Cupcakes and Bacon and Goldens, Oh My!

It time for one of those newsy posts. You know, in which it feels like we’re girlfriends presiding over a couple bloody marys and some beef carpaccio, and gossiping about food, restaurants and the like. Incidentally, Melinda and I went to Tony’s in Endicott last Saturday and did just that, and I’m happy to report that their new bloody mary recipe devised by barkeep Tanya is divine, and the carpaccio was tender, salty, earthy and generous, graced with shaved parmesan and capers.

Gossip Carpaccio would be a very different show from Gossip Girl, I'm thinking
First off, something sweet. When I traipsed over to Albany a few weeks ago, I was greeted with a beribboned box from The Albany Cupcakery, which is the creation of Katie Birchenough, former Miss Lewis County and now denizen of the Capital Region. Katie has just recently started her bakery, and is for now taking orders online only. You can order from her at thealbanycupcakery@gmail.com, or find her company on Facebook. The reason I’m sharing the details of Katie’s confections with you all is that, if you read this blog regularly, chances are you like the kinds of foods I write about. Chief among those is bacon. And Katie, my friends, has our backs, because her cupcakes lovingly feature bacon as the king of all foods that it is. Behold:

Bacon. Maple. Spice. Cakes.

I KNOW. Now, Katie treated me to a selection of her wares, many of which were more traditional offerings, like chocolate cakes topped with chocolate frosting and a malt ball, or fab peanut-butter-filled chocolate cakes topped with vanilla frosting and a chocolate chip cookie (ok, maybe that one’s still pretty out of the box). But I was mostly interested in the bacon-topped wonders, of which the spice cake with maple frosting and bacon bits was my absolute, hands-down favorite. This cupcake had all your best breakfast flavors cranking on overtime: like French toast and bacon had a whirlwind romance and made a little cupcake baby. The spice cake was moist and well, spicy. The maple frosting was inventive and sweet, countered perfectly by the plentiful bacon splinters adorning its peaks. Holy moley, this ain’t no Hostess cupcake!

Eat these!

Next up in our gossip-palooza is some breaking news: Gabe Aubertine, the chef who replaced Shawn Vendetti at the Fireside at Partridge Berry Inn recently, has made the leap to Bella’s Bistro in Clayton. Bella’s is small, but waterfront, and Gabe promises he’s devising a dinner menu focused on “health and awesomeness.” Doesn’t that sound delicious? I’ll be checking it out this summer and letting you come along for a taste.

In case you’re currently planning a weekend away in either historic Lambertville, NJ or Bucks County, PA as suggested in last week’s post, I wanted to share one more, exclusive, locals-only joint Big Hungry Jill revealed to me last Sunday. Nicola’s Pizza is in Lambertville, on N. Franklin St. It isn’t fancy, it isn’t pristine, it isn’t spacious and it isn’t like the little cafes on the main drags. But it does serve up some slammin’ New York-style, thin-crust pizza and fresh, fat calzones filled with creamy, milky ricotta and high-quality ingredients. Check it:

My pepperoni and shroom pie

I know those of you in Watertown have no shortage of good pizza options, but I always feel like I’m missing out now that I live down here in the Southern Tier. Italian restaurants everywhere, but so few fine pizzas! If you’re not a Nirchi’s devotee down here, you’re sort of out of luck. Bud’s in Apalachin is good, but doesn’t deliver to my doorstep; same for Kelly’s (which Shawn doesn’t like anyway). There is a new place in Binghamton called Amici that’s getting good buzz, but there’s no way they’re delivering to our little corner of Owego. Sigh. But for those spending some time in Lambertville, Nicola’s is a sound choice for an on-your-way-out-of-town meal: well-priced good food, fast. What’s not to like?

Moving along to next topic, except I keep looking at that picture up above, and now I want pizza. You see how my writing process goes? Not smoothly, I’ll tell you that. ANYWAY. There are two more new restaurants in Binghamton I’m itching to check out: Burger Mondays and Remlik’s. Hopefully, the Burger Mondays review will be a crossover post with my fellow food bloggers over at Tasting Binghamton. The other newbie, Remlik’s, is opening momentarily in the gorgeous Kilmer Building downtown. They promise upscale comfort food - my favorite - and I can’t wait to go.

In other news, I want to give a shout out to my high school friend, long-ago bio lab partner and totally hot supermodel extraordinaire Maggie Rizer, who makes her blogosphere home over on Bea Makes Three. Maggie and I would have been at SUNY Geneseo together, but while I was there trying to decide with my suitemates if keg caps or Absolut Vodka posters made the more chic window trim for our common room, she was off in Europe finding out which one is Badgley and which one is Mischka. BMT is the perfect read for you if you’re a dog lover, fashion maven, San Franciscan or jet-setter. Or, like me, if you’d appreciate being any of those things, but instead you sit around in yoga pants and merely fantasize about life in the fast lane. Maggie is currently plugging Big Hungry on her blogroll, and since turn-about is fair play, I want to encourage all you big hungries to go and read her awesome blog.

The new batch of BHS t-shirts is on its way to me, my hungries! They will be $25 a piece and available soon. Big Hungry Katie, in North Carolina, received hers yesterday and reports that she loves it! While you warm up your check-writing hand, follow my twitter feed @BigHungryShelby or join the party on our Facebook group: Big Hungry Shelby, where I share additional photos of great food and fun, and detail what I’m eating on a more regular basis. My personality is big; my hunger is bigger!

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