Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hey Cupcake!


Hey Cupcake, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

It's hard to describe Hey Cupcake! to somebody who's not from Austin. For starters, the cupcakes are sold out of an airstream trailer, parked in what used to be a vacant lot on South Congress Avenue. Now, I know that doesn't sound very odd to you, especially if you're not from Austin, but, believe me, it is. Congress Avenue, you see, is the main street that dissects Austin into east and west. Think of it as a kind of "Broadway" without the theaters and with a host of taco bars and odd thrift stores in their place, and, well, that's pretty much Congress Avenue. In fact, you could go so far as to say, that's pretty much downtown Austin for you, but downtown Austin pretty much begins and ends on Congress Avenue.

The airstream trailer has a giant spinning cupcake on top. It was started as a small business, by somebody who wanted to earn a living, and had the novel idea of making and selling cupcakes, rather than opening a full service bakery, restaurant, or some other, more typical, eating establishment. There are a few different varieties of cupcake-there's the vanilla, the "standard" (white cake with chocolate topping) and something called a "Michael Jackson" (half black and white, from the looks of things.) The trailer also sells Sweet Leaf tea by the bottle and has a few "lawn chair" like seats out front.

Hey Cupcake! has been around for a few years now. Because I don't much frequent that part of Congress anymore, I had never been there before tonight.

Now, there are many things I've done since moving to Austin-many of the typical "stereotypical" types of things-such as go to see the bats, visit the dome of the capitol building, attend a rodeo, visit the Broken Spoke (honky tonk bar) eat "authentic" BBQ at the Salt Lick restaurant, check out "the new" Whole Foods-the list goes on. But, I have never, not until tonight, eaten a Hey Cupcake! cupcake.

So tonight, while the Austin Night Photography group gathered, under the swirling cupcake, I waited in line, paid my $2, and got myself a Hey Cupcake! cupcake. Now, I can't say it was the best cupcake I've ever had, though I have to admit it was pretty good. It was more about the experience though-the whole South Austin experience.

As I was driving home, crossing over the Colorado River on the Congress Avenue (aka "bat") bridge, the City took on a new twinkle. It looked a bit different tonight. Sure, it's the same old Austin, in many ways, same as it ever was, but to me there was something fresh in the air, something new. It was as if I'd seen a new side to Austin. And, I'd have to say, it was all thanks to that Hey Cupcake! cupcake. As we go through our "normal" everyday existence, Austin reminds us that we're never too far from the weird, from the offbeat, from the oddball, from the Hey Cupcake! cupcakes down on South Congress Avenue. Yes, as we sit and punch clocks in cubicles, that delightfully whacked out sweet treat spins around aimlessly on South Congress Avenue-almost like flipping a bird at the establishment-albeit a much sweeter tasting bird. "Take that! You office workers! I've got a Hey Cupcake! cupcake. So there!"

Yes, it's hard to describe Hey Cupcake! cupcakes to somebody who's not from Austin, but tonight? Tonight I just enjoyed one for the first time. And I hope, I really do hope, that you get to enjoy for yourself, some quirky, offbeat, oddball aspect of your hometown. It's just one of those little things (with sprinkles on top!) that make life special. Every place has something unique, something special, something "different" about it and, if we don't stop to celebrate those things, we're all destined to live in a land of strip malls and highway overpasses-and actually learn to enjoy that kind of existence.

And, if you're thinking that you'd like one of your very own Hey Cupcake! cupcakes, I have one thing to say to you. Hey, that's *MY* Hey Cupcake! cupcake. Get your own!

Until next time...

4 comments:

mythopolis said...

I like the idea of a spinning cupcake. You wouldn't have to lick the icing off, because it would just spin around on your tongue! Yum!

Peruby said...

Hmmm... maybe somebody should check the ingredients in those cupcakes...

Carol said...

Mythos, The giant spinning cupcake was wonderful. I only wish I had better photos of it to show it to you better. I did not do such a good job of photographing it, unfortunately.

Peruby, lots and lots of sugar. What's that they say "sugar and spice and everything nice?" Yes, a lot of that too (though I should point out, you can get other "ingredients" down on South Congress Avenue as well-but I did not photograph any of that last night in my travels.)

KalaMarie said...

I would love to visit Austin one day - I've been to San Antonio, but didn't get to Austin. For sure if I ever get there, I'm having bbq AND a cupcake!