Friday, January 31, 2014

Lunchtime Links for January 31st, 2014

Starbucks - Rose Gold Mug

I always love looking at new accessory items whenever I go into Starbucks, especially during the holidays.  The usual mugs and snacks go all out towards the end of the year, with lots of fun gift-giving options filling up the shelves. 

I had my eye on some of the rose gold mugs and tumblers, but didn't NEED another mug, as usual.  But then, they were on sale, and of course by that point I HAD to get one, haha.  This mug is a little flatter than most mugs, which makes it perfect for hot chocolate- more surface area on top for marshmallows, haha.  I think this is a great mug for anyone that is a fan of rose gold items like I am!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Lunchtime Links for January 30th, 2014

Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Chips

I saw this bag of Peanut Butter chips at Trader Joe's and couldn't pick it up fast enough, haha.  Peanut butter chips aren't really anything new (I've seen Reese's peanut butter chips before), but you don't always find them in every grocery store so this was a nice find.  I love adding these to brownies and chocolate chips to add an extra touch of peanut butter.  Or, you could just grab a handful and eat them straight out of the bag if you're so inclined haha.  

Recently, I haven't seen these peanut butter chips on the shelves at Trader Joe's, which is sad because I think they're a great addition to their baking section.  However, I'm still posting this in the hopes that maybe they will come back again soon! 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lunchtime Links for January 29th, 2014

Shake Shack - Sweet Potato Marshmallow Custard

Sweet potato and marshmallows - not necessarily the first thing you might think of when you think of ice cream, but of course Shake Shack always manages to come up with fun flavors!

When you really think about it, this sweet potato flavor isn't really all that unusual when you consider the abundance of pumpkin sweets that are popular everywhere.  I actually really liked this combination of sweet potato and marshmallow, it wasn't overwhelmingly sweet and had a bright yellow-orange hue.  Another fun seasonal flavor option from Shake Shack!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Lunchtime Links for January 28th, 2014

Georgetown Cupcake - Snowy Vanilla Cupcake

Around the holidays, Georgetown Cupcake comes out with a huge lineup of special flavors, and this past winter there were a number of new flavors in the mix.  One of those was the Snowy Vanilla cupcake: Classic Madagascar Bourbon vanilla cupcake topped with a vanilla buttercream frosting, sparkling sanding sugar, and a shimmering light blue fondant snowflake

As you may be able to tell, it doesn't look much different from the Vanilla Squared cupcake on the regular menu.  However, with a thick buttercream frosting, snowflake decoration, and a sprinkling of sanding sugar, this cupcake becomes much more festive for the winter months, haha.  It's a nice little holiday twist on a classic favorite! 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Lunchtime Links for January 27th, 2014

Dunkin' Donuts - 2013 Ornaments

Ever since I started decorating my mini Christmas tree with food-related ornaments, I've always kept an eye out for fun ornaments to add to my collection.  Dunkin' Donuts definitely didn't disappoint with their 2013 holiday selection!  The location by me had the following (left to right): Munchkins box, cityscape snow globe, "Time to make the donuts" sign, and a coffee mug.

I went with the Munchkins box because I thought it was super cute, and who doesn't love Munchkins? This is a wonderful addition to my food-themed tree, and I can't wait to see what they offer this winter! 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Lunchtime Links for January 24th, 2014

Starbucks Copycat Pumpkin Pound Cake

While I was in Seattle over the holidays, I decided to try out this Starbucks Pumpkin Pound Cake recipe from The First Year Blog - I thought it would be a fun recipe to try out, and a different take on a usual pumpkin pie around the holidays. 

I made a few small changes to the original recipe. These changes aren't required, it was just based on my mom's suggestions and using what we had:

- 2 egg whites and 1 whole egg instead of 3 egg whites;
- Pumpkin pie spice instead of the separate spices listed in the recipe; 
- 2 mini loaves instead of 1, with one including chopped walnuts

This recipe is fantastic and I'm really glad that I tried it out.  My parents and I enjoyed this for breakfast, and then sliced and frozen to have as a snack for later.  The recipe is very easy to follow, and I would eat this year-round, not just during the holidays.  If you're not a fan of breads/pound cake, I think this would also work as muffins as well, just be sure to keep an eye on the baking time.  Aside from being delicious, think of how much money you are saving compared to paying $3/slice at Starbucks for this, haha! 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lunchtime Links for January 23rd, 2014

Seattle Visit - Pike Place Chowder

For as many times that I have visited the Pike Place Market, I haven't actually sat down and eaten full meals much in that area.  Usually I'm too busy walking around and trying to avoid running into fellow visitors to actually go anywhere to sit and eat, haha.  During my last visit however, my mom and decided to stop in Pike Place Chowder for lunch; she had been recently during my brother's visit and thought it was pretty tasty.

We got to Pike Place Chowder about 20 minutes after it opened, and there was already a long line winding around the corner from the small shop.  The line moves quickly though, since most people are there for the chowders which don't need much preparation once the order is placed.

We got two different types of chowder: New England Clam Chowder, Market Chowder (this day's chowder had oysters and sausage included), and a Dungeness crab roll.  Everything tasted so fresh and delicious, especially for a seafood lover like me! The chowders were both good, but I really liked the Market Chowder because of the sausage and slightly spicy flavor.  The crab roll was stuffed with Dugeness crab, it was hard to keep everything inside the bread haha.  There are plenty of places to see and eat at in the Pike Place Market area, but if you're a fan of chowder I would definitely recommend this one!  I would love to go back with a group and try the chowder sampler - I saw a number of people sharing this, and it looked like such a fun way to try out all of the different chowder variations. 

Pike Place Chowder - Pike Place Market location
1530 Post Alley 
Seattle, WA 98101

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Lunchtime Links for January 22nd, 2014

Seattle Visit - Din Tai Fung

Ever since I found out about the Din Tai Fung restaurant in Bellevue (outside of Seattle), I've made it a point to go there at least once when I'm visiting my parents.  This past visit was no exception - my mom and I had an early lunch before shopping in the Bellevue mall for the afternoon.  

I've been to this Din Tai Fung location when there's been long waits before, so I would definitely recommend getting there about 15-20 minutes before it opens for the day.  When we got there, we still waited in line, but the hostesses came up to each party to reserve a table and provide a menu, so once the doors opened everyone had a table to go to right away.  By having such an efficient seating configuration, it was all the more faster to getting the delicious soup dumplings as well! 

In addition to our delicious lunch, I wanted to pick up a little trinket before heading out. I picked this cute soup dumpling mascot keychain - so fun!!  The only bead thing about having this key chain is that I always want soup dumplings whenever I look at it, haha.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Lunchtime Links for January 21st, 2014

Seattle Visit - Modernist Cuisine Photography Exhibit

Normally when I visit my parents in Seattle, a lot of my time is spent at home relaxing, with a few planned outings to downtown Seattle in between.  This past Christmas I wanted to check out the Modernist Cuisine exhibit at the Pacific Science Center, and I'm very happy that we had a chance to go.  

This was also my first time visiting the Pacific Science Center, and while the majority of the exhibits were geared towards children, it was educational and pretty fun haha.  There were tons of people there enjoying the interactive sections of the vast science center. 

But the best attraction for me what definitely this photography exhibit.  Beautiful photography + amazing looking food, what's not to like?  The ones with the split appliances especially were so cool to see, and such a unique way to look at cooking methods.  According to the website, it looks like this exhibit will be traveling to other cities starting in February - so if it come anywhere near where you are, I would definitely recommend checking it out! 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Lunchtime Links for January 17th, 2014

Shake Shack - Frosted Holiday Cookie Custard

Dang, just looking at this photo makes me want a Shake Shack custard right now haha.  

The Frosted Holiday Cookie custard was offered in December, and as expected it quickly became one of my favorites.  I believe it's the regular vanilla custard base, but the fun part was the big chunks of cookie and the rainbow sprinkles mixed in throughout.  Anyone that's a fan of holiday cookies and/or sprinkles would love this one!  I hope it comes back next year for the holidays :o) 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Lunchtime Links for January 16th, 2014

Trader Joe's Holiday Snacks

After PUMPKIN EVERYTHING at Trader Joe's in the fall, it's another exciting set of delicious foods that come into the stores - HOLIDAY goodies!

