Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lunchtime Links for June 30th, 2011

Black Shatter by OPI

When I first heard about the OPI Black Shatter nail polish, I thought it seemed like a really neat idea for getting some texture on your nails along with the regular nail polish you currently use.  I was pretty hell-bent on buying this at Ulta with one of their weekly coupons, but unfortunately the store by me was out of this product for a while.  Eventually though, they had them in stock and I was excited to try it out!

I don't have any photos of the final result - mainly because I tried to take them but they never really came out that great.  I did try it with a pretty bright pink nail polish underneath, so it's sort of like the one on the tag in the photo (above).  A few notes about this product:

- The polish dries v. v. quickly! 
- Going along with the quick drying time, I didn't put enough on the first go-around, and therefore there wasn't as much of a "shatter" effect.  I re-applied another coat which worked better on some nails more than others.
- In my opinion, this polish effect works best with a light, bright shade underneath, so you get the maximum effect of the black crackle look. 

Overall I'm happy that I got it - I won't be using it for every single manicure I give myself, but it's a fun product to try out!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lunchtime Links for June 29th, 2011

Lady Gaga + Tumblr

As if Lady Gaga wasn't one of the more social media-savvy pop artists out there already, she's gone and created a Tumblr account, woo!

It's called Amen Fashion and there's already a few photos and posts up already, including this first one that scared the crap out of me, hahahah. <3 you Lady Gaga!!

(Photo courtesy of Lady Gaga/Amen Fashion)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lunchtime Links for June 28th, 2011

Georgetown Cupcake - S'mores? Campfire? Cupcake

One thing that I had been curious about for a while is a secret Georgetown Cupcake flavor that pops up every once in a while, called the Campfire cupcake.  Now, the reason why this one caught my attention is because it sounds all summery and fun, but also made me think of the S'mores one that they have had as a secret menu item before. 

Well, worry no more my friends, I have solved the mystery...

The S'mores and the Campfire cupcake are exactly the same- haha!  As you can see, the cupcake in this photo above of the Campfire cupcake is exactly the same as the S'mores cupcake that I had posted about before.   I guess at some point the powers to be at Georgetown Cupcake changed the name of this one when they post it as a free secret flavor.  I have to admit I was a little disappointed that it wasn't some magical new flavor, but since I love the S'mores one already, it's not that big of a deal- haha!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lunchtime Links for June 27th, 2011

Kit Kat Cola and Lemon Soda Flavor

Of all of the Japanese Kit Kats that I've tried so far, these might be some of the strangest flavors, haha.  However, I figured they must be ok enough for me to try out, haha.


First the lemon Kit Kat - it's a white chocolate base with a lemon soda taste.  It definitely had a different taste than a regular lemon flavor that desserts might have.  It's hard to describe but just trust me on this haha.  I didn't really enjoy this flavor as much as if it had just been a straightforward lemon taste.  

The Cola flavor was definitely... different, haha.   If any of you have ever tried cola flavored candies from Japan before, this tastes pretty much like any of those.  It's a sweet, almost caramel-y flavor that definitely smells like cola.  I really wonder how they make this flavor into a chocolate snack and make it smell so much like soda.  

To be fair, I think these Kit Kats were made more for the "exotic" factor vs. a long-term fan favorite flavor, haha.  There are tons of Kit Kats that are created all the time in the Japanese market, and while these will not go on my "must try" lists anytime soon, I'm happy that I got to try out these flavors at least once, haha.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Lunchtime Links for June 24th, 2011

Koala's March Caramel Au Lait


A bit off-season, but I wanted to talk about these cute snacks anyway :o)  The Koala's March brand is v. good about putting out all sorts of seasonal flavors, which I look forward to trying whenever I get a chance.

These are a winter caramel au lait flavor, which you can also see in the picture of the yummy looking drink on the packaging.  With strong white chocolate and caramel notes, it smells v. much like those caramel syrups/coffee flavorings.  One interesting note about this particular flavor is the top right of the package (with the snowman) recommends heating these up for a different take on these cookies.  A quick zap in the microwave made the inside of these cookies soft and gooey, and super tasty as well.   If you're a fan of caramel flavors, these will be perfect for you!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lunchtime Links for June 23rd, 2011

Food Journals - Yay or Nay?

