Monday, June 27, 2011

My quest for the PERFECT...or almost perfect cupcake in D.C. Failed.

Today, I had another day of walking, but this time I was on a very different mission!  As Graham wasn't with me, and I didn't have to feel guilty for making today, a quest for cupcakes, I was determined to have as much guiltless fun as possible!  It's all in the name of business research, so what's the harm, right?  I was determined to see Georgetown Cupcakes, Georgetown University, Baked & Wired, Trader Joe's (MY FAVOURITE GROCERY STORE!!!), Crumbs and Red Velvet Cupcakery.  I happened to also stumble upon Sprinkles, so I will review that as well.  I did meet up with Graham in the evening, and we had a very pleasant evening together, so I will finish with some snippets from our time together as well (It's VERY unusual for Graham and I to get to spend any time together while he's on business, so we enjoyed a nice evening together)!

I started the morning off with taking the bus to Georgetown and then walking 8 blocks to the University to tour around, take some photos and work off any calories I might consume that day! :)

I was VERY excited to see that Georgetown was beautiful in its own right, full of high streets and gorgeous architecture!  Graham and I had just been talking about how much we miss England and the High Street feel, so it was great to window shop along my way to the University!

Georgetown University!  It is absolutely beautiful here, and almost devoid of students (well, at least it felt that way!).  It was full of lovely Asian tourists (and myself) and the occasional student, looking, well, studious.  One of my best friends from University goes here, and he is one smart cookie!  Only 6 more months Jesse and you, Helen, Graham and I could open some sort of "Patch Adams" centre.  Nurse, Social Worker, "Drug Guy", and Women of Politics and Policies! 

My favourite tree on campus.  I wish I had made a cupcake stop before visiting here, so that I could have sat under this tree and enjoyed the beauty longer!

My next stop was Georgetown Cupcakes.  They are famous from being on TV, you know, the show called DC CUPCAKES?  Yeah, that's this place.  I did NOT hear good things about it before I visited, but I wanted to try it myself...The wait can be quite long on some days, but as the clouds turned BLACK, and rain started coming down, I waited less than 3 minutes! 

They give you a menu in line (GENIUS!  If you are a cupcakery out there reading this, ALWAYS do this for your customers to oogle and pass time!)  There were a few that the guy in front of me recommended, but I read my menu and knew what I wanted straight away!

Their "spread" of cupcakes.  I decided on the honey banana cake with a cream cheese frosting, and a cinnamon cake with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting.  While, I did try both of these, it was not until later in the day.  I ate the honey banana one all to myself, and Graham ate the Cinnamon one, giving me a bite (well, me forcing him :), mostly due to something amazing).  First, the honey banana.  The cupcake itself was quite dry.  I am partially sure it's because it started out semi-dry, but also should not have waited to try it until 9pm.  Mistake #1.  The icing, was quite possibly, ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I HAVE EVER EATEN.  It really was like biting into a cloud.  It wasn't too sweet, and was full of light, fluffy, cream cheesy goodness.  I could have gone back there to just beg them to give me a tub of that icing.  THAT is the reason I MADE Graham give me a bite of his, eating ONLY the icing from it.  HEAVEN.  But a shame, that the cupcake was dry.

Super Cute pink boxes lined the store walls.

The walk from here to Baked & Wired, was beautiful.  It was right along a canal and beyond peaceful.  I happily enjoyed a cupcake on the side of the canal, after making my selections.

Baked & Wired has a super simple storefront, which I love!  They have a ADORABLE pink bike out front, as well as this sign, which changes daily, shown below!

After walking in, I knew that damage was going to be done before even walking to the counter to order.  I went on looks and recommendation alone.  Mistake #2.  I shouldn't have bought 4 of these.  The cupcakes were BIG, delicious looking, and had the most fun flavour combos/names I have ever seen in a shop...that is until later on in the day...  I sadly didn't get a photo inside the shop, but here's a shot of my goods from both Georgetown Cupcakes and Baked & Wired.

The two missing gaps, are for the Georgetown cupcakes, but I didn't want to tell them that :)  The Elvis was the only one I tried today, a cupcake that was a banana cake, a peanut butter frosting and a honey drizzle.  I had high hopes for it, as the reviews for B &W are quite good, but it was REALLY, REALLY dry and the frosting was so sweet, my teeth hurt.  Needless to say, I took 2 bites and it went in the garbage, sad, as the price for it was more then Georgetown's and A LOT less delicious.  I abandoned that, and gave the CHAI one to the concierge at the hotel (her review was not very good either on them), and the other two are sitting on the desk in our hotel room.  One with a finger mark through it to taste the lemon icing (again too sweet) and then I just gave up.  THANK GOODNESS GEORGETOWN saved the day with their icing later that night.