In addition to my usual box of Mini Gingerbread Men (OBSESSED), I got a few new (to me) snacks as well:

- Dark Chocolate Stars 
- Milk Chocolate Salted Caramel Butter Cookies
- Belgian Dark Chocolate Bar
- Multi-Flavor Joe-Joe's


I was most excited to try out this multi-flavor Joe-Joe's because they had flavors that I normally would not have been able to eat - Peanut Butter, Ginger, Double Chocolate, and Peppermint.  What a great combination of flavors in a fun, festive box! 

I hope these holiday goodies are back next season, and of course I always look forward to new products coming out as well! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Lunchtime Links for January 15th, 2014

Newseum - Anchorman Exhibit

As soon as I heard about a new Anchorman exhibit opening in the Newseum, I knew that I HAD to go ASAP - it's one of my favorite (and most quotable) movies!  I loved the idea of this crazy movie being in such a legitimate (and often serious) news-themed museums, haha.  My friend R and I checked it out before Anchorman 2 came out, as a nice little warm up to the sequel. 

The exhibit is small, but packed full of movie memorabilia, and it was so fun to see everything in person! The way that the Newseum's guide takes you around the exhibits puts this one right at the end of the "tour", which I thought was a really good idea.  All of the serious and educational exhibits are great, but the Anchorman section was a nice breath of Sex Panther - I mean fresh air, haha.  If anyone is a fan of the movie and is in the DC area I would definitely recommend checking out this exhibit while it is around!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Lunchtime Links for January 14th, 2014

Georgetown Cupcake - New Year Cupcakes

I was able to get over to Georgetown Cupcake on New Year's Day to get both the New Year's Eve cupcake and the free New Year's Surprise cupcake, woohoo!  Aside from the vanilla vs. chocolate difference, these cupcakes were pretty much the same, down to the rich and thick frosting swirls and gold sprinkles.  I'm not sure if my "Surprise" cupcake was a dud, because there was no frosting core or anything, but it was a delicious cupcake even with just the cake.  What a cute and festive way to welcome in 2014!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Lunchtime Links for January 13th, 2014

2013 National Christmas Tree

For the past couple of years, I've tried to make sure to check out some of the great holiday events in the city - one of them is the National Christmas Tree!  It's not that it's difficult to see it or anything, but all too often it's already December and I suddenly start thinking about going to see it.  

My friend M joined me to go see the 2013 tree, and it was really pretty! Sparkly, with lots of different color/shape lights, and best of all a much better shape than some of the "lumps" from previous years, haha.  It was a fun night filled with lots of holiday cheer! 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Lunchtime Links for January 10th, 2014

The Food Market - Baltimore, MD

I recently tried out The Food Market in Baltimore with my friend S that lives in the area, and it was a delicious and fun brunch spot!

It's always a good sign when something sweet is brought out before we've even ordered from the menu, haha.  During this visit, it was a slice of caramel banana bread pudding.  Sometimes I think bread pudding is mushy, but this was a solid piece of bread pudding that was rich and delicious.

We started with an order of the very popular Amish soft pretzels with beer cheese fondue - and I am soooooooooooooooo glad that we did.  The soft pretzels were buttery and super soft, and that cheese sauce was delicious!  I would definitely recommend ordering this appetizer!

For my main course I went with the fried chicken and biscuits with poached eggs and cheesy potato casserole.  This definitely didn't look the way I assumed it would, but each component was prepared well - which is especially important with poached eggs and fried chicken. 

I would definitely recommend The Food Market for a delicious meal - the atmosphere is friendly and casual,  with lots of creative menu options that all looked amazing.  I would love to try this place out for dinner sometime as well!

The Food Market
1017 West 36th Street
Baltimore, MD 21211

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Lunchtime Links for January 9th, 2014

Japanarama: Japanese Gifts

Every time my mom goes to Japan to visit family, I always ask for lots of snacks and little gifts, and sometimes I even get a little surprise here and there, woo.

