Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lunchtime Links for August 31st, 2010

Quick Announcement

ONE WEEK UNTIL THE LADY GAGA CONCERT IN DC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That is all.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lunchtime Links for August 30th, 2010

Love, Love, Love: Ray's Hell Burger Too

Mmmmmmmmmmm....meat.  I've loved Ray's Hell Burger since it opened, but love it even more now that they offer table service at Ray's Hell Burger Too, woo!  Makes things a little less hectic, especially when the lines get really long and you feel like you have no idea when your order is ready/where you can sit/etc. 

I ordered my usual- the Mack burger: medium rare, with cheese, mack sauce, pickles, onions (which I forgot to request off, so normally it'd be sans onions, FYI, haha), and extra mack and piranha sauce (the green cup on the plate).  I also ordered sweet potato fries since the last time I'd been to Ray's was pre-french fries availability.  The burger was delicious as usual, cooked just the way I wanted, and the addition of the piranha sauce made it extra super delicious.  The sweet potato fries were good but honestly nothing special.  I'm glad I got them but they weren't groundbreaking or anything.  Overall a fantastic dinner and the photo is making me hungry as I'm writing this, haha!

Ray's Hell Burger Too
1713 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lunchtime Links for August 27th, 2010

Georgetown Cupcake - Cherry Cheesecake

This Cherry Cheesecake from Georgetown Cupcake is the other monthly flavor for August, meaning you have a few days to go and get it (sorry for the delay, haha).  The online menu calls this a "Fresh cherry and mascarpone cheese cupcake topped with a vanilla icing and a fondant flower.".  However, I'd have to respectfully disagree with the accuracy of their description.  My "cupcake" was literally like a mini-cheesecake, complete with a crumbly graham-crackery crust on the bottom.  Now unless I got some rando-test cupcake, it made this "cupcake" more like just a cheesecake in a cupcake wrapper.  Not complaining, just observing- I actually liked the addition of the crust on the bottom, made for a nice textural contrast with the rest of the soft cake/frosting.  The cherry-ness wasn't really present in this one, which turns out to be a good thing since I dont' like cherries, haha.  Overall I'd say this was an interesting and unique monthly flavor- cute little mini cheesecake with a poof of their yummy vanilla frosting- can't go wrong with that!  

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lunchtime Links for August 26th, 2010

    Georgetown Cupcake: Ginger Peach Cupcake

    Behold, one of the new-new (as in not a repeat from previous years) monthly flavors, the Ginger Peach cupcake from Georgetown Cupcake. This cupcake consists of: "Classic madagascar bourbon vanilla cupcake baked with fresh peaches and topped with a ginger-infused vanilla frosting and a fondant flower". I wasn't really sure what to make of this flavor since ginger can be somewhat polarizing to the general population, plus I'm not a huge fruit + cream flavors person to begin with. 

    Overall, this cupcake was v. light and v. tasty.  However, maybe it was just a fluke cupcake, but I couldn't really taste any discernable ginger or peach flavor from it.  It sorta tasted like a regular vanilla cupcake with a whiff of fruit, seriously.  Maybe my specific scoop of batter missed any larger chunks of fresh peaches, so it didn't really taste particularly peach-y?  Who knows.  It did taste a little fruity though so it was good enough for me, haha. If you're interested in trying out this flavor, go now, because it's only available through August (along with the Cherry Cheesecake flavor). 

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for August 25th, 2010

    Qdoba's Fighting Burrito Boredom

    I came across this via Qdoba's Facebook page, and thought it was funny and an interesting marketing tactic.  Also, I love Qdoba, so I wanted to share this with you all. 

    The site is called Food Lovers Fighting Burrito Boredom, and it's a group designed to diagnose and treat boring burrito sufferers, haha.  I built my boredom-fighting meal and got a coupon for 50% off my entree purchase, woo!  Check out the site if there's a Qdoba by you, definitely worth it for a discounted (or possibly free) meal!

