Tag Archives: Starbucks

Friday Favorites & a Giveaway!

Two posts in one week — I told you I was coming back! Who doesn’t like a little Friday Favorites and a giveaway?! If you’re only here for the giveaway, scroll down to the bottom. But for the rest of you, here are some things I’m currently loving!

Vietnamese cold brew. I love coffee, and in the summer I drink iced coffee exclusively (I drink it a lot in the winter, too). I’m a fan of cold brewed coffee (more of that coffee taste without it getting watered down by the ice cubes), and will usually choose that over the regular iced coffee counterpart. So when a new coffee shop opened up down the block from me, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on their cold brew. While there for the first time I noticed Vietnamese cold brew on their menu and decided to give it a try. Since that day, it’s easily become my favorite summer drink. What makes this cold brew so special? Well, it’s cold brew coffee mixed with sweetened condensed milk. It provides just the right amount of creamy and sweet while keeping the integrity of the cold brew coffee. My only complaint is that it comes in one size and I always want more!

Vietnamese Cold Brew

 

High top sneakers. I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point high top sneakers came back in style. At first I wasn’t really a fan, but like with most trends, they grew on me. I originally thought they were something that other people could pull off, but I definitely couldn’t. Eventually I worked up enough courage to buy a pair (after spending a LONG time looking for the ‘right’ ones) and I’m so glad I took the plunge. There were a lot of really cute expensive pairs out there, but since I wasn’t sure how they’d look on me, I opted for a more affordable classic pair; Vans Sk8 Hi-Tops! I ordered them from Nordstrom and wore them out as soon as I got them. They’re comfortable, fashion forward, and go with a lot more than I originally thought – I’ve worn them with pants, shorts, and even dresses! Also worth noting it’s almost Nordstrom Anniversary Sale time (those of you with Nordstrom cards can already start shopping), so if you’re like me and you’ve been wanting a pair but haven’t pulled the trigger, now is a perfect time!

 

Starbucks Peach Green Tea Lemonade. This is a drink that to me, tastes like summer. Growing up when I’d go to “the pool” with my mom and sister during the summer months (which we did pretty much every single day because I was obsessed), we’d usually bring lemonade, peaches, and Oreos. A random mix, yes, but a treat nonetheless. So when I saw this drink on the Starbucks menu, I decided to give it a try. As soon as I took my first sip I immediately thought to myself, “This tastes like summer!” and was transported back to those summer days at the pool. It’s sweet and refreshing, and something I find myself craving. I’m really glad I decided to give it a try (I usually just get iced coffee at ‘bux)!

 

Working in New York City. I’m sure there are a lot of people that will say working in NYC is the worst, but I actually love it. My family is from NYC (Brooklyn, specifically) and I spent the first 4 years of my life living there along with countless trips back to my grandma’s in Park Slope when growing up. Even today my dad can give you directions to pretty much anywhere in the city, even though he hasn’t been a resident for over 25 years. I always thought I’d wind up working in NYC once I graduated college, but that didn’t happen right away. I took a job that was located in the outskirts of suburbia, and a car was required for everything. As the years passed, I felt like I was missing out; I wanted to be closer to all the action! So when the opportunity presented itself to look for jobs in the NYC area, I jumped on it. Aside from finally working in a location I’ve wanted for years, there have also been some great perks. I’m a mere 9 blocks away from Refine Method and not far from a FlyWheel studio. I can go two blocks down towards the water and I’m at the Hudson Greenway/West Side Highway for amazing running. AND I’ve seen multiple celebrities since starting; just a few weeks ago I passed Mike Meyers and Louis CK on my way down Hudson Street to the PATH station! The benefits far outweigh any negatives I may encounter.

View from my office patio!

View from my office patio!

 

GoMacro bars. I’m always looking for snacks I can add to my pantry at home and desk drawer at work. So I was excited to be asked to try GoMacro bars and do a giveaway for my readers. I’m not a complete stranger to GoMacro; I’ve seen them at the store before, but never actually tried them until this past month. They’re made from mostly raw ingredients and are all organic, non-GMO, kosher, gluten free, and vegan!

gomacro

I was sent a variety box of mini bars, and got to work on trying them for different things; before a workout or run, as a snack, etc. and it turns out they were great for all of my needs! I was sent a bunch of different flavors, but my favorites were the peanut butter, granola + coconut, and peanut butter chocolate chip. The consistency reminds me of the old-school PowerBars, but they taste much better. Since I only had the mini bars they definitely weren’t enough to have on their own before a workout, but were really helpful if I needed just a little something extra.

