Thursday, October 31, 2013

Lunchtime Links for October 31st, 2013

Ben & Jerry's Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream

What better way to celebrate Halloween than with something PUMPKIN!?  I had heard about this Pumpkin Cheesecake flavor from Ben & Jerry's recently, but hadn't expected to see it in grocery stores yet. As always, Wegmans managed to surprise me by carrying this flavor in their store, woo!

This ice cream consists of "Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream with a Graham Cracker Swirl", and although the actual ice cream doesn't have as distinct of a graham cracker swirl as the carton illustration, it's still a delicious combination.  This really does taste much creamier than regular pumpkin ice creams as well, and you may notice that the color is very pale compared to some other pumpkin ice creams that are out these days. I thought this ice cream was great and I'm so happy that I got to try it this season!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lunchtime Links for October 30th, 2013

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Mixes

Based on a number of blog posts I've seen around the Internets, I know that I'm definitely not the only one that gets excited when Trader Joe's rolls out all of their fall pumpkin items! 

I love that they usually incorporate a mix of classic favorites with a few new items mixed in, such as these baking mixes above.  I've had the bread and muffin mix a few times and it's always been a great seasonal staple for my kitchen.  On the left is a box of pumpkin bar baking mix, which I believe is a new item (unless it came out before and briefly took a break in recent years...?)  It looks like a pumpkin blondie based on the photo and the description, which I am sure will be delicious as well!  Both of these mixes are easy to use, and work well with any additions like chocolate chips, Nutella, peanut butter, nuts, etc. If you like pumpkin baked goods be sure to pick these up before they're gone for the season! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lunchtime Links for October 29th, 2013

Georgetown Cupcake - Baby Blue Vanilla Birthday Cupcake

I've had the Baby Blue and Baby Pink cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake before, but technically this freebie Baby Blue Vanilla Birthday one is "new", so here's my take on it, haha.

This is the same flavor as the standard Vanilla Squared cupcake, but in a lovely shade of pale blue plus the colorful sprinkles that are on all of the "birthday" cupcakes here.  I love that Georgetown Cupcake offers Baby Blue and Pink shades for custom cupcake orders - these are perfect for a baby shower or little one's birthday party! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Lunchtime Links for October 28th, 2013

Graffiato - Fall Dishes

My friend M and I tried out some great fall dishes at Graffiato recently - I always love when restaurants come out with new seasonal items to keep things fresh and interesting. 

Here we have the Dirty South pizza, which consists of Brussels sprouts, braised pork, sweet potato, maple, and chili.  I loved all of the components of this pizza, although for me the maple made it just a touch too far on the sweet spectrum, on certain bites that I took.  Overall though I thought this was delicious and a great way to eat some vegetables, haha. 

For dessert, we also split the Pumpkin Bread Pudding with cinnamon gelato and caramel.  I am honestly not a huge bread pudding fan because it's usually too soft and mushy for me, but as you can see this bread pudding was much sturdier in texture without losing any of its moistness.  The pumpkin flavor was delicious and not too overbearing, especially when eaten with the cinnamon gelato.  If you're a fan of fall flavors like I am, definitely check out these items at Graffiato soon! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Lunchtime Links for October 25th, 2013

Shake Shack - Halloween Specials

Today through October 31st, Shake Shack will be offering their Halloween specials, yay! I've had some of these before and they are always super delicious. Of course I am looking forward to trying out the pumpkin shake, yummmmmmmmmmmm.

- Halloweenie Dog:  Vienna all-beef hot dog split and griddled crisp, topped with pumpkin mustard, crumbled bacon, cranberries and sage; $4.00
Shack O’Lantern Shake: Vanilla frozen custard handspun with pumpkin, marshmallow and autumn spices; $5.50
- Shackenstein Custard: Green marshmallow crème frozen custard blended with chunks of chocolate cake

For more details check out their post here!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lunchtime Links for October 24th, 2013

Georgetown Cupcake - Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcake

Pumpkin and cheesecake? Count me in! This is a new flavor from Georgetown Cupcake, and consists of Pumpkin-infused cheesecake cupcake topped with maple cream cheese frosting and a fondant maple leaf. 

