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Posts Tagged 'cake'

Blum’s Coffee Crunch Cake

Blum's Coffee Crunch CakeIf you want a taste of old San Francisco you have to go to Blum’s. Unfortunately it closed sometime in the early 70’s. I remember going there a few times. My Grandmother would take me and always make sure she had her proper hat and gloves when she went there.

My family was not a rich family, but they did what they could and would set aside money for special things. My Grandmother tended to frequent places that wealthy women would go to shop and Blum’s was the place they ended their hard day of shopping at. It was a candy store and soda fountain that also served meals I don’t remember much other than the huge sundaes my Grandmother would buy me when we’d go there and she would sit and have her cup of coffee and delicately nibble on her Coffee Crunch Cake.

Blum’s Coffee Crunch Cake has been popping up for me recently enough that I had to find out more information about it. Some people refer to it as Blum’s coffee cake, but it’s not a coffee cafe it’s a coffee flavored cake that has some crunchy toffee bits on top. The story goes that Ernest Weil who managed Blum’s in San Francisco came up with the idea when a candy making friend made a mistake and over cooked some coffee flavored candy and it sort of turned into an aerated toffee. Not exactly the way it was supposed to look and it was a bit on the ugly looking side too. Ernest helped him out by smashing it up and putting it on top of a lemony cake with coffee frosting. It was a hit. Apparently it was a big hit that I was too young to realize.

As it turns out a year after making it for Blum’s Ernest Weil left and opened Fantasia Bakery in Laurel Heights. This is remembered because of their florentine cookies my Mom used to get when we’d visit her best friend who lived nearby. These weren’t like the florentines you get in any other store or bakery. They were so sinfully good that my Mother used to joke that she’d have to go to confession after eating one. Odd considering she had given up being a Catholic before I was born.

Today Blum’s and Fantasia are gone, but there is a place called the Yasukochi’s Sweet Stop located in Mira’s grocery store that makes it. They run out frequently I’ve been told so it’s best to call ahead first to see if they have any. If you’re not afraid of getting your hands dirty, I’ve managed to find the recipe for you:

Today Is My Birthday

Today I reached a day that never popped into my mind. I turned 50 today. You think about turning 18, 21, 30, 40 then it kind of stops. I never thought about what my life would be like at 50, but I can honestly say I wake up in the mornings feeling pretty good.

Living my entire life in San Francisco aside from the few vacations I realize that I’ve reached an age where you start remembering the changes have have happened to this city over your lifetime. I remember Doggie Diner, Chicken Delight, Herb’s Deli. These were all fixtures of my youth. I remember not having to walk a quarter mile when parked on Sloat to get into the Zoo. I remember when a family membership at the California Academy of Sciences was only $25 [and that wasn’t too long ago]. Sure I miss those things, but change is going to happen and there are lots of new things that pop up.

For all the Irish people living in the Sunset when I was kid there wasn’t one place that would serve an Irish breakfast, now there are several. Yes, we did have a more ethnically diverse neighborhood when I was growing up and now according to a recent article on sfgate.com, $3500 will get you more in the Sunset District than most other parts of the city that hardly anyone used to live in.

I think for me the worst part about getting older is that when I talk about TV shows, movies or people from SF history there’s too many people younger than me that have never heard about them because they weren’t born and raised here. I brought up Barbara Eden [I dream of Jeannie] the other day and mentioned that she used to live around 46th and Taraval and went to Lincoln High School and got a response of, who?

San Francisco has been home to a number of celebrities and cultural events, so I guess at my ripe old age of 50 I’m glad I have this blog to remind people of that. I’ll keep on going for many years to come and I’ll promise you that.

Mississippi Mud Cake

This was yet another recipe my Mom was well known for.  It’s super sweet, super chocolatey and just plain old super good. Note the melted oleo in the frosting which for those of you who aren’t over 40 is margarine. It’ll definitely add some lard on you ass if you make it too often, but it’s really good.

Mississippi Mud Cake

Cream 2 cups sugar and 1 cup salad oil.  Add 4 eggs (two at a time, beating well)

Sift 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, 1/2 teaspoon salt, add to above mixture

Add 2 teaspoons vanilla,  3/4 cup nuts

Mix well

Pour into a 9″ x 13” greased and floured pan

Bake 350 degrees 30 minutes then spread 7 oz jar marshmallow cream over top while warm.

Frosting:

1 box powdered sugar

1/2 cup cocoa and mix with

1 cups melted oleo.

Add:

1/2 cup canned milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla Stir in

3/4 cup nuts chopped and spread on cake.

Cut in squares and serve like brownies.

Whitecaps: Barbabos

Yes, this isn’t about San Francisco, but remember it’s my wild weekend where I get to talk about anything and today I wanted to talk about Whitecaps in Barbados. I have a couple of close friends who have purchased a three bedroom house there that when they aren’t visiting they rent it out. They needed a website to best display the house so who do they come to…me of course.

