Archive - January, 2011

Jilly’s Cupcakery – Milton/Alpharetta

Every Friday, Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday.

Cupcakes are hip, baby. There are reality shows about them. How Alpharetta escaped this craze is a mystery to me. But no longer are we without artisan, gourmet mini sweets. Jilly’s Cupcakery opened a little more than a week ago.

It’s going to be hard to avoid comparing these guys to Dutch Monkey Doughnuts. It’s a similar product… Decadent sweet treats, made by hand in small batches, cleaver and inventive use of ingredients, and family operated. The amazing success Dutch Monkey has had in a little over a year made me wonder why someone didn’t give this business model a go with cupcakes.

Jilly’s Cupcakery opened after Christmas in the Kroger shopping center at Windward and Highway 9, just into Milton. The shop is the namesake of Jill, the daughter who bakes along with her mother. At this point the shop is fairly simple. A large counter holds an impressive array of cupcakes, all carefully lined up. Protecting the cute little creations is the world’s tallest sneeze guard. Germs or grubby little fingers are kept safely at bay. A comfy couch is about all that’s left in the smallish space.

Their menu features a dozen varieties of cupcakes, two of which rotate as daily features with the rest being everyday staples. I tried my best to sample several varieties to prepare for this review. To avoid a potential cupcake overdose, I employed the help of my wife and some all-too-eager co-workers. For the most part we all came to the same conclusion.

The single best feature of Jilly’s cupcakes is the frosting. There’s a reason the frosting swirl is their logo. This stuff is delicious. It’s rich, flavorful and smooth as velvet. They infuse it with flavors such as strawberry, lemon or chocolate to match the cupcake ordered. It was unanimous among my fellow cubicle critters… Jilly’s frosting is king.

Jilly’s creations are built on several different cake bases. Unfortunately most of us found the cake itself to be on the dry side. The richness of the frosting counteracts this somewhat. But my fellow reviewers all agreed that a more moist cake would have better rounded out the overall cupcake.

I like that Jilly’s put effort into packaging of their product. You’ll be sent away with sturdy boxes. Inside are specially-made cupcake holders that will prevent your treasures from rolling over or getting mangled in transit. You could drive home like Mario Andretti and never disturb a delicate little cupcake.

Overall, I think Jilly’s is a neat joint that has a lot of potential. Don’t let my comment on the dry cake keep you away from this place. I was critical of Dutch Monkey when they opened for having a chewy doughnut. It was a defect they fixed over time. Jilly’s can fix this as well. I also think that over the coming months Jilly’s will get more creative with their offerings. Wait until spring and summer roll around and fresh fruit is in season. The possibilities are endless. For now, I suggest Jilly’s salted caramel or ultimate chocolate. Totally worth a $2.75 splurge!

Photo credit: Robyn Guy Photography, Alpharetta

Jilly's Cupcakery on Urbanspoon

3.14 Ways to Get IT Guys to Like You

Meet Roy, an uber-smart computer scientist. Roy has a masters degree from Georgia Tech and is a published information technology author. When I met Roy he was the lead software architect on a critical and high-pressure project. Roy was known for biting the head off of many a newbie. Asking a question or favor of Roy became known as “poking the bear.” It was a daunting and intimidating thing to consider.

Over time Roy calmed down and I got to be pretty good buddies with him. But my early experiences with him stuck with me. I realize today that many non-technical cubicle dwellers might have to deal with similar situations. Maybe you got re-orged this year and you’re having to deal with surly information technology guys for the first time. They speak a different language, wear flip flops and are just strange creatures. How do you get them to like you and maybe actually do favors for you?

Bring Chocolate

Ever been to Fry’s Electronics in Milton? Pay attention the next time you’re walking through the checkout area. You have to walk down an aisle containing nothing but snacks, sweets, chocolate and energy drinks. It is the fuel of the IT world. We’ve got a serious sweet tooth.

