Thursday, July 10, 2014

Anatomy of a Cupcake at Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats

Pistachio Orange Cream Cupcake

Is it any wonder the cupcake craze is dying a slow, painful death? After forking over $4 for a small, bland cupcake at Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats, I'm ready to call it quits forever. As in... no more cupcake reviews. Not that today's Pistachio Orange Cream cupcake was the worst I've ever had (although it was painfully average) but rather the fact that no single cupcake (with the possible exception of Buzz Bakery & Lounge, which still only charges $2.75 and $3.25 for theirs) is worth four bucks.

Odder still, my lunch at Pollo Campero around the corner cost only $.99 more; and for that, I got three pieces of fried chicken (a leg and two thighs) one side, a dinner roll and a soda with free refills. Hey Sticky Fingers, we're still in a recession; and Columbia Heights isn't exactly Georgetown, is it?

Sticky Fingers is just off 14th Street on Park Road, NW, and seems bigger than most cupcake shoppes. The interior is relatively outdated and far from inspiring. The employees behind the counter had zero energy... no hello, no goodbye, no smiles. I handed over $4 in cash, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt puny cupcake on a plate. I grabbed a table in the back and paused in dismay (no other customers in the store... just an interview at a nearby table.) In a word... depressing.

I unwrapped the cupcake, and marveled at the dullness of it all. The frosting had no design (swirl, etc.) whatsoever... just a lump of icing and a few sprinkles of pistachio, that closely resembled bird seed. The pistachio cake was void of sweetness, and was neither dry nor moist. Thankfully, the icing had a great texture (aided by a tiny crunch from the pistachio topping.) Unfortunately, it tasted of little else than orange cream (not exactly one of my favorite flavors.) Come to think of it, is orange and pistachio a marriage made in Heaven? Hardly. I found the combination peculiar, for lack of a better word.

So that's it... My final cupcake. I'd rather take that same four bucks, double it and order a truly decadent dessert at a real restaurant. It's time to put this fad to rest.

Appearance: D (Two words. Bird seed. Yuck.)
Store Atmosphere: D (Nice exterior, but drab on the inside. Surly staff.)
Cake: C- (Pistachio flavored cake. Yawn. At least it wasn't bone dry.)
Icing: B- (Good texture, but boring to look at. Orange cream dominates flavor profile.)
Value: F ($4 for a small cupcake? I quit!)
Overall: D (This cupcake effectively led to my retirement as a cupcake critic: You were expecting better?)