Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lunchtime Links for February 28th, 2013

Georgetown Cupcake - Baby Blue Vanilla and Baby Pink Vanilla Cupcakes

This post serves as a reminder (to myself) that thinking that you blogged about something doesn't always mean you actually did in real life, haha.  A looooong time ago I got these baby themed cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake for my friend T's unofficial DC baby shower.  Since they did not know the sex of their baby, I got an assortment of both pink and blue fondant toppers in various animal shapes.  With any special orders, fondant toppers are offered at no extra charge, which is a nice bonus. 

Also included in the cupcake assortment are the Baby Blue Vanilla (bottom left) and Baby Pink (top center) cupcakes, which are special order only.  Both the Baby Blue and Baby Pink Vanilla cupcakes are "tinted traditional sweet vanilla buttercream frosting on a Madagascar bourbon vanilla cupcake".  Taste-wise these are not that different from the regular Vanilla Squared cupcakes (just buttercream frosting instead of cream cheese frosting), but I did want to share these to show how cute their baby-themed cupcakes are :o) 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lunchtime Links for February 27th, 2013

Shake Shack - Dark Hot Chocolate + Shack-ago Dog

What the whaaaaaat - NO custard on a visit to Shake Shack?!

Yes, it's true, a rare occasion for me for sure.  On this particular night, I had already tried the custard flavor of the day on a previous trip, so I decided to try out the dark hot chocolate instead.  According to their Facebook page, "Our Shack-made hot chocolate features a blend of bittersweet dark chocolates, fresh milk & cream".  This was a warm, rich, delicious cup of chocolatey goodness on a cold winter night.  

In addition to the hot chocolate, I tried out the Shack-ago dog for the first time.  As you may have guessed, this is Shake Shack's version of a Chicago hot dog: "Dragged through the garden with Rick's Picks Shack relish, onion, cucumber, pickle, tomato, sport pepper, celery salt and mustard".  Despite my general dislike of mustard and raw onions, I figured I should try it out as intended, at least for my first taste test.  Basically, it tasted like eating a salad on top of a hot dog, but in a good way, haha.  I actually liked how all of the other fresh ingredients contrasted with the snappy hot dog and toasted bun, but after the first two bites it was a little hard to eat with all of the toppings.  I don't think this hot dog will result in me giving up my beloved burgers here, but it was a tasty little detour for one trip :o)   

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lunchtime Links for February 26th, 2013

Cooking Light - Cookbook Prize

This post goes to show that you really have to play to win!  A few months ago when I was flipping through Cooking Light magazine, I noticed a little quiz/contest by the table of contents and figured it wouldn't hurt to send an email to enter.

Well, as luck would have it, I was one of the winners of the contest, and received all four of these Cooking Light cookbooks!!!

- The New Way to Cook Light
- Cooking Light Complete Meals in Minutes
- Cooking Light Big Book of Salad
- Cooking Light Real Family Food

I have already started reading through all of these cookbooks and I am very excited to use them all! I've been a big fan of Cooking Light magazine and their recipes for a while now, and it's great to have so many new ideas for meals at home. Thank you Cooking Light for an awesome prize!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Lunchtime Links for February 25th, 2013

Jeni's - Sweet Potato with Torched Marshmallows Ice Cream

As soon as I saw this lovely pint of ice cream in Whole Foods, I snatched it up faster than you can say "Torched Marshmallows", haha.  Normally the Whole Foods by me carries only a handful of Jeni's ice cream flavors, but I was really happy to see this seasonal Sweet Potato with Torched Marshmallows ice cream, yum.  

You may be thinking, "Sweet potatoes in ice cream? Gross."  Well rest assured, this ice cream was sweet, rich, and all-around delicious.  I mean, if we can have pumpkin ice cream, we can certainly wrap our heads around a sweet potato ice cream, right? The torched marshmallows were definitely the highlight of this ice cream - the caramelized marshmallow bits were amazing!  Once again, a wonderful holiday-centric ice cream flavor from Jeni's! 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Lunchtime Links for February 22nd, 2013

Daikaya DC - Shoyu Ramen

Last Friday evening O and I checked out the ramen section of Daikaya in DC.  Fun fact - I was born in Hokkaido, Japan, which is where the Sapporo-style ramen that Daikaya serves originates from.  

...Aside from that, I had no idea what Sapporo-style ramen entailed because I don't recall ever having Sapporo ramen in Japan growing up haha. 

I really liked the fun striped walls and minimalist lighting in the space, and it was packed with hungry ramen-lovers.  Luckily we snagged two shared counter stools right before a rush of people that came in after us.  

Aside from the four types of ramen (left side of the photo above), there were a number of additional toppings (red section on the bottom right, upside down), a side of gyoza (pork dumplings), and a few drinks as well.  

