Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Cupcakes

Sampler Platter: 7-Eleven makes its own wine, MasterChef cooks endangered eel, 70 cases of brat pizza stolen

Meatball appetizers at the Crow Bar and Grill in Corona Del Mar. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

How will two-buck Chuck compete against 7-Eleven's new wines? How does someone steal 70 cases of pizza? How do you open a bottle of wine with nothing but willpower and your shoe? All this and more in today's food news roundup.
-- How to open a bottle of wine in France: For those times when you've been up all night, you're drunk and all you want to do is drink another bottle of wine, but you're in the street, you have no corkscrew and the stores aren't open yet. Happens all the time. YouTube
-- Speaking of which ... 7-Eleven's making its own wine. Oh, thank heavens. Dallas Observer
-- Hotel and nightclub impresario Sam Nazarian slams into ugly financial reality. Could this be part of the reason behind SBE's recent split with Brent Bolthouse? Wall Street Journal
-- Auntie Em's tops list for best cupcake shop; Sprinkles left out. LAist
-- A $47,000 lunch tab from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. Buzzfeed
-- In the ongoing Tavern on the Green saga, the venue hosted the Halloween party from hell, say booted patrons. New York Daily News
-- BBC's "MasterChef" cooks critically endangered eel. Oops. The Telegraph
-- It's cloudy with a chance of record-setting meatballs in New Hampshire. Yahoo! News
-- Tasting ecstasy and agony at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa. New York Times
-- 70 cases of brat pizzas stolen from Wisconsin company. Sheboygan Press
-- A preview of the apocalypse: Boston Markets will all run dry. Consumerist
-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Meatball appetizers, distant cousins of the New Hampshire record setters, at the Crow Bar and Grill in Corona Del Mar. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Sampler Platter: Agura sushi soft-opens, absinthe in Rome, Halloween cupcakes

It looks innocuous, but the Diavaolo, a chocolate milkshake with 80-proof absinthe, packs a big punch. It's served at Latte Piu, one of two

A cupcake so cute it's scary, a Roman milk bar and a new sushi restaurant on La Cienega lead our food news roundup.
-- Teetotalers may be more depressed than drinkers. Time
-- Absinthe in a chocolate shake? Welcome to Latte Piu, a milk bar in Rome that’s patterned after "Clockwork Orange's" Korova. Los Angeles Times
-- Agura sushi on La Cienega soft-opens. Blackburn + Sweetzer
-- Figs, cupcakes, Guy Fieri and seven more things David Chang and Anthony Bourdain hate. Grub Street LA
-- San Diego Meat Co. recalls 925 pounds of beef products due to E. coli threat. Los Angeles Times
-- Red Mango has a new seasonal flavor: pumpkin spice.
-- Most adorable Halloween cupcake ever? We Love You So
-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: It looks innocuous, but the Diavaolo, a chocolate milkshake with 80-proof absinthe, packs a big punch. It's served at Latte Piu, a milk bar in Rome. Credit: Baxter Holmes / For The Times

Sampler Platter: Cupcake car, Godfather vodka, KISS M&M'S, Kanye West on chicken

Ground lamb skewers the Anatolian Culture and Cuisine Festival held in April 2009 in Costa Mesa.

Ridiculous branded products (from vodka to candy), risky foods and fast food chains that are trying new tricks and treats... All this and more in today's food news roundup.
-- Squabbles between street vendors are becoming more frequent at the corner of Cesar E. Chavez Avenue and Soto Street. The Eastsider LA
-- Five of the Top 10 riskiest FDA-regulated foods are vegetables and fruits. Booster Shots
-- Despite the down economy, food festivals are booming. Wall Street Journal
-- Chef Robert Danhi (brother of Grilled Cheese Truck founder Dave Danhi) leads tasting tours through Little Saigon, a.k.a. Westminster. Brand X
-- Burger King to overhaul all its restaurants in an attempt to compete with more upscale fast casual eateries. AdAge
-- Taco Bell tests cupcakes and smoothies. Fast Food Maven
-- Neiman Marcus' newest item: a $25,000 cupcake car. Slashgear
-- Godfather Vodka opens door to Oscar-winning branded booze. Movieline
-- Kanye West on chicken: I eat it because I'm black. The Boombox
-- KISS band members to be immortalized as M&M'S. KISS Army News
-- No more free cookies at Harvard faculty meetings. Oh, the humanity! New York Times
-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Ground lamb skewers at the Anatolian Culture and Cuisine Festival held in April in Costa Mesa. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Sampler Platter: Baja Fresh to franchise Calbi BBQ truck, 1,500-calorie Craz-E Burger, world's largest cupcake

A farmer sprays riot police with milk from a cow's udder during a demonstration in front of E.U. headquarters in Brussels.

