Monday, August 2, 2010

The Cupcake Gallery

I'm not sure if you all are aware, but there is a war happening on the streets of Chicago. This war is not fought with guns and knives but rather spatulas, flat top grills, and trucks. The war I'm speaking of is over the legality of preparing food in an automobile. If you've ever been to NYC, I'm sure you've seen the Halal carts all over the place that will cook you up a whole series of delicious greasy foods. Well, it seems that big time chefs across the country are starting to take their food to the streets. Many other major cities in the country have opened the legal doors, and now those cities are flooded with high quality food in the mobile fashion. Foodies in Chicago are up in arms that we're not taking advantage of this craze. Currently, the law basically says that any food coming out of an automobile has to be prepared and packaged ahead of time.

Well I was on my way back from a disappointing CND Gyros meal with my lab mates when we saw a crowd around a truck in front of our building. We soon realized that it was a truck selling cupcakes. I'd heard about this on Chicago's Best. Since the cupcake is baked ahead of time and then driven out to the customers, there aren't any legal limits per se. The only problem that these trucks run into sometimes are parking violations, but I think they usually bribe the cops out of it with a tasty treat. The original cupcake truck was Flirty Cupcakes, but now there seem to be a few competitors. On this day we just so happened to stumble up to the side of a truck labeled The Cupcake Gallery.

The way these trucks work is really the most interesting part of the whole situation. Basically, people follow them on facebook or twitter. You send them messages or tweets or whatever to tell them that lots of large, hungry people will meet them on a certain corner near your office. If they get enough people telling them to go somewhere they add it to their schedule. They then will tweet or post their schedules so that you know when and where they'll be.

The line took a little while, especially because people seemed to be bringing long orders back to their office. It probably took us 20 minutes from getting in line to getting our cupcake, but we weren't in any kind of hurry. At one point there was this lady at the front of the line trying to figure out which cupcake she wanted. I wanted to claw her eyes out. Considering that she was in line for about 20 minutes as well and that the menu is posted on the side of the truck, there's no excuse for her idiocy. If any of you know that scene from Kicking and Screaming where Will Ferell gets tossed from the coffee shop, it was almost like that.

Each cupcake cost $2.50 which is cheaper than the Flirty competitors who I believe charge $3+ for their delectable treats. One downfall was that they kept running out of things which I guess is a reasonable byproduct of the fact that the truck can only hold so many and can't make cupcakes on the spot.

The Food
I'm no cupcake connoisseur, but I'll try my best to give you all a rundown. I had developed a list of my favorites, but they kept running out. It became a dramatic moment every time the guy in the truck leaned out to cross off a flavor with his marker. The four of us ended up getting a Red Velvet Twinkie, Creme Brulee Cupcake, and two Cookies and Cream Cupcakes.

Our Box of Cupcakes

The Cookies and Cream Cupcake

The Red Velvet Twinkie

  I got up to get us all cups of water, and before I had the chance to try it, the twinkie was long gone. It was described as just alright with somewhat of a bland taste. The Creme Brulee Cupcake was pretty good with a moist cake, but the frosting was pretty liquidy. Also, although it tasted good, it didn't necessarily translate as a creme brulee taste. The highlight was definitely the Cookies and Cream Cupcake. Both the frosting and the cupcake had cookie chunks. The frosting had almost a frozen yogurt texture because of how smooth it was, but it could've been sweeter. Of all of them, this is the only one I'd go back for.

This whole food in a truck is an exciting new prospect. Cupcakes aren't really the gourmet cooking that I was talking about, but it's still pretty neat when a truck full of sweets pulls up in front of your office building. They weren't too pricey, but the line could've moved a little quicker. The majority of the cupcakes were just alright, and I'd definitely say Molly's Cupcakes and Sweet Mandy B's are way better. I'm giving The Cupcake Gallery 2.5 out of 5 Pearls.


  1. Only 2.5 pearls Jeff...oh well, we'll take 'em. Thanks for the review of my little business.

  2. Seems fair, although there isn't much you guys (The Cupcake Gallery) can do about the line. If The Cupcake Gallery comes back to our corner of Streeterville, I'd like to try some of the other flavors, esp. the double chocolate.

  3. The newest food truck: