I don’t watch a lot of TV, but on occasion, I will watch some Food Network shows, which have this weird mix of creativity and gluttony. I caught an episode of Cupcake Wars and one of the contestants was wearing this awesome T-shirt. We Googled, as curious consumers do, and found that the maker of the T-shirt was Johnny Cupcakes. Even better–Johnny Cupcakes had a shop in LA and was a less than five-minute walk from Animal, the restaurant we were heading to that night. Perfect! I would buy myself a souvenir T-shirt, we’d grab some cupcakes to go, dine at Animal, drive to someplace cool, eat cupcakes, gaze at the Pacific Ocean, and reflect upon the awesomeness of our lives.
We did notice online before visiting that Johnny Cupcakes didn’t actually have any menus. They advertise that their products have no sugar, no fat, and no carbs. Ok. That’s quite a feat for a cupcake, but in an age when everything can be gluten-free, trans fat-free, sugar-free, even free of any animal by-products, then it’s totally plausible, right?
So we went to Johnny Cupcakes in LA, found the ideal parking spot right out front, walked in, and learned within three minutes (after some pensive perusing where Mike and I were both asking ourselves “Where are the cupcakes?” and then Anna said aloud “I don’t see any cupcakes!” because she’s not afraid to say what we’re thinking) that Johnny Cupcakes is a clothing store. They sell overpriced T-shirts. That’s it. No cupcakes.
The twentysomething hipster behind the counter was a really sweet guy and seemed genuinely sympathetic. I wasn’t the first sucker who had heard his spiel. He said they get calls for cupcake orders all the time. Mike and I silently thought “Then why not make cupcakes and make money since you already have an established demand?” but Anna didn’t pick up on that thought so nothing was said aloud. Fifty percent embarrassed, fifty percent peeved, I bought an overpriced T-shirt. It’s a size medium, but cut small. I should’ve known that Johnny Cupcakes caters to skinny, hip young people who probably don’t attend kids’ birthday parties where cupcakes are served. So I better keep the cupcake intake to a minimum if I want to continue to fit into this shirt. I am completely mortified that I spent $38 with tax on this T-shirt. But like I said, the hipster behind the counter was a kind fellow; he gingerly wrapped my T-shirt in really cool black and white packaging, threw in some mints, and a few Power Ranger cards that I could trade on the playground. And honestly, it took the edge off a bit.
Feeling gipped and hungry, we visited BabyCakesNYC the following day and noshed on some gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free delights. Then we missed the gluten, eggs, dairy, and refined sugar and went to Whole Foods in Pasadena the day after that, and found the balance we craved. Whole Foods’ cupcakes are top heavy with icing and all kinds of good things coming out of animals and factories. I guess our bodies are addicted to preservatives. (We have a thing for the Pasadena Whole Foods; we visit that place like we visit Griffith Observatory or MOCA.) We took some photos of our LA cupcake odyssey, including one of me trying not to look annoyed while standing at the counter at Johnny Cupcakes. Notice I haven’t posted any photos of the actual T-shirt? Perhaps what I really wanted was a $3 cupcake more than a $38 T-shirt.