More Company Cafeteria Food Porn

Work Cafe - 12/02/10

Bittersweet salted caramel tart

Looked marvelous, but after my horrible experience with their bittersweet caramel, I chose the Hazelnut-vanilla bean custard torte instead

Work Cafe - 12/02/10

Hazelnut-vanilla bean custard torte

While it wasn’t a visually stunning dessert, it was delicious.

Work Cafe - 12/02/10

Creole butter and crab

“Pasta, lemon juice, shallots, garlic, tomatoes, cayenne, paprika, crab, butter, cream, and a touch of spinach pesto (parmesan, almonds, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic).”

I love how our on-line menu at work forgot to list spinach as an ingredient in the spinach pesto. It was the best crab pasta EVER.

Work Cafe - 12/03/10

Meatloaf with buttermilk smashers

Seriously, they actually called them “smashers”.   Sometime they try to get cute with the names. And sometimes they succeed. This was not one of those times.

The meatloaf was awesome but the salad sucked. I wasn’t the only person who liked the meatloaf – probably half of the people I work with had the meatloaf for lunch that day… with the exception of Steve, who decided to go with the chicken curry because he’s cutting back on red meat. Poor, poor Steve.

Work Cafe - 12/03/10

Pistachio ganache and caramelized Asian pear tart

I wanted to like this. I tried so very hard to like this beautifully green pistachio tart, but it wasn’t meant to be. I’m still trying to figure out how a dessert built around two flavors I love can be so bland and indifferent.

The tart was VERY sweet, but the sugar was all I could taste. In fact, if the name hadn’t had the word ‘pistachio’ in it – I would have never guessed it was supposed to be there. The asian pear was a bit more difficult to miss, but it was only used as a garnish so I don’t know why it was part of the name of the dessert.

Work Cafe - 12/7/10

(left to right)
Mint-chocolate chunk-vanilla cake, eggnog custard tart, and praline-toffee ganache cookie

The only one I tried here was the praline-toffee ganache cookie. The ingredient list includes: butter, confectioner’s sugar, salt, flour, white chocolate, hazelnut paste, and macadamia nuts.

It was fairly good after I scraped out about half of the ganache filling.

Work Cafe - 12/7/10

Eggnog custard tart

I regret not trying this one.

Work Cafe - 12/7/10

Mint-chocolate chunk-vanilla cake with mint Italian buttercream.

I think it was the idea of a strawberry on top of mint flavored cake and mint flavored buttercream that kinda squicked me out.

Work Cafe - 12/09/10 - Dessert Bar

All of these desserts were from today. A day in which I had just enough money for a main course.

Work Cafe - 12/09/10 - Cream Puff

Toffee cream puff

Actually, I wouldn’t have tried this one anyway. While I love cream puffs (and enjoy making them too), the filling looked like the toffee ganache from the cookie, which was only good in small doses.

Work Cafe - 12/09/10 - Vegan Cake

Vegan orange spiced cake

“With coconut oil, vegetable shortening, whole almonds, sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, mace, baking powder, and powdered sugar”

Work Cafe - 12/09/10 - Cheesecake

Lemon-goat cheese cheesecake

“With house-made vanilla marshmallow s’more. With cream cheese, goat cheese, mascarpone, sugar, eggs, butter, flour, salt, lemon oil, and graham cracker crumbs.”

Work Cafe - 12/09/10 - Yellowfin Tuna

Yellowfin tuna with fried rice

Seared yellowfin tuna, ginger-scallion fried rice, sesame-seared haricot verts, citrus-soy vinaigrette, and cascabel chili paste.

For all of the daily specials, they put up a display plate to show you what the item actually looks like. From some of the previous photos you can see that they are very big on presentation here. Usually. Today’s sample plate was gorgeous, and I wish I had gotten a photo of it because while what I ended up with was fine and not that different than the display, the few changes that the cook made were enough to turn it from beautiful to adequate.

Thank goodness it tasted great (although the cascabel chili paste just tasted like ground-up charred chilies in oil).

When I think about it, sometimes I feel like an ass when I say things like that about our cafeteria food – I must be getting spoiled.

Space by Spacewest 2010 Pan-Galactic Alien Film Festival

I apologize for the delay, things kept getting in the way but I really didn’t want to add anymore new posts until I finished my tribute to Kimberly’s award-winning cake.  So here it is in all its glory.

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As I stated previously, there’s so much to Kimberly’s cake that I’m going to have to break it down by layers and visit all the geeky little details. We’re starting at the bottom and working our way us, we we’ll start with the table decorations… also known as the parking lot.

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See the brickwork behind the shrink-ray valet? Kimberly made over 1500 of the little buggers for the bottom layer.

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Here are some of the shrunken ships in the parking lot. (And here is where I display my crappy photography skills. I don’t know what I did wrong, but this year’s photos aren’t as good as last year’s, even though I have a better camera. I’ll have to get my sister-in-law to give me a few quick lessons.)

