Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

Ding Dong for Desserts – Taco Bell

November 14, 2012
Taco Bell, Philadelphia PA
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Churro
Fresco Soft Beef Taco
Chips & Guacamole
Nachos
Cookie Sandwich
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ImageWith a new dessert menu at Taco Bell, it was only a matter of time before I went to sample the new features. Not only that, but it was National Guacamole Day, so chips and guacamole was only fitting.

The new Churro was freshly fried. It was not very long, but quite dense and soft with a very crispy exterior. Piping hot with a thick dusting of cinnamon sugar, it was amazing. Crunchy, sweet, and warm, for $1, it was definitely worth it. How can you possibly go wrong with cinnamon sugar and fried dough, right?Image

The Fresco Beef Soft Taco was decent. The ground beef was very flavorful and juicy but the cheese was just mediocre. The soft tortilla shell was not very big nor perfectly toasty warm. However, the pico de gallo was quite tasty and refreshing. With a citrus, tangy flavor, it provided a nice contrast to the heavy and savory taco. Image

For National Guacamole Day, the Chips & Guacamole was the perfect way to celebrate. The freshly fried tortilla chips were left out a little long but were still crunchy. The corn taste was simple yet tasty. The guacamole was served in a dressing container. It was cold but creamy from the ripe avocado. There were some diced tomatoes, cilantro, and other ingredients that added to the flavor. It was not the most spiced or flavorful guacamole but still cool and refreshing.Image

The Nachos were just the same chips but served with warm nacho cheese sauce. The cheese was gooey and flavorful. Although it tasted like processed cheese, it was still tasty and thick in a good way. It provided a nice contrast with the cold guacamole dip.

ImageFinally, the Cookie Sandwich was also a new menu item. It came pre-packaged in a plastic wrap. The two cookie layers were soft and full of chocolate chips. I love how even pre-made cookie dough is soft and chewy. It was so thick and delicious. The sweet and sugary icing filling was even better. I love the rough sugar texture and the overwhelming sweetness. It was just bite after bite of sugary scrumptiousness.

New dessert items are always nice in my opinion. Tacos and burritos can get old, but churros and cookies and icing never will. My sweet tooth was satisfied, at least for the time being. 

 
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Spiced Nuts – Sugar Philly

ImageNovember 13, 2012
Sugar Philly, Philadelphia PA
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Pecan Cinnamon French Macaron
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Cinnamon is so strong sometimes, but it was lovely on the Pecan Cinnamon French Macaron. Although I could not taste the pecan distinctly except for a little of the nutty aroma in the filling, the cinnamon was quite overwhelming. Thankfully, I love cinnamon and so this macaron was great for me. The delicate shell matched the sweet filling perfectly. Nutty and spicy, what’s not to love?

Sugar Philly Truck on Urbanspoon

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Tiger? Buffalo? Oh… the Japanese Zoo – Sushi DO

ImageNovember 13, 2012
Sushi DO, Philadelphia PA
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Seaweed Salad
Stuffed Soy Pockets
Crunchy Penn Roll
Tiger Roll
Buffalo Teriyaki Roll
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Sushi DO churns out fresh sushi everyday to satisfy the gigantic demand from hungry students. There is no doubt their items are fresh, newly made and packed every morning. The display is so colorful, drawing my eye every time I pass by.Image

The Seaweed Salad was perfectly chewy, crunchy, a little slimy, and both sweet and tangy. I loved the flavor and texture. The seaweed was great, with a flavorful and bold marinade. 

The Stuffed Soy Pockets were decent. The inari tofu pockets were chewy and cold. They were juicy and very sweet, just the way I like it. The rice was decent with the vinegar distinct but not at all overwhelming. It was a little cold but not at all soggy.Image

The Crunchy Penn Roll was a little disappointing. The tempura flakes were more or less toasted rice crispies, which were not crunchy any more. After sitting on the spicy tuna, they became soggy. The spicy tuna was not spicy enough but at least the fish was okay considering Philly is nowhere near the ocean. The California roll as the base was just basic.Image

The Tiger Roll was great. The unagi on top was smothered in the BBQ unagi sauce, which I absolutely love. However, the eel itself was a little on the thin side, not what I am used to. The avocado was creamy. I wish there was more sauce to cover the California roll as well. The rice was okay and I love the crunchy, refreshing cucumbers.