This is a fantastically pumpkin-filled dessert, and anyone that likes pumpkin will be a fan of this for sure.  The creamy pumpkin cheesecake bottom has a buttery crust on the bottom, and the maple cream cheese frosting is super smooth and delicious as well.  I hope they bring this one back next fall! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Philly Trip

Hey everyone, I'm off to Philly for work for a good chunk of this week, I hope everyone is having a great Monday!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Lunchtime Links for October 18th, 2013

Shake Shack - Shacktoberfest

My friend R and I had a great time checking out this year's Shacktoberfest offerings at Shake Shack - check out those huge beer steins! 

I ordered the Shacktoberfest Stein with Oktoberfest brew and Currywurst: Bavarian Brat topped with crispy ShackMeister Ale-marinated shallots and curry ketchup ($5.25). The curry ketchup was really delicious, and the crunchy shallots added great texture to the bratwurst and squishy bun.  

R opted for the Oktoberfest stein as well, and the Cheddar Brat Burger: 100% all-natural Angus beef burger topped with a flat-top griddled cheddar bratwurst, crispy ShackMeister Ale-marinated shallots and ShackSauce ($7.50). Yes, that's a burger topped with a cheddar bratwurst, haha!  

We were both happy with our meal choices, and the extra bonus of keeping the gigantic stein glasses.  I've tried to get these in the past, but they've always sold out by the time I've gone in previous years.  This was a fun and delicious dinner celebrating Shake Shack's version of Oktoberfest!  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Lunchtime Links for October 17th, 2013

Haute Papier - Haute Box #3

I recently received my latest HauteBox from Haute Papier, and it was full of holiday themed goodies!

Starting with a funny Halloween card, there's also a Thanksgiving card, general holiday themed cards, cute cocktail recipe coasters, A New Year's countdown card/bookmark, a mini notebook, and a nice selection of vintage stamps as well.  This package was the perfect way to get me in the mood for the upcoming holidays and all of the mail I will be sending out to friends and family! 

You can check out the previous HauteBoxes that I've received here and here !

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lunchtime Links for October 16th, 2013

NYC Visit - Doughnut Plant

Oh Doughnut Plant, we finally meet!!! 

Just thinking about these doughnuts as I write this post is making me hungry.  I've known about Doughnut Plant for years (there are even some locations in Japan), but have never been until my recent visit to NYC.  It was so delicious, I had to go twice during my 3 day visit, haha!

On my first visit, I bought a Tres Leches doughnut and shared it with my friends H and J. We all thought it was fantastic and just SO rich and delicious. I'm not even a big Tres Leches lover and I thought this doughnut was really tasty. 

On my second visit, we went to Doughnut Plant on my way to the train back to DC, so I picked up the two (above) to take home. The top photo is the Creme Brulee Doughseed, which had a burnt sugar top and creamy custard filling. Don't let the small size fool you, this doughnut was very decadent haha.  

Last but certainly not least, THIS is the doughnut that made me want to go there in the first place - the new Coffee Cake doughnut.  I saw a post online about this new flavor that was debuting the same weekend I was going to NYC, so I knew that I had to get it. This doughnut has coffee in the dough, glaze, filling, and the crumbs, and it was AWESOME. Clearly the coffee flavor is abundant, but to have it in so many variations in one doughnut was amazing.  I'm so glad I got to try out a new doughnut during my trip!

Doughnut Plant - Hotel Chelsea
220 W 23rd Street 
New York, NY 10011

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Lunchtime Links for October 15th, 2013

NYC Visit - Ippudo Ramen

During my recent NYC weekend trip, I had a lot of places to cover, starting out with lunch at Ippudo! I was definitely looking forward to trying it out, especially with a relatively convenient Midtown-ish location.  I've never been to Ippudo in Japan, so I couldn't wait to enjoy some of their ramen during my visit!

