Monday, May 31, 2010

Lunchtime Links for May 31st, 2010

Pitango Gelato: Quince Sorbet


I haven't had a chance to make it over to Pitango Gelato in DC yet, but I'm lucky enough to have them come to me- well, at least to the Bethesda Farmers Market on Sundays, haha.  I wasn't planning on buying any gelato, but after tasting a few samples, I picked up a container of the Local Pennsylvania Quince to take home.  

I actually didn't know what Quince was, besides vaguely thinking it was like a pear.  If you're like me, then here's some more info about the Quince in case you are curious.  This sorbet is super refreshing, a little sweet, a little tart- super delicious!   It's definitely a unique flavor that I wouldn't have thought to try, but I'm really glad I did- or rather, I'm glad the Pitango seller offered it to me, haha.  If you get a chance to a) try Pitango; and/or b) try Quince sorbet, definitely give it a shot!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Lunchtime Links for May 28th, 2010

Japanarama Review: Veggie-Fruit Juice Kit Kat


This Kit Kat definitely falls into the "WTF" category for a snack, that's for sure.  This one is based on a veggie-fruit juice made by Ito En in Japan.  Pretty much like a V-8, but based on carrots and apples vs. tomato juice.  

The good thing about all these Japan-only flavored Kit Kats is that they're relatively small (smaller than Kit Kats here at least), so when one's a Miss, I don't feel so bad about not finishing it.  You can probably tell where this review is going...

Bleecccchhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  I knew it was a bad sign when the Kit Kats smelled like fruit-flavored cough syrup mixed with white chocolate.  Then I ate a bite, and it was just soooooooooooooooooooooooo bad, haha.  It's not even that I don't like veggie juices (granted, I don't LOVE them)- I've had this Japanese veggie juice before, and it's really not half bad.  This Kit Kat, however, definitely falls into the "try it ONCE" file for me.   And now that I have, I don't feel so bad that I threw out the remaining 3/4 of this container, haha.  Not that the majority of you would come across this particular Kit Kat, but if so- STAY AWAY! :o)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lunchtime Links for May 27th, 2010

Frosting Cupcakery - Chevy Chase, MD


REDiculous + Cookie MOMster

I had heard about Frosting from a while back, but didn't really hear too much about it being open until late April/early May.  I was in the area earlier in May and figured I'd go check it out. 

The store is tucked away in the newer section of Friendship Heights, along with a few restaurants, ice cream shops, and retail shops.  They are easy to get to from the metro, and the strorefront is really cute and easy to spot.  I really liked the interior of the store- it was v. welcoming and had cute little details throughout. 

I picked up the REDiculous and Cookie MOMster cupcakes, which are described on their site as: "REDiculous: red velvet bottom with vanilla cream cheese buttercream top", and "Cookie MOMster: chocolate bottom with almond Oreo buttercream top".  

First, the good: both of the cupcakes were a good size (not too small, not too big), with what I thought was a good frosting-to-cake ratio.   I liked both of the cakes, they were rich and yummy, pretty much what you'd hope for from a decent cupcake.

And now, the not-so-good:  You might notice from the photo that both cupcakes had crumbs on top - the REDiculous had crumbled red velvet cake, and the MOMster had Oreo cookie crumbles.  This is cute, in theory, but not so much in execution.  The red velvet cake crumbles especially were not good, because they had hardened and tasted like stale cake, pretty much.  I mean maybe right when they were made it would've been cool to have some extra cake on top of the frosting, but this was pretty off-putting in terms of texture for me.  Also, this is obviously a personal thing, but I REALLY don't like almond/almond paste in foods, and I didn't realize that the MOMster frosting contained almond flavor until I ate it.   Obviously since I don't like that, it was pretty much a guarantee that I wouldn't like the frosting on the MOMster, haha.  

Besides the not-so-good, I think it's a super-cute store and has a lot to offer in the Friendship Heights area.  They had a good coffee/drinks menu too which I'm sure is great for all of the people that live around there.  I wouldn't mind trying a few more of their cupcake options, but it won't be replacing Georgetown Cupcake in my heart anytime soon :o)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lunchtime Links for May 26th, 2010

Japanarama: Kinako Kit Kats

These Kinako Kit Kats are the last of the trio that I got from my dad earlier this year, and has quickly become one of my favorite Kit Kat flavors.  Granted, I like Kinako (soybean flour) to begin with, but I think that even someone not familiar with it would like this also. 


Kinako is sort of difficult to describe, but I think a "peanut butter-ish" smell/taste is the closest I can think of.  Kinako by itself is not sweet, but usually for desserts and sweets it is mixed with sugar before being used.  The nuttiness of the Kinako lends itself really well to the chocolate base, and on the whole it's not sweet but still satisfying for a little snack.  Not surprisingly, this Kit Kat goes really well with hot green tea, haha.  

