Sunday, August 31, 2008

Chuao Chocolatier ChocoPod- Spicy Maya

At this point I think we all know I clearly have a love of spicy chocolate...
It's not as if I have done a lot to hide that fact or even remotely deny it.
No, instead I am always on the hunt for something new and fiery. Maybe even something that will make smoke come out my mouth and little flames appear in my pupils (Hey I have seen it happen on Itchy & Scratchy more then once!).

Today's venture on my odysseys to burn all of the taste buds off my tongue is Chuao Chocolatier's Spicy Maya Choco Pod.

First I like the whole pod delivery system. It's a cute little 11 gram serving shaped like a cacao pod:

The Spicy Maya is a 60% dark chocolate that has pasilla chile, cayenne pepper and cinnamon. Smelling it is like smelling a solid version of Abuelita. It's vaguely smokey, peppery and mostly cinnamon and is a smell I happen to love.

Biting into the bar it has a nice snap and the quality of the chocolate comes right out, it's not the creamiest bar (c'mon it is 60%) but it's sweet and manages to be not too biter.

In terms of the heat, the strongest flavor to me was the cinnamon and that leads to the last notes being the cayenne. I personally didn't get a very strong sense of the pasilla chile. If you allow the bar to slowly melt on your tongue you will get the a gentle version of the burn we chiliheads crave (how I do love the burn!)

All around I really liked this bar. I didn't get that "Arrooooga!!" moment I have been searching for but I did get a spicy treat

Vons Supermarket

Monday, August 25, 2008

Arby's Berry Delight Swirl Shake

My old stand by Jamochca has a new friend
And who doesn't want to get to know their old friends new friends?

In this case I should have minded my own business.
It was near impossible to pull up any sort of information on this shake online. Even Arby's own website barely had a mention of it. It's a nice enough looking shake. Deep pink in color with a dark berry swirl.

But how does it taste. Well, it's less like a milk shake and more like really cold strawberry yogurt- mixed with cough syrup. As best I could find out from my Googling the shake is supposed to be a combination of blueberries and raspberries. The raspberries I got because the swirl when tasted on it's own is clearly raspberry. Oh, it's fake raspberry but at least you know what it is. They had me with the blueberries. I never would have guessed that.

I couldn't begin to tell you what the base is because it neither tastes like ice cream or has the mouth feel of ice cream. It's thin and on the watery side and overly aerated. To be honest it was vile to the point I couldn't even get half way through it.

Yeah... this was not exactly delightful.


New Tree Rejoice Bar

Today I got a wicked craving for a chocolate with rice crispies type bar.
I place the blame for this with the always fab Cybele over at Candy Blog because in her last couple reviews she has been talking about missing old school Hershey's Krackle bars
I was not a big fan of the Krackle but I always liked it over the Nestles Crunch- it's a mute point in either case because I had neither on hand and I was not going to run out and buy a Hershey's assortment bag for a bar that is now mocklate.

But I did remember that hiding in my stash was the New Tree Rejoice bar.
The Rejoice bar is milk chocolate with bitter orange and crisped rice. How good does that sound? New Tree had yet to let me down and this bar was no exception!

Let's start with the aroma. While it is not strong if you take a good deep inhale you will get the vanilla, the cocoa and lime blossom. I was almost worried that the lime was going to be the dominate taste but it wasn't.

The creamy milk chocolate that new tree uses is what I wish all milk chocolates would be. It's very creamy, the dairy quality stands out. It's sweet without being cloying and they use REAL vanilla.

The orange component is bitter. It tastes of freshly zested orange and there is just a hint of the lime blossom is the background (it's actually the last citrus note you taste). The rice is crispy and malty. Rather then being large "crispies" like the Krackle or the old school version of the Nestles Crunch. Instead they are like little rice non perils.

Every time I think I have found the best New Tree bar I try another version and have a new favorite.