I decided to go with the Akamaru Modern: "A more bold, modern translation of the original pork broth; thin noodles topped with Ippudo's secret "Umami Dama" miso paste, pork chashu, cabbage, sesame kikurage mushrooms, scallions, and fragrant garlic oil."

Mmm, PORKY!  The broth was much lighter than I had anticipated with a pork broth, but in a good way with none of that heavy aftertaste.  The noodles were indeed very thin, much thinner than I've probably ever had in ramen before.  I loved the chashu slices and all of the other components mixed together in every bite.  Yes, I ate around the kikurage mushrooms for the most part, but still, haha.  This was a delicious start to my weekend and I'm really happy I got to try Ippudo's ramen, finally!

Ippudo - Westside
321 West 51st Street
New York, NY 10019

Monday, October 14, 2013

Lunchtime Links for October 14th, 2013

Georgetown Cupcake - Chocolate Coconut Cupcake

Let's keep this Georgetown Cupcake review short and sweet, since I am pretty sure my friends will know where this is going, haha.

The bottom portion of this Chocolate Coconut cupcake is rich and chocolate-y, as it should be. The top portion... well, there's plenty of coconut flakes liberally coating the frosting.  If you like coconut, you will love how much coconut they manage to cram onto the top of this cupcake.  If you don't, well, join me in actively avoiding this cupcake after I tried it for this blog post.  

Friday, October 11, 2013

Lunchtime Links for October 11th, 2013

Shake Shack - Waffles & Bacon Custard

This particular Shake Shack custard post is shrouded in a sea of delicious mystery... you see, I had two very different experiences with the Waffles & Bacon custard, and I'm not exactly sure which one the "real" one is supposed to be, haha.

This cup below is the first one I got when I ordered the Waffles & Bacon custard. It tasted mostly of salty bacon (so I figured it must be right) with no evidence of waffles, except maybe the vanilla from the custard itself.  Side note - I love when I get the perfect dome custard, I just enjoy the way it looks when I first get it, hah.

Some time later, I went to Shake Shack on another Waffles & Bacon day, and saw someone else eating what looked like a custard that was filled with waffle pieces.  I ordered one for myself and got the cup below. Anyone that knows Shake Shack pretty well will first recognize that the wider double-cupped container is actually one for a concrete, not a regular custard.  So needless to say I got a LOT of custard, haha. Also, much like the one that I saw someone eating, there were big chunks of waffle pieces clearly mixed throughout this custard, along with the bacon taste.

I don't necessarily think that one was "right" or "wrong", and let's be honest I enjoyed both... but it did strike me as a little odd that both cups (from the same Shake Shack location, mind you) were so different. Maybe I just *need* to try it again a third time to see which one comes up this time? 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Lunchtime Links for October 10th, 2013

Free Pumpkin Cookie at Starbucks Today

I normally don't ask for receipts when I go to Starbucks, so I probably would have never known about this promotion had I not been away for a work trip earlier this week and needed the receipts for my expense report.  I came across this sweet deal on the bottom of my receipt:

Come celebrate 10 years of Pumpkin Spice Latte. Receive a free Pumpkin cookie with purchase of any Pumpkin Spice beverage on 10/10; 12-5. At participating locations.

Celebrating fall with a double dose of pumpkin sounds like a great idea to me! Anyone that loves pumpkin food and drinks should head over to your local Starbucks and see if they are participating in this fun deal!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Lunchtime Links for October 9th, 2013

Pillsbury Pumpkin Cookies

Oh, Pillsbury Doughboy, you always know how to exploit holiday flavors in the best way possible.  As soon as I saw this pack of pumpkin cookies, I grabbed it as fast as you might imagine I would with pumpkin foods.  Of course, it helped that I had a coupon for a free Pillsbury cookie item that I had to use, so that was an extra bonus!