The folks at GoMacro were kind enough to offer a giveaway for one of my readers AND offer everyone a discount! You can enter through the Rafflecopter plugin below – the more you do, the more chances you have to win (a comment is required, though)! You have until midnight on Tuesday 7/14 to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

If you can’t wait to see if you’ve won the giveway, you can go to their website and enter “BLOGGER” at checkout to get 40% (!!!) off your first order!

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What I Drank Wednesday: Holiday Edition

Look at me, posting a WIDW two weeks in a row! This week’s theme is Holiday drinks, and includes beer, coffee, and tea. I’m a sucker for themed drinks, and like to try them all. A lot of times, though, I find that themed and overly marketed drinks are average at best. The ones below are the exception to my made up rule in that they are themed, and they’re good. We should probably start off with the good stuff (the beer) first, right?!

Harpoon’s Winter Warmer: I had this beer for the first time at the end of the season last year and loved it, so I knew that as soon as it became acceptable to talk about the Holidays, I had to get my hands on some. In simple terms, it tastes like the Holidays (cinnamon, nutmeg), but not in an overpowering way. It manages to be light, but also warm you up, as the name suggests. This is definitely the kind of beer you want to have on hand for Holiday get togethers! [Spiced Ale, 5.9% ABV]

Winter Warmer

This will warm you up!

Shiner’s Holiday Cheer: Despite having “Holiday” in the name, it’s far from what you would expect as a traditional Holiday beer (at least for me). When I think of Winter Holidays, I think of the spices found in the Winter Warmer. This brew, however, throws that logic out the window and instead you get the taste of peaches and pecans. It is so delightfully fruity and light, and reminds me a lot of Magic Hat’s #9. Despite the summery flavors, it definitely works as a Holiday beer, and I can just picture sipping it in Shiner, Texas (where it likely makes sense to have such a light and fruity beer for winter). [Dunkelweizen, 5.4% ABV]

Holiday Cheer

Peaches & pecans are needed in the snow

Southern Tier’s Creme Brûlée: Oh man. I should preface this by saying up until a few weeks ago, I was very much not a stout fan. I could drink a Guinness if it was given to me, but it was never my drink of choice. They were always just a little too heavy and bitter for me. But after finally trying Founder’s Breakfast Stout a few weeks ago while out after work, and really liking it, I decided it was about time to try more. So when Jenny suggested I give Southern Tier’s Creme Brûlée a try (with some dark chocolate), I made sure to pick it up when I went to the liquor store… and I got the last one! As soon as I opened the bottle I could smell the vanilla and caramel; it smelled like dessert. I was nervous to give it a try because I had such high hopes, and I wasn’t disappointed! It was so good. Not only could I smell the vanilla and caramel, but I could taste it. It’s a perfect “dessert beer,” or a beer to have when you want something a little heavier and sweet, rather than a light sweet beer (such as the Holiday Cheer above). [Imperial Milk Stout, 9.5% ABV]

Creme Brulee

Slowly becoming a stout lover

Starbucks Christmas Blend coffee: No more beer! Starbucks puts out this blend every year, and it’s really good. I actually love all of their seasonal blends (Thanksgiving, Holiday, Christmas, etc.), but this may be my favorite. Made up of beans from a bunch of different regions (South America and Indonesia), I enjoy it every morning, but find it also pairs well with desserts. It’s a darker roast, but isn’t overpowering, and smells fabulous.

Starbucks Christmas Blend

Jingle jingle

Celestial Seasonings’ Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride Tea: I had heard of this tea for a few years before actually trying it. I couldn’t  believe that there was actually a tea flavor that tasted like sugar cookies. When I finally tried it last year I was in shock; not only did it taste like sugar cookies, but it tastes like my favorite frosted cake-like sugar cookies (like the one pictured below)! Well, the people were right – it tastes like a sugar cookie. This is a perfect tea for when I’m craving something sweet but don’t have anything around. The smell is phenomenal, and I promise it tastes as good as it smells. It’s perfect for someone like me that will almost always choose coffee over tea, but actually wants tea every once in awhile.

