Thursday, February 28, 2008

let them eat cake! (part 1)

No doubt that cake tasting is the part of wedding planning I have been most excited about. I've had a sweet tooth since forever (I used to eat crazy amounts of sugar after swim practice in high school, e.g. half gallons of Breyer's mint chocolate chip and row upon row of double stuff Oreos), and now that I've more or less purged sugar from my pre-wedding diet I was all the more ready for a sweet treat. So last weekend we had a tasting at The Prolific Oven and today we tried the offerings at The Palo Alto Baking Company.

I wish I had my camera with me--the PABC had six beautiful little mini-cakes for us to try. I've been a fairly loyal patron of this place since I moved to the Bay Area b/c they have some of the best croissants in town (it was previously owned by a French couple, and the new owner, Charles Whelan, has kept their recipes alive) but this was my first time trying the cake. It was extremely fresh and light, and the fresh fruit, buttercream, chocolate ganache and whipped cream were all excellent. However, the cake itself was almost too airy and light for my taste, I prefer a denser cake, and the flavor was quite mild so it was really more about the fillings, which were home-made (except the raspberry filling which is imported from Sweden or something) and tasty. I got to try fondant for the first time too, which was neat. I wasn't a fan of the sugar stuff, but the white chocolate fondant was really good and surprisingly chocolate-y (for white chocolate, which apparently doesn't even contain cacao, but does have cocoa butter I believe).

Overall I'd say that the cake at Prolific Oven is more my style, which is to say, dense and sugary. They only use cream cheese frosting which is creamy, rich and delicious, but you really can't eat a ton of this stuff b/c it's soO sweet. The cake itself at Prolific Oven is really unique, it's light and dense at the same time, and very flavorful. Our top choices there were the carrot cake and the chocolate rum cake.

We've got two more shops to try, one of which is the top-rated cake place on the Project Wedding forum. Right now we're thinking we'll do a Prolific Oven cake and supplement that with a few tarts/tortes from Tartine, a great place in the city but they don't do wedding cakes).

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

rain rain go away

This weekend was cold and soggy, which was frustrating because my internet doesn't seem to work when it rains. This must be a physical issue with some wire getting, well, wet or something, no? Still, the indoor weather was a good excuse to upload some recent photos from our trip to Long Beach to visit Bets and Brad.

I love the textures in the tree and side walk that the rain brought out. Also, next time you find yourself in Seal Beach, save some room for breakfast at Nicks:
The breakfast burritos here are DELISH. Again, I think the texture is key--the insides are all chopped up and interspersed into a tasty egg/chorizo/bacon/potato/cheese amalgam, then the package is neatly wrapped in a homemade tortilla. By far the best breakfast burrito I've encountered (and apparently I'm not alone, so be ready for a line)!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I'm facing so many these days, including the beginning of the end of my time at Stanford and my career as a neuroscientist. All this flux is both exciting and scary to me, and I'm trying to spend time focusing on the former adjective. I hope to use this space as a way to exercise my creativity and to document the changes I'm facing, the plans I'm making, and the stuff I'm enjoying along the way*.

I'll start with this photo, in tribute to my title, which means "Sweet Potato" in Japanese:

* Note: For the next several months many of my posts may be wedding-related. I'm a bride-to-be whose head is spinning (with glee!) at all the beautiful choices I get to make. However, in general I expect this stuff to focus on fabric, photos, food, the occasional fact or two, along with various other assorted fluff.