Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Awesome or Flawsome: Taco Bell's Cap'n Crunch Delights

I have been meaning to go to Taco Bell for breakfast since they started serving a morning meal; yet, as we all know, I don't like/love Taco Bell before 2 a.m. and after 2:30 a.m. This explains why I just never found the "time" and/or motivation to try it. BUT on a weird whim yesterday, I succumbed to my curiosity regarding all things Cap’n Crunch™ Delights™ (and my hunger). I know it's a shock, but it's true. I was intrigued. So The Steel Trap ran for the border and lived to tell the tale!


For less than five dollars, I was able to try three items: the new Cap’n Crunch™ Delights™; the Cinnabon® Delights™; and the Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit Taco.

First I nibbled on the new Cap’n Crunch™ Delights™, which are described as being "warm, light pastries, coated with fruity Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries™ cereal and filled with creamy, sweet milk icing." These are available in 2, 4, or 12 packs; I chose 2 (for $1.00). Were these delightful? Strangely, yes. In an unhealthy ball-shaped strawberry Toaster Strudels kind of way. My teenage tastebud memory was instantly revived. Albeit, I only ate one as eating two seemed excessive.

The Cinnabon® Delights™ are described as "warm, golden bite-sized pastries filled with Cinnabon® frosting and covered with Makara® cinnamon sugar." These also come in 2, 4, or 12 packs; again, I chose 2 (for $1.00). While these taste great (and better than the Cap'n Crunch variation), I think that I still prefer an actual Cinnabon® if I am going to waste my calories on food that's probably two or three chemicals away from being plastic. 

Note: My inside source (former student behind the counter) revealed that all of the Delights™ come frozen, and are cooked in a deep fryer. This would explain the excess grease in every bite and all over my fingers.  

For whatever reason, I thought that I would also try Taco Bell's take on the breakfast sandwich: the Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit Taco, which is described as a, "warm, fluffy, buttery biscuit folded in the shape of a taco and filled with fluffy scrambled eggs, delicious sausage and real cheddar cheese." That sounds like a lot of fluff, but it's surprisingly almost true. It does taste good, but it doesn't quite find its way onto my Mt. Rushmore of Fast Food Breakfast Sandwiches. Also, I don't do hot sauce on my breakfast food (or any food actually), but I can see how people might enjoy that added "heat." You can also get the Biscuit Taco with sausage and cheese; egg and cheese; or egg, cheese, and bacon. 

Cap’n Crunch™ Delights™ are officially flawsome. Who wants a greasy ball-shaped strawberry Toaster Strudel?

And overall, Taco Bell breakfast is officially flawsome. Why? Because nothing about this breakfast has the slightest illusion of being healthy. Even McDonald's does that.




Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The First World Problems of HGB & MAB cont.

There have been thirty-four posts of this nature; not surprisingly I continue to accumulate many contributions from family and friends in addition to the ones that MAB and me experience on our own. It all begs the question: Is life in the first world getting to be too hard for us? Well, yes. Yes it is. I actually think that the more time that one spends in the first world (i.e. the Lexus Club at PNC Park or Vineyard Vines or Nemacolin Woodlands), the more first world problems arise.

