February 22, 2005

Review: Sweet Lady Jane

Last night Kelly and I went out for a treat. We headed out of the house during one of the breaks in the rain to enjoy the sugary delights offered by Sweet Lady Jane.

First off, I didn't expect it to be so incredibly small. We arrived at around 5pm, and the place was packed. Every seat in the place was taken. The people lined up at the counter waiting to give their orders blocked the way of the servers trying to tend to the seated guests trying to enjoy their cake, tea and coffee. It was madness, IMHO, for 5pm on a Monday... but it was the Monday of a 3-day weekend, so that may have had something to do with it.

I had a slice of the Italian Rum wedding cake, and Kelly had the chocolate raspberry cake. Mine was very good, but Kelly's was simply fantastic. Mine was layers of white cake with not very much rum flavor to it, with two layers of white cream filling (thicker/firmer than pastry cream) and a center layer of a thick, dry-ish chocolate filling. The buttercream frosting was light and not greasy. I kept feeling it while I was tasting thinking, "How greasy is this? Is it greasy?" and my friends, I can tell you, that was not greasy frosting at all. It was nice, but I don't think I'd go for that cake again. Kelly and I traded plates halfway in (I'm glad he's okay with that!!) and I got to enjoy a few bites of his chocolate raspberry cake. He described it as being as rich as a chocolate truffle. Oh, and it was. My only comment was that I tasted some bitterness from the cocoa in the frosting that detracted from the overall flavor, but Kelly said he didn't mind. They were rich cakes, to be sure. They were rich for ME, so you'd have to know that Kelly was in for more than he could handle :-)

We enjoyed two slices of cake and two coffees served in individual French-press carafes, included a generous tip and still got out of there for $20 total.

Kelly and I both decided that $30 for a small cake and $60 for a large one was a relative bargain, and that I should add them to my list of reputable bakeries that I give to my clients. He understands how long it takes to prep, bake, cool, fill, frost and decorate a fancy cake... (if I bill at my hourly rate, for me to make one cake for one client costs way more than $60!)

We were then so filled up on sugar and fat and caffeine goodness that we weren't going to be hungry for hours, so we wandered around the Beverly Center until they closed. We spent a bit of time watching the puppies play in the petstore. I watched a teeny baby beagle puppy dreaming enthusiastically - he was twitching and blinking and carrying on - he was so cute!! I love my dog Render, but I would certainly enjoy a little beagle puppy to play with!

Finally we went home and I cooked up the food I'd bought for the "vegetarian alternative" that I didn't end up making for SS's dinner party: $30+ of super expensive, fancy, organic and otherwise "special" produce, including orange bell peppers, dragon beans, cocktail artichokes, baby red potatoes, organic zucchini, pattypan squash, individual cauliflower, and baby portobella mushrooms. It was overkill to put that much on a plate, but I would have restrained myself in the actual plating if it wasn't just us.

I'd bought all these special veggies just in case one of the guests (known to be a buddhist and a vegetarian) did show up after all... but he didn't... so since I didn't cook it, and I didn't serve it to the client, I would rather take it home and absorb the cost instead of leaving a bunch of strange ingredients behind.

If there is too much of something and it's something I can use, I'd rather absorb the cost ("buy it back") than leave mysterious things in the fridge/pantry. Leaving containers of prepared food is one thing. Leftovers are usually 90 seconds away from edible, after being microwaved. Leaving main ingredients behind is not good, because I don't want someone peering into their fridge, wondering what the thing is, and deciding whether they know how to cook it. Chances are that the thing would go bad, and then they're throwing away unused, and now rotten, food. I don't want to be associated with that!

Last thing I ate or drank: a latte: a small thing I do for myself that makes the biggest impact on my day.

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