Showing posts with label triathlon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label triathlon. Show all posts

Monday, November 26, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Last Monday was my birthday. As I mentioned last week, my birthday came the day after my Ironman race. My birthday wish was to complete my Ironman. Turns out I was lucky this year and my pre-birthday wish came true. I am officially an Ironman!!

Since my husband had to get back to work, we spent my birthday driving home from Arizona. I was super happy to find this special surprise on our garage as we drove up. My friends are so wonderful!

But that wasn't it. There was also a box of cupcakes from Casey's Cupcakes on my front porch. How spoiled can I be?! I spent the rest of the evening relaxing and sampling each cupcake. Delicious! I can't wait to do an official review of Casey's Cupcakes soon. All in all, it was a great birthday! One I will never forget.

Friday, October 19, 2012

I Can't Stay Away from Sweet and Saucy Shop

A few weeks ago I raced Orangeman, an iron-distance triathlon, meaning 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 run. I've done several of these races before, but this was the first time I crashed. What?! Yes I crashed on my bike for the first time ever! It was a stupid accident where caution tape got tangled in my bike handlebars and at 18 mph I went down hard on asphalt. Luckily I was only 3 miles from the end of the bike course, so after I got attended to by the paramedics, I rode my bike back and finished the race by running 13.1 miles.

I would say that deserves some cupcakes, right?

It wasn't hard to convince my friend Jill to join me for a trip to Sweet and Saucy Shop in Newport Beach, CA. Between the two of us, we ordered one of everything. Yeah, we are that serious about cupcake eating.

I've been to Sweet and Saucy Shop before, but I tried a few new items this time: S'mores cupcake, mini pumpkin cheesecake, lemon cupcake, pumpkin mousse dessert shot, and butterscotch dessert shot. Loved everything...enough said!

Desmond might have tasted his first taste of whipped cream. Shhhh! Don't tell my husband!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Race Reward Tradition

It's become a tradition for me to eat cupcakes from Elizabethan Desserts after my Half-Ironman 70.3 California race in Oceanside every year. The race is just a few days away (Saturday) and I'm planning on continuing my tradition of getting cupcakes from my favorite cupcake store of all time. (Yes you read that right. I picked Elizabethan Desserts as #1 on the list of My Top 10 Cupcakes of All Time.)

So watch out! I'm planning on cleaning out the store because I'll have quite an appetite after swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 miles, and running 13.1 miles.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Triathlon Cake

Finding this cake seemed perfectly appropriate as I'm competing in my first triathlon (Ironman 70.3 California) of the season this Saturday. This is my A race, so I've been training and training and training for the past three months. Fingers crossed that all goes well!

This cake is from Berties Bakery. Turns out that Bertie is a lot like me: a triathlete who also loves to eat sweets. She made this amazing cake for National Capital Area Cake Show Competition and won 1st place Overall in the Adult Beginner Division. This cake definitely deserves an award...check out all of the detail!




Congrats on the awesome cake, Bertie! I love it!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Review: Sweet Arleen's

Last month I competed in another triathlon. Yes, triathlon is what I do to stay in shape. Without it, I would be a huge cupcake blog.

The race was the Malibu International Triathlon. My triathlon tradition is a sweet reward of cupcakes after each race. I researched cupcakes in the Malibu area and got super excited when I found Sweet Arleen's in nearby Westlake Village.

Recognize the name Sweet Arleen's? If you do, then you know why I was so excited. Sweet Arleen's was a contestant on Cupcake Wars. Arleen competed for $10,000 and the opportunity to display her cupcakes at a film festival. She won the episode, so naturally I was excited to try her winning cupcakes!

My friends, my husband, and I showed up at Sweet Arleen's on a Saturday afternoon. The shop was really tiny, but well-decorated with lots of delicious-looking desserts. Sweet Arleen's doesn't just sell cupcakes, they also have bread puddings.

The selection of flavors was pretty decent. We got to choose from about 10 flavors of cupcakes and 6 flavors of bread puddings. My thoughtful picks were Banana Caramel cupcake, Pina Colada cupcake, Rich Peanut Butter cupcake, and Pumpkin bread pudding. These cupcakes look delicious, do they not? I seriously couldn't wait to eat them!

Banana Caramel cupcake:
Banana cupcake with vanilla frosting and caramel center
I took my first bite and thought, hmmm...this isn't as great as I expected. Took another bite to confirm my first thought. DRY. Nooooo! Dry cupcakes are the worst. Not even great frosting can save a dry cupcake and unfortunately the frosting was just so-so. The frosting was very light and unnatural. The caramel filling couldn't save this cupcake either. The flavor combination was there, but this cupcake failed at tasting great.

