Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lunchtime Links for November 30th, 2010

Turkey Hill Dynamic Duos PB Explosion Ice Cream


A while back I won a bunch of "free carton" coupons from Turkey Hill, and was excited to try out many, many ice cream flavors, haha.  However, it took a while for me to actually start redeeming these, because several of my local grocery stores apparently don't carry Turkey Hill ice creams, womp womp.  However, I eventually found them at another grocery store and picked up this PB Explosion flavor right away- it sounded SO good!

First off, I love the idea of the Dynamic Duos cartons- 2 ice creams in one!  Of course, it's only good if you like both of the flavors, haha.  I figured I'd like both since, well, it's peanut butter focused, duh.  The Vanilla with chocolate peanut butter cups is definitely my #1 in this duo - the mini chocolate peanut butter cups are like the mini cups they sell at Trader Joe's, which I am totally obsessed with.  It's like a super tasty chocolate chip ice cream with a little surprise peanut butter inside, yum.  The chocolate ice cream is great too, but I wish the chocolate flavor was more pronounced- if it was a dark chocolate it would be really good, I think.  

Overall, I'm really happy I tried out this flavor, and would recommend this for any peanut butter lover.  Or, if you are part of a couple where one loves vanilla and the other loves chocolate, but you both love peanut butter, haha.  I'd definitely get this flavor again!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Lunchtime Links for November 29th, 2010

More Sales & Deals

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend!  My inbox has literally been flooding with store newsletters- so many great deals starting after Thanksgiving!  Here's a few that I've come across recently (which end today so it's a good excuse to get it now, haha)- happy shopping!

  • Vosges: 15% off with online code "THANKS15" (through 11/29/2010).
  • BCBGMaxAzria: 50% off winter styles online (through 11/29/2010), plus free shipping (through 11/30/2010).
  • Shopbop: Save up to $500 on with online code "BIGEVENT" (through 11/29/2010).
  • Too Faced: Save up to 50% on vintage sale items (through 11/29/2010).
  • Bertucci's Restaurant: Buy a $25 gift card, get a $5 gift card in-stores (through 11/29/2010).
  • Bliss Spa: 30% off mix-and-match gift sets with code "GIFTS30" (through 11/29/2010).

Friday, November 26, 2010

Lunchtime Links for November 26th, 2010

Happy Black Friday!

Oh, Black Friday.  A day that people seem to loathe and love all at once.  I for one am a huge fan of Black Friday shopping, because I've always had good experiences with it.  It's probably because I don't hit up any of the midnight/early-early morning sales at the "big" stores (Walmart, Target, Best Buy, etc.), and instead go to a good mall (yay New Jersey ;o)) for a few hours in the morning to take advantage of the extra discounts and sales.  Anyone else have any Black Friday plans or wishlist items?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Lunchtime Links for November 25th, 2010

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Hope everyone has a relaxing, yummy Thanksgiving! 

    We won't be having turkey this year (we realized a while back that no one in the family loves it enough to warrant the time and effort, haha) but I am definitely partaking in many many servings of pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, and maybe some other pumpkin desserts if I stop eating long enough to make something, haha!

    Anyone have their own favorite traditional (or non-traditional) Thanksgiving foods?

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for November 24th, 2010

    Love, Love, Love: Trader Joe's Pumpkin Ice Cream


    Calling all pumpkin fans- run, don't walk, to your nearest Trader Joe's and pick up a pint (or 10) of this Pumpkin ice cream!!  As soon as I heard about this, I knew I had to go and try it out immeeeeeeediately.  

    The pumpkin flavor is strong but not overly spicy or fake-tasting at all.  It's a really rich ice cream that is super creamy and delicious.  And how can you not love something called "Pilgrim Joe's" haha.  The ice cream is great on its own but would also be fantastic on top of warm pies or any dessert, really.  Or you know, just straight from the carton.  I'm not sure how long seasonal items last in Trader Joe's stores, so get there quick :o)

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for November 23rd, 2010

    Georgetown Cupcake - Apple Cinnamon Cupcake

    I recently was able to try yet another actually new free Georgetown Cupcake flavor: Apple Cinnamon.  But before I comment on the taste of it- anyone notice anything a little "off" about the photo? Perhaps something a little different about this particular cupcake?

