(some of) what i did this weekend, or, why i won't ever eat cupcakes again
this weekend i was part of a "celebrity" judging panel at the first ever LA Cupcake Challenge. it was part of an event hosted by the CozmoDeck folks, held in Hollywood at the Montmartre Lounge. with me on the panel were some great folks, including Pat Saperstein of EatingLA, Tara de Lis from Citysearch, Tara from When Tara Met Blog, Sophie Gayot, and Sam Rubin of KTLA (my morning news channel, sweet!). i went to the event with Elise from LAist (and her own foodie blog, Kiki Maraschino) and Caroline on Crack (who was also a judge).
so you'd think getting to eat a whole bunch of cupcakes and pick which one was the best would be fun, and kind of easy, right?
there were about 30 varieties of cupcakes for us to try, and we had to try all of them (i'll confess i think i turned down two of them because they arrived at our table just as sugary bile was rising in my throat--gross but true). unfortunately we were stuck at a low table in the midst of the festivities, which was hard on us (hard to write notes, hard to keep leaning over, etc) and hard on the event attendees, because they couldn't figure out why they couldn't sit down on a corner of a couch or a chair in our seating area. we wished we were at a regular height table, in a more secluded and well-lit spot, and we wished that instead of plopping down trays of full-sized and uncut cupcakes that they'd pre-cut a sample for us individually. this is not to sound princessy, but, seriously, our table was by far, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the filthiest, messiest, grossest spot in the place. we were given about 4 knives to cut our own, only the plates the cupcakes came on, and no forks. that meant by the time we left (oh, close to 3 hours after we began) i could say with ease: "lick me. i'm covered in frosting." it was all kind of unsanitary and contributed to the overwhelming "too much"-ness of the whole thing.
tasting 30 cupcakes is a lot harder than you'd imagine. i'm a girl who likes to eat, but halfway through i was looking at the servers kind of slanty-eyed and weary. "more?" we groaned. i wished maybe each vendor could submit only one kind, not however many they had (there were only 13 vendors). one category, "traditional," was for vanilla, chocolate, and red velvet, and yet... no one submitted a vanilla cupcake. honestly, by the last few, a lot of it just tasted like sugar, unless yours was one that was particularly chemical or dry, then i could at least make a face and say "oh...no!" (my frosting covered notes are pretty funny, like "#18: GROSS! NO!") i totally stole sam rubin's judging style (and borrowed a page out of my other job's notebook) and just gave each cupcake a grade, like a, b+, c-, and so on.
in the end we had individual ballots (yellow for the "official" judges, white ballots for the every day folk, who were mostly pretty people who got to eat what they wanted when they wanted and who got to wander around and interact with the event) and who knows who will come out on top.
needless to say, i have taken what i consider the cupcake "cure." i just want to eat protein and veggies indefinitely. i brought some cupcakes home (some out of the gazillion elise hijacked to take to the LAist BBQ that we three cupcake gals went to afterwards) but suspect i'll foist them onto the housemates and the darling boy. that key lime one--the one i couldn't bear to taste as a judge because i thought i might barf up frosting on the spot--might have to go in the freezer and not come out for a good six to eight months.
for my co-judge Caroline on Crack's take on the event (plus an amazing set of photos) check out her blog. Pat's write up is here.