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Auntie Em's cupcakes are overrated

trangster8734 Jun 20, 2007 08:37 AM

After reading many sensational reviews of Auntie Em's Kitchen in Eagle Rock, my fiance and I decided to pay this place a visit. We were looking forward to try their food as well as their famous red velvet cupcake that many raved about. Sad to say neither the food nor the cupcake made the mark. The eggplant strata was weak in flavor. The red velvet cupcake was dry with a thick layer of frosting which perhaps was used to counteract the dryness. We left the place with half eaten food on our plates. In our opinion, Auntie Em got what she deserved in the Throwdown with Bobby Flay, the loser title. Her kitchen and her cooking still have lots of room for improvement.

  1. k
    KSalsa Jun 20, 2007 08:40 AM

    I pretty much agree on the cupcake. I couldn't believe how *mini* the mini cupcakes were b/c they were not cheap! They were tasty, but a little dry as you note.

    1 Reply
    1. re: KSalsa
      trangster8734 Jun 20, 2007 08:49 AM

      You are right. I forgot to mention that their prices are ridiculous for the kind of food that they serve.

    2. j
      JeetJet Jun 20, 2007 09:19 AM

      I like the meat loaf breakfast, bacon and eggs, steel cut oats on the weekends and those moist (every time) Whoopie pies. The coffee is excellent. I have had dry cupcakes however and I agree that the price of them is nuts. For moist Red Velvet cupcakes, small cakes and full size cakes go to Bake 'n Broil. Moreover, the breakfast selections at Bake 'n Broil are very good – Down home. We bought a red velvet cake (5" X 7") for about $6 on Sunday morning and the last slice last night was still moist. The moist Red Velvet is a sexy naughty crimson topped with a creamy white frosting that takes the cake beyond suggestive -- it is provocative! If given as a traditional Southern Grooms cake by a Bride, it would make a clear statement.

      Jongeward's Bake 'n Broil (Breakfast, Chicken Fried Steak, Pot pie, Burgers, Red Velvet and other cupcakes, sticky buns, Cakes and Pies so good! For lunch try the Burger special – Burger, pie and drink – under $7.00)
      3697 Atlantic Ave (North of 405 – corner of 37th st.)
      Long Beach, CA 90807
      (562) 595-0396

      1 Reply
      1. re: JeetJet
        Vikzen Jun 20, 2007 01:32 PM

        Associating them with moms busily dishing them up at birthday parties during distant elementary school days I thought I'd sworn off cupcakes and steered clear of the craze. But JeetJet your description of the Red Velvet Cupcakes at Bake 'n' Broil may send me tripping down there!

        Has anyone tried the cupcakes at Delilah's in Echo Park?

      2. Cicely Jun 20, 2007 11:30 AM

        The regular food is hit and miss, and so are the cupcakes... I've heard the same thing about the red velvets (though some like them, so they can't always be dry). I love their coconut cupcakes, which are like no one else's -- the cake part has tons of grated coconut, which keeps it moist, and so does the frosting.

        1. amandine Jun 20, 2007 12:58 PM

          I was really impressed by the carrot cake cupcake. Compared to, say, Violet's in Pasadena, Auntie Em's cupcakes are denser, with more heft to them, moist but I wouldn't say "light." I am NOT a fan of airy, cake-mix style cake texture (unless it's angelfood)-- I love denser cakes that you can really sink a fork into.

          Some of the dishes I've had there were a little bland (needed more salt maybe?) but I've come to realize that many natural/organic/health food restaurants tend to be that way, perhaps due to an emphasis on deconstructing the elements, keeping it clean and simple. But overall I love the place and am always eager to return because 1) I enjoy the food both taste and presentation, 2) I am into healthy 3) I LOVE the cheery bright walls, mismatched silverware, and the patio out back, and 4) service is unpretentious, quirky, and true to the feel of the place. Going there, I'm as comfortable as I would be if I were having lunch in the kitchen of a friend.

          2 Replies
          1. re: amandine
            limaboy Jun 20, 2007 02:23 PM

            Carrot Cake cupcake is always great (unfortunately)..little ones dry out..so avoid.
            Vibe there is welcoming and nice.


