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Thankfully, Sweet Pea recently introduced a lunch menu, including healthy, seasonal salads (no matter what they're fixing, the owners make it fresh and natural) so we won't feel so guilty about that flourless chocolate cake for dessert. One s'mores tart and we promise, we're heading back to the gym.
Ah, but we digress. This is all about the rugelach, the mondel bread, the doughy hamantaschen with thick, sweet poppyseed filling. Karsh's has it all, along with challah and bagels. The place is even kosher blessed-by-a-rabbi-kosher so you can indulge without Jewish guilt. The day we were there, we didn't notice chocolate babka, but oy vey, we're in Phoenix. You can't have everything.
Now, we love the look of fondant, and there are some local cake purveyors who do it so well, they put M.S. to shame. But have you ever tried to bite into a hunk of the stuff? Gross. It tastes like grout. (Well, we imagine it does. We've never actually tasted construction supplies.)
Give us Cathy's cake any time. The frosting is whipped and sweet, and you don't have to get a shot of rum in the cake although we highly recommend it. (The amaretto version's not bad, either, and you teetotalers can get it alcohol-free.) Festooned with shimmery ribbons, we'd put Cathy's cakes up against Martha's any old day. Just let us eat cake!
You don't want to eat. After nine months, you want to drink. In lieu of a big bottle of Three Olives vodka (grape flavor, please), we'll take one of those "cakes" they make at Babycakes of Scottsdale. These smart folks obviously understand the challenges of new mothers: All you really need, to go with your cocktail, is a crapload of blankets, onesies and socks, since Junior will go through a basket of laundry faster than you can say, "Make mine a double!" And because you'll be weepy (after catching a glimpse of yourself in the mirror), your own personal "babycake" will distract you, constructed of useful baby accessories but covered with flowers and jewels, festooned to look just like that cake you wouldn't dare touch a bite of. Ah, but a girl can dream. And a good visual never hurts.
No, really, we mean it. Have you been to the mall lately, walked by a certain shop that offers your 6-year-old the chance to romp like Christina and Britney, complete with long wig, platforms and micro-mini? And the makeup? Oh, it's enough to make us want to home school. (Well, not quite.)
But we don't want to push Annabelle toward a nunnery, either. If we've learned one thing, it's that as soon as you forbid your kid another M&M, you've created a chocoholic.
What's a mom to do? Head to Lollilocks, our favorite new kiddy salon. The kid haircut concept is nothing new, and those other spots are cute, sure. The kids can watch videos so their bangs won't come out too crooked, but we needed a little pizzazz. That's where the "Spa Buddies" package comes in. For just a little too much money, Annabelle and Kate got an afternoon of pampering a seat in a teeny-tiny hot pink spa chair, feet soaked, toes painted, flower decal applied. Same for the fingers. The girls were delighted, and we all loved the candy-themed décor, the yummy line of marshmallow- and orange-scented lotions and bath products, the cute hair accessories.
The girls felt like princesses, we were out of there for under $50, and no one looked like a streetwalker.