Zabars NYC

Butterball Oven Roasted Turkey Deli Meat

Who doesn't love a good turkey sandwich?
Heck, even I do and I have a love/hate relationship with poultry.
Let me explain. One of my favorite meals ever is a beautifully roasted whole turkey ala Thanksgiving dinner. In my family over the years I think we tried every possible brand but we always came back to Butterball. Is there a better smell to wake up to then that roasting turkey on Thanksgiving morning?

And of course who doesn't love the sandwiches that you get to have from the left overs?- well me. Now to be clear, I love the sandwiches made within the first 14 hours or so after the bird has been cooked. After that the meat picks up something that I call "leftover turkey taste". Since I only eat the breast meat I do not know if the dark meat picks this up as well (I would assume it does) but leftover turkey taste is best described as turkey that tastes like it spent time hanging out in a vat of "turkey flavoring" that was past it's prime and too heavy on the salt, then it sat in a fridge with the smelliest leftovers possible, picks up all those flavors- And then the meat gets dry yet slimy on top of all of that.

Even beyond that, who has the time to roast a whole turkey every time you want a turkey sandwich?. There are dozens of "lunch meat" turkey options to be found at the mega mart of your choice and over the years I am sure I have tried most of them. You can go to sandwich shop of your choice and get something made for you. It's not like there are not other options out there. The problem for me has been I had yet to find a market or a fast food version of turkey that I even remotely liked. The meat always seems too salty, too slimy and pumped too full of preservatives and other magic chemicals. And what is the deal with those weird clear patches that run through some of the slices?! is that fat?, some sort of gelatin binder to hold the meat together? Whatever it is it is just gross.

I was dying for a turkey sandwich the other day and Albertson's had Butterball Oven Roasted turkey on sale in the deli. This is one of the slice to order products so I got just enough to either satisfy my craving or not make me fill guilty about wasting food and money (depending on how it turned out). Was I pleasantly surprised!

The flavor really is about as close to "real" oven roasted turkey as I have ever gotten from a deli meat. It's not overly salty and doesn't have that taste that suggests it was injected or marinaded in "turkey flavor". And while I am sure they are there, the meat doesn't taste staturated in preservatives.
Texture wise it's moist without being slimy and has none of those weird clear jelly/fat/who-knows-what patches that lunch meat tends to have- I still want to know what that stuff is (and no, I never eat it. I will tear those patches out)

Now, if you'll excuse me after talking about it so much I need to go gobble (hahaha I am SOOOOO funny) down a sandwich.

Albertsons Supermarket

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ritter Sport Dark Chocolate Marzipan Bar

Hey Jim! I finally got around to reviewing this bar!
I have had this bar for a few months now and every so often I glance at it and think "I really should try that". In fact when Jim of Jim's Chocolate Mission did his review of the Ritter Marzipan bar (read his review HERE) I even went as far as posting on Jim's site that I was going to review it soon. And by "soon" apparently I meant 1 month and 4 days later. Uh... well I got there eventually.

I love marzipan. I am one of those 5 people who will actually like marzipan- yes, I buy and eat those little fruit shaped marzipan's you see around the holidays. This was also the first time I tried Ritter's take on dark chocolate.

The bar it's self is the standard 100 gram bar scored into individual pieces. The dark chocolate is wrapped around a very generous grainy and solid looking marzipan center.

So was it worth the wait?
The chocolate it's self is on the sweet side for a dark chocolate. It melts creamy and it does have just enough cocoa so that you don't mistake it for milk chocolate. It doesn't have the bitter quality I like about deeper darks but it is presentable. The clear star here is the marzipan.

And it is some good marzipan! The first notes are very cherry like. Imagine Amaretto De Serrano in a solid form. As you get deeper into the filling the flavor becomes nuttier and slightly buttery. The texture is crumbly and grainy, more so then I find most marzipan. But I liked that. It give the candy a more interesting edge over some of the generic chocolate covered marzipan's I have had. I really liked the marzipan- enough to eat it on it's own. The chocolate, I could take or leave. It is not the best dark chocolate I have ever had but it is far from the worst.

If you are a marzipan fan you shouldn't miss this bar. If you have never tried marzipan before this would be a good place to start.

