I think we've made our love of cupcakes pretty clear, but just in case you aren't sure: we love them.
But, as good as any of those cupcakes in that post are, they can't hold a candle to The Sugar Cube food cart operated by Kir Jensen at the Mississippi Marketplace in North Portland. Kir apparently had a similar dessert cart previously, but had to close, re-plan, and has opened this new outpost of goodness.
Her cart is pretty - looks like Neopolitan ice cream, and you can see plenty of great pictures here. Sorry, no pictures from us - it was raining like hell when we went.
We happened to go opening day, last Thursday. Her menu is a tribute to sweet deliciousness and although small, it's amazing.
Our first item was something called Beer.Cheese.Bacon. It was a Guinness and ginger spice cake topped with Fifty Licks (a local brand) Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream, bacon praline, honey, and white cheddar. I'm not usually a big fan of spice cake, but all the flavors here - which don't at first glance seem like they should go together - work in the best possible way.
The whole reason we actually stopped by was for cupcakes though. Foodies all over the Net have been lauding Kir's cupcakes and we've been chomping at the bit to get a chance at them, since we missed out the first time around (what were we thinking, coming late to Portland's food scene?!). The Highway to Heaven, in particular, was top of the list. She's doing a cupcake a week for now, and has a few she will be working into rotation. Thankfully opening week included this one.
Thankfully, as in thank the gods of chocolate across all universes. This chocolate buttermilk cupcake is easily the most moist (say that five times fast) we've ever had, and when she fills it with salted caramel center and tops it with chocolate ganache. It's absolutely, hands down, the greatest cupcake ever. No arguments. I will fight anyone who declares otherwise. Okay, maybe not, but I can't fathom anyone disagreeing after giving this a bite.
That was enough for one day...but we went back on the weekend. Since those cupcakes were simply so damn good and it might be a couple weeks before they are available again, we went back. I mean, how could we not? Pouring down rain or not, how could we turn our backs on the greatest cupcakes ever?
So went back, and got two more to bring home with us. This time we also checked out the Ultimate Brownie, topped with fleur de sel, chocolate ganache, and olive oil. Wait, what? Olive oil? Yep, we were skeptical too. But just like with the bacon and cheese mixed with the ice cream and spice cake, these flavors complement each other in a spectacular way. I believe the comment I heard from somewhere - might have been from my mouth, might have been from Wifey's - was "Where have you been all my life Sugar Cube?!"
It's that good. I know, this all sounds over the top and ridiculous, but I only save that for the best, and this is the best.
Unable to stop, we also ordered a Hot Chocolate Malted. It's a malted Ovaltine drink, whole milk, Venezuelan milk chocolate, whipped cream, and smoked Hawaiian sea salt. Again, it's not flavors I would think of mixing, but it was fantastically good. Personally we had never had Ovaltine before and really didn't know what to expect, but given the quality of the other items we figured it had to be good. And it was. It's not like some of the rich hot chocolates/drinking chocolates we've tried from places like Sahagun or Coffeehouse Northwest, but it stands on it's own as a fantastic drink on a cold, rainy day. And we've had a lot of those lately.
So, if you are keeping score, that's four fantastic items and nothing less than that. If that doesn't make The Sugar Cube a must visit, along with all my hyperbole, I don't know what will.
Check out Kir's Twitter account for updates. Her plan at the moment is to be open Thursday-Sunday from noon-7 (5 on Sunday), but that's very likely will change. With the Prost German pub right there, there is definitely the possibility of people needing yummy sweets late night, and she plans on taking advantage of those customers (that came out weird - not in a bad way, just presenting them with options).
None of these items will break your bank. Just go. Why are you still reading?! Go!