd and 4th place, a cupcake we'd eat if we had to and we really wouldn't want to pay for it.

See a previous cupcake review here.
Believe it or not, we have found a cupcake we don't like. Read all about it, here.

Creamsicle is now no longer my favorite (replaced by White Chocolate Raspberry), but click here to find out my previous #1 favorite, now dropped to #3. Click here for the Cupcake website, current daily flavors and locations.

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