Sugar cookie, sugar cookie tea. Both delicious.

Sugar cookie, sugar cookie tea. Both delicious.

I love taking advantage of different food and drink based on the season, and have been lucky enough to discover some really great ones.

Tell me…
Do you have any favorite Holiday themed drinks?
Any Holiday themed drinks I should try?

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Filed under Beer, Food Blogging, Food Review

Inspired: What I Drank Wednesday

Last week, Ashley did a hilarious “What I Drank Wednesday” post. It was absolutely hilarious, and I thought to myself; ‘hey, this isn’t such a bad idea! Everyone always talks about what they eat, but what about drinks?!’ So, I figured it would be appropriate, given we just had Memorial Day Weekend, to share what I’ve been drinking lately. I’m by no means a big drinker (anymore), but I love craft beer.

Things started off on the right foot Friday when I got to leave work at 2pm. It was rainy and cold, so a stop at Wawa for coffee (and jalapeño bites, don’t judge) was necessary. Thinking of Hollie, I made sure to snap my #coffeeaday and add some of their Irish cream creamer, which is delicious and should be available everywhere.

Wawa coffee. It's good stuff.

Wawa coffee. It’s good stuff.

To further my weekend of drinking, a package of Nuun was waiting for me when I got home – citrus fruit, tropical, Kona cola, and lemon tea flavors! These were all new-to-met flavors and I couldn’t wait to try them… so I started with the cola during dinner, had the tropical after a run on Saturday, the lemon tea while lounging on Saturday evening, and the citrus after Sunday’s run. No surprise to me, I loved them all. I think my favorite was the tropical (it reminds me of something, but I can’t put my finger on what exactly), and the cola and tea flavors are impressively close to regular cola and tea (obviously watered down, since it’s mixed with water). Things got crazy on Monday when I made myself a cherry limeade and Kona cola slush!

Just a few new (to me) Nuun flavors to add to the collection!

Just a few new (to me) Nuun flavors to add to the collection!

I also picked up some of Starbucks’ new 3 Region blend, which admittedly first caught my eye because of the bright floral package. I was happy to see that it was a medium roast that boasted “floral, citrus, and herbal notes” that was a perfect companion to a sunny day. After my 8.5 miler on Sunday, I was more than happy to plop down on the couch with a cup while I watched the new season of Arrested Development on Netflix.

Coffee. Always coffee.

Coffee. Always coffee.

I suppose it wouldn’t be a Holiday weekend (or a weekend, or a regular day for that matter) without some beer. We’re a little low on inventory, so I made due with what we had in the fridge. Thankfully we only buy good beer, so I wasn’t disappointed in my choices. I had an Ithaca Beer Co. Flower Power IPA on Sunday evening, and a Flying Dog seasonal Woody Creek on Monday. I love me some good craft beers!

Ithaca Beer Co. Flower Power

Ithaca Beer Co. Flower Power

I’m currently headed to Punta Cana for a friend’s wedding this weekend, so I’m sure I will have even more drinks to share next week!

What have you been drinking lately? 

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Chicago Marathon Recap: The Food

You didn’t think I was going to give you a Chicago Marathon recap without talking about food, did you?! I wish that I had a glowing food post for you like I did last time I was in Chicago, but unfortunately this trip was more about the race than it was the food, and I didn’t get to visit everywhere I wanted. At least that just means it’s an excuse to go back!

As I mentioned in my race recap, we were up early and off to the expo on Saturday morning, so breakfast was a stop at Starbucks next to our hotel. After the expo, though, we headed to Native Foods Café for lunch, which happened to be just around the corner from our hotel. It’s actually a chain, but only has a few locations; mostly in Chicago, California, and Colorado (guess they like C states!). I had searched for vegetarian restaurants prior to the trip, and since this was around the corner and had good reviews, I knew we had to check it out. After quickly browsing the menu, Andy ordered their Portobello “Sausage” burger with a side of seasoned fries, while I opted for the Twister Wrap [salad greens, fresh avocado and cucumber salsa, creamy chipotle sauce and your choice of crispy, blackened, or grilled Native “chicken” in an organic whole wheat wrap] with a side of kale, and we split their lavender lemonade.