This time, I received this cute Kyoto matcha cake, like a sliced mini green tea pound cake.  The pound cake is liberally studded with little chocolate chips, which was a nice addition to a "regular" green tea cake.  The cake itself is great, but I especially loved the packaging on this pound cake.  The box was wrapped up tightly with a large green "furoshiki" cloth, and tied up in a little portable package.

Another fun surprise was this afternoon tea-themed mini calendar and notepad set.  The box holds the cookie notepad in the back, and each of the tabs can be moved around for each month to show the calendar in the front panel. Super cute, and super Japanese, haha!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Lunchtime Links for January 8th, 2014

Georgetown Cupcake - 2014 Monthly Flavors

The new menu for Georgetown Cupcake came out last week, and of course I am super excited to check out the flavors for this year!

First, two notable updates to the regular weekly menu: Coffee Cookies & Creme and Mocha Fudge are two that stood out to me, and I'm so excited to have them on the regular menu.

In the monthly flavor section, there are lots of fun flavors this year!

- Toasted Marshmallow
- Cookies & Creme Cheesecake

- Strawberry Lava Fudge
- Strawberry Cheesecake
- Olympic "Gold Medal" Red Velvet
- Valentine's Day "XO" Chocolate
- Valentine's Day "XO" Vanilla

- Cherry Blossom
- Chocolate Mint Crunch Cheesecake
- St. Patrick's Day Chocolate
- St. Patrick's Day Vanilla

- Cherry Blossom
- Cherry Cheesecake
- Caramel-Filled Chocolate Easter Bunny
- Caramel-Filled Chocolate Easter Egg
- Classic Passover Macaroon
- Caramel Drizzle Passover Macaroon
- Chocolate Drizzle Passover Macaroon

- Lavender Earl Grey Teacake
- Chocolate PB Cheesecake
- White Chocolate Raspberry
- Mother's Day Chocolate
- Mother's Day Vanilla

- Valrhona Blonde Ganache
- Marble Brownie Fudge Cheesecake
- Father's Day Chocolate
- Father's Day Vanilla

- Chocolate Sundae
- Key Lime Cheesecake
- 4th of July Red Velvet

- Banana Split
- Blueberry Cheesecake

- Caramel Apple
- New York Cheesecake

- Pumpkin Spice
- Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Halloween Ghost
- Halloween Bat
- Chocolate Spider Web
- Vanilla Spider

- Pumpkin Spice
- Dulce de Leche Cheesecake
- Election Red Velvet Donkey
- Election Red Velvet Elephant
- Thanksgiving Maple Chocolate Chip

- Chocolate Egg Nog
- White Chocolate Peppermint
- Chocolate Peppermint
- Gingerbread
- Snowball Coconut
- Rudolph Red Velvet
- Snowy Vanilla & Buttercream
- Christmas Caramel
- Holiday Lava Fudge
- Christmas Butterscotch Cheesecake
- Santa's Chocolate Chip
- Sticky Toffee Pudding
- Hanukkah Blue Velvet
- New Year's Eve Strawberry Champagne

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Lunchtime Links for January 7th, 2014

Shake Shack - January Custard Calendar

A new year, a new month, and a new menu of custard flavors at Shake Shack, woo!

Monday: Pretzel Caramel
Tuesday: Coconut Marshmallow
Wednesday: Mud Pie
Thursday: Peanut Butter Candy Bar
Friday: Chocolate Chip Cookie
Saturday: Red Velvet
Sunday: Cinnamon Honey Cream Cheese

I would love to have a custard from every single day... except Tuesday, haha.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Lunchtime Links for January 6th, 2014

Twix Gingerbread

Happy 2014 everyone!  What better way to start off a new year than by talking about candy, haha. 
If you did any holiday shopping at Target this year, you may have seen these Gingerbread Twix bags around. Hopefully you picked up a bag (or a few, who am I to judge), because these are a delicious and festive little treat! I wouldn't have immediately placed the gingerbread flavor right away if I didn't already know it beforehand, but they definitely taste more "spice"-y than regular Twix bars.  Also, they're the mini single Twix bars so they're practically health food compared to the regular size...right? I hope they bring these back for the holidays again!