Kinako is still a relatively unknown item outside of Japan/Japanese markets, but hopefully one day it'll become more widespread and as common as green tea - these Kit Kats are great!  

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lunchtime Links for May 25th, 2010

Japanarama: Soy Sauce Kit Kats

A v. delayed review of these Japanese Kit Kats, sorry!  But chances are none of you were waiting with baited breath anyway, so let's move on, shall we? :o)

These Kit Kats definitely fall into the "Only In Japan" category, both in terms of availability and the willingness of people to actually buy and try them, haha.  Like I said about the Japanese Kit Kats before, the majority of the limited edition flavors are based moreso on how unique it would be, especially to give someone as a gift.  I mean really, soy sauce?  Yeah that stuff you dip your sushi into?  Who would've thunken?

When I opened up one of these small packets, I was hit with a strong soy sauce smell (surprise!) mixed with the generic chocolate Kit Kat smell.  It was definitely "interesting" to say the least.  However, once I bit into the Kit Kat, the soy sauce taste was less evident than what I expected.  It tasted more like a salt-based chocolate; if you've had chocolate with sea salt, you know what it's like.  I think if you were unaware that this was a Soy Sauce flavor beforehand, you wouldn't exactly be able to pinpoint that that was the flavor.  

That being said, I'm not exactly tearing through these packets like I did with the Matcha and Strawberry Milk flavors, and I probably won't be running to get these again anytime soon.  However, I'm happy to have had a chance to try them, especially since they aren't available as a permanent flavor.  If anyone else wants to try them (and you live near me slash I'll see you at some point) let me know, I have plenty left over, haha.  

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lunchtime Links for May 24th, 2010

Japanarama: Rilakkuma Strawberry Milk Kit Kats


I was super excited to get so many Kit Kats from Japan, especially this one because it's so damn cute.  Rilakkuma is probably my favorite mascot/character from Japan, and they use him on just about everything, seriously.  Obviously the marketing works, because I'm sure that my dad wouldn't have necessarily bought this box if it didn't have his face all over it, haha.  


Opened up 
The Kit Kats themselves come packed up in two rows (12/box), each with a super cute pink and strawberry theme, with a big Rilakkuma face on the front, haha.  As you can see these Kit Kats are much smaller than what you might be used to in the US- it's probably about 2/3 the length of a US Kit Kat.  The package itself smells like strawberries, but you get more of a white chocolate smell once you open up the individual packet.  It's a v. girly light pink shade, with a strong strawberries and cream-type taste.  I really enjoy these Kit Kats, and have been saving the last few that I have remaining, haha.  They're a perfect little snack when you want something sweet but not necessarily chocolate. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sweetlife Festival - April 24th, 2010

On April 24th, N and I went to the Sweetgreen Sweetlife festival, which was held all afternoon/night in Dupont Circle.  I "won" a chance to get advanced VIP passes (above) which included a coupon redeemable for a free Sweetgreen Salad Blaster bowl, woo!  I say I "won" these because the tickets were all sold as donations, so it wasn't like they cost a specific amount to begin with.

We got there pretty much right at the beginning of the festival, and there were a few clumps of people wandering around the different stands.  We got a t-shirt with a suggested donation right at the door, and headed into the festival.  The weather was pretty grey and chilly, but we made the best of it and made the rounds to the different stands.

The best two stands were the Honest Tea and Living Social stands for sure- Honest Tea gave away free bottles of tea, and Living Social had a carnival-type game (throwing bean bags into different holes on a board) for account credits towards your next Living Social coupon purchase.  I was pretty horrible at the game and got only $2, but it came in handy with my later coupon purchase, haha.

Sweetflow Mobile

Mini with almonds and strawberries

There were also a few local businesses, a Sweetgreen stand selling sandwiches, and the Sweetflow truck was there.  I got the mini size (yeah, that's the mini, haha) with almonds and strawberries- love that combo!

Unfortunately the bigger music acts weren't scheduled to come on until later that day/night, and we weren't planning on staying that long to begin with due to other plans.  I think the idea of a block party like this is great, but I did think it was a little odd- and yes I know this is also me being cheap- that they were charging for Sweetgreen food/frozen yogurt at their own event.  I mean Honest Tea was handing out free bottles, and I heard that they gave out Sweetflow frozen yogurt at the event last year, so that was a little confusing to me.  Regardless, it looks like there was a great turnout as the day went on and more people started to show up, and I hope Sweetgreen does more fun events like this (when the weather's cooperating, haha).

