Archive for October, 2009


My anaconda don’t want none unless you got Potenza’s buns, hon

Ah, Potenza bakery. Reasonably priced goodies and sandwiches that are way better than any chain. They bake these buns fresh a bunch of times every day. I’m not the type that gets tempted by the smell of Cinnabon wafting through the airport, or by cinnamon buns in general. (They’re usually too rich.) These cherry sticky buns are awesome, though, which is why they made our Best of DC list ($2 each).

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The first time I tried these, I shared one with a friend. Now I know better. BTW their sandwiches are awesome, too.

Potenza bakery, corner of 15th and H Street right near McPherson Metro.


Breyer’s mint chocolate chip yogurt

In my mind, Breyer’s mint chocolate chip is neck and neck with Ben & Jerry’s mint chocolate chunk. It really depends how big you like your chocolate chips. BTW, I just found out the Breyer’s has 1/3 fewer calories without compromising on flavor:


Anyway, this yogurt is as close as you’re gonna get to the ice cream. It tastes like the ice cream with some added tartness. Also,  I wish the chocolate chips weren’t so soft. But I definitely will buy again. I just hope it’s not really limited edition, as marked on the package.



Neiman Marcus Christmas Book: The Cupcake Car

Just when you thought there was a recession going on and that conspicuous consumption was out, Neiman Marcus brings you its annual Christmas Book, with their limited-edition Jaguars selling out in record time.


One of this year's offerings from the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book.

And offers this: a cupcake car. At $25,000 a pop.

Who is buying these? Can I be you?


Another DC cupcake war contender: Red Velvet cupcakery

I tried Red Velvet (the lime and red velvet flavors) when they first opened and remember being indifferent. They seem to have stepped up their game a bit since then. Pretty impressive presentation, right?


We liked the chocolate ganache better than the red velvet, but both were good. If chocolate ganache is your thing, I still recommend the Gianduja cupcake from Hello Cupcake over this though. Sorry, Red Velvet. That Italian hazelnut paste in the Gianduja edged you out.

However, Red Velvet recently did have a limited-time flavor that we thought was pretty amazing: honey fig. We bought the very last one of the day. I had to mentally will the woman in front of me not to buy it. The honey buttercream, paired with the cooked fig center and flavorful cake was heaven. Although not exactly ecofriendly, I appreciate how the individual box kept the cupcake intact on the journey home. (Some places give you individual cupcakes in a bag, so half the frosting winds up stuck to the bag).

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I’m also really happy that they partner with Tangysweet. The Tangysweet in Penn Quarter is right next door to Red Velvet. Plus, the Dupont Circle Tangysweet location actually carries 4-5 flavors of Red Velvet’s cupcakes on any given day, so you can get your froyo and your cupcake on–at the same time!


Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mix

If you haven’t noticed from all the other Trader Joe’s posts on this blog, I’m a sucker for trying their new products. So it’s no surprise that this mix ended up in my cart.


I tested this by making pancakes, which was easy–just add egg, melted butter and milk. (Soymilk’s fine as a substitute.) The pancakes turned out nice and fluffy with crisped edges. Make sure to butter the pan before putting the batter in to attain crispiness. Flavor-wise I could taste the pumpkin-pie spicing, but not so much the pumpkin. That might be something that could be solved with adding a bit of canned pumpkin to the batter (?) 


Random fact: when you see maple syrup looking all amazingly thick and gooey in ads, it’s really Karo dark corn syrup. I had to double-dose this stack of pancakes with maple syrup just to get this shot.

***Update: The second time we made these, I added bittersweet Ghiradelli chocolate chips (better than Nestle, I’ve noticed). So good, and the chocolate chips aren’t cloyingly sweet. In fact, they get a bit burnt during the cooking process, but it tastes good like that.***


Bread Pudding Throwdown with Bobby Flay: Get the Recipes


Now this is a truck worth chasing. Dessert Truck threw down with Bobby Flay last night, and…I won’t spoil the show for you. But if want to try your hand at one of Dessert Truck’s most popular treats, here’s the recipe via

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Bacon Crème Anglaise
Recipe courtesy of Chef Jerome Chang of New York City’s Dessert Truck

Bread pudding:
1 loaf of your favorite bread (we use a Pullman loaf)
3 cups heavy cream
140 g (½ cup plus 2 tbsp.) granulated sugar
38 g (1 1/3 oz.) 61% chocolate
38 g (1 1/3 oz.) 72% chocolate
100 g (3½ oz.) egg yolks
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 ° F.

Cut crusts off bread. Dice bread into ½-inch cubes.

Fill eight 4-oz. ramekins about halfway with bread.

In large saucepot, bring the heavy cream and sugar to a boil.

Add both chocolates to the hot cream and whisk until even and smooth.

Add yolks and salt, whisking until uniform.

Using a ladle or measuring cup, pour the chocolate mixture over the bread until about ¼-inch from the rim.

Bake puddings in oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until they jiggle.

Bacon crème anglaise:
Makes about 1 qt. of sauce

4 strips of your favorite bacon (we use an applewood-smoked bacon)
2 cups half-and-half
75 g (2 2/3 oz.) granulated sugar
100 g (3½ oz.) egg yolks

Cook the bacon in a skillet until well caramelized.

In a small saucepot, bring half-and-half to a boil.

Add the strips of bacon, but not the excess grease. Cover with plastic wrap or foil and let the bacon infuse for 15 minutes.

Prepare an ice bath by placing an empty bowl into a large container of ice water.

Add sugar to the half-and-half and boil mixture.

Pour about half of the mixture over the yolks, whisk together, then pour back into the saucepot.

Continuously stir the custard mix over medium-high heat with a wooden spoon until the custard no longer looks watery when a finger is drawn across the back of the spoon.

Strain the custard into the bowl on the ice bath and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until cold. Store for up to 3 days.

Oh, and if you want to try Bobby’s bread pudding, the recipe’s here:

What we thought of the bread pudding when we finally got to try it:

Dessert truck:

Recipe from


cake wrecks now a book. celebrate with cake!

The New York Times had an article on this today. Cake Wrecks has been the hub for cakes with terrible spelling/grammatical errors (“I LAVE YOU”), cakes that look like they survived Katrina and cakes that are just odd. Example below.

Photo: McMeel Publishing

Photo: McMeel Publishing

Read this article here:

Buy the book here:

Related post:


Something for the snack drawer at work

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These are like Nestle Crunch meets Pringles by way of Belgium: high-quallity Belgian chocolate wafers with rice crunchies. The Pringles shape is a nice touch, as if ergonomically designed to melt on your tongue. They’ll run you $2.49 for a pack of 36 at Trader Joe’s.

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Whole Foods vs. Trader Joe’s

I know that there’s no comparison when it comes to say, the quality of produce or product selection–Whole Foods wins, hands down. But when it comes to other categories like frozen foods, Trader Joe’s whoops some serious WF butt. This tart was $5.99, what you’d pay for just a slice at a restaurant or patisserie. At Whole Foods, the nearly identical made-in-France tart was $9.99 over the summer. Ouch.

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Whole Foods pineapple upside-down cake

Yet again I victimize my wallet by going shopping hungry. Well, I must’ve been ravenously hungry, because pineapple cake isn’t something I usually go for. I believe this was $3.99 for a mini cake. It’s not bad, but not crave-worthy. After 4 days, half of it is sitting in my fridge.

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