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for August 24th, 2010

    Bourbon Steak Pork Party, 08.01.2010

    Earlier this month S, D, and I headed over to Bourbon Steak in Georgetown for "Pork Party 2010", a celebration of all thing piggly-wiggly, haha.  Getting into the event to eat took a little while, but once we were in, the food was faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaantastic!  Plenty of yummy food to go around, and the rain finally cleared up by the time the event started, woo!  I took a few food photos so you have an idea of what we gorged on, haha.  Check out the posts from Brightest Young Things and Examiner for more details and photos from the event.  Hope you enjoy the photos! 

    Porkeos- chocolate cookies made with lard and filled with whipped lard icing.  Sounds weird but v. tasty.

    Buffet line for the food.

    Left plate: Grilled corn with pimento and blue cheese butter; Bourbon bacon potato salad.  Right plate: Country macaroni and cheese; Roasted pork, Bratwurst.


    Some of the passed desserts: Piggy cupcakes, Peach cobbler, more Porkeos.


    My Piggy cupcake had a v. indifferent/kinda sad face, haha. 

    Finally, homemade ice cream with candied bacon sprinkles!!! SO SO good!!

    Monday, August 23, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for August 23rd, 2010

    Georgetown Cupcake TLC Trivia Prize!

    One of my greatest wins yet- a free box of Georgetown Cupcakes shipped to my apartment, courtesy of TLC via Twitter!  I was v. excited, not only for the cupcakes, but also to see firsthand how they ship cupcakes, since clearly I'd wouldn't ever have to get a box shipped myself (I can be lazy, but not THAT lazy).  Thank you TLC for having a great trivia contest! 

    So, in case you were also curious, here's the breakdown of how a dozen cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake gets shipped to people nationwide:

    Cute pink shipping box with the "cupcake" patterns throughout.

    Love this, haha.

    A note on how best to enjoy the cupcakes/allergy information.  Basically- stay away if you're allergic to nuts.  Also, the whole inside box is wrapped in silver bubble wrap.

    The inside box.  A little damp, from the ice packs that were surrounding it.

    Inside box (opened): Clamshell container with individual placeholders for each cupcake.

    And finally, the cupcakes! 

    Top Row: Vanilla & Chocolate, Vanilla Squared, Chocolate & Vanilla, Lemon Blossom.
    Middle Row: Red Velvet, Chocolate Squared, Toffee Crunch, PB Fudge (or Chocolate PB Chip, since they both look the same on the outside, and someone else ate it so I don't know, haha).
    Bottom Row: Carrot, Strawberry, Chocolate Cubed, Coconut

    Initial impressions: I like that each cupcake is in its individual "holder" especially so that different frostings don't smash together.  I also like the use of what appears to be lollipop sticks stuck in the middle of each cupcake, for further stabilizing during transport.  What didn't turn out so great are the cupcakes in the top row, haha.  As you can see most of their respective frostings smashed into the sides of the clamshell container at some point in its travels.  If these weren't free and I was buying them for a party, I would've been upset since they did look pretty friggin ugly, haha.  However, these were free and clearly there's no change to the taste of the cupcakes, so no complaints from me!  Just might be something to keep in mind in case anyone reading this wanted to ship a ton to a wedding or a special party of some sort.

    Friday, August 20, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for August 20th, 2010

    Georgetown Cupcake: DC Cupcakes Chocolate Chip cupcake

    Mmmmmm...CHOCOLATE!  This cupcake really should be called Chocolate Chocolate Chip since it's all chocolate - frosting, cake, and chocolate chips inside the cake.  Not that I'm complaining, just a technicality, haha.  This would be a great cupcake for their regular rotation; I love the addition of the chocolate chips for texture and extra chocolate-ness :o) 

    ....this might be the most times I've written "chocolate" in a single post, haha.