Another story… meet Sandra, mild-mannered lady who used to work in our accounting department. Sandra started showing up at our meetings a few years ago. She would bring baskets of candy… big baskets. I’m not talking about candy your crabby old grandpa used to have. She had stuff like Snickers, Milky Way, M&M’s and Almond Joys. This was the candy you actually wanted to get for Halloween. At first we didn’t know what to think of Sandra. But before long she became popular at our meetings. IT guys started swinging by her cube for no reason other than a quick boost of sugar. In the meantime she was asking her questions and getting answers from very willing and helpful IT weirdos. And an interesting side note on Sandra… she recently transferred into our department. The candy basket came too. No, we didn’t recruit her for the sweets (at least that’s not what got communicated to management).

Want to kick it up a notch? Here’s a bonus idea (wondering how I would get to the .14 ways? This is it). Go with the vintage candy. This is the hard-to-find stuff from our childhood. I suggest Fuzziwig’s at the Avenue Forsyth.

Nerdy Pop Culture References

You don’t need to be able to hang in conversation about object overloading and polymorphism. Forget it! Try to bring out the inner pop culture geek that’s already in you. Do you know the answer to life, the universe and everything? Can you name all the members of the Jedi High Council? Do you use the new TPS report cover sheet? Didn’t you get the memo?

If I’m not speaking a foreign language to you, then you can hang with an IT guy, seriously. Embrace your inner nerd.

Don’t Ask Twice

If you are going to poke the bear about something, never ask the same question twice. It doesn’t matter if you’re asking how to sum a column in Excel, generate last month’s revenue report or pilot the Space Shuttle. Write down what is said, put it in a document and save it. Nothing will get you on the IT black list quicker than the same annoying question over and over.

But at the end of the day, don’t be intimidated by IT guys. Even the most grumpy of software geeks can be charmed. Do it well and you might even get them to do your bidding for you.

Photo Credit (no, that’s not a self portrait): wetwebwork and Jeff Moser

What I Didn’t Write About

Today marks the first anniversary of my blog, a milestone that no one other than myself probably cares a lick about. A lot of bloggers might take this occasion to mention some favorite articles or perhaps highlight the most viewed. I’m not gonna do it.

In sports sometimes the best call an umpire can make is no call at all; let the game progress without interjecting your opinion. I think some of the best decisions I’ve made as a blogger are the things I chose not to write about. I probably could have been the only person writing about these three topics, but being a responsible and appropriate need to win out at the end of the day.

The human tragedy story – I had the chance to write about a heartbreaking story of loss that occurred in Alpharetta. I knew details from those close to what happened but chose not to write for the sake of the family involved. Looking back, it was the right thing to do.

The crime story – This one was tough to walk away from. I was investigating a series of crimes in the suburbs. I spoke with police on the matter and learned, off the record, that there was more to the story. It might have been very interesting. After discussing the matter with my wife we both felt like it might invite too much attention on a topic I didn’t want to be a part of.

The restaurant train wreck – I love writing about new restaurants. I’m the guy who’s gotta get in there the first week they’re open and crank out a quick review. So one day I hit up a new joint for lunch. The service is a mess. The one poor waitress was completely overwhelmed. It happens a lot in new places and I usually overlook it. But the food was also miserable. The kitchen was slow and making mistakes. Customers were walking out. And the worse part… the manager/owner was sitting on his rear doing almost nothing. I could have written a scathing review. You’d be surprised how much fun it is writing ugly stuff. For some reason it is easier to be creative when being negative. But there’s no reason to slam someone’s business when it is obvious they haven’t got it together.

The NIMBY Mosques – Okay, I actually wrote about this… twice. I think as a local blogger it is perfectly fine to take a stand contrary to most of your peers. That’s what I did with the two proposed mosques (both in south Forsyth and Alpharetta). I don’t regret the stand I took on the mosque issue. I also don’t think we’ve heard the last of this.

When I started blogging I didn’t set a lot of goals. You can’t expect huge numbers writing a local blog like this. As long as I kept finding things I wanted to write about, then I’d be happy. So far that is still the case. What’s been the best part about writing Roots? Making new acquaintances. I’m grateful for each of you I’ve met. Thanks for reading and have a terrific new year!

Page 2 of 2«12

Switch to our mobile site