Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
- The Hills: It's back tonight! And super expensive apparently, haha.
- "Mmm..Open-faced Club Sand Wedge (Simpsons)": Club Sandwich Recipe from Serious Eats.
- Fancy-pants Donuts: Some of the top "fancy" donuts in NYC, yum.
- Dear Food Network: aka Dear Food Network Humor.
- Foodzie: Cute, tasty-looking treats from small food producers/artisans.
- Gossip Girl: Daily Intel Reality Index from last night's episode!
I Paid: $5.00 for both (2/$6.00 on sale, + $1.00 off coupon, at Giant)
Description: Halloween Oreo, 5 Boo-rific shapes, Same great taste; Peanut Butter Oreo
Monday, September 28, 2009
Daily Intel's Commentor Reality Index of last week's Gossip Girl.
Friday, September 25, 2009
A while back, I was with S at Williams-Sonoma because she needed to buy a wedding gift. One of the items she bought was a set of these All-Clad measuring cups. From the moment I saw these measuring cups, I was totally in LOVE. They're cups shaped like mini All-Clad stock pots!!!!!! Tiny little pots!!! SO cute.
These cups and spoons are sturdy little things, and from what I've heard/seen online, they will last a long time if handled and used properly. I like how the 1-cup measure also has marks inside for other smaller measurements, which is handy. I've also read online about how some people have used the cups straight on a burner, for melting things, like chocolate or butter.
I decided to get the measuring spoons as well so I can have a full set- plus, buying them as a set meant a better deal ($39 total vs. $30 for just the cups/$16 for just the spoons). Overall I know these are not CHEAP, considering that plastic measuring cups and spoons can go for under $10 at most stores, but I like how these are sturdy, look nice, can be used on a burner, and I don't have to worry about them bending or melting weird like some measuring cups I've had in the past. LOVE!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
The Cheap JAP blog encompasses smart shopping, but with 298374982374923749823749832 times more intensity than what I've been doing in terms of clothes shopping. I love her overall style and attention to detail when it comes to purchasing clothing. This isn't just a blog about thrift store shopping- it has tons of great tips and advice on making every purchase worthwhile and fun! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it.
I'm a huuuuuuuuuge fan of Nutella, ever since I was little and would eat it on toast for breakfast (which probably isn't the greatest idea for kids, in retrospect, oh well). I've heard about how the US Nutella (made in Canada) is different from the real European Nutella- various online sources say that the Italian Nutella has more hazelnuts, less sugar, and less or no hydrogenated oils, compared to the US version. I never could find the glass jar version- UNTIL NOW, at the lovely Italian Store in Arlington, VA.
At $4.99 for the small glass jar, it's definitely not a cheap everyday item, but Nutella's the type of stuff that you probably shouldn't be eating every day to begin with, as much as we'd all like to, haha. The consistency of the Italian Nutella is v. soft and creamy, and there was no oil separation on top like I have seen before with the US Nutella. It's great on toasted bread, fruit, cookies, pretty much anything you'd want to put chocolate on. Plus, from reading up on this version online, the glass jar is also a great drinking glass after you've eaten all the Nutella!
Even if Kanye has a really obnoxious public persona, it definitely seems like it'll be a killer show, with the two of them together.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
More details from Washingtonian Magazine here.
- I Paid: $2.00 (with a coupon at Giant)
- Description: Crackerfuls Four Cheese. Made with Real Cheese & 5g Whole Grain per serving.
I bought these for a few reasons: a) I had a coupon; b) They are new; c) I wanted a non-granola bar option to keep in my office at work.
This product seems to be marketed towards a more mature/healthy option-seeking snacking audience, based on the packaging and presentation. Each of the cracker sandwiches are enclosed in their own paper sleeve to keep them from crumbling. Didn't work out so well though, because the one I opened had already been cracked on both ends. Well, it was worth a try, Ritz. According to the scary long list of ingredients, the 4 cheeses are: Cream Cheese, Parmesean Cheese, Mozzerella Cheese, and Cheddar Cheese. I guess I have to believe it, since the cheese is more like a cheese spread that doesn't really taste like the classy melding of four artisan cheeses like the box photo would have you think- haha.
I won't beat around the bush on this one- Upon my first bite I literally thought to myself "OMG it's that thing with the red stick". These cracker sandwiches taste EXACTLY like Handi-Snacks. Yes, Handi-Snacks, as in the cracker and "cheese" dip combo pack that came with the thin red schmearing wand from when we were little. This fancypants packaging cannot disguise that what you've made is literally an adult Handi-Snack!!