Lunchtime Links for May 21st, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lunchtime Links for May 20th, 2010

Honest Tea - Peach Oo-La-Long


A huge "Thank you!" to Honest Tea for their general awesomeness and fun Twitter contests.  They recently had an interactive Earth Day-related contest there where followers submitted photos of themselves recycling an Honest Tea bottle.  Luckily I was one of the first group to send a photo, and won a free case of Honest Tea in a flavor of my choice!  

I picked the Peach Oo-La-Long flavor because I like most of their flavors, but I especially love peach-flavored teas.  This one has a great peach-y flavor without being overly sweet.  I've really enjoyed bringing them into work to drink with my lunch.  Thanks to Honest Tea, my fridge now partially resembles a "Cribs" fridge, with the bottles taking up most of the top shelf, haha.  Extra bonus, their office is located in downtown Bethesda- yay for local businesses!  These are all over in stores around here, but I'm not sure if they are everywhere in the US yet...check out the website to see if it's available in your area!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lunchtime Links for May 19th, 2010

    Love, Love, Love: Love, Love, Love: Calvin Klein Carly Honeycomb Shoes


    I normally don't stray too far from DSW when it comes to shoes- lots of great choices, convenient location, and I've moved up to Premiere Rewards status, woo!  

    However on a recent lunchtime excursion to Lord & Taylor, I could not stop myself from trying these Calvin Klein platforms on.  So so so so cute, and believe it or not, comfy!  I'm definitely a huge fan of platforms (as in a wider heel + elevated front of the foot also), as they generally are much easier to walk in vs. stilettos (which I am NOT a fan of).  Now, my definition of "comfy" may not be yours- I wear heels about 85% of the time so if you always wear flip-flops, you probably won't be super impressed by these.  Also, I wouldn't recommend wearing them to go sightseeing around DC or anything.  But just saying, the platform base provides a lot of balance and you don't feel like the shoes are as tall as they are.  I can wear them to work and be fine walking around inside the building.  Best of all, they were on sale and I could use my coupon for an extra 20% off, woohoo!  I'm especially excited because as of this post, they are still full-price on the Calvin Klein site, haha.  It's the little things, people, the little things.  Anyway, if you're a shorty like me and love fun, tall shoes, give these a try if you see them at the mall!

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for May 18th, 2010

    Whole Foods Friendship Heights, Blogger Pre-opening Tour: Part 2

    Just wanted to fit in some photos of the Bakery section of the new Whole Foods Friendship Heights during the tour from last night- so many photos, so many great foods!!  We got to sample their natural Jelly Beans, Macarons (Chocolate and Lemon flavors), and see all the yummy stuff they had to offer!

    Bakery area

    Mini Black & White cookies; Two-bite brownies



    Macarons, Cakes, Mini cupcakes, etc.

    Haha, love it!

    Yummy chocolate macaron!

    Mini Whoopie Pies!

    Mmm... bulk candy!

    Sounds SO good!

    As you can probably tell, the Bakery section was my favorite part of the tour, haha.  Can't wait to go back and try more items!

    Whole Foods Friendship Heights, Blogger Pre-opening Tour: Part 1

    Last night I was part of a Blogger Group Tour of the new Whole Foods store in Friendship Heights, which was a great way to check out the store before its official grand opening today.  It's a beautiful store, as you'll see in my (many, many) photos.  It's right by the Friendship Heights metro stop, and also has free validated parking with purchase for up to 1 hour.  The tour started off where we all met up, in the Coffee Bar section.

    This section will be open earlier (6am) than the rest of the store (8am), serving coffee, oatmeal, house-made gelato, as well as other items.  

    There were a ton of flowers in this area as well, which looked really pretty and welcoming.

    After strolling through the immaculate-looking produce section (tons of fruits and veg options, not yet manhandled by customers, haha), we stopped in the Specialty Foods section.  Lots of seasonal, made-in-house products, as well as local cheeses.  In the same section they also had a Grind Your Own Nut Butter bar and a Gourmet Sea Salt bar, which I thought were pretty cool.

    One really neat section in this area is the Fresh-Cut Pasta Station.  We learned that Severino homemade pasta is exclusive to Whole Foods, and two original pastas for this location are the orecchiette and multigrain cheese ravioli pastas.

    Since the store wasn't open for business yet during this tour, there were no items in the prepared foods area, but they told us about the options that will be available- Including pizzas, sandwiches, burgers, and Mediterranean food.  That's one of the chefs telling us about the $7.99 food bar container- so rather than a price per weight, it's a set price per box.

    I just thought the layout of these lemonade bottles was pretty cool-looking, haha.

    Dry aged beef section behind the Neighborhood Butcher counter.