ImageThe Buffalo Teriyaki Roll was not great. The chicken was dry and tough, like overcooked chicken breast meat. There was nothing else in the roll so it was quite plain. I could not really taste much of the spicy mayo besides a little creaminess. The eel sauce was sweet but I could have used more. 

Although a little overpriced, I am glad to have access to fresh sushi rolls and basic Japanese food. Sometimes, a bite is all that is needed. 

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Mmmm Caramel – McDonald’s

ImageNovember 11, 2012
McDonald’s, Philadelphia PA
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Hot Caramel Sundae
Hot ‘n Spicy McChicken
Angus Bacon & Cheese Snack Wrap
Premium Grilled Chicken CBO Sandwich
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To celebrate National Sundae Day – on a Sunday I might add – I decided something simple and so made my way to McDonald’s. It had been a long time since I had one of their sundaes. I remember these from my young childhood years. These desserts have certainly been around, unchanged, for a long time.

The Hot Caramel Sundae was sweet and delicious. The vanilla soft serve is always really good, as good as you can expect for the price anyways. The caramel sauce was even sweeter and very sticky, making the dessert a gooey, very sweet, and tasty one. It was definitely nice to have eaten it again.Image

The Hot ‘n Spicy McChicken was only $1, the newest addition to the Dollar Menu. Seriously, fast food can be so cheap sometimes. It was actually decent. Just like a regular McChicken, it had a soft, toasted, and slightly sweetened bun, along with mayonnaise and lettuce. The difference was the fried chicken breast fillet, which had a lot of spiciness in the crispy batter. Too bad it was not super crunchy when I got it, but it had a decent kick.Image

The Angus Bacon & Cheese Snack Wrap was decent in the warm tortilla. The beef was juicy enough for fast food. The bacon was actually crispy and the cheese was gooey. I am not a huge fan of the simple ketchup and mustard but along with the onions, it was a classic.Image

I had recently received a few promotional vouchers from McDonald’s via their Twitter so I redeemed one for a CBO Premium Grilled Chicken Sandwich. I loved the white cheddar cheese that was extremely gooey and tasty. The artisan bun was decent and soft and the chicken was mediocre. I had no complaints, as it was somewhat tender. The bacon was okay but while the onions were sweet, they were very oily. It was literally dripping with oil, which is not quite acceptable for grilled onions. Overall, though, the chicken burger was decent enough.Image

New menu items always intrigue me. They make a classic McDonald’s meal so much more interesting. Oh, how I miss the great atmosphere at the McDonald’s restaurants back home. 

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Sweet and Fresh – Artisserie Chocolate Café

ImageNovember 10, 2012
Artisserie Chocolate Café, Philadelphia PA
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Vanilla Cupcake
Turtle Cupcake
Marble Cupcake
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake
Tiramisu
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Still craving something sweet, I decided to call up a friend and split some desserts from Artisserie Chocolate Café. It was National Vanilla Cupcake Day after all. What better way to celebrate than to visit the overpriced dessert café on campus?

The Vanilla Cupcake was very simple but nice. The cake was dense but moist and lightly sweetened. It was actually quite good. The icing could be a little less buttery but it was by no means overly greasy. This simple cupcake would satisfy anyone’s craving for something sweet and light.Image

The Turtle Cupcake was their special Cupcake du Jour. It was actually very scrumptious, one of their best cupcakes. The vanilla cake was soft, dense, and sweet. Actually, the cake and icing is the same as the vanilla cupcake, which was good to begin with. What made it so much better are the chocolate and vanilla drizzle, crushed pecans, and the sticky caramel filling in the center. I love rich caramel; it goes well with everything.Image

