Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lunchtime Links for May 21st, 2013

thinkThin Bars - Review and Giveaway

I was recently approached with an offer to sample several varieties of thinkThin bars, which may be ironic considering the not-so-health-minded nature of my blog, haha.  However, I had seen some of these bars before at Whole Foods and thought it would be a worthwhile product for me to try out.

Just under a week ago, my package arrived, containing three boxes with the following bars:

thinkThin Chunky Peanut Butter Protein Bar:
This high protein bar packs the nutty flavors of chunky roasted peanut butter blended with cocoa and covered in luscious milk chocolate. With zero grams sugar and no gluten, it's a guilt-free treat you can feel good about.

thinkThin Crunch Blueberry Mixed Nuts Bar:
With 60% less sugar and 2x the amount of protein than leading fruit and nut bars, this delicious nutty delight is not only a good source of fiber packed with peanuts, almonds and cashews, but also has a generous helping of blueberries - nature's jewels and nutrition-rich superfruits.

thinkThin Crunch Coconut Chocolate Mixed Nuts Bar:
- Weirdly, this one had no description on the website, haha. It is similar to the Blueberry Mixed Nuts bar, but with coconut flakes on top and a chocolate coating on the bottom half. 

The chunky peanut butter bar, I could definitely see myself buying on my own - helllllloooo, peanut butter and chocolate, no complaints here. But then I just had to laugh at the irony of receiving BOTH a blueberry and coconut-based bar, considering my general disdain of those specific flavors. It's almost as if the company really wanted to challenge someone to review something they wouldn't normally eat, haha.

Anyhoo, I tried all of the flavors out, and here are my quick notes on them:

Chunky Peanut Butter Protein bar: Woo! This is a filling and tasty bar, especially if you're a fan of peanut butter like I am.  I had this for breakfast for a few days, and it was a convenient and quick way to eat at work.  I initially thought it would actually be more chunky (as in, chunks of peanuts inside), but it's still more on the chewy side than smooth in terms of consistency.  For being a relatively small bar it definitely kept me full until lunch.

Blueberry Mixed Nuts bar: I actually liked the appearance of this bar at first glance- it looked like there were lots of whole nuts and other stuff packed into the small snack-size bar. Like I said before, I don't like blueberries but fortunately (for me), this bar wasn't packed with tons of whole berries, more like dabs of blueberry pieces throughout.  It started to taste like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich after a few bites, due to the abundant nuts and the pockets of blueberries.

Coconut Chocolate Mixed Nuts bar: This bar is the same snack-size as the Blueberry Mixed Nuts, but with a liberal sprinkling of coconut on top.  I liked the layer of chocolate on the bottom of the bar, because hello, chocolate. Not my favorite, but anyone that is a fan of coconut/chocolate will enjoy this one.

Overall, I was happy to try out something new, and I think these bars are a great option for a quick breakfast, snack, travel companion, or a little something to tide you over when you're feeling Hangry.  I'm planning on bringing a few of the peanut butter bars on my trip to Japan (TOMORROW!) in case I get hungry on the plane rides.

Now, here's the fun part!  In addition to my samples I was offered a chance to give one of my readers a chance to try these out too, in a Wellness Box:

Wellness Box includes:  one 10 bar box of thinkThin® high protein bars (with 0g sugar), one 10 bar box of thinkThin® Crunch (with 10g protein and 70% less sugar than leading fruit and nut bars), three boxes of thinkThin® Bites.

Here's how to enter:

  • Follow my blog ("Join this site" widget on the bottom left section of this page), if you aren't already following.
  • Leave a comment on this post with your favorite healthy snack. Apple slices? Yogurt? Rolled up turkey slices?  Let me know!
  • Giveaway will run from 10:00AM May 21st - 5:00PM June 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, or included in the body of your entry). The winner's name will be announced on my blog after winner verification.
  • One entry per person, please.

I look forward to seeing the entries while I am in Japan! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Lunchtime Links for May 20th, 2013

Georgetown Cupcake - Mother's Day Cupcake

Last Sunday, Georgetown Cupcake offered both a vanilla and chocolate version of this cute Mother's Day cupcake.  This vanilla version is their usual vanilla cake with a hefty dallop of vanilla buttercream frosting on top. I happily ate this in honor of all of the wonderful moms I know, haha :o)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Lunchtime Links for May 17th, 2013

Daikaya Izakaya

I recently had a great dinner at the newer upstairs section of Daikaya - I really liked their ramen, so I was excited to try out the izakaya's selections!

This is what greets you when you walk in the door, heading upstairs to the izakaya. 

The menus are actually old Japanese magazines with the printed menu pages inserted inside - I thought it was a quirky and fun idea, especially since I could actually read the magazine, haha.

Grilled cherry tomatoes with miso-cheddar fondue 

This was on the specials menu and I'm really glad I ordered it.  The blistered cherry tomatoes were delicious, and that miso-cheddar fondue... oh my. I should've asked for a spoon so I could be sure to eat all of that sauce, mmm. 

