Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lunchtime Links for May 31st, 2011

Food Bloggers' Dessert Meetup - Againn DC

A group of food bloggers met up again for the second Dessert Meetup- this time at Againn in downtown DC.  I had only ever tried the Banoffe Pie and Chocolate tart from Againn, so I was excited to taste all of the other desserts that they offered.  For a recap of all of the tasty desserts we tried, check out French Twist DC's post about it here.  

We all had a great time trying out the desserts at Againn, and took home a batch of goodies that some of us had brought to swap. 

In the photo above we have Mango & Tomato's biscotti, One Vanilla Bean's cannelles, French Twist DC's lavender cookies, and Whisked's lemon bars, courtesy of Thrifty DC Cook.  Everything was delicious- thank you ladies!

I also wanted to post a shot of the lovely lemon bar from Whisked, since all I have in the first photo is the box, haha.  Delicious!  For those of you that live in DC, they sell their treats at the 14th & U farmers market, and do local delivery as well, so check them out!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

I hope everyone has a great day off (hopefully you have a day off to begin with!) and enjoys the day with family, friends, or even just some good food :o)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Lunchtime Links for May 27th, 2011

Georgetown Cupcake - Hibiscus Mango Cupcake

At first glance, this may appear to be Georgetown Cupcake's (unmelted version of the) Vanilla Squared cupcake; white frosting, vanilla cake, colorful fondant flower topping- check, check, check.  However, this one is another May-only flavor, Hibiscus Mango.  This cupcake is a "Madagascar Bourbon vanilla cupcake infused with hibiscus syrup and fresh mango, topped with a hibiscus syrup-infused buttercream frosting and a vibrant orange fondant flower".

Similar appearances aside, you can definitely tell that this one is the Hibiscus Mango based on the smell alone.  It has a strong floral citrus scent that you definitely do not get from the Vanilla Squared cupcake.  I enjoyed this cupcake overall, but couldn't really get past the floral flavor throughout.  I'm not a big fan of flower-based tastes to begin with- seems weird to me to be eating something that could also make a good room spray, haha.  However, I liked the mango flavor and thought it was an interesting combination for a cupcake.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lunchtime Links for May 26th, 2011

Luke's Lobster DC Opens Today!

Great news - NYC's Luke's Lobster is opening in DC today! 

I have only been to Luke's Lobster once before in NYC, but I had a great lunch there, which I blogged about here.  I'm SUPER excited that they have decided to open a spot in the Gallery Place/Chinatown area and can't wait to visit for lots and lots of lobstah lovin'!

Luke's Lobster DC
624 E Street NW
Washington, DC

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lunchtime Links for May 25th, 2011

Georgetown Cupcake - German Chocolate Fudge Cupcake

This May-only Georgetown Cupcake is a new one to the roster this year- German Chocolate Fudge.  It's "Georgetown Cupcake's version of an American classic — Valrhona chocolate cupcake with a caramel and pecan core, topped with a caramel buttercream frosting, toasted coconut flakes and a fudge and caramel drizzle".

To be honest, I can't say I've ever had real German Chocolate cake before... so I'm not really in the position to say how this cupcake compares to the real thing.  That being said, I enjoyed all of the components of this cupcake, minus the coconut on top, haha.  The caramel frosting especially was really rich and flavorful.  If you're a fan of chocolate and caramel this is great for you, since those are the dominant flavors in this cupcake.  But hurry, since it's only available through May!  

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lunchtime Links for May 24th, 2011

Tout de Sweet Macarons

I recently stopped in Tout de Sweet, located in Bethesda, since I was nearby and felt like a little snack.  After a little deliberation, I picked up a hazelnut and vanilla macaron, since they looked cute and were easy to take home, haha.


Although these may look enormous, it's just my extreme zoom work, haha.  Both of the macarons were about 1-2 bites worth in reality.  However, I found myself eating the vanilla macaron with as many small bites as possible- it was delicious!  Not artificial or super sweet tasting - this vanilla tasted like a really good vanilla custard almost, with lots of vanilla bean flavor.  Texture-wise, I'm not an expert on macarons, but they had a crisp exterior with a chewy inside.  The filling in the middle was smooth and creamy- it didn't taste like thick frosting or anything like that.  I enjoyed the other macaron too, but really really liked the vanilla one.  I'll definitely get the vanilla one again, and probably a few new flavors as well! 

