Cupcakes and beer

How to make Iris love you forever: tell her, “I got you a special treat…and it’s cupcakes!”

We’d been planning to check out Trophy Cupcakes, the new upstart cupcake shop in Wallingford, but Trophy Cupcakes unexpectedly came to me. I was at Remedy Teas this morning and noticed cupcakes, and they were, indeed, Trophy’s. I brought home one chai and one chocolate, and Iris and I shared the chai. I’ve never had a cardamom-flavored cupcake before. It was great. On weekends (at Trophy itself) they have a PB&J cupcake, which I’m sure Iris will enjoy.

It’s several years old now, but I finally got around to reading The Brewmaster’s Table, by Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery. It’s an absolute delight, because Oliver is an unrepentant hedonist, exactly the sort of Virgil you want on a trip to the ninth circle of beer (where presumably you’ll find a chalice of Duvel). The part where Oliver talks about what he had for dinner the previous week and what beer he chose to go with each meal is priceless–the guy can eat.

This is not a cookbook; it’s a guide to the world’s beers with tips for matching beer and food. I’ve said this before, but the ubiquity of great beer is one of my favorite things about Seattle. Any time I want, I can walk five blocks to the supermarket and choose from literally hundreds of beers, and Oliver’s book inspired me to do so last night, and to select something that might otherwise have scared me away: Dogfish Head’s Raison d’Etre. It’s scary not because of its 8 percent alcohol, but because it’s brewed with raisins. Why you would trumpet this on the label I don’t know (nobody actually likes raisins, right?), but it’s an astonishing and complex beer that nevertheless went great with chili.

And the Dogfish Head bottle illustrates perfectly another reason I love beer, one that Oliver is also quick to point out. If Raison d’Etre were a wine, it would be something weird from Austria or British Columbia and it would cost $25. Thank god it’s not. It was $2.

17 thoughts on “Cupcakes and beer

  1. Neil

    After a brief struggle with my inner snarky jerk, I have to comment that the $2 bottle of beer probably wasn’t 750ml.

    Don’t even get me started on cupcake shops. [bitter scowl]

  2. MOM(Judy)

    Your daughter loves raisins (at least at Grandma’s house). It was my plan to take Iris to Trophy Cupcakes after lunch tomorrow. Is a cupcake two days in a row still a special treat?

  3. Andrew Ross

    I’ve been visiting my parents in the DC area, where Dogfish Head apparently has a bunch of restaurants… I don’t drink, but my mom ordered the Raison d’Etre and it was a big hit. We tried to order a keg, but the weird county liquor laws prevented us from getting one.

  4. Kartoffel

    If you see it around, you can also try the Raison d’Extra from Dogfish Head, which is somewhere up around 18% alcohol. I like their 60 Minute IPA a lot, too. And the Immort Ale. The 120 Minute IPA is a bit much for me, though.

  5. mamster Post author

    Kartoffel, the Raison d’Extra was right next to the Raison d’Etre on the shelf. See? Seattle rocks.

    That said, the d’Extra was $9 and 18% is way too much for me.

  6. Lauren

    I’m very happy that Trophy Cupcakes moved into my neighborhood. I love them!

    And, just to provoke controversy, I want to hear Neil’s take on cupcake shops!

  7. mamster Post author

    Can I take a guess? They’re hawking mediocre, simple kid desserts that take no talent to make, at insane prices?

  8. Neil

    Sure, I’ll just drop a box of Duncan Hines and a can of frosting in the mail. You may expect your prize in 4-6 weeks. Some assembly required.

  9. Jason Truesdell

    As I mentioned on eGullet, the one thing about extravagantly priced cupcakes I appreciate is that it makes my croissant habit seem like a responsible, budget-conscious choice.

  10. Lauren

    Ah, okay. I love cake and feel that I’ve only mastered one in my life (german chocolate). To me, cupcakes are just small cakes and I am in awe of anyone possessing the talent to make them well. That said, there are a ton of crappy cakes (and cupcakes) out there.

  11. Wendy

    I think you should have a place where we can comment on your future menus. Unless, of course, you don’t want people commenting on your menus. But I often have comments I could make.

    Why spaghetti and meatballs? What kind of meatballs? What kind of sauce?

  12. mamster Post author

    Stacy, I hear you. I feel mostly the same way about dry red wine. Occasionally I’ve found one that I felt mildly excited about, but it’s not really my beverage of choice with anything. I cook with it all the time, and I see no contradiction in making, say, beef bourguignon and then drinking beer with it.

    Wendy, I’m working on a post in answer to your question, but in short, Iris has two books featuring spaghetti and meatballs, so I’m going to make a traditional Italian-American one with red sauce. Although I’m going to make the meatballs bite-sized, because I like them better that way.

  13. heather

    i know you had a whole dealie about this ages ago, but may i just say what an awesome book “cloudy with a chance of meatballs” is?

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