the foodcourt

the Foodcourt : Pambiche

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pambiche! i love saying that word. pambiche, pambiche! over and over, on straight repeat.

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i stumbled upon this adorable cuban restaurant on my last day in portland, it was a superb send off lunch, a warm friendly tummy goodbye. 

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the most perfect cuban mocha, oh my. 

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the house sauces, cuban ketchup and hot sauce. 

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rabo encendido

“oxtail on fire”. a classic cuban favorite that will have you bone gnawing and finger licking! tender oxtail slowly braised in a spicy (not picante) creole wine sauce. served with white rice. it is also gluten free, pretty neat.

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pan con lechón

the original cuban sandwich! adobo roasted pork braised with creole gravy and red onions and served on a toasted cuban roll. served with a side of tostones.

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outside dining meant getting to enjoy your food while watching portland's quirkiness go by on the street next to you.

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it was a beautiful meal! on a glorious overcast day, eating outside was a really great choice.

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i'm not very familiar with cuban cuisine so this was some delicious homework.

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i decided to go with the oxtails because it's one of my favorite cuts of meat (perhaps in a tie with beef shanks). it's usually slow-cooked in a stew, braised or featured in a soup and cooked well it is simply divine!   

this dish was prepared phenomenally, the meat was extremely tender and falling off the bone. the savory sauce was rich, flavorful, perfect with the white rice. highly recommend this dish and i'm highly excited to try more cuban food. 

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don't mind me, i'm just going to be thinking about this mocha and dreaming about those oxtails.. 

i believe i have a few more yummy portland eats to share! however it is very difficult to peep the photos because i get SO hangry and a little nostalgic, that city is filled with an endless amount of delicious goodness.

xo

rita

 

 

 


the Foodcourt : salt & straw

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unlimited samples is extremely problematic. 

ESPECIALLY when they are handcrafted teeny (beautiful) spoons of delicious ice cream.

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i remember watching a program on viceland and it featured an amazing human making a bone marrow, smoked cherry flavored ice cream. whaaa?! i didn't quite understand why i wanted to try it so much.. i mean i have watched enough iron chef episodes to know not everything tastes good as an ice cream. (i'm talking to you morimoto!) BUT for some reason watching him make and explain this insane flavor of ice cream as well as his process had me completely mesmerized. i was about it! i wanted to go to there, i wanted to say hello and explore all of the beautiful ice cream ASAP

basically ever since then salt & straw was added to my must visit list for portland. 

i have a fantasy foodie list for many cities, its a little fun thing to do and who knows if i'll ever go but if i do then i'll have some places to start with.

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if i walk into an ice cream shop and the first thing i smell are freshly made waffle cones.. i know they mean business. truly, the real deal.

*waffle cone scented heaven*

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that wonderful waffle cone smell does nothing to help narrow things down with the flavor decision. the menu was nutter butters AND it changes seasonally because of course it does.

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okay reminder on that bit about unlimited samples. 

they will literally let you try every single flavor they have if that is what your heart so truly desires. i have MAD food indecision so i was basically that person and tried super hard not to annoy the kind lady who graciously was spooning me sample after sample. i was very appreciative of her, she was my ice cream angel.

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i decided on not deciding and went with a 50/50 split between the sea salt with caramel ribbons and cinnamon snickerdoodle. 

zero regrets.

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portland, i fkn love you. 

xo

rita

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the Foodcourt: tsp. baking company

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hello lover.

Tsp

local veteran vegas baker does it again with the tsp. baking company!

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mini cupcakes means..you can have as MANY cupcakes as you'd like because i mean come on.. they are pretty much cake samples.

yes, think of them as samples. you're welcome.

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let's get down to business.

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cheesecake. 

vanilla cake with graham on top with cheesecake frosting.

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pbc.

chocolate cake topped with peanut butter frosting.

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cinnamon french toast.

cinnamon cake topped with maple frosting.

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brownie batter.

chocolate cake with brownie batter frosting.

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party cake.

confetti cake with vanilla bean frosting dipped in rainbow jimmy sprinkles.

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kari's cake has been in my top 3 for almost a decade, i truly get excited each time i get to take these babies home. 

the cake is dense but moist and extremely flavorful without being too crazy sweet, which is exactly the way i like my cake.

i always thought i didn't care that much for buttercream frosting but it turns out i had actually just been eating the wrong kind of buttercream.

here is a tsp original.. wait for it...!

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FAIRY ROLLS! 

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got to have a cinnamon roll too. 

it would be straight up rude not to.. manners are super important.

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basically it is a flaky pastry dough filled with sugar & rainbow sprinkles, then it gets smothered in vanilla bean frosting and even MORE rainbow sprinkles!

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BFFs

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they are magical, eat one or 5.

