Friday, July 31, 2009

Lunchtime Links for July 31st, 2009

Cake Wrecks Book Tour

One of my favorite blogs, Cake Wrecks, is having a book tour starting this fall! Three main reasons you should attend:


- Funny (and sometimes just saaaaaad) cakes - in book form!

- Cupcake Wreck contest is being held at each book signing- enter, or just cringe at the entries at the event!

More info here about the specific locations and dates. If anyone wants to come along with me in October, let me know :0)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Lunchtime Links for July 30th, 2009

  • Corn-Free, Pt. 2: From Serious Eats.
  • Useful Gadgets: 10 useful kitchen gadgets from The Kitchn.
  • Taylor Gourmet: A look at the design for Taylor Gourmet in DC.
  • HILLS: Premiere date is set- September 29th!!
  • 1/2 Price: Cheesecake Factory Cheesecakes are 1/2 price today, for National Cheesecake Day.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mmm... Crabcakey

I'm a HUGE fan of crab cakes, but never really think to get them when I'm out to eat (assuming it's a place that would serve them to begin with). The main deterrent is the fear of it being a hockey puck of breading and filler, disappointing to say the least. The 2nd deterrent is the price, which is almost always steep for how relatively little crab cakes tend to be.

Washington Post has taken some of the guesswork out by compiling a list of crab cake ratings for a bunch DC Metro area restaurants. Seems like a good guideline, or at the very least, a list to keep in mind next time I find myself at any of the places listed.

Cakes + Funny = Delicious Fun

I've spent the last 10 minutes clicking through the entries for the Threadless Cake contest- AMAZING AMAZING cakes based on the funny Threadless tees. Ch-che-check it out!

Lunchtime Links for July 29th, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Love, Love, Love: Rita's Mango Water Ice

mmm... Frosty Deliciousness.

I've been severely lacking in my Rita's Water Ice intake since moving to this area, since I never seemed to come across any around here; compare this to NJ, where water ice shops in general seem to be abundant.

However, a quick online search yielded a Rita's Water Ice not too far from my work- huzzah! My favorite flavor is Mango for sure- I've tried a few other flavors but those always taste a little "off" for me.

It might seem a little excessive for me to buy the quart-sized tub shown above; however, it's a cost-effective and deeeeeeelicious way to have Rita's basically whenever I feel like having it at home. If you want to switch it up a bit they will do 1/2 and 1/2 of 2 flavors- halfway through the tub, it's like buying a new container of water ice, sweeeeeet.

Sidenote: The Vanilla Custard is also omgamaaaazing if you're more in a creamy sweets mood.

Rita's Water Ice

You Know You Love Me

To hold us over until the next season (less than 2 months away!!), a brief slideshow courtesy of NYMag.

Lunchtime Links for July 28th, 2009

Or rather, afternoon links... to the 4 of you reading this, my apologies:

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bethesda Restaurant Week Begins

Today marks the beginning of Bethesda's Restaurant week. Going on through August 2nd, it's a good opportunity to try out a new place, or get a decent 2 or 3-course lunch/dinner at a reasonable price. A little disappointed at the paltry number of participating restaurants this year, but might be worth checking out nonetheless.

I'll be headed to Oakville Grille & Wine Bar on Thursday for lunch, will report back on how they do RW!

Lunchtime Links for July 27th, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lunchtime Links for July 24th, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lunchtime Links for July 23rd, 2009

  • Cheesecake Factory: On July 30th, all Cheesecake Factory cheesecakes are 1/2 price, to celebrate National Cheesecake Day (Note: dine-in only). Also, this is the day that the Red Velvet Cheesecake debuts!
  • Uhmm.. alright: Hate the whole Jon & Kate debacle but this group was just too random.
  • Top Chef Masters: Serious Eats' recap of last night's episode.
  • Potbelly's: A quick look at some of the menu options at Potbelly's (I may get something besides the Wreck now, haha).

Love, Love, Love: Good Girls Go Bad

I know I've mentioned this song before, but I'm having a re-surgence of obsession with the Cobra Starship song, mainly because I JUST realized it's the song featuring LEIGHTON MEESTER aka Blair aka Who I Want To Be.

So, if it's your first time hearing this or the millionth, guaranteed it's a fun, cute video that's perfect for summer :-)

Cobra Starship f/ Leighton Meester: Good Girls Go Bad

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lunchtime Links for July 22nd, 2009

Love, Love, Love: Loreal EverPure UV Protect Spray

I got this UV Protect Spray mainly because it was on sale that week at Target, plus I had a coupon for $2 off the Loreal EverPure line.. sweeeeeeeeeet. Little did I know how much I'd be friggin' obsessed with it!

First off, the smell... a Rosemary + Mint combo that smells really fresh and pleasant, so it doesn't smell like you're spraying a ton of stuff in your hair. It helps your hair smell v. fresh when you went out the night before and don't have time to shower.. ahem, like last Saturday, ha.

