Buttercream Bake Shoppe, Balzac (Calgary)

Just outside of Calgary sits a small town called Balzac. And in this town, right on the highway leading to and from Calgary, is a relatively new giant shopping mall called CrossIron Mills. I met up with a friend there, and I also went because I wanted to walk around (was hoping to find a lot of good outlet stores, but came away relatively disappointed because this place is mostly just a regular shopping mall).

Inside the mall, in the middle of a hallway, is an outlet of Calgary’s Buttercream Bake Shoppe. There were plenty of mouth-watering displays of cupcakes and cookies.

Buttercream Bake Shoppe

Buttercream Bake Shoppe

I didn’t want a whole cupcake, so my friend and I opted for two mini cupcakes. One was a vanilla cupcake with a passion fruit frosting, and the other was a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting. The cupcake itself was just ok – the cake was moist but not as flavourful as I’d like. I think I prefer the cake from Crave. The frosting on the passion fruit frosting was very fruity, and both it and the vanilla frosting were almost too sweet. (I think this is why I don’t eat cupcakes very often. They’re just too darned sweet for me!) The texture of the frosting was excellent though. Creamy, but not so rich that you feel like you’re sticking a piece of fat in your mouth. I think I like their frosting better than Crave’s.

mini cupcake

mini cupcake

Buttercream Bake Shoppe
CrossIron Mills Mall, Balzac – just outside of Calgary next to Highway 2
Two other locations in Calgary
www.buttercreambakeshoppe.com

Williams-Sonoma Marketplace, Tea Zone and Café Koraku, Primm

About a 40 minute drive south on the I-15 from the strip, over on Exit 1, is the Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas. This place is a shopping mecca of discounted clothes, purses and shoes. It’s large, air-conditioned and relatively crowd-free (unlike another good, but very crowded and outdoor Las Vegas outlet mall that I went to).

And bonus, it has a Williams-Sonoma outlet. Just look at this pretty, pretty photo!

Williams-Sonoma Marketplace - Le Creuset sale

Williams-Sonoma Marketplace - Le Creuset sale

Too bad I made a promise not to try to fit one of those in my luggage. They had quite a few deals in there, and in particular I was looking for a set of round cookie cutters with scalloped edges that I had seen in their Calgary store, but unfortunately they were sold out already.

And then I saw this.

Williams-Sonoma Marketplace - vanilla

Williams-Sonoma Marketplace - vanilla

At half price, each box contained 3 different 2 fl oz bottles of vanilla extract, and the following description:

Like fine wine, premium vanilla springs from a combination of soil, climate and expert processing – an art practiced by Nielsen-Massey since 1907. Our special set combines three of the world’s finest single-origin vanillas: intense Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, a favorite for ice cream and chocolate; floral Tahitian vanilla, which brings out the best in fruit-based desserts; and earthy, sensual Mexican vanilla, the original vanilla sent home to Spain by the explorer Cortez and a perfect complement to cinnamon and spicy, savory dishes like chili.

Even better – the bottles were small enough to fall under the liquid amounts that you could carry on the plane, so they travelled in my purse with my lip balm. I have no idea what I’m going to do with them just yet, so please let me know if you have ideas. Continue reading