    Thursday, August 19, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for August 19th, 2010

    We're Gonna Party Like It's (MY) Birthday

    If I told you that I was one of those people that doesn't like to make a big deal about their birthdays, I'd be telling you a BIG FAT LIE, basically.  But since I can only say so much about my birthday (I'm really not that interesting, haha), I'd like to take this day to discuss some of my favorite birthday moments from tv shows:

    - Lauren gets a surprise party for her birthday, which consists of her being trapped on a boat with her ex-BFF Heidi. (The Hills)
    - Homer gives Marge a bowling ball for her birthday, with "HOMER" engraved on it. (The Simpsons)
    - Instead of giving her the weekend off like she had requested, Jeff commissions an unflattering oil painting of Zoila, his housekeeper, and gives her that for her birthday. (Flipping Out)
    - Lauren gives Heidi a friggin Chanel handbag for her birthday (WANT). (The Hills, pre-Speidi)
    - On Meg's 17th birthday, Peter and Lois don't remember her age. (Family Guy)
    - Bart sings a "Happy Birthday" duet with "Michael Jackson" for Lisa. (The Simpsons)
    - Jessica gets Nick a monthly keg supply of Miller Lite for his birthday. (Newlyweds)
    - Michael tries to sing harmony to "Happy Birthday". (The Office)

    Any TV birthday moments that you guys like?

    Wednesday, August 18, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for August 18th, 2010

    Georgetown Cupcake: DC Cupcakes Banana Split Cupcake

    When my lovely friend E was visiting from NYC, we were fortunate to get two days of unique Georgetown Cupcake free flavors- the first being the Lemon Coconut, and the second being the Banana Split Cupcake.  When I saw the Facebook post announcing the Banana Split cupcake, it immediately stumped me.  Sure, a banana flavor in there is expected, as is some sort of fudge component, but I really wasn't sure what it was going to consist of. 

    Apparently, it means EVERYTHING, even possibly the kitchen sink, haha. 

    From what I could see, this consisted of: banana cake, vanilla frosting, fudge flower, toffee candy crumbles, round rainbow sprinkles, candied nuts, and a fondant "DC cupcakes" logo precariously placed on top of allllllllllll that.  Holy rediculousness, Batman!  Did the staff have "bring your child to work day" in order to make this cupcake?     


    (*in infomercial voice*) Oh wait, but that's not all!  There was also an ooey gooey fudge core in the middle of the cupcake (as illustrated by E and her cupcake splitting skills, haha). 

    Now, from all that I just said above, it might seem like I hated the cupcake.  I didn't, I thought it was super yummy, but just really overwhelming, especially compared to Georgetown Cupcake's other (simpler) flavors, haha.  I mean I get that a Banana Split/sundae in real life has a bunch of components, and that's why this cupcake came out this way, but it was just so out of left field to me, haha.  I'm happy that they had a totally new and original flavor as a free one though, definitely fun to try out!  

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for August 17th, 2010

    Georgetown Cupcake: DC Cupcake and Lemon Blossom Cupcakes

    Sorry for the delay, since by now the TLC program "DC Cupcakes" about Georgetown Cupcake is over, haha.  However I think TLC is showing reruns still, so check it out if you get a chance.  Anyway, on this particular day, Georgetown Cupcake was celebrating the premiere day with special DC Cupcakes for free all day!  I also used the Daily Candy code for an extra free cupcake that day, so I picked up the Lemon Blossom, woohoo!

    First, the Lemon Blossom cupcake.  It's a "light lemon cupcake with a lemon cream cheese frosting topped with a candied lemon".  If you're a fan of fruity, non-chocolate cupcake flavors, this is a great option for you.  A great balance of tart and sweet, with fresh lemon zest throughout to make it extra pretty.  Sure this cupcake is probably just as bad for you as a chocolate-based cupcake, but it doesn't "feel" as rich, if that makes any difference, haha. 


    The DC Cupcakes cupcake was pretty much their regular chocolate cake with colored vanilla buttercream frosting, topped with round sprinkles (a la their Birthday cupcakes) and a fondant "DC Cupcakes" logo on top.  Taste-wise it wasn't anything new, but v. cute and a fun way to celebrate the premiere of the show!