Pina Colada:
White cupcake with coconut syrup, filled with pineapple, topped with vanilla buttercream frosting and coconut shavings
Maybe my second cupcake would be better. Nope. Another dry cupcake. Argh! And the frosting was a light, whipped frosting, my least favorite. The pineapple filling was ok, but there wasn't nearly enough. The coconut shavings didn't have any flavor either.

Rich Peanut Butter:
Peanut butter cupcake with chocolate frosting
Finally something good. The frosting was thick and chocolaty. But the cake was dry again. Sounds like a pattern. I didn't have a peanut butter filling like the description on the website lists. Can't like a cupcake on just the frosting alone.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding:
Pumpkin bread pudding with caramelized brown sugar topping
This dessert was the highlight of my day! Although I can't be sure if I liked this because it was actually great or because it was not bad like everything else I tried. Either way, I liked it. I've never tried pumpkin bread pudding before, but I had a feeling I would like it. Very moist (unlike the cupcakes) and the brown sugar glaze was the perfect accessory for this dessert.

My friends ordered a box of cupcakes too and I tasted the flavors I hadn't bought myself. Unfortunately, all of their cupcakes were the same: dry. The red velvet was a fake red velvet (white cake with bright red food coloring) with a whipped cream cheese frosting. The strawberry cupcake also had a whipped frosting that was worse than the one on my Pina Colada. The Carrot Walnut has a decent cream cheese frosting (not whipped), but that's about all it had going for it. Sadly, so many cupcakes went to waste because no one could bear eating such dry cupcakes.

The cupcakes are $3-$3.50 each and the bread puddings are $5.50-$6 each. Mini cupcakes and mini bread puddings are also available. I only saw mini cupcakes sold by the dozen on display. If I had to go back to Sweet Arleen's, I would stick to the bread puddings. Super disappointing.

Sweet Arleen's
960 South Westlake Village Blvd. #4
Westlake Village, CA 91361

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Race Reward

A few weeks ago I raced in my second Half-Ironman race (California Ironman 70.3). Although it was one of the hardest races I've ever completed, I had a great day. I improved my time from last year and recovered sooner. Of course, after the race all I could think about was getting over to Elizabethan Desserts to claim my prize--a Monkey Business cupcake!

We got there just before closing time and thankfully I was lucky enough to get the last Monkey Business cupcake. Phew! I also picked up a few cupcakes to share with my family.
Cupcake count: Red Velvet (2), Monkey Business (1), Chocolate Raspberry (1), Elvis (2). I also picked up a sugar cookie and wished I didn't have to share with my husband. It was awesome! The frosting was so buttery sweet. I am definitely getting one of those again next time.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Time for Elizabethan Desserts!

Last year I competed in my first Ironman 70.3. It was a long, exhausting day that ended with a trip to my favorite bakery, Elizabethan Desserts in Encinitas. Well worth swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 miles, and running 13.1 miles.

In five days I will be doing it all over again! Swimming, biking, running, and eating cupcakes from Elizabethan Desserts.

Fingers crossed that I will be lucky enough to score a Monkey Business cupcake!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Friends Know Me Well

At the beginning of the month I raced in my first Xterra Triathlon in Las Vegas. I have competed in quite a few triathlons in the past few years but, an Xterra Triathlon is bit different. Substitute mountain biking for road biking and trail running for "normal" running and you have an Xterra Triathlon.

After the race we met up with some friends in Henderson for dinner. My dear friend Jill surprised me with a box of cupcakes from The Cupcakery. I reviewed The Cupcakery last year, but was excited to try a few flavors I missed.

I didn't get to try Pamela's Pina Colada before, but I found that I should never let that happen again. Pina Colada was easily my favorite cupcake of the group. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup was my second favorite. Again, it's hard to mess up such a killer combination.

The Cupcakery has two locations in the Las Vegas area. I go to the one off Eastern in Henderson. Their cupcakes sell for $3.00. Next time you are in the Vegas area, definitely try these cupcakes. Thank you, thank you, thank you Jill for knowing that I would want a cupcake after my race.

NOTE: I'm still in Italy and should be getting to Rome today.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Best Cupcakes Ever!!

I can't emphasize this enough--Elizabethan Desserts makes the best cupcakes I have ever tasted!!!

As I mentioned a few days ago, I paid a visit to Elizabethan Desserts after my Ironman 70.3 race two weeks ago. I had been looking forward to going there for months. I even emailed the store to make sure they would have my favorite cupcake. If you are ever in the Oceanside/Encinitas/San Diego area, please stop here and enjoy cupcake greatness!

Chocolate Toffee
(tastes like a Milk Bordeaux)

Rosie's Red Velvet
(with white chocolate cream cheese frosting)

My favorite cupcake:
Monkey Business
(banana cupcake with white chocolate cream cheese,
topped with caramel)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sprinkles - Living Up to Its Hype?