The whole concept of a journal is one that I really like... in theory.  I can't even begin to count the number of journals I'd start writing in when I was younger, only to leave it dusty and unnoticed months or even weeks later.  Then I'd start back up again, buying a cute journal from Barnes and Noble and saying that this time I'll really keep it up.  Ehh, not so much.

The same goes for food journals - lots of people say it's an effective way of weight loss and/or management.  Think about it, if you had to write down every single piece of food that you put into your body, you'd most likely reconsider that bag of potato chips, or 10 Oreos... haha.  I've started a number of these too, picking up cute notepads from Paper Source and deciding that I'd be one of those people that can maintain a food journal, only to have removed them from my purse one day, never to been seen again. 

A recent post by my friend Mango & Tomato on the Washingtonian Magazine blog got me thinking about trying out a food journal again.  Summer is a time for lots of dinners with friends, happy hours, BBQs, and definitely lots of cold treats and snacks.  Maybe it's a good time to start one up again? 

Have any of you tried to maintain a log of the food you eat, either specific items or maybe in general?  Or I guess members of programs like Weight Watchers are more or less doing this as part of their every day food tracking.  What are your thoughts on food journals?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lunchtime Links for June 22nd, 2011

Happy 2nd Blogiversary to Me!

This year, I didn't forget- haha!

Today marks two years since I started this little blog, and I couldn't be happier with the journey so far!  Through my blog I've tried countless foods, posted tons of links that I just HAD to share with everyone, and became blog (and real) friends with a number of fun people!

THANK YOU! to all of you that read and comment on this blog :o)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lunchtime Links for June 21st, 2011

Foodbuzz - Tostitos Artisan Recipes Chips


A while back I received two bags of Tostitos Artisan recipes tortilla chips, courtesy of Foodbuzz.  Both of the flavors - Roasted Garlic and Black Bean, and Fire-Roasted Chipotle - sounded like flavors that I would buy myself, so I was looking forward to trying these out.  

I really liked both of these tortilla chip flavors, both on their own and with other foods.  The Roasted Garlic and Black Bean, for example, was really tasty crushed on top of salad and soup.  I liked that these chips had strong enough flavors that you didn't have to have a dip to eat these with.  I would recommend these for anyone that's a fan of these flavors, especially for summer parties and BBQs. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lunchtime Links for June 20th, 2011

Japanarama Review- Kit Kat Strawberry Cake

Another new Japanese Kit Kat, woo!  Now, I realize that the picture on the package is never really going to be the real taste of the Kit Kat, but you have to admit - that strawberry cake looks delicious, right??  I LOVE Japanese strawberry shortcake, it's one of my favorite sweets for sure.


These are the regular Japanese snack size, meaning it's a little shorter than the regular Kit Kats that are sold in the US.  They smell strongly of strawberries and white chocolate, and taste like a solid strawberry milk with crispy wafers throughout.  So, it may not taste exactly like a slice of strawberry shortcake, but this flavor was delicious nonetheless :o)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Lunchtime Links for June 17th, 2011

Ben & Jerry's Creme Brulee Ice Cream


Mmmmmmm... creme brulee!  Creme brulee was one of my favorite desserts growing up - it felt all fancy with the delicate shell on top, usually served in a pretty little white ramekin.  I've since found other desserts to obsess over, but creme brulee will always have a special place in my heart.

That being said, I was excited to see this Ben & Jerry's flavor at the supermarket - Sweet custard ice cream with a caramelized sugar swirl? Yes please!

The custard ice cream tasted like French Vanilla ice cream for the most part - not necessarily a bad thing, but didn't really get a full custard effect.  But, BUT, the caramelized sugar swirl... they totally nailed this part!  It tasted just like the crunchy sugary bits on the top of a real creme brulee, down to the slightly burnt flavor.  This was a really great ice cream, and I would buy this again!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lunchtime Links for June 16th, 2011

Whole Foods Strawberry Whoopie Pie

At the new Whole Foods by my apartment, the whoopie pies definitely caught my eye.   Seems like we're seeing these more and more everywhere, don't you think?