    Monday, August 16, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for August 16th, 2010

    Nudo Olive Oil Prize Pack

    A while back I entered a PARADE magazine contest, with the prize being a Nudo gift box.  I was extra excited when I found out I won, because a while back I actually had a year subscription to a Nudo olive tree, so I already like their olive oil and was excited to try some of their other products.

    Pretty box, huh?


    What made this prize really great is that it's a spicy-theme gift box, woo!  The box consists of: A package of Italian penne, a jar of Sweet chili jam, and two canisters of Extra virgin olive oil with chillies.  Yum yum yum!  I'm not sure what to use the sweet chili jam with yet, but hopefully the little recipe book will be able to guide me, haha.  If anyone has ideas for how I can use the chili oil and/or jam, let me know!

    Friday, August 13, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for August 13th, 2010

    The Liberty Tavern (Arlington, VA): Monday Picnic Dinner

    A few friends and I recently tried out The Liberty Tavern's $15 Picnic Dinner, which is currently being held every Monday evening.  The main course is fried chicken, with a rotating selection of sides to accompany the chicken.  Yummmmmm fried chicken.

    I started out with a drink called the Pursuit of Happiness: Smirnoff Vodka, Pineapple, Strawberry, Basil, Lemon, Up.  V. summery and a refreshing start to the meal!

    And here we have this particular night's Picnic Dinner: Fried chicken, biscuit, gravy, green beans with bacon, and mashed potatoes.  The chicken seemed to be pan-fried, like how you can in a cast-iron skillet, vs. deep-frying.  It was therefore less crunchy than what I expected (I like SUPER crunchy fried chicken outsides) but there was a lot of flavor in the chicken, and went really well with the side dishes. 


    I wasn't really planning on getting dessert, but once I heard that Red Velvet Cake ice cream was on the menu, I couldn't NOT order it!  Creamy ice cream mixed in with chunks of red velvet cake- this reminded me of a nicer Coldstone-esque mix-in ice cream, haha.  So good!

    Overall a great meal with friends - if you have been considering/hearing about the Monday Picnic Dinner, I'd definitely recommend trying it out before the end of the summer.  $15 for an entree here is definitely a good deal!

    The Liberty Tavern
    3195 Wilson Boulevard
    Arlington, VA 22201
    703.465.9360 // On Opentable

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for August 12th, 2010

    essie St. Lucia Lilac Nail Polish


    I normally tend to stick with pretty neutral colors of nail polish, pretty much because I'm lazy and neutral colors don't show as much when they start chipping, haha.  However, I was drawn to this essie St. Lucia Lilac color because it was an unique shade of purple without being too crazy.  Plus, I found it at Bed Bath and Beyond, so I could buy it with a 20% off coupon, woo!

    I've tried this shade for both a manicure and a pedicure - while both looked great on, I'm finding that I like it better as a pedicure shade.  It takes a few coats (I think I did three) for it to get that fully opaque look, and lasted much longer as a pedicure.  I really like this shade also because it makes your skin look tanner against it, haha.  I'd definitely recommend this polish as a fun summer "sherbert"-y theme color!

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for August 11th, 2010

    The Copper Pot: Smoky Bacon and Parmesan Sauce

    I picked up a jar of The Copper Pot Food Company's Smoky Bacon and Parmesan Cheese sauce from their stand at the Dupont Farmers' Market a while back. Bacon, cheese, and tomato? Count me in!
    I used this sauce on two separate occasions. The first dinner was just the sauce, heated up, with some pasta. The smokiness of the bacon really stands out above any other flavors. I love me some bacon, but I found it a little overwhelming, even for me. Otherwise, it's a thick, really rich sauce that I enjoyed.
    The second time around, I found it to be much more successful. I sauteed diced carrots and green pepper first, then added the sauce to simmer before adding to the cooked pasta. The carrots added a little sweetness, and both the carrots and green pepper added texture and a little mildness to balance out the strong bacon flavor.

