Monthly Archives: October 2012

DD Pumpkin Holes – Matawan, NJ

Once Upon a Time about a decade ago, I had this thing in my life called routine. I was in community college enrolled full-time in my first fashionista program with a life fueled by the early twenties “liquid diet.” This most often consisted of booze and coffee and I looked fantastic for it. Between my world of “academia” and two jobs that never left Monmouth County, I got to know my NJ very well as it got to know me. I would drive to the same Dunkin Donuts daily before class and in the afternoon when I’d be suffering from the 3:00pm sugar crash. I became such a regular at the Rte. 34 (southbound intersecting with Broad St.) DD that they would see me pulling up in my 1992 vintage Volvo “whip” and would have my french vanilla light and sweet ready-to-go. I would come in and put my $1.05 on the counter and leave. Yes, a small coffee back then was only $1.05. Then I left for Euroland and they forgot about me.

Later in life my DD experiences turned into frequenting the northbound Rte. 34 drive through where the speakerphone window often sounded like the Taliban was greeting with,  “DUNKYBASKYHOWCANIHELPYOU!?!!!!!!!!!!!” (Translation: Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins; How can I help you?) Take a little too long ordering and you were certain there was a man with a machete at the register ready to take your head off. They would handle their hot bevs and donuts with such hostility and always stole that ONE penny they owed you in change. It was almost as though everything was conveniently priced so that the ONE penny they pocketed would not be missed by the careless consumer.  I got smart on them and demanded my penny each time. With two trips to DD’s per day, that equaled to $7.30 they were stealing per year!  Thieves. Sneaky sneaky thieves.

So just in time for Halloween they’ve come out with an entire menu of Fall items. Their PUMPKIN items include: cream cheese, coffee and lattes, packaged coffee (yes now you can have your DD crack within the comforts of your very own home), donuts, munchkins and muffins as well! The pumpkin coffee and donut “holes” (Why are they holes and not balls, or the former Munchkin title is beyond me) have proven to be incredibly addictive just like all the rest of their products. I swear it’s a conspiracy. America really runs on Dunkin… So what exactly is in that Dunkin that is so darn irresistible? Do we really want to know? Food for thought… What exactly are we drinking? They’ve created this cup just to make fun of us with every pumpkiny sip we take.

~PeanutPimpMama “All Things Pumpkin 2012”

“Treats”- Sweet Treats Truck NYC

I was happy to escape out of my building’s 45th street exit to find my falafel man’s new neighbor.  “Treats”.  No mystery here… They are a big silver truck that sells treats! They also offer breakfast and lunch, including egg sandwiches, their daily grilled cheese special as well as salads.  I came to find out that this is only in their store (not the truck).  When I saw the truck earlier today, I talked the owner into getting those grilled cheese sandwiches into that truck STAT.  They are losing potentially thousands of dollars not having those ready-to-go on demand in Midtown Manhattan.  She smiled and shrugged and said, “That’s the next step”. Once they do, it will really be a one stop shopping place with a huge selection of dessert to boot!

During my first encounter, I spent a bit of time scoping out the dessert selection.  I’ll be honest and say that upon first glance not many of their treats get the “Golden Star” for visual appearances.  However now having sampled their pumpkin loaf as well, the freshness is commendable. Staying true to my October promise of sampling as many Fall and Pumpkin products as I can, I settled on the pumpkin swirl cookie..  This was easy after the guy in front of me wanted to know what it was. He piqued my curiosity and it was history.  It was not an obviously pumpkiny-product to start.  In fact, before I was told what was inside, I swore it had peanutbutter drizzled on top.  PeanutPimpMama would have been equally pleased by that, however the fact that it was pumpkin made it all that much more special.

The cookie:  It was the consistency of a slightly chewy shortbread with cinnamon goodness rolled into the dough, just as a cinnamon roll would be rolled. The cookies were then sliced so the decorative swirl remained face up.  Last but not least, it was drizzled with a pumpkin icing where the prominent pumpkin flavor exuded.  The cookie was very sweet, and I made the mistake of eating it before I had any real food in my system.  I did not make it all the way through, as the cookie proved to be way too much of a mid morning commitment. Where the remains lie, no one knows.

