November 16, 2012

Montreal's Big Orange: Gibeau Orange Julep

Have you ever wanted to see a giant orange? You can find one- in all of its three storey high and forty feet wide glory- off Decarie Expressway in Montreal. Home to Hermas Gibeau's signature orange beverage, the OJ was first built in 1945, and was reconstructed to its current size twenty years later. Quoting an acquaintance, it's probably worth the trip to see the quaint landmark even if you're not a fan of orange juice!
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I hear that this landmark used to be served by rollerblading waitresses who would glide around the carpark taking orders. While Julep's skating stint is now defunct, the eight-decade-old recipe for its namesake beverage remains the same till this day. 
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Down to the joint's signature drink, the orange julep reminds me of Orange Julius, only better. Made with freshly squeezed Sunkist oranges (or not), it's a bubbly, creamy delight which washes down perfectly with a warm hotdog or poutine. Although it's available in gallons for takeaway, it's best sipped at home base as it loses its frothiness with time.

While I'm not sure if I'll hike all the way to Namur for just an orange julep again, I'm proud to scratch seeing the Big Orange off my list of must-dos in Montreal! P.S. Get at least a medium drink here to make your visit worthwhile- the small is good for kids only.

Open 24/7 through April to November, hours reduced to 8am-2am (usually) during winter.

Gibeau Orange Julep on Urbanspoon

November 6, 2012

NYC: Georgetown Cupcake

Does Georgetown Cupcake ring a bell? The cupcake store rose to fame after being featured in the TLC reality television series DC Cupcakes, and have expanded to Boston, Los Angeles and New York ever since.

Having heard repeated raves about Georgetown Cupcake's salted caramel from a friend, I listed a visit to the bakery as a must-do on my NYC itinerary. Sounds like a flavor that's too delicious not to be a mainstay on the menu, no? Sadly, salted caramel is only available on Saturdays, and travel delays ruined my plans to drop by the cupcakery then.
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The Toffee Crunch sounded like a hopeful solution to my caramel cravings. But its name promised more than what it delivered. The toffee element was so mild to the extent that I could have easily mistook it for a regular vanilla cupcake. And eye-pleasing as they were, the bits of crushed Heath Bar were too sparse to provide any crunch.

Scrutinize the photos in this post, and you will see that Georgetown cupcakes come with a mound of frosting so sizeable, you risk smearing some on your nose if you're not careful. Look even closer, and you might notice that the buttercream seems as light and smooth as marshmallow fluff. Some people may like their cupcakes that way, but I still prefer my frosting with a sugary bite.
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Deciding to give them a second chance, I gave the best-selling Red Velvet a go, only to find its flavor as unmemorable as the Toffee Crunch. Granted, the cocoa cake was moist and buttery, with a melt-in-the-mouth texture. But having been spoilt by the soft and airy bakes from Plain Vanilla, Georgetown cupcakes seemed hefty in comparison. (Yes, fellow Singaporean folks, there's a treasure in our very own Holland Village.)
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If you're still keen to try Georgetown Cupcake, you may be interested to know that the store hands out 100 cupcakes every day at each of its outlets. Check out the free flavor of the day on Facebook or Twitter and be one of the first 100 customers to request for it.

Georgetown Cupcake on Urbanspoon