Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jones Soda- Pear Tree Holiday 2008

And here I had told myself this would be the year I broke down and tried the Turkey and Gravy soda!
I actually had gone to Target (the exclusive dealers of this years batch of holiday soda) and they didn't have it- but they did have this years three offerings: Candy Cane (which I already tired), Pear Tree and Mele Kalikimaka.

The Pear Tree is where I have decided to start. Like all of the Jones soda line it is sweetened with pure cane sugar, so that's point 1 in Jones favor.

The neon green soda smells vaguely pear like.
Taste wise. It's like carbonated sugar that someone thought about pears while mixing. I couldn't get past the sweetness for more then a couple of sips. Yes, like I said there is something vaguely pear-like about it but mostly it is just sugar.

This would probably be good for hypering up any assorted carpet sharks- (I meant children) left in your care.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Taco Bell Fully Loaded Nachos

If you are anything like me at this point the thought of another bite of turkey leftovers is enough to send you riffling for something Else. and it is normally at that point for me that Taco Bell starts to sound pretty good.
Couple the fact that I am sick of turkey with the 900 commercials Taco Bell is running for the new Fully Loaded Nachos and I bet you know what I opted for.

According to the ad's and Taco Bell's website the nachos are topped with double the beef, guac, Fiesta salsa, sour cream, tortilla strips, nacho cheese, shredded cheese, beans and for just a little extra jalapenos if you desire. The whole thing is seated in a big taco shell and there is supposed to be topping in every bite.

I like Taco Bell nachos. They are just so bad they are good. The cheese is bright orange and way too salty, the meat is meat in the loosest sense of the word. The beans are the most plentiful of ingredients. And yet some how it all comes together.
The Fully Loaded nacho's are no exception to this- and I am a fan of the taco shell. It's just that for "fully loaded" the amount of topping is rather sparse. What's there is good but I think you get more bang for the buck with the Nacho's Bell Grande.

Hey at least it wasn't another piece of turkey!


Friday, November 28, 2008

Alta Dena Pumpkin Spice Egg Nog

Yeah, yeah I need an intervention, I know.
I would like to tell you that as I review this egg nog I am sitting by a roaring fire, nibbling on Thanksgiving leftovers (there are few left overs as good as chestnut stuffing!) there's a Bing Crosby movie on the tv and my cat is purring in my lap.

In reality it is actually the night before Thanksgiving, I have no fireplace, I am madly fantasising about chestnut stuffing, I am watching a South Park rerun ("Gnomes") and my cat is running around the apartment like he has a rocket up his butt.

So, while I may not have the picture postcard perfect version of lounging around after a holiday I DO have a pretty spiffy glass of egg nog.

What I really liked about the Pumpkin Spice egg nog is that while you can definitely tell there is pumpkin in the drink it is not so overwhelming that it is like drinking liquid pie. There is a warm spicy touch of cinnamon, cardamom and possibly even clove.
The texture is thick and creamy. It feels rich in your mouth without being heavy. I bet you could make fantastic ice cream out of this! I loved it just as much as the traditional Alta Dena egg nog!

Albertsons Supermarket

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gobble gobble to all of you out there!

I will be taking a break from reviews for the day to spend it with my family- after many hours of whining, begging and threats of putting him in a second rate nursing home, my Father agreed to make his chestnut stuffing (which I have not had in six years) so I will probably spend most of the day in a stuffing coma. I hope the rest of you have as great a day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pepperidge Farm Tim Tam Cookies

A few years ago my friend Bek made a visit from her home in Melbourne.
Amongst the gifts she had brought from home for her U.S. friends were a stash of Arnott's Tim Tams. It was then that I realized that Hugh Jackman may in fact be the second best gift Australia has given to the world.

Arnott's Tim Tam's (which can often be found at World Market- and easily, but not cheaply on-line) are a cookie comprised of two chocolate biscuits, a chocolate creme filling and then the whole thing is enrobed in a milk chocolate covering. There are some variations available and I am partial to the double coated ones myself. How would the Pepperidge Farm version stand up to the memory of the Arnott's?

Let's start with the outer layer of chocolate.
First, the layer is so thin that it immediately starts melting in your hand. The chocolate is real chocolate but it is on the low end side. It's smooth, but very sweet. If Pepperidge Farm had used the chocolate they use on the Milano's that would have been outstanding.

The biscuit layers are crunchy and have a satisfying flake to them. While they are chocolate colored, flavor wise they remind me of an old school Nabisco Cameo cookie. Which is to say that it is mostly vanilla flavor, but it is bland even by vanilla standards.

The creme.
Again, it's chocolate colored, but flavor wise about all I could come up with- and people I actually went through the trouble of scraping filling out and eating it on it's own (my inner Alton Brown again)- was that it tastes kind of, like oily butter.

