sorry not sorry – partially store bought cake
I didn’t know it at the time, but thanks to a nasty cold that wiped me out last week, these two rounds were my very last ones in LA for the year. (But don’t fret– I’ll hit 50 cakes before December 31st using the Nashville circuit.) These cakes were celebrating actual legitimate occasions, which was a nice way to wrap things up in a city where I’ve offered hundreds of people pretend leftovers from parties that did not happen. It was kind of nice not to have to fib.
Friday night was cakebarring at the Daily Pint in Santa Monica, where our friend and cakebarring teammate Kathryn was holding a going away party before she moves to New York. (Like, so lame.) Katy and I had just been at the Depressed Cake Shop fundraiser in Venice, for which I had made two bittersweet chocolate and (dis)pear cakes the night before, leaving me a little sleep deprived and lacking the adrenaline necessary to make a third one for cakebarring. So I did it again– I totally bought a cake, this time a Danish butter cake from Albertson’s and sorry I’m not sorry, it was delicious. I had managed to throw together some chocolate peppermint frosting that morning to disguise its store-boughtness, and applied it in Katy’s car with an apron draped over my legs, guerrilla style.
The Daily Pint is the kind of pub with pool tables and grown-ups. It’s a sweet narrow little space, and they had made up the bar to look super cute for Christmas. There was actually an older couple with Santa and Mrs. Claus hats, who recognized that I had a cake concealed in my little carrier immediately. “Can we have a piece?” the Santa asked, not wasting time on a hello. I assured him I’d come back after I gave some to all of our friends, a huge fib since we didn’t actually know anyone at the party besides Kathryn and her boyfriend; we’d never met any of her other friends. (Going to a party where you don’t know anyone is actually an excellent opportunity for cakebarring– guests have most likely been pre-screened for charm and good manners.) Kathryn’s friends were friendly/lovely industry people, from Chicago and New Mexico and Pennsylvania and abroad. The girls were especially excited to eat cake after hearing about the blog, but most of the guys really had to be convinced to take some– no one seemed quite hungry enough. Katy and I extended cake offers to strangers nearby, like a nice LA native named Tony in the music business and a friendly architect and his private pilot friend. There was Kathryn’s friend Dan who ate a piece towards the end of the night– his mustache is really the only thing I can recall about him– and then there was her friend who refused cake, but told me I should watch for him biking around my neighborhood, which is also his neighborhood. “I’m the only Asian guy riding a bike with leg tattoos. I have huge calves.” Amazing. My last pieces went to Santa and his girlfriend on their way out of the bar.
belated birthday banana cake success
monica, alicia, and ashley
Then Saturday night was belated birthday cakebarring for my sweet friend Monica. We’d chosen The Griffin in Atwater Village off the referral of someone I can’t remember, and it turned out to be the perfect place for us to go; they have tons of seating but plenty of space to move around. (It also looks like a Harry Potter ski lodge, a vision made only more convincing by its current holiday decorations.) Monica had specifically asked for a banana cake when I asked her what she’d like, a nice excuse for me try it out again after a flavorless attempt in March. This time I used my family’s dear friend Nina’s recipe, and as expected, it was better. Leaps and bounds better. Monica had brought along her friends Alicia, Ashley, and Marco, and my friends Christiana and Jonathan had driven over to join us after Christmas party hopping for most of the day. “I feel like I’m on covert affairs,” Christiana kept saying. “Tell me how this all works.” I made a loop around the bar before I invited some guys over for cake who were standing nearby, there to celebrate a girl friend’s birthday. They all came back to our table to eat a piece and chat, wishing Monica happy birthday and getting a lot of gold stars for politeness.
One turned out to be a graphic designer for a toy company and another was a freelance camera operator and editor. They even went back to find their girl friend with the birthday and brought her back for a piece, as no one had thought to make her a birthday cake. (Who raises people??) Meanwhile, Alicia had been scoping out the rest of the bar. “That guy’s hot, but he’s sitting alone,” she reported back. “Is he sitting by himself in a cool way or sad way?” Ashley asked, (who also happens to be her sister). But the table behind us ended up being our last cake takers, a nice bunch of actors who went to USC, and who had almost stopped at the very same party Christiana and Jonathan had just come from on the other side of town. One of them even offered to buy us drinks– which never ever happens. It was a really nice way to go out.
monica and our other birthday girl
sugar monster, christiana, and jonathan
It is worth mentioning that Jonathan proposed to Christiana the very next day at her gingerbread house party. I’ve met Christiana 4 times, and Jonathan twice, and I still cried almost as much as Christiana’s sweet father.