We are a clique. I have come to realize that is what we have become. We all lookout for each other and when we are wronged at a restaurant, we stand united. And, when someone discovers something really good? We all run and try it out. The universe must have aligned so we would all become such a close group of friends. Or maybe it was fate? Foodie fate.
Either way, I am so grateful for my circle of friends. We vary in ages, ethnicities, careers, food preferences, and yet we all get along and can talk for hours. Even when we disagree on what we think of a place, it never affects the friendship. I love Sabor. Most of my friends do not. I don’t like Longhorn’s and Shave It. Most of my friends do. I don’t like tomatoes. My friends had an intervention that has me considering trying one as soon as tomato season comes around. Foodie Peer Pressure. Yet, we will always have the same united front when it comes to our strong dislike of Daphne’s and “that BBQ place” in Canyon Country.
So, I knew that the cupcakes from Bake You Happy and the ambience from It’s a Grind was something that I definitely wanted to share with my friends, but I just knew that it was worth getting the gang together and checking it out as that infamous united front we are known for. Getting everyone together is not easy, and the closest we have gotten before today was Mike’s Fried Chicken Night, which was one of the best meals ever. However, these were epic cupcakes, so I was definitely up for the challenge, and the emails/texts/DM’s went out only a few days ago.
This was completely last minute. In fact, I just gave Kim (from Bake You Happy) the final head count yesterday! The magic number I gave her was 17. That is how many had confirmed. Honestly? With such short notice, I figured there would only be 9 of us, but the number grew and grew and here we were, all united tonight at It’s a Grind, Castaic ready for a cupcake tasting.
The idea of the cupcake tasting came about after talking to Kim and learning that her cupcakes are mainly available only at It’s a Grind, and even then there are a few flavors to choose from. However, browsing her website, I noticed a variety of flavors and asked her if she would be willing to have a tasting for my group of friends. Kim had never held a tasting before, but was very open to the idea. After setting the price, and letting me know how many flavors we could get, I got to work telling my friends.
Shelly, the owner of It’s a Grind was willing to host us at her coffee shop, and that worked out great because I wanted my friends to see how it totally fit the mold of “neighborhood coffee shop” that we were seriously lacking. I loved It’s a Grind when I visited last week, and I knew this would be a great place for a tasting.
The price was set at $10 and it was decided that we would get to sample 7 of Kim’s most famous cupcake flavors. This was incredibly fair, in my opinion. I got there a little before 7pm to find that Shelly and Kim had set up tables along the center of the coffee shop, along with a runner, candles, and flowers. It really looked beautiful and immediately I knew we were in for a special night.
As people started arriving, they ordered their drinks from It’s a Grind. You can’t have cupcakes without something to drink! I went with my usual blended lemonade, but I saw that most people went with coffee, always a good choice. Sidenote. Look at these kids!
I liked that some people actually got their drink in ceramic mugs! How cool is that! You can’t do that at just any coffee shop! I also heard that my brother cousin Hsiawen, (pictured here with his awesome wife Deb) ordered his coffee with whipped cream. So typical.
Once the tasting was underway the real fun began! I especially liked that the cupcakes were all put in individual boxes! I also enjoyed listening to what everyone had to say after each bite. I can honestly say that everyone looked happy and the conversations were flowing. THIS was everything a tasting should be about.
Even before the tasting got underway, Larry bought four of the full sized ones from the bakery case. I thought this was odd, since he was going to eating from the tasting. His response? He claimed that he knew they would be good, so he wanted to buy the full sized ones before anyone else did! He may have had a valid point, because Hsiawen’s co worker also bought some full sized cupcake goodness.
I started with the lemon cupcake, which I actually thought was vanilla. I even remarked to Caroline how awesome this was for being a vanilla cupcake. D’oh. Lemon.
Next, I tried the red velvet! I liked that it had that excellent “red velvet” flavor that I always yearn for! And the frosting was pretty excellent as well.
The caramel apple was next! I have had this flavor the most, so I was not surprised to find that it tasted great!
After the caramel apple, came the coconut. I only got halfway through the coconut when I had to stop. I was full. I could not go any further! Even though these were mini cupcakes, the size was actually pretty decent. After eating four I just could not eat anymore!
Of course, that just means that I had four leftovers for the next morning! See how convenient those containers were?
Some people managed to eat all seven, but there were a few of us that left with containers, like Mike and his son. Representing the Phillies, of course!
Kim, the owner of Bake You Happy and overall cupcake Goddess, joined our group and was greeted with applause. As it turned out, she actually knew one of the guests that Hsiawen had invited from work.
She was so nice to everyone, and as fate would have it, she had some family connections with Mike! The story is actually quite unbelievable, but it just goes to show that it is definitely a small SCV world!
Everyone in our circle of foodie friends was present tonight (except for Vinh and the Hustler – obviously). Derek Thomas, his wife, Greg, Kendra, Mike, Allison, Larry, Chonchis and her Jeffrey, Lisa, Dan, Hsiawen, Deb, Carrie, Brian, my friends Jeanette and Laura, and my BFF’s Caroline and Shawna. Nate was invited but he is anti frosting and concluded that cupcakes were for girls. His loss. We all had a blast! And, no blog post would be complete without a shot of LA Weekly’s very own Derek Thomas!
Shelly, the owner of It’s a Grind, was very kind to us, and even prepared some tea for the table. I did not try it, but am told that it was very good. The presentation was very nice too, as it also included a timer! How legit is that? Thank you for having us Shelly! Also, the young guys working tonight were so helpful, not only in making all of the drinks, but also in moving tables, adding chairs, cleaning up, refilling our drinks, and just providing excellent customer service.
I am going to say that tonight was a total success! Everyone enjoyed some cupcakes from a local baker, and it was just one more foodie experience that will unite us even more. It was nice to see the whole gang together! Sometimes we spend months planning a group dinner, and people end up having to cancel at the last minute. I think that if you plan something last minute, more people end up attending! Hmm!
So, I am official declaring Kim from Bake You Happy the go-to person if you are ever in need of custom cupcakes, cakes, or if you want to have a cupcake tasting of your own with your friends. I am so happy to have FINALLY found a great baker in the SCV! I love cupcakes soooo much, and I already placed two custom orders from Kim that were delivered to my workplace! How convenient is that? Also, her prices are excellent! Please check her out either at It’s a Grind or by placing an order. And, this is where I tell you that I had never heard of her before last week, so this is not false advertising. If you follow my blog, you know that when I really love a place and make a new discovery, I have to share it with everyone!
You can find Kim’s awesome cupcakes at It’s a Grind in Castaic daily!
It’s a Grind
29641 The Old Rd
Castaic, CA 91384-4570