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?

    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