What’s your favorite cupcakery?

17 Nov

FOUND: Best Cupcake in Philadelphia!

30 Oct

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen…

The winner!!

This perfect nugget of goodness resolved my cupcake conundrum and erased my doubt in the Philly cupcake scene on one dark and windy February night. (Forgive me for waiting this long to share! Selfish tendencies and a lack of blogging time made me do it.) We’d been slammed with snow that week and I finally got the nerve to walk into the last cupcakery shop I ever thought I’d visit: Philly Cupcake. If you read back to my original cupcake post, you’ll notice I nominated David to venture to that scary spot for our next cupcake experiment. But, because I was particularly starving, winter weary, and overworked, I braved the gaudy tinsel-wearing mannequin in the storefront and made my way to the pink dressers where cupcakes were neatly displayed on glass shelves.

Creepy mannequin

“OK,” I thought, “how bad can they be?” The tacky boutique cupcakery was buzzing with eager patrons so I waited my turn behind the velvet rope and finally decided on one carrot cake cupcake and one Twix cupcake. Roughly 15 minutes later, I was in heaven! Those suckers hit all the targets: moistness, sweetness, frosting balance, and taste. Before I had finished mine, I was already also eating David’s (I told you it was a bad day). Since then, I’ve been back more than a few times and every time, the carrot cupcake is by far my favorite, but every other cupcake I try is just as fresh and balanced. So, now you know my secret, and you’ll also know where to find me during the next round of cold, dreary February nights…

Look past their bare bones website, the ever-changing drag queen mannequin, and their pastel decor, and taste their cupcakes instead. You won’t be sorry you did!

Summer Sounds de Coralie Clément

7 Jul

Can’t stop listening to this beautiful French song on this muggy summer night…

Our story, a Philadelphia story

16 Apr

Downtown Philadelphia–A gloomy Thursday morning in April, during the longest winter I have ever known, became one of the best days of my life.

Due to some misunderstandings with our priest in New York and hectic schedules, we applied for a marriage license at Philadelphia’s City Hall and scheduled our civil marriage for a random Thursday afternoon in April. The weeks passed as we waited for our day. More honestly, we hardly had the time to think about it.

We had rings. I had a dress and shoes. David borrowed my brother’s suit. And we made dinner reservations. We took the day off, but planned to go back on Friday. No big deal…it’s just marriage.

The morning was cloudy and cold. We were both half asleep. But, sometime around noon, everything changed. It was one of those days when you feel everything in the world conspires to make you happy. The trees were in bloom and the grumpy judge softened. Sometimes, when you don’t expect, don’t plan, and don’t have much, it can turn into the opposite. We thank Philadelphia and our families for that.

at City Hall

Below are some photographs and information about the Philly boutiques and locations that made it an amazing day.

Earrings from Verde

Verde earrings

Earrings I bought from my favorite Philly boutique, Verde, on my walk home from work the night before.

Hana & Posy bouquet

Flowers from Hana & Posy, an Old City florist. (Note: I did use a Daily Candy Philly deal to get these, they’re not normally this cheap.)

Kahn park and Antiques Row.

Key lime cheesecake and champagne! Waterworks was incredible. They brought us champagne and served up incredible meals. We watched the afternoon sun fill the back room.

Waterworks! So, soooo delicious.


22 Feb

Just a little tease for y’all of what’s to come in the near future on the good ‘ol blog:

–I’ve finally found a scrumptious cupcakery in Philly!

–When we hosted the pre-wedding Philadelphia parental meet & greet, we were spoiled rotten with visits to some fabulous restaurants (details will be spilled).

–AND, there’s a very talented and sweet Philly resident who will be making some custom wedding accessories for me that I can’t wait to tell you about, so stay tuned…

Get Barbuzzo-ed

28 Jan

Rarely does a restaurant come along that inspires me to mutilate the English language, but Barbuzzo has done just that. This place is incredible! I tried it for restaurant week and everything was finger-lickin’ good. I was so excited, I didn’t even photograph my food. A full review to come, but in the meantime, if you’re looking for a place to eat, GO HERE! The NY times also just included it in their Philly food roundup. Well-played, NY times…

Barbuzzo's charcuterie

Barbuzzo's charcuterie--yes please, more meat please...

