While I’ve eaten mostly vegan for the past six months or so, I still make exceptions for birthdays and celebrations for both my teammates and the kids in my class. If I were to refrain from sharing in the celebration I think my teammates would understand but the kids, that’s a different story. Case in point, Valentine’s Day. I received a ton of chocolate from my students that day and so I took a lot home to give to J-Fur and handed out some to other kids. I put a few inconspicuous (or so I though) pieces in the treasure box. Lo and behold one of my students called me out for putting his “candy” in the treasure box. I tried to play it off but he didn’t buy it. For that reason, I continue to participate.
Most of the kids bring cupcakes for their birthday. Usually they are the crappy store bought ones. I remove the worst offender, the icing, and give that away to a lucky student and save the cake for myself. I’m not sure what is in it, probably milk, eggs or butter but I don’t worry too much about it either. I’m sharing in their special day and that is what matters.
Recently J-Fur and I had a special day. We found out the sex of our baby (which will remain secret). I offered celebratory cupcakes to my teammates from Sugardarlings Cones & Cupcakes. The New Port Richey located bakery recently opened a branch right at the end of our school road. The only problem is that Sugardarlings opens at 11:30 (well after school begins) and only makes a certain number of cupcakes a day. Therefore, when 4:00 rolls around, they are oftentimes sold out of the popular flavors (technically the other issue is that they make their cakes with quality non-vegan friendly ingredients such as “sweet cream butter, whole milks, whipping cream, fresh fruit juices and rich quality chocolate”).
I headed to Sugardarlings hoping to get a hole of the Creme Brulee cake. Other than that I was just going to go with some variety. Unfortunately there was no creme brulee. I had heard stories of all kind of fruity flavors and I was a little disappointed to find that the fruit offerings when I went in were not my favorites. So I wound up with:
S’Mores. My least favorite of the bunch I don’t like marshmallows and even removing them left a marshmallow type residue. It looked pretty though.
Thin Mints. This was good. Not too chocolatey or minty. A nice, creamy blend of the too. One thing I love about these cakes is I can actually eat the icing because they aren’t too sweet. A bit surprising considering the bakery’s name.
Tropical. Consisting of a pineapple sauce inside a cranberry on top, this one made for an interesting dessert. I can’t say I’m super fond of pineapple (other than pineapple upside down cake) but I was fiending for some fruit.
Rapsberry. Consisting of a raspberry preserve reservoir inside and a nice little dab up top, this was my favorite fruit version of the day. Again, raspberry isn’t my thing in desserts but it served its purpose.
What makes Sugardarlings’ cupcakes some of the best in the Tampa area are that they aren’t overly sweet, they are super moist and the flavors are constantly revolving giving you a large variety. But it is that little burst in the middle that makes them so awesome. Each cupcake is stuffed with something (be it preserves, fruit, mint, icing) to give you just a little squirt of pleasure when you hit the halfway mark. I would recommend these cakes (as best as I can considering the full of dairy piece) for now. As soon as Tampa gets a Vegan Treats (or an equivalent) I’m off board.
Check out their facebook page for daily flavors (aw balls, today was blueberry pancake and sweet lavender day…boy did I miss out).
Along with the cakes, I celebrated with Polish bands that are about to land on US soil for SXSW. First was the winner of Polish Pop Idol back in 2004, Brodka. At 24 she has already released three award winning albums. She has also started to move away from strictly pop music and glaze it with a bit of electro. It is a win if you ask me. “Varsovie” is all about being awakened in July. Makes me wonder if she was ever a teacher?
Next up was Kamp! a band that has been around awhile and has met with massive popularity in Poland. The band’s smooth syth pop has a new wave feel to it. It also reeks of disco and retro chic. While the band suggests dusk to dawn beach-parties, bittersweet road trips and dusty mirrorballs in long forgotten clubs as the best ways to enjoy their sounds, I tend to think it does fashionably well in dimly lit lunchrooms with cupcake spreads laid out before pedometer bathed teachers.
Kamp! is like a Polish version of Work Drugs. The new song from Tom and Company is “Sunset on High Street.” It is the story of a homeless man named Milton Angland that the band met in LA. He told stories of living on the fringe, finding the beauty in endless gridlock, the smell of California summer, revolution and the people of Hollywood that gave him a chance. Long time fans fear not, the sexy washed out saxophone is still their in all its solo glory.