As always, you should know that anything posted on facebook and Twitter is totally fair game. It's just too easy for me to pluck your first world problems from there and drop them here on The Steel Trap. I have screen shots for days. Note: Just because these are written in first person point of view, doesn't mean that they are mine. Or does it? You decide.
  • The new receptionist at the spa was snarky, so I handed her a "new one." Then I felt guilty during my massage. 
  • I am stranded at Ross Park Mall while getting tires at Sears. I think every high school kid in the North Hills must be here this afternoon... 
  • I love hearing on the radio that my tuition is going up 3% in the fall. 
  • I FINALLY got my maple tree! Thank you Ryan Homes. It only took two years. 
  • My husband doesn't know the difference between peonies and carnations. 
  • [On Sunday] Some Chic-fil-a would be nice right now... 
  • Vacation was great except for when I broke my iPhone and my husband broke his ankle. 
  • I can't send an email from my kitchen, but my phone can find twenty-three wireless networks whilst driving down the highway at eighty miles per hour. 
  • I was too ashamed to tweet this, but it's such a first world problem. I want to buy new Bath and Body Works soaps. But I live alone and don't go through four bottles across my house quickly enough for the new summer scents. I am still using the Winter Citrus Wreath and Iced Cranberry! 
  • I shattered the front of my phone so badly that I cut my finger on it. 
  • The moment of dread when you realize that you messaged your son's iPod and not your husband's iPhone about tooth fairy money. 
  • I bought the new Fifty Shades book but I forgot that it would be a little bit questionable to be seen reading it in public and now I am wishing that I had gotten it for my Kindle instead. 
  • I am house sitting and cannot figure out how to get the 2015 LG dishwasher to work so I am going to have to hand wash all of my dishes. 
  • I love Amazon, but Prime Day has basically been like one of the Uniontown Gabe's weird sidewalk sales. No one wants mystery supplements, off-brand watches, or granny nightgowns, Amazon. Not even Fayette County.  
  • We can send pics from Pluto, but I have to download a separate app to send a facebook message. 
  • If I see one more Shandy commercial, I'm gonna go buy a case of Old Rasputin.  
  • I walked to the mailbox and back and got a headache. I am never leaving the house again. 
  • I know that the ozone layer is important, but I am going back to aerosol hairspray until someone invents a pump version that won't clog. 
  • It's a serious issue that there is no one in the seat next to me on the train but I can still smell someone's b.o. 
  • I am presently calling AAA to tow my truck across the street!
  • Things that I did while on hold with Comcast: ordered lunch, had lunch delivered, ate lunch, folded laundry, planked twice for five minutes each, responded to twelve work emails, prepped two accounts for tomorrow, and wrote this status update. 
  • The only Vineyard Vines in the state of Kansas still hasn't opened yet.  
  • Verizon keeps sending me reminders (including a huge empty box with postage) to return my equipment even though I don't have any equipment to return. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Awesome or Flawsome: Aveda Blue Oil

Aveda Blue Oil Balancing Concentrate came into my life a few months ago, and most likely it will never leave. Touted as "stress-relieving," this product "helps dissolve tension and raise energy levels with the balancing aromas of refreshing peppermint and soothing blue camomile." And, "when gently touched to skin, its special rollerball applicator releases the perfect amount of concentrate for on-the-spot, cooling acupressure therapy."

With that in mind, here's what I think: It's all true! I was fortunate enough to experience a complimentary Blue Oil massage at the Aveda boutique in Ross Park Mall (much gratitude to GPB). I was refreshed, calmed, and eased. In addition, I have used the product for months on my own, and while it isn't as intoxicating to apply Blue Oil on oneself, it is effective just the same. I have applied it to my temples and my sore muscles (i.e. my neck from postural pains and my calves from running stadium stairs), with each instance yielding desirable results. Plus, smelling like peppermint and camomile isn't a negative thing.

At $19, it's the perfect gift for a friend (tuck this charming glass vial inside a cute cosmetic tote) or for a holiday stocking stuffer!

I highly recommend this product. Thus, Aveda Blue Oil is officially awesome!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Motor City Mademoiselle Visits Wicked Table

Editor's Note: Introducing Motor City Mademoiselle! She's my cousin and my friend; she's going to expand the food reviews on The Steel Trap by taking us on a culinary tour through the Detroit corner of the Rust Belt (which, apparently was settled by the French). I couldn't be more thrilled! I hope that you welcome her perspective as much as I do! "Bonjour!" to Motor City Mademoiselle and "bon appétit!" to us!  

HGB and I are cousins from a family tree standpoint, but from an emotional standpoint we are more like sisters. While I know she has her own amazing sister (MAB), there are times that I would prefer to claim HGB as my own. While we have never lived close to one another, when we do spend time together we have the ability to pick up exactly where we left off. We know each other better than we know ourselves (at times) and we know what needs to be said to support one another. But enough of the background, lets get to eating (one of our favorite things to do). HGB and I are self-proclaimed foodies, food is our “thing” but it isn’t just the food, it is the entire event. We thrive off of picking out the perfect outfit (because we never stopped playing dress up), going out, enjoying good conversation and amazing food. HGB and I were talking one day and I had mentioned a new restaurant I was going to and offered to do a “guest blog” about my experience. HGB graciously said yes and gave me a few pointers as to what I needed to look for, since previously I was more focused on the food and not the angle that HGB was taking the pictures.

Wicked Table (38503 W. 10 Mile, 48335) is the owner’s second restaurant – the first is in the same strip mall. Breakfast Club was the first and is well known throughout the Metro Detroit area as being one of the very best places to get breakfast (especially pancakes). Breakfast Club closes in the afternoon and that is where Wicked Table takes over – it serves lunch and dinner with the focus being on an eclectic menu.