    In any event, I'm happy that I got to try this oft-praised sauce, and would like to try out some of their other products for sure. As far as this sauce, I could totally see it being a fantastic sauce for meatballs or on top of a meatloaf, yum!

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for August 10th, 2010

    Georgetown Cupcake: Lemon Berry Cupcake

    There are few (if any) negative things I could say about Georgetown Cupcake's cupcakes.  They are so adorable, delicious, and hands down my favorite cupcakery in the area.

    However, I just can't let this one cupcake flavor slide, as much as I'd like to.

    Behold, the Lemon Berry cupcake: 


    WHAT. THE. F. 

    No need to adjust your computer screen settings- the cupcake is THAT bright in real life, if not brighter.  This neon atrocity reminds me of a) the 80's; b) Play-doh; and c) Pepto-Bismol on steroids.  It is so so so so so so so so so bright and odd-looking, especially in the store, standing alongside all of the other cupcake flavors. 

    Taste-wise, the cupcake is like a berry lemonade- sufficiently tart and light.  Unfortunately, the neon frosting got to me so much that I couldn't really eat much of this cupcake.  Suffice to say I wouldn't be trying this again, because I just can't get the idea of eating hot pink Play-doh out of my head.  Fortunately there are tons of other Georgetown Cupcakes that I am happy to spend my calorie intake on :o) 

    Monday, August 9, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for August 9th, 2010

    Review: Co.Co. Sala Brunch

    M and I made plans to meet up at Co.Co. Sala for brunch one Sunday afternoon, mainly so we could use up a 1/2-price coupon gift card for the restaurant.  As it turns out, it was also a good chance for us to check out their non-dinner menu, seeing as we've both only ever been there after work/later on the weekends.

    Dark Frozen Co Co

    I really wanted to try all of the hot chocolate flavors, but finally decided on just one, the Dark Chocolate Frozen Co Co.  This was soooooooooooooo good.  Smooth, cold, and creamy, with tons of chocolate shavings on top to nibble on.   I definitely want to try the Salted Caramel or the Peanut Butter one next time!

    Amuse of the Day

    Since M ordered from the prix-fixe menu, her meal started out with this amuse...which I now cannot remember what it was, even though they told us what it was.  I think it was some sort of doughnut/fritter with cinnamon and chopped walnuts on top.  V. cute and M seemed to like it.

    Tomato Burrata Basil Salad

    I got an order of the Tomato Burrata Basil Salad, which I've also enjoyed during dinners here also.  I love all the different types of tomatoes in this dish, paired with the creamy Burrata cheese, yumm.  Simple flavors that rely heavily on fresh ingredients to really shine. 

    Hotcake Obsession

    The Hotcake Obsession consists of: citrus ricotta pancakes, white chocolate lemon cream, berry compote, and caramel passion fruit sauce.  I had a bite of this and really enjoyed the pancakes.  Light and citrusy, not heavy like you'd expect from a regular pancake.  Ricotta pancakes should be an option at every breakfast-serving restaurant, I say.

    Grown-up Grilled Cheese

    M also got an order of the Grown-up Grilled Cheese, which consists of: truffle-scented brioche, cheddar cheese, roasted tomato soup, and a cheese fritter.  I didn't try any of this but it was definitely a cute play on grilled cheese and tomato soup- presentation was fitting with the other menu items, but still familiar taste-wise.

    Some More Creme Brulee

    Finally, the brunch prix-fixe menu came with a dessert - I believe this is the Some More Creme Brulee: chocolate creme brulee, toasted marshmallow, and graham crumble.  I loooooooved the toasted marshmallows- so so so good!  


    One of the managers stopped by to say hello, and gave both of us a chocolate bar before we left.  This was great to have as a snack at work later that week!  