Tout de Sweet
7831 Woodmont Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814

Monday, May 23, 2011

Lunchtime Links for May 23rd, 2011

Kellogg's Crunchy Nut Cereal

Ok, first things first.  The wording on this new cereal is, well, fantastic for anyone with the maturity level of a 13-year old boy.  I mean c'mon - "Crunchy Nut"? "Nuts in every bite"? You're killing me, Kellogg's, haha!

Immature chuckling aside, I had a coupon to try this new cereal out for free, so I figured I might as well.  From the way it looked on the box, it seemed like it would be similar to Honey Bunches of Oats, which I've had before and enjoyed. 

This cereal is more or less like Honey Bunches of Oats, from the sweet honey flavor to the little pieces of nuts scattered throughout.  The flakes held up pretty well when soaked in milk, and I also enjoyed this cereal mixed in with Greek yogurt as well. 

I'm not sure that I would buy this cereal at full price (has anyone else noticed how friggin' expensive cereals are??), but if I had a coupon, I would pick it up next time I was out of cereal at home :o)


Side note: apparently this cereal comes in two types - Golden Honey Nut Flakes and Roasted Nut and Honey ring (like Cheerios).  I'm not sure how different these really taste, but I guess if you're on Team Flake or Team Ring, we can all be happy :o)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lunchtime Links for May 20th, 2011

Ben & Jerry's Red Velvet Cake Ice Cream

Ooh la la- Red Velvet Cake!  I was able to try out this ice cream on a recent visit to I & B's house for a weekend in NJ.  It's one of the new Ben & Jerry's flavors that have come out recently, and consists of "red velvet cake batter ice cream with red velvet cake pieces and a cream cheese frosting swirl".


From the look of this bowl, you might think that this was strawberry ice cream, haha.  I liked this ice cream, but true red velvet cake lovers may not really love it, unfortunately.  I think my expectations for this flavor were pretty high because I looooooooooove red velvet cake, and this ice cream tasted overwhelmingly of the cream cheese frosting taste.   However, if you're a fan of cake pieces in your ice creams, I'd say give this one a try.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lunchtime Links for May 19th, 2011

Georgetown Cupcake - Thin Mint Cupcake


The Thin Mint cupcake was a special flavor for the month of April, with the proceeds going to the Girl Scout council of the Nation's Capital annual giving campaign.  

This Girl Scout cookie-based flavor is a chocolate cake with crushed Thin Mint cookies baked inside, topped with a chocolate ganache and decorated with fondant Girl Scout decorations.

Even though I'm not a fan of mint chocolate, this was really rich and tasted mostly of chocolate which I liked, haha.  The little bits of cookie inside were interesting and added a nice texture to both the cake and the frosting.  I wish they'd do the other Girl Scout cookies as cupcakes next time- mmmm Tagalong cupcakes!   

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lunchtime Links for May 18th, 2011

Taylor Gourmet - Locust Street Hoagie

Mmm... hoagie.  Here we have another Taylor Gourmet item to check off my list, the Locust Street: Taylor home roasted turkey, sharp provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion. 

I've tried a few of their hoagies with the home roasted turkey, and I have to say that I enjoy it a lot.  It's not dry but tastes like real turkey (cus it is, go figure) vs. a slimy lesser-quality turkey deli meat.  This is probably one of the more basic hoagies on the list, but that's definitely not a bad thing!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lunchtime Links for May 17th, 2011

Shake Shack DC Opens Today!

It's here, it's finally here!  Shake Shack opens its DC location today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's more info via Thrillist DC - mmm, those special DC concretes sound delicious.

Some of you may recall my redonk love of the Shackburger - here, and also here, if you needed a refresher. 

OMGSOGOOD.  I cannot WAIT to eat at the DC location. All the time. Heart attack pending. Get me some Pepcid AC. SO worth it.

Shake Shack - Dupont Circle
1216 18th Street NW
Washington, DC

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lunchtime Links for May 16th, 2011

Georgetown Cupcake - Hummingbird Cupcake

One of Georgetown Cupcake's special April flavors was a brand new one, called the Hummingbird.  This cupcake is "Georgetown Cupcake's version of a Southern classic — fresh banana, pineapple, and pecan cupcake topped with a vanilla cream cheese frosting, chopped pecans, and a blue fondant hummingbird".

