Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Enough with the cupcakes, I need some red meat!

My strategy for wearing a bathing suit in public pool areas is simple: Head to a tropical clime with no direct flights from Halifax, scope out the most Rubenesque woman I can find, and sit next to her. My strategy for cupcake tasting was quite the opposite: I took a runner.

I don't normally hang out with people who run. In fact, I am normally fighting the temptation to to plow them down with my truck, and back over them again, while simultaneously eating a burrito. But this particular runner has yet to jog herself into that breast-less, period-stopping stage where they flop across finish lines in Speedo bathing suits looking like Holocaust survivors. And I once saw her inhale a big bag of Cadbury Mini Eggies and it wasn't even Easter. Aside from her obsessive pavement pounding, she's okay.

I called the Runner to see if she wanted to walk down to Susie's Shortbreads with me, but apparently the Runner doesn't walk, so I picked her up and we drove down to Dresden Row. I could chase tennis balls all day, but ask me to run a block and I go all limp and whiny – I guess that's how the Runner is about walking. But she'd likely already clocked 57 miles before lunch, so I figured she could match me cake for cake in the long stretch, and would know what to do when I hit the wall.

Our tea time at Susie's was a sugary delight from start to finish. Girly pink counters, checkerboard floors and clean as a whistle, the bakery was buzzing with annoying mini March breakers, and a couple of Ruben's women unabashedly sharing a cake, or two. Dragging the Runner along was a great idea – like letting someone else carry the extra-huge buttered popcorn while I waddle behind with the Diet Coke. (Or not ordering fries, then eating Jack's, so it didn't really count). I tried to whisper to make it seem like the Runner was doing all the cupcake ordering, but it didn't really matter. We were at a bakery not a salad bar. The Runner and I ended up sharing a Peppermint Patty, a Susie's Classic and a Pink Lemonade. There was no shame, but I was thankful we weren't pool side.

In typical, thin-thighed fashion, I discovered the Runner likes cake better than icing, so ours was a match made in heaven. In the end, Susie's Classic got the Runner's thumbs up and my heart went to Peppermint Patty. The lemon/butter combo in the Pink Lemonade left me craving lobster, so not my favourite. The only thing missing for me was a big scoop of ice cream and a vomitorium. I'm getting too old to get that loaded on butter in the afternoon.

We had a great chat with TJ Peach, the owner of Susie's. No dummy, TJ got herself an MBA, stole her Mom's cookie recipes and went to town. She even had Mom "Susie" there slaving away, happy as a clam. And who wouldn't be? The place was hopping, customers were cooing and the cash register was ringing. No recession it seems in the Halifax cupcake market. One smart cookie, I'd say.

The Runner and I were too full to try the shortbreads, and I was going to buy some for Jack but figured I'd just eat them before he could get his greasy paws on them, so we'll have to go back.

Are Susie's cupcakes the BEST cupcakes in Halifax? Are they better than Sweet Jane's? Funny you should ask. I was approached by a friend in the park this morning who suggested that FRED'S had the best cupcakes in town!? How can I make an honest and sound judgement until all the evidence is in... my stomach.

I'll keep you posted, but could someone please challenge me to find the best filet mignon, Caesar salad and Cabernet in town. The Runner is starting to look pale, I think she needs some protein.

Susie's Shortbreads is at 1589 Dresden Row in Halifax, a mere block from Sweet Jane's