Monday, June 27, 2011

The Great American Bakery Hunt receives some "yummies" from Tokyo

Thanks to the lovely Kim Wu for sending me some delicious sweets directly from Asia, the first person ever to do so in the history of The Great American Bakery Hunt.
Kim is now representing the Tokyo chapter of the hunt, and describes her new surroundings as an ultimate bakery hunting territory where there's "almost a bakery poppin' out piping hot yummies on every block."  So I'm left wondering, how soon can I get there?

This package not only had a delicate, elegantly wrapped sweet cake and delicious little bite-sized cookies, it also had a few cookie cutters in the shape of traditional Swedish dala horses!  It's enough to make a girl hop on a plane to Japan to see what other discoveries are around the corner.

You can follow Kim's adventures in Japan through her blog-- and you are sure to see the  curious, adventurous, beautiful and delicious nature of daily life in Japan through her wanderings.  Thank you Kim Wu!  You're a gem, at home and abroad!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Adventures as a result of a Magnolia Bakery craving (including a toaster oven baking experiment)

I recently visited LA's Magnolia Bakery to buy some treats for the road on my way out of town for work.  It was my last stop after a few days off visiting LA, and I needed a taste of home.  

Los Angeles was cruel to me that night, because it took me more than a half an hour to find a parking spot.  My refusal to valet for a 10 minute bakery visit combined with my unwillingness to risk a car towing left me driving the streets, unwilling to give up what I felt the city owed to me.  In town for two days, I just wanted a few sugary sweet Magnolia cupcakes and an iced molasses cookie--but first, the little matter of parking my vehicle.  

Once inside, I let the Magnolia Bakery folks know how dedicated I was to patronizing their business, despite the parking woes that befall their location.  I am certain they are more than sick of parking complaints due to their home on busy West Third-- but I wanted them to take my struggles as a compliment.  I probably would have waited longer...   

I saw a group of girls who parked their car in  a questionable spot, in a neighborhood adjacent to the bakery storefront.  Exiting their vehicle, they looked around nervously, and you could see it in their eyes:  if we get caught, it's worth it.  I won't lie, City of Los Angeles, I thought about it-- but never one to live on the edge, I waited patiently for my delicious carbohydrate loot.  Of course, my patient waiting also involved me cursing my overly responsible sensibilities.  But refusal to valet has its unexpected advantages-- if not for the many instances I have searched LA streets for free parking, I would never have experienced exploring new neighborhoods on foot.  And in a city where most of our time is spent driving and relying on Ira Glass podcasts to entertain us (awesome as they are), we know that the act of exploring new neighborhoods as a pedestrian can feel like a rare activity to treasure.

After a long drive back to my out of town office, I decided one molasses cookie for the road wasn't enough.  Luckily, I own the Magnolia Bakery cookbooks and we have a handy dandy toaster oven in our work apartment, perfect for spontaneous molasses cookie projects.  Summertime is the busiest season at work (did I mention I am living here?), so my summertime baking is minimal-- but the toaster oven is always here for me when time allows and inspiration strikes.