Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wanna Get Some?

Hapa Cupcakes
1210 Jefferson St., Ste. Q
Anaheim, CA 92807
714-567-HAPA (4272)

  Last week I was invited by the ladies of Hapa Cupcakes to come to their location and try a few of their signature cupcakes. Hapa Cupcakes is currently sharing a suite in a industrial complex with a deli. I personally had a little trouble finding the place but my sweet reward was worth the minimal effort.

  Currently Hapa Cupcakes is mostly an online business where customers can order many different kind of their signature alcohol infused and/or classic cupcakes. When an order is received Akemi and Hanayo jump into action and can have your order ready for pick up quickly. The store front is the location for your pick up but you can walk in an order a hot cupcake sundae. What is that you may ask?

 The picture does not do this cupcake justice. The warm cupcake, slowly melted the vanilla ice cream which gave me the best of hot and cold at the same time. The cake was soft and moist while still being full of rich chocolate flavor. The chocolate sandwich cookie pieces added a nice crunch to each bite. This was a hot fudge sundae but in cupcake form. I'm sure I looked a fool while eating this in front of Akemi and Hanayo and trying to find out more about their appearance on Cupcake Wars. I spent a little bit more time chatting with them and was given a four pack of cupcakes to take home for later.

  When I told my wife that I was going to taste cupcakes she said that she wanted some herself so it was pretty awesome that Hapa Cupcakes gave me this four pack so I could share them with the family. I like hearing what my family has to say about the food we eat so we ended up each sharing a bit of all four cupcakes.

 We started with the "Red Velvet Stiletto" which is a classic red velvet cake with a cream cheese frosting and candy red heart. No booze in this cake but it did remind me of a classic red velvet cake. The cake was spongy and moist while the frosting was sweet but not too rich. The chocolate flavor was present but not over powering. A very well made and tasty cake.

  Next we dove into the raspberry vanilla cupcake, which is only available to people in the know. This was my wife's favorite cupcake. This cupcake was full of vanilla flavor from the cake it self and from the frosting. The small dollop of raspberry added a hint of tartness to the cake. I personally would have  liked a little more of the raspberry flavoring.

  "Nuts about you" was our next cupcake. This is a Valrhona chocolate cake with a peanut butter cream cheese frosting. This was the winner for my son and my daughter. My son said this cake was rich and chocolatey. My daughter loved it because it was chocolate and peanut butter, two of her favorites things when they are alone, put them together and she was happy as can be. It very much reminded me of a peanut butter candy cup, you know which one I mean. All the flavors were spot on and the cake it self was delicate.

  Last but not least we ended with the "Will you remember me in the morning?" cupcake. This is a Madagascar vanilla and Kahlua cupcake with bits of cinnamon streusel and topped with cream cheese frosting. The smell of cinnamon was coming off this cupcake as soon as my fork went into it. The cake it self reminded me of pumpkin pie, I thought I could taste some nutmeg in the cake. The cream cheese frosting was just enough to kick up the sweetness without being over powering. While the bits of streusel added texture to the cake.

 As for me, my favorite out of all the cupcakes I tried was easily the hot cupcake sundae. These little cups of a chocoholic's dream come true were just perfect. All the cupcakes by Hapa Cupcakes were moist, I know I sound like a broken record but it's true. All the cupcakes were light and fluffy while still having some bounce to them that gave a really good mouth feel. None of the frosting were cloyingly sweet and all were the perfect accompaniment to the cupcakes. Make sure you check out the link to Hapa Cupcakes web site if you are interested in ordering.

Hapa Cupcakes

Hapa Cupcakes on Yelp

Hapa Cupcakes on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A night without the kids

El Matador
1768 Newport Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

  It's not often my wife and I get a night out alone or a night out with friends. On this night we spent it with good friends that we have not hung out with in a long time. My friend plays guitar in multiple bands and he happened to be playing in Costa Mesa. We all wanted to meet for dinner and his suggestion was El Matador because it was within walking distance of the venue. This worked for my wife and I so we met our friends at El Matador for dinner.

  The parking for El Matador can be a pain but there is parking in the back so keep that in mind. When we first walked into the restaurant, this place was packed! The service was attentive and took our order as soon as we were ready. My wife got a chicken enchilada with green sauce and a chicken taco and I got a Mexican pizza. With two sodas the bill was around $30.

  My wife enjoyed her meal. She said the chicken in the enchilada and the taco was moist and tender. She said the green sauce was good and flavorful and she said the taco was crisp and crunchy. I was too busy with my Mexican pizza to even try what she ordered but from the picture below you can see it looks like one heck of meal.