    Well call me obsessed/neurotic, but the first thing I thought was "WHERE IS THE SIGNATURE SWIRL???" As in, the circular pattern in which Georgetown Cupcake frosts the majority of their cupcakes, which looks simple but is in fact pretty hard to do correctly.  It goes around the top of the cupcake, and then into the center with a quick squeeze and wrist-flick at the end.  Or at least that's what they showed us on their tv show, haha.  So... what happened to this cupcake?  It looks like the frosting was piped on straight on the top of the cake portion...hmmmmmmmm. 

    Ok, enough about that, on to the actual taste, haha.  First off- looooooooooooooved the cinnamon frosting.  So much so that I may convert our regular Thanksgiving pumpkin pie whipped cream into a cinnamon version, it's so good.  And super simple too, as long as you get the right ratio of cinnamon in there.  It's subtle, but adds a really nice flavor.  The cake portion was good, with little bits of apple baked in.  Unfortunately I'm not a big apple cake/pie/bread/etc. person (or baked fruit in general), so clearly I'm a little biased here.  However the overall flavor was v. FALL and totally appropriate for this time of year.  Yay for fall flavors!     

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for November 22nd, 2010

    Whole Foods Recipe - Pumpkin Chocolate Cake

    A while back, I came across this Whole Foods recipe for pumpkin chocolate cake, and decided to make it for my co-workers.  Pumpkin + Chocolate = Mmmmm, haha.  Plus, it looked v. simple to make and a great way to welcome in Fall :o)

    I don't have whole wheat flour, so I used the same amount of regular all-purpose flour for this recipe.  Luckily for me I love pumpkin, so I had everything I needed on hand to make this cake. 
    This recipe is v. simple and comes together easily.  As the cake bakes you get this really fantastic pumpkin/cocoa fragrance filling up the kitchen- yum! 

    And here we have the finished cake!  This was a big hit at work and everyone seemed to enjoy it.  It's not overly sweet but v. moist due to the pumpkin puree.  If you'd like to add some texture, I'd recommend chopped walnuts or chocolate chips.  If you'd like frosting, I think a simple cream cheese frosting would be a nice pairing to this cake.  Try this out if you're looking for a pumpkin baked good that's not just your regular pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread!  

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for November 19th, 2010

    Sales and Deals

    Just noticed a few more weekend deals popping up via e-mails, in case anyone's getting a head start on their holiday shopping:

    • Intermix: Free standard shipping on any order (through 11/21/2010).
    • Bath & Body Works: $1 shipping with code "SHIP25"; Buy 3 get 3 free signature collection items (through 11/21/2010).
    • Papyrus: 20% off custom printing, in-store or online with code "HOLIDAYSAVE" (through 11/22/2010).
    • Ann Taylor/Ann Taylor Loft: 30% off with code "FRIENDS" (through 11/21/2010) and free shipping with purchases over $100. 
    • J. Crew: 30% off sale items with code "CREW" and free shipping with purchases over $150 (through 11/20/2010).

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for November 18th, 2010

    One Week...

    .... until Pumpkin Pie, Mashed Potatoes, and (most importantly) SHOPPING!!

    Hope you're all getting excited for Thanksgiving as well.  Maybe some practice-run pumpkin goodies to get into the spirit? ;o)

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for November 17th, 2010

    Calvin Klein Platforms @ DSW

    The other day I was browsing through my nearby DSW store, not really looking for any specific type of shoe... and then saw THESE.

    In the words of Rachel Zoe, "I DIE." 