German Deli

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Casa De Dulce Watermelon Sucker with Chili

With all the some what useless knowledge I have running through my head I admittedly know very little about Mexican candy.
To say I am even moderately knowledgeable on the subject would be like saying Taco Bell is the epitome of Mexican cuisine.
What I do know is that the bulk of Mexican sweets seem to be some take on a combination of fruit, salt and chili and they are also a lot more accepting of Mocklate then the rest of North American is.

I opted to skip the mocklate and try one of these watermelon/chili lollipop-type candies. It sounded like an interesting combination and the portion is reasonably small- because I am brave but not that brave.

Reading the label I got a little worried because the candy appeared to contain absolutely no watermelon, it does list "natural flavors" but there is no clue as to what those flavors may be. I mean if you want to be picky morning breath is a natural flavor too- doesn't mean I want to taste it.

The first thing you taste is the outer layer of the chili powder. It reminded me of sawdust flavored chili. Next, the salt hits you. The salt is kind of nice because it almost takes your mind off the sawdust. If you can get through the outer layers the core in the center does have a watermelon flavor. It's sort of Jolly Ranchers-esque. The problem is that to get to that you have to make it through the sawdust like chili. I think watermelon and chili could be an interesting combination, I just don't think this version even came close to doing it justice.

Can anyone out there suggest some Mexican candy that shouldn't be missed?

Stater Brothers Market

Friday, August 22, 2008

Hebert's Fully Loaded Berry Good! Bar

The Berry Good! bar really is fully loaded
It's a a slab of dark chocolate that is just shy of 3 oz's and is loaded with strawberries, blueberries, cranberries and white chocolate chips. If nothing else it is a pretty looking bar.

Opening it I was dismayed to find that despite having more then 4 months on the sell by date the bar had started to bloom. I am a trooper folks and as such I am always ready to take one for the team and I dove in anyway.

I can tell you that the berries themselves were all pretty good. Even though they were dried they still stayed reasonably plump and juicy. The cranberries were the ones I liked best (craisins!) But the blueberries were nice and tart and the strawberries were sweet.

Have you ever had a day that was mostly bad but with a few good spots? well that would be the chocolate in relation to the berries. The dark chocolate was chalky and flavorless. There is no bittersweet edge. There is no creamy mouth feel. The white chocolate just adds an oily component to the bar (although it does look nice). There was no melt to speak of, the chocolate just sort of lumps up.
This bar may have been fully loaded but it left me filling half-cocked.

Jay's Shell Station Monrovia, Ca


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Taco Bell Frutista Freeze- Mango Strawberry

It's not often that I take a trip to Taco Bell
Nothing against them- I just am lucky enough to live across the street from a La Salsa and I just can't get enough of they're fish taco's. But today had me craving Taco Bell's crunchy taco's so off I went.

I also used this as a chance to try the relatively new Frutista Freeze drink. The Frutista's are a slushy fruit flavored drink that feature being made with real strawberries but no real fruit juice (so figure that one out). I chose to try the mango version because I am not the biggest strawberry fan and I wanted to feel like I was getting something remotely exotic.

It was not love at first taste. The mango version is intensly sweet. Almost overpoweringly sweet. But the odd thing is that it starts to grow on you. It's not a natural mango by any strech but it was a tasty treat. And yes, there are in fact real strawberries on top.

Gatorade Tiger- Quiet Storm

Again here's to hoping drinking Tigeraide (which I think would have been a better name) helps to improve my mini golf game.
I know during my last Gatorade review I had mentioned I was going to be reviewing foods that you eat when your sick, and while I did eat (a little) I lost all sense of taste so at the time I thought it was unfair to review anything that I wasn't getting the full spectrum of.

One of the things that kept me trucking was of course the Gatorade and I had some Quiet Storm on hand. At the time about all I could taste was watered down grape flavor and I thought that perhaps I felt that way because of my not-quite- functioning taste buds. Since it was on sale again I picked up another bottle.

