Even though the sheer joy of my first accidental cake hunt with Mercutio Krispytreats was still fresh in my heart, life has a tricky way of thwarting even the most well intentioned cake-filled plans. In my specific case, this thwart took the form of the worst winter in the history of forever. So even though my heart was the right place, for many days the little needle on the thermometer was not.
However I used this interval in adventuring to the greatest advantage and learned as much as I could about the Cakeway to the West and started to plot my route for my second adventure into the great cake-y unknown.
And on March 6th, 2014 with a warm coat and a small companion, I made my way to the Delmar Loop to spy out and capture on film three more cakes to add to my collection.
Who is my small companion you might ask? Excellent question! I’ll give you three clues: 1.) He’s got a lovely fawn fur coat that he insists on wearing year round 2.) He brings joy to all who meet him 3.) He used to rock a sweet popped collar on his favorite gray shirt.
Miles James, or Miles for short, is my 2 and a half year old pug who is constantly being confused for Frank, the alien arms dealing pug in Men in Black. We can both see the resemblance.
But back to the cake-venture. I had read that there were three cakes within walking distance of each other on the infamous Delmar Loop which I live relatively close to.
In case you’ve never experienced it’s glory, the Delmar Loop is a long street lined on both sides with clothing stores, comic book stores, furniture stores and a plethora of delicious restaurants and eclectic eateries. It’s also my most favorite place to people watch. There’s really nothing more enjoyable than sipping a glass of wine outside of Cicero’s and watching the parade of miscreants walk by. And really, I say that with love.
I had taken Miles with me down to Delmar before – most memorably around Halloween time when he was dressed in his red devil costume, but that’s another story. However we had never traveled to the Loop on such a wintery weeknight when the probably for cabin fevered tomfoolery was high.
With the cold and the ‘foolery against us, Miles was none too pleased to be dragged from his nice warm house and into the night for the sake of me carrying out my little heart’s desire.
<—–This was his face most of the night. As you can see, he was not pleased.
So I had two things working against me: Miles’ complete lack of concern for my quest and the freezing nighttime St. Louis cold. It was great.
Regardless of these hardships, we found the first cake almost immediately. And I was able to get Miles to stare at me just long enough for me to capture his first encounter with a cake.
However amidst this magical moment, there was one thing that was slightly overshadowing our fun. And that was the larger than life-size bronze statue of Chuck Berry in mid-jam giving me the mannequin eye directly to my left.
Now I have had some previous experience with this statue. A few years prior, a friend of mine and I were enjoying a nice evening on the Loop when she, in full knowledge of my concern for staying away from all things mannequin, decided we should stop and take a picture with the bronze version of Mr. Berry. As you can see, my smile is obviously forced.
But with the knowledge that I had conquered him in the past, I was able to conquer him in the present and capture Cake #3 for antiquity. (*high five*)
It should be noted at this point, that the real reason for the cake’s location is not the terrifying statue, and it’s obvious ability to invade people’s nightmares, but instead, the cake is signifying the importance of the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
To commemorate those who spent their early or most creative years in St. Louis or the surrounding areas and then went on to make it big, the sidewalk running down the Loop contains numerous brass stars pressed into the cement with the names of those who have left their mark. The stars include the likes of old Chuckie whose bronze likeness haunts me still, and the late, great Harold Ramis, who left us far too soon.
After I admired the cake as long as I could comfortably stand in Mr. Berry’s shadow, Miles and I moved down the Loop to the next cake, located at Blueberry Hill.
Blueberry Hill is an excellent local hangout with all the food, drinks and pop culture memorabilia you can handle. And where the real life version of Mr. Chuck Berry still plays the occasion show.
Once we neared the cake, I began the task (which, I would discover, would become our new cake routine) of getting Miles to sit and at least look in my general direction, while I try to snap a picture, guard my purse from robbers, not drop his leash or my phone and simultaneously shield him from the drunk patrons who are at this point leaving Blueberry Hill and wanting an autograph from Frank from Men in Black (we charge for those, by the way). But finally success was achieved!
What you can’t see from this picture is one of my first, and unfortunately not last, sketchy decisions on the Cakeway to the West.
See, it occurred to me that it was cold outside, yes, and that the ground was still at least partially covered with melted snow, yes, but for some reason it did not occur to me that maybe the reason Miles was resisting a rest (hehe) in front of the cakes was because in doing so, he would have to endure the rest of the evening with a wet, and subsequently cold, bottom. But, not really thinking this one through, I essentially pushed his rear end to the ground resulting in what was I’m sure a very funny moment for the people in Blueberry Hill when I realized just how disgusting the ground really was and shrieked aloud in agony. But the damage was done. And Miles would have to suffer the rest of the evening with a grimy bum and the inevitable knowledge that at some point later in the night, he’d have to be subjected to a bath, something which he did not sign up for.
But this lapse in judgment could not sway me from locating and capturing the final cake on my second journey into cake-dom. So on we trudged through the slush and sea of people, who were getting oddly more and more hipster-y as we got deeper and deeper into the Loop.
Eventually we arrived at the final cake of the night, right in front of the Tivoli theater, and excellent place to end a cake finding adventure.
The Tivoli holds a special place in my heart as it is my go-to theater to catch the latest independent movies playing in St. Louis. And even though the Tivoli celebrating it’s 90th anniversary, I still find the glory of the theater really comes not from it’s stark white marquis and bold black lettering nor it’s box office window outside the building where a lovely gentleman or gentlelady sits waiting to take your cash or swipe your credit card in exchange for your movie ticket. But the real charm of the Tivoli lies within in the small theaters that still have velvety seats that have been there through many, many movie openings and the feel that you really are experiencing a piece of history when you take in a movie there. Plus the Tivoli is one of only a few locations in St. Louis that shows independent, art house flicks. AND every year to celebrate my birthday (…or Halloween…), they show The Rocky Horror Picture Show complete with live actors, goodie bags filled with items to bring you into the movie experience, the chance to dress up and, my favorite, the high probability that you will meet a drag queen.
Drag queen sightings aside, the Tivoli has introduced me to more than a few of my favorite films including Beasts of the Southern Wild, Moonrise Kingdom, Ruby Sparks and the ever popular, Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts (who knew that was even a thing?). And of course the cake that was chosen for this location did not disappoint.
This was the first cake that I had seen that used the cake more as a wrapped around canvas incorporating one concept throughout the different tiers without much regard to the fact that the ‘canvas’ was actually a cake. At this point, this one took the cake and my heart.
(Plus it didn’t hurt that from the angle which I took the picture with Miles, it looked like the man in blue was Adam Lambert – be still my heart!)