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My first photo of this was taken at a different angle and when I reviewed it later that day, it looked like the little green guy was pissing on the wall. I don’t think that was quite the effect she was going for, so I made sure to get a shot where you could see the spray paint can.

Now to the Lobby Tier:

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First is Leeloo with her multipass.

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The little green toothy dudes from GalaxyQuest

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The Doctor’s TARDIS

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Mars Attacks! and Planet of the Apes, along with some more movie posters

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The Predator is giving the Alien (with the pink bow that you can’t see) flowers…. is this an homage to Alien and Predator, or to Robot Chicken?

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Check out the slime. It’s those little details that I love.

Now it’s time to visit the Concession Stand Tier:

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Another poor quality photo. Someone else did it better here.

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This entrance to Miliways had me squeeing with joy. That shows you how much of a geek I am.

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The chick from the mini-series V (I’m trying to forget the full television series).

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I love the single shoe next to Audrey 2’s pot.

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The concession stand with Popcorn, Reese’s Pieces, Spice, and a Slurm vending machine.

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I’d love one for my cube at work.

The third tier is the movie auditorium, showing Plan 9 from Outer Space, and once again, it’s a crappy photo.

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At this point, I’m going to stop trying to add a comment for every photo and just post.

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The alien egg was hidden at the back of the cake – I didn’t even notice it the first day of the show.

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This was probably my second favorite part of the cake: Futurama AND Buckaroo Banzai jokes in one shot. (The “Han shot first” graffito was my favorite.)

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The entire fourth tier, and hopefully final crap quality photo.

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One last shot of the entire cake.

It only took a month and a half to put Kimberly’s cake up on my site… but it was worth it.

2010 Cake Show: Showcake Competition

Special Showcake Competition

This was the second year that the Austin cake show offered a division for Showcakes. Last year there were a decent number of entries for this division, but this year there were even more. While the entries in the other categories don’t have to reflect the theme of the show – about a 7th of the decorator’s score in the Showcake Competition is based on how closely they follow that theme. This years’s theme was “2010 – A Cake Odyssey” (they announced early last year that this would cover both Science Fiction and Fantasy).

In addition to the general rules, the following rules apply specifically to entries in the Showcake Competition:

  • Decorations – Any sugar medium is allowed.
  • Construction – The entry can be made out of Styrofoam or any other cake substitute if the final design is one that could realistically be made out of real cake.. If the entry is a sculpted cake, it must be made of real cake with 3 in process pictures submitted along with the entry.
  • Size – The entry needs to meet minimum height and serving requirements. The minimum finished height is 24” and the entry must be of sufficient size that it would meet or exceed a minimum of 100 servings.
  • Display – Each entry will be displayed on an individual 48” round, standard (29” – 30”) height tables. The entrant will be responsible for dressing and decorating the table. The decoration of the table should compliment the decoration of the cake to complete the theme of the entry. Judges will consider all table decorations as a portion of overall eye appeal criteria. If table decorations are made of sugar media, they will be included in the number of techniques used, originality, creativity and difficulty judging criteria.
  • Judging – Judging for the Showcake entries will be based on a point system. 100 maximum points with points awarded based on the following criteria:

    Application of the theme (15 pts)
    Precision of techniques (15 pts)
    Originality and creativity (15 pts)
    Appropriate design – size, shape, colors, table decorations, etc. (15 pts)
    Difficulty of techniques (15 pts)
    Number of techniques used (15 pts)
    Overall eye appeal – judge’s discretion (10 pts)

    Judging will be conducted by a team of qualified judges (this year it included a judge from Sony Pictures).

    I tried to post photos of all the cakes, but I may have missed a few. Other than for the 5th to First Place winners, I didn’t get all of the names of the cake decorators because these cakes were roped off and many of the entry forms were out of reach.

    Alice in Wonderland
    Alice in Wonderland


    Pixie Hollow
    “Pixie Hollow”

    Dream Scape
    “Dream Scape”
    (There were two cakes by this title, so I just referred to this one as “the claw”)

    (Gandalf? Merlin? Cranky old man with a sword?)

    E.T. Phone Home
    “E.T. Phone Home”

    Baby Na'vi
    “Baby Na’vi”
    (what you can’t tell from the photo is that both the eyes and the tip of the hair/biological USB connector glowed)

    Dalaran: City of Mages Cake
    “Dalaran: City of Mages Cake”
    (I have better quality photos of this cake, but they were all taken after it began to split apart. My WoW obsessed co-worker loved this one)

    In To the Future
    “In To the Future”
    (this was the only moving cake at the show. The top half of the cake revolves)

    The Nightmare Before Christmas
    The Nightmare Before Christmas
    (poor Jack Skellington collapsed and had to be removed the next day)


    Science Fiction Titles
    Science Fiction

    Dream Scape by Joy Longberg
    “Dream Scape” by Joy Longberg

    Alien Flowers
    (Exotic plants? The center support was lit.)

    Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
    Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
    (I liked this one a lot – but think it would have fared better in the novelty tiered cake division)

    Chronicles of Narnia by Claudia Estela Rosales
    Fifth Place
    Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by Claudia Estela Rosales

    The Decorator of the Future by Sylvia Wilson
    Fourth Place
    The Decorator of the Future by Sylvia Wilson
    (I think that was the title)

    Avatar by Lisette Vergara
    Third Place
    Avatar by Lisette Vergara
    Business Name: Austin Sweet Treats
    (she was last year’s first place winner for this category)

    Golum by Brian Stevens
    Second Place
    Golum by Brian Stevens
    Business Name: Crazy Cakes Inc.

    Space by Spacewest by Kimberly Chapman
    First Place
    Space by Spacewest
    2010 Pan-Galactic Alien Film Festival
    by Kimberly Chapman
    (No business name because she’s not a professional. She’s simply a highly talented decorator who enjoys designing cakes for her family)

    This cake was designed to be viewed from all sides, so giving you one good photo is almost impossible. Up next will be a post with pictures of all the details of Kimberly’s cake.

    2010 Cake Show: Adult Advanced, part two

    Adult Advanced Division: More refined skills. 4 to 6 years cake decorating experience; 60 to 90 hours of cake decorating or sugar art instruction. Open to all styles.

    (There were too many entries to show to show all of them for these two categories, so the photos below are the ones I either liked, found interesting for some reason or another, or they placed in their category.)

  • Special Techniques Not-On-A-Cake
    These are entries made of fondant, gumpaste, sugar molding, color flow, royal icing, etc. Displayed as an individual technique and NOT as a decoration on a cake. A combination of techniques and mediums may be used, but it must be presented alone and not as part of a cake. Once again, no cake.Sushi Anyone? By Jessica Meza
    Third Place for Special Techniques Not-On-A-Cake
    Sushi Anyone? By Jessica Meza

    Miniature Rose Bouquet by Terry Martin
    Second Place for Special Techniques Not-On-A-Cake
    Miniature Rose Bouquet by Terry Martin
    (this entire bouquet is a touch larger than my fist, but not by much)

    Faberge Egg by Sherry Brown
    First Place for Special Techniques Not-On-A-Cake
    Faberge Egg by Sherry Brown

  • Confections Not-On-A-Cake
    These are cupcakes, cookies, candy, chocolate, etc. An individual entry, not on a cake.Butterflies by Ashley Atkinson
    Third Place for Confections Not-On-A-Cake
    Butterflies by Ashley Atkinson

    Brown & Turquoise Floral Fantasy by Debi Smoot
    Second Place for Confections Not-On-A-Cake
    Brown & Turquoise Floral Fantasy by Debi Smoot

    Seasonal Windows by April Farnum
    First Place for Confections Not-On-A-Cake
    Seasonal Windows by April Farnum
    (each window is a cookie that represents one of the four seasons)

    Seasonal Windows by April Farnum - Summer
    (The detail work on such a tiny scale is amazing)

  • 2010 Cake Show: Adult Intermediate, part three

    Adult Intermediate Division: Developing skills. 2 to 4 years cake decorating experience; 30 to 60 hours of cake decorating or sugar art instruction. Open to all styles.

  • Confections Not-On-A-Cake
    These are cupcakes, cookies, candy, chocolate, etc. An individual entry, not on a cake.

    With the exception of one entry, the Confections category was filled with cookies – even the egg entries were cookies. Since this is the first time I had ever entered a decorated item to That Takes the Cake (last year was the tasting competion), I’m going to post ALL the entries for this style. Sadly, I didn’t get the names of all the participants and pieces.

    High School Science Project
    High School Science Project (fondant on cookies)

    Oval Eggsellence
    Oval Eggsellence by Tracy Dahir
    (yes, it’s a cookie covered in fondant, and her husband made the nifty display for this and her other two entries)

    Cake Shop
    Cake Shop (another cool display – fondant on cookies)

    Swans (fondant on cookies)

    Snowflakes by Tracy Dahir (fondant on cookies)

    More butterflies (colorflow on cookies)

    Candy sushi

    Rocket Girl
    Third Place for Confections Not-On-A-Cake
    Rocket Girl by snarkygurl… that’s me! (colorflow on cookies)

    Oval Eggsellence - The Sequel
    Second Place for Confections Not-On-A-Cake
    Oval Eggsellence – The Sequel by by Tracy Dahir (fondant on cookie)

    Spring Day
    First Place for Confections Not-On-A-Cake
    Spring Day by Christie Stephens (awesomeness on cookies) (it’s really colorflow on cookies, but it’s awesome colorflow…)