Treatsie: America’s Best Sweets, Delivered!

TreatsieBoxCover

So I’m not sure if you’ve heard about Treatsie before, but if you haven’t, you need to listen up! It’s America’s best sweets delivered right to your doorstep. You’ve probably heard about Birchbox for Makeup, and Love With Food for organic or all-natural snacks. Well this is a box with high-end artisan treats that you’d normally never find unless you stumbled across the shop.

When I heard about Treatsie, I knew that I had to give it a shot. I love coming across new things that I normally wouldn’t have found. You get a box of amazing sweets from 3 artisan vendors, which change every month. They promise that box is the box has a retail value of $20-$25 before shipping. The box came packaged very well, and it was marked “Perishable” on the box. [Read more...]

Atlantic City Wine & Food Festival: Guy’s Big Bite Brunch

So this past weekend was the Atlantic City Wine & Food Festival in Atlantic City, New Jersey. I had the chance to attend four different events: Guy’s Cheese Steak Battle, Guy’s Big Bite Brunch, Sunny Anderson’s Sliders Party, and the Sweet & Stylish Party. Last year I had the opportunity to attend the Sliders Party and Sweet & Stylish Party. They were so much fun that we were sure to add them to our agenda this year. But we also wanted to attend a couple of new events.

Last year I had an opportunity to attend the Neely’s Gospel Brunch, which was buffet style. So I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Guy’s Brunch. But before I get into my review of the brunch, I want to give a shout out to someone on Facebook, Barbara. My friend and I were interested in going to Guy’s Big Bite Brunch, but tickets were SOLD OUT!  Someone else had commented on the fact that it was sold out on Atlantic City Food & Wine’s Facebook page and I also mentioned that I was interested in going but there weren’t any tickets left. Barbara sent me a Facebook message stating that she had tickets but something came up and she couldn’t attend, would I like to buy the tickets from her? Of course I said yes! I thought it was so nice of her to contact me about the tickets and send them to me. So Barbara, if you’re out there – thanks so much! I really appreciate it!

So…back to the brunch. You have to know it’s going to be outstanding when they hand you a Mimosa (or Bloody Mary, whichever you choose) before you even sit down!

mimosa

And then check out this view…is it magnificent or what?!

So we were seated at an empty table. We weren’t sure how it was going to work…would we get our own table? Would they seat two other people with us? It turned out that they sat a couple, about our age, at our table. We lucked out. They were very nice and the conversation just flowed. It was a married couple that was from Wilmington, Delaware. We were happy to be seated with people we had something in common with. And they loved Mimosas as much as we did. We definitely kept our waiter Maurico busy!

Once we sat down, we were bombarded with forks!

With all of those forks at our place setting, we realized that we must be getting all of those items on the menu! We were ready to dig in!

Course 1: Atlantic Grill Breakfast Pastries with Whipped Maple Butter

I had just enough time for a tiny little pastry. I didn’t get a picture of it though.

Course 2: “Claudio’s” Buffalo Mozzarella and “Masters Farm” Jersey Fresh Tomatoes


This dish was absolutely amazing. The Jersey Tomatoes were fresh, juicy and flavorful, and the Buffalo Mozzarella was plentiful. The Balsamic Reduction had the perfect sweetness. This was definitely a great way to start off brunch!

Course 3: Cajun Fettuccini Alfredo


This Cajun Fettuccini (their spelling!) was amazing. It was creamy and not too spicy, which is great because I’m not a fan of spicy foods. The pasta was cooked perfectly. I couldn’t believe how much chicken they gave you! It was so juicy and tender, it just melted in your mouth. The Parmesan & green onions that were sprinkled on it took it to the next level. It just added an extra layer of flavor that made your taste buds dance.

Course 4: “Steak and Egg” – Grilled Filet Mignon, Poached Farm Egg, Homemade English Muffin, Chorizo Hollandaise


I was definitely looking forward to the Steak and Eggs, but I was a bit nervous about the Filet. You see, my meat has to be well done, and Filet usually isn’t. So I cut into the steak and I swore I heard a “Mooooooo!” It wasn’t even a little pink to me, it was kinda red! So I skipped that part and focused on the Poached Egg (which was delicious!) and the Chorizo Hollandaise sauce that I’d love to drink by the gallon! As Guy would say, that sauce was off da hook! And I loved how they weren’t stingy with it! The Homemade English Muffin was soft, tender and chewy. It was the perfect vehicle to sop up that Chorizo Hollandaise!

