Thursday, March 10, 2011

Chapelure: The Sweet Side of My Favorite Parking Lot in Lansing

My days of the endless back and forth to Tallahassee have been replaced by endless days back and forth to Lansing, Michigan. I miss Tally, but Lansing has it's own charm. As I write this, large soft snowflakes are curling their way down outside. You don't get this in Tallahassee.

When it comes to food, the two towns have a lot more in common: Wendy's recently took home top prize for Chili in the Lansing city magazine.

This makes Chapelure all the more fabulous to find, nestled in the back corner of a parking lot that also includes the best Sushi and the best Middle Eastern food I've come across here (it's a really good parking lot). Windows stretch across the whole length of the cafe, especially pretty on a night like this when the warm light of the pendant lamps contrast with the view of the snow falling outside.

The inside is dominated by a glass case full of stunning cakes - drizzled with chocolate, topped with fruit, covered in slivered almonds. They advertise themselves as sort of Asian/French

fusion, but it all seems pretty straight up French to me. I guess they've got a lot of loose leaf tea. That's kind of Asian.

It's a hard thing to narrow yourself down faced with case like that, but I managed to get myself all the way to an order of mocha layer cake. As it was handed to me across the counter with a giant mug of black coffee, the woman working here said to me - "it's butter cream, and it's a little chilled now - best to wait a minute before you eat it." Good sign. I love being told to wait before I eat something. Every time that happens a fairy gets her wings and Burger King cries.

I waited as long as I could (not very long) and dug in. Cake: moist and tender, with an exceptionally fine crumb. Frosting. OMG. Frosting was amazing - just a hint of mocha and as silky as any I remember. The slice was, thankfully, small. I'd have eaten more, but why? The joy at the end of a mountain of cake is blunted. The first few bites is the key, when you get transported a little by the balance of sugar and silk. And maybe a little lost in the depth of the fresh, almost grassy coffee.

I picked up a loyalty card when I stopped in. It's one point for every dollar you spend. When you hit 500 - free 6" cake. I have some confidence that there is a free cake in my future.

Chapelure on Urbanspoon

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