Hello Cupcake

Pastry Chef Special w/ Skim Latte

In the past two weeks, I’ve visited Hello Cupcake twice. In the beginning (a year ago to the day), Hello Cupcake was one of my favorites because of the interesting flavors and convenient location. Unfortunately, I think their quality and recipes have changed and gone downhill.
Most recently, I’ve eaten the Bailey’s/Guinness cupcake (March), Pick Me Up, Velvet Elvis, Root Beer Float, and Pastry Chef’s Special (Almond frosting with vanilla cake). All of the cakes were too dry and the icing too sweet, but I’ll highlight the two that stood out the most below:
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Root Beer Float Cupcake
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I missed out on this cupcake flavor last summer, and as a result I think I built it up more than I should have. It tasted like a pumpkin muffin, but instead of pumpkin, it was licorice flavored. The frosting had a hardened crust on the outside that gave way to a soft, sickeningly sweet inside. I could see where they were going with this, but it was entirely too sweet. I actually wondered if I was going to get sick from eating this. I scraped the icing off (read: the cupcake fell icing first onto my desk while being eaten), but without the icing, the cake was too dry.
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Pastry Chef’s Special (8/17/09)
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This cupcake was being offered with either a vanilla or chocolate cake and I figured the vanilla cake would complement the almond frosting the best. I liked the smell of the cupcake and the added almond slivers on top. The icing itself was hard and looked like a supermarket cupcake. It was ridiculously hard and did nothing to offset the dryness of the cake. I was expecting a nice, nutty flavor from this, but it tasted strongly of almond paste (marzipan) that had probably been sitting on the shelf for a few winters. This made me wonder if the pastry chef actually tasted this before calling it their “special” of the day! After breaking through the icing crust, I proceeded to slowly eat this over the span of an hour, balanced out with a bland latte. This was the closest I’ve ever been to a diabetic coma, and not the good kind. I was seriously sick after eating this.

I also tried their latte and it was alright. The coffee tasted a bit burnt and on it’s own, the latte was flavorless and needed some sugar. Fortunately, I had plenty of sugar to go with it in the cupcake that I purchased.

Back from New York City

I just got back from New York City! I went this past weekend with my boyfriend for a much needed vacation/belated 5-Year anniversary celebration. I was so tired when we got back that I collapsed on the bed and woke up this morning, not even remembering going to sleep. I’ll be posting all about my food-related adventures in a bit, but here’s an overview of what’s to come:


  • Washington Square
  • Aki on West 4th
  • Tokyo Bar


  • Pax
  • Japanese Culinary Center – Closed
  • Kinokuniya @ Rockerfeller Center – Closed
  • Nintendo Store
  • Gramercy Tavern
  • Shopping (Sur La Table, Uniqlo, Pearl River, Muji, CB2, TopShop, Kidrobot, Voseges, CO Bigelow)
  • Angelo’s Coal Oven Pizzeria


  • Kinokuniya Bryant Park
  • Max Brenner
  • Momofuku Ssam Bar
  • Crumbs
  • Shopping (Kinokuniya, Penguin)
  • Ten Ren
  • Lucky Bakery
  • Kee’s Chocolates
  • Jewel Bako
  • Magnolia Bakery


  • Metropolitian Museum of Art
  • Kyotofu
  • Ess-a-Bagel

Mid-September Bento

Nothing extraordinary here, just the continuation of leftover mixed with new sweets.


Sept 16th – Vegetable Korma with Jalapeno Sausage; Pineapple-Coconut yogurt with “Harvest” (ハーベスト) cookies

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Sept 18th – Green Tea Day! Ochazuke; Matcha Castella (with a thin layer of adzuki on top I think)


Sept 21st – Summer Corn Chowder; Sesame Chicken
Sept 22nd – More Ochazuke; Zucchini Bread
Sept 23rd – Customized MojoMix Granola; Cup Noodles

I’ve been really lazy recently, but I’m trying to use up what’s in the refrigerator since we are going on Vacation soon!

Carte Postale d’Indonésie


Diana from Bento Concept and her friend KaraChiwie have started traveling around the world with bento. The first stop was Italy and the next stop is Indonesia (October 5th). Bento Concept has amazingly cute bento. Even though the site is written in French, Diana provides a short English summary at the bottom.  Everyone is welcome to join the bento-around-the-world adventure!

Bottom tier (brown): Egg sheet; baby spinach; tofu noodles cooked with carrot, fish sauce, coconut lime dressing, ginger lime sauce, and soy sauce, Baby elephant made out of konnyaku and cooked in sesame oil with cheese decorations [I personally think the elephant looks like a mouse and my boyfriend said it could be an anteater too].

Top tier (orange): Spicy green beans with shrimp paste, curried chicken skewers, konnyaku and carrot with tofu sesame sauce. Under the noodles is an orange container filled with peanut sauce.

I’ve never been to Indonesia, but my boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend taught there for a while. I didn’t want to do the typical fried rice nasi goreng but wanted to get the range of flavors available in Indonesia. And Indonesia is also famous for elephants.

This was actually my first -ever- attempt at kyaraben キャラ弁 with the little elephant. I have once again proven that though I can come up with creative ideas, my execution (mind to hand) is lacking. How do I solve this problem and become craftier??

Curried Chicken Lime Skewers with Lime-Apricot Glaze


By the time we finished making dinner Wednesday, we were absolutely famished.  Hence this hurried, low-quality shot.

This recipe came from SeriousEats’ “Eat for Eight Bucks” section. We actually had all of the ingredients except curry powder and the chicken, so our cost was considerably less. It was fairly easy and quick to make. The only reason I this recipe took so long is because I trimmed the chicken very meticulously (even though the chicken was “hand-trimmed”).  Once the chicken was all cut up, it was about 12 minutes to cook and 3 minutes total to make the marinade and dipping sauce. I was afraid that since the chicken didn’t marinade before cooking that the meat would be bland, but the meat was juicy and flavorful. The chicken passed the test to go into the “we’ll-make-this-again cookbook”, but the sauce didn’t–we were split 50/50 on it.

Curried Chicken Lime Skewers with Lime-Apricot Glaze

  • 1/8 c. lime juice
  • 1/8 c. soy sauce
  • 1/8 c. apricot or peach jam
  • 1tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2-inch section ginger, coarsely chopped (or ginger powder)
  • 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Sweet-and-tangy peanut dipping sauce (optional; recipe follows)

Set skewers aside to soak in water. Purée all the marinade ingredients in a blender. If making peanut dipping sauce (recipe follows), reserve about 1/5 of the marinade before it comes into contact with the raw chicken and set aside. Trim and cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Skewer the chicken, leaving enough room at the end to grab onto later. Pour the marinade over the chicken pieces. Preheat the broiler for at least 5 minutes and position the rack so that the skewers will be 3 inches from the heat source. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil. Place each skewer on the pan, arranging them so that the meat is in the center of the pan and the skewers slightly hang over the outside, and slide into the broiler. Broil until the chicken develops a few char spots, about 5 to 6 minutes. Turn each piece over to brown the other side, an additional 5 to 6 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Test for doneness by cutting into the thickest part of the skewer.Serve with peanut dipping sauce and/or lime wedges for squeezing.

Sweet-and-Tangy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Reserve about 1/5 of the marinade before it has come into contact with the raw chicken. Take desired amount of peanut butter and dilute with enough marinade so that a dipping consistency is reached.