The Marble Cupcake was also a decent one. The swirl of chocolate and vanilla cake and vanilla frosting was simple yet of decent quality. It was not too sweet but very light and soft. I loved the shaved chocolate and the mini stick on top of the frosting. They are always one of my favorite toppings on cakes.Image

The Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake was the most disappointing out of the four. The chocolate cake had great texture but the frosting was a little bland and greasy. It also did not taste very strongly of peanut butter. The mini peanut butter cup on top was nice and crunchy but not enough to make every bite better.Image

Finally, I decided to try a Tiramisu. It was cold and so the soaked cake and ladyfingers was a little hard. However, the flavor was great. There was that slight hint of coffee amidst the mascarpone, liqueur, and cocoa powder. It was finely made but I just wished it were fresher. The dollop of whip cream on top was not great but the chocolate straw was. Overall, it was at least somewhat justified dishing out $5.

Desserts at Artisserie are definitely hit and miss. I would definitely go back sometime soon to try their truffles and humongous cookies and biscotti. Or maybe it is the jars that magnify them to make them so huge. We shall see.

Artisserie Chocolate Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Bite of Sugar – Dunkin’ Donuts

November 10, 2012
Dunkin’ Donuts, Chadds Ford PA
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Glazed Cake Munchkin
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ImageA friend bought everyone a box of munchkins during the show and they satisfied my morning craving for something sweet. Among other flavors, I got to try the Glazed Cake Munchkin. I love the sweet sugar glaze. I mean, who does not love sugar? The cake was soft and dense, not exactly moist but not dry either. It had a little spice to it and a little tangy taste for some reason. Maybe my tongue was just playing tricks on me.

Dunkin Donuts on Urbanspoon

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Comforting After a Chill – Yue Kee Mobile Kitchen

ImageNovember 9, 2012
Yue Kee Mobile Kitchen, Philadelphia PA
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Tai Chin Chicken
Shrimp Lo Mein
Tomato Beef
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After coming back from a very cold riding lesson in the dark, there was nothing more that I wanted than a few dishes of stir-fried Chinese food. Deciding to indulge a little, I got three different items from Yue Kee Mobile Kitchen to add variety, which left me with a lot of leftovers.

The Tai Chin Chicken was actually very good. The chicken thigh meat was quite tender. The pieces were large and succulent, very flavorful from the spicy sauce. That sauce was very decent, not too salty or sweet and had a good distinct kick. The mix of vegetables was also excellent. I especially loved the canned bamboo shoots, with that slightly foul smell. It was surprisingly comforting and satisfied my craving for spicy stir-fry.Image

The Shrimp Lo Mein was okay. It was just boiled thick egg noodles that were cooked perfectly al dente with a very decent chewiness. There was a lack of sauce, though, so it was a bit on the bland side. I was glad it was not drenched in sauce, though, but rather on the dry side. The shrimp were decently tender and the bean sprouts added a nice touch. I would have liked more onions, though. However, it did meet my standards of a simple, home-y noodle dish.Image

Finally, the Tomato Beef was superb and comforting. I love tomato and eggs stir-fried together. This sauce was a little bland and more like a brown gravy sauce but lighter. It definitely had a lot of cornstarch to thicken it up. The beef slices were chewy and a little tough but quite tender. The large chunks of tomatoes were refreshing, though. It was overflowing with sauce but not at all salty.

Nothing beats comforting, piping hot, and flavorful Chinese stir-fries on a chilly night. I am so thankful that we have such affordable food options on campus. I just do not think microwavable food will suffice. 