    These Calvin Klein Christine Calf Pump is all sorts of fabulous and I snatched them up in about .000000000000000384 seconds.  Love the platform, the cutout pattern, the light gray color, EVERYTHING!  The shape is v. similar to my other Calvin pumps, with a thick heel and high front platform base to make them much more comfortable than they might seem.  The cutouts make me think these are more of a spring/summer shoe, but I will try them out with tights in the winter and see how it goes, haha.  Anyone else have any good shoe finds lately?     

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for November 16th, 2010

    Georgetown Cupcake: Halloween Cupcakes

    A bit delayed, but here are the Halloween weekend offerings from Georgetown Cupcake - cute, huh?

    I got one each of the Halloween flavors, which wound up having the same Bat fondant topping, but oh well.  These are the regular Chocolate & Vanilla and Vanilla Squared cupcakes, with a special orange colored frosting and fondant topping.  If I had a billion dollars and was hosting a Halloween party, I'd totally get a ton of these, haha. 

    And here we have the free off-the-menu flavor on Halloween day, the Maple Boo-Berry (blueberry) cupcake.  I brought all of these up to my friend T's house that day, so the "official" review is coming from her, haha.  T had this to say about the cupcake: "It was not overly blueberry which is good because they’re not my favorite fruit.  The maple was a nice flavor, it was almost breakfast.  Overall, a nice cupcake, but would not be my favorite.  More of a breakfasty coffee cake take on it." 

    Hope everyone had a fun and tasty Halloween!

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for November 15th, 2010

    Foodbuzz: Nature's Pride Oven Classics Bread

    Here's a quick post about a Foodbuzz freebie I received a few weeks ago, as part of their Tastemaker Program.  

    As much as I love white and potato bread, there are clearly other healthier choices in terms of sandwich bread out there.  I was happy to receive the Nature's Pride Oven Classics in Oatmeal and 100% Whole Wheat, mainly because I probably wouldn't have bought them myself, haha.  I tried both breads for sandwiches, and then wrapped and froze the rest of the slices for later. 

    For not being a fan of Oatmeal in general, I found myself liking it better than the 100% Whole Wheat kind.  The oatmeal tasted a little sweeter, and better tasting overall.  The Whole Wheat one was good for Nutella, and I imagine it'd be good for other sweeter/stronger flavored sandwich innards.  Both types freezer and defrost nicely, which is especially good for me since I'm eating these by myself, haha.  I'm thinking of using the Whole Wheat bread that I have leftover to try out fANNEtastic food's sweet potato whole wheat bread pudding if I have a potluck or dinner soon!  Anyone else have any recipes to share that I can use this bread for, besides sandwiches?

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for November 11th, 2010

    Lobster Truck DC

    During my unplanned staycation (aka not going to San Francisco), I figured I might as well check out one of the many DC food trucks, since I normally am not downtown during a weekday.  I was super excited to try the Red Hook Lobster Pound's DC lobster truck, and as luck would have it, they were going to be in the Gallery Place area that day, which is easy for me to get to via the metro. 

    When I got there and finally found them (they give you a general idea of where they'll be parked but it took me a few minutes to find them, haha), they were not yet officially open and there were about 40 people in line ahead of me.  Looks like I wasn't the only one eagerly awaiting a lobster roll for lunch!  Most of the people waiting in line looked to be young professionals from around the area - I'm so jealous they are within walking distance from work to food trucks!   

    Maine-style lobster roll ($15.00)

    After a relatively quick wait in line, I recieved this little beauty- mmmmmmmmmm LOBSTAH!  Mixed with a touch of mayo, the lobster was clearly the main focal point for this roll.  This was super delicious and I enjoyed every bite of it.  Now, $15 for "street food" is a bit steep, but clearly I can't get to the truck every day (or most days, for that matter), so it was a nice lunchtime splurge on my staycation!  Hope to see you again sometime, Lobster Truck DC!  

    To try some lobster goodness yourself, your best bet (besides #1: Be in DC, haha) is to follow them on Twitter to find out where they are headed/parked.     

