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Ace Of Cakes at the 2010 New York City Wine and Food Festival
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Ace Of Cakes at the 2010 New York City Wine and Food Festival

When I was just starting 93 Plates, I was cooped up in my now foreclosed condo in Baltimore (less than a mile away from their shop) and emailed the AOC crew to ask if I could take any one of them out for lunch. That’s it; just lunch. I was an aspiring blogger, had just completed my two 24 in 24 projects, and with a cursory glance of my work online, you’d see that I wasn’t a psycho Ace Of Cakes fan or some kind of antisocial loser.

I received an email back from someone that said they wanted me to pay a $5,000 appearance fee for any one of them to come out to lunch with me. At the time, I just figured that was some kind of Food Network filter and that it wasn’t worth pressing. I ended up going to lunch with one of my blog-to-book heroes, Steve Dublanica (who has a new book on tipping, by the way – go buy it).

During the demo, Duff or Mary Alice commented that they were the ones who received the email from fans. They didn’t have someone else to filter them like other stars do. I’ll simply say that my heart sank a bit when I heard that. I wanted to do something fun and harmless, they had the chance to open up to a fan (or at least start a dialog), and they didn’t. Bad PR.

I know it’s solely my crushed ego talking here. All of these people were fantastic on stage and seem like people I would love to go to lunch with, however, my site wouldn’t be be nearly as captivating if I held all of this in.

Mary Alice said “You know, a lot of you think we’re funny. I guarantee that if someone shot your life for six hours a day all week, took that, and condensed it into 26 minutes, you’d be hilarious, too.” Some of us more hilarious than others, but I certainly believe that there’s some truth to that statement. Duff and Mary Alice certainly are characters and the rest of the cast maybe a bit more subdued, but they certainly play off of their humor.

Geof is also a musician. He had quite a popular youtube video a few years back with an acoustic guitar solo. It’s good – you should check it out. I would have gone to see him in Baltimore if A) he’d played any venues while I was there B) I’d had the money and C) I’d thought to see if he was playing any venues …

Duff said he liked Baltimore. Baltimore is sick if you have money, but if you don’t have money, Baltimore is a Atlanta for white trash.

Find $750,000 to put down on a condo and you can get a two bedroom condo on the water in one of the coolest areas in town. You park your car, take the elevator upstairs, get hungry, take the elevator downstairs to the lobby and walk across the street to an expensive restaurant, or take the elevator back down to the parking garage, drive out to fells point, hand the keys to the valet, walk into the restaurant … Wake up Saturday morning, take the elevator down to your car, drive out to Costco in the suburbs, come back, take the elevator back up to your condo … As long as you don’t have to actually interact with the real Baltimore, the place is all right.

Here, Duff finds a shit ton of butter in the fridge. “That’s for Paula Deen’s demo,” said Mary Alice.

Then The Flay showed up. They were late to finish and Bobby was next. He came out, shot the shit with the AOC crew, spraypainted a few buns, and left, but the audience raved. Duff said it felt like dad coming out and reprimanding him. I don’t think they’re all too far apart in age.

The finished product:

“Why do they stack the hot dog on top of the burger and then stack the fries on top of the hot dog?” I asked into the ether.

This 19 year old douche-in-training next to me (he’s in the blue shirt on the left) said “Because it’s cool.”

I think the cake is cool, but just because the pieces are cool doesn’t mean the layout is the best it can be. When have you ever stacked a sleeve of french fries on top of a hot dog on top of a hamburger? Isn’t there any other way to make this cake? Even though it’s more intricate to make, it seems lazy to me for some reason. You could put them next to each other as individual pieces, and that might be more lazy, but you’d then have to make each of the items more proportionally accurate and have some kind of base from which they’d likely be served. I feel like it could be cooler if it was rethought. This one couldn’t be cooler – check out the rest in the Charm City Cake gallery.

Mary Alice, I don’t know if anyone’s life would be as exciting as yours if filmed for a week. The audience was laughing the whole time you were up there. Bobby’s appearance was fun and unexpected; definitely added a little levity. Everyone was super comfortable on stage.

Maybe you guys wanna get some lunch next time I’m in The Greatest City in America?

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