I've been coloring my hair since the beginning of high school, and I am always soooooo lazy about getting my hair colored in a timely fashion. This is supposed to help keep the color looking good - can't help my roots from growing in, but at least this keeps my hair from turning orange!

I'd recommend this product for anyone that colors their hair- or even if you don't, anyone that spends time outdoors and doesn't want their hair to fry. Good for the pool, beach, and just walking around outside for the day.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Weekend in Pittsburgh!

Spent an awesome weekend in Pittsburgh, visiting B and K. Fun times with Family Guy trivia, random educational museum trips, drinking games, and of course, the FOOD! A few of the food highlights...

DENIED at the Dor Stop.

After lots of hype from me (seeing Pumpkin Pancakes on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives), we ventured out Saturday morning for brunch at Dor Stop. As luck would have it, all that greeted us was an empty restaurant + a sign indicating they were on vacation for a week starting THAT day. Boooo. We went to Pamela's for some fab hotcakes instead.

Walked over to Vanilla to try out some of their cupcakes.

Having tried Dozens on our last Pittsburgh trip, we tried out Vanilla this weekend. General consensus was positive, one highlight was definitely K's choice of the Cosmo cupcake. My Red Velvet was alarmingly red, and appearance-wise, not like any other Red Velvet I've ever tried. The cake was moist, the frosting was pillowy and sweet, and the little sprinkles added a nice touch of texture. I really liked the layout of the bakery, especially the window that looks into the actual Bakery portion- pretty cool to see the bakers and decorators at work!


Of course I couldn't pass up another chance to have a Primanti's Sandwich while in Pittsburgh. We got some at the Pirates game on Saturday night- while it wasn't the same as eating at a real Primanti Bros., it was perfect ballpark overload food, especially that cole slaw that I love so much.

View of Downtown from the Game.

Yes, a non-food photo for you, haha. This is from walking around the stadium prior to the awesome fireworks show!

Full-on Eat n' Park Paraphanelia.

Sunday consisted of sleeping in and a trip to Eat n' Park before heading back to DC. Of course the food there was secondary to the famous Smiley cookies, although clearly I couldn't resist the other gifts they had there too. Can't wait to use my mug!

Once again, a fab time in the Steel City. Thanks B and K for an awesome weekend, it was great to see you both!

Review: Charm City Cupcakes

No, not Charm City Cakes, the Food Network fondant-a-thon. Charm City Cupcakes is a cupcake store in Baltimore, MD. I've never tried their cupcakes before, but as luck would have it, a co-worker had a baby shower and brought me a leftover CCC Chocolate cupcake with Vanilla buttercream to try out.

Before I begin this brief review, I do have to say that this cupcake was baked at some point last week, served at the baby shower on Saturday, brought in to work on Monday, put into the fridge, driven to my apartment, put back into the fridge, and then tasted about 4 hours later... needless to say, it wasn't exactly in the IDEAL condition when I tried it. The only thing worse that I could've done to it probably would've been to run it over with my car.

However, taste is taste. And the chocolate cake tasted rich, but the cake itself had enormous air bubbles in it. If anyone's familiar with the UK's Aero bar, that's basically what the cake looked like. It made for an odd texture to chew, that's for sure. The buttercream frosting was what you'd expect- sugary and grainy in texture, not my favorite by a long shot. Of course, I'm more in the camp of the creamy plops of frosting (a la Georgetown Cupcake), so it wasn't really surprising to me that I didn't love this CCC version.

Final verdict? I'm glad I got to try out this somewhat famous (at least in the MD area) cupcake since chances are I wouldn't go to Baltimore just to try them. Not the best cupcake I've ever had, but then again the circumstances with timing and freshness weren't ideal either. I'd be interested to see if any of their specialty flavors are any better.

Heart Chuck Bass

Normally I'd put something like this in the Lunchtime Links, but honestly, this was too good to just put into a list with other links.

NYMag's Daily Intel has a really funny story about one girl's encounter with THE Chuck Bass, aka Ed Westwick, aka Isn't That Hot but Somehow Still Really Hot from Gossip Girl.

The reason why I enjoyed reading this so much is because I could literally see myself doing exactly what the girl did, haha.

Lunchtime Links for July 21st, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pittsburgh Links!

Had a fantastic time visiting B & K in Pittsburgh this past weekend... photos to come later, but for now, links to some of the places we hit up over the weekend:

Lunchtime Links for July 20th, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lunchtime Links for July 17th, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lunchtime Links for July 16th, 2009

Review: Buitoni Light Four Cheese Ravioli

  • I Paid: ~ $4.00 (with a coupon) at Giant
  • Description: Light Four Cheese Ravioli

I have to admit I had a somewhat random reason for buying these, since I normally never buy these refridgerated pastas (too expensive for what they are, in my opinion). In a recent issue of Real Simple magazine, there was an ad for Buitoni, that said you can get a pair of bamboo pasta/salad servers with proof of purchase of a Buitoni product. Let's not pretend to be so surprised that I fell for an obvious marketing schtick, shall we? (Also, this explains why I don't know the exact price of the pasta- I had to send in the receipt as my proof of purchase.)