Angry dairy farmers dousing police officers in milk, a franchised nouveau food truck and fake restaurant receipts top today's food news roundup.
-- Baja Fresh has acquired the Calbi BBQ truck and will franchise the concept. Nation's Restaurant News
-- Fresh & Easy is expected to end the year with a loss. Fast Food Maven
-- 1,316-pound Guinness World Record cupcake is unveiled at a breast cancer benefit. Breitbart
-- Farmers spray police officers with milk -- from live cows! -- at a protest against falling milk prices in Brussels. New York Times
-- Need to generate a fake restaurant receipt for your expense report? Expense-a-Steak will do it for you. Wall Street Journal
-- Meet the 1,500-calorie Craz-E Burger: beef patty, bacon and cheese on a Krispy Kreme doughnut. New York Daily News
-- Although banning fast-food eateries probably won't reduce obesity rates, some people love the soda tax idea. Los Angeles Times
-- Can an anthropomorphized pickle with skinny legs, high-top sneakers and a baseball cap make frozen pickle-juice popsicles seem cool? Bob's Pickle Pops
-- Can a 20-minute Web-only "rock opera" featuring the exploits of fake rocker White Gold get people to drink milk? Los Angeles Times
-- Six tips to get you the most out of dineLA 's Restaurant Week. LAist
-- The Obamas spend their 17th wedding anniversary at Blue Duck Tavern. Positively Barack
-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: A farmer sprays riot police with milk from a cow's udder during a demonstration in front of European Union headquarters in Brussels. Dairy farmers drove hundreds of tractors into the center of Belgium's capital on Monday in the hope of pushing farm ministers into backing more funds to help them survive the milk price crisis. Credit: Yves Logghe / Associated Press

Cupcakes and more for Breast Cancer Awareness

Crumbspinkribboncupcake October 2009 marks the 25th anniversary of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. (Click here to learn more about what causes breast cancer and what you can do to prevent it.)

Here are a few ways to do good while stuffing your face:

-- The Sprinklesmobile will be at USC on Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. All of the proceeds from its Pink Ribbon strawberry cupcakes will go to the EIF Women’s Cancer Research Fund.
-- Crumbs is offering Pink Ribbon vanilla and chocolate cupcakes through Oct. 15. For each of these cupcakes it sells, the company will donate $1 to the National Breast Cancer Coalition.
-- Cleavage Creek winery, founded by Budge Brown after he lost his wife of 48 years to breast cancer, donates 10% of its gross wine sales to breast cancer research.

And if you prefer shopping to eating, here are some fashion items that help support the cause.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Crumbs Bakeshop

Sampler Platter: Babycakes cupcake recipe revealed, Pink's Hot Dogs opens in Las Vegas, sushi robots on the rise

Sue Moore's Let's Be Frank food trailer serves hot dogs made from grass-fed cows and humanely raised pigs.

You want the recipe for Babycakes' much-loved vegan chocolate cupcakes? You got it! This and more in today's food news roundup.
--Eight great street-food vendors in Los Angeles. Gourmet
--Will investors show an appetite for local food? An exploration of the venture capitalism behind the slow food movement featuring the Let's Be Frank hot dog truck. Los Angeles Times
--I, for one, salute our sushi robot overlords. YouTube
--Playboy bunnies, B-grade reality starlets and former Spice Girls show up for grand opening of Pink's Hot Dogs in Las Vegas. Monsters and Critics
--A postmortem on the failure of the iconic Tavern on the Green. New York Times
--Gwyneth Paltrow sits down with Erin McKenna, the founder of Babycakes NYC (slated to open its first LA location... eventually) and gets her recipes for chocolate cupcakes and vanilla frosting, double chocolate chip cookies and lemon poppy tea cake. Goop
--Fort Smith, Arkansas considers a 3% table tax. Restaurateurs unhappy. KFSM
--Elina Shatkin

Photo: Sue Moore's Let's Be Frank food trailer serves hot dogs made from grass-fed cows and humanely raised pigs. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

Sampler Platter: Hot dogs, cupcakes, tacos & Padma

Wienermobile CrashCheap hot dogs, giant cupcakes, Padma Lakshmi as a sitcom star? A cupcake that weighs more than you do? Wienermobile gone out of control? All this and more in today's food news roundup.

