Monday, October 15, 2007

Angels and Cupcakes

A couple of weekends ago, San Francisco hosted Fleet Week, an annual event held during the Columbus Day weekend to honor the Sailors and Marines serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The past few years, Karen and I have missed Fleet Week, as either one or both of us have been out of town for some reason or another. (For instance, we were in Hawaii during last year's event.) This year, both of us were in town, so we decided to head down to the waterfront to check it out.

One of the main draws of the weekend is the airshow, which is highlighted with an aerial performance by the Blue Angels, the Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron. Though I had been to a few other airshows in the past, this was the first one where I saw the Blue Angels. They did not disappoint. The precision in their maneuvers was amazing; at times, it appeared that the six planes were moving as a single entity, as the fighters flew together with just a few feet of separation between them.

From our vantage point near the shore, we could feel the immense power of the jets as they roared overhead during their 45 minute show. One of the more memorable moments for me was when a solo F/A-18 did a high-speed pass at what must have been no more than 50 feet above the water, the vortex of its mighty wake turbulence parting the waters of San Francisco Bay. It was just a lot of fun to watch the planes weave between one another against the gorgeous backdrop of the San Francisco skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge.

After the show ended, Karen and I decided to take advantage of the fact that we were in the Marina District to grab some sweet treats at Kara's Cupcakes, named after owner Kara Lind. An advertising sales exec turned baker, Lind sources the organic ingredients for her cakes from local suppliers to ensure that her products are as fresh as possible. After having read about this little bakery in both the Daily Candy and in the local paper, both of us were excited to pay them a visit.

Luckily, we beat the big rush and only had to wait a minute or two before it was our turn to order. Karen decided to go with the Chocolate Velvet (below left), a chocolate cupcake with a velvety bittersweet chocolate buttercream, while I went with the Raspberry Dazzle, a chocolate confection frosted with a raspberry buttercream.

The cupcakes were very good, a bit lighter than I expected. At $3 (or more) per cupcake, it's also a bit on the expensive side. I wonder how the cupcakes compare with those from New York City's Magnolia Bakery, of Sex in the City and SNL fame. Maybe it's time for a West Coast v. East Coast, SF v. NYC, cupcake face-off.