This restaurant's layout presents as being unsure of itself- there is stenciling on one wall, to which my dinner companion commented, “The stencil doesn’t work with the rest of the décor,” followed by an array of modern art in blue and green hues and a wall of bubble art. I am unsure for what the building was previously used, but the cinder block walls are visible and at times, distracting.

clockwise from top left: Short Rib Ravioli, Cauliflower Cakes, Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes, Mom's Macaroni and Cheese

But where Wicked Table lacks ambiance, the menu makes up for it tenfold. Our waiter promptly arrived at our table with knowledge of the drink (boasting an extensive array of beer, wine and craft cocktails) and dinner menu. I had a glass of Rosé while my dinner companion had a glass of the Riesling; we were both happy with our choices. We started with the Baked Brie ($9, cherry apple chutney, pecan brittle); the salty cheee nicely complimented the fruit and nut elements. For my meal I had the Short Rib Ravioli ($17, house made pasta, mushroom cognac sauce). The ravioli was well prepared and stuffed full. The sauce was a cream-based sauce and while full of flavor did not overpower the ravioli. My dinner companion opted to get a few tapas instead of a full meal. She had the cauliflower cakes, twice baked sweet potatoes and Mom’s Macaroni and Cheese ($13, six cheese blend, toasted brioche bread crumbs). The Cauliflower Cakes were lightly sautéed and to quote my dinner companion, “superb.” The twice baked sweet potatoes were not prepared in the traditional style of “twice baked”- rather it was served in a large ceramic bowl. While my dinner companion stated it was good, it was something that she would not order in the future. Lastly, Mom’s Macaroni and Cheese was a large helping of oozy, gooey cheese and pasta goodness; my dinner companion reported that she liked it and would order it again.

Overall, there were two highly satisfied diners on a warm Friday evening in July. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone seeking a good, yet casual meal. As we were dining, the restaurant began to fill up, but at no point did it feel overcrowded. My only suggestion would be to find a theme/design concept that fits with the name of the restaurant. Regardless, you can guarantee the next time that HGB is in town, I will be taking her to Wicked Table. Her response will most likely be, “why not!”

(4 stars, 4/5)

Click to add a blog post for Wicked Table on Zomato

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

14

Fourteen thoughts on life in general and other topics specifically...
  1. Dear Person Who Recently Unfriended Me: If you unfriended me on facebook because you don't like me, I am fine with that. Truly I am. You never liked me, and you made that quite clear when we first met with your handshake that was oddly reminiscent of a cold, dead fish. But, I suspect that you had/have other reasons for unfriending me (reasons that shall remain unwritten).  My advice to you? Just know that Karma is who she is. There's a reason that you have the life that you do at your age. I know this from experience. Be wary, my "unfriend." Be wary. 
  2. The fact that Macy's is closing its downtown Pittsburgh location is not a surprise whatsoever. Monroeville, Ross Park, and South Hills Village locations have all seen renovations and have a better selection. Despite my nostalgia and the undeniable character of the former Kaufmann's flagship store, I (along with so many others) have not shopped there in years. All I can hope is that the people in influential positions use their influence to develop something that both honors the Kaufmann's legacy and its place in local history and that benefits Pittsburgh's future. 
  3. I still haven't seen the movies that I wanted to see this summer. Help. 
  4. Go Set a Watchman had better be good. The internet has ruined any hope that I had for it being great, but I think that I can live with it being good. 
  5. If not, I am giving it to a thrift store and going back to what I was reading, which was All the President's Men
  6. The people behind the scenes edited my last article in The Downtowner. It is taking me some time to adjust to the idea that someone is editing my work. You can imagine the expression on my face when the title wasn't what I wrote, nor was my closing sentence. Guess my Type A is flaring up again. 
  7. My Fitbit is changing the way that I look at my daily activity. In particular, it's an interesting way to examine the sets of stairs I choose to take (or not take) and the distances I choose to walk (or not walk). 
  8. I have a head cold.  
  9. My new apartment has become the haven that I desperately needed. I feel so relaxed now I have everything in its place and have settled into a new routine.  
  10. The Night in the Tropics at The National Aviary was a fantastic event, and I am thrilled that I volunteered and attended. Many thanks to EFC for getting me involved!  
  11. The gift shop(s) at The National Aviary have great items! Trust me, I am expert on the concept of "please exit through the gift shop." 
  12. It's Bastille Day!  
  13. SAA's CFF fundraiser at Paint Monkey was a huge success, proving that it's possible to raise money for a good cause without the event centering on alcohol. 
  14. Lastly, for a better morning, save your dessert to eat for breakfast. For instance, I saved my Duquesne Club macaroons and eat them the next day for breakfast, and it was glorious. I recently saved Parmesan Princess's turtle brownies for breakfast and that too was a glorious experience.