That being said, this Crackerful wasn't all that bad. It's portion controlled, the cracker itself is tasty for a whole-grain version, and it's office-cabinet-storage-friendly. It's a good mid-day snack option that beats paying for overpriced vending machine snacks, for sure. Also, if you're a fan of reliving childhood lunch snack items like the Handi-Snacks, this will be right up your alley, although sans red wand.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Since today is the first day of fall, here are some links/random things to get us all in the spirit:
- Try out Georgetown Cupcake's Fall flavors: Caramel Apple and Cinnamon (September); Chocolate Orange and Pumpkin Spice (October).
- Tailgate/Game-day recipes from Food Network.
- Halloween/Fall foods and tools from Williams-Sonoma.
- Ann Taylor Loft showcases some cute fall-centric outfits. Is it bad that I have about 99% of these pieces already?
- Fall = Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte!
Um, in case you have been living under a rock, let it be known that I loooooooooooooooooooove Georgetown Cupcake. I could eat it every day if it weren't for the horrific consequences that would result from doing that. For now, I'll live with going there anytime someone visits DC for the weekend :0)
We went on the Saturday afternoon of B's visit, and I got the Caramel Apple Cupcake. It's one of the specialty flavors for September, along with Cinnamon (these two are offered on different days). Normally I would just get my usual Red Velvet, but I figured I'd try this one since it was a limited offering. I got this once last year, pre-blog, so I figured it was a good chance to "officially" review it.
There's no specific description anywhere that I could find, but it seemed to be an apple spice cake base with a squirt of caramel in the middle, their signature cream cheese-based frosting, and more caramel squiggled on top.
The cupcake is v... well, in-your-face-FALL. I'm usually not a fan of spice-based cakes, but this was good (probably also due to its relatively small size). It was moist and didn't have a lot of "stuff" in it, which I liked. It's got a strong caramel flavor thanks to the top squiggle and the inner caramel. But, the overall flavor is toned down a little bit thanks to the somewhat neutral cream cheese frosting. It would go great with a skim latte or even a mug of warm milk, to balance out the sweetness of this cupcake.
Final verdict? I wouldn't get this cupcake all the time (I'll always be devoted to the Red Velvet as my #1) but it was a tasty September treat and I'm glad I got a chance to try it while it was available.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
During B's excellent adventure slash weekend visit to DC, one of the places we went to was Founding Farmers for brunch. It was my first time going there, and based on what I had heard from S, it's great food in a cool setting, so I was excited to try it out. We sat upstairs in a nice booth, and I really liked the decor and overall feel of the place. It was light, open, and had little touches that made it interesting. I particularly liked the white bird-shaped lamps that were hung above a communal table, v. cute.
For drinks, we each got something different- Cocktail of the Day (sweet and fizzy), Cranberry Cucumber Cooler (heavy on the cucumber, refreshing), Mint Limeade (Mojito-esque), and the Blood Orange Soda (a little tart, delicious). We ordered the cornbread (above) to share, and it was v. tasty, with a sweet honey butter on the side. I'm a fan of the presentation, plus baking it in the cast-iron skillet ensures crispy buttery edges, which is a big plus.
After hemming and hawwing over the breakfast and lunch menus, I finally went for the Prime Rib sandwich. Quite a rich choice, but so so so so worth it. The meat was tender, the ciabatta bread held up even after being dunked in the jus, and overall a fantastic sandwich. The only weird thing is the amount of fries- it almost seemed like someone threw some leftovers on the plate at the last minute. It was pretty unnecessary considering the size of the sandwich, but the amount of fries was sort of this weird "not enough to count as a side dish" ratio.
B got the Crab & Lobster hash above, which looked like a stuffed breakfast pancake. I tried a bite of it and thought it was good, but I imagine eating an entire skillet's worth of this might get a little much after a while.
D had the shrimp roll with chips, I am assuming he liked it since he ate it all. Considering he forgets on a daily basis that I'm even blogging about this to begin with, I don't think he'd have much more to say other than that he liked it enough to finish it, haha.
S ordered the above Crab & Lobster Hash, and was kind enough to provide some feedback on her meal. Take it away, S!:
"I really love the atmosphere at FFs. It's comfortable and homey, yet very modern. I've been to FF many times, and have always found the food to be excellent! The cornbread was delicious - sweet and tasty, especially with the honey butter. My hash was good - but not great. The flavors were very nice, but I felt that it needed something extra. The english muffin was so delicious that I could have eaten more than just mine. It was warm, soft and had a perfect texture."
