Ithaca Trip Review Part 3: Purity Ice Cream Co.

On our first day in Ithaca after our filling meal at Agava, my family wanted to stop off for a nice treat. After doing a bit of research on Google for the best ice cream places in the area, we stumbled upon Purity Ice Cream. This ice cream parlor has gotten many high ratings over the years, since it first opened in the early 1900s. In 1936, it was named the “Ice Cream of the Finger Lakes”. Since then, they have evolved to not only serve ice cream, but to also offer breakfast, lunch, ice cream cakes, other sweet treats, and coffee.

Purity Ice Cream has an extensive amount of ice cream flavors, and cool combinations. And though it would’ve been great to try them all, I played it safe and got one scoop of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, along with another scoop of Strawberry. As described on the menu, The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough was “packed with cookie dough and chocolate chunks”, and the Strawberry was “strawberry ice cream with [strawberry] puree”. I have to say, I was not expecting the quantity I was served. The two scoops I was given went well over the top of the small cup I ordered. And this was definitely a pleasant surprise! I was struggling to finish the whole cup, but I believe that says more about my ice cream-eating abilities. This ice cream was definitely VERY tasty, but I did find the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough a bit overly sweet (once again, this could just be a reflection of how infrequently I eat at ice cream parlors, though). Even if you’re not a fan of super-sweet desserts, I do recommend trying flavors such as the Green Tea, the Strawberry, or other less-adventurous blends.

Nonetheless, I did enjoy trying Purity’s ice cream, and seeing if it lived up to all the positive things being said about it. As mentioned, it definitely did. Next time my family and I take a trip to Ithaca, I hope we stop off at Purity Ice Cream again. And maybe next time I’ll be adventurous enough to try a few of the more far-fetched flavors.

Here’s the link to the Purity Ice Cream website: https://www.purityicecream.com/

Ithaca Trip Review Part 2: Starbucks

During my family’s 4-day trip in Ithaca, New York, we decided to take a drink at one of the most beloved coffee breweries across the United States: Starbucks. Starbucks is known for their incredible take on coffee, their flavorful original creations, and for being quite popular among all generations. When in Ithaca, my family and I stopped to grab some Starbucks twice. The first time, I stuck to my usual order, and the second time I decided to try one of their newest Frappuccino® drinks.

Starbucks’ Matcha Tea Frappuccino®: Starbucks’ Matcha Tea Frappuccino® has been my go-to order ever since I discovered my love for all-things matcha and green tea flavored. This drink is absolutely amazing. It has the sweetness that you would look for in a typical Starbucks drink, while also being balanced out by that slightly-grassy flavor. I am very much aware that this “grassy flavor” is what turns people off when they drink matcha tea. But I assure you that a little whipped cream in your Frappuccino® will cure all your worries.

Starbucks’ Strawberry Funnel Cake Frappuccino®: Starbucks’ Strawberry Funnel Cake Frappuccino® is essentially a “funnel cake-flavored syrup blended with [the standard frappuccino ingredients], layered with strawberry puree… and powdered-sugar-funnel-cake pieces”. I know that I’m definitely a sucker for funnel cake, so I thought that this would be the perfect drink to curb my funnel cake cravings. I must say, that this drink doesn’t live up to my expectations. I was hoping that the funnel cake-flavored syrup would taste just like funnel cake, while it merely just tasted like a sickly-sweet syrup that was a poor attempt at it. Additionally, the powdered-sugar-funnel-cake pieces resembled Rice Krispy Treat cereal pieces. Something about the drink that I did enjoy, was how the funnel cake pieces (possibly Rice Krispy Treat pieces) were incorporated into the drink itself. Every time that I took a sip, I would get a bunch of the small pieces along with the drink. This helped make the taste a bit more bearable. Though clearly this drink wasn’t perfect, I have to give Starbucks credit for attempting such a wild idea. And I believe with a bit more trial-and-error, this Strawberry Funnel Cake Frappuccino® could end up being a huge success.

Ithaca Trip Review Part 1: Agava

My family and I recently took a three-day trip to the city of Ithaca. It’s home to Ithaca College and Cornell University, so naturally as a college town, it was bound to have some good eats.

