Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Worst Part of Waking Up...


I keep a box of instant oatmeal packets at work, for "running late" mornings.  Since I like sleeping and hanging out with my family more than I like commuting to work, I'm often running just a bit too late to eat breakfast before I get to the office.

Last week, I decided to try a new brand of instant oatmeal (called Nice!), even though I'd been quite happy with my months-long habit of McCann's Instant (maple and brown sugar).  I was fooled by spare packaging into thinking the Nice! oatmeal might be a new, independent brand. Then I tasted it, and doubted my uneducated guess. It turns out that Nice! is the store brand for Walgreens, the drugstore company that bought our local Duane Reade chain. And it's not so "nice." It's certainly not "nice-with-an-exclamation-point."

Now, until I get through 7 more packets, at-work breakfasts will be my least favorite way to start the day -- because I'm just not enthusiastic about this oatmeal. The flavor is too sweet and the oats have an uninviting, mushy texture. I know instant oatmeal is often mushy, but this seems mushier than strictly necessary. It doesn't really taste like brown sugar or maple syrup. It just tastes sweet.

Next time I want to broaden my instant oatmeal horizons, I'll go with expert advice and try Trader Joe's. Because there's nothing nice! about dreading breakfast.

Do you eat breakfast at the office? What are your go-to products?


Monday, April 23, 2012

The Case of the Encoded Cookie Cake

Cookie Cake


Someone at work shared his cookie birthday cake from the Milk and Cookies Bakery on Commerce Street here in NYC. I found my slice to be fine and pleasingly crumbly. Though the dark chocolate ganache on top was slightly more rich than I would have liked, it was still a good mid-afternoon diversion.

Don't ask what was written in icing across the cake. Apparently, it's something of a secret. Inside Joke Cake!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

You don't know what you want 'til it's got.

New Lunchbox

I did some highly rewarding work for some friends recently. Afterward, they surprised me with a gift -- the handsome lunch box pictured above. I am in love with it, if one can be in love with partially-transparent molded plastic.

The "Box Appetit" is by black + blum. It features a little divot in the lid for soy sauce, a sauce container, a separate (microwavable) compartment for other foods, a plastic fork/knife, a holster for chopsticks, and a really sleek design. Why, there's a whole 5-minute video online about how stylish it is.

Okay, the video's a little silly. But this lunch box is seriously sweet. It slips right into my purse and makes my leftovers look beautiful. Why, it gets compliments just sitting quietly in the work refrigerator. I love it!

I'd like to be paid in lunch boxes from now on, please.


New Breed

Newer new

It seems like the Union Square Subway (sandwich place, not train station) is my place to spot new flavors of Sun Chips. I found another one there last week. This variety, Sun Chips 6 Grain Medley Parmesan Herb, claims to contain "corn, wheat, oats, brown rice, buckwheat, [and] quinoa."

They tasted like parmesan, sure. Herbs, too, I guess, in that indiscriminate "flavored chips" way. But quinoa? Buckwheat? That's a stretch.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Cake Takes the Cake

Birthday 1

My son turned one a month ago. We decided not to throw him a big "First Birthday" party because he'll never remember it and we have so many adult and baby friends we'd need to invite that we'd never find a suitable party venue we could afford.

What we did instead was show up at a local park on his birthday with a picnic blanket, cake, water, and a few snacks. We also texted and emailed a bunch of people at the last minute inviting them to stop by for a piece of cake. The impromptu get-together meant we kept our numbers and budget low.

The cake I chose was really more suitable for adults than babies, and slices were more like incredibly rich, moist brownies than cake. The key ingredient that made for this texture? Mashed banana. It was dense enough that revelers didn't need forks or plates, which was perfect for the park. Peanut butter frosting served alongside made for an optional topping.

I am looking forward to making this cake again. It was really good.  Find the recipe for the cake here (I used coconut oil instead of olive oil). I also used this frosting recipe.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Baby! I hope there are countless cakes in your future.


Today at Smorgasburg - April 21, 2012

Round 1

Asian-Inspired tacos (the crispy-shelled spicy tuna was my favorite; also pictured: short rib) and peach tea from Takumi Taco.

Round 2

Porchetta sandwich and intriguing Skytown flatbread with feta and spinach pesto. Mint lemonade also from Skytown.

Round 3

Laughter and Lemon ice cream sandwich (holy cow, good!  Salty lemon cookies!) from The Good Batch. I'll be back, The Good Batch. Overheard in the line: "Is this ice cream sandwich going to be worth $6?" My answer: yes, and it's a competitive price, though I'd rather it be $4.

Also eaten: New York Naturals kale chips with vegan cheese. They were great. And I do NOT generally approve of vegan cheese. Thanks go to Nick's mom for sharing them with me. The baby liked them, too.


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