Overall we had a great meal and there were no noticable Whammys among our choices, aside from B and S's "good not great" notes about the hash. I can't wait to try this place again!
1924 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006
Reservations available on Open Table
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Cobb salad is one of my favorite dishes, and this CHOW recipe for a Cobb Salad dip sounded right up my alley. I decided to add chopped tomatoes to the recipe for some extra color, but otherwise I followed it as is.
I was a little annoyed at the idea of buying a pack of bacon just for this recipe- I like bacon, but I don't really eat full breakfasts at home, so it would essentially go to waste after I made this. I got a really helpful tip from an unlikely source- a vegetarian co-worker, haha. He suggested that I go to the salad bar at a supermarket and buy cooked/crumbled bacon from there, rather than buying a pack of bacon just for this. Perfect! I also noticed that they had blue cheese and a variety of other toppings also- good to know for any future recipes that require just a little bit of something I don't often use.
I brought this over to S & K's for the Steelers opening game party, and unfortunately the transit time affected this dip a little. The dip got a little runny by the time I brought it over- the taste wasn't affected, but the blue cheese/sour cream sorta mixed too much by that point, I guess. Overall though I like the flavors and it's definitely something new- it really does taste like Cobb salad, in dip form. Good for parties or football games for sure.
A was nice enough to send me a copy of Martha Stewart Cupcakes for my birthday, and I was excited to try out a recipe from there. These cheesecakes looked easy and tasty- I think I was definitely looking for an excuse to buy a package of Oreo's anyway, haha. As you can see from the photo above, it really doesn't require too many ingredients, which is a plus.
You can find the recipe online if you Google Martha Stewart Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes, since I am too lazy to transcribe it all here. It's a straightforward recipe and probably the only thing you'd have to think ahead for is if something needs to be at room temperature before adding it.
These turned out really cute- if you use a light-colored paper liner you can see the full Oreo on the bottom. Or, if you wanted to remove the paper liners, they could look like mini cakes topped with Oreos which is also cute. I think they were a little salty so I may add less salt next time. Otherwise, an easy and yummy recipe for portion-controlled cheesecakes!
Thanks A for a fabulous birthday present!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I've wanted to try Art & Soul restaurant for a while now, but being lazy about it slash it being in the middle of nowhere for me prevented me from getting there earlier. T and I were finally able to try it out, on the tail end of their extended Restaurant Week.
Started off with some fun, summery drinks. The Strawberry Blonde was strong, but not overpowering. I especially liked how the ice was the "slushee" consistency, and not huge ice cubes.
Grilled Shrimp Appetizer: succotash, chili limon sauce
I picked the Grilled Shrimp Appetizer from the RW menu, and I loved it! The shrimp were perfectly cooked, and the chili limon sauce was spicy and delicious. I would definitely like to recreate this meal sometime, lots of flavors that I really enjoyed.
I chose the Chicken from the RW menu from my entree. I would have really liked to order Fried Chicken- mainly because Art Smith made some amazing looking fried chicken on Top Chef Masters - but unfortunately that wasn't a RW option. The chicken was flavorful, but I think the star might have been the goat cheese biscuit- so good! It was definitely a large serving- probably enough for 2 even.
These fried green tomatoes aren't part of the RW menu, but well worth the extra money. Crispy, hot, and delicious! This was my first time trying fried green tomatoes, and I'm glad we got them.
And finally, the last item, dessert. This cheesecake was more like a mousse, not heavy at all, but still a full chocolate flavor. I was way too full to really enjoy this dessert but it was a nice sweet ending to a great meal.
Overall, I really liked the food here and I am excited to try it again even outside of Restaurant Week. The only "weird" thing I can say about this place is that the decor just doesn't seem to match the food, in my opinion. It's a bright red, modern dining room- and while the food is also refined, I expected more of a warm, comforting style that parallels the "Southern Comfort" vibe of the menu. I have heard good things about their brunch offerings so maybe then I can try the fried chicken :o) Also, for anyone with a dog, they are welcome to dine with you out on the patio - there's even a special doggie menu available!
415 New Jersey Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001
Monday, September 14, 2009
- Haus of Gaga: Her crazy looks from last night's VMAs.
- VMAs: More VMAs moments.
- Jaws Wired Shut: Probably one of my worst nightmares.
- Victoria Beckham: Looooooove her.
The cast of Family Guy will be on Inside the Actors Studio tonight at 8pm on Bravo.
GOSSIP GIRL is back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Third season premiere airs tonight at 9pm on CW.
Third, an all-new episode of The Rachel Zoe Project airs tonight at 10pm on Bravo.
