Friday, December 31, 2010

Lunchtime Links for December 31st, 2010

Georgetown Cupcake - Free Chocolate Toffee Crunch Cupcake


How appropriate for my last (non-link) post of 2010 to go to a Georgetown Cupcake cupcake, haha!  This one was a free "secret" one earlier this month- Chocolate Toffee Crunch.  The chocolate cake is a great sub for the regular Toffee Crunch cake base- makes this taste even more candyshop-esque.  

That being said, the toffee pieces on top are the only things that make this cupcake stand out, because otherwise it's exactly like their Chocolate & Vanilla cupcake.  I think it'd be cool if Georgetown Cupcake started adding more texture to the bottom of the cake portion- maybe a cookie crust or some other ingredient to make this seem more like a Heath bar... thoughts?

Also- Happy New Year's Eve day!  Hope you all have a wonderful last day of 2010!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lunchtime Links for December 30th, 2010

Georgetown Cupcake, Oprah-fied!

So, I probably should've posted about this before the episode aired, but alas, I didn't think to ahead of time.

On Tuesday, the sisters/owners of Georgetown Cupcake were on Oprah to promote their DC Cupcakes show on TLC, and to show a recipe for Strawberry champagne sparkler cupcakes.  The presentation could use a little work, but overall it sounds like a cute and festive recipe, with an interesting twist on a regular cupcake.  Have any of you tried to bake with champagne before?  I haven't, but I can't wait to try the Strawberry Champagne cupcake at their Bethesda store soon!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lunchtime Links for December 29th, 2010

Lands' End Chunky Knit Throw


A big "Thank you!" to Lands' End for this super comfy throw, via a pre-Christmas Twitter contest they were having a while back.  I really love the texture detail and the GIANT size of this throw, perfect for watching all of my shows with a mug of tea :o)  This grey color doesn't seem to be available on their site currently, but the blue and white colors also look nice as well, if anyone's in the market for a living room or bedroom blanket. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Lunchtime Links for December 28th, 2010

NYC Weekend: Craftbar

A quick post to cap off the meals from my weekend in NYC, with dinner at Craftbar!  Craftbar is part of Tom Colicchio's string of restaurants, a little more on the casual end but still a v. nice restaurant.  My friend M and I started off w/ the arancini to start, and I got this porky wonder below:


Unfortunately the dish isn't listed on the current online menu, but it was a pork chop, fried egg, another pork (belly) under the egg, and greens and polenta as the base.  The pork was really tasty and v. moist, which isn't always easy to do!  This was delicious and a great wintertime meal.  As always, there's a lot more I wanted to try on the menu, so hopefully I'll get around to trying this place again soon!

900 Broadway
New York, NY 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Lunchtime Links for December 27th, 2010

NYC Weekend: Brunch at Locanda Verde

One of the many highlights on my recent trip to NYC was finally getting to try Locanda Verde!!  I've heard so many good things about this place, mostly from Serious Eats, so I was super excited to try it out!

A group of us headed there for brunch and it was great to see a variety of dishes that they offer.  There were so many yummy-sounding dishes, it took a while for me to pick one.   

Our group started with two orders of the sheep's milk ricotta with truffle honey and burnt orange toast.  So so so so good!  We all raved about the great combo of the creamy ricotta with the crunchy bread.   The orange scent and flavor wasn't overwhelming but added a nice extra touch to the dish.   Mmmmm...cheese, haha.


After a LOT of bouncing around from one section of the menu to another, I finally decided on the Orecchiette with homemade duck sausage, broccoli rabe, and piave.  Helloooooooo, pasta + homemade duck sausage.  For as rich as this dish sounds on paper, it was actually a really well-balanced tasty dish, especially with the crisp-tender broccoli rabe mixed in.  But let's be honest,  it tasted really good- I would've licked the bowl clean no matter how heavy it was to me, haha.  

I'm so happy I finally got to try this place out- I would definitely go back again!

377 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013

Friday, December 24, 2010

Lunchtime Links for December 24th, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas Eve (and Christmas tomorrow) to all of you that celebrate!  Here's a (crappy) photo of my 3' tree - I tried to take the full tree while it was lit, but it looked like it was on fire due to the tinsel and the lights, haha.

My tree is tiny, but full of fun food/candy-themed ornaments, no surprises there :o)  Hope everyone has a fabulous Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lunchtime Links for December 23rd, 2010

Georgetown Cupcake Holiday Decorating Event, 12/19/2010

Cupcakes, cupcakes, everywhere!  This past Sunday afternoon, N and I ventured to the "we never knew it existed" Ritz-Carlton in Georgetown for a Georgetown Cupcake holiday decorating event.  The space was packed with mostly moms with their little girls, all eagerly awaiting their chance to decorate cupcakes and meet the owners of Georgetown Cupcake.  