    Side note: You may be wondering why it appears that I only had tomatoes and cheese to eat during this brunch.  Pretty doubtful that you'd think that I was some sort of dainty/light eater by this point, based on my previous posts.  Believe me, if I could've eaten more, I definitely would've.  As it turns out, I had double-booked myself on this particular Sunday, so I came to this brunch at Co.Co. Sala literally hours after the Four Seasons Blogger Brunch.   Needless to say, I definitely went to the gym and didn't eat anything else that night, that's for sure.  I don't regret it for a second though, it was an awesome eating day- haha!

    Friday, August 6, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for August 6th, 2010

    Againn - Rockville Pre-Opening Mock Dinner

    J was nice enough to invite me along with her friends to a pre-opening dinner at the Againn Tavern- Rockville location (the original is in downtown DC).  I have not yet been to the DC location so I was excited to check out the restaurant, since this one is v. close to me.  

    This won't be a really formal/extensive review, since technically the restaurant wasn't really open for business at the time.  Since it was a pre-opening, it was expected that there would still be some things that needed work.   Service from our server was somewhat indifferent and scattered, and I felt like overall it could've gone more smoothly.  We repeatedly had to ask for new silverware (taken away with each course but new ones were not brought over), water refills, stuff like that.  On one hand, that's what these pre-opening events are for (to work on these service errors), but on the other hand, you'd hope that by this point the servers would be sufficiently trained to handle most issues.  

    Anyway, those issues aside, the food was good enough that I'd like to try it again, especially now that the restaurant has been open for some time.  It's always nice to have a new option in the Rockville Pike area, which is more or less overrun with chain restaurants.  The gastropub menu concept is a welcome change from the typical food in the area.  The highlights for me included the prawn cocktail (cute presentation) and the Banoffee Pie dessert (delicious).  I'd like to try some of their other menu items as they all sounded pretty interesting.  

    So for now, just some photos to give you an idea of the food they serve here :o)

    Just as a side note: Our meal (excluding drinks) was free of charge, due to it being a pre-opening invitation.   

    One section of the menu

    Steamed mussels

    Side order of chips

    Fried green tomatoes

    Prawn cocktail

    MD crab and cod cake sandwich

    Roasted Chicken

    Shrimp and grits

    Chocolate pecan caramel tart

    Banoffee pie

    Againn Tavern- Rockville
    12256 Rockville Pike
    Rockville, MD 20852 301.230.9260

    Thursday, August 5, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for August 5th, 2010

    Love, Love, Love: Pretzel M&Ms

    These pretzel M&Ms are the newest in the M&M franchise, and definitely worth all of the hype I've seen/heard about them.  Pretzels and chocolate go hand in hand- if you're a fan of salty/sweet combos, these are the perfect M&Ms for you!

    Size-wise they're about the same size as a peanut M&M, but a little more round (Peanut ones tend to be egg-shaped).  It's basically a round pretzel nugget surrounded by a chocolate M&M.  Super crunchy and delicious!  My only complaint is that there aren't enough in each snack bag!  If you've seen these around or have been curious about them, definitely grab a bag and try them out yourself- such a great afternoon snack!

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for August 4th, 2010

    Giveaway Winner - "Georgia's Kitchen" by Jenny Nelson

    Thank you to everyone who entered my book giveaway!  It was very fun reading all of your comments - definitely made me super hungry!

    I used Random.org to pick a winner; drumroll please...

    Comment #2, Ashley, whose favorite Italian/Italian-American dish is: "Top of the line pizza (any toppings as long as it is GOOD pizza :) )"

    Congratulations Ashley! Hope you enjoy the book!

    If anyone's still interested in the book, don't forget that you can still purchase the book this week and enter for a great gift basket!  Here's the information on entering that contest.

    Thanks again to everyone for entering and sharing all of your favorite yummy Italian foods!

