Thursday, February 28, 2013

25a westbound: (more) cupcakes... and huntington village.

It's been two busy days out-of-town for work, but coming back to L.I. makes me feel as if spring is around the corner! The snow is mostly gone from the bit of land around the pond, and the pond itself has thawed completely. There's a lot of yard work to be done, and the euonymus bush (as well as another large bush that I can't identify) need to be ripped out. Fortunately our beautiful tree peony and weeping cherry tree survived the winter blizzard. ^_____^ The birds are a little more nutso than usual; for the past week we've been woken up consistently by House Wrens and Song Sparrows. As it gets warmer, the House Sparrows and European Starlings start coming back, at which point we switch the feeder entirely to Safflower seed.

In a follow-up to the 25a trip I took easterly, I decided to head west last Friday to Huntington Village. On the way, I stopped at Cupcake Couture in Smithtown, run by fellow Marylander (and Baltimorean! :-) John Johnson. I had high expectations for the cupcakes here; unfortunately now he has a high expectation for my shoes (since I came in wearing the iconic Old Gringo cowboy boots). The shop is cheery and spacious; flavours range from the traditional chocolate and vanilla to Cappuccino Chocolate Cherry and Guiness Beer Cake. The Vanilla Bean cupcake was fantastic; the icing on the Chocolate Confetti cupcake had a profound, German chocolate-y flavour. Pistachio was my favourite still. Jay Cardinal declared the frosting-to-cupcake ratio as "ideal", which is high praise indeed from the person who might be Suffolk County's most discerning cupcake consumer.

Cupcake Couture on Urbanspoon

Continuing on, I marveled at the beauty of drive. There are certain sections in the Centerport area of 25a that open up to the water so naturally, it's as if one is cracking open an oyster. The silhouette of the sailboats against the cloudy sky made me happy.

Huntington Village still continues to amaze me; even with a 90-minute pedestrian jaunt around the shops of the downtown, I still feel as though I haven't scratched the surface. Here are some places I enjoyed:

Ben's Garden: Ben's Garden runs the gamut, from artisan-made home and gardening decor to the shop's own line of stationary products, created by its namesake, Ben. The shop had an airy, natural, calming feel to it; while much of what was inside was pricey, a conscious consumer will appreciate the fact that the store's stock is unusal and handmade by artists. The decoupage trays were absolutely gorgeous and make for a very unique gift for celebrating the life events of family and friends.

Milk and Honey: Milk & Honey is an adorable misses' clothing boutique featuring affordable, retro-inspired brands like BB Dakota and Tulle, as well as edgy, handcrafted, small-production jewelry. They also have a boutique in Rockville Centre. If you like the Anthropologie or Free People look without the prices, check out this shop.(They also currently have excellent deals on winter knits and coats.)

Marsh's: On the other end of the clothing spectrum, if you'd prefer to drop a few grand on a clutch, there is always Marsh's, a luxury department store right in the downtown. I enjoyed perusing the spring collections of Escada and Helmut Lang and daydreaming about what it must have been like in the glory days of small, independently owned NYC-area department stores (the likes of which my mother grew up in. I still have her old hatboxes, meticulously preserved.) An average day shopping for some on the North Shore, and a fashion gallery for us poor folk who just appreciate the art form but don't feel like encountering it within the zoo that is The Shopping Mall.

The Crushed Olive: For the gourmand in your life. The scope of the balsamic vinegar selection is mind-boggling, and they also have a nice charcuterie. You can try out the various vinegars yourself, so it's a lot of fun picking out a product for a family member or friend. I highly reccomend the 18 Year Old Aged Modena and the "Cinnamon Pear" balsamic vinegars. They also have a Setauket location.

What's your favourite shop in Huntington Village?

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