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 cookie corner.

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an old cozy classic, oatmeal raisin cookie.

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cinnamon sugar cookie has a special spot in my heart since it was probably one of the first cookies i ever tried of kari's and the cinnamon buttercream is DIVINE

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last but very very certainly not least, a lemon cookie.

these are the perfect amount of sour to sweet ratio, when it comes to lemon desserts that is an extremely important factor on how much i will like it. 

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this is just a taste of what the tsp baking company has to offer since i didn't even mention the ice cream.. yes, they also have ice cream because why not?

hopefully i've convinced you to make the trip for a sweet treat because i think i have convinced myself.

i can see the future, be there shortly.

see you there? we can have a cupcake date. 

happy eating!!

xo

rita

 


the Foodcourt: Sprinkles Cupcakes las vegas

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Sprinkles cupcakes moved in to town!

not only did vegas finally get their own Sprinkles location it's their biggest shop so far. promising offers of not only their highly praised cupcakes but ice cream and cookies as well.

where did they choose to set up? the Linq.

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yes i admit it. my entire motivation to visit the LinQ was in fact, cake.

marie antoinette syndrome? is that a thing? that could totally be a real thing..hrm. not exactly good though.

anyways let's collectively agree and understand that this is the norm for me. seeking out sweets and going on adventures inspired by compelling eats at a moments notice. what i'm saying is..get used to it because it's just going to keep happening around here.

it's just what i do, i am a hungry girl with a story to tell and this is just the beginning of my collection.

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don't want to see people? really need a delicious pick me up mini morsel of cake in the asap variety?

skip those glass doors and head straight to their cupcake ATM located right outside. available 24hrs so that you can insert money and receive cupcake anytime you need to.

psst..fellas listen up, if you messed up something fierce in the lady department forgiveness is at your disposal at your earliest convenience.

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hello tasty friends, so happy you moved to my town.

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these are the cupcakes that set the bar in my opinion. I highly respect the level of consistency in their quality. no matter which shop you happen to buy from, you'll be sure to always get the same tasting heavenly cupcakes.

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at the largest Sprinkles location you can be sure to have your cake and eat your ice cream too.

yes, i did say cookies earlier. of course they have those too.

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red velvet waffle cones, you totally win.

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i mean come on. how dreamy was that ice cream corner?

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what went home with me?

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1. vanilla 2. strawberry 3. cinnamon sugar 4. red velvet 5. dark chocolate

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one of their red velvet cupcakes can fix almost anything. smiles are just unavoidable.

xox

rita


the Foodcourt: Suite 106 Cupcakery

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a few months ago before heading home on a trip to california with my sister we popped into to this cute bakery in rancho cucamonga. usually when i travel i prep a few bookmarks on yelp but this particular bookmark was from my sister.

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right off the famous route 66 nestled in a quiet strip of shops is Suite 106 Cupcakery. if that name sounds familiar maybe you're like me and remember seeing them on Cupcake Wars. once my sis started telling me about her bookmarked bakery i remembered that i'd seen them on television. i'm not a devoted fan of the show but i did watch the first season and i usually have the food network on when i am at home so i get my fair share of episodes in. the contestants on that show always blow me away with what they are able to do in those crazy stressed time baking sessions, its just insane!

bake 4 dozen cupcakes in an unfamiliar kitchen completely from scratch, you have 45 mins AND go! pffff girl pleeease.

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i like what i see, i like it a lot.

cupcake jar? you shut up. what is that?? i obvs need like four of those.

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my sis liked what she saw too and dove right in to ordering while i took a peep around.

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someone whipped those cupcake boxes into shape! these guys are obvious professionals.

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i have a thing for couches, the more fancy and ridiculous the better. built in and velvety soft? okay, yes you're doing things right.

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my turn at the case. time to be my most annoying self and spend an obscene amount of time being super indecisive about which treats to pick. note to self, all of them is not the correct choice..ever. no matter what voices whisper otherwise.

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with two cupcake war wins under this bakery's belt their cupcake cake selection was extraordinary. i love the dark brown liners super neat and tidy. they're like a silent classic tribute to Sprinkles the cupcake shop that started it all. not to mention whose owner, Candance Nelson, is one the three main judges on the show cupcake wars.

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last photo i promise! the cuppies were too photogenic. very pristine california cupcakery, so happy we decided to make the stop. we packed up our cupcake loot with as much care as possible for the car ride home to vegas.

uh i may or may not have devoured one of their red velvet whoopie pies within an extremely small amount of time upon leaving..and it was delicious!