I have never visited Barbados, but from the looks of the pictures, I definitely will one day and I will be staying at Whitecaps. I was given a tour via skype of the house [yes, the house has wi-fi] and it is pretty spectacular. I could hear the waves crashing on the beach because you’re literally about 50′ from the beach. Barbados is definitely geared for tourists which if you look at the photos in the gallery you can see that there are many shows that go on for free at the local plaza that’s within walking distance.

The food is very inexpensive there and fresh the fish and Barbados goats are all over the place so chances are good that it was alive a few hours before you purchase it. When you bring it back to the house you simply hand it over to Waple who is your personal chef that will cook all your meals. You also have a personal concierge who will help you arrange your site seeing trips around the island. In the evening you don’t have to work as there are two security guards that will make sure the house is secure. You also have your own maid service so you don’t even need to worry about making your bed every day.

Just to give you the full blown what you get for your money, allow me to cut and paste from their website:

  • Three bedrooms for a total of six guests
  • Three private bathrooms: two with tubs, one with a walk-in shower
  • Wet bar
  • Flat-screen TV with Bose sound system
  • WiFi internet access
  • Your own personal chef
  • Your own maid service
  • Located on Mullins Beach
  • Lovely shaded garden area for entertaining

Whitecaps is right on the beach halfway between Mullins Bay and Gibbs Bay — a mere stone’s throw from the highly regarded Mullins Restaurant and Cocktail Bar on Mullins Beach.

There is a 24-hour convenience store within a five minute walk to the north and a fabulous little gift shop, the Shell Gallery, a fifteen-minute walk to the south.

Further north lies Speightstown, a picturesque old town with a historical museum, an art gallery, a small supermarket, shops, a four-star restaurant (Mango by the Sea), banks with ATMs and a fish market, as well as farm stands offering the freshest tropical fruits and vegetables. It is about five minutes away by bus or taxi. To the south is Holetown, a larger community with high-end boutique shopping, a large supermarket, cafes and gift shops, banks with ATMs and a number of four-star restaurants. It’s ten minutes by bus or taxi.

While there are regular buses to and from Bridgetown, and taxis can be reserved for dinner dates, most guests will rent a car to have full run of the island, including the night life of St. Lawrence Gap and the many historic and scenic points elsewhere.

Note that for what us Americans consider a time to take a vacation is considered the off season and is $345/night. If you get another couple or two to make trip with you it becomes downright affordable. It’s pretty much always in the 80’s dropping to the upper 70’s at night so you won’t have to bring a heavy coat. I suggest lots of tank tops and shorts and maybe an eye patch if you want the total Pirates of the Caribbean vibe.

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Devil’s Teeth Baking Company

I like the idea of a new bakery in the Sunset, but they usually have an aim at a French flair or Italian flair, or no flair whatsoever and end up closing quickly. I have to say that my trip to the Devil’s Teeth Baking Company definitely had that funky outer Sunset flair with a dash of techie added to it.

This is a relatively new place that I actually heard about at Squareup.com’s website. When you walk into the place it has a bit of that funky industrialized look that you see on the food network with everything laid out in the case with very little adornment so that you focus on the food first. My first surprise was that most bakery’s focus on just cakes and cookies, the sweet things of life. This place offered dishes of sustenance to balance out your sweet tooth such as lasagna, curried chicken, soup and quiche. My wife and I figured we would just get some cookies and cake and head home, but she chose the lasagna so we’d have lunch covered, a chocolate chip cookie for our daughter and a blondie for me.

Total cost: $10.50. Now here’s were the surprise came in. The $5 lasagna was about eight inches long and five inches high. This was a huge slab that could have fed us for two meals. It probably had about 3 days servings of vegetables in it, so we were eating pretty healthy. It was so big that we had to put the sweets aside until we had more room for them. Lasagna is one of those things that you rarely go wow over. It’s usually good. For Italian Americans it’s kind of a staple. This is was pretty good lasagna and for the price, that made it even better. Later on in the day we got to dive into the cookie and blondie. The cookie was big and my daughter only ate half of it. We ate the rest and it was soft, but not soft like the Mrs. Field’s softened by some chemical type of soft, but a buttery soft. This was one damn fine chocolate chip cookie. Biting into the blondie was a burst of butter and brown sugar topped off with white chocolate and dark chocolate chips finished off by the crunch of the nuts. I know I definitely will be returning this week.

For the techie side of things, the store’s cash register is an iPad running the square software. This is the software I’ve talked about previously that lets small businesses take credit cards without the monthly charge or transaction fee. They swiped my card and I signed on the iPad after which I received a text message that allowed me to hook up with the bakery via the square app. Now when I go in I can just pull out my iPhone or Android and open a tab that makes paying quicker. Because they are only charged a percentage  and no transaction fee you won’t see a sign that says, “Credit Card Minimum $10” or “Cash Only” like you do at other places. This is a pretty slick piece of free software.

Devil’s Teeth Baking Company also boasts Blue Bottle Coffee and Beignet Sundays. Expect to wait in line when you go, not because they are slow, but because they are busy. Check them out. NOW!