Maybe my taste buds weren't working so bad after all. Quiet Storm is a pretty deep purple in the bottle- and we all know deep purple translates to "grape" taste-wise. And grape it was but it was simply a weaker version of the classic Gatorade grape. Not that that is a bad thing- I have a thing for artificial grape flavor and classic Gatorade grape represents that well. I can't prove it but I think the Tiger line is merely the Rain line with extra electrolytes (and we all know they are what plants need!). In this case I think I prefer the classic grape Gatorade but if you like your flavors more subtle this would be a good option for you.

Albertsons Supermarket

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pussy Energy Drink- Updated 8-22-08!

YES this IS a real energy drink that is widely sold throughout the U.K.
How I heard about it was because Gordon Ramsay caused quite the controversy when he talked about it on his U.K. show The F Word- in fact if you go to Pussy's own site HERE you can watch the clip for yourself.
Maybe it's my weird sense of humor, maybe my mind is just perpetually in the gutter (as anyone who knows me will tell you is the case) but there was just no way I could pass up trying this drink out for myself. The company says the point of the name is to grab attention- well it worked for me. And I would like to extend a big thank you to the folks behind the drink for sending me out a couple cans to try.

Normally, how I do my reviews is actually on the boring and borderline scientific side (well my inner Alton Brown likes to think it's scientific). I take notes or type as I taste and more often then not something about the product sparks a memory of something else and I end up taking us along for a ride down Gigi's memory lane as we talk about about things like the taste, texture etc. In this case I did things a little different. I absolutely could not resist bringing one of the can's to work. EVERY single guy I showed it to thought it was about the coolest drink EVER without even tasting it- but I saved that honor for my favorite co-worker. Yes, I told him it was his lucky day and I was going to let him taste something special (What?!, I told you I am perpetually in the gutter!)- and then I pulled out the can. Mark got a kick out of it and we cracked the can open.

After all of the build up how did it taste? Pretty darn good actually!
It reminded me of a tropical juice blend rather then an energy drink- and it lacked the bitter, medicinal after taste that the majority of energy drinks seem to have. The drink has Lychee flavor to it and that seems to be the dominate flavor- since I am a Lychee fan this is a selling point for me. I would swear that the drink had Pineapple juice in it although there is no mention of it to be found. It also contains white grape juice (from Southern Italy no less!) and Mexican limes.
The drink also has various herbs such as Milk Thistle, Guarana (well it IS an energy drink), Siberian Ginseng and several others. The companies website does a pretty good job of describing each herb and what they are purported to do.
Energy-wise it was comparable to some of it's American cousins but I have to give it special bonus points for not causing the jittery shakes. It was also bubbly without being too soda like.

This drink was fun all-around. My co-workers even came up with some pretty funny slogans for the drink- which I would share but I hate to say it the paper we wrote them on got lost. It tasted great. I just hope they get this drink over to my side of the pond in the near future, but until then it can be purchased from the companies website.

Edited to add:
The lost slogans were found! a big thank you to Mark- who also get's credit for coming up the vast majority of said slogans (hm... wonder how much credit he really wanted for that?)

So without further ado- the slogans:
* Keep coming back for more

*Get a Mouthful!

*Keeps you going all night long

*Share yours with a friend

*Yeah, you gotta pay for it, but it's worth it!

There are more who wants to hear them?!

Sample From Company

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sticky Fingers Barkeries Wild Blueberry Scones

Sometimes you just need a nice warm scone at 9:00 pm at night...
And at times like those who wants to drive to the nearest bakery or Starbucks (if they even have any scones at that hour!)

Now, of course you can make them from scratch but I don't tend to keep the ingredients for blueberry scones on hand. Enter Sticky Fingers. Sticky Fingers Bakeries make scone mixes that all you have to do is add water, mix and roughly 12 minutes later you have warm scones.

The mix was easy enough to mix. It is VERY sticky- and if you were wanting to form cute little triangle scones you will need to have flour on hand. We all know I am a fan of raw dough- pretty much any raw dough. Well not this raw dough. It's not that I didn't like a sticky, gummy, version of envelope paste, but I am just not a fan of sticky, gummy envelope paste. Into the oven the scones went and I went to kill 12 minutes.