Once we paid and got our empty box for a dozen cupcakes, we headed over to the closest station for decorating.  There's Sophie, one of the owners, telling another participant about how to get that signature swirl.  

Each station had tiers of pre-baked, unfrosted cupcakes, either pastry bags or bowls filled with frosting, and fondant or other "extra" decorations that went with each flavor.

Along the side of the room, there were also tables full of lovely mini cupcakes for tasting, although I saw more than a few people trying to stack these minis into their boxes to take home, haha.  The mini versions were SO cute, I wish they sold these in their stores too!  The hotel also had drink stations with hot apple cider and hot chili chocolate available for everyone- yum!

And here we have my finished box!  I think I did a decent job trying to emulate the signature swirl frosting, although my fudge and caramel "flowers" leave much to be desired, haha.  Another great thing is that we could make as many of whatever flavor cupcakes we wanted, meaning I could double up on the flavors I really like :o)  On the top row, left to right, we have: Red Mitten Vanilla, Chocolate Chip, Caramel, and Cinnamon Spice.  Middle row, left to right, we have: Chocolate Hazelnut, Lava Fudge, Chocolate Hazelnut, and Rudolph Red Velvet.  Finally, on the bottom row, left to right, we have: Red Mitten Vanilla, Rudolph Red Velvet, Gingerbread, and White Chocolate Peppermint.  I love how festive the cupcakes look together!

Unfortunately I didn't win anything at the raffle (boooooooo, haha), but the sisters gave away a few of their t-shirts and travel mugs. 


Couldn't leave without a photo-op!  Here's N and I with Sophie and Katherine, the owners of Georgetown Cupcake.  They were v. nice and friendly to everyone, especially all of the little kids that had that star-struck, (and likely sugar-high) look in their eyes when they saw the sisters, haha.  The event was fun, festive, and everyone there was just super excited about cupcakes, so how could I not love that?  Now I just need to practice getting that signature swirl down for my own cupcakes!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lunchtime Links for December 22nd, 2010

Cadbury Holiday Chocolates


Big News: I no longer have to hoard Cadbury hard-shell chocolates every Easter for the rest of the year!

I recently came across these Cadbury holiday hard-shell chocolates at a drug store, and snatched them up right away.  I always thought that the delicious "eggs" were only available during the spring, but now I can pick up a bag during the wintertime as well, woo!   The only noticeable difference is the outside candy shell coating color.  If anyone else loves these as much as I do, head to your local grocery/drug store and pick up a bag or two :o)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lunchtime Links for December 21st, 2010

Georgetown Cupcake: Cinnamon Spice Cupcake

The title of this really should be "What's in a Name?".  The free Georgetown Cupcake cupcake of the day was listed as a "Cinnamon Spice" cupcake, and while I did briefly wonder if they meant the regular Cinnamon cupcake, curiosity got to the best of me and I went to pick it up.  

I tried to figure out if there was something different about the Cinnamon Spice cupcake, but couldn't find any between this and the regular Cinnamon cupcake.  So, unless I missed something in the taste, this "new" flavor is really a repeat of the regular flavor.  I mean it's still tasty, don't get me wrong, but not new.  I've asked Georgetown Cupcake on Facebook about it but they have yet to comment, so if anyone else has tried this and thinks there's a difference, let me know :o)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lunchtime Links for December 20th, 2010

Hello Kitty Toothbrush Holder

How cute is this?  I picked up this Hello Kitty toothbrush holder at the Container Store recently, using a $5 gift card that I got from filling out one of their online surveys.  The holder itself is a little bulky, but I love that it has suction cups on the back so you can hang your toothbrush on any mirror/tile surface.  That way, you have a place to store your toothbrush if you are staying at someone's place, without having to take up counter/sink space.  Plus, hello, it's Hello Kitty wearing a frog costume, why would I not get this?!  This would make a great stocking stuffer/small gift for anyone that likes Hello Kitty :o)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lunchtime Links for December 17th, 2010

NYC Weekend: Shake Shack

Before brunch on Saturday, we were nearby one of my favorites- I'm so happy we stopped by Shake Shack!! And so awesome that there was barely a line, I've never been this close to the ordering window when I first get there.

Since we were on our way to brunch, I unfortunately could not get a Shackburger, but made up for it by getting a custard, haha.  Their Saturday flavor was Gingerbread, which was appropriately festive, so I got a small cup of that. 