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my order:

1. pancakes n' bacon 2. coconut cream 3. loaded peanut butter 4. christy's southern red velvet 5. chocolate covered strawberry 6. double chocolate

number 3 & 5 were specials and are not on regular rotation so i am lucky to have tried them. fairy new fan of peanut butter i couldn't resist the loaded peanut butter coma.. do you see that beast?! nutter butters aaand reese's pieces.. oh em gee you guys.

pancakes n' bacon was probably my favorite out of the bunch. bacon, hello. yep, still riding that train.

i am also a little bit of a red velvet cake snob and must try one from every new bakery i go to. it's sad to say i get more fails then passes but i will probably continue doing it. it's an obligation and a duty! tough job.. someone has got to do it. Suite 106 gets double pass as their red velvet cake was super yummy, mm mm good job.

until my next indulgence!

xox

rita

 


the Foodcourt: Retro Bakery

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i've been looking for the perfect moment to share one of my near and dear to my heart bakeries.. it couldn't just be a whatever whatever wednesday. no no not for this local home town hero. i needed that extra dash of sprinkles to celebrate the entirety of their goodness!

what better way than with a birthday, their 6th birthday.

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the first time i discovered Retro Bakery was a bit before their 2nd birthday right at the beginning of the cupcake craze that took over america. i was one of the many that fell victim to the cake & frosting frenzy which only grew after a visit to Sprinkles cupcakes in LA. when i returned home to vegas i was determined to seek out and destroy all cupcake bakeries that existed but to my surprise there wasn't very many in vegas at the time.

no expectations- just a name, an address and a hopeful promise of cake from google i set out to find retro.

SO happy i did, no regrets, and more importantly no disappointments!!

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i am beyond lucky to get to have seen this little cupcake bakery grow to become such buttercream superstars.

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cupcakes are their bread and butter but the cookies are unavoidably addictive.

the cinnamon sugar cookie is my FAV *drools*

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kari and brian are the owners and you can tell just how much they love their sugar baby child retro.

you can find them either ringing up your order at the register or going in and out of the bat cave. you know.. beyond the counter where the real magic happens.

always prepped with smiles and friendly hellos, they are great people.

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an amazing game that happens every birthday - hidden numbers (this year they were 6's) are placed on the bottoms of random cupcakes in the case and should you find one you win a FREE dozen cupcakes.

happy hunting!

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free mini cupcake that i totally devoured for breakfast.

this bakery is so special even Johnny Cupcakes stopped by in 2010 for his suitcase tour and YES of course i was there. there is even video proof - did you spot me? i brought him a little gift.

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my order:

1- birthday cake 2- chocolate covered strawberry 3- milk and cookies 4- cotton candy 5- apple cider 6- maple bacon 7- salted caramel 8- pistachio 9- red carpet 10- pucker up 11- coffee & donuts

not pictured, s'mores... he had an accident. accidentally fell into my mouth before the picture could happen, oopsies.

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guess what?! found a 6! wahooo.

free future cake, scoooore!

my waistline may be wanting to cry a little. however i think i have almost found my perfect yoga to dessert ratio of okay i can still fit in my clothes.

getting there.. its a journey.

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sharing is caring and i shared my love for retro's cupcakes with my family. even though i have to say it's a little sad to see one go without having had a nibble.. i can't help it! they are that good.

every chance i get i am always spreading the word and converting as many folks as i can into retro bakery fans.

friends who cake together, stay together.

xox

rita

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the Foodcourt: the Upper Crust pie bakery

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I know you saw the sign.. that's right it's PIE time!

as i come to a close with my kansas city trip posts it's making me a little sad not having my biff around. especially today, her birthday! i miss and love her dearly.

our visit to the upper crust was such a delight and going through these photos it made me crave a sweet carby outing with my friend who is so dang far away.

i don't think i have ever been to such a charming pie bakery and this one has set the bar for future bakeries. it was cold day out and the shop couldn't have been any more warm and inviting. and the smell! oh my goodness. butter baby, glorious buuutter.

heavenly. heaven smells like butter.

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take home non-edible cuteness right upon entry.

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it's true. pie can fix quite a few problemos.

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regular sized and a bunch of littles.

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soft spot for the non edibles..hrm i wonder why. more accessories and i went home with a few buttons that expressed my love for baked goods.

thank you SO much to the gracious people of Upper Crust who let me go photo stupid in their pie haven. i had too good of time trying to capture your cozy corner of kansas.

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my biff and i ended up sharing a little brambleberry pie and strawberry rhubarb pie. we popped by a frozen custard place and got some vanilla to a la mode the heck out of our crusty fruity treasure.

pie and vanilla custard are best friends.. the BEST friends.

p.s. their shortbread cookie changed my life like whoa. it's the damn butter, gets me every time.

happy birthday biff! i hope this makes you smile and reminds you of all the fab times we've had and will have. love you for forever.

xox

rita

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the Foodcourt: Dean & Deluca (kansas city)

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poor ben.

poor, poor, poor ben. ben is just a student trying to work his part time job at the sandwich counter in Dean & Deluca's. but he was the lucky fella who got thoroughly deli harassed by my biff and i. some people may have strongly hinted that we can be a bit much when we get together and go off to best friend brain land.

pffff, we're just always trying to have a good time wherever we can.

sorry, ben.

we really did apologize..

