Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Part II: Sprinkles

It all began with a promise to a certain Miss J, who is a Sprinkles aficionado, but whose work schedule made it impossible for her to make it to opening day at the Sprinkles in Palo Alto. After reading entirely too much about Sprinkles in the context of celebrities and their favorite snacks, I was eager to try them too. My promise to J - I'll pick-up a variety of cupcakes for us to sample. Good plan? Yes, but only when wearing sunscreen.

I visited Sprinkles on a balmy day in September, when 6PM meant there was still daylight. I thought I'd stand in line for 20 minutes, get the cupcakes, and maybe even have a little time to window shop before meeting up with J. Wrong. I got to the shop to find that they were letting groups of five people into the shop at random times. By the time I found the end of the line, I was several store fronts away from Sprinkles and behind at least 60 people. I couldn't help but eavesdrop into the conversations around me. People had driven from Berkeley, Fremont, and San Francisco. They had plans to buy dozens of little cakes. They had made multiple trips to the LA store in a day. Clearly, I was hanging our with serious Sprinkles fans. I was glad to be wearing a short sleeved shirt. I was less glad that the shirt was black. I realized much later that I had a lopsided sunburn from the 63 minutes I spent standing in line for a box of cupcakes.

Of all the stops I've made this fall, Sprinkles has the classiest boxes. They're not flimsy and feature a muted recycled chic look. Thought they don't have individual cupcake separators inside, I did found that the cupcakes suffered only minimal damage after driving though the hills.

Red Velvet was the clear favorite. A great balance of moist cake and decent frosting. Only later did I realize what a coup it was to find a cake that wasn't chalky and tasteless. There was even a hint of chocolate in the mix. The strawberry cupcake was also a winner. Pink cake and a strawberry-scented frosting made for a refreshing treat. The rest were less remarkable, though pleasant enough. Lemon coconut, chocolate on chocolate, milk chocolate with white cake, quite frankly, all the chocolate varieties blended in my mind. I favored the dark chocolate varieties over the milk for its less sugary qualities. Total damage that evening, besides the sunburn, was sugar shock.

Tomorrow: Passion goes awry


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