Wasabi octopus with Granny Smith apple, arbequina olive oil, and wasabi sprouts ($6)

This was a crunchy and super unique dish that I would recommend everyone try at least once. The crunchy apple cubes balanced out the octopus pieces really well. My only complaint would be the incredibly strong wasabi flavor (since I don't really like wasabi, go figure), but clearly that's meant to be a big part of the dish, just not my personal preference.

Grilled avocado with housemade ponzu, fresh wasabi, and nori salt ($6.50)

As soon as I started eating this, my only thought was "I want to try grilling an avocado at home IMMEDIATELY".  Grilling the avocado, plus the ponzu, nori salt, and lemon, added so much depth to a plain avocado. Such a creative and delicious dish!

Chocolate ice cream with miso-banana caramel, chocolate crisps, and crushed banana chips.

Mmm, chocolate + crispy texture, yes please! There wasn't a ton of miso flavor in this ice cream, just enough to enhance the chocolate flavor, in my opinion.  The crunchy chocolate and banana pieces added lots of texture to a smooth and creamy ice cream.

Overall, I thought that Daikaya has a really creative and delicious menu, and it definitely offers a variety of foods that aren't readily found in other DC area restaurants.  Also, the atmosphere is very laid-back and comfortable, and I would definitely recommend it for a unique happy hour option.  I can't wait to try more dishes here soon!

Daikaya Izakaya
705 6th Street NW
Washington, DC

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lunchtime Links for May 16th, 2013

Baked & Wired - Unicorns and Rainbows Cupcakes

Depending on where you look, there seems to be two different names for this Baked & Wired cupcake, it seems. Online, it is listed as the Unicorns and Rainbows cupcake, and in the shop, Uniporn and Rainhos, hahaha.

Regardless of what you call this cupcake, it's definitely delicious and up there in my ranking of local cupcake flavors.  It is a vanilla cake with heart confetti mixed into the batter and topped with cream cheese icing.  So, like a homemade Funfetti cake, which I Loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove.  It is as fun to look at as much as it is to eat, especially with a cup of their delicious iced coffee. I hope they keep this one on the regular menu for a long time! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Lunchtime Links for May 15th, 2013

Lay's Cheesy Garlic Bread Chips

I tried these chips a few weeks ago, after a few attempts to find these special flavors at grocery stores to no avail.  As it turns out, this Cheesy Garlic Bread flavor wound up recently winning the Do Us a Flavor contest, so it only seems appropriate to post about it now, haha.  

The first whiff upon opening this bag leans heavily towards, you guessed it, garlic and butter. Which isn't a bad thing obviously, especially since that's what should be expected from the bag.  So if you're a fan of those flavors, you will definitely dig these potato chips.  I personally was pretty impressed with the true garlic butter smell and flavor from these chips, because it really did distinguish itself from just being chips with cheese powder on top. Is it weird that I thought these might be good crushed and coated on a piece of oven-baked chicken? Actually, since I'm eating garlic bread-flavored chips to begin with, probably not too weird.  

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lunchtime Links for May 14th, 2013

Shake Shack - Jefferson's Jam Concrete

I had my initial doubts about this special Jefferson's Jam concrete at Shake Shack, because I typically don't like any type of fruit jelly/jam/preserve/cream and fruit mix scenario, such as this one clearly indicated in the sign above.  However, I figured I might as well try it out because I like everything else about the components listed.

Well, luckily (for me), there wasn't a huge strawberry preserve presence in this specific cup of ice cream.  The peanut butter sauce was a rich and delicious addition to the vanilla custard, and I like the little chunks of graham crackers as well.  As you can see there was a pocket of strawberry on the left side, but I didn't really detect too much strawberry otherwise.  So, if you're getting this specifically for the strawberry preserves, you may or may not be disappointed depending on who is making this for you.  I'm glad I tried this though, it's a cute name and a fun flavor combination for people of all ages. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Lunchtime Links for May 13th, 2013

Georgetown Cupcake - Free Sunshine Vanilla Cupcake

Yes, the yellow frosting really was THAT bright, haha. This SunshineVanilla cupcake from Georgetown Cupcake is technically on the regular menu, but as a special order item.  It consists of "sunshine vanilla frosting on a classic Madagascar bourbon vanilla cupcake".  

So, basically the same as the Vanilla Squared cupcake, with a much brighter shade of frosting.  These would be cute to order for any sort of kids' party or an occasion where bright and fun colors are being used. It may even glow in the dark, from the looks of it, haha!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Lunchtime Links for May 10th, 2013

BourbonSteak - Grilled Cheese Month

At the end of April, C and I met up at Bourbon Steak to try their final grilled cheese sandwich in their grilled cheese month.  The one we tried consisted of raclette with Dijon and cornichons on a baguette.  Plus, as you can see, a giant pickle, haha.