I was particularly intrigued by the strawberry whoopie pie, mostly due to the cute pretty pink color, haha.  But I'm also a huge fan of strawberries so I figured it was worth a try.


Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving, especially with cute pastries.  The cake itself was pretty good with a strong strawberry flavor, but it was about 90% cake and 10% frosting.  For me personally, there needs to be a good ratio between the two components for a good whoopie pie.  Also, it felt like this was almost too big - like if it had been all over a little smaller, maybe it would've been more moist and tastier.   I still love whoopie pies, but will probably look elsewhere for my fix!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lunchtime Links for June 15th, 2011

San Francisco Visit - Dinner at Incanto Restaurant

One of the main places on my San Francisco to-do list was Incanto restaurant - I am a huge fan of Chef Chris Cosentino, and pork, yummmmmmm.  He is on a good number of Food Network programs and I've always thought of him as funny and a generally cool guy to hang out with, haha. 


We started off with a nice bread plate.  I really liked the herb-rubbed pieces that you can see in the top of the photo.

We decided to split a few plates, starting with this dish that included asparagus and a soft-boiled egg.  I liked how the soft-boiled egg yolk added extra richness to the greens on the plate.

For our second dish we went with one of the day's specials, which included grilled bread topped with bacon, bacon marmalade, onions, and a fried egg.  This was definitely really rich but super delicious.  It was like breakfast on delicious, delicious steroids.  Each of the components enhanced the others, and it was really fantastic!

For our third dish, we went with a half portion of the handkerchief pasta and rustic pork ragu.  This was a seemingly simple but really delicious plate of pasta, with the slippery noodles catching little bits of pork and sauce- soooooo good!

So obviously the food was fantastic- but the best part was meeting chef Chris Cosentino!  To be honest, I had noticed on Twitter earlier that week that he was in Vegas for an event, and assumed that he would not be in Incanto the night that we were at dinner.  Luckily for me, I literally ran into him expediting dishes on my walk back from the restroom, haha.  He was really nice and chatted with us for a while about the restaurant scene in DC, since he used to live and work there before.  It was a great way to end a delicious dinner - anyone that is a fan of pork (and offal) should come here for sure!

1550 Church Street
San Francisco, CA 94131

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lunchtime Links for June 14th, 2011

San Francisco Visit - Boudin Bakery Breads

Just a few photos from my stroll through Boudin Bakery in San Francisco, I couldn't help but notice all of the cute animal-shaped breads!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lunchtime Links for June 13th, 2011

San Francisco Visit - In-n-Out Burger

Can't have a trip to the West Coast without a visit to In-N-Out Burger!!!

Here we have my burger and K's burger and fries - I love the retro feel of all In-N-Out restaurants, even down to the way the burgers are wrapped up.  Is this the best burger in the world? No, not necessarily, but the ingredients taste fresh, and it's a great choice among fast food burgers.  It also helps that the employees are a far cry from normal surly fast food restaurant employees, haha.

I took this opportunity to order a "secret menu" item- the Neopolitan shake.  Since their shakes come in vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry, ordering it Neopolitan is just a combo of all three, haha.  But what I really liked about this one is that the guy making this for me didn't just layer one flavor on top of another, but rather swirled in each flavor, alternating a little of all three for the shake.  It made for a tasty milkshake for sure! 

The "secret menu" items have long been publicized and are not-so-secret in reality, but it's still fun to order stuff that's technically off the menu.  Serious Eats did a crazy post where they tried every "secret menu" option in one visit, check it out here.

In-N-Out San Francisco
333 Jefferson
San Francisco, CA 94133

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lunchtime Links for June 10th, 2011

Georgetown Cupcake - June Flavors

Georgetown Cupcake's special June cupcakes are Orange Blossom and White Chocolate Raspberry. 

