Although I had made up my mind about writing here more often, I am slacking. Well, not slacking, really - just over-committed to too many other projects! I am now the 4th-ranked Judo Blogger in the Japanese Judo blog circuit, which is a terrifying fact in itself, if not for the fact that it seems to be a rather small and uncompetitive field of blogging with less than 20 registered blogs on two of the most popular Japanese Blog Billboard Charts.
I am staying up later than I would like to by writing my second blog post (the first being the JP Judo Post), because I absolutely cannot stay quiet about my amazing run-in with the world's most delicious vegan cupcakes at the World Vegetarian Festival in San Francisco this past weekend.
As I mentioned before, I am now a semi-vegetarian, and I am always looking for new culinary inspiration as I explore this new dietary life-style - and a Vegetarian/Vegan Trade Show just seemed like a great way to get a lot of exposure in one shot.
Since my vegetarianism is strictly based on my inability to process whatever chemical moiety that resides within animal meat, I am not against dairy or eggs at all. In fact, I tend to think veganism is a bit of an extreme for me and it doesn't particularly hold any philosophical draw. But as a culinary tradition, veganism is fascinating. From the Japanese Vegan Tradition of Sho-jin Ryouri to the delicate dishes at my new favorite restaurant (post coming soon), what does impress me about veganism is the absolute creativity and detailed thought required because of the restrictions placed upon its ingredients.
It is truly an achievement of a highly skilled chef to be able to produce spectacular creations when so many stand-by ingridients are crossed off the list. In particular, baking without butter, eggs, and cream seems like a daunting task to say the least, and boy, were my socks knocked off this weekend by Sugar Beat Sweet and their vegan cupcakes!
The bakery I used to work at during graduate school offered vegan treats - and although I absolutely love Kim and her creations - I have to say, Sugar Beat Sweet was in a different league. Honestly, I could not tell that these were vegan treats. If it weren't for the enthusiastic fellow customer/fan/friend of the owner, I would not have known that they were vegan. Moist and soft as the most delicate clouds, each bite melted right into my mouth, mingling with all of the taste buds, teasing me with the "can this really be vegan?" question. There was no trace of anything strange or out of place - it was as good a cupcake as I had ever tasted. If anything, it was more airy, more delightful, and more adorable in taste than many "normal" cupcakes that rely on its substance to satisfy. This was a cupcake that was created with every care for even the most minute detail to ensure that it was the first in class, particularly because of the awareness that there was a technical challenge that had to be overcome.
The four of us devoured our cupcakes. I sampled both the PB&J and the Snickerdoodle. If anything, the cream on top was a touch too sweet for me, but then again, I am mostly an anti-sugar person. It's only recently that I have started to explore my sweeter nature, and boy, would I love to continue my exploration if it involved more treats like this one!