Friday, September 11, 2009
- Chicago Custard: Some mmmmmmmm-worthy photos to brighten your day.
- Honey Chipotle Butter: Easy and delicious-sounding.
- Flipping Out: Recap from this past Tuesday's episode.
- NY Fashion Week: Celebrity photos from People magazine.
- "Ripert premieres 'Avec Eric', Almost Kills Martha Stewart": A fabulous post title if I ever saw one.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
- Shake Shack #4: More the merrier, in my opinion.
- Goat Cheese Bread Pudding: Sounds sorta bizarre, but also delicious.
- MTV VMA's: Past moments from People magazine. The 2009 one is this Sunday.
- Top Chef Carla: Football in Foodie terms, cute.
- DC's Fall Openings: A look at some new restaurants slated to open this fall.
Also, Happy Birthday to B today, who shares my love for Simpsons/Family Guy, yummy foods like cupcakes, and is an all-around FUN FABULOUS FRIEND!
When you walk in, you'll see the requisite "bar that's also the hotel lobby" space that every W Hotel I've been to has. There was a DJ spinning at the far end of the lobby, and a good number of people meeting up and chatting in the area.
If you walk down to the end of the lobby, and take the spiral staircase down, you'll find the Bliss spa. I'm a huge fan of the brand, and although their spa store had a limited selection, it's fun knowing that the closest Bliss outpost isn't in NYC anymore.
To get to the POV Bar/rooftop area, you take an elevator that is guarded by strict but courteous W employees. Apparently it can get REALLY crowded with long waits- they keep a tight leash on occupancy on the rooftop so that people aren't packed like sardines, which is nice. If you have reserved a table, they require a certain number of people to be there before they will let you up - at least, that's what happened with us that night.
As you can see above, the view from the POV rooftop is awesome. On a nice night you can see clear out to pretty much every monument and building in downtown DC. Lots of photo ops for sure, and very pretty if you're there for the sunset.
Specialty drinks are fun, and pricey ($15 for house specials). I LOVED the Strawberry Lemonade cocktail that they have there. Nothing mind-blowing but a fun drink to go along with the atmosphere. It might sound dumb, but you're really paying for the view, the atmosphere, and for being at a W Hotel more than anything else. $15 for a drink is definitely cause for some sticker shock, but if you're there for a special occasion or something a little different from the happy hour down the street, I think you'll really enjoy it. Also, it's probably a strategic move on the W's part- with these high prices, they don't have people taking up tables for hours on end, getting wasted off their butts because it's $1 draft night, haha. It's more of a "let's get a drink and catch up" place really, for me at least.
I didn't try any of the food that others ordered but it looked like mostly tapas items on the menu. I would recommend this place for a special occasion or if you're trying to impress someone with the view (visitors, hot date, etc.).
(Photos courtesy of P- thanks! And Happy Birthday Again!)
515 15th Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
B and I went at around 7pm on Friday, and the place was packed, with even more people filing in and out to put their names down on the list to be seated. It was a nice day out though so it wasn't really an issue. If it's raining or cold, I suggest grabbing some coffee next door at Le Pain Quotidien and checking on your table every so often from there.
We got a table that was 1/2 inside and 1/2 outside, which was actually pretty nice. I liked that they have the "enclosed" outdoor section for 2 reasons: 1) more tables are available and 2) you can enjoy the nice weather while you're eating.
Pizza di Mare: Tomato, Mussels, Garlic, Parsley, Parmesean.
I got the Margherita pizza above- great flavor, classic combination, pretty hard to mess up, to be honest, haha. It might seem like there's only tomatoes on one 1/2 of the pizza, but the other tomatoes were just hiding under the cheese, so there was an even distribution. The crust was a little undercooked/doughy for me, but still good. I liked the crust better when I re-baked my leftovers in the toaster oven the next day. B liked his mussels pizza, and/or was really hungry to begin with, but he said it was good, haha.
With a bottle of red wine, this was a tasty and not too pricey dinner out in Dupont. Definitely filling- I brought 1/2 of my pizza home and the leftovers were great. The place wasn't huge, and if you're a large group I'd recommend avoiding prime dinner hours cus you will probably be waiting a while. Highly recommended for a casual (but nicer than Jumbo Slice, ha) night out in Dupont!
Pizzeria Paradiso- Dupont Circle
2003 P Street NW
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
- Dangerously Delicious: UK's biscuits are tested for risk levels. I can say they're all delicious, btw.
- Freezing Foods: I do this, but not nearly as extensively as this article...will def use these tips.
