Friday, August 29, 2014

Shake Shack - Labor Day Weekend Specials

In addition to an extra day off, those of us that are by a Shake Shack also get their holiday specials this weekend!

In honor of Labor Day Weekend, Shack Corn Dogs (Vienna all-beef hot dog dipped in Shack-made corn batter, cooked golden brown and served with Rick’s Picks sweet corn relish; $4.50) are back at the Shack, along with Peach Pie Oh My Concrete (vanilla frozen custard blended with a slice of delicious Shack-made peach pie; Single: $4.25/Double: $6.50). Both seasonal specials will be available Friday, August 29-Monday, September 1.

I've had the corn dog in the past, and since the first time I tried it I have enjoyed the corn dog a lot.  It's the perfect food to celebrate a long weekend, like being at a carnival but in a cleaner, air-conditioned setting haha.  I've always been on the fence about the pie concretes (as in, I don't like pies generally) but I do like peaches so maaaaaaaybe I'll try this one out if I get a chance to go, haha. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lunchtime Links for August 28th, 2014

Turkey Hill Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream

I recently received an offer to try out a sample of the new Turkey Hill All Natural Banana with Peanut Butter ice cream, but I definitely was not expecting 2 FULL-SIZE boxes of the ice cream to come to my home, hahah.  This was a super generous sampling opportunity, and I dug right in (literally).

According to the press release, "Lancaster County, Pa.-based Turkey Hill Dairy has joined forces with Peanut Butter & Co. on the newest addition to the Turkey Hill All Natural Ice Cream lineup, Limited Batch Banana Peanut Butter. The flavor includes banana-flavored ice cream swirled with Peanut Butter & Co.’s “Smooth Operator” peanut butter."

One of the main draws to trying this ice cream out is the addition of Peanut Butter & Co.'s peanut butter.  I LOVE their peanut butter and have tried almost all of the flavors in the past.  Their peanut butters are my go-tos for baked goods, especially cookies and brownies.  

I wasn't too sure about the banana ice cream, but it didn't taste like artificial banana flavor or anything, more like an extra creamy vanilla, a little thicker than the usual ice cream in my opinion.  As you can see in the bowl above, there is tons of peanut butter swirled throughout the ice cream, and the chunky bits of peanut butter add some texture and a ton of flavor (even a little saltiness) to the ice cream base.  I would highly recommend this flavor for anyone that likes peanut butter, or just wants to try out a new and interesting flavor in the Turkey Hill lineup! 

Note: I was offered a sample of this Turkey Hill ice cream, but not paid or required to write a post about it. I know there are lots of other peanut butter/ice cream lovers out there, so I wanted to get the word out about this new product! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lunchtime Links for August 27th, 2014

Shake Shack - Tyson's Corner

Hooray for a new Shake Shack near me! This Shake Shack is located in Tyson's Corner, VA, which conveniently houses a mall that I go to regularly, haha.  This location is outside, on a patio area that is accessible from one of the mall entrances.  It looked like there was a lot planned for the outdoor area, including an attached hotel, and a walkway of some sort. 

Because I went right around lunchtime, it was pretty crowded, mostly with families.  I ordered a hamburger and the location-specific Tysons Treat.  This concrete consists of vanilla custard, banana, chocolate sprinkles, and chocolate graham crackers from Pollystyle.  The outdoor patio area was packed, but I was able to grab a two-top just as I headed outside. 

The hamburger was delicious as expected, but I was especially looking forward to trying the Tysons Treat concrete. The chocolate graham crackers were plentiful and really tasty.  I loved how they maintained their crispy texture and had a great chocolate flavor.  Everything else in the concrete was delicious as well, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone that's shopping at Tyson's!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lunchtime Links for August 26th, 2014

Georgetown Cupcake - Key Lime Cheesecake

Mmm, another delicious cheesecake from Georgetown Cupcake!  This one takes on a summery twist with the addition of key lime flavor in both the cake and the frosting.  If you're a fan of the regular Key Lime cupcake you will definitely love this one.  Or, even if you don't love Key Lime (like myself), you will still love the creamy cheesecake base and the pretty flecks of green throughout.  I hope they keep bringing out more of these cheesecake variations! 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lunchtime Links for August 25th, 2014