Next time, I’m going for the grilled cheese. Hopefully they’ll have it!

 

Now you know!

Brought to you by PeanutPimpMama as part of “All Things Pumpkin 2012”.

~PeanutPimpMama

For More Information: www.thetreatstruckstop.com

 

 

 

 

Carrot Cupcake (Flavor of the Month) @ Baked By Melissa-NY, NY

I first found out about Baked By Melissa in the winter of 2009. It was lunch time and I was working for a design firm that made life with Steve Jobs look like Disneyland. The personalities and characters were the worst and for a first job out of college I was traumatized. The firm’s only saving grace was its location in SoHo, NYC. My lunches became my escapism and my 60 (often a sneaky 90) minute decampments proved there was in fact a normal functioning and non-abusive world out there yet to be had and enjoyed! Food, my vice, was a way to get through my days in this chamber.

At the height of the Cupcake fad, I was walking along Spring Street when I found Baked By Melissa’s first location. It was the tiniest little storefront and to say it was about 4 feet wide would be giving it a lot of credit. (Three years later, she’s bigger and so are her britches.) I guess it was all the space they needed for these tasty little bites back then? As a customer you couldn’t help but wonder how they could possibly cook or keep them fresh on location. However every time I bought them, fresh they were! At first I would walk by and only try one or two. By the time I tried all of their six total flavors, I started ordering batches of six in one go so I could transport them away in their special mini cupcake tailored box. They were complete with tiny holding slots. I started giving them out around the office for birthdays as well. They were a major hit in contrast to the Magnolia’s we’d grown so tired of.

Melissa knew what she was doing when she became part of the cupcake revolution with the descaled new and improved version.  With these minis being a fifth of the size, you have a fifth of the guilt! (That is if you have the self control to not eat ten.) If you think about it, these cupcakes are really perfect for NY’ers specifically. They promote a way to have five cupcakes in one by facilitating the NY eating disorder: the never ending demand for variety, selection and ability to have everything at once. It’s like tapas-cupcakes! Now you can even purchase them covered in decadent chocolate shells… Mmmmm.

These things are never going to stop making us happy. Let’s face it. They are tiny (who doesn’t like tiny things?), sweet (who doesn’t like sweet things?) and some have vibrant colors that bring us right back to childhood. Smaller than most, Baked By Melissa has managed to pack enough flavor of a giant cupcake into a mini! Her site uses a US quarter as a base of comparison for size and offer a mix and match service to create and personalize your very own Baked By Melissa treat. (Play with the customizer-er for a sparkly good time). PeanutPimpMama created the “Bubble Bath” mini cupcake. Check it out in the Baked By Melissa gallery: blue cake, cream cheese frosting (a PeanutPimpMama staple ingredient) and a honeybear cookie! Set aside the food coloring factor freaking me out a tiny bit, I would actually eat that. The minis are also available for events which can be customized as large orders.

Last but not least, in honor of the Fall and holiday time they are featuring their Carrot Cupcake!  It’s good.  Trust: Carrot Cake with Chocolate Chips, Cream Cheese Icing and Chocolate Chips. Pick one up at one of Melissa’s nine locations in Manhattan: SoHo, Union Square, Grand Central, Fashion District, Upper West Side, Times Square, Columbus Circle, Gramercy, or the Financial District.  www.bakedbymelissa.com 

 ~PeanutPimpMama

 

 

Pumpkin Smash at Jamba Juice-NY, NY

“I think I’ll go for a walk outside now, the pumpkins are calling my name!  I hear them now. I just can’t stay inside all day, I gotta get out and get me some of those carotenoids.” Did you know that pumpkins are actually good for you?  Sure, they’re fun.  They are also loaded with vitamin A and antioxidant carotenoids, particularly alpha and beta-carotene. It’s also a good source of vitamins C, K, and E and lots of minerals including magnesium, potassium and iron. That enough for you?

