Totoro & Pizza Bread Bento (400th Post!)

Totoro wants to eat the Pizza Bread?

Wow, I just realized this is my four-hundredth post! Sorry there’s nothing more exciting for this, but it’s my bento for today! I think I did a good job of filling in all the extra spaces and having a good balance of fruit, vegetable, and carb.

This is a new bento that I purchased from Rakuten (via Crescent Trading). It’s hard to find sandwich case bento when you’re on a mission! There are only like two readily available designs and I didn’t like them.

The top is lined with wax paper (I took some small sheets from my local store’s bakery section) and contains Pizza Bread from my local Korean Bakery. Pizza bread is actually quite common in Japan and I ate it many times when I was there. This one seems more like a “leftover” pizza, and it has a weird layout of plain bread + ham + toppings. The toppings are also weird, and seem to have no rhyme or reason. I saw onions, mushrooms, cheese, crab, and sauce. It tasted pretty good and was quite filling.

The bottom holds dragonfruit stars, a chinese leek & scallion bao (xie ke huang 蟹殼黃), pretzels, raisins, and apple cinnamon “cheerios”. I’m struggling to find out how much food I actually eat because even though I only had half of the pizza bread today for lunch (the other half is already cut and will be used for later this week), I am incredibly full right now. Sometimes I pack more than this and I’m hungry throughout the day!

P.S. the furoshiki is from Japan and has Chu-Totoro and Chibi-Totoro on it with flower blossoms. I really must get/find more furoshiki~. I’m sure I bought more than two in Japan! I guess I can make some out of the fabric I bought in Japan as well.

Continue reading

Chateau Gateau

Food Decor Service Cost
14 17 $4

May 30th, 2009
Chateau Gateau only sells their cupcakes at the Old Town Farmer’s Market or via catering. Because they are just a simple table admist many other tables, the decor score here is N/A. I say “they”, but CG is just one person: Serina Luangkhot. She’s very nice and quite personable. She says right up, apologetically, what they’re out of (I arrived at the market relatively late. I say “relatively” because the market opens at some ungodly hour like 5 or 6) and also mentioned that she gives tupperware containers with cupcakes to regulars, but she was also out of those.

I had the 3rd Date Magic and Pucker Up. The 3rd Date Magic was a nice change from a traditional cupcake. Unfortunately, the chocolate melted all over me and the cake was a bit dry. The Pucker Up was decent. The lemon curd with lemon zest was better than the rich chocolate/chocolate drizzle combo in the 3rd Date Magic. It might be because the actual chocolate in 3rd Date was too sweet for me (I’m a dark/extra-dark chocolate kinda gal). Overall, the lemon cupcake was sticky-ly sweet, too sweet. I inhaled it in 2 bites or so and was glad I tried it, but didn’t want another.

These cupcakes are a great treat if you’re already at the farmer’s market, and they’re only $2 each. I’d buy another just because Serina is so sweet, but I’d be buying them for the wrong reason. I recommend Buzz Bakery or Lavender Moon if you’re in the area.


Continue reading

Lavender Moon Cupcakery

Yelp Page
Food Decor Service Cost
20 16 16 $5

May 30th, 2009
I had actually heard some bad things about Lavender Moon, and thought it wasn’t worth going out to Old Town Alexandria to try some. Boy was I wrong. Right across the street from the Farmer’s Market, you know they have to have the freshest ingredients possible. In fact, they only make cupcakes that day and close when they sell out of cupcakes.

Though there were many delicious flavors to choose from the printed menu of the day, we went with S’Mores and Blood Orange Dreamsicle. The S’Mores cupcake was absolute heaven-in-the-mouth. I thought it would be too sweet and too heavy, but it was perfect. The icing on top is actually marshmallow, so it condensed perfectly with the chocolate cake and graham cracker crust.

For the Blood Orange Dreamsicle, I was a little scared at first. I had never had blood orange before, but thought that the medium of cupcake would lend itself well to trying flavorsr. The icing was a bit too sweet, but it went well with the cake. I liked that there wasn’t too much icing like with many other cupcakes I’ve tried.  The cake itself had a nice pronounced orange flavor that wasn’t too subtle yet not too strong. I couldn’t really discern orange from blood orange, and I was expecting much bolder flavors or maybe a filling since it was supposed to be similar to the ice cream bar of the same name.