Since I had to get one anyway, I figured I'd try out the only "Light" version they had available at Giant. The four cheeses, according to the nutritional info, are: Cottage Cheese, Ricotta Cheese, Romano Cheese, and Fontina Cheese. Could I have told you that just from eating these? No freakin' way.

These alleged "four" cheese pillows just need to be boiled for 7-9 minutes. While that was going I figured I'd make the sauce a little interesting at least and cooked some fresh minced garlic, chopped Amish farm sausage, chopped bell pepper, and some spices to a jarred tomato sauce. Once the pasta seemed about done I strained it and added it to the sauce mixture.

Final verdict? These weren't too shabby, especially for 1/2 the fat of Buitoni's regular ravioli. If you're going to be eating these anyway, I figure it's better to get the ones slightly better for you, since these don't taste particularly "low-fat" or anything. It's a good item to have on hand when you want a quick meal. Just by themselves they are pretty bland (again, with the alleged "four" cheeses which really tastes like one cheese square), so I would definitely recommend a strong sauce to go with these. The serving size seemed off to me, but maybe they're thinking like large dinner portions (says it'll make 2.5 servings). It made me 4 servings, which I'll have to eat for consecutive meals since I'm going away this weekend.

More importantly, I better be getting my bamboo salad/pasta servers soon, Mr. Buitoni.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Foods of Yesteryear

This past weekend in Chicago, I brought up Magic Middles cookies, which is one of my favorite cookies from when I was younger. Surprisingly, not everyone seems to recall these little discs of delicious processed chocolate, and it got me thinking about what other foods I really wish were still around:

1) The aforementioned Keebler Magic Middles. These were so so so so good. I remember heating them up for 5 seconds in the microwave for the extra chocolate goo factor.

2) Keebler Sweet Spots, which were round shortbread cookies with a faux Hershey's kiss on top. These were pretty dry as I recall but it was like getting 2 snacks in one, and came in a unique 4-pack in a paper sleeve.

3) Jell-o Pudding Pops, which apparently contained no actual pudding (who knew?) but were so delicious in that sickening artificial way. I personally liked vanilla the best and always wished they sold them in the non-variety pack, but alas.

4) Giggles Cookies. I. LOVED. THESE. Now that I see them they look straight out of some horror movie promotion and are really friggin creepy-looking, but these were SO awesome when I was younger. And they came with stickers!

Anyone else even remember any of the ones I've listed? Or have more to share from your childhood? Let me know!

Lunchtime Links for July 15th, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Chi-town Weekend!

I spent last weekend visiting H & J in Chicago and had an awesome weekend! It was my first time in Chi-town (aside from a layover at the airport): Fantastic weather, lots of sightseeing, yummy food, and of course, fun-tastic friends!

Frontera Grill is highly recommended- the food was fresh, tasty, and not too pricey. I especially liked how the tacos came with so many sides, including beans, guacamole, 2 salsas, and fresh tortillas. I would love to come back again and try it out for dinner. Sadly no Rick Bayless sighting, but maybe next time, haha.

Saturday Brunch: Pork al pastor tacos, Frontera Grill

A lot of walking around over the weekend, got to see a good chunk of city including the "Photo Op of Chicago..." Cloud slash Bean.

Cloud Gate slash the Bean

Lots of drinking Saturday night, starting off with Bye Bye Liver, and then to the top of the Hancock Building. Finished off the weekend with a little treat- H had heard about More Cupcakes and it was conveniently right by where we had lunch, after the Architecture Boat Tour. Lots of interesting flavors were listed on their menu, including Salted Caramel, Herb-based cupcakes, and even a BLT cupcake. These cupcakes were $3.50 each, but I think anyone looking for some interesting flavors that you can't get everywhere else would find these worthwhile.

Cupcakes from More Cupcakes
(More/"Hostess cupcake", White Velvet, Red Velvet)

Overall a fantastic weekend for my first time in Chi-town. Thanks again to H & J for hosting and your all-around awesomeness!!

Lunchtime Links for July 14th, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Restaurant Review: Taste of Saigon

For lunch today, I went to Taste of Saigon in the Rockville Town Center. It was my first time eating there, and it was very good. It's a nice space, with lots of open window seating that look out onto the neighborhood, as well as outdoor patio seating, and regular indoor seating. Apparently their old location was different (and also right across the street), but since I had never been there I can't make any comparisons about the decor.

I got the Thick Rice Noodles with Beef ($9.99), which was a generous portion of sliced beef, Chinese broccoli, flat wide rice noodles, with a slightly sweet brown sauce. The beef was tender and the veggies were cooked just the right amount- still crunchy but not bitter/raw-tasting. Service was quick and pleasant, and the restaurant is located on a quiet corner of the Town Center, just a block away from the busier central area if you feel like walking around after your meal.

Final verdict? Definitely will be added to my list of work lunch restaurants. Enough food for 2 meals, which is always a plus.