Shoyu Ramen ($11.75)

I ordered the Shoyu ramen: Soy sauce ramen: pork, beef, & chicken stock / 1 slice chashu (roast pork), 1/2 nitamago (soy marinated egg), bean sprouts, ground pork, nori, scallions).  I didn't make any additions or changes to the ramen on the menu, and I was really happy with what I got.  The broth was super flavorful and rich without tasting greasy.  Lots of times you'll get a slick of oil pooling on the top of the broth, but this had none of that excess oil at all.  The egg was perfectly cooked, with a custardy yolk in the middle.  Coming from someone that doesn't really love eggs, I can definitely say this one was worth having.  The noodles were springy and chewy, and didn't get mushy like they sometimes can after sitting in the broth for a while.  I loved the addition of ground pork and I will definitely be copying that idea when I make ramen at home, haha.  

I am by no means an expert on Sapporo-style ramen, but as someone that grew up eating LOTS of Japanese ramen, this is a welcome addition to the DC food scene.  I look forward to visiting again soon to try their other flavors, although I will likely keep coming back to this Shoyu version knowing my tastes.  This will also be a great "holdover" for their upstairs section to open, to try out the dishes they will be serving there! 

705 6th Street NW
Washington, DC

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lunchtime Links for February 21st, 2013

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills - Social Edition

It was a lovely surprise to see my Tweet appear on Bravo for the second time, woohoo! Bravo often shows "social editions" of most of their shows, in which a rerun of an episode includes Tweets and Facebook comments that viewers had posted during the original airing.  

Seriously though, these Beverly Hills ladies were in Vegas, at an awesome dinner, and having the most depressing conversation EVERRRRRR.  I'm glad the folks at Bravo deemed it important enough to share, haha. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lunchtime Links for February 20th, 2013

Shake Shack - Bee Mine Custard and Valentine

Shake Shack offered a lovely little gift to fans on Valentine's Day this year, yet another reason why I love them so.  When I asked about the Facebook post from earlier that day, the cashier handed me this lovely little valentine (below).  This coupon is good for a free custard between now and the end of March, woo!

I also went to try the Bee Mine custard, which is a Strawberry honey custard with a touch of rose water.  The custard reminded me a lot of a peach or strawberry frozen yogurt at first, for some reason seeming a lot lighter than their usual custards.  I enjoyed this flavor, although I didn't really get much of a honey flavor like I had originally expected.  If you're a fan of fruit smoothies like I am, I think you will like the Bee Mine as well! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lunchtime Links for February 19th, 2013

Biscoff Spread Prize

What a wonderful package to come home to, especially on Valentine's day! A few weeks ago Biscoff's Facebook page had an awesome contest, and the prize was a case - yes a CASE - of Biscoff spread!

The first time I tried Biscoff cookies was on a Delta flight, but I've never actually had the cookie spread before.  I love the idea of making a spread out of cookies though, so I have no doubt that this will be awesome, haha.  I am currently on the hunt for recipes to use this Biscoff spread, so if anyone has any suggestions please let me know! 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lunchtime Links for February 15th, 2013

Georgetown Cupcake - Super Bowl Cupcakes

How cute are these Super Bowl themed cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake??  They were chocolate cupcakes with a lava fudge core, topped with green "grass" frosting and fondant cutouts.

Being a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, I couldn't really bring myself to buy a team jersey cupcake, so instead I got the neutral football cupcake, haha.  These cupcakes were so so cute and would be a fantastic addition to a birthday party or sporting event! 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lunchtime Links for February 14th, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  I hope everyone has a wonderful day filled with lots of chocolate and candy, haha!

I saw these West Elm mugs and bowls in the store recently and just HAD to get them.  Just one of each, I showed a tiny bit of restraint.  I literally have less than zero space for them, but I will figure something out... haha!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lunchtime Links for February 13th, 2013

Shake Shack - Pretz-idential Caramel Custard

Shake Shack's January custard calendar included a Pretz-idential Caramel custard, available on Mondays this month.  Being that the inauguration day also fell on a Monday, I appreciated this politically relevant custard even more, haha.  

The custard is a caramel frozen custard blended with crumbled, salty pretzels.  Now, you've heard me say this before, but I continue to be amazed at the level of "blending" that Shake Shack manages to do in their custards.  As you can see, the custard looks pretty plain, a smooth beige cup of ice cream; but once you take a bite, the pretzel flavor totally comes through.  It tasted like eating a salted soft pretzel dipped in caramel, and I thought it was really delicious.  Maybe a few chocolate chunks could have added some texture, but either way I was totally happy with this custard flavor.   

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lunchtime Links for February 12th, 2013

Shake Shack - Candy Cane Custard

I'm the first to admit that this Candy Cane custard from Shake Shack wasn't exactly at the top of my To Eat list back in December.  I don't like mint-flavored sweets (aside from Andes mints, which is totally a weird singular exception), so I wasn't even planning on trying this one.  However, I found myself at Shake Shack on a day that this custard flavor was offered, so I figured I might as well try it out.