On our first day in the city, we ate at Agava. Agava is said to focus on “farm-to-table cuisine” and “the well-being of [their] customers”. When eating at this popular restaurant, it’s clear that they strove to stay true to these values. Agava had many vegan and vegetarian options available, and some gluten-free choices as well. On their menus, they have a list of farms that they receive produce from, proving that they pride themselves on having good, nourishing, and healthy food for us to enjoy.

At Agava, I ordered the Black Bean Burger that includes lime crema, poblano pepper and hand-cut fries. This was my first time trying a black bean burger, and I was thoroughly surprised that it actually tasted quite delicious! I’m not sure if black bean burgers are typically vegetarian and vegan friendly, but because of the name, I assumed that it was. After checking the menu once more though, I realize that it actually is not vegetarian and vegan friendly, and that the beans are mixed into the meat to create the burger patty. Burger-wise, this was the only thing I felt the need to comment on. The fries that came with the burger were also very tasty, and my sister and I really enjoyed them. They had a crisp outside, while the potato inside was nice and squishy. My sister is very picky about her french fries, but I remember that she absolutely loved these ones.

Overall, I really enjoyed the Black Bean Burger that Agava had on their menu. I wish that they stayed a bit truer to the name, and made it vegan and vegetarian friendly (and made the patty entirely out of beans). But overlooking this, next time my family and I take a trip back to Agava, I’m definitely re-ordering this meal.

Here is the link to the Agava website: https://www.agavarestaurant.com/

Recipe: Nature’s Cereal

All over TikTok, I’ve seen this new recipe for Nature’s Cereal. As someone who’s not a huge fan of the classic cereals, I was very curious to see how this twisted version would taste. Hopefully it would even spark a new love for cereal!

Ingredients:

  • Coconut water
  • Ice cubes
  • 2 strawberries
  • A handful of blackberries
  • A handful of raspberries

Recipe:

Pour a reasonable amount of coconut water into any sized bowl. Then, prep your berries. I like to leave my raspberries and blackberries as-is, but cut my strawberries into smaller pieces. Insert the berries into the bowl with the coconut water, and then make sure to include a few ice cubes. The ice cubes help with the crunch, as well as keep the meal cold.

As you can see, this is recipe is not only simple but is also truly delicious! The combination of the berries with the coconut water is something that I would never have tried, but turned out to be something I really enjoy! I definitely would recommend this, because it’s quick, easy, delicious, and revitalizes you in the morning after a long night’s rest.

Recipe: Homemade Doughnuts

AKT Rating: 5 WOWS!

Prep time: 8 mins

Cook time: 5 minutes per doughnut

Ingredients:

  • 1 serving of pancake mix
  • 1 ½ tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin spice
  • 2 tbsp self-rising flour
  • Optional 1 handful of frozen blueberries, frozen raspberries, or frozen fruit (finely chopped) 

Optional Toppings:

  • Powdered Sugar
  • Golden Brown Sugar
  • Icing Glaze (premade) and Sprinkles
  • Be creative

Instructions:

Mix one serving of pancake mix, then add cinnamon or pumpkin spice. Once even, add 1 ½ tbsp of cooking oil, followed by 2 tbsp of self-rising flour. Let stand for 1-2 min. Meanwhile, on the stovetop, prepare a pan with ½ inch deep cooking oil and heat at medium-high. As the oil is heating, gently fold in variations of your choice, for example blueberries, if you choose and then pour the doughnut mixture into a sealable plastic sandwich bag. Seal and cut a single bottom corner off of the sealable plastic sandwich bag. When oil ready, squeeze out the doughnut mix into the pan to form a circular doughnut shape. When the bottom of the doughnut appears golden brown, flip and fry the alternate side until golden brown. Remove doughnut when both sides are evenly cooked. 

Once the doughnuts are removed and still warm, immediately decorate with optional toppings.

Let cool for 10 mins and serve.

Review: Online Summer Camp S’mores Bars

AKT Rating: 5 WOWS!

