Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Guilty for Gigi's

Although Chicago is my home and probably one of the greatest food factories in the Midwest, I have been traveling about for a little over a month. This means, there's a plethora of other foods I've tried and baked in other cities, homes, states, etc. That doesn't mean I'm not going to share them with you though, oh no, especially when it comes to Gigi's Cupcakes.

My trip to Georgia was a long 11 hour car ride to a place where, in reference, there was mostly banjo music and beer discussed. Both are not ideal for a girl like me. Yet when my boyfriend and I had settled a bit into his apartment and decided to venture out into Athens to discover what it had to offer, I found out it wasn't quite the stereotype we had heard. Of course it wasn't Chicago, but not banjo music on the corner either. In fact, I knew I was okay when we found a Starbucks, Ben and Jerry's, Five Guys, and a cupcake shop all within walking distance of each other. I salivated a little, then texted one of my favorite baking partners, Ashley, about this new little cupcake store I had discovered named Gigi's. Of course, she's not new to the south (or cupcakes!) and told me they were wonderful, so I knew I had to try it out.

My last day in Athens, Georgia just before I waited at the bus station for my 21 hour bus ride, we got dessert at Gigi's. I was impressed alone by the cute counter tops with high stools to sit at, rack of t-shirts and Gigi gear, as well as the colorful array of cupcakes that sat beneath the glass. The thing I first noticed: "HOLY FROSTING!" GiGi does not skimp out, but instead uses the frosting very decoratively to create a tower of swirl that stands beautiful and doesn't look like you could destroy it. Of course, this made me a little skeptical to the countless complaints I hear from other foodies about the cake to frosting ratio, but I wouldn't turn down a cute cupcake due to that.

My boyfriend and I split a White Midnight Magic Cupcake. Beautiful name, although I had trouble remembering when I had to order and did a back bend to reread the sign beside it, but got me giggly as the kind, hard working girl got it out for us.The magic is the great combination of dark chocolate and cream cheese that still is light and fluffy. Dark chocolate cake and dark chocolate chips make me excited on it's own, but their frosting was extremely interesting. In fact, so interesting I probably annoyed my boyfriend. I was so determined that it couldn't be cream cheese frosting (this was before we looked it up) due to the fluffy and almost sugar granule texture that made it up. My boyfriend said it was like a marshmallow Peep and I agreed excitedly. He hit it on the nose. A Peep. That same fluffy, sugary, treat that I adored so much, yet lightly topping a cupcake. It also wasn't as thick since it had that dark chocolate mixing so well with it.

So not only does Gigi have this beautiful selection, but as we watched a large crowd fill in and out of the small store, we realized a menu full of cupcakes showed the variety of selections they offer. With a rotating schedule, but orders available for all their varieties, it was no wonder the crowd that flowed in and out of Gigi's. Everything from college girls in their sweats, families, nurses, mothers, to men came in to get a cupcake and enjoy it then or picked up boxes full of the great treats. I had to snoop online and found you can meet the cupcakes, which is probably the cutest phrase a cupcake company could come up with. Just a taste of their variety includes: S'mores, Banana Split, Lemon Ice Box, Kentucky Bourbon Pie, Merry Margarita, Wedding Cake, Texas Milk Chocolate, Birthday Surprise, Hunka Chunka Banana Love, and Champagne. There are even daily specials such as the Cherry Cordial we saw.

Not only was the small cupcake store just what I needed to feel comfortable in Athens, but they're quite the chain; locations range from Alabama, Texas, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Indiana, Ohio, Nevada, Missouri, North Carolina, to Colorado. This is not just some itty bitty cupcake store, like I had thought. Yet, the cutest part? The hometown feel. I was pretty much a giddy school girl when I saw the painting to the left. Two Bulldogs, the University of Georgia's Mascot, kissing over their cupcakes and the Gigi's Cupcakes logo. How could you not love it? If I end up with my boyfriend in Georgia, I will apply to Gigi's in a heartbeat. Not only for the cupcakes, but for the fact that they have Gigi's merchandise that includes a "Ms. Princess" t-shirt with a cupcake on it. It might be for kids, but I want it!!

It just goes to show that people appreciate cupcakes no matter where you are, especially with that hometown feel and that sweetness to keep you coming back for more.

- Mollie

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