Since I've never tried a real Hummingbird cake before, I wasn't really sure what to expect with this cupcake.  However, my expectations were pretty low after reading the description, since I generally don't like much fruit in my cakes.  Especially something like pineapple.  So... I think you might know where this is going, haha.

The cake portion just tasted really sweet and mushy, most likely due to the fruit inside.  I did enjoy the pecan topping on the frosting because it added some texture.  Overall, I think it was great that they'd come up with a new flavor that is v. different from other flavors they currently offer, but I'm just not a fan of this one personally.  Have any of you ever had a real Hummingbird cake? 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Lunchtime Links for May 13th, 2011

Pocky Sweet Pumpkin

Yum yum, it's about time that Pocky came out with a Pumpkin flavor!  There have been a number of special edition flavors, but the first time I've seen a pumpkin flavor.  

These definitely did not disappoint!  I really liked the pumpkin flavor, it wasn't too sweet or fake tasting.  The buttery biscuit portion went well with the white chocolate and pumpkin taste.  I would definitely get these again if I saw them in the store.  I know it seems a little weird to be talking about pumpkin foods in the spring, but as far as I'm concerned it is good any time of the year :o) 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lunchtime Links for May 11th, 2011

Fran's Chocolates, Seattle

On a recent trip to Seattle, my mom got me two boxes of goodies from Fran's Chocolates.  I hadn't heard of these before, which my mom seemed surprised by, since "The Obamas love these, you should know what these are".  Well then, maybe I should go walk over to the White House and see if they'd like any? Haha.

In the photo above is their 12-piece assorted truffles set, which includes: pure dark, pure milk, bittersweet, dark chocolate espresso, milk chocolate espresso, oolong tea, orange, single malt whisky, raspberry, hazelnut crunch, and dark chocolate caramel truffles.  These truffles are small but pack a flavorful punch- each of the ones I tried had a distinct flavor and were v. tasty!

I also received these grey and smoked sea salt caramels, which really did taste like salted caramel - no muddled flavors here!  They were just the right size for an intense flavor like this.  Overall I really enjoyed both the truffles and the salted caramels and look forward to checking out the store next time I'm visiting Seattle.  If you're a fan of chocolates, I'd definitely recommend checking them out!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lunchtime Links for May 10th, 2011

BCBGMaxAzria Prize!

I recently won a Most Wanted Bag prize from BCBGMaxAzria via a Twitter contest, woo!  Based on their description, I was expecting a promotional gift/tote bag with some beauty samples inside.  Well I got that, but the extra-special surprise was this sparkly fun purse!!!

This Volet striped metal-mesh evening bag is really cute, sparkly, and a modern design on a classic evening bag shape.  It's roomy enough for all of my essentials (which is not typical for me + evening bags, haha) but small enough to really feel like a clutch.  The only concern I have is that I'm going to be the one that gets the metal-mesh caught on something when I'm out and little pieces will fly everywhere... haha.  But I'm sure that I will be careful and enjoy using this bag this summer! Thank you again to BCBGMaxAzria for this bag and all of the other goodies!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lunchtime Links for May 9th, 2011

Recreating the PNC Park Pittsburgh Sandwich

I recently came across this online article about notable new concessions at ballparks, and instantly fell in love with the idea of Pittsburgh's Pulled Pork and Pierogi Stacker at PNC Park: "This tasty towering treat is a contestant in a Pirates fan poll this season at PNC Park. The stacker consists of pulled pork atop of a pretzel roll with caramelized onions and two potato pierogi for good measure."

As it turns out, I happened to have most of the ingredients for this sandwich.  In my freezer are pretzel rolls from Wegmans, mini pierogies from the grocery store, and my fridge held leftover BBQ brisket from the previous night's dinner.  So, besides the caramelized onions, I was good to go!


Mmmmmmmmm, Pittsburgh!  The idea of potato and cheese pierogies in a sandwich might seem weird to you, but FANTASTIC to me, haha.  The only issue is the brisket- since it was pretty dry on its own, obviously the real sandwich's pulled pork would be a better choice.  Overall though, I loved the idea of recreating a (bastardized) version of ballpark food :o)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Lunchtime Links for May 6th, 2011

1/2-Priced Frappuccinos at Starbucks

We meet again, my lovely 1/2-priced Frappuccinos!