USPS Farmers' Market Stamps

I heard about these new summer USPS stamps, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on them! They are super cute and have a farmers' market theme, with bread, fresh produce, flowers, and herbs in 4 continuous panels.  I think these are so bright and cheery - they will add a fun seasonal touch to all of your snail mail :o) 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Lunchtime Links for August 22nd, 2014

Trader Joe's Speculoos Ice Cream

Yes, this is real... and it is spectacular. 

I first saw a photo of this Speculoos Cookie Butter ice cream online, and was happy to see my store was stocked full of them soon after.  If you're a fan of Biscoff cookies, cookie spread, or the Trader Joe's versions, then clearly you will love this ice cream.  That being said, I was pleasantly surprised by how creamy the ice cream base was, and the addition of cookie pieces and cookie butter only magnified that rich texture.  This is a fantastic ice cream flavor and I really hope it sticks around - Trader Joe's has a habit of pulling items without any warning, so it's best to stock up now if you see it!   

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Lunchtime Links for August 21st, 2014

Shake Shack - Salted Peanut Cola Custard

Yes, you read that correctly, this is a Salted Peanut Cola custard from Shake Shack.  I don't know too much about the "peanuts and cola" phenomenon, mainly that it's a Southern thing (I think...).  A quick Google search came up with a nice explanation on the Coke website, about the history of people enjoying peanuts inside a bottle of ice-cold Coke.  Thank you, internet! 

So, back to this custard. I had no idea what to expect, since I've never even tried the traditional peanuts in cola before haha.  There was definitely a strong tone of saltiness which I thought went well with the creamy custard.  The custard itself was cola-flavored, and reminded me of the cola-flavored snacks that are pretty common in Japan.  For whatever reason, there serious are a LOT of cola-flavored gummies, hard candies, and gum in Japan, and this custard reminded me of that, including the random spurts of fizzy flavor.  This was definitely one of the more interesting flavors of custard I've had at Shake Shack! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lunchtime Links for August 20th, 2014

Daikaya - Shio Ramen with Pork Belly

Mmm... ramen.  I recently tried out the Shio (Japanese for "salt") ramen at Daikaya, which according to the menu "shows off the unique nuance of our Chintan stock. It is our most delicate and aromatic ramen".  I will say, this ramen definitely different from what I expected it to be.  Normally I think of shio ramens as very pale, almost clear soup with not much depth.  This was really delicious, especially with the addition of pork belly slices - which you can see hiding out in the bottom left of the photo, haha.  If you're not too big on strong soy sauce/miso flavors, give this one a try! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Lunchtime Links for August 19th, 2014

Rice Cooker Japanese Hotcake-cake

I thought it would be fitting to have a Japanese food post on my birthday, haha.  As soon as I saw this post about using a rice cooker to make a gigantic Japanese hotcake, I knew that I HAD to try it.  It sounded like the perfect amount of delicious and ridiculous haha.

The recipe really is SO easy as the blog posts and review claim - I mixed all of the ingredients directly in the rice cooker bowl, and hit "Start" to bake.

And here's the final result! It was actually pretty funny how this big round cake just pops out of the bowl, haha.  Because the rice cooker bowls are nonstick bowls, it really does pop out very easily. 

If you've ever had a Japanese hotcake before, you'll know already that they are normally thick and on the sweeter side.  This is like an extreme version of that, as you can see in the photo above.  The cake wasn't dense at all though, and remained nice and fluffy throughout.  The slices of cake freeze really well too, and overall I'm very happy with this giant hotcake recipe! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Lunchtime Links for August 18th, 2014

Georgetown Cupcake - Chocolate-dipped Banana Cupcake

This Chocolate-dipped Banana cupcake was a recent free secret flavor at Georgetown Cupcake, and it was delicious!  The banana cake with chocolate ganache was a perfect pairing, and it reminded me of a chocolate chip-studded banana bread.  I like that their banana cake doesn't taste artificial at all, and I hope they continue to use it for different flavor combinations! 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Lunchtime Links for August 15th, 2014

Lay's Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese Chips

If you've browsed the chip aisle at your local grocery store recently, you may have noticed some new Lay's flavors being stocked on the shelves.  The Chicken & Waffles chips are from last spring, but the Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese are new this year.  

