February 2012 | chicago foodie girl

2.27.2012

Sugar Bliss

Seasonal flavors: Vanilla Eggnog (left) & Gingerbread Spice (right)
Sugar Bliss is my favorite cupcake shop in Chicago. While other shops may temporarily slide into the number one spot (there really are so many fantastic cupcake places to choose from!), I always end up comparing them to Sugar Bliss and will eventually make my way back to my tried and true favorite. They consistently have high quality cupcakes and there are always so many awesome flavors available.

I work less than a block away from their Wabash location, so you can expect them to make fairly frequent appearances here. I visit them a bit more than I would like to admit... but there are so many lovely cupcakes just waiting to find their way to my mouth! It's hard to resist the call of the delicious cupcake... right?!

I love their Vanilla Eggnog, Vanilla Vanilla, and Strawberry Dream flavors, but I think my absolute favorite is the Peanut Butter & Jelly. Unfortunately fortunately, it's only offered once a year (as a autumn/back to school specialty). While I occasionally do enjoy one of those crazy cupcakes smothered in five inches of frosting and a bag of candy pieces, I tend to prefer simple cupcakes with robust flavors. I don't care what the pretentious food snobs say (cupcakes are sooo last year/cupcakes are juvenile) - to me, nothing beats a good cupcake.

Are you pro/con cupcake? For those of you who love them, what's your favorite flavor? 

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2.23.2012

Yuck list

I am a (self-professed) foodie. In theory, that means I should be open to trying just about anything, right? Well, yes, that's true... in theory. There are just some foods I cannot stand. Some of the foods on my yuck list are carryovers from childhood, while others came into play during adulthood. While I'm not 100% against trying these foods,* I am pretty set in my hatred... although as Tom Colicchio famously showed us on Top Chef All-Stars (when Tiffany Derry made okra that he actually liked), there may still hope (or not).

*excluding raisins, red onions, or licorice - my hatred is too deep and their flavors are just too pungent

Celery
It's bitter, obnoxiously loud, and shows up in the weirdest places. Seriously, who thought it would be a good idea to add celery to chicken noodle soup? That's the perfect way to ruin an otherwise comforting bowl of yumminess! The same goes for celery and peanut butter - well, that's just a waste of peanut butter! It's a filler food that really isn't meant for human consumption... unless you're part rabbit (and that would just be weird & illegal). Why would anyone in their right mind want to gnaw on a stringy stalk that tastes like dirty, soapy hairspray? Celery is the devil's vegetable!

Raisins
Over the years, I've encountered many others who hate raisins - almost every one of those people has said it has something to do with the texture. For me, that's not a factor, as I love Craisins, which are essentially the same as raisins (only they're delicious!). I've tried raisins hundreds of times, both purposely and accidentally; each one of those times has only solidified my hatred. Raisins have been on my yuck list for as long as I can remember. My mother used to make the most fabulous oatmeal raisin cookies ever - well, guess who used to pick out all of the offending raisins so that she could eat the most fabulous oatmeal cookies ever? :-) As an adult I've learned to just refuse the deliciousness of things like carrot cake and oatmeal cookies if they have raisins (because even when you pick them out, the raisin essence is never completely gone). Despite Mario's insistence that it's impossible to hate raisins if you love grapes, I maintain that they are just plain gross. Raisins are a sour, sad, and humiliated perversion of the sweet, innocent grape.

Baked/mashed potatoes
This is kind of a weird one, as I like potatoes in other forms (chips, fries) and I do enjoy a nice roasted baby red potato (with olive oil & rosemary). However, I find the both the texture and the taste of baked/mashed (white) potatoes to be completely unacceptable. As I'm sure you can imagine, most people in these parts are shocked to learn that I hate the beloved staple of the Midwestern table - some even seem to take my transgression personally and make it their mission to convert me. These potato pushers always have some magical super-fabulous way to fix them; they guarantee that I will love mashed potatoes once I try them their way. As a result, I've tried both every which way... with milk, butter, cheddar cheese, goat cheese, Gorgonzola, bacon, ketchup, Sriracha, garlic, sour cream, truffle oil, gravy (which I also hate)... the list goes on and on. And you what? I still hate them. According to my mother, my hatred for mashed potatoes started early, as she tried to feed them to me when I was two and I spit them back at her. Apparently, this happened every single time she attempted to bring me to the side of the wretched mashed potato. Obviously, I had enough sense to resist the dark side at a very young age.

Onions 
They stink, give you the stingy eye, and taste like crap; however, there's an abundance of crazy people who insist on putting them in absolutely everything. Yellow, white, sweet, and red... I hate them all. They're pungent, astringent, and overpower everything else in the dish. Red onions are the absolute worse - they spread their nasty onion-ness to everything around and make me feel stabby. Green onions are tolerable in small quantities, but really, if they all suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth, I wouldn't shed a single tear.

Black Licorice
I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of the taste of tar + Nyquil. Yes, I've had both the American version and the so-called real version. They're both disgusting. I don't care that it's supposedly good for you - it's foul and wrong. I'm not entirely sure people who enjoy black licorice are entirely human.


Broccoli
I've never been officially tested for this (I've only done the unofficial tongue test), but I swear I have the broccoli gene (PTC sensitivity). I don't have any tortured stories that involve being forced as a child to sit at dinner table until I ate all of my broccoli - in fact, broccoli didn't even enter my life until I was in college (where I willingly tried it & have tried it many times since then). We didn't have broccoli in my household, nor did my grandparents. Was it because everyone in my family hated broccoli? Did I inherit the broccoli gene from my mother? All I know is that it both smells and tastes horrible. The smell is akin to a boy's locker room after a big game that was played on the hottest/most humid day of the year. The taste... well, I've never actually tried either of these things, but I like to think it's somewhere between a sweaty jock strap and a gangrened foot. Mario likes to joke that there's something seriously wrong with me, as he LOVES broccoli (it's one of his favorite foods). Broccoli = poison.

Beets & Okra
I haven't placed either on my yuck list quite yet, but they're definitely both towing the line. Okra is slimy and beets are just weird. I'm not writing them off yet though because I think it has a lot to do with the preparation. I did have a delightful beet bread at Girl & The Goat last year, so I know it's possible to make beets taste good. Okra? I can't say anything good about it yet, but I'm willing to try it again... if you know of anywhere I can get a non-slimy/delicious okra dish, please pass along that info!

What's on your yuck list? Please tell me I'm not the only raisin and broccoli hater hanging out here! 

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