Taste of Saigon- Rockville Town Square
20 A Maryland Ave.
Rockville, MD 20850
Street or Garage parking nearby

Lunchtime Links for July 13th, 2009

  • Free McCafe Samples: Not a huge McD's fan, but every Monday (through 8/3) get a free sample of iced or hot McCafe Mochas.
  • Next Food Network Star: Food Network Humor's live blog from last night's episode.
  • Airplane Tips: Some interesting tips on avoiding being stuck on the tarmac after a flight lands early.
  • Project Runway Contestants: The new lineup for Project Runway's next season, which begins later this summer.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Lunchtime Links for July 10th, 2009

Frill Collection: New From Vera Bradley

I never really knew much about the Vera Bradley brand until I went to Bucknell, and saw it EVERYWHERE. Between VB, Herve Chapelier, and the Longchamp brands, you would think Bucknell was sponsored by the three brands or something. Yes, VB has its share of weird/crazy patterns that I would never ever use/buy, but for the most part I enjoy the cute patterns and accessories that they offer.

Looks like they have a new "younger" collection called Frill out now (in stores and online). The names are re-dic-u-lous and not in a good way. Seriously? TXT speak as the product names? Groooooooooaaaaaaaan. But I guess since it's "younger" this is what the brilliant Marketing group came up with, huh. I will say though that I really like the "SOI" bag (PS- why would you call something you want to sell "So Over It"? Just asking.) - I really like the shape of this and think it'd be good for carrying books, magazines, a light laptop, or for work with folders and stuff. I'll have to check it out next time I go to a VB-selling store.

*Full disclosure: I am not affiliated with nor getting paid by Vera Bradley for this plug. I like the brand and I just got an e-mail about the Frill collection, so I just thought I'd pass it on :-)

Review: Klondike Slim-a-bear Ice Cream Sandwiches

  • I Paid: No idea (got these a while ago, honestly)
  • Product Description: Klondike Slim a Bear 100 Calorie Sandwiches; Low Fat; 1.5g of Fat

I can't really remember why I bought these to begin with really, but I guess I was intrigued enough by the packaging (cue Jim Gaffigan "food packaging" skit, haha). I am actually a pretty big fan of those old-school rectangle ice cream sandwiches, so I figured I'd give these a try.

First impressions- that Slim a bear is CREEPY. In the same vein as how I feel about the Skinny Cow mascot. I mean, I get it- they're not eating the fatty ice creams so they are slim, but it's like Kelly Choi from Top Chef Masters: How can I trust someone THAT skinny when it's about food??

First bite.

Ok, after unwrapping the single sandwich and taking a bite, I didn't have so much distrust towards the Slim a bear. It had a pleasantly familiar texture of the aforementioned ice cream sandwich, including the squishy "cookie" that sticks to just about anything- your fingers, the napkin, the plastic wrap, etc. Add to that a sweet vanilla-flavored whipped ice-based product (haha, but seriously, this wasn't ice cream) and it makes for a decent couple of bites.

Final verdict? This was pretty good considering it is 100 calories and low in fat. I'd recommend it for anyone that is need of portion control ("one bowl" of regular ice cream can vary depending on who's scooping, haha). If you're a fan of those generic ice cream sandwiches but trying to watch calories, then you'll probably like this one too. I still don't like the Slim a bear though, not to mention it would totally get its butt kicked and eaten alive by the far superior original Klondike bear (mmm, square-y and sorta metallic-y tasting ice cream...)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Food, Inc. - Free Screenings Nationwide!

Food, Inc. is a movie that takes a look at the industrialization of American foods, including the meat industry, agriculture, and how our eating habits are shaped by the industry. I saw this about a month ago, and it's a pretty powerful movie that I really enjoyed. For better or worse, these issues are a part of our everyday lives, and what we choose to do about it can make a big difference.

Due to its increasing popularity, I believe it's become available to a wider audience now since its debut. To help get the word out, Chipotle is sponsoring free screenings nationwide, which I think is pretty cool. Looks like it'll be showing Bethesda & DC next week (15th and 16th, respectively). Thanks to M for sending this in to me!

If any of you are interested in seeing this movie, I highly recommend it, free screening or no free screening. It's not perfect, and it might not have covered all of the issues, but I definitely appreciated the general message and how they chose to cover the issues that they felt were important.

Top Chef Vegas!

Some exciting news I found out via metrocurean: the upcoming Top Chef: Las Vegas season includes 2 DC-area chefs! I've never been to Volt, but Zaytinya is a great mezze place and I've always liked the food there.

Here's the complete rundown of the chefs that will be competing in Season 6 of Top Chef.

Top Chef: Las Vegas begins August 26th at 9pm on Bravo.