The decor here is slightly barren but well meaning. The service follows in the same thread. The display case doesn’t have labels as to what each cupcake is and the cupcake flavors don’t have an explaination of ingredients, so I had to ask for clarification for every single cupcake. Instead of going through the display and answering all my questions in one fell swoop, I had to ask the same question over and over again for each cupcake: “What’s this one?”. The cashier answered me monotonously and curtly, as if she was tired of working at a cupcakery. I then repeated the question over and over, receiving the same flat response. I didn’t care since I loved the cupcakes!

Lavender Moon only takes cash and checks, and changes their menu daily to have in-season flavors. Cupcakes are $3, including tax (which is 9%!). The day I went the menu was as follows:

  • Flourless Dark Chocolate, Almonds & Sea Salt
  • Vanilla Bean Lemon Curd
  • Buttermilk Cupcake with Mexican Chocolate Pudding
  • Devils Food Vanilla
  • Cherry White Chocolate
  • Triple Belgian Chocolate
  • Blood Orange Dreamsicle
  • Boston Cream
  • Devils Food Peanut Butter
  • Coconut
  • Coconut Macaroon
  • Smores

I almost got the Mexican Chocolate Pudding and the Boston Cream, but refrained. Though, I did relive my childhood by grabbing a Yoohoo from the refrigerated drinks case for $2. Much sweeter and more concentrated than I remember.


Cupcake Heaven

Food Decor Service Cost
15 15 18 $5

June 22nd, 2009
I heard from my little sister that there was a new cupcake place where my parent’s live (yes, I have been infecting my family with my cupcake war). The employees here are super helpful with directions and flavor suggestions–maybe because the place is empty. It’s located in Historic Haymarket, whatever that is.

To speak honestly, I think this place has a bit of an identity crisis. It sells cupcakes, but you wouldn’t know that right off the bat from walking in. They cater cakes, teach etiquitte classes, and also sell items you’d find at a local Hallmark.

The items on their “Daily Menu” aren’t accurate, so don’t use that to order, lest you be required to re-arrange your order all over! Since I was wearing a DVAM shirt, the cashier suggested the Breast Cancer Awareness Pink Champagne cupcake (because all ribbons are the same I guess). The cake was similar to angel food cake and actually tasted like it came from a box mix. There was too much icing–in fact, my sister had a dollop of it on her nose! I scraped the icing off, and it worked well to balance the dryness of the cake, but it was too sweet. I couldn’t taste any champagne.

The other flavors I got were Red Velvet, Snickerdoodle, and Strawberry Shortcake. The Strawberry Shortcake completely slips my memory other than the fact that it was interesting and nice–I liked that there wasn’t too much frosting. My mom also had the Strawberry Shortcake and she said it was excellent. It’s a slightly dense vanilla cake with a later of strawberry preserves on top and a ring of icing around it. The Snickerdoodle was a cinnamon cake that resembled a muffin or bread more than anything. Again, the icing was too sweet and I scraped it off. Red Velvet also tasted like it came from a box and shockingly, did not have a cream cheese frosting!

It’s a nice place for stay-at-home moms to visit, but it would work much better in one of the up and coming shopping centers in Gainesville, rather than off the beaten path. I’m glad there is a place like this in the area, but I like the Washington, D.C. establishments much much better.



Red Velvet Cupcakery

Food Decor Service Cost
12 12 12 $5

I wanted this to be good. What else could you ask for? A Penn Quarter cupcakery that stays open to 11? I already kind of had a bad feeling about this place once I heard that the images they use on their site were actually stolen from someone’s blog that I follow. Inside, the decor looks modern and simplistic from afar, but up-close and in person, it just looks cheap. Especially the shared wall with Tangysweet — the wall doesn’t even go all the way up to the ceiling, though you have to exit Red Velvet and go next door to Tangysweet for seating.

I had the Big Kahuna cupcake. Smallest and most expensive cupcake I’ve ever had, and the worst! Well, I could finish the cupcake (unlike Couture), but it wasn’t good — I can make better and it wouldn’t be $3.25! The cashier said “they were trying to cash in on Obama” so they made it Hawaii – themed. Pineapple cupcake with no pineapples in it, or pineapple flavoring? Coconut frosting that just tasted like salt? I wiped off most of the frosting and as I ate the cupcake I would get one regular bite and then a salty pocket. Overcooked, dry, and yucky!

I wish this place would go out of business and get replaced by something else.
And I was so excited too… A cupcake place that wouldn’t require a metro transfer or long trek….

Continue reading