The Orange Blossom cupcake is a "Fresh orange-infused vanilla cupcake with an orange-infused vanilla cream cheese frosting topped with a candied orange peel", and the White Chocolate Raspberry cupcake is a "Classic madagascar bourbon vanilla cupcake baked with fresh raspberries topped with a white chocolate buttercream frosting and a fondant flower". 

Unfortunately I won't be getting any new cupcakes this month because I've already had both of these flavors in the past.  But, for those of you that haven't tried them yet but are interested in doing so, here's the Orange Blossom post, and the White Chocolate Raspberry cupcake post!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lunchtime Links for June 9th, 2011

Georgetown Cupcake - NYC Location

The news broke earlier this week, but of course any news about Georgetown Cupcake has to posted here!

Georgetown Cupcake will be opening their first "out of the DC Metro" store - in NYC!  In SoHo to be exact: 111 Mercer Street.

Now even more people will be able to enjoy (and obsess about) the lovely cupcakes, woo!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lunchtime Links for June 8th, 2011

DC Summer Concert Series + PAUL Picnic

 PHOTO CREDIT: Jason Colston for PAUL USA

I recently received some information from PAUL Bakery in DC that I thought would be worth sharing, about a fun concert series taking place every Tuesday this summer. 

During the duration of the concerts, the bakery will be selling a picnic dinner - what a great idea!  Even if I wasn't going to the concert, I am tempted to pick up one of these picnic dinners for dinner at home, haha. 

Here's the details on the concert and the picnic dinner, for anyone that is interested!

Enjoy a free live concert in front of PAUL Bakery Penn Quarter at the US Navy Memorial every Tuesday from June 7th to August 30th for "Concert on the Avenue" from 8:00pm to 10:00pm.

Come and grab our special PAUL Picnic Dinner to eat outside while listening to music under the stars!

$11.95 for baguette sandwich, cold drink & slice of tarte or macaron!
(Offer available every Tues. night this summer as of 5pm. PAUL will also be open until 9pm on the nights of the concert series.)

PHOTO CREDIT: Jason Colston for PAUL USA


About the US Navy Memorial “Concert on the Avenue” Series:
- Free and open to the public. No RSVP required, but seating is limited.
- Free, live concert performed by the U.S. Navy Band every Tuesday evening June 7-August 30 on the United States Navy Memorial Plaza.  Musical performances include patriotic, country, and rock music + Broadway show tunes.  Select performances also include the Coast Guard Band, a Navy drill team demonstration and a 50-state flag presentation.

- Concerts are subject to last-minute cancellation due to inclement weather. Call (202) 737-2300 for more information.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lunchtime Links for June 7th, 2011

San Francisco Visit - Ice Cream Treats

Two places on my "Can we please go?" list for visiting my friend K in San Francisco turned out to be ice cream places.  But not just any old chain ice creams, obviously- these are two incredibly popular spots in San Francisco, and I couldn't wait to try them!

First up, we tried Bi-Rite Creamery.  When we first arrived, there was a walk-up window with some flavors listed, and I was v. confused, since I had seen this place on tv before and thought it was a real store.  Then I realized that this was their soft serve window only, and the real store was directly next door, haha. 

I really like how they have the flavors written directly on the glass case - I bet it's much easier for them to do this than to have to change a hanging wall sign every day, since their flavor selection seems to change v. frequently.  Plus, it adds a little more of that "homemade" appeal to me. 

There were SO many different flavors I was trying to decide between - I was initially going to go for one of their signature sundaes, but we clearly were eating more the rest of that day, so I went with a single cup, haha.  I finally decided on the earl grey ice cream because I love tea-flavored sweets.  This was really creamy and delicious!  Like a sweet milk tea flavor with an assertive but not overwhelming taste.  I also like their little wooden "spoons", reminds me of the ones you get from the ice cream truck if you ordered something in a cup, haha. 