What the scones may have lacked in flavor when raw they did smell fantastic while baking. Gotta love having your house smell like fresh baked items with minimal effort.

So the taste? did I mention how good they smelled while baking?
Unfortunatly the aroma that wafts forth is the best part of the scone. While the scones ARE very light and fluffy the taste is just- eh. The flavor is bland doughiness and there are not nearly enough blueberries. But worst of the lot is that the envelope paste taste does not go away when fully baked.

I loved the idea of this product, but I will either need to plan my 9:00 cravings better or start making scones from scratch.

Cost Plus World Market

Diet Pepsi NFLKickoff Limited Edition

Yesterday I reviewed the "regular version of Pepsi NFL Kickoff and today we have the Diet version

It's almost hard to believe that the diet and regular version are supposed to be the same flavor. Everything that was less then stellar in the normal version seemed to work themselves out in the diet version. I will spare you guys the whole back story again- check out the first review for the niceties. Let's just talk taste.

First, the lemon flavor seems brighter and zestier.
Second, the strong corn syrup aftertaste I didn't like in the normal version is completely absent here. I would assume that is because the diet version of course does not have HFCS in it.

This may actually surpass Diet Cherry Pepsi as my favorite Pepsi product.

Vons Supermarket

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pepsi NFL Kickoff Limited Edition

Ok fans it's the return of Lemon flavored Pepsi... oh yeah and Football starts soon.
I know, I know, I probably should be more excited about Football then I am about soda, but to be honest I am just not a fan. What I was a fan of was Pepsi Lemon Twist that got discontinued two years ago.

While in the Cola War I am firmly planted on the side of Coke. I do have to give Pepsi credit for doing they're flavored versions of cola better then Coke. Anyway, let's talk about the NFL Kickoff version.

It's a lemon flavored Pepsi that is tied int the start of football season. Taste wise it reminded me a bit of the old Lemon Twist, except that the lemon flavor is not as strong as I remember the Lemon Twist being. Imagine if you will a regular can of Pepsi that you squirted some of that lemon juice that comes in the little plastic lemon into. That pretty much covers the intial flavor. There is a rather unfortunate aftertaste. It reminds of corn syrup. If you ever had a bottle of Karo syrup around and felt the need to just taste it to see what it was like all by it's self (don't judge me!) well that's what the after taste is like. Since the soda is of course sweetned with HFCS it's not exactly a strech that you would end up tasting some of it.

It's not bad, I just don't care for the aftertaste. I have a bottle of the diet version and I will be comparing the two any day now.

Vons Supermarket

Thursday, August 14, 2008

In Honor Of Gigi's Grandmother

I don't do this very often but for just a moment we are going to take a break from reviewing and I am going to ask you to raise a piece of candy in tribute instead.
Today marks the 7'th anniversary of my beloved Grandmothers passing.

My Grandmother was truly a remarkable woman and there is not enough bandwidth in the Universe for me to begin to tell you how much she meant to me. Since I can't do that I thought we would talk about her favorite candy.

Grandma was something of a foodie herself. As long as whatever it was didn't contain poultry (long story) she was game for anything. One of the things she absolutely loved were peanut butter cups. Seriously, the woman was addicted to Reese's peanut butter cups.
Something that always sticks in my mind was the week following Easter in 1986. Myself and my siblings had gotten more Easter candy then there was ever hope of us eating- and my Grandmother had happily picked off all the peanut butter items quickly. Well one day Grandma got a bad jones for a peanut butter cup and they were long gone. My parents were out of town on business and my Grandmother didn't drive so there was no way she was going to get to the store for several days. So she had no ready made cups, she had no car- but what she did have was roughly 700 pounds of various chocolate Easter bunnies and a full jar of peanut butter.

My Grandmother decided she was going to make her own peanut butter cups and she spent the day in the kitchen melting down bunnies and using cupcake wrappers as molds. We learned many things that day. One, that mocklate (as sadly many of the bunnies were) does NOT make for pleasant melting. Two, making homemade candy can be fun and lastly, Grandma would go to some pretty insane lengths for a fix.

