Friday, June 25, 2010

Cupcake Quest: Sportello

 This post is part of the Cupcake Quest series on Fork it over, Boston!

...although you're going to have to read through a bit of an anecdote before I get to the cupcakes.

Wednesday was an odd day of bad luck and good luck. I went to my temp job for the first half of the day dressed for a job interview later in the day. My nice suit pants are on the long side, so I wear them with a high pair of heels that are not so great for walking long distances, but aside from a twenty minute walk to the interview, I wasn't anticipating moving much.

Then, the fire drill went off. I'm on the top floor of a ten-floor building, and it took a frighteningly long time for us all to file down all the flights of stairs. We reached the bottom, and my group is apparently supposed to meet a few blocks away on the steps of the Public Library to make sure everyone's out of the building. Already limping, and drenched in sweat from the almost-90-degree day, I hobbled to the meeting spot and eventually back to the office.

Fast forward a few hours: time to go to the interview. I limped halfway there and stopped by a Dunkin' Donuts for a quick lunch, desperate to sit down and relax for a minute. had counters only. No tables. I stood at the counter, painfully shifting from one foot to the other, and ate my bagel. A guy spilled a whole iced coffee on the floor right next to me, and it splattered on my pants. Awesome. I cleaned up and headed to the interview, which was near South Station.

After, I had to make a stop at one of my favorite restaurants, Sportello. I rarely find myself around Fort Point, so when I do, I feel compelled to eat there, even if I'm alone and it's 3:30PM, like on Wednesday. The first bit of good luck: my obsession, the spicy tomato soup, had not yet disappeared from the menu! Last year I was disappointed to find that it's only on the winter menu, replaced by a not-quite-as-exciting soup in the warmer weather. But here it was, late June, and it was still available. My luck was changing! It actually looked like the staff was learning about the new summer menu while I was there. They were all sitting at a long table with pens and paper, looking at a variety of dishes. I wonder if I stopped by on the very last day of the winter menu.

Sportello's amazing spicy tomato soup with grilled cheese crostini!
As I ate my soup, I happened to glance over at the bakery section in the corner. (Ok, it was more of a deliberate look than a chance glance.) Cupcakes! I picked out three cupcakes, they brought them over to me, and I waited for my check. And waited. After a few minutes, the waitress apologized and told me that all the computers crashed at once, so they were rebooting. Then, she returned and said I was all set. I guess the computers were really not cooperating. Free lunch! Awesome! I left a tip and went on my merry way, cradling the box of cupcakes. I stopped for a minute near the Children's Museum to fish my phone out of my bag, and a little girl wandered over and got very curious about my cupcakes. I snatched them away before she managed to touch them, and I headed to the T.

Finally...on to the tasting! Joel and Dan - my Julia and Joy replacement Cupcake Quest duo - helped out with this one. After the Kickass Cupcakes debacle when Joel and Dan split the best cupcake in the world and I didn't get to try it (until our second visit later that day), we decided to split the cupcakes in three parts this time so we could each try all of them.

First up, the obligatory red velvet. This one was more of a rusty brown than red, and the cake was sadly very dry and bland. The frosting, however, was delicious - thick and creamy and topped with crunchy walnut bits. Dan and Joel were less angry about the dry cake than I was. They thought the creamy frosting balanced it out.

Next up, a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting, sea salt, and peanuts. Unlike the peanut butter chocolate cupcake from Petsi Pies, which had frosting that (appropriately) tasted like peanut butter pie filling, the Sportello cupcake's frosting tasted like straight up smooth, creamy peanut butter. Insanely delicious. The sea salt and peanuts brought this to a whole new level of awesome. Have you ever had a chocolate-covered, peanut butter-filled pretzel? It was like that, but even better. Again, the cake was very dry, but with the best frosting in the world, the cake matters a little bit less.

We saved the toasted marshmallow cupcake for last, due to its impressive visual display. I wonder how they managed to char the edges of the marshmallow frosting like that - a torch, I guess? Anyway, sad news on the toasted marshmallow front. This cake was even dryer and more tasteless than the other two - almost inedible - and the marshmallow frosting had a weird granular texture. We were unimpressed, which makes me very sad, because I absolutely love Sportello.

The Verdict: The peanut butter frosting was soooo good. I would get that and possibly the red velvet again as the awesome frosting outweighs the mediocre cake, but I'd avoid the toasted marshmallow. I also think it'd be worth a revisit earlier in the day to see if the cake is less dry.

Sportello on Urbanspoon


  1. Have been dying to try Sportello - and now that I know they have cupcakes, I think I'll get over there very soon. Glad your day improved!

  2. I've heard they have cider donuts, too! I think those are only available in the fall. I can't wait to try them!


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