            1. re: limaboy
              KSalsa Jun 20, 2007 09:27 PM

              I also felt that the guy working behind the counter was at best having a bad day and at worst hostile. Guess I really did hit it on a bad day!

          2. rachaels Jun 20, 2007 02:16 PM

            Wha-wha-what? I love Auntie Em's. I've always had great food there and I've never had the experience of a dry cup cake. I'd suggest giving them another try. In my opinion they're tops--much better than Sprinkles or the like. Maybe it was an off day. What does that mean, "Auntie Em got what she deserved in the Throwdown with Bobby Flay, the loser title."

            3 Replies
            1. re: rachaels
              JeetJet Jun 20, 2007 04:14 PM

              Bobby Flay cheated. A gingerbread cupcake frosted with a mango fried in butter and vanilla bean -- what the hell is that? It is not apples against apples, oranges against oranges. It is not Red Velvet against Red Velvet either. What it is, however, is how the pompus Flay (I can't stand how he folds his airms and puts his nose up) does things -- cheating! That does not make Auntie Em's a loser. I Love it when Auntie Em makes Whoopie.

              1. re: JeetJet
                amandine Jun 20, 2007 08:02 PM

                Yeah, let's not forget when Bobby Flay danced on the cutting board and insulted Morimoto when Flay beat him on Iron Chef.

                I give Flay negative points for fried mangos on cupcakes. Cupcakes are SUPPOSED to be comfort food. Give me one chowhound-- ONE!-- who had fried mangoes on their cupcakes when they were a kid. Fried mango all you want on creme brulees and souffles and such... but DON'T. TOUCH. THE CUPCAKE.

              2. re: rachaels
                running pig Jun 20, 2007 09:40 PM


              3. r
                running pig Jun 20, 2007 09:37 PM


                Well, in all honesty, I have not stopped by in a year or so....hopefully its not on a downhill trend :-(

                1 Reply
                1. re: running pig
                  liu Jun 20, 2007 09:52 PM

                  Judging from the mini cupcakes that we had just a couple of weekends ago, I don't think it is "...on a downhill trend." I had a mini coconut and a mini carrot, and both were just as delicious as the ones I had about six months ago.

                  I am a big fan of their cupcakes, but I do think they have other problems. The place is jammed! Orders are not taken quickly enough and many of the employees seem to be suffering from chronic chaos. Also, on Saturdays as I know it, there is nowhere to sit and it can be very stuffy inside. Perhaps it is wise to carry out, but I can't vouch for how their cupcakes transport. Some things just have to be consumed on the spot!

                2. v
                  Vegasbuff Jun 20, 2007 11:04 PM

                  I went here a couple of weeks ago and also found the cupcakes a little dry, although they were still pretty good.

                  Here is a review with pics:


                  1. Gohantabeyoka Jun 21, 2007 01:37 AM

                    Hey, trang, I totally agree.
                    In fact, I'll go a step further and say I think the entire Ego Rock culinary experience is some kind of cleverly conceived marketing scam aimed at food snobs. Not just the cupcakes, but the breakfast joints, BBQ, the pizza and especially the Asian food in the area are usually major disappointments.
                    I remember a too-hip waitress at a faux Vietnamese restaurant on Colorado huffing FUH, FUH, FUH at me before she served up one of the worst bowls of PHO extant on these shores.
                    I now avoid the Rock entirely, except for the pinoy joints in the ER Plaza mall.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Gohantabeyoka
                      JeetJet Jun 21, 2007 11:09 AM

                      "Ego Rock" -- Whadaya....Blasphemy twice in one thread. First Auntie Em's and now the whole town.

                      I love EAGLE Rock for at least two reasons. I can accept that you might not like one of these places but not both, not to mention the whole town. You have never been to the Eagle Rock Bakery -- Right?

                      Next Saturday morning try this....

                      1. re: JeetJet
                        liu Jun 21, 2007 11:28 AM

                        Eagle Rock Bakery...have you tried their fig "cookies?" They are unlike any other, with pieces of cut-up figs and maybe orange bits (?) and surely some chocolate chips...delish!

                        My first purchase I bought a couple; the next time I bought a dozen, and now I am just pulling up a truck and asking them to load it!