The food was awesome. The Native “chicken” looked, felt, and tasted like chicken (I opted for it blackened), and they didn’t skimp on the avocado which I always appreciate. And Andy, not a vegetarian (but woefully eats as one most of the time) really enjoyed his burger, too. I would have loved to try everything on their menu, but unfortunately our trip only allowed us to visit once. I would love to have a vegetarian restaurant like that around me!

After a trip to Target and relaxing our legs for a bit, we headed off to dinner at Rosebud Theater District. Our main goal for dinner on Saturday night was very simple: pasta. So, the obvious choice was to search for a nearby Italian restaurant. Despite staying in the financial district of the city, we had a lot of options that were open on Saturday night (though there were equally as many that were closed). The restaurant had the best reviews out of every walkable place I researched, so we made a reservation prior to our trip in order to secure a spot. We started off sharing a house salad and bruschetta, which was delicious. They topped their bruschetta with fresh mozzarella, which I really enjoyed. Of course I had my fair share of the table’s bread, which they served with olive oil and parmesan cheese. I’ve never thought to mix parmesan cheese into olive oil for dipping, but you better believe I’m going to do it now! By the time we were finishing up our appetizers, dinner arrived and we dug in. I ordered the penne alla vodka and while it may not have been the safest option, it was vegetarian and I had a pretty good feeling it wouldn’t upset my stomach (thankfully I was right). I would love to go back on an evening where I could enjoy some wine!

Our final meal in the city was at Giordano’s for deep dish Chicago style pizza. I know there are a lot of different restaurants that offer deep dish pizza in the city, but we actually visited this restaurant four years ago on my first trip to Chicago. As we were being walked to our seat, we both looked at each other and at the same time echoed; “seriously? This is exactly where we sat four years ago!” I mean, what are the chances of that?! Since the pizza is made to order and we were finally gaining our hunger back post-marathon, we ordered some parmesan fries to share while waiting for our pizza. We ordered our pizza with onions, peppers, and jalapenos, and it was awesome. We even made sure to get a pizza big enough to bring some back to the hotel, since we both knew our hunger would rage late into the night; and it did. I’m a New York style pizza girl all the way, but sometimes it’s nice to change it up and do what I like to call ‘knife and forking it.’

Now, I wouldn’t typically make note of airport food. I purposely didn’t mention the food we ate at Newark Airport because it was awful. I do, however, feel the need to mention the food I had at Chicago O’Hare. Since we were flying United, we were stationed in Terminal B right next to the most delicious airport food I’ve ever experienced – Rick Bayless’ Tortas Frontera. If you are even remotely into food, and more specifically Mexican and Southwestern food, then you know the name Rick Bayless. As you all know I am obsessed with both food, and more specifically, Mexican/Southwestern food. So as soon as I saw that name attached to a sign hanging next to our gate, I insisted on getting something. I double checked Yelp an FourSquare reviews, and it was no surprise to see phenomenal reviews. After quickly doing a once-over of the menu, I ordered the rosted garlic mushroom torta which had crimini, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms, chipotle garlic mojo, goat cheese, black beans, and arugula. It was heaven between two pieces of crusty bread.

Just like I can’t wait to run my next marathon, I can’t wait to head back to Chicago to enjoy the city more. Hopefully, I won’t be waiting another four years to make my return!

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A Collegiate Weekend

This past weekend, I took a trip up to The University of Rochester with my mom and dad to visit my younger sister, who is a sophomore at the university for their Meloria weekend. Even though this is her second year, it was my first trip up and I was excited to see her – I haven’t seen her since the summer! I was also excited knowing there was some delicious food to be eaten – including BBQ and a trip to the original Wegmans.

First up was a trip to one of the university’s cafeterias that had ready to eat cookie dough! We needed a snack before dinner having been in the car for 6 hours, so it was just what I needed. I opted for the rocky road version, and it was awesome.

