Monday, November 1, 2010

The Manila Machine's Ube Cupcake: A purple ray of sunshine on a work day

Despite the proclamation at the top of my blog that I’m the “picky-palated princess,” during the past couple years I’ve become decidedly less picky about those plentiful proportions I’m pushing down my pie-hole. In this past year, I’ve eaten pigs’ ears, uni, sweetbreads, tongue, and more than one drippy, fatty cheeseburger. It’s a marked change from the days when I used to consider eating squid ink pasta or sushi to be adventurous dining behavior, and wouldn’t go near a burger with a ten foot pole, let alone my mouth.

While I’ve greatly expanded my gastronomical horizons through my pursuit of good food and good company, I still have one horizon that I’ve yet to fully trek. I still haven’t quite become one with the idea of eating food from a truck – mostly because it’s usually heavy fare, but also because I’m not particularly keen on the idea of eating my lunch on a curb.

I appreciate what they the trucks are doing – feeding the hungry masses that are tired of brown bag lunches and frozen Lean Cuisines – but I still haven’t felt particularly inclined to become a truck-chaser. Even for the good trucks like the Manila Machine, the Grilled Cheese Truck or India Jones.

So, even though there is always at least one food truck parked near my office complex during the day, I’ve continued packing my brown bag lunches as usual. In my mind, I don’t need the Flying Pig to have a fly lunch.

A fly dessert is an entirely different matter...

When I discovered the Manila Machine, the highly-acclaimed Filipino truck operated by Nastassia from Let Me Eat Cake and Marvin from Burnt Lumpia, was going to be at my office complex this past Wednesday, I knew that it was time to break my food truck-free streak. Not for the truck’s famed chicken adobo or for a savory pan de sal slider with spam, but for their signature dessert – the ube cupcake ($3).

There has been much talk around the blogosphere about the cupcake that was developed by Nastassia before the truck debuted this past June. Mattatouille recently claimed it might be his favorite cupcake, Abby from Pleasure Palate thinks the coconut frosting rocks, and Esi from Dishing Up Delights says the pretty treat tastes even better than it looks.

With such high praise, I knew that the purple yam cupcake was just the thing to perk up my hump day – after I finished my brown bag lunch, of course.

The treat is pristine in appearance – almost shockingly so. With its bright purple hue, dome of impeccably shaped cream cheese frosting, and tuft of toasted coconut, it looks like something that might have come out of bakery case. I felt practically giddy taking it back to my desk with me in the little white to-go container.

“So this is the allure of food trucks…” I thought to myself as I peeled back the wrapper to reveal the tender flesh of cake.

It’s a unique cupcake – unlike any I’ve ever tasted before. The cream cheese frosting is certainly familiar – and a fantastically smooth and tangy version of the classic – but the coconut topping and sweet starchy flavor of the cake bring style to the ubiquitous baked good. It’s not just tasty, it’s chic. It’s a cupcake that has a touch of pizzazz to it, and as such, is worthy of its sweet reputation.

As I tossed the wrapper into the garbage bin under my desk, I felt a twinge of what normal people must feel when they score an awesome lunch from a food truck parked near their office. My day and mood were instantly uplifted by the cupcake. I have no doubt that I will be chasing the Manila Machine for another uplifting ube cupcake again.
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Esi said...

Oooh, you know how I feel about sweets and I DEVOURED this cupcake in seconds. Definitely one of my favorites.

Gastronomer said...

Nastassia's Ube Cupcake is seriously AMAZING! The texture of the cake gets me every time. The frosting is kick ass too!

weezermonkey said...

That cupcake is almost as pretty as Nastassia! :)

H. C. said...

heh, don't forget the ube cupcake gift card in your BP goody bag ;)

Jenny said...

This is so well written Diana! I love your description of the cupcake!!

Dessert Darling~

Diana said...

Esi - Haha, I remember you saying that! I think that was partially why I HAD to have it!

Cathy - Sounds like I need to add your sentiments to my round-up from the blogosphere!

Weez - Hehe, almost but not quite! ;)

HC - I won't! But I have a feeling I probably won't use it. Want to support Nastassia!

Jenny - You must hunt it down and try the cupcake soon! The frosting is perfection. :)

stuffycheaks said...

I love how you bypassed the food for a dessert. I love ube. If you not near the truck, you can get ube cake from Red Ribbon Bakery (Sunset and Gower)

A Thought For Food said...

Oh my gosh! Look at the color of that cupcake! Incredible! Thanks for commenting on my guest post on Monet's site! It's great meeting such amazing people through her.

bagnatic said...

wow, nice write up on the cupcake. you induced a crave!