Course 5: “Guys” Baltimore Bad Boy Sandwich and Crispy Potato Flauta


I’m a huge fan of Rye bread, so I liked this sandwich before I even tasted it. It was a beef sandwich and it was very flavorful. It had a horseradish type sauce on it that kicked it up a notch. I enjoyed it very much, although part of me desired some cheese on it. But I guess that’s not how they roll in Baltimore, lol!

As for the Potato Flauta…I did not eat that. Once I heard what was in it (Black beans, etc) and saw the sauce on it, I wasn’t interested! But everyone else at the table that ate it seemed to enjoy it.

Course 6: “Guy’s Big Bite” French Toast


I must admit that this was one of the dishes I was most excited for when I read the menu. I love me some French Toast and I was so interested to see what kind of spin Guy would put on it. When they set the plate in front of me, I couldn’t wait to dig in. I tasted a piece of banana, expecting something on the sweeter side. But it wasn’t really sweet at all. It was more lemony than anything. I was looking forward to a sweet, velvety maple syrup, but it wasn’t that at all. It was heavy on the acid/citrus side and I was disappointed. This actually turned out to be my least favorite dish on the menu.

Course 7: Pretzel Crusted Chocolate Covered Strawberries


Well look at that! The Pretzel Crusted Chocolate Covered Strawberry was delicious! They came two on a plate, but sadly each person only got one (whaaaaaaat?! I have to share?!), but this is something you can easily make at home.  I love chocolate covered pretzels…it combines the sweet and salty flavors and never disappoints. Just add in a strawberry and it’s even better!  This was the perfect way to end the brunch. It was nice and light, not too heavy. Because after all of those different courses, I was pretty full! And don’t forget the Mimosas – I think everyone at our table had at least 10!

So all in all, this was an amazing event. I’m so happy I had the opportunity to attend, and if they offer this next year I’ll definitely buy tickets right away.

Cupcake Monday: Pamcakes

Welcome to Cupcake Monday! Last week we reviewed Tartes in Olde City. This week it’s all about Pamcakes. I’ve heard great things about this cupcake shop located at 404 South 20th Street in Rittenhouse Square. After reading many more raving reviews about Pamcakes, I finally took the time to stop by there.  And now I ask myself this question – why did I wait so long to go there?!

I didn’t want to walk that far in very hot weather with cupcakes, so I ended up driving. I had to park a few blocks away. I would say the biggest draw back is the location. It’s in a residential area so it’s all street parking.

I walked in and was very impressed with the selection of cupcakes. I wasn’t sure how many I was going to choose, but I figured I shouldn’t get too many. I usually pick up about four to taste-test, but looking at the wide variety, I couldn’t pick just four. I picked out five. And now I regret only getting five!

First up – Vanilla Lovers – Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Cake, Creamy Vanilla Buttercream

I chose this flavor because I like to compare your basic cupcake flavors when I try them from different cupcake shops. So I knew that I wanted to try your basic vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream icing.  The cake was very moist. It was light and fluffy. The buttercream icing was right on point – slightly hard to the touch, but creamy once it hits your taste buds. There was a generous amount of icing on the cupcake as well, which always goes over well with me.

Second – Triple Chocolate Threat – Chocolate Chip Studded Chocolate Cake with Creamy Chocolate Buttercream

If there is anything with all chocolate, you know I will pick this flavor! Mr. Curly Fry saw this one and immediately placed dibs on it. However, he did let me taste it! The cake was nice and moist, and had a nice rich chocolate flavor to it. The chocolate buttercream was delicious as well – slightly hard to the touch, yet it just melts in your mouth. This cupcake was definitely a winner in our book. How can you go wrong with the triple chocolate threat? You can’t!

