Cupcake heaven: The cupcake trend is showing no signs of abating -- and why should it when the flavor palette is unlimited? Yes, Sassy Sweets' pancake-bacon cupcake, we're looking at you. Monique Cortes' clever treats hit the limelight last weekend on Food Network's "Cupcake Wars." Now Pittsburg residents can sample those treats every day. Cortes just opened Sassy Sweets & Eats, her third gourmet bakery-cafe, on Railroad Avenue in Old Town with grand opening celebrations last Saturday that included a block party and outdoor screening of the Food Network episode. The bakery and cafe doesn't just do cupcakes -- in flavor combinations that range from Jessica Rabbit (carrot) to Candy Crushed Chocolate-Chocolate and Maple-Bacon-Pancake. They also do breakfast burritos, sandwiches and salads. Details: 755 Railroad Ave., www.sassysweetsbymonique.com.
Butcher bonanza: The Daily Meal website's "best of" lists run the foodie gamut, from best sandwiches to best college bars, best party foods and even best Pinterest boards for hosts. Their latest list pays homage to the nation's best butcher shops -- 25 meat palaces that offer organic, sustainable meat, practice whole animal butchery or whose historical relevance or family legacies made them stand out. Some were old-school, neighborhood institutions; others were part of the new wave of butchers. They ranged, editor Dan Myers says, "from an ancient Italian meat market in the Bronx to a San Francisco boucherie specializing in hard-to-find French cuts." And yes, of course, the Bay Area is well-represented.
The top 10 include Berkeley's The Local Butcher Shop (No. 3), which is run by Chez Panisse alum Aaron Rocchino, and San Francisco's legendary Avedano's Holly Park Market (No. 10). Olivier's Butchery, Olivier Cordier's French boucherie, came in at No. 16. You'll find the complete list at www.thedailymeal.com/america-s-25-best-butcher-shops/102413. Find specifics on the Bay Area butchers at thelocalbutchershop.com, www.avedanos.com and www.oliviersbutchery.com.
Send your Bay Area restaurant tips to food editor Jackie Burrell, email@example.com.