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How did I find out about Free Cupcakes Next Wednesday?

By just about colliding with the guy waving a huge arrow on the corner of 5th and Island. He was advertising Heavenly Cupcake (518 6th Avenue, at Island, downtown, 619-235-9235).

“Dollar off 6 cupcakes!” he says. Slips me a little blue voucher. This is around eight at night.

“They open?” I ask the guy, Daniel Lokey. Screenwriter. ’Course, right now he is the movie.

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Daniel, the screenwriter cupcake guy

“Oh sure, till ten,” he says. “Till Midnight, Friday and Saturday.”

I hang a right and then a left and thar she blows! Right across from ye old (1885) Tivoli Bar…Heavenly Cupcake, place I had never noticed.

“Heavens! We’ve been here 3-1/2 years,” says Julie Rodriguez, who’s manning the store.

Actually though, if you can believe this, she’s manning a cupcake.

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Julie

Acshully standing in a cupcake, a motorized cupcake, wearing a full-sized cupcake hat.

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The motorized, full-sized cupcake

“I was just showing them how it works,” she says.

The two customers, Omar and Sharalee, are kinda looking on, not sure whether to laugh out loud or just eat their vanilla cupcakes ($3.25 each).

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Julie, Omar and Sharalee

“We use it in parades,” says Julie.

“So that’s all you sell? Cupcakes?” I ask.

“Along with tea or coffee or other drinks,” she says. “Most people ask for milk ($2.50).”

Turns out I’m the only person on the planet who hasn’t been watching Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. Teams, like, have to go through rounds featuring taste, design, and speed of cooking. Winner takes away $10,000.

So cupcake craze, milk…what’s going on?

“Return to comfort foods,” says Julie. “Just like the kind of stuff grandma would spoil you with.”

But they’re full of butter and sugar and gunk, aren’t they? This in a time of nuts and twigs?

“Absolutely,” says Julie. “And now they’re saying butter isn’t so bad for you after all, and…”

“A little of what you fancy does you good,” I say. That’s what my Scottish grandma said when she wanted to spoil us kids with stuff our parents didn’t approve of.

“Exactly.”

So guess I’d better fork out for one for Carla. Julie says carrot is their signature cupcake, and red velvet is the most popular, but I kinda like the look of this vanilla one right here…

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Still, $3.25. That's two boigers at Mickey D's...

Julie can see me stressing at parting with the money.

“You must definitely come back next Wednesday, between 5 and 9 p.m.,” she says. “We’re having a Sampling Wednesday. You sample our cupcakes – free! – and then you write down your favorites, and then the ones most people like most will be the ones we bake for the whole following week. Then we’ll do it again the next Wednesday.”

Oh Lord.

Note to self: remember not to mention this to Carla.

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