Third – The Classic – Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Cake, Creamy Milk Chocolate Buttercream

This is another one of those classic cupcakes that you just have to try. It’s your delicious vanilla cupcake with chocolate buttercream icing.  As expected, the cake was moist, soft and fluffy. The thick chocolate buttercream icing had the perfect sweetness to it. Pam definitely doesn’t jip you on the icing, either. Mr. Curly Fry said that it took him back to his younger days when he used to eat the TastyKake Chocolate Juniors. Do you remember those? So you know she’s doing it right when it takes you back to something you always loved as a kid.

Fourth – Pucker Up – Lemon Speckled Cake, Vanilla Cream Filling, Tangy Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

So…as you see there are two pictures for the Pucker Up! Cupcake – that’s because this bad boy has a filling! I took a bite of this cupcake, and I swear to you I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The flavors hit you from every side. The cake was jam packed with lemony goodness. The Vanilla Cream filling had the perfect sweetness. It was all complemented by a Tangy Lemon Cream Cheese frosting that almost had me in tears of joy. This cupcake was very flavorful and had Mr. Curly Fry thinking about the Lemon Danishes he used to eat when he was a kid. Again, this took him back to his younger days and he was raving about how delicious it was. And as usual she didn’t skimp  on the icing. I think she has captured my heart! :)

Last, but certainly not least – Cookies & Cream – Vanilla Cookie Crumb Cake, Vanilla Cream Filling, Creamy Vanilla Buttercream, Cookie Crumb Topping

There are two pictures again, so you know this means there is a filling in the Cookies & Cream Cupcake! The Vanilla Cookie Crumb Cake was bursting with flavor. If you were doing a blind taste test you would definitely know that it was a Cookies & Cream cupcake. The cake was nice and moist. The bonus was the Vanilla Cream filling that was inside. It was truly a delicious cupcake. The Vanilla Buttercream was accented with some Cookie Crumb topping. This was definitely a perfect choice for an Oreo lover!

We’ve tried many cupcake places here in the city, and Pamcakes are hands down the best cupcakes we’ve had.  Everything about them is right on the money. The cake is moist, the icing is the perfect sweetness, not to mention plentiful. Every cupcake that we tasted was jam packed with flavor. All of the cupcakes are reasonably priced. I could honestly go back to Pamcakes and get 5 different flavors and feel confident that I will love them all. (Which I will probably be doing.. :))

Be sure to follow Pamcakes on Twitter and “Like” their Facebook Page.

Cupcake Monday: Tartes

Welcome to Cupcake Monday! Last week it was all about the Brown Betty Boutique. This week we’re reviewing the cupcakes from Tartes, which is located in Olde City at 2nd & Arch Street. This is one of those little places that I learned about through reading about cupcakes in Philadelphia. If I hadn’t been researching, I wouldn’t have come across this place. It’s a tiny little pink shack and you have to order from the window.

It was a very hot day and I wasn’t about to walk a mile in 90 degree heat with cupcakes, so I ended up driving. I was able to get a parking spot on the street that was pretty close to the bakery. So I walked up to the window and looked at the menu. They only had 4 cupcakes available – Chocolate, Vanilla, Red Velvet and Carrot Cake. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like Red Velvet, so I ended up getting two chocolate, one vanilla, and one carrot cake. She had to go in the back to get them, so you couldn’t see what they looked like first.

There were many people online that commented on the fact that the service at Tartes wasn’t all that friendly. I tend to agree with them, but since I knew what I was going to run into, I wasn’t surprised. It’s their decision how they run their establishment, I can’t control that. But I can control where I go back to in the future.

First up – Chocolate Cupcake with Vanilla icing. I was a bit let down because I thought that the Chocolate Cupcake would have chocolate icing, but it had vanilla. We didn’t think the chocolate cake was all that moist, so that was a bit of a let down. The icing – I was pretty disappointed in the icing. It was very heavy on the butter. It was on the whippy side and was definitely lacking sugar. It just wasn’t sweet enough.

Next – Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla icing. The vanilla cupcake was moister than the chocolate cupcake, but I’ve still had better. The icing was the same as the icing on the chocolate cupcake – waaaaaaaaaaaay too heavy on the butter and definitely lacking sugar. It’s a shame they were generous with the icing when I didn’t care for it. I guess that’s usually how it goes, eh?

