Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Twinsies Coffee & Cupcakes

(Second Review -- May 2012)

Twinsies Coffee & Cupcakes is located on High St. SE in downtown Salem, Oregon. This was the former home of Lil's Cupcake Cafe. At the time of my visit, Twinsies had only been in business for a couple of weeks.

I briefly chatted with Nick and Becky, the co-owners. They open at 10:30 a.m., Monday through Saturday, offering a full espresso bar, fresh soups, sandwiches, and several intriguing types of cupcakes.

Menu on 3/16/12
Menu on 3/26/12

A lot of Torani's syrup!
On my first visit, the cupcakes beckoned to me with their best food porn attire. While they had vanilla, chocolate, and red velvet in the display case, fancier creations using Oreos, key limes, or green tea screamed "pick me!"

The key lime cupcake ($3.50) has mascarpone key lime filling inside a key lime graham cracker "crust" cupcake. Key lime buttercream frosting and an actual slivered key lime wedge finalized this delicacy.

Key Lime cupcake
(Twinsies Coffee & Cupcakes)
Is there filling in there? I didn't find much, if any....
The cupcake was good. I must have missed the key lime filling inside the cupcake, which is a shame. I expected a bunch of light key lime filling to show its face, but all I really received was the graham cracker cupcake.

The key lime sliver was a nice garnish, although I question whether it's too thin to be fully appreciated in the overall picture.

I detected a subdued key lime flavor in the buttercream, but again, that topping was ever so slightly on the heavy side. The top of the frosting had a brittle, flaky texture. Perhaps the cupcake had been sitting in the display case for a while? Maybe more air needed to be whipped into the buttercream?

If you're lucky enough to get a cupcake extremely fresh, more power to you. If it has been sitting in the display case for a while, the experience will likely be affected.

For the record, the flavors were enjoyable. Nothing stopped me from conducting my usual food massacre. Again, after eating and making cupcakes at award-winning establishments, I've admittedly been spoiled and grade cupcakes to a higher standard.

Visit number two came ten days later. The cupcakes on my second visit looked better. All the buttercreams looked smoother and much fresher. But pandas need to control their sweet teeth. Savory must reign this time.

Cupcakes on my second visit...all look fantastic!
But Aaron, control your damn sweet tooth!
OK fine, one more picture....
The turkey sandwich ($5.95) features a generous portion of oven roasted turkey breast slices (cold cuts), a slice of provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and a sweet "smoked BBQ mayo" blend, all on a parmesan-type bread. Kudos for buttering and toasting that bread! Added crunch and flavor!

I absolutely loved this sandwich. The ingredients felt fresh and I coulda ate more than one. But I'll ask for melted provolone next time. My bad. I just prefer melted cheese over the cold, solid stuff.

The bread itself was thinner than expected, and I feared the sandwich would come apart in my hands. It was a feisty dude, managing to stay intact against the abundant fillings.

Turkey sandwich
(Twinsies Coffee & Cupcakes)
I pitched an idea to Nick and Becky about incorporating chiles and chocolate into cupcakes. Perhaps add a mocha filling or buttercream. Would they name it after me? Ha, their call on that one. Experimentation is a wonderful thing. Regarding the spice, cayenne is a great start, but for the more daring lad like myself, try habaneros, ghost peppers, or Trinidad Scorpion peppers. I'd recommend getting the powder first, instead of working with the real deal. Yup, you can even find Trinidad Scorpion powder online for sale. Pricey, but awesome for the true heatseeker.

I received friendly service on each visit, and I urge people to check them out. If you go to Twinsies' Facebook page and "like" it, Nick said you'll get 50 cents off your order.

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