After leaving B &W, I walked to catch the bus to Trader Joe's to get a picnic for Graham and I for the evening.  I stumbled upon Sprinkles, a cupcakery originally based out of LA and the FIRST CUPCAKE ONLY BAKERY in the U.S.  The owner is on Cupcake Wars, a show that I love...  I REFUSED to buy a cupcake, as they were TINY, and at $3.50 a pop, there was ZERO chance of them getting anything out of me!

I then got to Trader Joe's, got some KILLER picnic items and some sushi for lunch for me.  I decided to WALK OFF any calories consumed as 8 blocks didn't seem that far.  MISTAKE #3.  With 2 HUGE bags full of food/water/cupcakes, it was a LONG walk, and 8 blocks to the cashier, really meant 8 blocks down and 10 blocks over!!!!!!!!!!!  It was HOT and I felt like I was going to keel over when I got back to the hotel!  I walked in the room, and got into a tank and shorts and cranked the A/C!

After resting for a bit, I went on to Crumbs and Red Velvet Cupcakery.  I found out later, from the concierge, that Crumbs ships their cupcakes from NYC, so they are usually dry.  She was right.  I took one bite and walked the 2 blocks back to the shop.  Not just because they were so dry, they crumbled to bits, but because I wanted one with cream cheese icing (after having Georgetown's I am now on a mission for icing better!), and it was most definetely, BUTTERCREAM.  I got my money back, a whopping $4, plus tax.  It was sad, as i had high hopes for it, just from looks alone!  I bypassed Red Velvet, looking just in the window and deciding they again, were too small for the $3.50 price tag.  Mission ended, and I am proud to say that after all of that, I only 2 cupcakes in a 2 day period!

You aren't allowed to take any photos in the shop, RIDICULOUS, but I did get one from the front.

I was so excited by this cupcake's looks and flavour description, that I broke a piece off before getting a photo!  It was a vanilla cake, with a watermelon cream cheese frosting, sprinkles and a vanilla buttercream filling.  I didn't even get to the filling before realizing the frosting on top was buttercream, and the cake was BONE DRY.  Sad :(  It sure was cute though!

That was the end of my cupcake quest.  I am left feeling disappointed, which is sad, but I guess I should do a tasting closer to home anyway!

I ended up getting to the White House after, on my way to attempt to get into the DAR- Daughters of the American Revolution building.  The White House barriers were taken down, so I could get to the gate, but sadly, the DAR was closed unless you were a member.  The building outside was still gorgeous though!

The outside of the DAR Museum.

The state flags outside the DAR.

I then walked over to the Renwick Gallery, as I had an hour before Graham was done.  It was empty and peaceful.  It had some really cool pieces!

A favourite vase, dimly lit.

Super cool fish!

Another cool vase.

My favourite tea pot set!

My 2nd favourite!

The sign outside the back of the White House.

The gorgeous view from the back!

The Department of Treasury!

I then met up with Graham, and as he's never been to a diner before, he wanted to try one that we had seen on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  We got there, and sadly, it is closed on Mondays, so off we went to another famous place in D.C...

Ben's CHILI BOWL!  I am NOT a fan of chili, but we thought we'd try this place, as Graham does.  Bill Cosby and the Obama's eat here for free, so it can't be that bad!

It was HOT, and Graham LOVES HOT food!  He really struggled.  we don't know whether it was the chili or the mustard, but he drank his water faster than I could have imagined!

Graham eating his chili smoke with chips.

Me outside Ben's! 

It was a SUPER fun day, full of walking, and eating and touring!  It was ended with an awesome tour (done by ourselves) of the monuments at night, but that will be a blog on it's own!



Did you like bens chili bowl?

Lee-Anne and Graham

It wasn't our favourite at all, and WAY too spicy. That and when we were there, a guy behind the counter, opened a new bag of raw burgers, put his bare hands in, threw them on the grill, then wiped a table without washing his hands first and then served someone a milkshake. Needless to say, we almost threw up on the counter, knowing we might get sick! GROSS HUH?!?!?!!?


Uh yeah, that is gross. Okay, maybe I won't visit here after all.

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