This custard was smooth, creamy, and definitely tasted like gingerbread.  The only negative thing is that the taste gets a little monotonous after a few bites, especially with a pretty strong flavor like gingerbread.  But, I'm happy I got to try it and would recommend it for anyone that likes gingerbread cookies or just being festive :o)

M opted for the Shack Attack concrete: chocolate custard with hot fudge (which she substituted w/ peanut butter sauce), chocolate truffle cookie dough, Valrhona chocolate chunks, and chocolate sprinkles.  This was SO good!  The cup was jam-packed with all sorts of chocolately, crunchy, rich, deliciousness.  I can't imagine finishing one of these alone- the three of us couldn't even finish it- but I'd be tempted to if I really was craving chocolate, haha.  I'm so grateful for the warm(er) weather we had this day so that we could enjoy these treats!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lunchtime Links for December 16th, 2010

    NYC Weekend: Levain Bakery's Chocolate-filled Brioche

    A trip to NYC more often than not results in a trip to Levain Bakery's Manhattan location- mmmmmm!  They are best known for their monstrous cookies, but also have a good selection of other pastries in their store as well.  We picked up one of the chocolate chip brioches - doesn't it look delicious??  It's a long brioche slab (for lack of a better word) folded over tons of little melty chocolate chips, and then dusted with sugar on top.  The result is a rich and delicious chocolate hot dog of sorts, haha.  It was a super tasty way to start off the morning - it'd be waaaaaaay too dangerous for me to have access to this every day, let's just put it that way :o) 

    If any of you find yourselves around Levain Bakery, you should obviously pick up their chocolate chip walnut cookie, but don't neglect the other bakery items they have either- you never know, it could be your new favorite item!

    Levain Bakery - Manhattan
    167 West 74th St
    New York, NY 10023

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for December 15th, 2010

    Georgetown Cupcake: Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcake

    This yummy little number above was the free secret flavor recently at Georgetown Cupcake- Chocolate Salted Caramel.  I brought this up to PA with me to visit T and G, so that we could all try a little sample.  

    This combo of chocolate and caramel was delicious!  I like their regular Salted Caramel cupcake, but the chocolate cake made for more of a contrast in the flavors that I really liked.  Also, the salt in the frosting was definitely more pronounced, which really made it a "salted caramel" - I've found that the regular salted caramel cupcake often didn't have a salt flavor in the frosting, more like the caramel flavor was muted.  T more or less agreed, saying that "I really couldn’t tell what the cake flavor was because the salted caramel icing took over the flavor.  But it was really good!!!"

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for December 14th, 2010

    Yay for the Holidays!

    More photos from my recent weekend trip to NYC will be up soon, but for now, here's a little taste of the Christmas spirit: The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree!  Such a pain to get to- the whole surrounding area was PACKED with people, surprise- but the sparkly lights were v. pretty!

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for December 13th, 2010

    Taylor Gourmet - Schuylkill Expressway + Lombard Avenue Hoagies

    In my quest to chomp through the entire Taylor Gourmet menu, here's two more hoagies that I've recently had.

    Up top we've got the Schuykill Expressway, aka the one I can never pronounce, no matter how close I've lived to Philly my whole life, haha.  I think it's supposed to be "Skew-cal" but I'm not even really sure about that, so don't quote me on it.  Name confusion aside, this hoagie packs in prosciutto, roasted red peppers, sharp provolone, lettuce, and onion.  I'm not a huge fan of onions but it added a nice sharp tang to the red peppers and the thin slices of prosciutto.

    Here we've got the Lombard Avenue, which is Soppresata, Genoa salami, roasted red peppers, pesto, fresh mozzarella, and lettuce.  I love Genoa salami so this was already going to be a winner for me, haha.   I probably could've done without the roasted red pepper because the texture was too similar to the thick slices of mozzarella, but it's still a v. tasty hoagie.  

    I can't wait to keep going down the Taylor Gourmet menu, woo!

    Friday, December 10, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for December 10th, 2010

    Thank you, Serious Eats

    .... for drilling it into my brain that I must, must, must, go to Locanda Verde!  After seeing SO many posts on Serious Eats about this place, I'm finally getting to try it this weekend for brunch, woo! 

    Here's just a sampling of the posts that have been tempting me for so long, so you can suffer along with me, haha:

    - Pumpkin agnolotti
    - Polenta waffle
    - Brunch roundup
    - Blueberry cake doughnuts
    - Monday night fried chicken
    - Scampi ravioli

    Thursday, December 9, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for December 9th, 2010

    Just a LITTLE Obsessed...

    I was recently asked to come up with a "fun fact" about myself for a work party - corny, yes, but such is the holiday work party, haha.  I thought about it for a few minutes and decided that my "fun fact" would be how many pairs of shoes I own.  I knew the number would be pretty high, but did not prepare myself for...


    Yup, you read that right- in my tiny apartment I've been able to somehow to keep 100 pairs of shoes.   Yes, this includes flip flops and other smaller shoes, but shoes nonetheless. 

