Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tiger and Dragon Seeking Lost Dog

I have no sense of direction.  This is not an exaggeration.  As a matter of fact, my directional instincts are inverted.  My husband, The Captain, thinks it's hilarious how when leaving any hotel room for the day, I always turn the wrong direction to get to the elevator.  Always.  Lucky for me, The Captain has an uncanny sense of direction.  Give him 24 hours in a new city, and he has some bizarre overhead map view of it in his head.  I put this to the test in Florence, Italy (my favorite place on earth, by the way).  We had been there for our first time a year earlier, and were returning because...well, because we had to....Florence, people.  Beautiful, amazing Florence.  This second time, we were staying in a completely different area of the city than on our first trip.  On our first day back, I lamented that I had not written down the address of this little shop that was near our hotel the year before.  It was nestled in a tiny alley somewhere in the city, a one-woman shop, selling hand-made puppets.  We had bought some for my best friend's kids, and I really wanted to pick up a couple for my Neighbor's new daughter.  From across the city, on foot, with not a single wrong turn, a year after our first trip there and from a different starting point, The Captain marched us straight to the Puppet Maker.  This is not an isolated incident.  He's navigated our way through Cairo, across Germany, through Austria and all over Prague.  Barcelona was a breeze, and Paris not a problem, and Beijing and Shang Hai didn't stand a chance.  The only exceptions I have seen are Venice (hopelessly lost after a water taxi dropped us off in an unfamiliar area) and, ahem, St. Paul.  The man just can't get a handle on St. Paul.  I would judge, but, remember, I can't even get out of the hotel!
You'd think that these musings had nothing to do with our lovely couple Jasmine and Ben.  But, be patient, as convoluted as the Evil Cake Genius's stories can be, I always manage to tie them up in the end.
I met Jasmine and Ben with their lovely wedding coordinator Julia LaCroix.  They were excited to design a cake that would represent their Asian heritage, but would remain modern and chic enough for their reception at the Graves 601.  We started by designing invitations using their beautiful gold and apricot color scheme, and a stylized cherry blossom motif.

From there, we designed the cake.  It would be muted gold with fondant panels down the front stenciled with that same pattern.  Then, Jasmine suggested that we incorporate their Zodiac Signs.  He was a Tiger and she a Dragon.  Gimme, gimme, gimme.  I love the style of Chinese folk art almost as much as I loved the fact that these two truly embodied their Zodiac Signs.  Ben was serious and focused, sharp witted, and thoughtful.  Jasmine, well, Jasmine is me.  I think somehow, somewhere, we're related.  She's a Dragon through and through.  Passionate, funny, spunky...Dragon. 
I found the perfect art for the cake, and had stencils made.

We also added the Chinese Characters for their signs to the Pecan Shortbreads and Petit Fours on their dessert buffets.  A task that I found a little bit worrisome, considering every time I tried to pronounce Jasmine's last name, she couldn't help but giggle.  Mandarin...not my language, I'll stick to brutalizing Italian, thank you very much.

When the wedding day came, Julia found me and said that the couple had invited me to their suite for a few photos before they made their grand entrance to their reception.  I've never been invited to do this before, so I abandoned Jenna with the desserts to follow Julia to see my favorite Dragon and Tiger.  She took me up one floor, then we switched elevators and went up a few more floors to the couple's room.  My girl Jasmine was a vision in pleated Chiffon, and Ben looked the picture of the classic groom in his white tux.  We took a few photos, and I excused myself to return to my work down in the ballroom. 

I'm not a Dragon or a Tiger.  I'm a Dog.  Never made the connection until that day, but there do seem to be an awful lot of movies written about lost dogs.  And this Dog didn't stray from her usual hotel directional impairment.  Cue sad lost dog music, now.  I got into the elevator, and tried to press the button for the 5th floor to return to the Ballroom.  No such button existed.  Okay, I got this.  I went to the 6th floor and would switch elevators like my Julia did when she walked me up.  After sniffing around the 6th floor for entirely too much time, I decided to cut my losses and take the stairs.  It's only one floor, and I couldn't find the second bank of elevators.  I entered the stairwell, went down one flight, and heard the start of the cocktail hour.  Perfect timing, I'd just pop through this (locked) door and make my way to the Ballroom to complete setting up the desserts.  Nope. Locked.

I could hear the guests on the other side of the door.  I could smell the Hors Oeuvres.   Like Benji, I let out a few whimpers and pawed at the steel fire door, but the humans on the other side couldn' t hear me.  I walked up to where I entered the stairwell, but the door had locked behind me.  Fortunately, I had my cell phone in my pocket (take that, Lassie!) and called Jenna.  She was finishing up the desserts and had no time for my antics.  So she did what any good handler does.  She sent out a search party.  Have you seen this dog?  Last seen in the stairwell at the Graves 601.  Lucky for this pooch, the staff at the Graves thinks I'm amusing.  So they scattered to the five stairwells to seek me out.  After a few minutes, I was rescued, and safely returned to my Jenna. 

Dog references and all, she was not amused.   Maybe she's more of a cat person.

Decorator's Notes:

Jasmine and Ben's beautiful wedding cake was stenciled with custom stencils created by the Evil Cake Genius, herself.  We loved them so much that we've decided to share them with other decorators.  You can now buy these on our Evil Cake Genius site HERE


Carla Reich said...

Oh Robin... as usual, AMAZING freakin' cake. You never disappoint; in fact, you pretty much only ever leave me with my jaw wide open.

And, thanks for the laughs. I bet getting lost in the hotel was the last thing you'd call fun, but it sure was funny to read your lost-dog tale.

In admiration, as always...

-- Carla

Kevin [Pahaly] said...

Wow! What an incredible story...but that cake steals the show. So elegant! Great post.