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Cupcakes. Ceviche. Bell peppers.

02 Jun

Happy Sunday, Dear Readers:

I’ve got a lot to tell and not much time, so here goes.

I’m now done with this round of the yeast-free diet. Know what that means?

I can haz cheezburger. (Just no bread.) Woo hoo!! Love cheese.

I had to stop at Staples for an errand this afternoon, and the nice man who waited on me, Anthony, mentioned that he wanted to learn to cook. He’s a big dude from Trinidad-Tobago, and I asked him what he was doing stateside. He married an American woman, you see. “She kidnapped me.” Ah, he’s enjoying it. So of course when he told me he wanted to learn to cook, well, I sorta talked his ear off. But I just want to make sure he doesn’t burn an egg and give up, thinking he can never be in the kitchen. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was anyone’s expertise.

Now onto the rest of the weekend.

So, after an off-kilter Friday at this company downtown, I got home, changed into a t-shirt and shorts, and was chowing down on my salad from a jar when an email came in. One of my folks from Boeing was retiring, and one of the invitees invited me to meet them at Cafe Adobe. Fifteen minutes later I was there, parking and laughing with everyone else. So glad to see my peeps, even if it was just a couple of hours. So what do you have when you’re not real hungry, in a Mexican restaurant and are gluten free? Check the appetizers and order ceviche:

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Yeah. And take a look–there’s cooked shrimp in there. You know why I like to order shrimp in a restaurant? Let me explain: my Mom used to go find people who caught shrimp and bought coolers full of them to freeze. Only, she wanted them peeled before they were frozen. . .guess who took off the heads, the feet and the shells with bare hands? ME. So now, I order shrimp in a restaurant for one reason.

They are shrimp I don’t have to mess with.

I had half and took the rest home to toss over some lettuce from the jar on Saturday. YEAH.

They also had a cake after dinner, and while I took home a piece, I brought it home for my neighbor, who’s a bit over 65 (OK, 75) and is a really nice lady. Just don’t cross her.

In the HeatCageKitchen garden, there is big news–the basil is growing again:

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Still, I bought a container of Butoni pesto today, because it was on sale, and stuck it in the freezer, just in case. But I think I’ll soon be harvesting for pesto. We had rain today, but no more is predicted for a while. So I’ll be watering a lot.

Also a fantastic discovery from one of the plants I bought last week. You remember the tomato plant I bought with three tomatoes already growing on it? Looks like I’ll be getting some bell peppers, too:

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Hot dawg! But I don’t remember if I got red, orange or yellow bells. DUH. Oh, well, it’ll be green until I find out what color it will be.

Well, I’ve been really wanting a cupcake, and of course, it has to be gluten free. Now, it would be easy if I lived in The Woodlands, because I could head right over to Frost Bakery and get me one. But no, I live on the other side of Houston, sort of on the other side of the tracks. Not a particularly bad part of Houston, just, not as nice as The Woodlands. I’ve called five bakeries down here, and nobody has gluten free. One said, “we’re working on it.” That does me no good NOW, but I’ll live, I guess. Darnit.

So with the news that three new cupcake shops are opening in the Houston Downtown Tunnel, HeatCageKitchen is on it, and went to investigate.

It’s what “journalists” call a “slow news day.” But at least I have some nice pictures.

First stop (before heading to the office, no less) is New Addictions, where they’ve been open since Tuesday (day after Memorial Day) and business has been very brisk. When I stopped by on Tuesday during my lunchtime walk, I got to talk to one of the owners, Mena Frazier. Nice lady, and I told her what I wanted to do (take pictures, and write about them.) When I went back Friday morning, she wasn’t there, but two of her very nice employees were, and told me more. The owners, Justin & Mena Frazier, also have a shop on the east side of Houston called Cupcakes & More, where they bake the goods for New Addictions.They are currently working on a gluten-free model, but are also  working to get to the point where they can have a separate kitchen to avoid cross-contamination of gluten. They realize that many folks would like a healthier option, and would like to provide the best offering they can.

If you’re not gluten free, however, you’ll be in heaven:

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Nirvana, right this way:

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And let’s not forget chocoholics like myself:

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They also have cake balls, if you’d like that instead:

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And cute little cupcake candles!

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Meet Ivy and Nicole, who were nice enough to tell me everything:

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I asked them what their most unusual flavor is, and I think Ivy said it was their PBJ combination. When I left and looked at their small card, I see one called Maple Bacon. I kid you not–and I think that would be my vote for most unusual. But hey–whatever floats your boat, right?

You can read about Cupcakes & More here and visit New Addictions Facebook page to see more. If you’re downtown, check out their shop for a nice little dessert you won’t soon forget.

Remember: cupcakes are ONE SERVING. Maybe one and a half if you get one with top hat icing.

At lunchtime, I headed over to Gigi’s Cupcakes, which was quite a hike (read: cardio), but I made it. I’d spoken to the owner a day or so before I took my camera, and he said that they only did gluten-free on Fridays. They use almond flour, and that’s more expensive (I know!) and so only Friday, and the cupcakes were more. How much more? Twenty five cents. I thought he meant they were like $17 each! But no, only a quarter more than their regular cupcakes. I made a promise to get there on Friday. I wanted one!

Gigi’s actually has Wedding Cake cupcakes. Yes, you can buy one. Supposed to taste like wedding cake. Long as there’s no groom that comes with it, I’m game.

So I take The Lunch Purse (a small bag you carry just your wallet, cell phone, etc. when you go to lunch in the Tunnel) and I head down there. WAY down there. Asked which one was gluten free today. “None.” Um, it’s Friday, why not?” The employee’s comment, with a straight face:

“I never took the time to order any gluten free.”

And I won’t take the time to go back and see if they did order any. From the comments on the Houston Chronicles’ website, I’m not missing anything. I mean, if you want customers, how about “I’m sorry, but we didn’t get any in today,” or, “I’m sorry, they weren’t available today?” Even “we ran out” would have been polite. It sounds like she didn’t care, so I don’t either.

I haven’t made it to the third cupcake shop yet. I’ll let you know when I do.

So, darnit, what am I gonna do? I want ONE CUPCAKE, GLUTEN FREE.

What I always do. I made them. Along with a breakfast quiche, some Yeast Free Brownies and some biscuits.

From the Wheat Belly Cookbook, I made the only cupcake recipe in there, with almond flour and a chocolate/cream cheese icing that is really stiff when it’s cold. Like the delicious biscuits, they have a heavy, chewy texture that satisfies but is likely not what you’re expecting. That’s OK. I’ll get more almond flour next trip to Trader Joe’s.

My dishwasher has finished, and I’m fading fast, so I need to get back in the kitchen and finish up so I can eventually go to bed and get some sleep. I’ve had an interesting weekend. I’m tired.

Happy Dining!

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