These cookies are pretty big compared to some of the other Pillsbury refrigerated cookies, and studded with cream cheese flavored chips. Yes, cream cheese flavored chips.  But hey, we're already talking about refrigerated orange cookies, let's not get too hung up on cream cheese flavor, shall we?  The smell of pumpkin spice was delicious even before I opened the oven to take the finished cookies out.  The cookies actually weren't as overwhelmingly sweet as I imagined they would be, and were pretty darn delicious with the chips studded throughout the cookie.  Anyone that's a fan of pumpkin will love these! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Off to NJ

I'm in NJ for a few days of work, but I am excited to try out Eno Terra for dinner, which I have never been to. Have a great start to your week, everyone!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Lunchtime Links for October 4th, 2013

Shake Shack - Shacktoberfest

Starting today, Shake Shack will be celebrating Shacktoberfest, woohoo! Currently in its 8th year, it's always a fun time to try out a bunch of different menu items that aren't usually on Shake Shack's menu.

Here's the lineup for this year:

- Cheddar Brat Burger: 100% all-natural Angus beef burger topped with a flat-top griddled cheddar bratwurst, crispy ShackMeister Ale-marinated shallots and ShackSauce ($7.50)
- Polish Sausage: Griddled smoked sausage served with German-style slaw ($5.25)
- Currywurst: Bavarian Brat topped with crispy ShackMeister Ale-marinated shallots and curry ketchup ($5.25)
- Bavarian Brat: Griddled bratwurst topped with spicy mustard ($4.50)
- Cheddar Brat: Griddled cheddar-stuffed bratwurst ($4.50)
- German Chocolate Pecan Concrete: Chocolate frozen custard blended with coconut-pecan caramel and chocolate truffle cookie dough (Single: $4.25 | Double: $6.50)
- Apfelstrudel Shake: Vanilla frozen custard hand-spun with apples, caramel and spices ($5.75)

Previously, I tried the ShackMeister which appears to be no longer on the menu, so it'll be fun to try out something different this year. Also, fingers crossed that I am able to get a beer stein this year!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Lunchtime Links for October 3rd, 2013

Le Diplomate Brunch

Back in August, my best friend came to visit and we had a fun weekend that was mainly planned around food, naturally.  One of our meals was brunch at Le Diplomate.  We are both fans of the Stephen Starr restaurants in Philly, so we were looking forward to checking this place out.

The interior of Le Diplomate is very true to the bistro theme, and apparently looks similar to Parc Brasserie in Philly.  The restaurant was bustling and we kept checking out all of the delicious-looking dishes that passed by as they headed to other diners' tables.  

The bread basket (below) was delicious, and I could've polished off the whole thing myself if I really wanted to, haha. 

Apparently I REALLY couldn't get enough of the bread, because I wound up ordering the Baguette Provencale for my entree, hah. This sandwich consists of French salami (which I had no idea it existed), Idiazabal cheese, cornichon, and a mustard vinaigrette.  As you can see the baguette halves aren't even visible due to the generous amount of "stuff" inside. The side salad was a nice addition to the plate, though not exactly memorable.  The ambiance was great, the food was tasty (especially the bread), and I would love to come back for dinner sometime! 

Le Diplomate
1601 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Lunchtime Links for October 2nd, 2013

Georgetown Cupcake - Baby Pink Vanilla Birthday Cupcake

As much as this Baby Pink Vanilla Birthday cupcake looks like something for a young girl's birthday party, rest assured that people of all ages can enjoy this Georgetown Cupcake flavor, haha!  This freebie is a combination of the Baby Pink Vanilla cupcake with little rainbow sprinkles on top.  Flavor-wise, it is vanilla frosting on vanilla cake, so people that prefer vanilla would love this one. The pale pink color is very cute and I wish they would have that color frosting on more of their cupcakes, hint hint!  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Lunchtime Links for October 1st, 2013

Shake Shack - October Custard Menu

It's about that time again- another new month of Shake Shack custard flavors, woo!

Monday: Cinnamon Pear Cobbler
Tuesday: Waffles & Bacon
Wednesday: Salty Chocolate Peanut Butter
Thursday: Shackenstein
Friday: Candied Apple
Saturday: Pretzel Caramel
Sunday: Pumpkin Pie

Mmm, so many great fall flavors!