Lunchtime Links for July 9th, 2009

  • Generous drunk Brit: I wish they had a photo of this guy, apparently he "looked like a tramp", haa.
  • HELLO Chris Pine: Chris Pine, being, well, Chris Pine-ish. Cuuuuuute.
  • Top Chef Masters: TelevisionWithoutPity's recaplet of last night's episode.
  • It's BRUNO: Bruno's most memorable fashion moments, via NYMag. Personal fave- the Spain Bull outfit, ha!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Japanarama: Rice Paddy Art

Came across this via Serious Eats, to Pink Tentacle's post about Rice Paddy Art in Japan. These things are craaaaaaaaaazy rediculous. These are totally in their own league and further the stereotype that all Japanese people are insanely meticulous and talented, ha.

My personal favorite isn't really even the most complicated one, but the smaller one of Doraemon. One of the most notable cartoon characters in Japan (not counting that cat you might have seen before), he's one of the cutest cartoon-cat-robots to come from Japan :o)

Facebook Status: Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Facebook statuses can mean a lot more than just "I'm doing this/that/the other thing". I saw this interesting article and I have to say that I'm equally an abuser of some of their examples (Hello, random Family Guy quotes!), and really really hate the others. The Vague Sympathy one always annoys me cus it's such a blatant request for concern, but if you wanted to keep it private, maybe don't mention it yourself in the first place!!

Love, Love, Love: Trader Joe's

I encountered my very first Trader Joe's when I first moved to MD after graduating from college. I had heard some good things about it, but never had a chance to go until I found out there was one within walking distance to the house I was renting in. Now, I am within driving distance to several Trader Joe's from both work and my current apartment, luckily for me.

What I really like about Trader Joe's, oddly enough, is their packaged and frozen items the most. This might seem weird since normally I'm not a fan of frozen foods (except for ice cream, ha). But they have such a HUGE variety of random items that you probably can't find elsewhere. Also, I like the atmosphere and the easygoing returns policy- if you don't like something, just return it. Easy peasy.

Some standouts in my book:

- Trader Joe's brand Greek yogurts
- Whole-Wheat Low-Carb Tortillas
- Miniature Peanut Butter Cups
- Frozen Soycoutash
- Coffee Ice Cream
- Strawberry Fruit Floes (frozen fruit bars)
- Garlic Naan Bread
- Frozen Korean BBQ Short Ribs
- Frozen Mac n' Cheese

I really could go on and on. Also, I like that they have "other-brand" stuff there for less $$, like the No-Pudge Brownie mix and Fage yogurt.

I will say this though: I personally cannot shop just at Trader Joe's and be able to get everything. I like going to farmer's markets and regular grocery stores, and Trader Joe's can't replace either of those completely. You're not going to be able to get EVERYTHING at Trader Joe's, especially if you have brand loyalties elsewhere. But, what you can get there is fun, cheap, and tasty for the most part.

By the way, the reason why I posted all this in the first place is because I was browsing through this site: Trader Joe's Fan. It's a comprehensive site of all things TJ's, and a good resource if you're considering buying something new on your next trip.

Lunchtime Links for July 8th, 2009

Bravo TV: Top Chef Masters and RHoNJ This Week

Just a reminder that tonight at 10pm is an all-new Top Chef Masters, with Neil Patrick Harris as a guest star/judge (yay!).

From, "“Top Chef Masters” brings together distinguished chefs Anita Lo (Annisa), Douglas Rodriguez (Alma de Cuba), John Besh (Restaurant August) and Mark Peel (Campanile). The Masters find their hands tied in the quickfire challenge as they must cook an egg with one hand tied behind their back (All Stars Challenge, season three of "Top Chef"), and then must create culinary magic to awe their high-profile guests which include Neil Patrick Harris. One chef moves on to the Champions Round."

Also, Thursday night at 9pm is a Real Housewives of NJ Lost Footage special, woo!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Lunchtime Links for July 7th, 2009

DC Eats: Hank's Oyster Bar

Hank's Oyster Bar is one of those places that you go once, and think, man I should really come here more often... and then you never do. Not because you don't want to, but because it's far (from me in MD), small, crowded, doesn't take reservations, and it manages to slip off your radar after a while. But sometimes plans work out, the weather's great, and there happens to be NO WAIT for a table at Hank's... a night of good eats is in order!

Mmm... slippery.

Glass of white wine and some freebie Goldfish crackers in hand, we took a look at the menu. I was at Hank's pretty much for the Lobster Roll, but T had never tried oysters before so we each got 2 ($2.00/oyster). I believe he got one from PEI (Prince Edward Island) and another one I can't remember. I also got 2, shown above, both from WA, one was called a Hootenanny and the other one didn't have a funny name so I can't remember, haha. Notice how I thought I was being smart and getting the names down on the ticket in the photo, neglecting to realize that it's completely obscured by the plate. Both of my oysters were fresh-tasting and I liked their mignonette (top left, next to the lemon) with the oyster the best.

