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Tulu’s Gluten-Free Bakery.

Date of excursion: 06.07.10

Summer is upon us! And boy what a summer it is.

Feelin’ hearty, healthy and  contentious, the two arch nemeses, Choco-Choco Chip and Vanilla, decided to truce for the evening in the name of all cupcakes.

V.S.

(Unfortunately, Gangrades Cappuccino Swirl and Lemon Meringue were not able to join them in holy cakerimony that day.)

The calming, pastel-filled atmosphere of Tulu’s Gluten-Free Bakery called to us like a phone to the phoned. As we made our way in, an owl hooted from a nearby cupcake tree.

“Stop that!” Vanilla growled.

The owl showed no remorse.

Aha! Another chance to dance with our friend, the mini-cupcake, eh? Lovely to make your second acquaintance, mes petits. Although, we must say, readers, that while the flavor choice seemed abundant for our miniature friends, the flavor choices for our larger ones left much to be desired. Namely, more flavor choices.

“Where the choco at?!” Choco-Choco Chip foamed. Vanilla snickered to the side. To no one … at all.

After much debate, much hesitation, and much salivation, we decided on our flavors, and prepared for the glorious potlatch* that was about to commence.

Figure this out: Chocolate Vanilla Cream Cheese

(Blur-tastic image brought to you by Hungry Bowels, the makers of the Impatient Gluttons II: Air Force Mach Four.)

A new frosting flavor in our midst! Vanilla + Cream Cheese? That sounds like a Choco-Choco Chip paradox — all the hate of hatred plus all the goodness of Philadelphia? Could this be real?

Indeed it could be, cupcakers. The frosting was miraculous — light, whipped, fresh, but with all the density and soury-sweet goodness that cream cheese lovers adore. Its chocolate base had a nice grit within its overall moistness, adding texture and depth to an otherwise bland cake. The grit absolved the bland in this tale about Chocolate “Precious” Vanilla Cream Cheese Jones — a sweet kid, a little crumbly around the edges, but with a heart of gold and lots of love and encouragement** from her peers. And she’s been off gluten all this whole time.

We double dare you: Vanilla Strawberry

Another new frosting! Tulu’s, Tulu’s, Tulu’s. You crafty, crafty, crafters.

[“Proud to Be an American” musical interlude.]

Light, whipped, and fresh again! This strawberry frosting knew what it was doing. Vanilla argued that the strawberry taste was strong, but this is comin’ from a cake that don’t like no strawberries. For Choco-Choco Chip, the taste wasn’t as strong, and the after-taste left a nice, melony, strawberry-type-o’-feelin’. The base complemented this frosting well — all while being free o’ gluten! In sum: the happy pink frosting matched the happy pink walls which matched our Happy Pink Sentiments.***

Wh-wh-what would you do?: Chocolate Peanut-Butter

And yet another new frosting flavor! Can you say Funtrepeneur of the Century?*****  Nutty, airy frosting, light, earthy consistency — Tulu’s doesn’t try to mask the essence of peanut in this little number. It’s bold, raw, and out there. And very delicious.

(500) Days of: Red Velvet

Upon cutting into this baby******, we realized that, no matter what this tasted like, it was no true red velvet. The color inside resembled more of a rusty iron, if anything.

“If your name was Dustin, would you go by Dusty?”*******

“…………… no.”

Yes. A rusty iron color, indeed.

Wow! What a fantastic texture all around (although not very chocolatey, as we should have expected from mini # 1). But with cake so moist and cream cheese icing so wonderous, this cupcake represented a wonderful example of commensalism — the cake was greatly improved by his cheesier ally, while the cream cheese icing could have probably ran a few solo laps around the ol’ red stumparoo. But all in all, a great take on a classic flavor combination. ********

So, what to conclude? Our experiences with gluten-free cupcake products have not been totally tainted.  Tulu’s Gluten-Free Bakery represented the true combined strengths of frosting and texture, and how a Manhattanite coeliac need not live in a world without cupcakes. For that, friends, is something that we shant even wish upon our greatest enemies.

*(1) A celebration held by some Native Americans, during which the host gives away gifts in accordance with each guest’s social status. The feast may entail destruction of sprinkles and wrappers for rivalry groups. (2) A synonymn for “feast,” re: thefreedictionary.com .

**You get ’em!

***Available for purchase.****

****But not from us.

*****Do not attempt this on Wall Street.

******A PERSONIFICATION.

*******Dusty : Dustin :: Rusty : ________

********Otherwise known as a “cake-take.”

Location:

338 East 11th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 777-2227

Hours:

Mon-Thu 10:30am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10:30am-10:30pm, Sun 10:30am-9pm

Average cost of cupcake: $3.00

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Tonnie’s Minis.