On another day, I forget what we were talking about initally but I suddenly remembered that I was going to try to find It's-It ice cream sandwiches while I was in San Francisco, since they are pretty much only available in the city or close to it, apparently.  After a little confusion over the name - aka K thought I was going crazy, telling her that I wanted "Itsits" and she had no idea what I was talking about- we looked it up and found that they are sold in most local supermarkets. 

Unfortunately the store we went to was sold out of the original (I'm assuming vanilla ice cream) ones, so we got a box of the Cappuccino flavor. 

First off- these are pretty enormous, haha.  As you can see there is plenty of ice cream sandwiched between the oatmeal cookies!  Despite the fact that I don't like oatmeal cookies I enjoyed this a lot!  Although I think it helped that these oatmeal cookies didn't have raisins in them, which is usually the case with oatmeal-based cookies.  I'm so glad I got to try these!

Our final stop in the ice cream adventure was Humphy Slocombe, which I was also excited to try out. 

I didn't get the Jesus Juice, but I thought it was pretty funny, heh.  They also had a Breakfast ice cream (you can see part of it on the top right of the phone) which included bourbon and corn flakes, haha.

I went with the Vietnamese iced coffee ice cream, which admittedly is not one of the crazier flavors in the context of all of their ice creams, but I still thought it'd be interesting.  It had a v. strong coffee flavor with a hit of sweetness as well.  It's definitely different from regular coffee ice cream!  I would've enjoyed a little bit of texture (maybe some chocolate covered espresso beans) but overall I found it to be an enjoyable cup of ice cream.  

Just as a side note- we did not eat all of these one right after another, it was over the course of a few days.  And we walked a TON in between...really!!  

Bi-Rite Creamery
3692 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

Humphry Slocombe
2790 Harrison St
San Francisco, CA 94110

Monday, June 6, 2011

Lunchtime Links for June 6th, 2011

San Francisco Visit - Ferry Building Marketplace Eats

At the beginning of May, I went out to San Francisco for an extended weekend- thankfully this time around I actually made it there!  I was originally supposed to go out there last fall, but a plane mechanical error resulted in a cancelled trip.  It was probably for the best though, considering that the fall weekend turned out to be rainy and gross the whole time, and I had great weather on this trip! 

There will be a few food posts from my trip (obvi), but I wanted to break it down into a few posts: this one will focus mainly on the Ferry Building Marketplace, where I spent a good portion of one of my days since it was close to where my friend K works.   

First stop: Boccalone, which is a haven for pork lovers like myself.  K and I were going to Incanto for dinner while I was visiting as well, so I thought of this as a nice little preview. 


I went for the famous Salumi Cone with the day's selection of three meats all neatly placed into a paper cone.  Yum! 

Then, I walked around the rest of the market to check out the other shops.  The market wasn't as big as I remembered it (to be fair I was probably around 10 or so when I was last here, haha), so I wound up taking a few laps around, checking out each shop and taking in what they each had to offer.

While we have a Cowgirl Creamery in DC, it was still fun to see them in California, a little closer to home for them :o)  They had a great sandwich and snack menu, including a milk bar!

I also looked around the Scharffen Berger shop- I wanted to take everything with me!!  But I stuck with just getting one salted caramel chocolate- v. rich and smooth.

I kept coming back to the Miette shop because the cakes and everything looked lovely, and they had really cute decorations that I loved- think pastel cake stands, charming packaging, v. girly overall.

K and I split a strawberry cupcake, which looked v. pretty but didn't really "wow" me per se.  I enjoyed the fluffy frosting that had a great taste to it, but the cake tasted like a dry, heavy poundcake, which I didn't really like.  Maybe I should've tried one of their many other cute desserts instead.  

The Ferry Building Marketplace has a lot to look at and tons of options if you are hungry- they also have a farmers market just outside of the building, which I caught the tail end of when I was there.  It's a great place for good eats and food gifts!

Ferry Building Marketplace
One Ferry Building
San Francisco, California 94111

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lunchtime Links for June 3rd, 2011

Bakerella's Chocolate Chip Cookies

My contribution to the dessert meetup swap was Bakerella's chocolate chip cookies.  I was in the mood for something classic and relatively easy to bring, and this recipe seemed to fit the bill.