On another food-related note, here’s a quick update on my cupcake conundrum: I stopped in to sample a dreamy vanilla buttercream cupcake at Brown Betty–a boutique bakery that I really wanted to love because of their cute website, interesting story, and, of course, seemingly yummy desserts. But alas, more disappointment. The cupcake was packed with sugar and, as the cashier warned me, very heavy, not to mention a bit stale. I didn’t even eat the whole thing. Who am I??

And finally, let’s pretend I won’t get fat from my new Barbuzzo addiction and that this disgusting cupcake search I’ve undertaken will soon come to an end, so I can still fit in beautiful clothes. Oh and let’s also pretend I don’t already have a wedding gown. OK, here it is: Anthropologie is launching their new wedding line, called BHLDN, on Valentine’s Day…DROOL!! (P.S.–Anthro, please change the name and you’ll be all set!)

Coming Soon: An Anthro Wedding!

Desperately Seeking Cupcakes

15 Jan

Hi, my name is Sabina, and I’m addicted to cupcakes.

oh, marvelous cupcakes...

I’ve been thinking about them for over a week and I feel like I won’t be whole until I have a good one.

There’s a reason for this insanity, I swear…and I must right this wrong: I haven’t had a cupcake in almost 6 months. Well, let me clarify, I’ve had disgusting, stale, vegan excuses for cupcakes and my love for them has been derailed.

On most days I’d much rather have meat or even a tasty salad over dessert, but some days you need the sugar–you need that soft, sweet cream cheese frosting and delicate sprinkles to pick you up. I’ve found all the other NY foodie traditions apply here in Philadelphia, and I’d even say Philly is more of a food town than NY, but not so with cupcakes. And honestly, I haven’t even found a great bakery.

HELP! I may never eat cupcakes again if I have to endure the likes of the deceivingly cute but disappointingly unappetizing Flying Monkey Patisserie or Whole Foods’ craptastic boutique cupcakes…

If you know of a good bakery, let me know, it’s a three-day weekend and I deserve dessert!

Happy 2011 to One and All!

3 Jan

Happy New Year everyone! So, I’ve fallen off the blogging wagon yet again, but understandably so since work has been crazy and the wedding planning has kicked into high gear as the date quickly approaches! The next few months will be tough, so I can’t even pretend to promise to blog regularly, but I’ll do my best…

If the few days leading up to New Year’s Eve are an indication of what’s in store for the year to come, than I am ready and revved for 2011! This was the best NYE in recent memory–by far!

We kicked off our mini vacation with dinner Thursday at AMIS, a neighborhood foodie favorite we’ve been excited to try for a few months. As per usual, we were the youngest couple there (we’re secretly old rich people, we’re just REALLY far away from having the bank account to match). The restaurant is out of the way–certainly not as central as it’s sister restaurants Vetri and Osteria–but definitely more affordable and significantly more casual. David was less that delighted with his tuna steak, especially after he tried my meal (buahahah, out-ordered him again!). I had the ridiculously tasty and succulent paccheri with swordfish and eggplant fries. It was ABSURDLY good. See picture below for visual proof. If I could have, I would have bottled the aroma. I haven’t had fish this buttery in almost two years, and the eggplant fries, strange as they might sound, topped off the dish perfectly!

Then we hit Lowe’s and IKEA (for some plants and a spontaneous painting inspiration that then kept us up until past 2am) before seeing True Grit. Great movie. Bridges and Damon were a lot funnier than expected and while the plot was slow and simple, the dialogue was witty enough to keep you interested.

And then Friday came and we went to Longwood. If there is a paradise…and if that paradise is within 30 or so miles of Center City, Philadelphia…then paradise must surely be Longwood Gardens.

Inside the conservatory

Longwood Gardens is my favorite discovery in Pennsylvania. It’s the kind of destination I’d visit over and over and over again. This was my third time there, and I’m not a go to the same restaurant, order the same dish routine-type, but this place is euphoric! Besides being amazingly beautiful—flowers, trees, architecture—Longwood has an interesting past, passing hands from a native tribe, to Quaker farmers, to Pierre du Pont (of chemical and mega money fame) in the last several hundred years. Du Pont did a lot to make Longwood into what it is today–a garden you could never regret visiting. And yet, “garden” is not descriptive or grand enough to capture Longwood. To me, it’s magical, like Savannah and Italy. For Christmas, the place is decked out and you have to buy timed tickets because otherwise the crowds would be unbearable (even with the tickets there were too many people there).

As soon as we left the visitors center and stepped onto the grounds, our senses were greeted by dozens of twinkling trees adorned with thousands of colored lights, as fountain shows exploded in tune with holiday music.