All things considered it is not a bad cookie. It is a lame attempt at matching the greatness that is a proper Tim Tam, but again an OK cookie. If you have never had a real Tim Tam before get a hold of the Arnott's- you will thank me.

And just because it amuses me have a little Aussie eye candy as a parting gift:


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jack In The Box Egg Nog Shake

It may be time for an egg nog intervention
During the holiday season I consume more then my fair share.

I have to say I was really pleasantly surprised at how good this shake is. Jack shakes seem to be really good or really blah. The flavor on this one is a nice strong egg nog, lots of nutmeg, a little cardamon even. It's thick and creamy (thank you Jack for using real ice cream) and it doesn't have that chemical aftertaste that some egg nog flavored items can get.

Best Jack shake in a long time!

Jack In The Box

Monday, November 24, 2008

Harry & David Dark Chocolate Moose Munch Bar

A few weeks ago I tried the Milk Chocolate Moose Munch (read all about it HERE) and I liked it so much I wanted to try the dark chocolate version.
Just likes it's milk chocolate brother the dark chocolate Moose Munch is made up of a fudgy center, popcorn, caramel and nuts.

Just like with the first bar the popcorn was my favorite part. Why is there not more popcorn candy? there also seemed to be more nuts and filling in this version compared to the milk chocolate. The nuts were crunch and fresh. The caramel was less noticable in this bar then it was in the milk chocolate version. Sadly, the toffee bits were almost none existent in this bar.

The dark chocolate is just dark enough that it is not a milk. But even that said I prefered it to the milk. While I liked the milk chocolate in the other version it was on the sweet side, the dark chocolate takes the edge off of that.

Did I mention that there really needs to be more candy bars with popcorn in them?


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Starbucks Signature Hot Chocolate- Salted Caramel

Starbucks jumps on the salted caramel band wagon!
This is one of the new "Signature" line. It's hot chocolate made with milk. It has caramel added and is topped with a mix of sea salt and Turbinado sugar. Blah, blah, blah what does it taste like?

Smokey is about the best overall description I could come up with. The chocolate it's self is the the classic Starbucks hot chocolate. The caramel does seem to be a little too strong- sadly that as a rule is my biggest complaint with Starbucks and any of they're caramel drinks is that they tend to go overboard with it. I am all for caramel- I just don't want to feel like I am drowning in it. The salt is there almost as an after thought during the drink- but the salt/sugar mix that they sprinkle on the top of the whipped cream is hands down the best part! I wouldn't mind using that on ice cream!

All in all, I have to say that I actually preferred the regular hot chocolate to this version but I did love that topping!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Trader Joe's Chocolate Souffle

I went to Trader Joe's looking for the Peppermint Joe Joe's
Sadly, my TJ's was sold out (but they did tell me if I am patient they are getting in some that are chocolate covered!) but no trip to Trader Joe's is a bad trip and in the frozen section they had heat and eat chocolate souffle's- and they are even in little ceramic ramekins!

Who doesn't love souffle? I do, but I admit I have never made myself one. I love to order them when I eat it.

The TJ's souffle, much like the chocolate croissants as the souffles are baking they fill the kitchen (or in the case of my relatively small apartment, the entire apartment) with the smell of delicious chocolate melting to perfection.

The souffles raised perfectly. The texture was light and airy. The flavor is a deep rich cocoa. There is so much chocolate flavor here it is insane! I sincerely doubt that it would be possible to make a better souffle this easily.

If you want an indulgent treat for yourself or need a dessert that looks like you slaved over it get a box of these!

Trader Joe's

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dean's French Onion Dip

I don't eat dip all that often...
No real reason. Mostly it is because I just never think to get it. Every once and awhile though I get an obscenely powerful craving for onion dip. The rules for comsumption of said dip are the following:
1. The dip must be very cold
2. The only acceptable dippers are Lay's Potato Chips, Spicy Nacho Dorito's or celery (yeah, I am not sure how that snuck in either).
I prefer homemade (and by "homemade" I pretty much mean from the packet mized with sour cream) but today I went for ready made.

I seemed to recall liking the Dean's brand in the past so that is what I picked up today.

First off, the texture. While it is creamy and smooth it is weirdly thick. Sort of like a cross between sour cream and whipped cream cheese.
The onion flavor is an overly fake carmelized onion flavor. and the rest is just sour cream (weirdly thick sour cream). It's not bad, it's just not memorable in any way.

I think I am going to have to keep searching for a new onion dip.

Albertsons Supermarket

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fry's Turkish Delight

This is another review I have to give Jim over at Jim's Chocolate Mission a shout out for.
Jim reviewed this bar a few months ago (check it out HERE) and it just looked and sounded like something I had to try.

