Walter Mencken 10:15 a.m., Dec. 13
They say candy’s dandy, but liquor’s quicker. Put the two together and you’ve got the sweet line of baked goods that is local dessert company, PubCakes. From the La Mesa home base she shares with Treehouse Coffee, owner Misty Birchall crafts home-style cupcakes using beer as a core ingredient.
Since debuting nearly two years ago, she’s gained a cult following among craft beer enthusiasts. Behind that loyal clientele, she’s expanded her catalog of cakes from six to dozens of interesting flavors, been tabbed to create an exclusive recipe for Karl Strauss Brewing Company, and competed on the Food Network show “Cupcake Wars.”
Now, she’s collaborating with The Grill at Torrey Pines (the casual, golf course-adjacent restaurant at The Lodge at Torrey Pines) to offer what very well may be San Diego’s first-ever cupcake-themed beer pairing dinner.
The thought of six courses of flour- and sugar-based fare sounds both intriguing and like sweet-tooth overkill, but the menu is more than a sextet of cupcakes, and actually offers a great deal of variety. In fact, reading over the offerings, there’s zero sign of Birchall’s traditional products.
The closest thing I can find is a “Savory Bloody Mary Cupcake” that will be served as a tray-passed pre-meal appetizer and paired with the cocktail it’s based on made using Ballast Point Brewing & Spirit’s Fugu Vodka and namesake Bloody Mary mix. (Ballast Point beers will be served with each of the sit-down courses.)
Aside from that, there’s a dish called “‘Corn’ Bread with Butter” which could be a corn cake, but given the wide array of quotes on this menu, I wouldn’t bet on it. The braised short rib “cup cake” is bound to at least look like dessert, but expect some fall-apart regionally sourced beef chef Kyle Bergman’s doted on for hours underneath the dish’s maple whipped potato “frosting.”
No matter what shape the offerings on this one-night-only menu take, they’re bound to be outside the normal bill-of-fare. And based on the consistently delectable flavors of Birchall’s PubCakes and the simple yet stunning composition of similar beer dinners Bergman’s put on in the past, no matter the weirdness level, good taste is sure to bring things back to Earth.
The PubCakes and Ballast Point beer dinner will take place on Wednesday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m. Reservations are required and the cost per person is $55 and includes valet parking. The Grill at Torrey Pines is located at 11480 North Torrey Pines Road in La Jolla.