Yue Kee Mobile Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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The Red and the Green – Dunkin’ Donuts

ImageNovember 9, 2012
Dunkin’ Donuts, Philadelphia PA
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Holiday Star Donut
Jelly Filled Donut
Red Velvet Drizzle Donut
Bacon, Egg & Cheese Wake-up Wrap
Smoked Sausage Breakfast Sandwich
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My accounting instructors were nice enough to get Dunkin’ Donuts for everyone at the quiz review session. That certainly woke up my sweet tooth and I had to go for more myself after class.Image

The Holiday Star Donut was so green and pretty, although it is always a little weird to me to see such a bright shade of green on food. The icing was just sugary, though, with the sprinkles adding a little crunch. The Bavarian cream inside was rich and sticky, and certainly sweet enough for me. It was nice and fresh and quite tasty for a doughnut from Dunkin’ Donuts.Image

The Jelly Filled Donut was actually quite good as well. The dough was soft and airy. There was a decent amount of jelly inside that was perfectly sweetened and thickened. The dusting sugar got a little messy but added more sweetness. It was just a soft, pillow-y bundle of sweetness.Image

The Red Velvet Drizzle Donut is one of their holiday specials. It was not as great as it looked, though. The cocoa flavor was a little off, not really cocoa but not sweet. It was soft and dense but not very moist. It was not very sweet either and somewhat bland except for the icing drizzle on top. There was so much food coloring that it was a little worrisome.Image

Deciding to get something savory, I tried the Bacon, Egg & Cheese Wake-up Wrap. It was quite small but nice and warm. The soft tortilla was toasty warm and went well with the gooey melted cheese. The processed egg omelet was not too bad and the bacon was crispy. It was certainly a nice little bite in the morning.Image

I also tried their new Smoked Sausage Breakfast Sandwich that came with a split smoked sausage, a round processed egg omelet, a slice of savory processed cheese that was melted perfectly, and a toasted English muffin. The muffin was chewy and slightly tough on the outside, just the way I like it. I wished they had used a fresh egg, though. The sausage was smoky and very flavorful. It was not too greasy and I loved it together with the other ingredients.Image

If there is one thing I love about Dunkin’ Donuts, it is that they serve breakfast all day long. So who wants an egg sandwich for dinner?Image

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On the Need for Paninis: Part VIII – Starbucks

ImageNovember 8, 2012
Starbucks, Philadelphia PA
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Cappuccino
Roasted Tomato & Mozzarella Panini
Cinnamon Chip Scone
Cinnamon Roll
Marble Pound Cake
Reduced-Fat Very Berry Coffee Cake
Chocolate Hazelnut Tart
Brown Sugar Walnut Tart
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It is so relaxing just to sit in Starbucks for an hour or two, playing games on the iPad, sipping coffee, and munching on delicious treats. What is even better is that you emerge smelling like coffee for the rest of the day… so cozy. It was National Cappuccino Day so I decided to bring hang out in the busy café for a while, indulging in the traditional espresso beverage.Image

The Cappuccino had a nice layer f foam and tasted strongly of espresso shots. However, used to my regular sweetened beverages, it was quite bitter at first. Since it was skim milk, it was not exactly rich and thick either. While I still think lattes of any type is better, I must say this was a decent cup of cappuccino.Image

The Roasted Mozzarella & Tomato Panini was delicious. I love the spinach and pesto, as well as the very flavorful sundried tomato. When I say flavorful, i mean flavorful. Those little red bites packed in such a sour but tasty kick. The focaccia bread did not have too much f a crunch since it was toasted instead of warmed up in a panini press. It was kid of chewy but still nice though. My favorite part was the gooey, stringy fresh mozzarella. This is a cheese that will not get overwhelming because it is so light and chewy. Overall, it was great for a light lunch.Image

The Cinnamon Chip Scone was very scrumptious. The nuts of sugary cinnamon throughout really provided adequate sweetness and spice. The icing was nice. The scone itself was crumbly but not exactly dry. It is a very odd texture since crumbly usually goes with dry. I loved it; it was neither too sweet nor bland, just perfectly cinnamon-y.Image

The recently re-released Cinnamon Roll, especially after being heat up, was absolutely amazing. The cinnamon and sugary mix between the layers of soft, airy dough was delicious. My favorite part was by far the sticky, sugary, and gooey icing almost dripping over the side. I got into somewhat of a sticky mess as I indulged bite after bite in the wonderful and warm treat. It is so comforting and certainly one of the best iced cinnamon buns I have ever had.Image

