Whether it’s the beginning of the day, the middle of the afternoon, or even the peak hours of the early morning – there is always room for dessert.
And my morning began with just that – a miniature, bite-sized cupcake from Mission Minis bakery in San Francisco. These cute, tiny little treats had my mouth watering, as I gazed through the plastic partition separating those little morsels of delight from my wanting taste buds.
A bright bubblegum pink wall presented the flavors of the gourmet mini cupcakes. Although each and every one of the flavors sounded equally satisfying, I knew I was going to get the Ruby Red Velvet.
While the name enticed me, with its rather regal ring, just the thought of the chocolatey red velvet cake frosted with a large dollop of cream cheese icing, had me hooked. With the first bite, the smooth cake began to intermingle with the rich cream cheese frosting; a duo that had me royally enchanted.
Following this elegant mini delight, food was rampant, from a hand-cut pastrami sandwich on double-baked rye bread to a huarache served up with homemade masa and a killer salsa.
But even after visiting six eateries and feeling as if my stomach had exceeded its capacity, the moment I saw the ice cream shop, Humphry Slocombe, I caught my second-wind (read: second-stomach). Who ever says they don’t have room for ice cream?
This was far from your every day ice cream shop, however, as I soon learned that the owner prided himself on making children cry, a twisted, yet funny way of saying that he made ice cream for adults.
Like Mission Minis, there were a number of ice cream flavors that were tantalizing, but since we had eaten at two Mexican spots just before arriving here, I went ahead and went with what seemed like the obvious choice – Horchata ice cream.
As soon as I took a spoonful of my generous helping, I had a slight Proustian moment. The light flavor of the ice cream and the soft grainy texture of the rice base had me recalling memories of my childhood. But as I swallowed the first bite, it was gone; I couldn’t quite recall what it was that I had been thinking about. And then I took another bite of the cinnamon infused ice cream, but the memory was still just a blur. I thought the third bite might just do the trick and as the lemony taste hit my tongue, it slowly came to me – the ice cream tasted just like my grandma’s Portuguese rice pudding.
And I think this is why we always have room for dessert. Dessert can fill our body and mind with more than just sugar and hefty calorie counts. It can fill us with memories from the past that we might have not thought about in years, but that still have the power to bring about a smile or even a tear.
But let’s be honest with ourselves, even without this powerful deeper meaning, there’s still always, without a doubt, going to be room for dessert.
After a long and grueling week at work, the stress was finally subsiding as I woke up to a surprisingly warm winter morning. My boyfriend and I both had the day off and had decided to spend the day together. The morning was spent running errands and picking up presents for friends and family for the holidays.
In the middle of running our errands, we both began to get a little testy with one another and then it happened – my stomach growled as if we had awoken a sleeping bear. We stopped arguing about whatever little thing that had been bothering us and realized that we hadn’t had breakfast that morning.
It was settled. We were going to get lunch. There was not a minute of hesitation in deciding where we wanted to eat, which is a miracle in itself because usually we can never decide. The restaurant of choice was Homeroom. Neither of us had ever even been to this restaurant nestled in Oakland, known for its macaroni and cheese, but we had both been dying to try it.
When we first arrived, I was a little weary about the overall appearance of the place. Sure it was fun and had a hipster kind of vibe with most of the customers wearing ray bans, skinny jeans, and flannel shirts; but there were water glasses sitting on all the tables, even the ones that no one was sitting at! But that thought quickly left my mind as I looked around at all the dishes of bubbling macaroni and cheese sitting in front of those hungry, hungry hipsters.
I quickly took to my menu and tried to decide which macaroni and cheese I was going to order. Their menu was dominated by the elbow-shaped noodle paired with various types of cheeses, from creamy gouda to tangy chèvre. My boyfriend immediately eyed the Smokey Bacon Mac – anything with bacon and his decision ends there. I was trying to decide between the Classic Mac and the Vermont White Cheddar.
When the waitress came to take our order, I was still trying to make my decision, but my boyfriend had ordered and I had to pull the trigger – Classic Mac it was. And I was sure to add the crispy breadcrumbs.
With our meal ordered, my boyfriend and I were quite anxious to receive our food. As I was waiting, I kept thinking about what this freshly, “home-made” macaroni and cheese was going to taste like. I knew this wasn’t coming out of any old blue box.
Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw the waitress approaching our table with two dishes of macaroni and cheese. I think I actually held my breath as I watched her put my order in front of me with the cheese oozing and bubbling. The smell of the noodles and the cheese alone had me falling in love, but then the toasted smell of the breadcrumbs sent me over the edge.
As I went to take my first bite, I was sure to include some noodles from the bottom and from the top which had crusted from a combination of the heat and the breadcrumbs. The result was some of the best macaroni and cheese that I had ever eaten. We definitely weren’t eating Kraft Macaroni and Cheese anymore.
After eating about half of the dish we were absolutely filled to capacity. The creaminess of the cheeses and the starch of the pasta left us in a food coma. With the business of the morning, this comforting meal of macaroni and cheese helped us to slow down and appreciate the holidays for more than just the presents, but the times that we spend together.