  • The newly revamped Wienermobile crashes into a Wisconsin house.
  • Long Island man claims he's reverse-engineered KFC's secret fried chicken recipe. New York Post
  • California's new law that requires chain restaurants with more than 20 outlets to post the calorie count of menu items is already causing some menu changes. Sacramento Bee
  • An interview with Doug Quint, proprietor of the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. Gothamist
  • Lobster: cheaper than hot dogs? Money
  • I Was a Baby Bulimic: A terrific story from NYT's former restaurant critic Frank Bruni about his somewhat tormented relationship with food.
  • Padma Lakshmi signed a development deal for a half-hour sitcom in which she'll star as a woman working in the culinary world. Variety
  • Earlier today, @BorderGrill's 1,000th follower won 20 free tacos from the new taco truck.
  • "World's Largest Cupcake" award goes to a 151-pound cupcake. World Record Academy

--Elina Shatkin

Photo: Tom McCauley / Journal Times/AP.

Cupcake Madness with SusieCakes, Yummy, Sweet E's, Whole Foods

SusieCakes celebrates its 3rd birthday with a Golden Ticket giveaway baked into cupcakes To celebrate its 3-year anniversary Saturday, July 18, SusieCakes will hide golden tickets inside 10 of its cupcakes. Prizes include a spot in one of their baking or cake decorating classes, a free 6- or 9-inch cake, five dozen mini-cupcakes and one dozen cupcakes. Winners will also be entered in a grand prize drawing to receive a 9-inch specialty layer cake every month for a year. The ever-expanding bakery will open its newest location, in Manhattan Beach next Saturday, July 25. (SusieCakes: Brentwood, Calabasas, Newport Beach)

Can’t make it to the county fair? Starting in August, Yummy Cupcakes will offer concession stand-themed cupcakes in flavors: buttered popcorn, Goobers, Good N’ Plenty, Hot Tamale, Sour Patch Kids and Raisinettes. (Yummy Cupcakes: Santa Monica, Burbank)

An array of cupcakes at Whole FoodsAre these a new item or something that's long been around? Either way, it's come to our attention that Whole Foods recently started promoting its in-house cupcakes -- decorated like Cookie Monster, piglets, bears and other adorable animals -- quite aggressively. Here's a shot from the Pasadena store.

And if you're too lazy to get out of bed and buy yourself treats, you can now have a passel of mini-cupcakes delivered to you by Sweet E’s mini bake shop, reports Daily Candy. They come in a travel-safe white box and include flavors: Peanut Butter Blizzard, chocolate-iced, cookie dough-stuffed vanilla cake, and S'mores. There's no storefront; order online or by phone (323-422-8885).

--Elina Shatkin

Photos: Top: courtesy of SusieCakes. Bottom: Rob Takata / For The Times.

Making whoopie... pies that is, at SusieCakes

A whoopie pie from SusieCakes Bakery in Los AngelesRapidly expanding bakery SusieCakes, well known for its red velvet cupcakes -- they won first place in the traditional category at this year's Los Angeles Cupcake Challenge -- recently added another retro dessert to its lineup of snickerdoodles and frosted animal cookies: whoopie pies. Already a trend in New York, whoopie pies remain a rare and unpredictable sight in Southern California.

SusieCakes makes theirs with an inch-thick layer of vanilla butter cream socked between two soft, doughy rounds of chocolate cake. A frosting-lover's dream, they're almost unbearably rich. Introduced May 15, they come in three diameters: 3½ inches ($5), 6 inches ($50) and 9 inches ($85). If you can consume even the smallest of these whoopie pies on your own, you've got a serious sugar addiction.

You can find them at any of SusieCakes' three locations -- Brentwood, Newport Beach and Calabasas -- and starting in late July, they'll be at SusieCakes' newest outpost: 3500 N. Sepulveda Blvd. No. 150, Manhattan Beach. (310) 303-3780. Just in time for the chain's original Brentwood location to celebrate its third anniversary on July 17.

--Elina Shatkin

Photo: Courtesy of SusieCakes

A cupcake to share

 Cupcake

 A reader, Phyllis Mael, wrote to add to our cupcake knowledge by showing us how her granddaughter celebrated her graduation from the University of Maryland. The cake is from Leslie Goldman-Poyourow of Fancy Cakes by Leslie in Bethesda, Md.

-- Mary MacVean

Related: Make your own

Photo: Phyllis Mael

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.