Well - it was pretty much what I expected, is the best thing I can say about it - haha.  It's a pretty pink color due to the addition of candy cane pieces with the vanilla custard, and tastes exactly like if you had a candy cane in one hand and a vanilla ice cream cone in the other.  I am glad that I tried it, especially since it's a holiday-specific flavor; and anyone that actually LIKES candy canes will certainly love this custard.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Lunchtime Links for February 11th, 2013

Bravo TV Mug

I am totally in love with this Bravo TV mug!!  Andy Cohen has never been shy about his love of side ponytails, especially when guests on his show Watch What Happens Live show up with one, haha.

This mug encompasses so many of the loves in my life:

- Andy Cohen
- Bravo TV
- Side ponytails
- Mugs

Need I say more??  You can find this mug on Bravo TV's online shop here.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Lunchtime Links for February 8th, 2013

Pinkberry - Chocolate Hazelnut

I could probably eat Pinkberry's chocolate hazelnut frozen yogurt every day, no joke.  I think the only thing stopping me is not having a Pinkberry close to my apartment, haha.  The chocolate hazelnut frozen yogurt was like having a lightened up cup of Nutella, and the chocolate pearl topping was a tasty crunchy addition.  I can't wait until this special flavor comes back- I miss you, Chocolate Hazelnut Pinkberry!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Lunchtime Links for February 7th, 2013

Georgetown Cupcake - Sisters Cupcake

You know I always love when there's a new Georgetown Cupcake flavor offered as a free secret flavor!

Available for a limited time only, this special cupcake combines Georgetown Cupcake Sister - Owners Sophie and Katherine’s favorite flavors into a decadent treat, a Valrhona chocolate cupcake, filled with chocolate ganache, and topped with caramel buttercream frosting and crushed hazelnuts.

Let's not all get so surprised when I say - I LOVED THIS, haha.  I mean, it really was a no-brainer, considering I love ALL of the components of this cupcake separately, so putting it together was definitely good for me.  It's basically like putting together their Lava Fudge + Salted Caramel + Chocolate Hazelnut cupcakes, haha.  As far as I know they've only offered this flavor combination this one time last year, but I would love if they offered it again sometime!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Lunchtime Links for February 6th, 2013

Palena DC - Cheeseburger

For anyone that believes in the simple pleasure of a cheeseburger, this one is for you! Palena Cafe has long been known for a number of standout dishes, and I was happy to have tried The Palena Cheesebuger ($13) a few months ago with my friend S.

I wasn't really sure what to expect when I ordered - a cheeseburger, sure, but anything else that makes this dish special?  Turns out, no, not really, haha.  I did like the pickled vegetables on the side, but it's clear that the cheeseburger is meant to stand out on its own.  The meat was rich and correctly cooked to order, with a nice sturdy bun to hold everything together.  This is one hefty and delicious cheeseburger and I'm happy to have tried it out!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lunchtime Links for February 5th, 2013

Happy World Nutella Day!

Happy World Nutella Day everyone!!

Whether you use it in baked goods, on toast, spread inside crepes, or just straight from the jar, Nutella is a wonderfully delicious thing to celebrate, haha.

You can find all of the recipes and foods I've blogged about using Nutella through this link here.

And if you don't like Nutella, I don't want to hear it. Seriously. How do you not like Nutella?????

Monday, February 4, 2013

Lunchtime Links for February 4th, 2013

Luke's Lobster - Lobster Grilled Cheese

Back in December, Luke's Lobster posted their Winter menu, which included THIS:

We're launching NEW winter menu items TODAY! Including this knockout Lobster Grilled Cheese, with our signature lobster and delicious gruyere. 

Clearly, I made it over to Luke's Lobster ASAP - how could I pass this up??

I met up with M to try this out, and I think we were both pretty happy with this sandwich.  It was packed with huge chunks of lobster, and the outside of the bread was buttery and crisp.  The only complaint I had was that there wasn't much cheese inside.  Which, given the choice of more lobster or more cheese, I'd obviously choose more lobster, but it didn't feel like a real cheesy, messy, grilled cheese to me.  Either way, the lobster was delicious as expected and this is a decadent warm menu option for these cold winter days!  

Friday, February 1, 2013

Lunchtime Links for February 1st, 2013

Shake Shack - March Custard Calendar

Shake Shack - February Custard Calendar

Woooooooooo another month of custard flavors at Shake Shack!

Monday: Honey Roasted Peanut
Tuesday: Banana Bourbon
Wednesday: Chocolate Chip Cookie
Thursday: Bee Mine
Friday: Salted Caramel
Saturday: Pineapple Upside Down
Sunday: Coffee and Donuts

Yum, lots of great choices this month. I am hoping to try at least the Honey Roasted Peanut, Chocolate Chip Cookie, and the Bee Mine mainly because I have no idea what that is, haha.