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Date of excursion: 09.12.09

Hunger chords were a-rumblin’ and a-tumblin’, and the Gang had only one thing in mind: falafel.

Psyche!  It was cupcakes.

And the Lords of Cupcakery bestowed on us a new, close-by location with which to feast our mouths upon — a little-known gem called Tonnie’s Minis.

Minis?!” Vanilla growled.

Yes.  Minis.

But, as we soon discovered, these Minis were not so mini after all  (leading us to wonder: what would the Jolly Green Giant look like at Tonnie’s?).

Our first decision was whether or not we wanted Hollywood-themed cupcakes. What did this even mean?!

“We’re out of Hollywood cupcakes.  Some NYU kids just came in and bought the last of them,” said Amicable* Associate.

(A potential second Cupcake Gang?!  Curse you, NYU!  [And see you in class on Monday!])

We got our pickers out and began a-pickin’ from the ripe and luscious crop before us.  And soon enough, it was time to scarf and swill like nobody’s business.

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First up, Chocolate Vanilla (chocolate base, vanilla frosting).

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This may have been the easiest cut in Cupcake Gang History!**  Plates, knives, salt and pepper… Well, needless to say, Mother Nature was pleased that night.

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Presentation-wise, these cupcakes almost looked storebought, but taste-wise, they could have bought the store themselves!  Or at least a farm.

“The vanilla complements the chocolate cake so well,” Choco-Choco Chip noted.  “Unlike other Vanillas we know.”

“Freakin’ good!” Vanilla squealed, unable to take the hint.

“Amazing,” was the general consensus on this dark chocolate cake batter.

Next up, Lemon.  (Did someone say “child support”, Lemon Meringue?)

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With a yellowy tint that could only represent that classic lemon taste, we began to engorge ourselves.

A little to the left, oh yeah, that’s it.  Now pose like you’re waiting for a bus.***

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A very sweet little cupcake.  Literally.  Not necessarily personality-wise.  (We didn’t get much time for small-talk.)

“It tastes like an Amy’s Christmas spongecake with the lemon icing, only better.”

“The chunks of lemon zest.  They’re singin’ to me.”

“It’s like drinkin’ Mama’s Lemonade.  Country Time, not that Minute Maid bullsh–”

— Whoa, there!

Next up: Chocolate Chocolate (chocolate base, chocolate frosting).

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This cupcake looked like a black tie event, and cut like a bloomin’ onion — both qualities of which the Gang reveres.

“Very smooth icing.”

“It condenses in your mouth.”

“It’s so moist, that I’m not even thirsty,” Cappuccino Swirl jived.

All wise words to describe this little diddy.

“Does this taste so good just because I’m hungry now?” Choco-Choco Chip wondered.

“No!” Vanilla foamed.

Next up: Marble! (vanilla AND chocolate base, chocolate frosting)

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“This is messy chic.”

“Such rich frosting!”

“It has a certain lemony sourness…”

“You mean, ‘acid?'” Gail Simmons probably chimed in.

So, it seemed that this cupcake represented fashion-forwardness and high levels of eatability — but let us not forget that, above everything else, this cupcake made a great deal of personal sacrifice in order to honorably unify two flavors previously engaged in murderous conflict.  Caught up in the swell of emotions, Vanilla and Choco-Choco Chip decided to call a truce.  (And then Vanilla fell asleep, briefly.)****

And, finally: Coconut (vanilla base, vanilla frosting, shredded coconut topping).

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“Oh, wow.  The icing is melty,” Cappuccino Swirl said.

“It has a lemon taste,” Lemon Meringue bragged.

(We get it, Lemon Meringue.)

“I want more…” Vanilla fumed.  We all did.  “Is that a beagle outside?” Vanilla continued.

Amazing!  What surprisingly moist cake we found in all of our tastings that night, despite having arrived at the end of the day!  Eight thumbs way up, Tonnie’s.

And, so:

Five cupcakes.

Four friends.

Probably three or two laughs.

And one satisfying evening with not-so-mini Minis from Tonnie’s.

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*Can we please talk for a second about how amiable and amicable only differ by one letter, but they mean the same thing?

**A hulking, cumbersome tome dating back to the late 14th century.

***The Cupcake Gang is an avid anti-advocate of Lemon Meringue’s camera, as well as Ashton Kutcher.

****Look for V56.028.003 during your next course registration term — we’ll be teaching a seminar on Poly-Cakes.

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Tonnie’s Minis

Location:

120 W 3rd St. (Mac Dougal St. and W 3rd St.)

212.473.2002

Average Cost: 4 for $8.50