I used half of a bag of the Scharffen Berger baking chunks that I had recently won, and if I had stuck with just those, these cookies would've been great.  However, two issues made these cookies a bit of a hot mess:

1- What the heck was I thinking when I spooned out the cookie dough?  I definitely should've made them a little bit smaller and I still would've had the size I was looking for.  These were just awkwardly huge haha. 

2- Unfortunately the 2nd half of the chocolate chips came in the form of Trader Joe's baking discs/callets.  Which would've been great if they had not been the UNSWEETENED kind.  Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  V. different from the lovely Scharffen Berger chocolate chunks, to say the least. 

Both of these disasters aside, the cookie dough was really delicious and I would absolutely use the dough recipe again for any cookie recipe.  Hopefully the next time I make these, I will be far far away from any unsweetened chocolate!  My apologies to the ladies at the last dessert meetup for having to take home my weird-tasting cookies!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lunchtime Links for June 2nd, 2011

Medium Rare Restaurant, DC

M and I were pretty pumped to try out Medium Rare, a new restaurant in Cleveland Park.  What makes this place stand out from other restaurants is the lack of menu items - their main dinner option is steak frites, with bread and salad.  The steak frites are offered in two separate portions, so it feels like you're getting a ton of food for the price.  They do offer a vegetarian option but for the most part, people are here for the meat, haha.

Ordering your meal is much quicker than at regular restaurants- since we already knew we were here for the steak haha.  We started things off with some nice warm crusty bread and soft butter.

Then, the salad course- this was cold and crispy, dressed lightly with what seemed to be a mustard-based vinegarette.  Nothing fancy but it was a tasty plate of greens.

And here we have my first plate of steak, with their steak sauce ladled on top.  I had asked for medium rare but these were more of a medium well cut - no matter, the steak was great, especially with the sauce.  The bread was also excellent for mopping up the extra sauce. 

Where are the frites? You may be asking.  Well, one thing I've cut out of my diet this year is fries (sometimes I literally won't stop eating them for days on end, it was getting dangerous, haha).  I requested no frites with my steak, and our server kindly offered me another serving of salad, or fruit salad (which they serve during brunch on the weekends) in place of the frites.

I went with the fruit salad, and it was the usual mix of canteloupe, honeydew melon, red grapes, and pineapple.  It was a large goblet filled with fruit, a nice option to have - although it may not be available every day (we were here on a Sunday). 

And here we have my second plate of steak, yum.  As you can see this one is much more on the rare end than my first plate - I liked this plate even more than the first as a result, haha.  I do have to mention that people shouldn't go here expecting two full-sized steaks for $20.  Instead, it's more like one large-ish serving of steak that is split into two servings for you.  It's not like I wanted more steak or anything, but I think people need to have their expectations in line before coming here thinking it's going to be an all-you-can-eat steak feast or something, haha.   

Overall M and I enjoyed our dinner very much and thought everything was delicious.  We didn't have any room for dessert- but I have heard that their dessert portions are enormous and great for sharing.  I think it's an interesting concept for a restaurant and a low-key neighborhood spot.  This place would be especially good for indecisive eaters that happen to love steak, haha.

Medium Rare
3500 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20008
Reservations are available on Open Table for 5:00pm and 10:00pm

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lunchtime Links for June 1st, 2011

Shake Shack's June Custard Calendar

Happy June, everyone!  As some of you may know, I have been eagerly awaiting Shake Shack's June custard calendar, with hopes that there'd be some big winners in the lineup.

They did not disappoint!!

Monday-  Boston Cream Pie
Tuesday- Raspberry Granola Crunch
Wednesday- Strawberry Cheesecake
Thursday- Black Raspberry
Friday- Honey Roasted Peanut
Saturday- Coffee & Donuts
Sunday- Banana Bread
I am especially looking forward to the Boston Cream Pie and Coffee & Donuts flavors, but I would probably gladly try them all, let's be honest.  What flavor(s) would you all like to try first?