    Tuesday, August 3, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for August 3rd, 2010

    "Georgia's Kitchen" Giveaway - Update

    A quick update to yesterday's "Georgia Kitchen" book giveaway, courtesy of Booksparks PR:

    "When you order Georgia’s Kitchen by Jenny Nelson the week of the book’s release (Aug 3-6th), and email your receipt (jennynelsonauthor@gmail.com), you’ll be entered to win this fantastic giveaway. A basket full of books, magazines and foodie goodies:
    Everyday Italian by Giada DeLaurentiis
    After You by Julie Buxbaum
    Super in the City by Daphne Uviller
    She’s Gone Country and Flirting with Forty by Jane Porter
    Girls in Trucks and Men and Dogs by Katie Crouch
    I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci
    Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
    A one year subscription to the food magazine of your choice (Food and Wine; Bon Appetit, Fine Cooking or Everyday with Rachael Ray)
    A $50 gift certificate to Crate & Barrel"
    What an awesome giveaway, right?  I totally wish that I could enter myself, so much good stuff in that gift basket!  A great option if you're interested in buying the book for yourself or as a gift :o) Good luck!
    Don't forget, you have until 8:00PM EST to enter to win here!

    Monday, August 2, 2010

    Lunchtime Links for August 2nd, 2010

    Giveaway- "Georgia's Kitchen" by Jenny Nelson

    A few weeks ago, I was offered the opportunity to combine my love of books and food, via an advanced copy of author Jenny Nelson's debut novel: Georgia's Kitchen.  The press release I received from the Booksparks PR company describes the story much better than I could, so here goes:

    (cover image also courtesy of Booksparks PR)
    "Talented chef Georgia Gray, 33, has everything a woman could want—the top job at one of Manhattan’s best restaurants, a posse of smart and savvy gal pals who never let her down, and a platinum-set, cushion-cut diamond engagement ring courtesy of Glenn, the handsome entertainment lawyer who Georgia’s overbearing mother can’t wait for her to marry. The table is set for the ambitious bride-to-be until a scathing restaurant review destroys her reputation. To add salt to her wounds, Glenn suddenly calls off the wedding.
    Brokenhearted, Georgia escapes to the Italian countryside, where she sharpens her skills at a trattoria run by a world-class chef who seems to have it all—a devoted lover, a magnificent villa, and most importantly, a kitchen of her own. Georgia quells her longings with Italy’s delectable offerings: fine wine, luscious cheeses, cerulean blue skies, and irresistible Gianni, an expert in the vineyard and the bedroom. So when Gianni tempts Georgia to stay in Italy with an offer no sane top chef could refuse, why can’t she say yes?
    An appetite for something more looms large in Georgia’s heart – the desire to run her own restaurant in the city she loves. But having left New York with her career in flames, she’ll need to stir up more than just courage if she’s to realize her dreams and find her way home."
    This is a great debut novel by author Jenny Nelson - seamlessly combining my love of food and chick-lit-type light reading in one story.  I especially liked the depictions of the restaurant business, particularly as it relates to women in the industry.  Georgia's passion for food and cooking is v. clear throughout, and made me crave Italian food with every chapter I finished, haha.  And let's be honest, I think lots of us have at least considered traveling (or making another type of Big change in our lives) to seek out what else is out there for us, at least at one point or another.  I really liked how the story developed around Georgia and her circle of family and friends, as they related to the ups and downs of her life.  
    And now- for the really fun part!  Not only did Booksparks PR provide me with a copy of the book (out tomorrow, August 3rd), but they also have offered to send a copy to one of YOU, my lovely blog readers, woo!  
    Here are the rules:
    • Enter to win one (1) new copy of Georgia's Kitchen by commenting to this post and telling me your favorite Italian/Italian-American dish.  FYI, because you're clearly dying to know, my long-time favorite is Linguine with (White) Clam Sauce, yum.
    • Giveaway will run from 10:00AM August 2nd - 8:00PM August 3rd (Eastern Standard Time).
    • Winner will be chosen at random and notified via e-mail (so please make sure there is a valid e-mail address attached to your entry, haha).  The winner's name will be announced on my blog later this week (pending winner verification).
    • One entry per person, please.
    • This giveaway is valid to residents of the US and Canada only. 
    Good luck!