Monday, April 3, 2017

Pumpkin Pie and a landscape drenched with snow

Today is the first cake hour of April - yeah!  But it was more reminiscent of something from the winter.  First, someone brought a pumpkin pie today!!  The pie is normally associated with autumn and the holidays but it is clearly still available is some places like BJs which is where this one was from.
Somebody went to BJs!
And brought a pumpkin pie.
Very round and very smooth!
 This was a very good size pie, probably about 10 inches with a solid pumpkin color and a very smooth top. It tasted like these pies typically do with a nice taste of the spices without being overbearing.  A little whipped cream would have added a nice touch but no matter. It was a nice offering for cake hour.
Looks pretty classic!
A little whipped cream would have added the final touch!
The winter theme went will with the weather from the weekend which included and April 1 snowstorm. Although Providence want no particularly affected, for the one of us who was driving north through New Hampshire and Vermont the weather made for a travel disaster especially given the fact that the rental car was a Dodge Charger with rear wheel drive.  Who knew they still made rear wheel drive? 
Nice car but keep it out of the snow!!
 With steady snow, white out visibility almost, and little to no plowing the Charger was no match. During the course of the over 6 hour drive, (normally just over 2.5 hours) the car fishtailed up every hill, drove sideways at one point. and did a complete 180 ending up facing the wrong direction on an Interstate highway with a truck stopping about 10 feet away.  This was followed by getting stuck first in the snow. It had to be left on the road meaning the last mile to the destination was on foot at 1:30 in the morning.  The next day it got stuck in the mud.  The only upside to the whole thing was the landscape the next morning that was literally drenched with snow.
The small tree on the left - drenched with snow.
The red thing in the middle is a barn that is normally very visible.
Try getting your car up this road!
The Charger wasn't going to do it!
On the return trip, with normal dry road conditions, the Charger was great to drive with awesome acceleration and pickup!  Just don't take it into a snowstorm.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Our Princess returns

We were down for some more leftovers today and we're going to be scraping the bottom of the barrel. When what to our wondering eyes should appear but a colleague from the past carrying a tray of.....fruit.  Even though it is cake hour we do occasionally branch out and eat other things.  If nothing else it was a good cake hour from the health perspective.
Look who's here...our favorite Princess!!
And she brought a tray of fruit!
The tray of fruit is pretty self explanatory from its appearance.  The pineapple was good and sweet as was the watermelon.  The other melons were a little bland but they usually are so nothing different here. The cream cheese dip was sweetened and soft. It went well with the fruit but most opted for the fruit alone.
The cream cheese dip was a nice idea but the fruit alone sufficed for most!
Nice unexpected treat and a nice unexpected visit from our friend who has gone on to bigger and better things.  She is a physician now and about to start her residency at a medical center on Long Island.  We are very proud of what she has accomplished and look forward for more to come.
Selfies are more fun!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Chocolate Explosion!!

Fun and catchy name....Chocolate Explosion!
The title is not the name of something that happened.  It is the description/name of the cake that we had today. It came from Boston Coffee Cakes like many others. Although we've gone with the traditional and marble cakes this was the first chocolate explosion we had experienced. It is a fun name, isn't it?

Nice looking cake with drooling frosting!

Classic bundt style from above!
As is usually the case with Boston Coffee Cakes, the cake was fresh, moist and quite good.  In fact it was rather light eating. In addition to the chocolate sugar frosting on the top, there little chunks embedded throughout the cake. 

It looks heavy but it wasn't!
 Maybe the drooling type frosting and the bits are meant to be a result of "the explosion"?  Sounds good, anyway and all in all a nice chocolatey cake hour treat.  And we have leftovers!!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

One of the better coffee cakes you will find.

We've had this before and were happy to see it again. It comes from the Scialo Brothers Bakery on Federal Hill in Providence.  It is a classic, Old World style bakery where they still tie the boxes with string and have a line of bundt cakes. This is one of them - the Walnut Streusel.