I admit, at first I had to do a Google search to find out exactly what Turkish Delight is- and for those of you that don't know it's a candy made of sugar and starch (sort of like Boton Rice Candy)and it is often flavored with things like Rose Water, lemon or even mint and nuts.

Fry's Turkish Delight is a Turkish Delight center that's enrobed in a thin layer of milk chocolate.

Once you open the bar give it a good sniff, it has the faint scent of rose water. The chocolate is very sweet, slightly gritty and it melted at a strangely fast rate (or maybe I am just so hot that I melt things instantly!).
This bar is not about the chocolate, it's about the filling. The Turkish Delight texture wise is- depending on your point of view- either a very firm jelly or a very soft gummi. I want to say it was sticky, but that's not really the right word. It was more like tacky. I LOVED the flavor! it was a soft rose water with a hint of lemon and a sweet finish. It almost reminded me of a solid form of Persian Ice Cream. I did something I don't often do with this bar- I finished it in one sitting!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Haagen-Daazs- Peppermint Bark

Woohoo Peppermint ice cream!
Yes, just like I get excited by the first egg nog of the year, the first chestnuts. The first peppermint ice cream gets me all happy too.

The Peppermint Bark ice cream is a white chocolate base with with pieces of peppermint bark and peppermint candies.

The white chocolate ice cream is sweet and rich. I couldn't really pick up any white chocolate but there is a vague malty quality to it. The peppermint bark was great it was a nice bitter dark chocolate that was infused with peppermint. And lets for forget the small but still crunchy pieces of mint. This remind me of a frozen Peppermint Patty!

I admit I could have easily eaten half a pint in one sitting if I didn't practice self control.

Albertsons Supermarket

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Frey Hot Chilli Pepper Bar

Yay! another chocolate/chili bar!
Once again I am dipping into my stash and today I dug out the Hot Chilli Frey bar. Much like with the New Tree bars I have been a fan of all the Frey bars I have tried- and I love the chocolate/chilli combo.

This bar is a 55% dark chocolate.
When you sniff the bar there is no mistaking that there is chilli in the bar-it's almost a Jalapeno like smell. The interesting thing with the flavor is that while you do taste a mild chilli flavor- and that flavor is like biting into an actual chilli pepper rather then say, powered chilli. You get the heat of the chilli without a really intense pepper flavor. I am one of those chilli heads who LOVES the burn. There are little pieces of chilli pepper through out the bar.

The chocolate is nice. Not too intense or bitter. It has a coffee type quality to it. Great snap. On it's own it might have been a little boring but pair with the chilli it was a nice combination.

All in all I liked the bar. It is defintly the kind of bar you nibble on here and rather then a bar you eat in one sitting, but it is good. I would love to see the chilli paired with a deep milk chocolate. I think the sweet and the heat together would be killer.


Monday, November 17, 2008

New Tree Renew Bar

In the sprite of renewing I have been trying to work through my review stash (which is really just an excuse to buy more candy)
I decided today's stash buster (can you tell I am also a knitter?) is New Tree's Renew bar. I have loved all of the previous New Tree bar's I have tried and I don't think this is going to be the exception.

The Renew bar is a dark chocolate bar with black currants.
As soon as you open the Mylar wrapper you immediately get hit with the smell of the currants. It is sort of a cross between raspberries, grapes and cherries. The dark chocolate adds a woodsy note.

The bar breaks with a satisfying snap (I do love that sound) and when you put it on your tongue the first thing you taste is the bitterness of the chocolate (which you should expect because it's a minimum 73% chocolate). There is almost a burnt coffee, earthy quality to the chocolate. Because it is such a deep dark there is not much of a melt. The black currant reminded me of a cross between raspberries and cherries. I liked it because it was sweet enough to stand up to dark chocolate but not so tart that between it and the chocolate you found yourself puckered up like you had just sucked on an entire bag of Lemon heads.

If you are into dark, earthy and slightly bitter this is the bar for you.

Zabars NYC

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Vosges Organic Peanut Butter Bonbon Bar

In my past reviews of Vosges chocolates I think I have made it pretty clear that they are beyond amazing. I have given you many examples of how good they are in relation to hot men. The last place we left off was a "Naked Stephen Colbert Accepts My Proposal" good. How do I possibly top that? There are ways my friends and if I went into them this would no longer be a PG-13 rated blog!

Moving on... As much as I have professed my love for Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Cups as being the single best peanut butter chocolate on the planet this bar is about a bizillion times better.

Ok, picture a deep milk chocolate, still creamy and rich in dairy but not too sweet with a nice satisfying snap. Then fill that chocolate with a peanut butter that is rich with roasted goodness and just gritty enough that it is like the peanut butter is roughly ground. But wait for it- here comes the best part- the whole thing is sprinkled with salt!! Yes, glorious, wonderful salt!
The salt set's all the other flavors off. Now, don't be worried there is not so much salt that you wonder where the chocolate or the peanut butter is.

