Tuckerman’s Ravine with Blue Cheese and Carmelized Onions

This weekend, I was dragged along on an adventure to ski Tuckerman’s Ravine on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. Skiing sounds fun, it’s the getting there that’s brutal. Truth be told, the skiing was a little brutal too.

It works like this…wear comfortable hiking clothes and boots, pack extra clothes/jacket, hat, gloves, etc. in case the temp drops or the wind picks up. (Mt. Washington is notorious for having the worst weather in the world). Pack your ski boots in your pack and attach your skis to the outside of the pack. Place oversized 50 lb. pack on your back and hike 3.2 miles up Mt. Washington to the base of the Ravine. Once at the Ravine, you put on your warming layers, swap your hiking boots for ski boots, grab your skis and poles and proceed to hike up the ravine to a spot that looks like a good starting point. When you’ve had your fill of skiing (generally one run because the hike up is brutal, the picture doesn’t do the steepness justice), you swap out your gear for hiking gear, attach your skis to your 50 lb. pack and hike the 3.2 miles back down Mt. Washington.

The only one who had fun on this hike was my dog, Milo. He loved it and was my only source of joy the whole day. Him, and the big burger I had for dinner. By the time we got back down, not only did my quads burn like crazy, I was starved and desperate to eat something, anything.

And what I really wanted was a burger. My official favorite burger topping is blue cheese. It gets a little melty and is just yummy blue cheese yumminess. Add some caramelized onions to the mix and I’m in heaven. No condiments, tomatoes or lettuce; they only ruin the pure flavor explosion about to happen. I prefer my burger on an english muffin (cutting back on carbs) but that night, I went all out for the whole wheat bun. Let’s face it, I earned it!

So, now I’m back in the city and ready to re-start my red velvet cupcake madness. Just in time, Sprinkles opens in the big apple tomorrow….

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$3.75 Crumbs Bakery

First up, Crumbs Bakery red velvet cupcake! I have to disclose that I’ve eaten a Crumbs red velvet cupcake before and didn’t think it was anything special. I’d go as far as to say I regretted eating it. That said I’m glad I gave them another chance.

So Crumbs is a well-known and loved bakery with locations along the east coast, IL and CA. I went to the 8th St. location in Greenwich Village for my trip; it’s right on the way to NYU so I took my cupcake to class for dinner. I should’ve taken a picture of it, but ended up taking a bite before I remembered to. Oh well.

The most important part of a red velvet cupcake is the frosting and the frosting was just right (not too sweet so my teeth didn’t hurt). I’m generally a fan of sprinkles/jimmies but am a cream cheese frosting purist so I would’ve passed on them and the crumbled red velvet cake on top.

Speaking of cake, the difficulty in red velvet is the cake texture; too often it comes out dry. Crumbs’ texture was adequate, not dry but could’ve been moister (is that even a word??). There was plenty of frosting though, so I could take every bite of cake with some frosting.

Overall, I give Crumbs a “good” rating. I will say the service at this location was excellent. I overheard a worker describing some of the cupcakes to another patron and it was clear he was a cupcake connoisseur and very good at articulating the nuances of each cupcake.

Off to the next one…

Sprinklers located throughout the building…

As I entered Kaufman Management Center to do my brand strategy presentation, I saw that sign and experienced a moment of sheer joy as I thought it read “Sprinkles located throughout the building”. I fully anticipated finding Sprinkles cupcakes located throughout the building. Sprinkles happens to be my most loved cupcake bakery and I haven’t had one since I moved from CA 2+ years ago. As i realized my mistake, I tweeted my dismay and begged Sprinkles to come to NYC….

Less than 24 hours later, i see a tweet from Sprinkles cupcakes announcing their arrival in the Big Apple! I adore Sprinkles and am anxiously awaiting their arrival, but realized that I haven’t given all the NYC bakeries a fair shake. My cupcake of choice is red velvet so I’ve decided to do a city wide red velvet cupcake tour. My goal is to find the BEST red velvet cupcakes in the city. Stay tuned for my red velvet madness updates!

For those who want to make their own red velvet cupcakes, here’s a recipe for the cream cheese frosting (which is really the best part). And for those of you who are also sans Sprinkles, they sell their cupcake mix at Williams Sonoma and the red velvet is amazing. This frosting recipe comes from them.

Sprinkles Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. Cream cheese (room temp)
1stick of butter, firm not cold
3 3/4 c. Sifted powder sugar
1/8 t. salt
1/2 t. vanilla extract

Using flat beater in your electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter and salt on med/low speed until smooth and creamy (2-3 mins). Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the confectioners sugar; beating until incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat until mixed.
Do not over beat or frosting will incorporate too much air ( should be creamy and dense like ice cream). Add milk (1t. at a time) if frosting is not spreadable.

What’s your bakery and cupcake of choice? Any that I should put on my must visit list?