Adventures in Eating & Cooking
I hope you’re not all bored of reading about cupcakes, because I am certainly not bored of eating and reviewing them (although I will probably be switching back to posting about “real food” shortly). In fact, a handful of my friends and I went over to Two Little Red Hens yesterday, a sweet little jewel in Chwis’s new neighborhood: The Upper East Side (the place where I most desperately want to live).
Located right next to a giant fine meats market, Two Little Red Hens can be easily overlooked or mistaken as a chicken store (hence the name). However, the quaint, ornate decorations in the window and the word “Bakery” in printed on the side instantly caught my attention.
As I took a good look inside the bakery, drinking in its amusing toys and pictures with my eyes, I found the surroundings to be reminiscent of a suburban mother’s kitchen. However, it isn’t just an ordinary conformist suburban mother; this mother has a unique sense of patriotism and style.
One of the things that I really like about Two Little Red Hens is that the cupcakes come in two sizes: regular (which is a generous size) and mini. I love getting mini cupcakes because it means I can taste several cupcakes with a clear conscience at a lower price ($1.75). So I decided to buy three cupcakes this time: red velvet, banana, and chocolate.
I tried the red velvet cupcake first since it was advertised in the window as “our famous red velvet”, and I’m sorry to say that it disappointed me. Perhaps I expected too much from the advertisement and Chwis’s declaration: “Wow, the red velvet is amazing!” But the truth is, Two Little Red Hens‘ red velvet just doesn’t match up to the red velvet at Martha’s or Pinisi.
Why? Because the cake was on the dry, crumbly side, and I couldn’t taste the subtle overtones of chocolate that is typical of red velvet cupcakes. In fact, I could barely taste the cake itself underneath the intense cream cheese frosting. Don’t get me wrong. I thought the frosting was great: not too sweet, not too heavy, and not overwhelming. The only thing is, it completely outshone the modest cake.
Next I went bananas, or rather I went for the banana cupcake, which turned out to be superb. This cupcake was deliciously soft and moist, though not as godly as the banana cupcake from Butter Lane. Still, it is probably the next best. The whipped banana frosting felt light, playing a perfect supporting role for the rich banana cake. It was the perfect synchronization of banana within a single cupcake, and reminded me of the amazing banana pudding at Magnolia.
The chocolate cupcake was better than red velvet, although not as good as banana. The cake itself was lacking in chocolate flavor, but the chocolate frosting oozing with rich chocolatey goodness made up for that. I think Two Little Red Hens uses the same chocolate frosting here as it does in its fabulous Brooklyn Blackout cupcake (probably the best cupcake there, which I tried in a free sample). The regular chocolate cupcake seemed like a toned-down version of Brooklyn Blackout. It did not burst, explode, or melt in my mouth the way Brooklyn Blackout did. However, it did cause the corners of my mouth to curve up into a smile as I relished the smooth, fluffy chocolate.
Chwis and Natalie split a regular yellow cake (non-cupcake) for a good price: $1 (making me feel like a gluttonous spendthrift). Natalie thought it tasted like ice cream cake, but Chwis thought it was sort of old.
Conclusion: Two Little Red Hens is a pretty nice bakery. Cute mini cupcakes, cozy atmosphere, free samples, etc. Just another reason added to the list of why I envy Chwis for her new Upper East Side apartment.