Monday, February 1, 2016

Off the Map: It's 9:00 AM -- Do You Know Where Your Cupcakes Are?

Chocolate Coconut Cupcake -- Joan's on Third, Los Angeles, CA
Joan's on Third

Just when we think nothing can get more ridiculous than sharing a chopped salad with Regis, we manage to one-up ourselves.  After successfully walking back to our Beverly Hills hotel (no easy feat), Vodka immediately takes umbrage with the fact that it is at least 90-degrees in our room, despite the fact that she had set the thermostat at 66-degrees before leaving.  Looking toward Ginger for backup, she finds her fully collapsed in her bed, a victim of that one extra gin and tonic.  Naturally, Vodka begins harassing the hotel staff about this issue, resulting in an engineer, a housekeeper, a manager, and a bellman all circling through the room over the next hour, up to and including a vent being removed, a man crawling through our ceiling, and a change of sheets flying around Ginger's face.

The most alarming part of this entire circumstance?  Ginger sleeps through the entire thing.  In case you ever question the power of gin.  

Any Chance You People May Also Have a Defibrillator?
When the offending heating system manages to cover Vodka's bed with a coat of "asbestos" (some would say "dust"), the manager agrees to switch us to a new room, despite the fact that, with a glance in the direction of Ginger's bed, she notes, "You look pretty settled in here."  Vodka promises to rouse Sleeping Drunky, and the second the manager has gone, she shoves Ginger's sleeping form and yells, "Get up, we're moving."

"Where are we going?" Ginger stammers, completely unaware of all of the nonsense that has just gone on right under her nose.
Instead of While You Were Sleeping, It's More Like a Scene from While You Were Passed Out from Gin
Once Ginger is somewhat upright, we are escorted across the hotel, through the lobby, and to another elevator bank, up into our upgraded room.

In which, Ginger promptly falls asleep.  
Ginger, the Following Morning: "We Have a Balcony?!"
The next day, our movie theme switches from While You Were Sleeping to The Hangover, as Vodka rehashes the entire timeline that resulted in us ending up in this mysterious new room, as if Ginger were not there at all.  When we manage to pull ourselves together enough to Uber across town to Joan's on Third, home of Alex Guarnaschelli's Best Thing I Ever Ate WITH MY HANDS food, the chocolate coconut cupcake, we can't decide if we are in no mood for nonsense, or if we are only in the mood for nonsense.
What We Are Definitely In the Mood for Is Water
We do know that when we approach the bakery counter, with nary a cupcake to be found, and inquire about them, we are none too pleased to find out that they won't be escorted out of the kitchen until 9:00 AM -- almost a full hour from now.  
Ain't Nobody Got Time for a Cupcake Delay
Luckily for Joan's, we are going to be needing something more substantial anyway in order to combat our current state, or else they'd be receiving worse dirty looks than some Beverly Hills hotel managers.  After much confusion and stumbling around the premises, Ginger orders the scrambled eggs, and Vodka, a soft-boiled egg with toast.  We sit at the end of one of Joan's communal tables (Vodka has subconsciously chosen a place in the freezer section, presumably still warm from our boiling room last night) and await some sustenance.  
Keeping Us On Ice
When our food arrives, Vodka stares at the egg in a cup before her as if she's never seen an egg before.
Could Someone Please Feed This to Her?
"How do I eat that?" she asks Ginger.

"Try tapping it with that little spoon," she suggests.  When that fails to result in any cracks in the shell, she continues, "Why don't you Google it?"
Next We Will Be Googling "How to Consume Toast"
Googling "how to eat a soft-boiled egg" soon results in us stumbling upon some of our other Google searches from the night before, up to and including "Cleveland" and "350-pound woman."  
Also, By Some Miracle, Vodka Finally Managed to Broach the Egg Shell. Thanks, Google
Our current conversation isn't making much more sense, as Vodka inexplicably keeps referring to "Joan" (of "on Third" fame), and when Ginger asks which one she is, Vodka is forced to reveal, "I don't know if that's Joan.  She's just a woman who works here."
It's Like Our Personal Version of See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, Only Swap "Evil" with "Sense"
Once we figure out how to consume them, we find Joan's eggs good enough, if not entirely memorable.  The entire store looks exactly how we picture Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa establishment (may it rest in peace), and within a half hour of its 8:00 AM opening time, it is fairly packed.

And yet, there are still no cupcakes to be found.
Somebody Please Serve Us a Bloody Cupcake Already
Finally, at the strike of 9:00, we see trays of cupcakes being escorted from the kitchen, and Ginger is sent to procure one.  It bears repeating that, despite what we're about to consume, neither of us particularly like the taste or texture of coconut, which means we're real martyrs for blindly following Alex's tastes.
You're Welcome, America
The cupcake itself is pretty in form, resembling a Magnolia concoction in both size and frosting proportion.  A mound of buttercream icing, coconut sprinkled on top, rests on a dark chocolate cake.  
In Other Words, It's a Cupcake
Our first bites reveal that it is quite good... should one actually like coconut.  But then again, it is also just a cupcake.  It doesn't necessarily taste any better or worse than other varieties we have tried, and in fact, many other items at Joan's bakery counter look more interesting and appealing than these cupcakes.
Cut to Us Slowly Picking Off the Coconut, Bit by Bit, Piece by Piece
While we enjoy this place for what it is, nothing about it strikes us as especially eventful or impressive.  But then again, Regis didn't show up, so perhaps from the beginning, Joan's on Third was fighting a losing battle.

Joan's on Third's Chocolate Coconut Cupcake: 3 stars

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