In honor of my Grandma please share one of your favorite peanut butter cups with someone you love.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Gatorade Tiger- Cool Fusion

Sadly folks Gigi is sick (again...). This means our next few reviews will be centered around that- Food and drinks for when you are sick- That is how committed I am to this site people!
One of the major things you need to do when your sick is to stay hydrated. Yes, of course good old H2O is the best- but let's be honest here, sometimes you just need something that tastes good.

Enter Gatorade. It's hydrating AND it comes in bright colors!- and I know this is probably not the best way to pick new flavors to try but I tend to go for the ones whose color catches my eye.

In this case, that would be the Tiger Cool Fusion. The Gatorade Tiger line is like super Gatorade. It contains 25% more electrolytes then regular Gatorade (it's what plants need!- bonus points if you can guess the movie that came from) and is the sport drink of choice for Tiger. By drinking his drink will that make my mini-golf game better? because I suck! anyway...

Cool Fusion is a spiffy neon green drink that is supposed to be lemon-lime flavored. Maybe it is my slightly dead taste buds but if I hadn't read that it was supposed to have a lemonade flavor to it I wouldn't have noticed. I did pick up a very mellow lime. It's not as strong as the traditional lime Gatorade but not as weak as the lime Rain version. When it was ice cold it was quite refreshing. Only when it got to room temp did I notice the lemon mostly because the level of tartness got stronger the warmer the drink got.

For day to day drinking I still prefer the original lime but this was a nice twist for a change.


Friday, August 8, 2008

Trader Joe's Kettle Corn

With the L.A. County Fair coming up in less then a month you would think I might be able to keep my kettle corn craving at bay
After all kettle corn is (as far as I am concerned) the single best fair food EVER!
There is just something so great about fresh hot corn, the sugar caramelizing from the heat. The salt on your fingers...mmmmmmmmmmm...

Ok, clearly I am a fan. And since I am also not a patient person when I saw the TJ's version on the shelf I had to give it a try.

Unfortunately, there is just no way to get some of my favorite parts of the kettle corn experience out of a ready made bag. You don't get to eat it warm and you can't ask them to go heavier on the salt or the sugar. And pre-made bagged popcorn always has a chewier, staler texture then fresh popped.

Even with all that being said TJ's did a pretty good job with they're version. One of the things I liked that they did is that some of the pieces (kernels) are salted, others are sugared and others are plain. I think that blending the flavors this way rather then trying to cram everything on to each kernel is what makes this version better then any of the other ready made kettle corns I have tried.

The corn is sweet- but it's not overwhelming or sticky like a Crunch N' Munch type corn (and trust me I LOVE Crunch N' Munch). It is salty but not excessively. I also give TJ's points for the corn only having four ingredients:
Popcorn, Salt, Sugar and Sunflower Oil. Let's face it kettle corn is not the best snack in the world for you but I like the fact that it is also not full of preservatives and additives.

Trader Joe's

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Drank Anti-Energy Drink

I think we have covered the fact that I am a life long insomniac before...
And if I didn't, well I am a life long insomniac. I have and will try just about anything in the name of getting some sleep. When I heard about Drank I figured it might be just up my alley.

Drank is the first "anti-energy" or "extreme relaxation drink" on the market. The drink features melatonin, rose hips and Valerian root. All three ingredients are known for they're various benefits involving relaxing and stuff. I stay "stuff" not because I doubt the benefits, but because I have been trying to write this review for a good 20 minutes- while drinking the product -and I am almost an hour into that) and I have to admit I actually am both relaxed and drowsy and I feel the need to note that I had been neither prior to drinking the Drank. It is also a good 4 hours before my normal bedtime. In the interest of fairness I am one of those people that react well and quickly to melatonin- if I use it once in a great while.