The Reduced-Fat Very Berry Coffee Cake was full of tangy, juicy blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries. The cake was moist, light and airy, and where the berries were, it was even soggier. However, that just made it very refreshing as far as cakes go. I was not too pleased with the buttery crumble on top as it lacked sweetness, but it was not overly buttery either.ImageImage

The Chocolate Hazelnut Tart was not the greatest treat ever. The chocolate filling was only semisweet and had a very light hazelnut aroma. I found the tart shell to be slightly dry and not sweet enough. It was just a light buttery taste that sort of overwhelmed the chocolate. As a little bite, it was pleasant but not amazing.

The Brown Sugar Walnut Tart was a slightly better petite dessert. The brown sugar and walnut mixture was sweeter and had a crunch thanks to the walnuts. The shell was again a little on the buttery and bland side but at least the filling was sweeter. This is more of a fall treat than a winter treat in my opinion, but they offer it year round for you to indulge in.Image

Sipping coffee and savoring every bite of delicious desserts just makes school work that much more appealing and bearable. It is simply one of the best remedies when I feel like getting out of the comfort of my room. Nothing screams “enjoy every moment” more than that of a great Starbucks café atmosphere. Image

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On the Need for Paninis: Part VII – Metropolitan Bakery

ImageNovember 7, 2012
Metropolitan Bakery, Philadelphia PA
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Fig Bar
Raspberry Bar
4013 Salad
Rosemary Olive Oil Roll
Roasted Portobello Mushroom Panini
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It was the last day of National Fig Week so I decided to drop by Metropolitan Bakery for lunch. The day was drizzly and gray but sitting in a little café cheered me up a little. The place is nothing exquisite, unlike some of the quaint little bakeries in center city. However, the server was friendly and the place was rather clean.

The Fig Bar did not live up to all the hype on the online reviews. However, it was quite good. The fig filling was not very sweet but had quite a lot of figs inside it. You can taste the strong fig flavor and the seeds made it crunchy. The crust was a little dry and left in the oven a tad too long. It was quite buttery and crumbly but not overly greasy or sweet. This would go well with a latte.Image

They also offered samples at the counter. The Raspberry Bar was not as good as the fig one in my opinion. It was much more generic, with a very buttery crust and topping. It was not sweet enough for me and slightly too buttery and bland. The raspberry filling was quite generic. The bar was very fresh, though, and was still a tasty bite.Image

For my lunch, I started with a 4013 Salad. For almost $8 after tax, it was definitely not worth it. The salad was in a decently sized bowl, but it was still just a handful of spring mix, chopped granny smith apples, walnuts, and bleu cheese. Everything was just thrown in and I asked for raspberry vinaigrette on the side. The ingredients were fresh but it was just so not worth the price and was thus very disappointing.Image

The salad also came with a roll and I picked the Rosemary Olive Oil Roll. It was simple but had a nice and light rosemary fragrance. The roll was perhaps left out just a tad too long as it started getting a little too tough on the outside. The inside was airy but slightly dry.Image

Finally, the highlight of my meal was the Roasted Portobello Mushroom Panini. This was actually very good, which it should have been considering it was $8.50 before tax. Despite the fact I loved it, it was still outrageously over priced. At least it was good, though. The focaccia bread was absolutely lovely – slightly soggy on the inside, very airy and flavorful in the middle, and crispy on the outside. The panini was quite large and had a whole roasted Portobello mushroom that was very flavorful and juicy. I loved the texture of it. The roasted red peppers were also great, along with the provolone cheese and the very fresh basil pesto. I loved that there were still bits of basil left in the pesto. This was certainly one of the best paninis I have ever had.

I seriously thing Metropolitan Bakery should reconsider their prices. It is the most unattractive aspect of this café. The ambiance simply does not justify the overpriced items. However, I will admit that they make a mean panini.

Metropolitan Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon

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