Hello Loverrrrrrr

And here we are with the star of the show- the LOBSTER ROLL ($23.00). I had high expectations for Hank's version of a classic, and this did not disappoint. Huge chunks of lobster with just the right amount of mayo and other crunchy fillers (celery? onion? Not 100% sure), on a buttered split roll....yummmmmm. I got the roll with Old Bay fries, but you can substitute any of their sides (T got the collard greens). The fries were ok, not great, next time I get this I will try it with a different side. It might seem like a lot to spend on, well, a sandwich, but this isn't just any old sandwich my friends, it's fabulous, delicious & juicy, and I Love Love Love it. (Channelling my inner Teresa from RHoNJ).

Hank's does not offer dessert but will bring out a little dish of broken up chocolate for each table with the check. Clearly that didn't stop us from going to Mr. Yogato right around the corner from Hank's.

Domo arigato, Mr. Yogato

I got the original tart with fresh strawberries, and T got the chocolate-hazelnut with Cookie Crisps. I was way too full to finish all of mine but it was a great end to the meal! Works out really well that Hank's doesn't serve dessert, since you can walk 10 feet to Mr. Yogato, grab some froyo, and walk around Dupont. Definitely want to come back to Hank's again this summer for another Lobster Roll!

- Hank's Oyster Bar
1624 Q Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
202.462.4265 (No reservations; call ahead to put your name on the seating list)

- Mr. Yogato
1515 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036

Monday, July 6, 2009

Lunchtime Links for July 6th, 2009

DC Eats: Baked & Wired

After a fantastic 4th of July weekend, what was supposed to be a low-key Sunday turned into quite a sequence of good luck for me, woo! First off, I hit ZERO traffic driving down from NJ into MD, and got home around noon. I had received a postcard from Vineyard Vines a few days ago, redeemable at their store for free flip flops. I figured I might as well go, and hit ZERO traffic going into Georgetown, and then, magically, found a parking spot about 5 minutes in, right down the street from Georgetown Cupcake. I got the free sandals and some other stuff on sale, still amazed that I got these for free!
I was feeling pretty celebratory and decided to hit up Baked & Wired. I hadn't been here since the infamous Georgetown Cupcake Crawl (miss you B & K!), plus Georgetown Cupcake unfortunately doesn't have Strawberry on Sundays this month, which is what I wanted. I got a small iced skim mocha, which from now on shall be re-named OMFG the Best Iced Mocha Ever. It was seriously "BANANAS" as Rachel Zoe would say.
Well HELLO there.
As you can see, I couldn't exactly come all the way to Georgetown/Baked & Wired and NOT buy any of their baked goods.

Left to Right: Brownie Cookie, Strawberry Cupcake (in case you couldn't tell which was which just from looking at them...ha)

The Strawberry Cupcake ($3.50) was one of our favorite cupcakes from the previously mentioned Cupcake Crawl. The Brownie Cookie ($1.50) sounded interesting, and it was small enough to justify buying it too. Before you think, "Wow, you ate all that by yourself and then had dinner? Ew.", I wound up going to S & D's abode for dinner, so I brought these along as dessert for us to share.

The Strawberry Cupcake does not disappoint- it's got chunks of fresh strawberry in the vanilla cake, and a hefty coating of strawberry frosting with sprinkles on top. I also liked that the way they wrap these cupcakes makes it good for transport- didn't lose any of the frosting from it hitting the inside of the box. The Brownie Cookie was also v. good- a regular cookie base with chunks of brownies mixed in. Only complaint might be there was no textural difference between the brownie and the cookie, maybe if one component had walnuts or something it would be more interesting.

S says, "I thought that the brownie cookie was very good. It was moist, which is a very important factor for me and cookies, tasty and totally hit the spot. In regards to the cupcake, I thought that the strawberry frosting totally made the cupcake what it was. The frosting had a great texture, consistancy and had just the right hint of strawberry flavor."

I'm assuming D liked it since he snagged the last 1/4 of both the cupcake and the cookie.

Baked & Wired

1052 Thomas Jefferson St. NW

Washington, DC 20007


4th of July Weekend Redux

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend! I had a really fun weekend with some friends in Cherry Hill, NJ.

We had some great food courtesy of I & B:

A fantastic time tailgating and seeing the Phillies play the Mets on Saturday:

A weekend filled with good friends, wine, Catch Phrase, pool lounging, good food, and fun times all around.

Thanks again I & B for hosting!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

4th of July Weekend

"Celebrate the independence of your nation by blowing up a small part of it!" - The Simpsons

Hope everyone has a great 4th of July weekend! xoxo

Nutella Cake

I just passed out for a minute from seeing this Nutella Cake.

Shopping Deals: Bliss Gift with Purchase Online

From now through 07/06/2009, receive a Free bliss face value trial and travel skincare essentials set (try saying that 5 times fast) with any order of $50.00 or more. Enter code 079905 in your shopping bag.

I love Bliss stuff and this kit is really good for travel, but also for testing out some of their most popular products. You can use it for a week or two and decide if you want to get the full-sized one or not.