The first smell upon opening the bag is cheese, cheese, cheese, haha.  The cheese compliments the chips well, and I'm sure people will like this especially if you're a fan of Cheetos and other cheese-y snacks.  I have to say I didn't get any of the bacon taste at all, until I shook the bag around a little bit and got some bacon flavor towards the bottom.  However, with the thin shape of Lay's chips, I wouldn't recommend shaking the bag too hard to distribute the flavors haha.  

The other flavors that are currently being sold as "flavor finalists" are: Cappuccino, Mango Salsa, and Wasabi Ginger.  If you're a fan of unusual potato chip flavors, be sure to try them out while they're available in stores, and vote for your favorite! 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Lunchtime Links for August 14th, 2014

Japanese Stovetop Toaster

My mom brought me this Japanese stovetop toaster grill when she came to visit a few months ago, and I am already totally in love with it!  The pan is meant to be used for lighter items, like toasting bread or mochi squares.  I've used it for both, and the results have been great.  It does take a little longer because you can't have the flames up too high, but it makes a fantastic, crunchy but still just warmed through toast or mochi square.  It's easy to wipe off to clean, and fits right against the wall behind my stove.  For a small kitchen like mine, handy little gadgets like this are fantastic! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lunchtime Links for August 13th, 2014

Birroteca - Baltimore, MD

My friend S and I recently met up at Birroteca restaurant in Baltimore, and it was a fun and delicious brunch at a new (to me) spot!

We started with an appetizer of crisp Brussel sprouts, Coppa, and black garlic aioli.  This was delicious, and the crunchy outside of the chopped Brussel sprouts went really well with the aioli.  

We decided to split two pizzas so we could try two different types. On the left is the Double D, with meatballs, fresh Mozzarella, and basil, and on the right is the Locavore with roasted market vegetables, Pecorino, fresh Mozzarella, and EVOO.  I'm glad that we got a meat-centric simple pizza along with a very vegetable-heavy one, it was a nice balance trying both pizzas out! The pizzas were delicious, and even as we were chatting we couldn't stop shoving the tasty slices in our mouths as quickly as possible, haha. I would definitely come back to have more of their delicious pizza, and maybe try a pasta dish next time!  I hear that it gets pretty packed at dinnertime, but when we were here for brunch it was really quiet - so depending on what sort of environment you're in the mood for, be sure to check Birroteca out if you're in the area!

1520 Clipper Road
Baltimore, MD 21211
Reservations on OpenTable

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Lunchtime Links for August 12th, 2014

Georgetown Cupcake - Blueberry Cheesecake

So this Blueberry Cheesecake cupcake isn't really new to the Georgetown Cupcake menu, but this is the first time I've actually seen it with the frosting on top, haha.  I first got the free secret version, then the monthly menu version, both without the vanilla frosting piped on top, even though the online menu showed it with frosting.  

Apparently, third time's a charm! I got this Blueberry Cheesecake recently and it came, as advertised, with a pillowy swirl of vanilla frosting on top.  As you may know, I'm not really a fan of blueberries (I can tolerate them blended into smoothies but that's about it), but the vanilla frosting and creamy cheesecake base were delicious! This cheesecake is filled with little dots of fresh blueberries, so if you actually like them unlike me, you're in luck :o) 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Lunchtime Links for August 11th, 2014

Shake Shack - Crinkle Cut Fries

For those of you that have been eating at Shake Shack for a while, you may have noticed that their French fries changed from the original crinkle cut (or, as I called them, "cafeteria fries") to hand-cut French fries at the majority of their locations.