We've had it before from Scialo Brothers!
Quite a tempting top!
It is a basic yellow coffee cake topped with about a 1.5 inch thick layer of walnuts in a streusel form bound together with butter and caramelized sugar. The best thing is that they don't skimp on the walnuts. There are a lot of them and it makes all the difference.
Generous with the walnuts to say the least!
The texture of the cake is soft and moist and you have this great crunchy top that beats any kind of cream frosting that could be on such a cake. This is a great cake so if you find yourself near the bakery grab one or you can order it online..of course.  It is a good size so you can feed a crowd if yo have to.
Soft moist cake with the walnut streusel top makes for good eating!
https://www.scialobakery.com/index.php/shop-online/bundt-cakes/item/73-walnut-streusel

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A great bundt cake from Scialo Brothers

Scialo Brothers Bakery on Federal Hill has a great selection of cakes including a category of bundt cakes.  Today we had a repeat one - their Cappuccino Walnut cake. This is a version of a marble bundt coffee cake made where the lighter part is coffee flavored and the darker part is cappuccino flavored.
Making great stuff since 1916!
Attractively packaged!
The light is coffee and the dark is espresso!
Like all their bundt cakes, of which we have had several,  this is an ample cake to feed a good crowd or leave you with leftovers.  The cake is the classic bundt oval and as you look at it from the top it appears that the cappuccino part is poured after and on top of the lighter coffee part. The the darker portion is added some chopped walnuts which end up on the top of the cake. The darker layer seeping through gives the marble effect - we surmise!
You can see how one batter seems to envelop the other!
The chopped walnuts float on the top!
All the Scialo brothers coffee/bundt cakes are excellent. When you get them fresh they are good and moist, not outrageously sweet and comparably light. The coffee flavor is unique to this one and is great for those of us who like our espresso.  If you want to a coffee coffee cake this is the one for sure.
In essence a coffee flavored marble cake!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Sayonara with the usual makeover!

And another one is done! Our research fellows from Japan generally have two years to spend.  For career reasons they have to return to continue with an academic position but more importantly to get back to work!! Work means seeing patients and serving in the clinical services at their respective institutions. Since those days can run from 6AM to 8PM Monday through Saturday, you can understand why they appreciate the two years of 9AM-5:30PM, 5 days a week only research that they conduct here. Comparatively, it's a bit of a vacation with the added bonus of spending some time with family that is less regular than during the time they are here.
He didn't know it was a celebration!
Nice looking blueberry custard tart!
But we also got the ganache cake!
With tour message of farewell.
We had someone who had signed up for cake hour and he dutifully brought in his creation which was a blueberry flan type thing.  However since the occasion was a bit more celebratory we also got a chocolate ganache cake from LaSalle's Baker with our message of thanks! We served everyone a piece of both.
Contemplating the final cake hour!
Checking the selection with a not too scary senpai!
The blueberry tart was very nice although everyone got a very small piece. The chocolate ganache cake was actually a chocolate cake, with mousse between the layers and the ganache as the frosting.  It was good and fresh, not as heavy as one would expect and not incredibly sweet either. It went great with coffee and was a nice treat to recognize our colleague's contribution.

Blueberries in custard were very good!
Cake with mousse and ganache - a sure hit
For parting gifts we did another Brown University makeover an also included a framed Richard Benjamin photograph print that bedevil those who have to get it back to another country on an airplane!
Another successful makeover!
The first ten second shot with a few missing faces.
This one is better!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A thank you with Pastiche

I think we are rapidly becoming the best customers of the Vienna Bakery of Barrington, RI and Pastiche here in Providence. The latter was a special favorite of one of our colleagues and in particular their fruit tarts. Today is the day before his last at the Center prior to returning to the Land of the Rising Sun!  So he treated us to one of those favored tarts.
Another day, another Pastiche item
His fave and ours - the fruit tart!
Colorful rings of fruit are a given!
This one was, as usual, gorgeous to look at with fruit rings of mango, raspberry, kiwi, orange, blackberries and strawberries.  It all sat on the usual buttery crust and a lighter than usual vanilla pastry cream.  There was a message of thanks on a white chocolate bar on top.  He thanked us for his years of support and we of course thank him for his hard work....more to come tomorrow!

We had an enlightening discussion about how senpai and kohai interact in Japan.  There is actually a Wikipedia entry and it describes these two as terms from the Japanese language describing an informal hierarchical interpersonal relationship found in organizations, associations, clubs, businesses, and schools in Japan. The concept is based in Japanese philosophy and has permeated Japanese society.  It has also permeated the popular culture - "Notice me, Senpai" - is a catchphrase commonly associated with anime shows and manga books to express a quest to resolve unrequited admiration.
You can even get this on a T-Shirt!
Our colleague told us about how the kohai tend to be scared of the senpai and more importantly how the senpai try to be scary until they reach the very top of the University structure at which point they become nice and friendly. If you go out to dinner with them then they even pay the bill.  I guess there are some benefits.  Our friend is going to have some kohai when he returns and has every intention of meeting their expectations by being scary! 
Not the expression for your kohai!
Let's hope they don't do anything drastic to get noticed!
Not a good way to get noticed!