    So, thank you DSW for being my main "dealer" to fuel my shoe addiction, and I guess thank you to all of my friends for not also being a size 6.5 and being unable to borrow/steal any of my shoes, haha. 

    Have any of you ever counted how many shoes you own?  I hope that maybe at least ONE of my friends can beat me haha!

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for December 8th, 2010

    Williams-Sonoma Pumpkin Pocket Pie Mold

    Considering my love/obsession with pumpkins, it was pretty much a given that I would pick up this snazzy little piece at Williams-Sonoma.  I bought this last season but didn't really get a chance to use it (aka: I was lazy) until this past Thanksgiving. 

    Basically the pocket pie mold works as a dough cutter and mold for the filling to go into.  Williams-Sonoma currently doesn't carry this pumpkin mold, but has lattice and apple versions, which will give you an idea of how they all work.  It's v. simple and comes together easily.


    For these pocket pies above, I used pumpkin pie in one and chopped sauteed apples (with cinnamon and sugar) in the other.  I cut out the pumpkins from a defrosted puff pastry sheet, and then filled the pocket pies.  I used egg white to seal the pie together, and then brushed the tops with egg yolk + a little bit of water mixed together.  15 minutes later, these golden brown puffy blobs came out of the oven, haha.  So yeah, they don't do a great job of retaining the pumpkin shape, but next time I might try it with the "pumpkin crease/vents" cutter on one side.  Taste-wise, these are pretty much like puff pastries normally, just shaped differently.  But they were fun and easy to make, and I could see it being a fun project for kids as well.  These pocket pie molds would also make a cute addition to a wedding gift if the couple has registered for baking goods already!   

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for December 7th, 2010

    Happy birthday to my friend S, lover of all things cats, J.Crew, and Harry Potter! Hope you have a fabulous day!

    Love, Love, Love: Apple Cider Donuts

    Can I just tell you how excited I was to FINALLY get my hands on some cider donuts over Thanksgiving?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!!!!!!?!?!?!!?!

    Ok, but seriously, cider donuts are AMAZING and anyone that's never had one is totally missing out.  Which might be the majority of people I know in the DC area, because they apparently don't have these tasty gems at any of the apple orchards/farms around here!  Blasphemy! 

    These lovely cider donuts above are from the fabulous Terhune Orchards in NJ, LOVE them!!!  They have a cute little store with two giant dogs hanging out on the porch- for as long as I can remember, they've always been around, haha.  They sell plain cider donuts, cinnamon-sugar sprinkled cider donuts, and now also sell cider donut holes, yum! 

    If anyone's looking to make their own (and if you do, send me some), here's a recipe for cider donuts that I recently found on Serious Eats.  

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for December 6th, 2010

    J. Crew Necklaces

    I almost always wear silver jewelry, but lately I've had a hankering for some gold pieces to switch things up a bit.  I found these two necklaces at the J.Crew outlet over Thanksgiving weekend and picked them up immediately.  Hey, 40% off the outlet prices- can't beat that! 

    The bottom one in particular had a v. Kate Spade-ish vibe to it, which I really like.  The top starfish one is more of a summer piece, but I'll probably try to wear it now, haha.  They're sparkly and all-around fun pieces for me to bring into my accessory rotation.  I also like that they're both long, so I can layer them with other simpler, shorter necklaces if I want.  I'm not sure if they're sold in the regular stores (I'm assuming not, since they were at the outlets) but I have seen them on the online outlet which is available on the weekends at  Has anyone else seen any fun jewelry while out shopping lately?

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for December 3rd, 2010

    New Motto?


    Best. Mug. Ever.

    (PS: I found this at TJMaxx if anyone's interested :o))

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for December 2nd, 2010

    Starbucks 12 Days of Sharing

    I came across the Starbucks 12 Days of Sharing program and thought it was a cute site to share with you all.  The basic premise is that starting December 1st, Starubucks has 12 different offers that help others and generate a sense of holiday spirit and goodwill.  Plus, the site itself is really cute, designed like an advent calendar with each day's deal hidden inside a little pocket.  Check it out if you get a chance!

    Note: I'm not sponsored by Starbucks (I wish!), just thought it was a cute site to share with you all :o)

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for December 1st, 2010

    Happy December!


    Happy December everyone!  I for one am looking forward to (even more) baked goods, catching up with friends, shopping, and lots of holiday cheer!

    Speaking of holiday cheer, I saw this at Target and couldn't pass it up - aka I made my mom get it for me so technically it was still a gift, haha.  It's a cute little reindeer mug with hot chocolate, marshmallows, and antler cookies.  This reindeer is part of the vast Target holiday collection this season, along with a Santa, snowman, and penguin.  They're all over the housewares/decorations/gifts and all super cute!  

    What are you all looking forward to with the start of December?