Oddly enough, this free gift is listed as a $45.00 value, but is on sale right now for $28.00. If you want a few of these kits for travelling or as travel-related gifts, I would personally recommend you buy one of these ($28.00) plus a bliss sinkside six-pack ($25.00). Then you'll get 2 trial and travel kits + 1 bliss sinkside kit = $53.00 (plus tax/shipping). Whenever there's a minimum dollar amount for the free gift, I usually look around to try to get it as close to the minimum amount as possible.

*Full disclosure: I am not affiliated with nor getting paid by Bliss for this plug. I like the store and I just got an e-mail about their sale, so I just thought I'd pass it on :-)

Baoguette Cafe Serves.. Otter?

A little chuckle for the day especially since we're all trapped in offices waiting for the long weekend...I came across this on the Eater site and thought it was pretty funny.

From Eater: "Please check out the "food porn" pictures on Baoguette Cafe's website. Yes those are otters. Apparently, instead of copying the images to their own server, the restaurant is using the image files that were on Serious Eats' site. SE saw, and changed it. Well played."

The Baoguette Cafe Menu

Surprise surprise, the Baoguette Cafe site is currently down.

Lunchtime Links for July 2nd, 2009

  • Conecakes, v. 2.0: Treats Truck conecakes, now with more frosting! I actually like this idea for home conecake baking also, good to know.

  • Food Network Hosts: Food Network Humor's Guide to the FN hosts, funny funny.
  • Daily Candy Giveaway: Daily Candy's 100-day giveaway.
  • TP Wedding Dress: WOW- ok if it hadn't said "Toilet Paper" I would've believed the winner was wearing a real dress.
  • BANANAS: Rachel Zoe (I'm weirdly obsessed with her show on Bravo, go figure) is launching a newsletter soon.

Food Review: Mentos Gum

Now with 30% more RED!

  • I Paid: ~$1.99 (with a coupon) for a 3-pack at Target. I bought these a while ago so I don't know for sure.
  • Description: Soft Center; Red Fruit, Lime; 15 Pieces; Artificially Flavored/Sugarfree Gum

I normally stick with Orbit gum (Citrusmint is my favorite) whenever I go out to buy gum, but I figured I'd try something new, especially if I can get it for $1.00 off with a coupon. I didn't have to waste any time pondering which flavor to get, as this was the only Mentos gum available at the Target I went to. Apparently for this review, I will be writing about Red Fruit (WTF?!?!) with a Lime Soft Center (.....ok again, WTF?!?!)

Before I tell you how it tastes, I have to indulge in a random thought (isn't that what this whole "blog" business is FOR?) Do you ever get like, food deja vu? It's like when you smell or eat something, and you can totally place it with something that happened a long time ago. It sounds sort of weird but if/when it happens, you'll know it, haha. Well, Mentos to me totally took me back to this day camp that I went to one summer when I was in elementary school. I was allowed to get one box/display pack of Mentos rolls to eat for the summer, although they never lasted that long. I'd trade them for different flavors that other kids brought into camp, and it was an all-around Mentomania festival those days. So, when I opened this tube of Mentos gum (more on that later) and shook out a few, I totally got like, a flashback to summer camp with all the Mentos I ate and traded with others. Weird, right??

Ok, back to the Mentos at hand. Remember that time I said I opened the tube of Mentos gum? Yeah, like 10 seconds ago? (slightly altered Family Guy/Timeshare boat reference, anyone catch that?) I swear to you, if we want to have real child-proof, adult-proof, everyone-proof bottles, all drugs should come in these Mentos gum tubes. It was the kind where you pull off a tab from the side and then pop open (much like a plastic milk jug), but I had a really hard time opening this. I had to resort to jamming a scissor blade across the tab in order to get enough off to pull on. Maybe it was a fluke and/or I'm an idiot? When I open the 2nd and 3rd tubes I will find out.

The Mentos gum looks like squared off, smaller, thicker versions of regular Mentos- like as if someone tried to make Mentos from scratch and couldn't quite get the shape right. Allegedly there is a lime "goo" center but as you can see from the piece above, it's either non-existant or off-center and I just didn't get it with my bite. It's like a Chiclet in terms of texture- hard shell outside, chewy gum inside. The elusive "Red" fruit flavor doesn't last very long, which might be why they give you a handful of them in a tube- so you can chew multiple pieces without unwrapping each one, like regular gum. Not to mention- Hi, what is the actual FRUIT being used aside from being RED?! Off the top of my head I think of Strawberries, Red apples, Watermelon, and Tomatoes- turns out I got 1 right- the only fruit juices listed are from Lemon, Strawberry, Raspberry, and Blackcurrant... ok only 2 of these are even RED!!!

Final verdict? Thanks, but no thanks. It tasted like sugary fruit syrup one minute, and then bland wads of boring after about 5 minutes. The tubes are cute- I might reuse them to keep other candy in for easy transport in my purse. Now, if I brought these into summer camp? That would be a different story- I'd totally make bank trading on these brightly colored, allegedly goo-filled Mentos balls. Alas, alas.

