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Brunching @Next

I am not a lover of all things Brunch, but when done right, I am quite the fan. NEXT, a fantastic restaurant located in Stittsville, does brunch right. Since our last visit, they have changed their menu and are now only offering The Board, which is the yummiest idea ever. The Board is essentially a tasting extravaganza of all the good parts of brunch (pancakes, eggs, bacon) and a few of Next’s amazing dinner menu items (General Blackie’s chicken, mussels, steak). They also throw in a couple of desserts for good measure.

Brunch Menu @ NEXT

Brunch Menu @ NEXT

I like sharing with my husband because he lets me hog the things I love best, and doesn’t even complain. I can tell you right now, the pancakes and dark chocolate mousse do not get shared equally. You may want to negotiate a similar deal before your visit.

I love the idea of tasting all of the different options, even though sometimes it is weird to follow up a bite of banana pancake, with some kimchi. It is like a buffet, where you get to sample everything, all small portions, prepared perfectly and brought right to your table. My highlights are the aforementioned banana pancakes and dark chocolate mousse. They are both so good! The mussels and steak are also really yummy. One of my favourite items on the dinner menu is General Blackie’s chicken so I am always delighted to see it on the brunch board too. My husband loves the steak tartare and we *may* have a tug of war over the last strip of bacon. All of this to say, if you are looking for a really good and different brunch – you need to get out and try NEXT.

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The Board in action

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Latest Starbucks Concoction

The kids and I have a weekly Starbucks date.  It used to be straight hot chocolates, then we tried out vanilla steamers, and lately we have been branching out and trying new things.  We like to take the bits and parts from the different drinks we like and create new, even more fabulous drinks.  Sometimes the barista makes a suggestion, sometimes we overhear someone else’s order, and sometimes it is just us getting creative.

We LOVE cereal in our house, and always have a few boxes on the go, from very nutritious to straight up sugar rush.  One of our favourites is Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  Our latest Starbucks concoction tastes exactly like Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal!!!  Seriously!!!  Here is the magic recipe:

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Hot Chocolate

1 tall white hot chocolate

2 pumps of cinnamon dolce syrup

Whipped cream

Cinnamon dolce topping

And for the record, if they get it wrong and make it with a regular hot chocolate it tastes horrible, I have no idea why the white hot chocolate works and the regular doesn’t…Try it and let me know what you think.

 

Cupcakes

I went to a birthday party a year ago and someone had bought cupcakes that my kids could eat, egg-free and nut-free.  Usually when someone says that we are very grateful that they went to all the effort, but also a little skeptical because they usually don’t taste great.  My kids bit into these cupcakes and their eyes lit up – they tasted amazing!

My husband and I were curious, we are definitely pickier than they are.  I asked where they were from and the hostess told us the place she got them from was Thimblecakes on Bank Street.  I checked out their website and was amazed to find out that they were a completely egg-free nut-free bakery.  Wow!  Kind of like my dream bakery.

We were having a party ourselves so my husband and I headed down and bought six different flavours of cupcakes and tried them all.  The chocolate based ones were all amazing.  Very moist and light and rich in flavour.  The vanilla based ones are okay but a bit heavier and not as moist.  We bought a bunch for the party and the guests loved them.

Now I have a place to go to when I want to surprise my kids with a sweet treat, but don’t feel like baking!  My favourites are the red velvet and chocolate love.  The kids also love the viva puff and birthday cake ones.  They also make gluten free cupcakes, which are very good.  Thank you Thimblecakes for changing my life!!!

New Starbucks Travel Mug

I was in Starbucks last week and noticed a new RED gift card – it is a special design by Jonathan Adler and it is so cute!  I was with a friend on Saturday at a different Starbucks and was telling her about the new gift card and how cute it was, when a Starbucks employee overheard us and pointed out the matching travel mug.  It is absolutely gorgeous!!  We both bought one and I am just in love with it.  I used it for my Joy tea misto this morning…it is ceramic and just lovely to drink out of.  It is already sold out on the website so you need to search for it in the stores…love it!! 

My new travel mug 🙂

Peppermint Mocha Time

It is my favourite time of year at Starbucks – yummy peppermint mochas abound! I wish they still had the crunchy red sprinkles on top instead of the chocolate curls, but other than that, I look forward to them all year long. It was fun that my peppermint mocha friend and I met for coffee yesterday and kicked off the season together…there is just something about the chocolaty, minty, whipped creamy goodness in a red cup :-)<div class=”wp-caption alignnone” style=”width: 2058px”Starbucks peppermint mochas

Starbucks peppermint mochas

Earl Grey Tea Misto – redux

A while ago I posted about my favourite drink – the earl grey tea misto, unsweetened. Then they brought in the new fancy tea bags, called it a latte instead of misto, and my drink went from $2.50 to $4.57. For real! For the exact same drink.

So I started only ordering it once a week and complaining a lot. Sometimes I would pay less if a gracious cashier was feeling sad for me and my exorbitant cup of tea. Last week I had an epiphany – I ordered an earl grey tea, with some steamed milk. It cost $1.96. And it is an unsweetened earl grey tea latte. Seriously! Totally bizarre – but yea! I have my daily Starbucks drink back 😉