Grilled buttermilk biscuits with honey butter
Cookie monster french toast
I have walked past Café Luna at least once a week for years, but I never looked their menu up until recently. After seeing their long and enticing lists of french toast, pancake, and waffle options for weekend brunch, I knew that I had to stop in as soon as possible! It’s a very small place, so reservations are a must (unless you get there before the doors open). I tried the biscuits with honey butter to start, which came warm and fresh off the griddle (I think they were grilled in the honey butter) and with a side of honey butter. The sweet-salty-caramelized-warm biscuit combination was addictive! The french toast special for April sounded amazing; it was called Cookie Monster French Toast, and it was described as speculoos spread and dark chocolate sandwiched between brioche and topped with Oreos and whipped cream. Mine also had festive egg and bunny sprinkles on top, since it happened to be Easter Sunday. This had the potential to be the best, most decadent french toast ever, but I wasn’t completely in love with it. There was not nearly enough cookie butter in it, and I only managed to get one or two bites that had a detectable amount. The bread/egg batter combination itself was also not very flavorful, and without any syrup or butter to add to the finished dish, it was all very dry and not entirely pleasant to eat. More than a teaspoon-sized dollop of whipped cream for four large triangles of brioche also would have helped to make the dish more palatable. I definitely want to go back to try their waffles, maybe with lemon curd and blueberries, to see if this combination is more well-balanced.
Custom ice cream sandwich: Totally Turtle ice cream sandwiched between a red velvet white chocolate chunk cookie and a chocolate chunk cookie
The Salty Dog: Totally Turtle ice cream sandwiched between two salted caramel cookies
Unfortunately, these ice cream sandwiches were consumed on a particularly gray, windy, and cold day, but they were still really tasty! The cookies themselves had the ideal crispy outside/chewy inside, and they tasted buttery and homemade. The ice cream that the The Cookie Monstah truck uses is Richardson’s, which is pretty good, but not as smooth and rich as Häagen-Dazs or Ben and Jerry’s. The flavor that I tried was called Totally Turtle, and it was vanilla ice cream with caramel, cashews, and brownie chunks. The red velvet and white chocolate chunk cookie was my favorite because of its subtle cocoa notes, contrasting white chocolate, and fun color. If I return to this truck, I think I’ll just order a cookie, since they’re way too substantial to manage as an ice cream sandwich. I wasn’t able to get one bite that had all three layers – red velvet cookie, ice cream, and chocolate chunk cookie. Perhaps this would be less of a problem in hot summer weather, when the ice cream might melt into the cookies and soften them, as opposed to staying frozen and making the cookies even harder and more difficult to bite.
Chocolate chip cookie yogurt topped with cookie dough, chocolate pearls, and a chocolate chip cookie
If you’re sensing a cookie theme in this post, you are correct, and it’s about to continue. When I walked past Pinkberry and noticed that their new yogurt flavor was chocolate chip cookie (one of my favorite flavors), I decided to try it before it was replaced by another rotating flavor. The cookie yogurt itself actually (surprisingly) lived up to its name and tasted like a chocolate chip cookie without any weird artificial aftertaste. The cookie dough and chocolate pearl toppings that I had with it also served to add texture and to enhance the cookie flavor of the yogurt, so that I actually felt like I was eating a creamy, frozen chocolate chip cookie. The Chips Ahoy! chocolate chip cookie that I got as my third topping did not fair so well. This may just be an issue with the particular Pinkberry location that I visited, but it tasted extremely stale and not at all like a cookie. It’s kind of funny that the one component of my fro-yo creation that didn’t taste like a chocolate chip cookie was the actual, whole chocolate chip cookie itself!
Left: chocolate salted caramel cupcake, right: white chocolate raspberry cupcake
I have never been to the DC Georgetown Cupcakes location, but I did have them shipped to my house in Pittsburgh when I was in high school after watching the TLC show for a few months. I was not impressed with them then, and I thought that they were too sweet, so when I heard that they opened up a location in Boston in 2012, I didn’t bother to visit it. Recently, I decided that I should give them another shot – perhaps they just didn’t travel overnight well and would be better fresh. I got their white chocolate raspberry cupcake (vanilla cake baked with raspberries and topped with a white chocolate buttercream) and their chocolate salted caramel cupcake (a chocolate cupcake topped with a salted caramel buttercream and filled with dulce de leche). Both had the perfect cake to icing ratio, and the flavors that the descriptions promised shined through. I would have liked a stronger white chocolate flavor in the buttercream, and perhaps a salted caramel core instead of a dulce de leche one on the other cupcake, but overall I was left with a much better impression than I was when I had them mailed to me years ago. I’m even planning a return visit to try more flavors. They do use cream cheese icing on more of their cupcake flavors than most other cupcakeries that I’ve visited, so I have to be extra careful when ordering to make sure that all of mine are topped with buttercream (since I don’t like cream cheese icing).
Hope your spring has also been filled to the brim with brunches and baked goods!