Because of COVID-19, my parent’s company started virtual summer camps for kids. My mom had signed me up for a cooking class, where we made S’mores Bars. The whole class was done by Zoom, and originally, I thought it would be hard to cook on a Zoom call. But it actually wasn’t as difficult or confusing as I thought. And best of all, the food came out GREAT!

Ingredients:

  • one 11 x 9 aluminum disposable tray
  • graham crackers crushed to crumbs
  • 1 cup of salted butter
  • 6 cups of mini marshmallows
  • chocolate chips of any kind (milk, dark, white, etc.)

First, mix together the butter and the crushed graham crackers. Don’t mix in all the graham crackers – save some for the end! Then, put your graham cracker and butter mix into the tray, and smooth it along the bottom. Lastly, bake it in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 5 to 10 minutes. After it’s done, take it out of the oven, and put a layer of marshmallows on top of the crust. Make sure the marshmallows cover the whole crust surface. Put it back in the oven for about 10 minutes at the same temperature. Once your marshmallows have completely melted , take them out of the oven, and put a layer of chocolate chips on top of the melted marshmallows and then top if off with those crushed graham crackers you saved. Then, stick it back in the oven for another 5 minutes at the 325 degrees. When you take it out, let it sit for 3 minutes, and then you can eat it hot and fresh out of the oven, or you could stick it in the fridge for a while, and eat it cold. I prefer it cold, but I think that eating it hot would also taste good.

Review: TeaDrops

AKT Review: 5 WOWS!!!

My dad, unlike me, doesn’t really like tea. And in my attempts to get him to like it, I bought him TeaDrops as a Fathers Day gift, and I, of course, had to try them. So, I got the boiled water, and put in the matcha flavoring. It came in a teeny tiny little package, and when you opened it, you saw tea leaves bunched together in a cute little shape. It was also super easy to use since you really just dropped the TeaDrops into the mug.

So, my personal favorite so far is the matcha one, since I’m completely obsessed with it. Just the plain TeaDrop is kind of bland, so I add a teaspoon of sugar. Honestly, for me, a teaspoon is actually very little, so I think that you don’t need to much sugar to make it taste good, but just enough so it doesn’t taste too bland. Overall, I would highly recommend these as a gift, or even just for yourself.

Takeout During Corona?

During COVID-19, there has been the ongoing question: is it okay to eat out?

Well today, my family and I decided to just go for it. We haven’t eaten out in around 3 months, and we figured that we probably weren’t going to get a chance to eat out again. So, we decided to order some Cheesecake Factory. We got the Chicken Bellagio, the Orange Chicken, the Chicken Pot Stickers, and a kids pizza with bacon on top.

When the food arrived, my parents decided to stick it all in the oven to try and kill all of the possible germs on it. This made the food taste a little different than usual, but it had the same overall taste.

So, my answer to this ongoing question, would be to pace yourself. If you want to eat out once a month, go for it. But I wouldn’t do it excessively so that you can prevent getting sick.

Recipe: Edible Cookie Dough

AKT Rating: 4 WOWS!

Today, during quarantine, I was extremely bored. So, I decided to make some edible cookie dough:

  • 3/4 cups of butter (melted)
  • 3/4 cups of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cups of sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of baked flour
  • 2 tbsp of milk
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips

First mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, and mix the wet ingredients into a separate bowl. Then, combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Lastly, mix in the chocolate chips. Once complete, pour into a pyrex dish, and refrigerate overnight.

But since my family wants to conserve our food supply, I used half of what all the ingredients asked for. After mixing, I put it in the fridge for a day or so, and it turned out really really crumbly. Though this wasn’t totally the ideal outcome of the cookie dough, I think I know the reason behind it. I should’ve added more milk and butter. Usually, the wet ingredients stick the dry ones together, and since it came out super crumbly, I can infer that the dry ingredients needed to stick together more. The milk and butter might’ve made it a bit smoother and it would’ve stuck it together more. But, overlooking the fact that it was super crumbly, and was basically falling apart, it tasted great. I would definitely use this recipe again, except with more milk or butter.

This is a picture of the cookie dough, along with most of the ingredients