Welcome to Beantown!

On my recent annual "Sister Trip" to Boston, MA (home of the much-hated NBA Boston Celtics... can you tell I'm from L.A. and a huge Lakers fan?), my sister and I got a chance to eat... a LOT. As I previously stated in my earlier posts, I am not much of a foodie or dessert person, but what else is there to do in a quaint little city where the food is everything? There were so many little restaurants, coffee shops, dessert locations, and taverns and bars! Everywhere you look screams "food!". Also, everyone I talked to before heading off on this trip suggested list of places to eat (rather than actual sightseeing places to see/do).

I won't bore you with reviews of the different restaurants we tried, but here is a list with photos in case you are interested:

Here is the main reason why I decided to post about my trip to Boston: cannolis. I have never tried a cannoli before and the North End of Boston, also known as "Little Italy" was supposed to have the best cannolis ever. There are two rival bakeries on Hanover Street in North End: Mike's Pastry and Modern Pastry. Both are located with a few stores of each other on the same street. Many prefer one over the other, while others prefer one's filling at one bakery and one's shell at the other bakery. Sadly, we only made it to one of the bakeries, Modern Pastry.

My sister and I could not stomach any more pastries during our super busy, jam-packed trip to Boston. Sadly, we both did not see the hype about the cannolis at Modern Pastry. The service was unattentive and the dessert seemed... normal. I have never tried cannolis before so I cannot truly judge, my sister (the dessert queen) also agreed that the cannoli was only sub-par. So much for cannolis in Boston.

Next time, we will definitely have to try the cannolis at Mike's Pastry and other desserts, like the famous Boston Cream Pie.

Another Reason to Cook

I do not call myself a chef or cook by any means-- I just know how to throw together quick 30-45 minutes deals with little to no prep time. I have to find creative ways to defrost meat, quick marinating tips, and interesting ways to make sure my meals include most of the major food groups. It is not easy to whip up quick hearty meals that is enough to feed at least two grown men and one grown woman.

I am not really creative in the kitchen because I made sure to stay away up until I was well past the age of adulthood, but now I am faced with the challenge of fixing dinners almost every night. I am not much of a foodie either (and neither are my audience) so I am not stressed about making five-star cuisines.

I hate being in the kitchen, but over the years, I have develop a slight fondness and protectiveness over my kitchen. Now with the baking, or more accurately, the decorating, I've been more interested in kitchen tool and kitchenware. I can actually walk through the "Kitchen" section of stores and not be bored!

Well, to get to the point of this post, I found THE CUTEST accessory for the kitchen: aprons!

Flirty Aprons has the most fashionable aprons around! I'm am really considering about buying one myself, but I don't really need an apron to cook or bake. Plus, I don't know which design to choose! My favorite is the Original Sweet Sunshine:

I love pretty things and I just had to post about these cute aprons!

Cookie Monster Party!

I love throwing themed parties! I had another chance to help my friend Joanna plan her son's first birthday party. Joanna was inspired to do a Cookie Monster themed birthday party when she saw this Cookie Monster cupcake:

Totally stoked and excited, we explored ideas to make this the best baby birthday party ever! In the end, the party looked magnificent. Joanna, designer for Floral Sense, always know how to create the perfect vibe for any party.

Check out all the details! There was a blue and brown self-serving candy car, Cookie Monster pinata, beautiful centerpieces, detailed banner and decor, colored tableware, Cookie Monster games, chocolate chip bean bag table weights, and more! I have never seen to a more chic baby's birthday party!

(By the way, I am again apologizing for my simple photography skills. I honestly need to try to put more effort into taking better pictures... or wait until my friends at D. Park Photography give me pictures to use. Haha.)

Along with the wonderful food, I had the pleasure to create Cookie Monster cupcakes and personal Cookie Monster cake for the party.

Every baking and decorating session is a learning experience for me. There were two major baking disasters during the baking part of the creation which I am way to embarrass to share! (Maybe you can bribe my sister to tell the story... if you're lucky.)

With the decorating part, I was excited to use my birthday Bake It Pretty gift voucher (given by my fabulous sister Cindy and her boyfriend Jack). I bought the perfect Cookie Monster blue jimmies sprinkles, ready-made candy-sugar eyes (yes, I was too lazy to make my own), and a few other delightful items that I would share later. The eyes were a bit smaller than I wanted (because Cookie Monster has HUGE eyes), but Cindy was able to convince me not to be a perfectionist and they would work. Not perfect, but works. I was also happy that Cindy was there to help me mix the perfect blue frosting for the cakes and to help me get the right size fondant eye balls for the individual cake.

What do you think? There was soooo many mistakes that went on during the creation of these cakes, but somehow, everything came together in the end. Whew.

Cake: Yellow cake with chocolate chips covered in blue buttercream frosting; eyes and mouth were made from fondant
Cupcakes: Half were chocolate cake and half were yellow cake covered with blue buttercream frosting and blue jimmies sprinkles; cupcakes were topped off with sugar-candy eyes and half of a Chip Ahoy chocolate chip cookie.

D. Park Photography was kind enough to let me share some beautiful pictures they took of my creations from the birthday party. Enjoy!

Aren't these photos wonderful? Visit their blog for their latest projects!

Awesome Hamburger Cake

My good friend Joanna bought this AWESOME cake for her son's first birthday.

Look at the wonderful icing job on this cake! What amazed me the most is the icing job done on the top and bottom bun, which covered two slices of yellow cake. The tinting and shading is perfect and the whipped buttercream frosting was so smooth! Also, noticed all the cracks, smudges, and dents on the cake due to wear-and-tear. I'm always amazed when a cake stays perfect around kids.

The burger patty is chocolate cake with details (such as ketchup, mustard, onions, and lettuce) are piped with regular colored buttercream icing.

Joanna bought this cake at a local chain grocery store, but I have to double-check with her about the exact location and price. You don't usually find creative and detail-oriented cake pre-made at a grocery store so this was an exciting find.

Cake: chocolate cake sandwiched by two yellow cakes; yellow cakes are covered in tinted whipped buttercream icing; details piped using colored buttercream frosting