L.A. Diet

Goodie Girls’ Annette Starbuck Drinks Christmas in a Cup and Ate 50 Cupcakes on Sunday

Annette Starbuck with one of her cake-ups at Le Pain Quotidien, Pasadena.
Annette Starbuck with one of her cake-ups at Le Pain Quotidien, Pasadena. Photo: Lesley Balla

Annette Starbuck was raised in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and moved to L.A. over thirteen years ago. Following a huge win on this season’s premiere of Cupcake Wars, she’s readying her first Goodie Girls retail store in Glendale. Starbuck’s desserts have taken first place at The L.A. Country Fair and graced this year’s Emmy’s pre-party, but her entrance into celebrity baking has humble origins. “Cake decorating was always a family thing,” she says. “But my dad would always outshine everyone. We’d try to make a VW Bug and I’d think mine was really pretty, then my dad would show up with Herbie, with pinstripes and chrome wheels on his cake. I love to cook and moved on to cupcakes to play with culinary ingredients and be more diverse than you can be with cake. No one’s going to order a huge peanut butter and jelly cake or green tea cake, but they’ll do that in a cupcake.” Read about everything Starbuck ate and drank this week in today’s L.A. Diet.

Wednesday, July 20th
In the morning, I usually just go to Starbucks. I don’t really eat breakfast on the week days; I’m just a Starbucks queen. No, it’s not because of my last name, but yeah, I think I should get like, free Starbucks for the rest of my life for that. You don’t even know how many times people say stuff about it. I get the same thing pretty much every time. I call it my “Christmas in a cup.” I cannot get rid of it, I’ve been doing it for four or five years now. It’s a triple peppermint white mocha with non-fat milk, no whip, served at 180 degrees, so I burn my tongue and have to get a straw. And that’s it. I’m just not a big breakfast person on the weekdays, but on the weekend it’s a different story.

I was in Malibu and went to this place called Plate. I had something from their dinner menu that I always get for lunch. It’s a shrimp salad that they put blue cheese crumbles and roasted pear on top of, with a walnut vinaigrette. I am obsessed with it. I happened to be out there for something, but I’d definitely drive all the way out there for it. There’s only two places I’d get a salad, this and Amici’s in Glendale at Americana. They have this artichoke salad that’s incredible. To drink, Plate makes this sweet lemonade and a blackberry tea, and I mix them together with ice.

For dinner, I went with my husband to Katsuya at Americana. I had tuna on crispy rice and edamame as an appetizer. Then I had their seared albacore with crispy onions on top of the sashimi. It’s delicious. I drank hot green tea.

Around midnight, I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That’s a normal midnight snack for me. During the day my schedule is full of talking with people and taking orders, then at night, I have to catch up on my emails and stuff, so I’m up ‘til like 3:00 A.M.

Thursday, July 21st
I started with Starbucks again. For lunch, I met my husband at Carousel in Glendale, the Armenian restaurant. I go there about once or twice a week. They literally know us when we walk in the door and just start bringing us platters. We had so much stuff. We got hummus, tabouli, and those little pita things. And we get this shrimp and rice dish that you wrap up with pita, and then the fattoush salad, and muhammara, which is a spread of pomegranate mixed with walnuts. And then these hand-rolls made of chickpeas that get grinded up and smashed by hand, then served with three dipping sauces. To drink, my husband had a non-alcoholic beer and I had a sparkling water.

We went over to Il Fornaio in Pasadena for dinner. I love their butternut squash ravioli. It has brown butter sauce like a lot of people serve it, but they also use a little bit of a tomato sauce which gives it kind of a peak. To me, brown butter sauce can get old after awhile and gets a little greasy, so they use just a little splash of marinara over it and it brings out so much zest. I did indulge a little bit and had their spumoni ice cream, too. I’m a huge ice cream fanatic and I love their spumoni. And I love the Coolhaus Truck. Usually, I just get ice cream at the grocery store and take it home, but when that truck comes around, aaaagh, I die.

Friday July 22nd
You know how Friday started for me. It was the same routine at Starbucks. It’s just a few blocks up, but I usually drive because I hit it on the way out. I went to Porta Via for lunch in Pasadena by myself. I had their tuna fish panini. I always ask them to put more capers inside, it’s just so good. And I had that with an espresso.