During my sister’s rendition of a campus tour, we of course had to stop at the full-sized Starbucks they have on campus. The University of Scranton had a Starbucks added to their new cafeteria my senior year, but it wasn’t much more than a countertop in the quick service section. At The University of Rochester, though, it’s a fully operating store which blew my mind. My sister’s boyfriend works there, and they operate regular (late) store hours as well, which I think is genius for a college campus. I also got my first glimpse of the trenta – I love coffee, but I don’t think I could drink that much!

Dinner on Friday night was at Benucci’s which my parents and sister had been to before. I had a really hard time deciding on what to get, but I ultimately went with their spicy penne vodka, and of course shared some fried calamari appetizer with the table. The pasta was delicious – it was at the perfect spice level for me, which was nice and spicy.

Saturday started early with a trip to the hotel’s gym, and unfortunately my run ended sooner than I had originally anticipated. The gym was 80 degrees (I wish I was exaggerating, but I checked the locked up thermostat) so I could only muster up 5 miles. Of course, when I was done it felt like I ran at least double that. We then headed to the university, first stopping at Starbucks (I scored a free sample of their pumpkin white mocha – yum!) and then continuing on to watch Bill Clinton deliver the keynote address.
Having heard only delicious things about Rochester’s BBQ, so we decided to check out Sticky Lips BBQ for lunch. Adam Richman’s Man vs. Food actually visited there and took on the atomic challenge, so we knew it had to be good. While no one at our table attempted the challenge, we all got a ton of food. I decided to go with the veggie sticky icky plate, because I’m not a big fan of ribs, pork, etc. It was so delicious. It had french fries, black beans, macaroni salad, and was smothered with vegetable etouffe and of course came with a slab of cornbread. I tackled about half, and saved the other half for dinner.

Our final stop of the day was the original Wegmans, where I discovered Maine Root’s Pumpkin Pie Soda!
 Despite the 6 hour trip, it was great to spend the weekend with my parents (who celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary on Sunday – wow!), and get to see my sister and her boyfriend. The next time we’ll all be reunited is Thanksgiving, which we’ll be hosting for the third year in a row. This weekend reaffirmed my beliefs that my love and obsession with food is thanks to my family. The four of us have food on the brain, all the time.

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway – you have until Thursday at 9pm EDT! 

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I Scream for Coffee

When MomCentral contacted me with the offer to sample Starbucks’ new ice cream flavors as part of a blog-tour, I jumped at the offer! I remember discovering Starbucks and their frappucinos in middle school, and became immediately obsessed. One day I had two mocha frappucinos, and I had so much energy into the wee-hours that I rearranged my room. My parents awoke to a newly designed room, and a very tired Danielle.

Needless to say, finding out that they had frappucino flavored ice cream, my fiancé and I immediately went for the mocha flavor. My mom’s favorite ice cream flavor is coffee, so I grew up enjoying it as well. While I was tempted to go for the plain ‘ole coffee, I couldn’t pull myself away from frappucino. Even though this weekend was full of rain and wind, I couldn’t help but make some sweet treats. With the fear of power going out at any moment, I tried to make everything I could on Saturday. Thankfully when I awoke on Sunday we still had power, so I was able to enjoy some ice cream.

After sampling some on it’s own, I had a genius (well, I think) idea – ice cream sandwiches! Using graham crackers, the ice cream, and chocolate chips, I assembled these beauties simply by taking about 2-3 tablespoons of ice cream and spreading it on one graham cracker, placing the other graham on top, and sprinkling some chocolate chips around the sides. Super simple, and delicious!

The ice cream really does taste like their drinks, and considering how big a fan I am of Starbucks speciality drinks, I definitely plan on getting some more of these delicious ice cream flavors and making more treats. Perhaps a milkshake version of the mocha coconut frappucino? Yum!

*Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Starbucks and received coupons and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

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Quiche Me

I always find myself inclined to make more involved, comfort foods on Sundays. It’s a day where you can get away with eating earlier and have it not considered part of the early bird special, and it’s those last few moments of the weekend that you can savor.

Since we were up early on Sunday morning to register at Crate & Barrel (hello KitchenAid Stand Mixer!) we didn’t have the opportunity to have a real breakfast; we enjoyed free samples and then grabbed some Starbucks to reward ourselves for a registry well done. So, I figured it would be appropriate to have breakfast for dinner, or in this case, brunch for an early dinner.