Here's the official details from Starbucks:

Join us for Happy Hour, May 6-15, from 3-5 p.m. for half-price Frappuccino® blended beverages at participating stores.

Frappuccino® blended beverages are completely customizable – you call all the shots, so you can create the perfect drink for your perfect summer day. And what could make a warm, sunny day better than strolling around with one of our NEW Mocha Coconut Frappuccino® blended beverages? Just tell us how you like it and we’ll do the rest.

Need a reminder? Just text MIXIT to 44264 and we’ll send you a daily text reminder.

Learn More at http://www.frappuccino.com/

I've always been a fan of most of the Light options (I can't really tell the difference so I might as well, right?), especially the classic Coffee flavor.  What's your favorite Frappuccino?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lunchtime Links for May 5th, 2011

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

As much as I realize that the real Cinco de Mayo meaning doesn't have anything to do with Mexican food and Coronas... c'mon, everyone else in America seems to celebrate that way, so why not join in?

Here are some tasty recipes to celebrate with!
- Pico de gallo and guacamole from the Pioneer Woman.
- Margarita tips from Epicurious.
- Chipotle tomatillo salsa from Serious Eats.
- Cinco de Mayo dessert recipes from Taste of Home.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Lunchtime Links for May 4th, 2011

Georgetown Cupcake - Easter Cupcake

It's a little late since Easter has already come and gone, but I just wanted to put up a quick post about this year's Georgetown Cupcake Easter cupcake.  Cute, right?  

The Easter cupcakes came in your choice of chocolate or vanilla cake, with a green "grass" frosting topping and a fondant bunny or egg.  I opted for the vanilla cake, because the other cupcake I was getting that day was a chocolate-based cupcake.  I loved the way they created "grass" with a different frosting tip - v. cute, and easy to replicate at home with the right frosting tip! 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lunchtime Links for May 3rd, 2011

Brunch at Tabard Inn, DC

A few weeks ago I met up with N for a lovely brunch at the Tabard Inn in Dupont Circle.  Obviously THE doughnuts were on the agenda, but I did have another menu item to look forward to: House-made bagels with smoked salmon, yum!

As you can see, I got a lot more than just a bagel with smoked salmon, haha.  The plate consists of: House-smoked salmon, smoked trout rillettes and house-made bagel with cream cheese, caper berries, and horseradish crème fraîche.  All this for $14!  The house-made bagel was delicious (toasted crunchy exterior, soft innards), but I have to say the star of this plate was the smoked salmon.  It was sooooooooooooooooo good.  It had a strong but not overwhelming flavor (assuming you like smoked salmon haha), and just melted with each bite.  SO good.  I was pretty happy with the addition of the side salad too, as it provided a nice, fresh bite to contrast with the bagel and smoked salmon. 

N opted for the scrambled eggs with cream cheese and chives, house-made Toulouse sausage, and home fries. Here's her thoughts on brunch: "The best parts of this dish were definitely the cream cheese (mixed into the eggs) and the biscuit it came with. If there's one thing the Tabard Inn does really well, it's their bread products – the biscuit, corn bread and those doughnuts! We ordered three because we knew after we each had one and we had our entrées, we'd still want just a little more for dessert. And really, that vanilla whipped cream is heavenly." 

Hotel Tabard Inn
1739 N Street NW
Washington, DC 20036

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lunchtime Links for May 2nd, 2011

Martha Stewart Chocolate Ginger Brownies

I had a knob of ginger left over from making the filling for the Pillsbury pork steam buns, and flipped through Martha Stewart's Cookies book to see if there were any applicable recipes.  I saw the one for chocolate ginger brownies and thought it looked tasty and easy to make.

I liked how easy it was for everything to come together- it's pretty much a one-pot recipe, since you dump in a bunch of ingredients after melting the chocolate, haha.  Hey, anything that requires minimal cleanup is fine with me!

The ginger flavor is v. strong in these brownies, so be forewarned about that.  But then again, if you're making something called "chocolate ginger brownies" you should probably expect that, haha.  Because the flavors are pretty strong, it made sense to cut these into smaller squares when I brought them into work. 

I would've preferred a sweeter brownie personally, but I found these to be an interesting, and somehow more "grown-up" version of a regular brownie.  They seemed to go over pretty well at work, although brownie traditionalists didn't seem to love them that much, haha.  If you have a little nub of ginger left over that you aren't planning on using for cooking, give this recipe a try!