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for November 10th, 2010

    Fun in Fairfax, VA: Pinkberry + Cupcakes Actually

    A few weeks ago, my weekend trip to San Francisco got messed up thanks to a plane malfunction (booooooooooooooooo), which left me with a completely free weekend at home.  I made the most of it by going out to dinner, cleaning, and venturing out to Fairfax, VA for the day.  I met up with my friend M at the new Pinkberry, which had just opened that same week, woo!   

    I got a mini cup of the seasonal/new Pumpkin with graham crackers.  The taste wasn't particularly pumpkin-y but honestly- I was happy to have a Pinkberry at least somewhat close to me (vs. CA and NYC, haha), woo!!  I also like that they offer a mini cup size- just enough if you're not looking for TOO much frozen yogurt. 

    After we finished our frozen yogurts, we stopped in next door to Cupcakes Actually, because I figured I'd make the most of being in the area and try the store out, haha. 

    We split the OMG cupcake: A banana cupcake, filled with caramel, iced with peanut butter butter cream, dipped in a chocolate ganache, drizzled with caramel and topped with either peanuts or toffee (I can't remember).

    Here's a cross-section of the cupcake, so you can see all of the components.  Thank god we split this cupcake (well granted, I ate more than M did- haha) cus it was RICH!  I loved the flavors though, especially the chocolate ganache + peanut butter frosting combo- super delicious!  Being over $4 with tax though would make me reconsider buying a bunch of cupcakes from them though- that's way more expensive than Georgetown Cupcake or other local cupcakeries!  Overall, a great time in Fairfax trying out new items!

    Pinkberry- Fairfax Corner
    11942 Grand Commons Ave
    Fairfax, VA 22030

    Cupcakes Actually - Fairfax Corner
    11944 Grand Commons Ave
    Fairfax, VA 22030

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for November 9th, 2010

    Kinkead's DC

    A few weeks ago O invited me along to dinner at Kinkead's, to use a Groupon that she had won, woo!  I was looking forward to trying Kinkead's since I've never been, plus it's a seafood restaurant and I could always go for some seafood, yum.

    In case you forgot, there's a plate when you sit down to remind you that it's a SEAFOOD restaurant, haha.

    We started off with the Hawaiian Style Tuna Tartare “Poke” with sushi rice, mango, toasted macadamias, and taro chips.  You can't tell from the photo, but the tuna was stacked on top of the rice and had a nice layered look to it from the side.  I liked the taro chips for the added crunch but would put this in the "good, not great" category overall.  The tuna was sorta overshadowed by the mushy sushi rice for me. 

    For my entree, I went with the appetizer of house made Chittara pasta with lobster medallions
     in a light tomato, garlic, clam, and basil broth.  Our server noted that this was a large appetizer, and she wasn't kidding!  I really enjoyed this dish- hellooooooo, pasta + lobster, haha.  The sauce was surprisingly light and the texture of the pasta was great.  I would definitely order this dish again!

    O went with the pan seared sea scallops with potato gnocchi, and for the life of me I cannot remember what the middle compnents were (bacon? on top of some sort of greens?).  I tried a bite of this and liked the gnocchi a lot, and thought the scallop was nicely seared and not gummy at all.

    Overall it was a nice meal with great company - thanks again for the invite O!  The restaurant seemed to cater to an older crowd overall, and wasn't really the type of restaurant I tend to go to with friends, but I'm glad I tried it out, especially for that lobster pasta dish!     

    Kinkead's Restaurant
    2000 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20006
    202.296.7700 // on OpenTable

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for November 8th, 2010

    DSW Gift Card Deal

    Just a quick post to let you know about a good deal at DSW, my fave shoe store.  From now until the end of the year, you get a $10 gift card for every $50 gift card you purchase!  The $10 gift card has to be used in the 2nd half of January 2011, but clearly that isn't an issue for me, and shouldn't be for you either, haha. 

    Even if you don't have anyone to buy the gift card for, just buy it for yourself to use later!  Or, you can also buy a gift card for yourself and give away the $10 card- it would make a nice supplement to a gift, if you wanted to add on something small.   