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we asked him aaall about this menu.

ben knew his shit.

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mid sandwich action shot. give this dude a raise.

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we ended up with focaccia and sour dough sandwiches that both had bacon on it.

typical.

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from the soup station next door we shared a fantastic seafood corn chowder. like full omg wow soup.

note to self: make seafood corn chowder this fall. start researching nooow!

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it's usually some sort of turkey sandwich for me, and always some grainy mustard when possible. brie, argula, and some avocado made this particular one extra yummy.

whenever i finally make it to nyc, the original Dean & Deluca is on my must visit list.

but kansas city you were lovely.

xox

rita

 


the Foodcourt: Arthur Bryant's bbq

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barbecuuuue, HELLO america! am i right? you just can't get goood bbq outside of the u.s. it really is ours through and through. which is why i wasn't super into it until i moved back to the homeland and actually starting eating REAL american goodness. 

as i mentioned i recently took a trip to visit my biff who lives in kansas city and of course we did more then just hit up the local Cracker Barrel. first time visiting this new city and i got to spend 4 days hanging out with my best friend exploring and chatting up a storm. since moving away from vegas a few years ago any time we get to spend together is precious and truly never feels long enough. long distance relationships can be a bitch.

kansas city hails as one of the five main regional styles of bbq in america, texas, memphis, kentucky and the carolinas being the other four. having only tried two of these regional styles i am certainly no expert but i hope to gain more experience with the others eventually. what makes them different? smoking method, spice rubs, sauces, sweetness, spiciness, and the choice of meat too.

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Arthur Bryant's has been representing kansas city with their legendary bbq since the 1920's, that's almost a full century so obviously they know what they are doing guys.

i think we have located the experts.  

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the ordering process can feel a little intimidating, especially to an introvert like myself, so pull on your big girl pants and get your outdoor voice ready for little volume. my biff, her boyfriend and myself all ended up getting the same thing which made things easier.

the service counter is set up with about 3 low windows and when one becomes available you'll hear a holler from one of the guys in the back and you best have your order ready to go.

remember, outdoor voice. don't be scared!

all the yells, whistles, and yips coming from the fellas in the back make it seem like they were all speaking their own foreign language.

the language of barbecue.

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the burnt ends open faced sandwich with extra pickles. it was gooood, real good. note for next time: sharing is caring, the portions are huge.

i don't know why pickles & bbq but i like it a LOT so always always pickles, and smokey meat just isn't the same without an enormous sweet tea to go with.

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i can't wait for my next trip out to kansas city i got a few more bbq joints that are on my list to try.

happy eating!

rita

xox


the Foodcourt: Pinkbox Doughnuts

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we're friends here, right? i can talk honestly, share my thoughts.. no harsh judging or stern finger pointing? phew, good.

because i think i have a problem.

a big-round-hole-in-the-middle kind of problem. sometimes my problem is baked, but most times it's deep fried. yeasty doughy and often dipped, glazed, and sugared.

seriously you guys, i just dough nut know what to do.

SEND HELP!

Pinkbox doughnuts is a greatly welcomed new little business. i have always been envious of great doughnut cities like seattle, nyc, la, and portland because i felt like vegas lacked a little in that department.

now don't get me wrong there are some solid options for the more "traditional" doughnuts but i wanted creativity and interesting flavor combinations. i wanted bacon on my maple bar, dammit!

but in december of 2012, i got my wish.

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of course their boxes are pink.. how could they not be?

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my order:

1. campfire s'mores 2. chocolate glazed 3. sweet potato cake 4. cinnamon spice cake 5. the fat elvis 6. apple pie fritter

i think you might have a problem now too. right!?

and to think that these are just a few of the flavor options. their menu is growing fast and it seems that every time i pop in there is a new irresistible must try. it's terrrrible! but at least we both have this problem, we're in it together now.

worst part? located less than 5 mins away from where i live. how dare they!

convenient and creatively tasty. yikes! i'm probably going to need to join some sort of a group now. see you there.

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everyone should try the sweet potato cake, certainly one of my favorites. although on my last visit their newest addition was a coconut cream filled bar and oh my was it heavenly.

happy to call this my neighborhood doughnut shop and i can't wait to take my biff into Pinkbox the next time she is in town! when her and i get together we make doughnuts disappear. we're magical like that.

with moderation and whole lot of cardio hopefully me and my issues can come to an understanding.

xox

rita