This particular quiche recipe had me sold the second I saw gouda cheese listed as an ingredient. I also really like portabello mushrooms and onions, so adding that in was an added bonus. Of course I added a little more gouda than what the recipe called for, and I could have even added more! I don’t think I can ever get enough of that cheese. It’s so goood-ahh (get it?!).

Anyway, I could definitely have this dish any time of day – breakfast, lunch, brunch, or dinner. Or as my fiancé affectionately refers to it, brinner. We wound up having leftovers, so I was able to have it for dinner on Sunday, and lunch on Monday!

Broccoli, Mushroom, and Gouda Quiche via ChowHound
– Serves 4 –

Ingredients:
1 Basic Pie Dough or a 9-inch deep-dish frozen pie crust (I used regular pre-made pie crust)
2 cups broccoli florets and tender stems, large dice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups portobello mushroom, large dice
1/2 medium red onion, minced
3 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half*
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shredded young Gouda cheese

Instructions:
1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Lightly flour a work surface and roll pie dough out. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the dough, and fold over edges into a decorative design.
2. Blind bake for 20 minutes. Make sure to put something in the middle to weigh it down (beans, weights, aluminum foil, etc.).
3. Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add broccoli and cook until fork tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and let cool in a single layer on a large plate.
4. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add mushroom and onion and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
5. Whisk together eggs, half-and-half*, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until incorporated and smooth. Stir in broccoli, mushroom mixture, and cheese. Pour into pie shell and bake until puffed and golden brown, 45-50 minutes.
6. Let cool at least 20 minutes before slicing.

*I didn’t have any half and half, so instead I melted 1 Tbsp of butter, and poured that into a 1 cup measuring cup. I then filled the rest of the measuring cup with milk, to make my own version of half and half.

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‘Tis the season… for pumpkin flavored drinks

While we’re slowly but surely coming down from our 90+ degree summer days, it’s clear that everyone has fall on their minds. I can’t begin to tell you how many blog posts I’ve read within the last two weeks boasting delicious pumpkin recipes and fun foods including the oh so yummy fall flavor. Even though it’s only the third week in September, cool crisp weather and warm flavors are definitely on their way.

For me, fall usually means beautiful colored leaves (that need to be raked, boo), the perfect clothing weather (not too many layers, but just the right amount), perfectly ripe apples, and of course, pumpkin! To be honest, I wasn’t always a huge pumpkin fan. Matter of fact, for a large part of my life I completely avoided it. Yup, that’s right – I turned down pumpkin pie (gasp!). However, last year, my taste buds seemed to change, and I hopped right on the pumpkin loving bandwagon. It started innocently with a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks, and continued from there – pumpkin bread, pumpkin brownies, pumpkin french toast, pumpkin beer… you get the point.

So on Sunday, I started my pumpkin fix of the season off right – the first stop was to get a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks! I can’t wait to get myself more of these badboys.

From there, my fiancé and I headed to a local wine store that has a pretty decent beer selection as well, and picked ourselves up TWO types of pumpkin beer! First, we grabbed a six pack of Shipyard’s Pumpkin Head, which we both had for the first time last year and loved. We also grabbed a four pack of Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale, which neither of us had tried before. The store actually had a few other options (such as Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale), so we’re looking forward to heading back after we finish these two.

Even though both of the beers are pumpkin flavored, they  are definitely distinctive in their own rights. The Shipyard has a strong cinnamon flavor making it sweet, while the Weyerbacher has a more nutmeg flavor, making it a little more savory. I really enjoyed them both, and even though it’s Monday morning, I could definitely go for another one right about now!

Aside from drinking pumpkin, I have a ton of recipes up my sleeve courtesy of fellow bloggers that I need to try. Everything from pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin macaroni and cheese, pumpkin overnight oats, to pumpkin smoothies. It seems like pumpkin puree with some spices can really be added to almost anything, and I’m more than okay with that.

Happy pumpkin season!