    For the fine print/details check out the offer here

    Friday, November 5, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for November 5th, 2010

    Taylor Gourmet Bethesda - 9th Street Italian Hoagie

    You may or may not have noticed a fair sprinkling of Taylor Gourmet posts recently on my blog.  Well the reason for that, my friends, is my newfound "goal" (in quotes cus really, who thinks of goals like this...) is to try every item on their Bethesda menu, eventually, haha.  I specifically say the Bethesda menu because I'm assuming all three locations' menus are identical, but in case they decide to do specific specials at some point.  I'm also doing this because it's a good way to force myself to try new items from their extensive menu, plus I'm pretty much almost done with trying every Georgetown Cupcake flavor, haha!  

    Here we have the 9th Street Italian Hoagie: Genoa salami, capicola, prosciutto, sharp provolone, lettuce, tomato, and onion.  Salami and prosciutto are two of my favorites, so this was a total WIN in my book.  I can see why it's one of the crowd favorites! 

    So, that's two hoagies down... and how many more?!?!  Better step up my gym time if I actually want to complete this!    

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for November 4th, 2010

    Georgetown Cupcake: DC Cupcakes Maple Chocolate Chip Cupcake

    Finally, a new (to me, and actually off-the-menu) free cupcake flavor from Georgetown Cupcake!  This lovely little number is the DC Cupcakes Maple Chocolate Chip cupcake, mmmmmmmm. 

    A delicious mini chocolate chip studded maple cupcake is topped with a thick, rich chocolate frosting.  The cake itself tasted like chocolate chip pancakes with syrup- delicious!  I love the use of the mini chips, adds a lot more texture to the cake.  You could totally eat this for breakfast/brunch.... right?

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for November 3rd, 2010

    Wegmans Cinnamon-Sugar Treats

    Hell-oooooooooooooooooooooo, Wegmans.  You were already fabulous as is, but then you had to go and give me these two new (to me) items, didn't ya? 

    On the left we've got a Wegmans pretzel, which is super tasty normally, but this time with a dusting of cinnamon and sugar on top.  A nice twist on the regular pretzel roll, adding just the right amount of sweetness and crunch on top.  I bought 4 of them and have been trying to keep them in the freezer so I can space out my timing of eating them, ha.  On the right we've got a cinnamon-sugar pumpkin fry cake.  How that is different from a doughnut, I'm not sure...but no matter, this shizz is DELICIOUS!  SO SO SO good, I bought 3 and froze them, have already eaten 2 of them (defrosted, then microwaved for about 20 seconds, good as new), haha.  Both of these items are messy but so worth it- pick some up if you're by a Wegmans!

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for November 2nd, 2010

    Starbucks Red Cups Are Back!

    So, Halloween is over, and we're onto the full-court press of HOLIDAYS HOLIDAYS HOLIDAYS reminders everywhere.  One good thing about this rush of holiday goodies is:

    The Starbucks Red Cups!

    These are always cute and festive, a little something extra to add to the holidays.  They always remind me of holiday shopping, catching up with friends, and good times all around!

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for November 1st, 2010

    Taylor Gourmet Bethesda - Reyburn Pastina Salad

    I was in downtown Bethesda one night for a Lululemon store event, and was getting pretty hungry as I was heading back home.  I'd been interested in trying Taylor Gourmet's Pastina (little pasta) salads for a while, and figured it was a good time to pick one up to check it out. 

    I decided on the Reyburn: Arugula, pastina, salami, sopressata, capicola, cherry tomatoes, red onions, sharp provolone.   

    Check out all the colors and deliciousness in this bad boy!  I looooooooooooooooved this salad.  In fact, I had planned on eating half and saving the rest for lunch the next day- aaaaaand that did not happen.  I loved how all the different tastes mixed together - the sharp arugula and provolone cheese, with the fatty cubes of salami, the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes, and the crunch of the red onion pieces.  I can't wait to try the other pastina salads, especially if they're as good as this one!