Cups is the first all organic cupcakery and full-scale teaching kitchen and party room - the whole package under one roof. We are, first and foremost, about making incredibly creative cupcakes to suit all audiences (young and old), palates (simple and sophisticated), and dietary needs (gluten free, vegan, dairy free, and low glycemic index).
Our Cups feature fresh seasonal items, so availability varies throughout the year. In summer we feature our Summer Berry Splash (featuring house-made lemon curd and raspberry syrup - made from raspberries from my garden), Lime-Chile-Mango, and Fig Leap (topped with goat cheese frosting featuring house-made goat cheese), and Raspberry Basil. Late summer we offer Caramel Apple (featuring fresh apple compote). In fall we offer Pumpkin Cardamom and in winter we have Arancia and Minty Wonderland. We just had the best year ever of chmomile in my garden so Chef Jesus came up with the amazing Cozy Cup.
Year-round we serve up a variety of fresh flavors such as Caramelicious (featuring fleur-de-sel caramel center and frosting), Curry Cup (chocolate curry cup topped with chocolate-coconut-curry frosting and curried coconut chips), Cocoa-Ginger (flavored with organic ginger root), Honey Lavender (featuring local organic honey and lavender), Tiramisu (featuring house-made mascarpone and coffee liqueur) among many, many others. Not a week goes by we aren’t creating something new! The most recent addition to our repertoire is the addition of whey (from our cheese-making) to our Cups to give them a little protein boost - who says cupcakes can't be healthy!
Our Gluten-Free Cups include Limone Ricotta (featuring house-made ricotta cheese), and an as-of-yet unnamed creation by Chef Jesus of coconut and cream cheese. Our Vegan Cups come in nearly as many flavors as our standard and would pass even the most skeptical palate. Our Low Glycemic Cups are sweetened with fresh fruits and organic agave syrup.
While we aspire to create a unique dining experience for the cupcake connoisseur, there is so much more to what we do.
I think the question we are most often asked is “why organic?” We believe our Cups taste better because we use only the freshest, top-quality ingredients – organic and local. We also believe that in today's world, in order to make a difference, companies need to think differently, so we base our food-buying decisions not only on the superior taste and quality of the products we choose, but also on the health and welfare of people, animals and the earth. Eating foods grown or harvested organically isn’t just better for you, because it has no added pesticides and hormones, for example, but also better for all of us, in that less toxins are released in their making. Along the same line, we also pride ourselves on buying locally, so that more of our food dollars go to the ones who produce the foods we use. We do so in order to support our farmers, our community and the earth we all share.
Our Cups feature Giustos organic flours from San Francisco. Our sugars come from Wholesome Sweeteners, an organic and fair trade-certified producer where farmers are paid a premium for their crops. Our organic eggs and produce come from North County’s Chino Valley Farms. Our top quality organic chocolate comes from San Luis Obispo’s Sweet Earth’s Organic. Our butter comes from Organic Valley, a cooperative of family farmers.
Our special Cups Blend Organic Coffee, which will be served in our lounge by our baristas trained in the classical Italian art of espresso-making, is roasted in North Park by Caffe Calabria. We exclusively serve ice cold milk “on tap” from Straus Family Creamery, California’s first certified organic dairy. The only sodas we serve will be made in-house, using naturally filtered and carbonated water and organic fruit-juice blends made in-house and by the mixologists at Snake Oil in La Jolla. Our mochas and chocolate milk feature our own organic chocolate syrup. Our drinks will be sweetened by organic sugar, agave syrup and natural stevia – never by little colored packets.
How big is our footprint?
We worked to achieve a 3 Star Green Restaurant Certification - and we are the only restaurant in the San Diego are to have achieved this level certification, and the only bakery in all of California. We used recycled renewable materials in the design of our lounge. For example, our bar countertop consists of a product that is manufactured using 100% recycled glass, and our walls are covered with environmentally sustainable Richlite and Formica, both of which are made of recycled paper. Our flooring system consists of environmentally friendly stone composite materials. Additionally, we are using a recycled plastic material from a new product line by 3form as a feature design element – which is the first application of its kind in Southern California. We even use recycled glass milk bottles (courtesy of Strauss) for a feature display wall.
Our milk is served in reusable Straus milk bottles. Our to-go cold drink cups and cutlery are made from corn. Our hot drink to-go cups are all made of 100% compostable recycled materials.
Our cleaning products are all environmentally responsible: non-toxic, non-chlorine-based, carcinogen free and packaged in recycled containers.
Origin of Cups
Though I pursued another career path, my love of real food was always paramount - initially I would say a result of the way in which I grew up in Europe. We raised cows, pigs and chickens. We had a little garden patch on the outskirts of town where we grew our own vegetables (as was customary then). And what we didn't gproduce ourselves, we bought at the small, single-item purveyors: bread from the bakery, meat at the butcher, vegetables at the weekend stalls in the center of town. Both of my parents (with differnet ethnic backgrounds) cook - well! My uncle was a baker by trade. At some point I knew I needed to make the transition from home cook to professional one. For years I planned on opening a restaurant, and then (realizing the enormity of such a venture) I started to scale down . . . first, into a deli, featuring both sweets and savories, then even smaller like a coffee shop/patisserie, and then finally all the way down to a single item – the cupcake. This happened concurrently with the cupcake craze taking over the world; I certainly wasn’t at the start of the trend, but I knew I had something to add to the mix, rather than be just another add-on. There were a handful of tasty cupcakeries, but none featuring the local and organic ingredients that I am passionate about. I also wanted to create an environment where chefs could work and learn from one another in, cross-training sweet to savory, cooking and baking to teaching.
I spent this past spring in Sonoma, teaching cupcake classes at Relish Culinary and interning at Pugs Leap goat farm (after which our “Fig Leap” Cup is named) to learn the ins-and-outs of goat farming and cheese making - my final training for the premiere of Cups Lounge as a destination, instead of simply a cupcake catering operation as it had been. The experience also persuaded me to include a teaching kitchen in my space, so I could share my passion with others and feature similarly minded chefs as well.