I was walking downtown, en route to some after work cocktails and a potential nosh with my friend. Being the “gavone” that I am, when I saw the sign for the seasonal Pumpkin Smash smoothie at Jamba Juice, wheels started turning. After all, we’d made plans for cocktails… was sneaking in a 500 calorie beverage so wrong during my long journey all the way from midtown to the village? Nah!

To be more specific, the beverage (a small) only has 390 calories and it really does taste like pumpkin pie, or at least a decent pumpkin ice cream. The best part is the nutritional value. You can even “make it light” (with skim milk) so there are zero grams of fat with only 260 calories! Let’s not talk about how many carbohydrates are inside our pumpkin pal, or what the grams are composed of. After all this is supposed to be a seasonal (and fun) smoothie for Autumn!  That’s why I had the “real deal”.  The Pumpkin Smash is gluten free and made of mysterious pumpkin base, frozen yogurt and soy milk.

For more information you can always log onto www.jambajuice.com!  The pumpkin smash is available October through January and hopefully not going as fast as those famous Starbucks Pumpkin lattes.  It would be a travesty if they ran out of their mysterious pumpkin base.  What fun is fro-yo and soy milk alone?

Want to make your very own Pumpkin Smash at home?  This post features a “do it yourself” recipe that this woman swears by.  I thought it was definitely worth posting and trying at home!

Jamba Juice’s Pumpkin Smash Smoothie is Back and So is My Home Version with Weight Watchers Points | Skinny Kitchen.

 

Keep tuning in for the latest on “All Things Pumpkin 2012”

~PeanutPimpMama

 

Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca- Greenwich Village, NYC

I am so excited! It’s that special time of year again when all of us Americans try to find any excuse in the book to eat “All things Pumpkin”. Last week my friend Mary and I were brainstorming about restaurants to meet at. With my one random request of Pumpkin Ravioli her resourcefulness took over and within minutes she had two lovely recommendations for us. I was so excited to see that Babbo was one of them! (I know I know, I am so late on the whole Mario Batali scene and dare to try and call myself as a Foodie.) I had dreamt of dining at Babbo since 2001! Eleven years ago I used to walk passed the door as a “ballerina” studying at Joffrey ballet as a New School Student pursuing my BFA. I should have quit dance and started my blog back then.  It only delayed my eating/writing reportage. Well… not necessarily the eating part! 

For those of you that do not know yet, Babbo is located on 110 Waverly Place  New York, NY 10011. It is nestled inside the bottom of a quaint West Village residential building. I believe the minimal noise on the street is buffered by the wine bar at the entrance with the romantic (and very limited) seating available in the front foyer. The dining area is dimly lit, with white linen ambiance that fills up with quite the buzz at full capacity. They are smart enough to keep about ten tables available for “first come first serve” since they take reservations and book up far in advance. We were lucky enough to snag one after a short and pleasant wait at the bar. Hanging around attentive wait staff while sipping on your carafe of wine is hardly a chore with their elaborate Italian wine list to study. Fear not, as they offer a full menu at the bar as well as their limited first come first served seating area. 

Let’s talk about the food! Since I was ravenous and coming straight from work,  I had some mixed olives in order to continue patiently waiting for our mains. My first course was a delightful autumn salad. (It’s very important to get my veggies in.) Hiding in this little green tower was a grilled shallot that had been cut in half and clearly marinated in something delightful. The salad was sprinkled with toasted sunflower seeds and topped with a creamy goat cheese crostini. Last, it was drizzled in a bit of pumpkin infused oil and vinegar. I noticed they do not feature their seasonal specials on their website or menupages.com which I found shocking. I’m not quite sure how Mary pulled this off. She not only found the pumpkin raviolis but the best ones in town!

She decided to start off with the prosciutto plate which was served with a bit of greens in the center, toasted crustini points and figs dressed in a rhubarb mostarda. If I ate prosciutto, this would have been the place to do it. What a perfect mix of flavors and textures.

We ordered our mains without hesitation since it was our mission to have the pumpkin ravioli in the first place.