I actually ended up falling asleep- while writing- and I am doing something I don't normally have to do, which is finishing a review I started the day before. Before falling asleep I was extra mellow. I was so mellow I kinda felt like watching some Captyn Zodiak (oh how I miss NYC public access tv when I am not there)

The flavor by the way is a nice mellow grape. Sort of like grape soda only not as sweet and not as carbonated. I had no problem getting through the 16 oz can in no time. YUM! I liked this enough to want to keep some on hand at all times!

Sample From Company

Monday, August 4, 2008

Peanut Butter Newman-O's

If I ever met Nell Newman in person I am going to have to give her a huge hug.
So far I have loved all of the Newman's Own Organic products that I have tried- and the Peanut Butter Newman-O's are no exception. Actually they are my favorite so far.

We all know how I feel about Oreo's. While nothing will ever replace the happiness that a perfect Oreo dunked in milk brings me- BUT these Peanut Butter O's brings there own special kind of cookie happiness.

The chocolate wafer cookies not only look a lot like certain other cookies we could mention but the flavor is very close. The standout star of this cookie is the peanut butter filling. The filling looks and tastes like actual peanut butter! It's strong, smooth and just a little salty!
I know you may be wondering to yourself (or out loud if you are like me and talk to yourself) why I am surprised by that fact. I will tell you why. The problem with most sandwich cookies is that the filling is seldom more then vaguely flavored sugar. Oreo in fact did do a peanut butter creme version a few years back (check out The Impulse Buy's review HERE) but personally I did not like them because the filling reminded me of peanut flavored Crisco. And yes, in case you are wondering my way of eating this types of cookies is to pull the two halves apart and lick out the creme. For once I actually saved the cream rather then the cookies for last.


Sample From Company

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Starbucks Sorbetto- Tangy Tropical Mango

Sorbetto is a new drink that Starbucks is launching in select L.A.area stores.
Lucky me that I just happen to work near such a store!

The Sorbetto is a 10 oz. cold drink that is yogurt based and flavored with various fruits. According to Starbucks the drink was inspired by the drinks found in the cafe's of Italy. While I am full blooded Italian I have never actually been to Italy (sad I know) so may be i am missing something but I can't think of any yogurt based Italian drinks. I even came up dry over at Wikipedia! What the drink does remind me of is an Indian lassi. And I LOOOOOOVE me some lassi's!

The first thing you notice- besides the headscratching ode to Italy is that the drink is, relatively speaking tiny. At a mere 10 oz's for $2.95 I was starting to wonder if maybe I should have stuck with my normal quad-latte (I am hard core). Of course you knew I was not going to let the chance for a review pass so I ponied up.

The drink as it turns out was well worth skipping the coffee for. The yogurt- which is the very trendy Pinkberry is smooth and tart- but not face puckering tart. The mango which is swirled on top is great. It's sweet and they don't overload the drink with it. If your lucky enough to be near one of the stores carrying these drinks try them! They are surprisingly refreshing!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Walkers Shortbead Mincemeat Tarts with Glenfiddich Whiskey

Since the holidays are scarily enough just around the corner (as the Christmas decorations already on sale at my local Wal*Mart will attest) I thought I would get a jump on them with a review that kind of screams Thanksgiving to me...
C'mon I know it's not just me- mincemeat is such so Thanksgivingy (that's a word right?). I should be clear that I only like the all fruit version of mincemeat and not the version that actually contains meat- which I know has it's fans, I am just not one of them. Lucky for me this is a meat free version.

I am not sure why but I had thought that the tarts were going to be little tiny bite size tarts. To my happy surprise each tart is about the diameter of a cupcake- they are even in they're own little tins! (we all know I am a sucker for cute packaging)

There is also instantly no doubt that the tarts are in fact made with the Glenfiddich scotch- very generously at that. The first thing you smell is that lovely, lovely scotch. Just as smooth as Sean Connery in his Bond days.

The tart shell is made up of soft and flaky shortbread. The mincemeat is moist and juicy. These were just all around good. I would love to try these warm, maybe with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

Trader Joes Chocolate Croissants

Preheat the oven and grab your copy of Bridget Jones Diary!
I admit it I have read Bridget Jones Diary around 20 times. Each time I read it I find myself craving one of Bridget's favorite pastries- the chocolate croissant. When I saw the box of these at TJ's I could not resist getting them.