Last – Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese icing. This cupcake was hands down the best out of them all.  The cupcake had a lot of flavor – it was very moist due to the raisins, little bits of carrot, and small pieces of nuts. It had the perfect amount of spice. And the icing…it had just enough sweetness and it was a nice and fluffy icing. It just complemented the cupcake so well.

Out of all three cupcakes, the only one I’d want again was the Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese icing. It was out of this world. It’s a shame the others really weren’t that good. But I guess if at least one was good, the trip was worth it.

Cupcake Monday: Brown Betty Boutique

Every Monday is going to be “Cupcake Monday” for the next 5 weeks.  How bad can that be? I’m all about trying out different cupcake shops and so I’ve been having so much fun doing the taste-testing from all of the different places around the city. Starting on July 4th it will be all about Frozen Yogurt for a month long Frozen Yogurt taste-test. And I’m definitely up for the challenge!

As you know I’ve already reviewed several cupcake establishments in Philadelphia (and the surrounding area) already. You can check out the reviews here…

This week we are going to take a look at Brown Betty Dessert Boutique.  They have 3 locations here in Philadelphia. I got the cupcakes from “Brown Betty Petite” located in Liberty Place which is 1625 Market Street. Their main location is at Liberties Walk which is located at 1030 No. 2nd Street. Their third location is another “Brown Betty Petite” which is located in Rittenhouse Square (269 So. 20th Street).

Brown Betty Boutique was named after their mother/grandmother, Elizabeth Ruth Hinton (friends and family called her Betty or Liz). She was quite the baker and she always had something baked when visitors would come over. According to their web site, most of their cupcakes are named after women in their family. She was known for her high, moist pound cakes back in the day.

So it should come as no surprise that Brown Betty’s cupcakes are made from a pound cake, so it’s not your typical light and fluffy cupcake. But it was still good, none the less. We picked up four flavors to taste-test.

  • Hattie Don’t Play (Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Icing)
  • Sallie’s Sourcream (Vanilla Pound Cake with Vanilla Icing)
  • Sing Little Alice (Chocolate & Vanilla Cake Swirled + Matching Icing)
  • Betty’s Buttermilk (Lemon Pound Cake with Lemon Buttercream)
Hattie Don't Play
 

First up – Hattie Don’t Play – as I’ve said before, Mr. Curly Fry loves chocolate, so I always have to get at least one cupcake that is made of everything chocolate!  This was probably one of our favorite cupcakes out of them all. There was a very good amount of chocolate icing and it had such a nice flavor. We’re not used to such heavy cake, so it was a bit hard to swallow at first. It may be best paired with a good cup of coffee.

Sallie's Sourcream
 

Second up was Sallie’s Sourcream – Don’t let the blue icing fool you. It was still a vanilla buttercream icing. Again, the cake was on the heavier side and it was okay, nothing to write home about. I didn’t really get that much of a vanilla flavor, but it wasn’t bad.  The icing was average as well. I usually like more icing on my cupcake since I’m such an icing lover. And I didn’t get that vanilla punch when I tasted the icing.

Sing Little Alice
 

Next up was Sing Little Alice – I was looking for another cupcake with chocolate icing, and this was the closest I could get. It was a marble cupcake and the icing was chocolate and vanilla swirled. This cupcake seemed very heavy to me and was a bit on the dry side. I love the idea of it, and I do like how they carried that into the icing. It’s probably just the icing lover in me, but I think a little extra icing would help move the cake down your throat a little better.

Betty's Buttermilk
 

Last up was Betty’s Buttermilk - This was the lemon pound cake with lemon buttercream. There was not enough lemon for me. The cake had a very faint lemon flavor to it, and the icing didn’t taste all that lemon-y to me. I really think they need to take the icing up a notch – some lemon zest in the icing as well as more lemon juice.  I was disappointed at the lack of icing on it as well, It was just a very thin spread. When you have such a heavy cake, you need more icing. I really felt jipped!

So as you can see, Hattie Don’t Play was the winner out of the four cupcakes. It had the perfect ratio of cupcake to icing. The icing had the perfect sweetness.  It was definitely worth trying it, even if they do make a different kind of cupcake.