Monday, December 14, 2009

Scavenging Los Angeles Cupcakeries in a Chevy Camaro and Equinox with Best of Tours

Image credit: When Tara Met Blog

Say what now?

Yes, on Saturday, I spent a couple of hours with fellow food bloggers, being chauffeured around town in Chevy demo cars, going from cupcake place to cupcake place to cupcake place to cupcake place.

Image credit: When Tara Met Blog

More specifically, we all met up at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, where a couple of Chevy Equinoxes and one Chevy Camaro were lined up in the horseshoe, waiting for us. Giant magnet decals stuck to the outsides of the cars that read Best of Tours. That's because we were about to embark on a best-of-Los-Angeles-cupcake-bakeries tour. There were four stops planned: Crumbs Bake Shop, Sprinkles, SusieCakes, and Vanilla Bake Shop. The drivers had their printed-out cupcakeries maps ready to go. We got in the vehicles, taking turns riding in the Camaro because there was only one, and because it was so freaking awesome (bumblebee yellow and black and special Transformers edition with the Transformers logo on the outside of the car and stitched on the leather center armrest).

Our first stop was to Crumbs Bake Shop in Beverly Hills, and Harley Bauer, the owner and West Coast partner of the company, was there to greet us and personally hand us our cupcakes to sample. He was very hospitable, offering everyone coffee, additional cupcakes, and staying to chat. He was also wearing a fantastic t-shirt ("Jews do it for eight nights"), so I was an instant fan. I've always enjoyed Crumbs because they have a great ratio of frosting to cake (in other words, a TON of frosting), they even have fillings, there are tons of flavors to choose from (Reese's Peanut Butter Cup is my absolute favorite), and they stay open later than any other cupcake shop I can think of so you can get your fix late at night. Crumbs is also certified Kosher, and that is one HUGE leg up over the competition in this very Jewish city, and much appreciated, might I add. :-) Getting to meet the owner behind this great brand was really exciting, and for him to turn out to be such a doll and so inviting and friendly only made my experience at Crumbs Bake Shop better. In fact, I can tell you right now, this first stop was the highlight of the tour for me.

Hanukkah cupcakes at Crumbs Bake Shop

But I will blab on a bit about the other three stops because, well, there was a lot more sugar to be had, and I did have other positive experiences.

Sprinkles, just down the street from Crumbs Bake Shop, was our second stop. I really enjoy Sprinkles cupcakes. The ones I love the most are the ones that do, indeed, have sprinkles on them. For the tour, we pre-ordered a couple of boxes so we wouldn't have to wait, and we stood outside the shop to taste these. There is almost no room inside and we wouldn't all have been allowed in at once. Without getting to meet the owners or even the staff at Sprinkles, I simply didn't have the same positive feeling about this cupcakery that I had at Crumbs; it was missing the personal experience. But the cupcake itself was delicious. I had a vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting and sprinkles covering every last spot of the frosted top.

Tara of When Tara Met Blog being fed a Sprinkles cupcake by pal Zendi

Then we were off to SusieCakes in Brentwood. The staff were warm and helpful. The holiday decor in the shop was everywhere, from the full-sized Christmas tree to the shelf displays to the baked goods, and they had a lot of seasonal options, not just in the form of cupcakes. In fact, while I got the gingerbread cupcake with cream cheese frosting, and it was spectacular, I also had my eye on a gingerbread whoopie pie with buttercream frosting sandwiched in between. Wow. SusieCakes makes a great cupcake. I am very impressed with how moist the cake part of the cupcake is.

Seasonal cupcakes at SusieCakes; I ordered the gingerbread ones
on the left with cream cheese cheese frosting

Amazing-looking gingerbread whoopie pies with
buttercream frosting from SusieCakes

My make-shift Tupperware is filling up!

Finally, we stopped off at Vanilla Bake Shop in Santa Monica. There were some cutely decorated cupcakes for Christmas with dyed green frosting, and mini versions of some of the flavors. I opted for a chocolate cupcake with toasted coconut frosting. Yum.

Lindsay, friend and co-editor of LAist, sitting in the
backseat of the Chevy Equinox with me.

I hope I get to partake in another Best of Tour because I had a lot of fun. It was neat to meet bloggers whom I only knew online via their blogs or on Twitter, plus going to eateries and sampling food is always a good time. And then of course, there's the aspect of being driven around in brand new vehicles with that new car smell...

The Chevy Equinox was a fun ride. Kind of reminded me of a Honda CRV. Outdoorsy and rugged, yet sophisticated enough to work as an everyday car. We even tested out the On Star feature, calling the hotline for directions back to the Pacific Design Center. There was plenty of leg room and the leather was comfortable.

Chevy Camaro and 3 Equinox cars taking us around LA

The new Camaro was a great ride and in a totally different way than the Equinox. It was sporty and sexy and bulging with biceps, if you know what I mean, and I could tell people on the streets were paying attention. And we weren't in just any Camaro. It was the bumblebee, meaning bright yellow with black striping detail all the way down the car. And it was the Transformers special edition with logo detailing on the outside and on the leather interior. The only thing missing from the scene was Shia Labeouf.

The sexy bumblebee Transformers special edition Chevy Camaro

Transformers logo affixed to the Chevy Camaro!

Transformers logo embroidered on the interior leather of the Chevy Camaro!

Special thanks to Tara of When Tara Met Blog for organizing the event. Thanks also to Chevy and GM for providing the transportation and to the cupcakeries for putting up with a crowd of chatty, photo-snapping, inquisitive bloggers.

Speaking of these bloggers, if you want to follow some really interesting, opinionated, fun ones on Twitter, why not start with the attendees from this event!

Here are their Twitter handles:

And here are recaps of the day by some of the bloggers:
Caroline on Crack: "Best of LA Cupcakes Tour with Bloggers and Chevy"
Let Me Eat Cake: "Cupcake Coma"
When Tara Met Blog: "Best of LA Cupcakes Tour with Chevy"
Pretty Sandy Feet: "Cupcakes and Wedding Dresses!"
Faces of GM: "Bloggers, Cupcakes and Chevrolet"
L.A. and O.C. Foodventures: "Thankfulness for Cupcake Tour Around LA"
LAist: "Tuesday is National Cupcake Day: So Who Has the Best?"
Edmunds Inside Line: "Chevrolet Goes on Cupcake Tour in L.A."
Pleasure Palate: "LA Cupcake Tour Powered by Chevy"

I've retired from cupcakes for a few days.


Mom said...

WOW! Sounds like so much fun! I love how the Chanukah cupcakes look at Crumbs with the yellow and blue sprinkles on the side!!

Jen said...

I am jealous! I've only had Sprinkles and maybe Crumbs out of those four. Sounds like it was a blast!

TaraMetBlog said...

Great pics, so glad you could come!

Katelin said...

what a great recap of the afternoon. it was so fun to meet you!

Marni said...

Mom - I know. I love those Chanukah cupcakes. We should make those for the cookie party if we can find those colored sprinkles.

Jen - It was really fun. You will have to try the other two places. All four had great cupcakes.

Tara - Thanks so much for organizing. It was a great event.

Katelin - Thanks so much. Nice to meet you too!

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