Food & Drink
Fast Foodie: Bird Bakery
Published: June 13, 2012
If you're expecting to score a celeb sighting by just showing up at Bird Bakery, it may be best to set your sights on Elvis; the first time I went, a film crew was fussing over Elizabeth Chambers, and her arguably more famous husband, Armie Hammer, was nowhere to be seen. On a return visit, both were M.I.A. Elvis, on the other hand, is a cupcake, and can be counted on to make multiple appearances. I get that Chambers is a San Antonio native, and that her grandmother was a well-regarded caterer here, but why a high-profile celebrity couple would want to embark on a business peddling a product that just might already be overexposed — even in San Antonio — is a bit beyond me. Cupcakes? On the heels of J. Edgar? But fine. Up to them. The real question is, are the cupcakes any good?
The short answer is yes. I may be overly impressed, for starters, by a trick that all famous cupcake makers use, but I find the dent in the center of the cupcake that allows the frosting to insinuate its way into the middle of things to be absolute genius. I hate it when there's a towering pile of sweet icing perched atop a too-small base. Throws the balance off. This balance is especially important to a simple yellow-cake model capped with a delicately lemony frosting. A moist, red velvet cake paired with a just-sweet-enough buttercream is also a model of equilibrium. But it's the take-no-prisoners versions that made me reevaluate the importance of cupcakes to life: the chocolate/chocolate chip with peanut butter cream frosting was killer, and the "prize-winning" carrot cake, like many of the products, made from a recipe from Chambers' grandmother, redefined the genre — not too dense and made sweetly moist by the addition of white raisins.
Bird also has the sweet-tart balance down pat in its lemon bars, but it's time to admit that this fanboy is really more into cookies. And it's Oscars all around for a tender, chocolate chip walnut cookie and the shamelessly scenery-chewing Monster studded with chocolate chunks, nuts, M&M's… This one is big enough to justify nibbling slowly with a specialty coffee in the bakery's Crate and Barrel-cute environment, while wistfully hoping for a Hammer hit (to get Hammered?). In the likelihood that it won't happen, just remember that the real stars are in the display case.
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