Food, The Muse

Sweet Tooth(ache)

Boston’s grown another sweet tooth. Far from the clusters of canolis, marzipans and giant black and white cookies of the North End, Sweet, located on Massachusetts Avenue a few blocks away from Newbury Street, tries to re-invent the classic childhood favorite: the cupcake.
Gourmet flavors such as Organic Karat (a carrot cupcake made from shredded organic carrots topped with cream cheese frosting and a gold leaf flake), Cappucino (an espresso flavored cake baked with Callebaut chocolate), S’mores (a chocolate cake made with Bensdorp cocoa topped with marshmallow cream and crushed graham crackers) and Big Poppy (a lemon poppy seed cake with lemon-infused vanilla frosting) decorate the menu, appealing to the refined sweet tooth. Cute designer boxes and bags are available for cupcakes to-go, and there are ‘shots’ of signature Sweet icing in small plastic cups for those who don’t want to eat an entire cupcake. They even have ‘pupcakes’ for the fluffy little dogs that live in Louis Vuitton totes.’
Breakfast at Tiffany’s plays on a flat screen TV next to the cashier. A few old-school glass candy jars filled with rock candy, rainbow sprinkles, Smarties, Dum-Dums, pink M&M’s and dog biscuits line the impeccably clean display cases. The walls are covered with pink and brown wallpaper with patterns that look like icing. There is seating for about eight. A long, pink, stiff-looking couch is attached to the window with a few small, shiny white tables and chairs. It’s difficult to determine whether the interior designer had walked out mid-decorating, or if the store is really going for a chic, minimalist look with a hint of candy shop.’
Among all the flavors, I opt for the Red Velvet, an all-time classic, but one of the most difficult to master. It’s a perfect, vibrant red, but small, very small, and topped with a dollop of thick, creamy frosting. It’s a nice flavor, just the right amount of sweetness that doesn’t make the top of my mouth hurt. It doesn’t crumble away with the first bite, but isn’t entirely moist enough. I finish it in three bites and am left supremely dissatisfied.’
A small, blonde boy in a buttoned-up Polo shirt with a chocolate-stained mouth avidly licks away the frosting of his Sweet cake (a Madagascar vanilla bean cupcake with Dutch cocoa frosting) while his mother carefully slices her fork into her Organic Karat.
‘ I look at the silent little boy and feel sorry for him more than for my hungry self. I wonder if he will ever have the childhood experience I had, of Duncan Hines cupcakes topped with sugary canned frosting and rainbow sprinkles that he smeared and sprinkled himself. For $3.25, he and I could’ve eaten 70 of them.’
Sweet is cute and modern and pretends to be for kids. And it’s empty, like when Lula Mae Barnes realizes her life as Holly Golightly is superficial, extravagant and loveless. And, empty like my stomach.

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