- Troy!: Doing good deeds and showing off his mane, haha.
- Mini Maple Pancake Muffins: SOOO cute.
- A Day Without Cats: Haaaaaaaaaa.
Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to D, who unfortunately didn't make the cut for why today is such a significant day.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Since I already have sandwich bread at home, I decided I'd try something different out. And hi, what could be more "different" than a bulbous crown-shaped bread that has a crackling rice flour shell on top, that's called MARCO POLO bread?!
Once I got home, I cut a small wedge of the bread and tried a few bites plain, then with the peanut butter I also bought. The crackly rice flour crust (or at least that's what I think the label said it was) doesn't taste much like anything, but provides an interesting texture that is different from a normal bread crust. The bread innards were fluffy but chewy, a nice neutral base for the peanut butter. I cut up the rest of the bread, wrapped them in plastic wrap, and froze them in a Ziploc bag. So far, so good. They defrost well and I haven't had problems with staleness yet.
Final verdict? An interesting bread to look at, but if you're expecting it to taste different/better than regular bread, you may be slightly disappointed. I've heard issues of the bread going stale pretty quickly, especially with the already crunchy crust, so I would recommend the storage method I wrote about above if you don't plan on serving it to a large family or at a party the day you buy it. I like this bread, it would go great with soup, mussels, stew, basically anything that could be sopped up with large chunks of this bread. If you're interested in trying it, I'd recommend getting the mini version, like I did- it comes in Mini and Regular sizes. The Mini was $2.75, not sure how much the Regular version is.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
- Secret Menus: Some not-so-known menu options for fast food places.
- Flipping Out: Recap of last week's episode from TVGasm.
- Target Red Hot Shop: Cute shower curtain, plus some other unique items.
- Eat Like A Critic: Frank Bruni's methods for choosing what to eat.
$2.79 for a yummy natural pb! Ingredients: Peanuts! Woo!
Plus, the bakery cookies are deeeeeelicious (got chocolate chip and swiss chocolate cookies on my visit), free samples are a plenty around the store, there's a seafood and regular bar/counter seating for "real" dining plus the food court area with comfy couches, and sooooooo much more. Sighhhhhhhhhhhhh. Can't wait to go back again soon!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
The Frappuccino is more or less what I expected, based on my experiences with the latte version. The flavors are very strong and hit you right away. If you're like me and like pumpkin pie flavored ice cream, or cold slices of pumpkin pie straight from the fridge, then you will not be fazed by the pumpkin punch to the nostrils.
What did faze me, however, was the redic amounts of nutmeg (slash pumpkin pie spice?) that was flung onto the top of my no-whip version. It literally covered the entire top of my Frappuccino with a thick crust of powder. Not so fun to look at or try to drink around. I'd recommend getting it without that topping.
Whatever size you get, it will probably be too much after a while (unless you're the pumpkin pie version of the Hamburgler or something). It's pretty cloying and sweet, good for the first 10 or so sips but then might get a little excessive after that. I'm glad I tried the Frappuccino version though, it was a much better choice than getting the hot latte version, especially since it's in the 80's today. If you like pumpkin pie flavored cold things, give it a try!
- Whitney Port: Whitney will be showing her new fashion line at Fashion Week this year.
- General Mills: Bakerella's photographed tour of General Mills.. looks like so much fun!
- Awww: Cute puppy pic.
- Food Network Safety Cards: Courtesy of Food Network Humor.
- Top Chef Vegas: TVGasm recap of last week's episode.
If you read the recipe and then look at the faux mise en place above, you'll notice that there are a few changes that I made. First, I had bought chicken thighs from Wegmans this past weekend and used those instead of buying a premade rotisserie chicken. I just grilled the chicken on a cast iron grill pan with some salt and pepper, then shredded it as instructed in the recipe. Also, instead of the "sambal oelek or chile paste with garlic", I used Gojuchang, a Korean chile paste, since that's what I had. Finally, no green onions not a huge fan of them; besides, it's just a garnish.
This was a pretty easy recipe, and I'm sure it'd be even easier if you had a cooked rotisserie chicken on hand, haha. I liked this dish a lot, it was pretty quick from start to finish, and the sauce is very tasty. It's a great dish for a hot day like the past couple days have been. I've brought in leftovers for lunch, and the only complaint is the cucumbers soaking in too much of the sauce after a day or two. I'd recommend keeping the cucumbers separate if the texture of the cucumbers bothers you. The sauce isn't spicy- if you want it to be, I recommend a little Sriracha sauce or red pepper flakes in the dish.