These croissants require a little more effort then most TJ's products. You have to allow the croissants to proof (rise) for about nine hours before baking. I set mine out last night and baked them while I watched some of the Shark Week programs saved on my DVR.

They only take about 20 minutes to bake and the pay off is that they smell fabulous. It took a lot of self restraint on my part to allow them to cool a bit before diving in. I did however eat mine still warm.

OH MY GOD! let me tell you how incredible these croissants are!
The pastry it's self is light and flaky and yet still buttery and rich. They literally melt in your mouth. Because I ate mine still warm the chocolate was melty and smooth. It's a semi-sweet chocolate and it was like biting into a lake of happiness. These are high end bakery quality good.

These get the elusive 11!
A must try!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Newman's Own Organic Soy Crisps- White Chedder

HMMMMM Cheddar...
You caught me. I WAS drooling like Homer Simpson. I can't help it, cheddar flavored anything tends to do that. I also happen to love soy crisps (what?!) I love the texture.

These Newman's Organics are no exception to the rules.
First I love the texture. Soy Crisps remind me a lot of rice cakes- only not as sterofoamy- and yes, I know I am nuts for saying this but I am one of those freaks that actually LIKES the texture of rice cakes (I was dropped on my head a lot as a baby). There are a lot of open spaces and little crannies that the powdered flavoring can set into.
The white cheddar flavoring here is in a powdery form but it is not too salty or over powering. If you have ever had bagged cheddar popcorn the flavor is like that- only good.

I liked these because they solved a few of my cravings at once, they were savory, crispy and salty. They are also gluten free. I myself have no problem with gluten- however my Nephew can't have it at all and I think he is going to love these snacks!

Sample From Company

Newman's Own Organic Hermits- Cinnamon

I thought I knew all the major types of hermits...

After all there are reclusive hermits like Obi-Wan Kenobi. Religious hermits such as monks and musical hermits like Herman's Hermits. I didn't know that there was such a thing as cookie hermits- or hermit cookies if you prefer- and dare I say I think I'm into something good! (a hermit for you if you got the reference)

The Newman's hermits are little square pillows of soft cookie bliss!
The hermit has a spicy molasses base to it- and I love molasses cookies (sadly, I think I am one of 5 people under 90 who feel that way). The cookies are studded with plump and juicy raisins and the whole thing is sprinkled with cinnamon and big sugar crystals. They are chewy and soft and just a little sticky- all the things I love about a good molasses cookie.

Did I mention that the vast bulk of the ingredients are certified organic?
Anyone who thinks that organic cookies can't taste good really needs to get a pack of these cookies because they WILL be converts after one bite. OUTSTANDING!

Sample From Company

Trader Joe's Espresso Chocolates

TJ's has redeemed themselves with this one!
This is one of those candies I am a bit late to on the review. Both Jim from Jim's Chocolate Mission (read his review HERE) and Cybele from Candy Blog (read her review HERE) I had been eyeing the candy on the TJ's shelf for a while now but for various reasons just never got around to buying. My last trip I had made a point of looking for them. I wanted a coffee/chocolate combo and I wanted something different then chocolate covered espresso beans (not that they aren't pretty spiffy themselves)
Would it be embarrassing to admit that I barely waited until I was at my car to open the box and have one?

Just like on the front of the box the candies themselves look like little logs- they even have the faux wood graining on the top. The first one that I ate I had whole allowing it to completely melt in my mouth. The dark chocolate of the outer shell is just this side of of semi-sweet, and works really well to contrast the bitter espresso. The espresso filling really is a completely liquid center and when the chocolate shell breaks down oozes out and is cool on the tongue. The espresso center it's self is not the strongest coffee flavor out there. But it does have a nice bitter edge to it and I give TJ's points for doing it "black" instead of the way most coffee fillings seems to go on the overly sweet and creamy side.

This is one of my favorite coffee chocolates yet!

Trader Joe's