The other day I was thinking about what started my cupcake obsession. I have always loved cupcakes, but I think what began my so-called "obsession" was Sprinkles Cupcakes. The first time I tried one of their cupcakes was heavenly. So it is a huge surprise to me that I hadn't officially reviewed Sprinkles.

I have mentioned before that my trophy for completing a triathlon is a trip to a cupcakery. This weekend was no different. Since our race was in Newport Beach, it only made sense that we went to Sprinkles. I invited my triathlon friends to come along. My friend Donny is seeing what all the hype is about.

I love that anxious feeling I get when I am trying to see what flavors they are offering for the day. I am rarely disappointed (unless it is the end of the day and there are slim pickings).

Sprinkles weren't the only cupcakes that I tried that day. I also visited Bristol Farms, which is in the same shopping center as Sprinkles. I went home with five cupcakes. I would have to do an entire Ironman to burn off all of those calories!

Since I am critiquing cupcakes, it seemed only fair that I try cupcakes that I hadn't eaten before. I chose Key Lime (the flavor of the month), Red Velvet (I had to get my favorite all-round cupcake), and Chocolate Marshmallow.

Key Lime
: I was expecting something along the lines of Key Lime pie, but I was surprised at how tame the key lime taste was. The cupcake was a key lime cake with key lime-vanilla frosting. The cake didn't need to have more key lime flavor, but the frosting definitely did. My mom, who is a big key lime fan, was also slightly disappointed, but that didn't stop her from eating the cupcake. Besides my suggestion of a more flavorful frosting, the cake was moist, the frosting was sweet, overall making it a good cupcake.

Chocolate Marshmallow: I went out on a limb with this one because I would never normally buy this kind of cupcake. I like thick, creamy frosting, something that this cupcake lacked. The cake was a dark Belgian chocolate and the frosting was marshmallow cream covered with bittersweet chocolate ganache. Although each part of the cupcake was good by itself, this was not a good combination for the typical cupcake. I like ganache...I had it on my wedding cake, but it was a filler, not a frosting. The marshmallow cream reminded me of the cream in the center of a Ding Dong, not my thing. I had three other people taste this cupcake and they all agreed that it was nothing special.

Last, but certainly not least, the famous Sprinkles Red Velvet Cupcake. This is one of my favorites cupcakes ever! Sometimes I forget how great it is until that first bite. I am then reminded that I should have only bought red velvet cupcakes. The cake has great moistness, the frosting is the perfect amount of creamy cream cheese, and the satisfaction is divine.
So thank you Sprinkles for helping me swim, bike, and run faster! You never disappoint!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Return to Elizabethan Desserts

Saturday was a pretty big day for me! I raced in my first olympic-distance triathlon. My husband promised me that if I finished in less than three hours, he would take me to Elizabethan Desserts in Encinitas. My goal for the race was three hours and five minutes, so that would mean finishing five minutes faster than I thought I could. I guess the motivation worked! My final time was 2 hours, 48 minutes, 50 seconds.

Elizabeth Desserts is located in Sunshine Gardens Nursery in Encinitas. I had been there before, and was so excited to go back! This time we had our camera with us
I love the atmosphere of this place. It is so homey. The last thing I want is corporate produced cupcakes. These desserts seem to have time and love put into them.
My husband got permission to take a few pictures of the bakery from Elizabeth herself. Both times we have been there, she has been behind the counter making cupcakes. The love the fact that she is so hands-on with her products.
Last time I tried the Monkey Business cupcake (banana cake, white chocolate frosting, caramel drizzled on top) and it was definitely the best cupcake I have ever tasted. I knew I couldn't go wrong with something so wonderful, so I got that cupcake again. I also bought a few of the Chocolate Peanut Butter ones and a Coconut to share with my family. In hindsight, I wish I had bought some other flavors. I guess that means I need to go back soon.
The verdict? Just as tasty as before! My husband was talking to Elizabeth who said that the Monkey Business cake was a little bit denser than usual. I had noticed that also. She explained the difficulties of baking with fruit and finding the right consistency for denseness and moistness. Elizabeth was debating on whether to pull the cupcakes because they weren't as delicious as possible. Even though I enjoyed the cupcake as much as the first time, I also appreciated Elizabeth's attention to detail and care for the product. This kind of attitude may have helped her business to become as successful as it is. I had an epiphany on the drive home. These cupcakes are definitely different than any other cupcake that I have tried before. I think the difference is that these cupcakes are more like desserts in a cupcake shape. The cake in Monkey Business is not the same as the usual consistency of a "normal" cupcake. Having thought this, it does not change my opinion at all. Elizabeth Desserts has just differentiated themselves by going beyond the traditional cupcake idea. I love their cupcakes and need to go back soon to expand the number of flavors tested. Thank you!


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