Now, with a self-proposed French fry ban on myself I've never actually tried either of their fry types, but I always remembered people commenting on the crinkle cut fries as surprising and out of place for a brand like Shake Shack. Then, when the new fries came out, I equally heard about how they missed the original crinkle cut fries, haha.

I guess you can't please everyone, but for those of you that loved the crinkle cut fries, good news: Shake Shack is bringing them back to all locations in November!  For those of you that missed the little accordions of potato-y goodness, it's your lucky day (or, will be, come November).  And for those of you that like the hand-cut version, stock up before November, haha.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Lunchtime Links for August 8th, 2014

Georgetown Cupcake - Blond Chocolate Birthday Cupcake

I was pleasantly surprised to see this beauty of a cupcake in the display case at Georgetown Cupcake on a recent visit.  While it's not listed online, this cupcake was placed along with the other monthly specials.  It's a Blond Chocolate Birthday cupcake, and it consists of "Valrhona chocolate cupcakes frosted with Valrhona 'Dulcey' Blond Chocolate Buttercream".  

I LOVED the blond chocolate buttercream- it tasted a little caramel-y to me, and it was a delicious pairing with the chocolate cake.  The round sprinkles always make everything more festive, even when you're just getting it on a regular day :o) I hope they keep this flavor around, or use this frosting again! 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Lunchtime Links for August 7th, 2014

Bargain Hunter Mug

I received this great mug from my friend S a few weekends ago, love it! Of course my love of couponing and buying things on sale is very well-known among my friends, haha.  

If you like to shop in cute little gift-type stores, you may have seen this brand of mugs before (especially the mama/papa bear ones) from Jane Jenni. They are very fun and make a great gift! 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Lunchtime Links for August 6th, 2014

Bobblehead Andy Cohen

After participating in the Bravoholic (RIP) programs through Bravo TV earlier this year, I received a gift card for the Bravo online store.  I had held on to it for a while but last week decided to have Andy Cohen come live in my apartment, haha.  Thank you to the Bravo team for the gift card to pay for the majority of this order :o) 

The Andy Cohen Bobblehead fits perfectly in front of my tv, and as you can see he's just the right height for the Bravo logo during the shows.  Welcome to my home, Andy Cohen!  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Lunchtime Links for August 5th, 2014

Shake Shack Wine Glasses

I never really think to order wine at Shake Shack, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they give you wine in these fun Govino glasses! Better yet, they can be taken home, so it's a nice little piece of Shake Shack branding in my own apartment, haha. 

I like the little thumb indent (where it looks like the bottom is crushed, haha) which makes it easy to hold, and more importantly not drop.  Be sure to check out the wine selection at Shake Shack the next time you're there! 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Lunchtime Links for August 4th, 2014

Georgetown Cupcake - August Flavors

Georgetown Cupcake has two fun flavors for August: 

Banana SplitFresh banana cupcake with a fudge core topped with a vanilla cream cheese frosting, 
a fudge drizzle, hazelnuts, rainbow bobbles, and a maraschino cherry

Blueberry CheesecakeBlueberry Cheesecake is a fresh blueberry cheesecake cupcake topped with a vanilla cream cheese frosting and a blue fondant flower

Based on my past experiences with the Blueberry Cheesecake, I'll have to make sure to check if it has frosting on top or not, haha.  I'll be sure to report back with the news once I find out :o)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Lunchtime Links for August 1st, 2014

Shake Shack - August Custard Calendar

Monday: Strawberry Cheesecake
Tuesday: Malted Marshmallow Milk Chocolate
Wednesday: Apricot Jam Crumb
Thursday: Chocolate Hazelnut
Friday: Blueberry Lemon Ricotta
Saturday: Boston Cream Pie
Sunday: Fromage Blanc Raspberry Swirl

Here's the lineup for the custard flavors this month at Shake Shack! I would definitely try Monday and Tuesday, possibly Sunday because I've seen it before and it sounds so fancyyyyyyy, haha.  They all sound very summery and delicious this month!