We followed the Christmas route through a conservatory filled with poinsettias, hydrangeas, and lilies; a wondrous room overflowing with orchids; and a cove of miniature pine trees decorated by local schools. We listened as a barbershop quartet sang holiday favorites. We drank tea and ate cookies and then decided to skip the fireworks to make it home in time for a house party where we drank champagne and watched fireworks from a roof deck. Aaaaaah…good stuff!

Saturday was marked by debauchery at the Mummers Parade . It was a truly, ummm, unique experience to see hundreds of men dressed in bloomers madly pumping their umbrellas in the air.

With a mummer

And now, the weekend ends, but many new Philly memories have been made, most of which I remember. So here’s to a happy and healthy 2011 filled with even more adventures in my new nook of the world!!

Longwood lights

Halloween Edition: Terror behind the walls? Oh yes!

18 Oct

The day was decidedly grey. It would stay miserable and cold–no matter what. If the rain wasn’t going to get a chance in hell of pouring down and lightening the burdened skies, then the sun could definitely forget it.

In rain coats and sweaters, slinging umbrellas and a borrowed manual black and white camera, we made the eerily short journey to ESP (just about a seven minute drive from Center City). We were going to witness, first-hand, one of Philadelphia’s many claims to fame–a revolutionary prison system. This historical site…that once inspired the architecture and operations of prisons around the world, and has housed a slew of prisoners, including Al Capone, throughout its 140-year history, now slowly crumbles on the edge of Fairmount Park. The paint peels and the dust has settled long ago. Its undergone and continues to undergo restorations, but still, at any moment, you feel that you may be in real danger of the roof caving in on you. But that’s part of its beauty. And people keep coming–for the architecture, for the history, and for the real-life creepy feelings you can’t experience just by watching a horror movie.

In the age of Enlightenment, institutions underwent drastic transformation to become what we recognize them to be today. Before the turn of the 19th century, a group of concerned, educated, and influential Philadelphians met in the home of Benjamin Franklin. For the next several decades, they championed the upheaval of the prison system. And, in 1829, their cause was satisfied when Eastern State Penitentiary received its first inmate. Based on Quaker beliefs, the Penitentiary discouraged the rampant ill-treatment of prisoners common in those days. Instead, the jail was to allow the inmates time alone to ponder their crimes, and ultimately, to repent. A novel and humanistic idea.

A tour of ESP overwhelms the senses–the architecture is breathtaking. The Gothic exterior, which confuses the prison for a forgotten Medieval Times, especially when considering its placement among  row homes and restaurants, gives way to enormous vaulted ceilings speckled with skylights. The wide, skylit central hallways, in turn, break off into hundreds of prison cells–the real enforcers of the punishment of isolation. Inmates at ESP were to have extremely minimal contact with other prisoners and even with the guards. They were hooded when they walked outside of their cells, and their outdoor time was limited to a small, private cement courtyard that was directly attached to their cell. They were to see and speak to no one, so penitence would come.

On any day–no matter how sunny–a visit to the Penitentiary is likely to make you realize that the harshest of punishments must be, for most of us, the loss of human contact. No letters from home, no conjugal visits, no lunchtime crap-talk, no pick-up games of ball. No wonder this place is haunted. Really, REALLY haunted–if you believe in that sort of thing. 

During the day, the Penitentiary is scary enough, but on a breezy October evening, it is the ideal setting for a haunted house. Sure, the tickets aren’t cheap, but if you’ve ever seen ESP in the daylight, then pull on your Depends and try it at night!

Terror Behind the Walls–Eastern State Penitentiary’s spookfest!


P.S. – You are not allowed to touch the haunted-house actors. Believe me, this is easier said than done.

P.P.S. – If you’re visiting ESP during the day, bring a camera. You’ll be impressed with you photographic skills when you’ve left the place. Apparently spooky and decrepit photograph really well!

FREE concert tomorrow!

26 Sep

Free Philly event alert…

Who: The Merion Concert Band

What: FREE Concert!

When: Tomorrow–Saturday, Sept. 26 @ 3pm

Where: Kahn Park (11th and Pine Streets)

Why: Because these concerts are usually a great time! Come hear pops favorites played by a old-time Philly band in this intimate Philly park. Spontaneous dance party very likely. And, if that’s not enough, Whole Foods provides free refreshments.

Added bonus: Browse quirky shops across the street on Philly’s own Antique Row.

Kahn Park and Antique Row