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.

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.

Review: Ruby Thai Kitchen

AKT Rating: 5 WOWS!

Today, I went to the mall with my friend. And while scouring the food court for someplace yummy to eat, we fount the Ruby Thai Kitchen.

First, we got the Thai Fried Rice. It was delicious fried rice with corn, peas, and carrots, and the rice was a nice, tender consistency, and had a great taste. We also had some sweet and sour chicken, and fried shrimp and veggies, which was also delicious.

Another great thing is that they had Apple Pay all set up. You could pay with your phone, and it was quick and easy to do.

I really enjoyed the Ruby Thai Kitchen, and would definitley go back a second time.

Image result for ruby thai kitchen

Review: Chick-Fil-A

AKT Rating: 3 WOWS!!!

Yesterday, while on the road with my family, my Dad insisted that we try Chick-Fil-A for the first time. Now, I knew that Chick-Fil-A had been getting a lot of hype in the past year, but I had never tried it. So, I figured that this was my opportunity to figure out what the hype was all about.

So, after we ordered takeout, and we began to eat, I realized that Chick-Fil-A really isn’t all that. Though the chicken strips there aren’t actually that bad, the foods that incorporate the chicken with other ingredients, for example the spicy chicken sandwich, could’ve been executed a little better, and could’ve tasted a little better too. Also, I wasn’t a huge fan of their waffle fries, or their mac’n cheese. I thought the whole things was average or below average in terms of taste and presentation. Overall, I thought there were also WAY too many pickles! In every sandwich there were pickles. And for a non-pickle-lover like me, it’s not the most convenient. In conclusion, I probably wouldn’t eat there again, unless it was a dire emergency.

Mulberry Tea House

Mulberry Tea House

Address: 415 Westfield Ave, Westfield NJ 07090

AKT Rating: 4 WOWS!

  • Tea Selection: 5 WOWS!
  • Scones: 5 WOWS!
  • Finger Sandwiches: 4 WOWS!
  • Pastries: 4 WOWS!
  • Fine China: 4 WOWS!
  • Menu Variety: 4 WOWS!
  • Ambiance: 4 WOWS!
  • Price: PRICED FAIRLY!

Last weekend, my family and I went to the Mulberry Tea House for afternoon tea. Though walking in it looks a bit not like you would’ve expected, the food there is delicious. There was a wide variety of exotic teas to choose from. For example, I picked out the Dark Chocolate Cheesecake tea, and it tasted almost EXACTLY like cheesecake. I was really impressed. The scones that they had to choose from were also very unique. They had chocolate chip scones that were literally so good, and tasted like a cookie. They had many finger sandwiches to choose from, and though most of them were very classic, there were a few that stood out, like the Hoi-Sin Pork Tenderloin & Cucumber sandwich, that was absolutely delicious. The pastries were also quite interesting, but were overall a great finish to the meal. The teacups and teapots weren’t as fancy as a normal afternoon tea tea set, but they were actually very pleasant to drink out of, and easy to pour tea out of as well. The room was nicely lit, and was very bright. But, the flow of the tables was kind of cramped, and there weren’t that many tables. My family and I made up a group of four, and I really thought that we got the best bang for our buck.