Please Note: If you are looking to have this dish anytime soon, you might be able to find it offered at many restaurants since “Tis the season”. However no one is going to come to your table side and shave an Amaretto Cookie on top of your dish in place of Parmesan cheese like Babbo. Such a simple detail sent this warm buttery and comforting experience over the top. I swirled every bite of pumpkin ravioli around in the sauce before chewing. When I was finally finished cutting each ravioli into fours to savor the experience, the plate was clean of any evidence. 

 I had already been dreaming of a cheese plate before our meal even began. So when the dessert list came out, Mary was the “fun” girl. She opted for the ricotta cheesecake topped with a strawberry reduction and vanilla gelato. 

 I had the “chef select” some cheeses: a sheep, cow and a goat while the server chose a complimentary sweet Moscato dessert wine golden in color with hints of orange blossom, honeysuckle, almonds, ginger to accompany it. 

While the cheesecake seemed to be a pleasurable experience, I was hoping that I would get some cheese with my plate. The portions were so small, I think they rationed about one teaspoon per selection of which you could dust your crostini with for an essence of fromage. 

Say, you don’t feel like spending $100.00 for two courses and a glass of wine? Babbo is now serving lunch, so you can finally dine at Mr. Batali’s restaurant for nearly half the cost!  Well that might be a little generous, but the prices are cheaper and you might be less inclined to get that second glass of vino between 12-2pm. When I return to Babbo I’m trying their eight course pasta tasting along with their wine pairing menu. With 80 dollars for eight courses, and fifty for wine pairings, it’s an Atkin’s nightmare and PeanutPimpMama’s dream come true!

Just in case there should be any buyer’s remorse, you get these fabulous little biscuits and cookies.  Who doesn’t like a free cookie?

for more information you can go to their website: www.babbonyc.com

~PeanutPimpMama

 

Popbar- West Village, NYC

It was a bright and sunny day. My friend Sarah was in NYC from San Francisco, and we had a lot of catching up to do. I jumped in the mini and headed down town for a much-needed (2 year overdue) catch up with my dear friend. After we spent about an hour and a half trying to park the car in the west village, we stumbled into the first outdoor cafe we could find with a drink and lunch special. Catching up required cocktails of course, and the cocktails turned into impulsive shopping of used Pearl Jam Concert CD’s at Bleecker Street Records and some fantastic photos with their 50 pound cat. Those “went live” immediately. After “Lolling” all the way back to the car, the heavens opened up and angels started singing and suddenly there it was. Popbar.

It’s such a simple and delicious concept! Like many things in life, I’m sad I didn’t think of it first. You pick your pop, then you get to chose your chocolately coating and finally add your choice of cruchy garnish. The icepops (popbars) are made of gelato, yogurt or sorbet (for a healthier option, or to make you think it is at least) and are available in 27 different flavors. There are three chocolate dips (shells) that you can choose from including: white, milk and dark chocolate. If asked, they will “double dip” for you. There are no problems having your popbar covered with half milk chocolate and half dark chocolate coating. However my sales lady had serious issues with my request to split the popbar with half white and half dark chocolate. I didn’t think that was very PC of her. She gave no justification.

Pictured to the left: Their business card is cute and kitch just like their concept. All popbars are kosher, gluten and preservative free! (In case you were really worried) They even make other fun products which are available for sale (by order) such as mini popbars and stir-in hot chocolate! All the wonderful things are available on their website.  www.pop-bar.com

PeanutPimpMama decided to indulge in the Coffee flavored bar that day. After my combo shell was shot down and milk chocolate was settled on, pistachios were my crunch of choice. We got into the car tipsy off of popbars, put the roof down, and blasted Pearl Jam (Live from Berlin) all the way over to Union Square. 

Disclaimer:  Don’t “pop and drive”…  I’m still vaccuming bits of pistachio out of my car 5 months later. 

 

                                                                                              

 Popbar is located at 5 Carmine Street  New York, NY 10014

Go Get One. (Before it’s too cold)

~PeanutPimpMama