    The Seafood Market has a few free marinade options that you can get with any seafood purchase, and more importantly, lots of signage about sustainability and educating the customers about seafood choices/origins.

    Then it was over to the Bakery section...Since I have SO many photos from this tour, the majority of them being in the Bakery section, I'll be posting some of the Bakery photos in a separate post :o)

    My favorite yogurt, Stonyfield!

    Lots and lots of Kombucha options. 

    Finally, we reached the end of the store, coming back towards the Coffee Bar where we started out.  The Checkout line is a single line that gets split by a number-system, laid out the way their NYC stores are.  I'm sure there's a technical term for it, but basically the line serves to help people in the order they're in line, and not necessarily how fast/slow each line might be.  If you've ever been to a TJMaxx, they have the same system.  You wait in one big line until the sign says "Register # _" and the next person in line goes to that available register.  I personally like it better, because then you don't have people cutting/switching lines because they think it's faster, etc.

    Yummy food + Swag bags!

    Overall, I think the space is really really gorgeous, and it was really awesome to get to check it out without any customers present at all.  We got to hear all the little details and stories about each section of the store, sample a bunch of foods during and at the end of the tour.

    We were also given these awesome swag bags filled with lots of fun and useful items.  Thank you to the Whole Foods team for putting together a great tour for us- it was so much fun!  Luckily this Whole Foods is easy for me to get to both by metro and by car, so I'm v. excited to come back again - hopefully this weekend!

    Monday, May 17, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for May 17th, 2010

    Georgetown Cupcake: Vanilla and Chocolate Birthday Cupcakes


    Some new-ish flavors from Georgetown Cupcake!  I say "new-ish" because the birthday cupcakes have been on the menu before, but not both as daily menu items.  As you can see the cake/frosting themselves aren't really anything new - Chocolate & Vanilla / Vanilla Squared, respectively.  But with the addition of cute rounded rainbow sprinkles, it's a nice festive touch to an already yummy cupcake. 

    Friday, May 14, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for May 14th, 2010

    Pittsburgh Weekend

    Just another fun, food-filled  weekend in Pittsburgh!!  This time B and I got to try lots of different places, all of which were new to me :o)  Some highlights of our weekend:

    The Dor-Stop restaurant was OPEN this time around, woohoo!!  We came here for Saturday morning brunch, and the place was packed, but we were able to snag two countertop seats which worked out great. 

    Whipped cream with a touch of hot chocolate, haha

    Pumpkin Pancakes


    Chocolate chip pancakes

    I'm not a huge fan of Guy Fieri as a person, but I love all the places he shows on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, hence why I wanted to come here for so long.  Of course we had to try the pumpkin pancakes here, and I really enjoyed them.  They were v. spice-heavy and not sweet at all.  Less of a pumpkin pie-type pancake and more of a full-on pumpkin flavor.  

    Next up, we headed to the Pittsburgh Zoo + Aquarium:


    Not gonna lie, the aquarium (which is newer) was waaaaaaaaaaaaay cooler than the zoo portion, haha!  But overall it was a fun trip and we got to see lots of cool animals.  The weather was pretty grey and drizzly, which actually worked to our advantage since the place wasn't packed like I assume it would be on a sunny weekend day.

    We then hit up Oh Yeah! Ice Cream and Coffee for some great ice cream and sooooooooooooooo many mix-in options! The menu was staggering, and I'm glad there wasn't anyone in line behind us because they would've been waiting a while for me to decide, haha. 

    Vanilla with Chocolate chip cookies

    Vanilla with strawberries and pretzels 

    We both went with somewhat simple mix-in choices, but both delicious!  I got vanilla (SO good, see all the vanilla bean specks) with a chocolate chip cookie mixed in.  B got the vanilla also, with strawberries and pretzels mixed in.  So good!

    After seeing lots of fishies and sharks at the aquarium, I got to thinking about Shark Bites fruit snacks... they were so good, especially the elusive Great White Sharks!!  Conveniently enough, B lives above a grocery store, so we checked it out...


    Shark Bites still exist!!!  I recall the Great White Shark pieces being a bit longer/bigger, but what the hey- I'm just happy they're actually still around!  

    We rounded out the weekend with a trip to Dozen, this time one of their locations that I haven't been to yet, that serves breakfast on the weekends. 


    Chicken Pot Pie Hand Pie


    Vanilla Cupcake + Chocolate Chip Cookie

    The Chicken Pot Pie was really tasty with a crispy, flaky crust that I LOVED.  If I had this for brunch every week, I'd be totally happy (and stuffed, haha).  The cupcake and cookie were taken back home with me, and thoroughly enjoyed that following week.

    Well, I hope you enjoyed our tour de food o' Pittsburgh- can't wait for the next trip up there for even more yummy adventures!!