  The Mexican pizza was described as crisp flour tortillas topped with shredded or ground beef or chicken, chopped onions, peppers, tomatoes, sauce and melted cheese. I got mine with chicken. There were also some beans in the mix of ingredients. This sounded good to me and it was something that I have not had before. When the plate was placed in front of me this Mexican pizza covered the entire dish and it was coated in melted cheese. I started to blindly eat the crisp pizza but was kicked in the mouth by the heat from the peppers. Wow was it hot, beyond what I like so I was on a pepper hunt from that point on. With the heat gone from the pizza I was able to enjoy the rest of my food. The chicken was shredded but remained moist. The flour tortillas were crisp, the beans were creamy while the chopped onions and diced tomatoes added some tartness and sweetness. The melted cheese held all components firmly to the tortillas so each bite was loaded with flavor. I was surprised at just how filling this Mexican pizza was, I'm glad I didn't try any of my wife's dish so I had plenty of room for mine.

  I love finding new places like El Matador. I have driven by this restaurant countless times but just never had any interest in stopping to try it. Well I am certainly glad my friend recommended El Matador because it was worth the stop and it is a restaurant I can easily recommend to anyone. If you are in Costa Mesa for any reason then it is a must. If you are near Costa Mesa then I would say take some time to head to El Matador, I do not think you will regret it.

El Matador 

El Matador on Yelp 
El Matador on Urbanspoon

el Matador on Foodio54

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

No More Home Pride Bread?

  I have been struggling to find a good quality replacement bread for Home Pride Bread ever since Hostess and Wonder went out of business. I was excited to see that Hostess was coming back but could find no news on Home Pride Bread returning. So I went to Facebook and sent the question to Hostess since I could not find a Facebook page for Home Pride Bread or Flowers Foods (which is the company that bought out the old Hostess Company). The answer I got was not good and from the screen shot included it appears Hostess is strictly focusing on snack cakes only. I truly hope this is not true or it is a decision they will reconsider. I do a few more emails and phone calls out there that I am waiting for responses from and I will update accordingly if I get any replies.

  Home Pride Bread was staple in my child hood life, in my early adult life and in my kids life. It is a food product I have sincerely missed since it was removed from my grocery store shelves. If anyone out there has a good recommendation for a Home Pride Bread replacement feel free to leave a comment here or head to my Facebook page PapaKaster Eatin' and leave a comment there. It may seem silly to be so upset about bread but I know I am not the only person out there that has this kind of love for Home Pride Bread and not the only one that will be upset about this news if it is true. The search continues!


  I never did hear back from any of the contacts I tried to reach when I originally made this post but checked the Flowers Food web site today (7/22/2013) to find Flowers Foods has posted a new press release stating the completion of "acquisition of bread assets, including 20 bakeries; the Wonder, Merita, Home Pride, Butternut, and Nature's Pride brands; and 36 depots from Old HB, Inc. (formerly Hostess Brands)." Does this mean the return of Home Pride to our local shelves? Quoted from the press release "Consumers across much of the country can expect to see these well-known and loved bread brands returning to store shelves over time." said Allen L. Shiver. I certainly hope Home Pride is one brand slated for return.

Flowers Foods press release 7-22-2013 


  I finally received a reply from one of the email inquiries to Flower Foods and the reply was some what promising. Most of the email was just about the press release I posted in the first update but what this representative said gives me hope but it is still not a conformation that Home Pride is coming back.

"Flowers plans to begin re-introducing these former bread brands into its core markets (markets it has served for five years or more) as soon as possible. The company is not sharing any other details regarding its plans for these brands at this time."


  Flower Food made an announcement on Monday (9/23/2013) that Wonder bread has returned. The title of this announcement is "Wonder, Merita, Home Pride, and Butternut breads return to grocery stores throughout Flowers Foods' geographic market area." My beloved Home Pride bread is in the title I cannot wait until it returns to my local grocery store.

  "We're thrilled to be baking these wonderful breads and know that millions of consumers will be smiling when they find their favorite back in their grocery store," noted Keith Aldredge, Flowers Foods' vice president of marketing. "We are using the same recipes and paying close attention to quality and freshness. We want these breads to be great from the very first taste." "Where ever these brands were available before within our market area—they are returning," Aldredge explained. Quoted directly from the press release, link below.

  I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for the return of Home Pride bread and I am truly excited to hear this news. I have been able to find acceptable replacements but nothing that even comes close to Home Pride. It looks like all of us Home Pride bread fans will soon be able to again enjoy our favorite bread.

Flower Foods press release 9-23-2013