                      2. re: Gohantabeyoka
                        Will Owen Jun 21, 2007 12:28 PM

                        So someone got his pronunciation corrected, and now "Ego Rock" is swarming with snobs? Oh come ON...

                        Any place that serves a better meat loaf sandwich than I make - I'm back to talking about Auntie Em's, in case you hadn't noticed - cannot by definition be a Food Snob destination, since those people would no sooner eat a meat loaf sandwich (unless you called it "paté") than they would tuna-noodle casserole, but it sure is MY kind of place. And Yeah, I love Auntie Em's cupcakes, too, though I'm not exactly a cupcake person.

                        1. re: Will Owen
                          jocey Jun 21, 2007 12:52 PM

                          I agree with Will. How can you classify Auntie Em goers as snobby? Moreover, how can you classify Eagle Rock as a snob magnet? That makes me laugh. I've had breakfast at Auntie Em's and loved it, been meaning to go back.

                          1. re: Will Owen
                            amandine Jun 21, 2007 09:23 PM

                            I didn't even pick up on the fact that it was a pronunciation issue. Heck, I find that I get away with mangled foreign words better in snobby places where honestly the come-and-go waitstaff often aren't too sure of it themselves. I always get the biggest earful at the little mom&pop corners where the service is... less gentrified, shall we say?

                            Maybe all us ER fans ought to pipe down a little.. and keep our little treasure finds to ourselves. :)

                          2. re: Gohantabeyoka
                            Akitist Jun 21, 2007 01:25 PM

                            Ego Rock? Dang, Gohantabeyoka, did you go to high school at Franklin?

                          3. amandine Jun 23, 2007 08:23 AM

                            Soo.... I was there for lunch yesterday. Yep, still stand by AE's as one of my fave spots around here. Tried her chocolate cupcake for the 1st time-- definitely the most complex tasting frosting I've had so far. Dark and just bitter enough, great texture. And I don't think anyone can ever complain about the service there-- incredibly warm, welcoming and friendly, even in the middle of lunch rush while several employees were buzzing around with what looked like an enormous catering order.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: amandine
                              running pig Jun 23, 2007 11:29 AM

                              Amandine, I knew I liked you! We absolutely agree on this one. Part of me thinks I like Auntie Em's so much because it is one of few eateries I found "by myself" i.e. without the help of other chowhounds :-)

                              Wish me luck everybody, as I am trying to actually COOK (yes, as in from scratch) coconut cream cupcakes tomorrow for a family picnic. I am nervous!

                              1. re: running pig
                                amandine Jun 24, 2007 05:38 PM

                                Aw, thanks! ... I think I was clued into AE's from the L.A. edition of dailycandy.com. Good luck with the cupcakes, make Auntie Em proud...

                            2. k
                              kittybooda Jun 25, 2007 11:15 AM

                              Bobby Flay is a tool. I knew him back in NYC before he was on TV at all -- he's a total ...um...searching for non-curse word here...tool.

                              Auntie Em's is one of our reg weekend places (and we don't live in ER). I'm a good southern girl, and all the red velvet I've had in LA is missing something. But I find most of LA to be utterly lacking in sensuality. Sigh.

                              I agree that the red velvet cupcakes at AE's are hit or miss, but the coconut ones are sublime. To those who find the frosting-to-cake ratio unappealing: I cut them in half lengthwise, and split the frosting. Easier to eat with my hands, too. :)

                              You have to try the steak sandwich. Yummy!

                              And one of the guys behind the counter (the guy in the hat) has always struck me as unfriendly bordering on hostile. <super snarky comment deleted>.

                              But, I have to say, we've 'discovered' a new weekend place. The line at AE's was way too long, as I had to go sell real estate that afternoon, so we hopped over to The Coffee Table. I have had the coffee there about a thousand times, but never the food. **Woohoo.** The super breakfast burrito was fan-freakin-tastic. Just like I'd make at home if I had the stomes to use that many eggs. Perfect balance of egg, cheese and smoked meats (I 86'd the beans, as I'm not a starch eater). And the chai was perfect.

                              Highly recommend!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: kittybooda
                                will47 Jun 25, 2007 06:31 PM

                                Beans are starch?

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