I left work around 1030 and although I was tired and I still did not feel 100%, I did not go straight home. Instead, I stopped by the bar where a farewell party was being held for a work friend. The party started at 7:30 so I wasn't sure whether anyone would still be around but I needed to say goodbye so I hoped to catch them. At the back of the bar was a cluster of a few co-workers who were still lingering and I was greeted with a hug by the guest of honor. I intended to stay for only 30 minutes to an hour max. But, I ended up staying much longer than intended as: a) I was enjoying myself because as it turns out, it is nice to step out of the office and socialize once in a while; and b) the guest of honor clutched my arm and begged me not to leave when I first hinted at going and then begged me to dance with her in the very nearly empty bar save our small cadre. So I stayed. Until 1230 or later knowing full well I needed to be at work extra early the next morning. To make matters worse I returned a call from my sister on the cab ride home and she was in one of her hilariously entertaining moods and I couldn't put the phone down so we talked until something close to 3 am.
Except for the cake. A word to NYC visitors. Do not listen to people who insist you have to visit Magnolia Bakery. It is not good. Not at all. Seriously, Costco makes a better cake. The cake was dry, dry, dry and crumbled into a million pieces before your fork even made contact. And the frosting was layered on about an inch thick and consisted mostly of shortening and loads of sugar. Gross. I took one bite. Only one bite! And I love baked goods. Love them. Even medicore ones are generally worth eating. I do not understand the fascination and fanaticism that surrounds this blah bakery.
The first time I visited Magnolia Bakery was during my first summer in New York way back during the high rolling times of dot com revolution in 2000. I had been in the city a few short weeks when a friend's daughter was turning one and a co-worker of ours suggested we pick up cupcakes from Magnolia - the original one on Bleeker. NY was experiencing a terrible heat wave that May with temps hovering around 100 humid degrees all month. We took the 1 or possibly the no-longer-in-existence-9 train to Christopher Street and I stepped into a new world. It was my first time in the Village. Luckily our co-worker knew her way around and led us directly to the bakery. There was a bit of a line or wait but nothing worth noting and I probably would not have remembered this particular trip if it weren't for the sticky heat which heat unbelievably intolerable levels once inside the bakery. While waiting for my friend to select a dozen cupcakes, I could not help but stare at the woman doing the baking. The only thing she was wearing was a slip. A very sheer slip with a limp apron hanging loosely over top. She had nothing else on. Nothing. And she was glistening with sweat and her hair was matted to her head. Maybe that is the image that prevents me from wanting to open my own bakery, I don't know. I thought the cupcakes were fine but nothing too get worked up over or to even remember. And in the first two years I lived in New York, while I often visited the Village, I never went back to Magnolia but always thought of the sweaty girl in the slip anytime it was mentioned.
Maybe I should challenge Magnolia to a bake off. . . .