Every Friday night, I do a thing in Pasadena called The Friday Food Fair, which is in my kitchen where I bake at. So I usually just indulge there as they have six rotating food trucks. Coolhaus was there, so of course I had to have an ice cream sandwich. It was a dark chocolate cookie with salt and Oreo ice cream in the middle and they kinda like smash it all together. I also had the Slammin’ Sliders Truck for food. They have shrimp sliders that are so good, they put a little aioli on them for some kick. Then we went to the movies and I took some of my cupcakes inside. There were like five of us, so we just sat there eating cupcakes in the theater. My favorites are the peanut butter and jelly, as you know I need that all the time, and blueberry pancake.

Saturday, July 23rd
My husband and I went to Le Pain Quotidien. We go there almost every Saturday morning. They have this special that’s like this blueberry foam that they heat up a little and put a little dill and ricotta on top. My husband ordered an egg-white omelet with asparagus and mushroom. We both had cappuccinos.

We went shopping that day, then ate over at Urth Caffe on Melrose. I got their white albacore sandwich then a cappuccino, and he had their farmers market salad and a latte. My husband literally goes crazy at Urth and gets like five shots in his latte. He loves their coffee, the stronger the better.

I always like to eat at places that are really fresh and I always go to the farmers markets. One of my favorite places right now is Cecconi’s. I love it. And I know it’s kind of an old place, but I’ve been in love with some of the food at STK. They have a crab salad that’s amazing. And they have these shrimp Rice Krispies, with tomato bisque all over the top. It’s really good.”

I had another event that night and didn’t eat until very late. It was this Disney thing. So I met up with my husband later and went to Takami Sushi in Downtown L.A. I love that place. We used to live in Downtown and go there all the time, so it’s a nice treat. I had their shrimp crunch roll and they have these little jalapeno poppers, some kind of chili things. And we had mojitos. Virgin mojitos. I don’t drink.

We went to The Standard afterward, over on the rooftop. We hung out and when I go out I drink a concoction that I make. It’s half Shirley Temple and half sugar-free Red Bull, so that’s what I drink when I’m out.

Sunday, July 26th
I did Starbucks in the morning and we drove up to Santa Barbara for the day, because I had to judge “Cupcake Camp.” When I thought about doing this interview, I thought ‘Oh God, they’re going to die when I tell them what I had to eat on Sunday.’

So we drove up there and had lunch at one the restaurants at The Fess Parker Doubletree Hotel where we sat outside. I had this grilled cheese, they call it an ‘adult’ grilled cheese because there’s all these crazy cheeses on it, like blue cheese. And it’s served with tomato soup, which was very fresh. I’ve never eaten there before, but it was really good. You could really taste the flavors in everything. My husband had these fish skewers with three different kinds of fish on them. And then a pecan rice with pineapple on it, which he said was very good. I had a lemonade and he had two non-alcoholic drinks.

We skipped dinner, because when I judged the event I ended up having to eat like 50 cupcakes, which was about how many entries there were. Obviously I didn’t eat the whole thing, but just took a bite or two. I was on such a sugar high! There was everything from goat cheese and pear cupcakes to like, chocolate-chocolate cupcakes. There was this one that was amazing that was dark chocolate with a port wine filling. It was so good. There was a cinnamon spice one, a chocolate habanero, and another favorite was a rose-lychee cupcake, because rose is a hard taste to do. It can taste like soap. So that was it for food, as you can probably imagine.

Monday, July 25th
It was a late day. I think I went straight to lunch, but did do my Starbucks. We went to Via Sorriso and had their shrimp and goat cheese pizza. Oh my gosh! It’s so good. I love going there too because they don’t just bring out oil and vinegar. They actually bring you bruschetta to start, so you get like this whole bread basket with a bowl of very fresh tomato bruschetta and you put it on yourself. Oh yeah!

I went to Malibu again and went to Tra Di Noi, the Italian restaurant. I had fettuccine all ‘astice, which is basically lobster fettuccine with fresh artichokes in a wine sauce. I had lemonade, but no ice cream. I was too full from the pasta. I do cook myself. My husband honestly hates going out to eat because he says I cook better than anywhere we go out to eat. It’s very rare to impress him and he always thinks we’re wasting money. He says, ‘I don’t know why you don’t just cook all the time.’ I might…if I had someone cleaning my kitchen every day or going shopping for me.

Goodie Girls’ Annette Starbuck Drinks Christmas in a Cup and Ate 50 Cupcakes on