 

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Filed under Baking, Beer, Coffee, Food Blogging

An open letter (of dissapointment) to Dunkin Donuts

My dearest Dunkin Donuts,

I’m writing to you as one of your biggest fans to let you know I’m dissapointed. How am I one of your biggest fans? You can look right here, where I defended your awesomeness versus Starbucks. Yesterday, May 11th, was advertised as “Free Iced Coffee Day.” Sure, you said “at participating locations” which ususally means most. I’ve gotten myself an iced coffee on this day for years.

This year, though, New Jersey locations were not participating. Matter of fact, according to the Huffington Post, only fourteen locations were. Not states. Locations. Do you have any idea how many Dunkin Donuts there are around here?! Of course you do, you own them. So imagine the chagrin of your loyal customers who were looking forward to a little pay back for supporting you so whole-heartedly.

Take my own family, for example. My mom LOVES Dunkin Donuts coffee. Swears by it. Getting it is a treat, but one she indulges in often. As my sister and I cultivated a love for coffee over the years, we got in on her weekend routine of Dunkin. I continued the tradition in college, and once I got into the “real world” often treat myself on Friday mornings. We also excitedly give (and receive) numerous gift cards for various occassions. Even my office loves Dunkin Donuts. People often bring in munchkins or boxes of donuts, and whenever possible, they buy the Dunkin coffee for our own coffeemaker.

That being said, I find it rather dissapointing that the free iced coffee day that I’ve grown to know and love was publicized per the ususal, but not followed through on. Later yesterday I saw a tweet from Dunkin Donuts appologizing for the miscommuncation. That’s it? Really? How many people do you think actually went to a franchise location excited to get a small iced coffee, only to be dissapointed?! I know both my mom and sister were upset about it. In the case of New Jersey, you lucked out. It’s been cold and rainy the past few days, so I don’t think people were on the hunt for iced coffee to the degree they would have been if we had temperatures from a week ago. Regardless, you made a promise you didn’t keep.

So, next time I’m ready and willing to bat for your team versus the Starbucks team, I might think twice. I mean, at least Starbucks is offering frappucino happy hour until the 16th. And they aren’t making promises they can’t keep. At this point, you’d almost be better off going back to Rachael Ray as your spokesperson. And we all know how much America loves her.

Honestly, I love your coffee, and could never break up with it. But know I’m like a mother dissapointed in their child. I hope you can right the wrong, and give back to the Dunkin Donuts coffee lovers who support you. We’re all crabby we didn’t get our dose of coffee yesterday – you yourselves say us Americans run on it. So don’t deprive us!

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Holiday Spirits in Coffee Form!

Since we’re mid-way through December, I’m really starting to get into the Holiday spirit. That being said, I wanted to share my thoughts on the infamous Holiday Season coffee drinks currently being offered.

I know during the fall I had mentioned Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte as being the reason for my trips during that particular season. Similarly, their delicious winter-time offerings keep me coming back for more! I’ve only had a few so far; the Espresso Truffle, Gingerbread Latte, and a few sips of the Eggnog Latte. They have a new favorite this time around called the Caramel Brulee which sounds delicious!

I found the Gingerbread Latte to have just the right amount of spice so as it wasn’t too overpowering. The Eggnog, however, was not something I’d have again. Being this my second poor experience with an eggnog flavored coffee, I’m starting to think I don’t like eggnog. The Espresso Truffle is also really good. It has a nice hint of  rich chocolate to the bitter tasting espresso. It has a somewhat thick consistency, which makes it much more of a slow drink.

To be fair, Starbucks also has some type of mocha peppermint latte. Unfortunately, I refuse to drink it. I absolutely hate the taste of chocolate and peppermint together. I know that sounds completely ridiculous to a lot of people, but I just can’t do it. So that unfortunately is something I’ll never give my opinion on.

I haven’t really seen too many other places offering winter season drinks. I decided to check on Dunkin’ Donuts website since I haven’t been there in about two weeks (total blasphemy, but I’m trying to save as much money as I can for Christmas gifts!). They have a new peppermint mocha latte and donut, but as I previously mentioned, that will not be getting my attention.

So, as we really start to get deep into the winter and Holiday season, I’m going to be on the prowl for more Holiday drinks. The gingerbread latte I had last week really sparked my interest. Come on snow, I’m ready for you!!

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