Product Review: Soap & Glory Spa Sugar Crush Body Scrub

Mmm, yummy

  • I Paid: NADA! I got this for free, courtesy of an online magazine contest. (Retail price online is $16.99 at Target)
  • Description: With smashed brown sugar and sweet lime, almond oil and macadamia nuts

As most of you know, I enter a LOT of online contests. Hey, you can't win if you don't enter, so I might as well, right? Fortunately for me, I have actually won a good number of these said contests, which is a fun little surprise in the mail. By the time I've won something, I've usually forgotten all about the contest.

Soap & Glory may look familiar to those of you that peruse the toiletries section at Target- it's a cosmetics/toiletries brand founded by the founder of Bliss spa products. I love Bliss products and spas, and it's easy to see the similarities (yummy scents, fun names, a variety of targeted trouble spot solutions) between Bliss and Soap & Glory. Soap & Glory is more affordable and more accessible in general, being that it is sold in Targets in the US. That being said, I have never bought any of the Soap & Glory products before, so it was nice to receive one for free to try out myself.

First off, this tub is HUGE. A hefty 15.2oz tub of body scrub; this will last a loooonnnnnng time, haha. I liked that it had a thin plastic resealable inner seal- I don't like the paper/foil seals that a lot of body scrubs have, especially if you are opening it while you are actually IN the shower. Texture-wise, it was definitely thicker, and goopier than any other body scrub I've used. Instead of it being only grainy, it was more like a thick honey with stuff inside it. Not better or worse, just different. The smell was like a lime creme brulee, or a warm brown sugar scent with some limeade on the side, so to speak. It smelled really awesome, but wasn't overwhelming which was good for me. I used it on my hands and feet, and both my hands and feet were left smelling great and felt much softer as well.

Final verdict? Definitely a fun freebie to get in the mail- an extra bonus is that I'm actually going to use it! I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a body scrub to try out- it's widely available and not too expensive, especially for the big tub that you get. A great summertime home pedicure staple!

Movie "Review": The Hangover

"I paid $10.50 and all I got was a Hangover" ...har har har

This isn't really so much of a critical/in-depth movie review, since you can find that in just about 23984793843987 other posts online. More like my 2 cents on this movie, if you will.

I was looking forward to seeing The Hangover, since I had heard really good things about it from friends and online reviews. It looked like a fun, amusing, classic Todd Phillips film (Old School, Road Trip, etc.) so I figured it couldn't be TOO bad, haha.

The +

- Funny, funny, movie.

- I love, love, love, Vegas!

- Bradley Cooper looks HOTTTTTT in this movie, big change from anything else I've seen him in yet.

- Todd Phillips cameo sighting (in the elevator of Ceasar's Palace when they go out at the beginning of the night). He's previously been in Old School ("I'm here for the gangbang") and Road Trip (Foot Fetish Guy on the bus).

- Ed Helms, aka Andy on The Office, sings - I like when he sings on The Office, I'll prob like him when he sings elsewhere.

The -

- Some good lines, but not nearly as many memorable ones as other similar "funny guy" movies, like Anchorman, Old School, etc.

- The girl/fiance was pretty, but at times looked like a poor man's Megan Fox that they were trying to make you believe WAS Megan Fox who was trying to be Angelina Jolie. Not that this has anything to do with the movie, but I noticed it.

- I thought Doug/fiance was pretty cute in the beginning, too bad he was in about .0000000038% of the movie. (However, more than balanced out by Bradley Cooper's hotness- See above.)

- Was definitely a stereotypical list of what "happens" in Vegas, at least in the movies. Nothing really too surprising for the most part.

- Extreme plot gaps always sort of bother me. For example, the guys were spending 1 night in Vegas, yet somehow they manage to go in and out of their Villa for the entire duration of the movie, which is a whole weekend, not just 1 night. Not to mention no one at the hotel, housekeeping or otherwise, seems to have noticed the disaster that becomes their Villa....huh? When I've been in Vegas you were lucky if Housekeeping didn't bust in at 9am, and even a "late checkout" was 11am! Hmph.

Lest I sound TOO critical- I did enjoy the movie (I swear). Would I see it again? Definitely. Would I buy it on DVD? Probably not.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Lunchtime Links for July 1st, 2009

Happy first day of July, everyone!

Love, Love, Love: J.Crew triple-strand patent leather belt

During my weekend back in NJ, I was able to get some shopping in, which is always fun- and somewhat expected, given the number of malls NJ has, haha. I got this J.Crew triple-strand patent leather belt (in black, as shown), because I've been getting more "into" belts these days. I know that wearing belts over dresses and other blouse-y items is nothing new, but it is to my wardrobe, so bear with me.

This belt is great!! First of all, this belt (plus many similar skinny belts) were all on sale for $19.99. Second, it's got a little something different with the triple-strands that I think makes it more interesting than a plain leather belt. I've been wearing this over dresses for work, and could see wearing it over an unbuttoned cardigan later in the fall. If I can get to another J.Crew soon, I am definitely going to look more at what other colors are available, because I see this as a surefire "staple" accessory for anyone.