The sandwich was a great mix of cheesy, tangy, and crunchy, and unlike any grilled cheese I've ever had.  There were little pockets of just mustard that were a little too strong for me, but overall I thought this was delicious, especially with a tall glass of beer.  I hope that Bourbon Steak continues to offer special lounge-only specials like this.  Oh, and that pickle? That pickle was AMAZING. Bourbon Steak, your pickler (?) deserves a raise, big time, because that pickle was seriously really delicious!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lunchtime Links for May 9th, 2013

Spring USPS Stamps

How fun are these new spring stamps from the US Postal Service?? I was trying to decide between the different styles, and just figured I should just get all of them, haha.  I believe the bouquet ones are technically the "wedding" stamps for this year, but I think they are really nice just for regular occasion cards as well.  Be sure to pick some up if you're also a fan of cute springtime designs :o) 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Lunchtime Links for May 8th, 2013

Georgetown Cupcake - Free Coffee Cookies & Creme Cupcake

Coffee-flavored thing + Oreo-flavored thing = My new favorite thing, haha.

Seriously though, this Georgetown Cupcake Coffee Cookies & Creme cupcake was AMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG.  It was a cookies and creme studded cake base with a generous swirl of coffee frosting, and even more Oreo crumbles on top.  I haven't seen it back as a free secret flavor since I had this, but I really hope they bring it back again sometime!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Lunchtime Links for May 7th, 2013

Shake Shack - Abstract Espressonist Custard

As soon as I heard about a collaboration between Shake Shack and DC's Phillips Collection, I knew I had to go check it out!  I wasn't exactly sure what to expect with something called the "Abstract Espressonist" aside from it having coffee in it, haha.  

Thankfully the sign inside Shake Shack helped me out (above): Inspired by Alfonso Ossorio featuring espresso frozen custard blended with chocolate butter toffee and cinnamon marshmallow swirl.

If you're a fan of coffee ice cream, you would LOVE this custard. The small bits of chocolate butter toffee added some texture, and although I couldn't really detect any obvious marshmallow swirls I could taste the cinnamon throughout.  This was a delicious and fun collaboration, and I look forward to trying the other flavors! 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Lunchtime Links for May 6th, 2013

CVS Deals - Week of 05/05/2013

This week, there are lots of great deals on toothpaste, greeting cards, and body lotion at CVS!

First, for those of you that continue to suffer from seasonal allergies like me, you can get a box of Kleenex for super cheap haha.

- Kleenex 100ct, lotion 70ct, or upright 60ct: $0.99 on sale, $0.25 CVS kiosk coupon (it will print out when you scan your ExtraCard).

- Two Colgate Optic White toothpastes: $2.99 each on sale, $1/2 manufacturer's coupon, $2 Extra Bucks back.

- Hallmark greeting cards/gifts: Buy $20 of Hallmark items, get $5 Extra Bucks back.  And yes, this does include the $0.99 and $1.99 cards!

- Bic Soleil disposable razors 3-pack: $6.99 on sale, $3.00 manufacturer's coupon, $2 Extra Bucks back.

- Aquaphor/Eucerin body products: Buy $20 of either brand, and get $10 Extra Bucks back. I got two tubes of Eucerin intensive repair hand cream and one tub of Eucerin original healing cream, with a $3/2 manufacturer's coupon and $1.50 manufacturer's coupon.

Happy shopping everyone!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Lunchtime Links for May 3rd, 2013

Frappuccino Happy Hour

As much as I've tried to refrain from getting Frappuccinos at Starbucks (to be honest, I think it HAS been a while), I wanted to share this great deal with you all that starts today!

From May 3rd through the 12th between 3-5pm, Frappuccinos are 1/2 price, woohoo! Be sure to check with your local Starbucks to verify that they are a participating location, although I think the majority of them should be.

Like I said, I haven't had a Frappuccino in a long time, but this deal might be the perfect time for me to try out the new Caramel Ribbon Crunch, mmm.  If you're a fan of these drinks, be sure to head over to a Starbucks during the specified time!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Lunchtime Links for May 2nd, 2013

Graeter's Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Peanut butter and chocolate? Yes please!  You may recall that I had tried Graeter's ice cream for the first time in Seattle, and since then I am happy to report that I have found a store near my apartment that carries them as well!

This peanut butter chocolate chip ice cream is very similar to the vanilla chocolate chip I tried previously, with the addition a smooth, rich peanut butter taste in the ice cream base.  I don't know if it was this particular pint, but I did notice that there were a lot more of the giant chunks of chocolate in the vanilla version compared to this peanut butter one.  I guess I'll just have to buy another pint of this to make sure, haha. Anyone that is a peanut butter and chocolate fan will LOVE this, guaranteed. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Lunchtime Links for May 1st, 2013

Shake Shack - May Custard Flavors

Monday: Lemon Meringue
Tuesday: Black & White Cookie
Wednesday: Oatmeal Creme Pie
Thursday: Olive Oil Cake
Friday: Chocolate Chip Cookie
Saturday: Spiced Chocolate Brownie
Sunday: Banana Bread

Ooh, a few cookie custards in the mix this month at Shake Shack, v. exciting!  I am looking forward to trying the Black & White Cookie custard and Spiced Chocolate Brownie custard the most, I think :o)