AND the whole thing is organic!
I am in love!

Once again just a reminder that the kind folks over at Vosges would like to give you a chance to taste them as well.
Just in time for the holidays they are offering my dear readers 10% off of all purchases made on they're website Vosges Chocolates.Com simply add in code 2810WB1 and you are on your way to some amazing treats (check out that site, you could have all of your holiday shopping done before Thanksgiving!)

Sample From Company

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Choxie Milk Chocolate Cherry Vanilla Waffle Cone Truffle Bar

Seriously, is that name long enough?
Long name aside I couldn't resist this bar when I saw it. I love all of those things. I was looking forward to the waffle cone pieces the most.

The bar is a white chocolate truffle center that is flavored with vanilla. There are small pieces of cherry, somewhere in all that are little teeny, tiny pieces of waffle cone and the whole thing is covered in creamy milk chocolate.

It reminded me a lot of a solid version of Cherry Vanilla ice cream. The vanilla is very subtle. The cherry pieces are sweet and the flavor lingers through the bar even if you don't actually get a piece in each bite. While you can (kinda) tell that the waffle pieces are there because all of a sudden you will get a random crunch, sadly there is no real flavor. The chocolate the enrobes the bar is sweet and you can taste the dairy notes.

I really liked this bar. The only thing I wish they had done is gone for more of a Kit-Kat effect with the waffles.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Nestle Toll House Fudgy Brownies with Peanut Butter Filling

Could it really be so easy to get hot and fudgy peanut butter brownies by just opening the package and heating the oven?
Well, yes it kind of is.
The brownies are indeed fudgy and soft. There are melty chocolate chips on the top -I am pretty sure they are milk chocolate, but to be honest because of the strong flavor of the brownie it's self I couldn't tell.

Texture wise the brownies are dense and fudgy. Personally, I prefer my brownies to be on the thicker more cake like side, but these brownies are still really moist.

The best part hands down is the peanut butter. It's a thin layer that hides just before the flaky top crust. It's not too strong or sweet- it adds the perfect amount of peanut butter flavor.

For basically "instant" brownies these are pretty good!

Albertsons Supermarket

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rice Krispies Treats- Strawberry

Is it me or was strawberry flavoring every where this year?
I am torn as to if that is a good thing or not. I love REAL strawberries, artificial strawberry flavor... not so much.

I am however hopelessly in love with Rice Krispies Treats (why did they have to stop making the cereal?!). I first saw the Strawberry Treats back in the early summer. I will be honest I could not bring myself to buy a whole big box because I just don't see myself going back for more then one. Today however, I came across a single serving back and here we are.

The RKT it's self looks like a normal RKT- if it had Chicken Pox. There are lots of little "strawberry" bits sprinkled through out. In further bad news the Treat smells like a big bottle of children's vitamins. Do I really want to try this? well I have had worse things in my mouth...

The taste.
Eh, if you ever felt the need to crush up a bunch of Flintstones vitamins and mix them into a batch of RKT this is exactly what it tastes like. What's scarier is that really is not as bad as it sounds. In the same way after eating way too many of them Strawberry Pocky started to taste good the same thing happened here.

I still don't see myself ever buying a large box of these but I could see picking a single one up on occasion.

Jay's Shell Station Monrovia, Ca

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Oreo Old Fashioned Candy Cane - Limited Edition

Yes, let me just admit right now that I did give out an obscenely loud squeal right there in the middle of Walmart*
Who even knew that there was a candy cane Oreo coming out this year! (and if you did know why did you not tell me?!)

Much like the other limited edition Oreo's the cookie is the classic cookie. I am not even going to go into that. They are of course fab and we all know it.

The limited editions are all about the cream. These have the same amount of filling as a double stuff- personally I think it is a bit much (I am all about the cookie) but the cream is cool and just a little grainy. The smell of the mint is stronger then the mint flavor it's self. I was worried that it might be medicinal but it is pretty close to an actual candy cane style mint.

I tried it out "pure" (right out of the bag) and dunked in milk (purely, for scientific purposes of course) and while I liked it both ways I give the edge to the cookies dipped in milk.

I wonder if I leave these for Santa if he will bring me a Disneyland Annual Passport?


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hershey's Special Dark Strawberry Kisses

I am not sure if this is a relaunch of an older Kiss variety or if my local market was just trying to get rid of extra inventory...
But one way or the other my local Albertson's has a huge bin of these. I had never heard of them but some Googling found me that Candy Addict had reviewed them waaay back in 2006! (read that review HERE).

The strawberry smell is so strong that you can get a good whiff of it before you even open the package! I am starting to understand why these might have been in a big old bin. When you do open the package it is like someone lit a strawberry candle- I imagine it would be a big heart shaped strawberry scented candle. The kind 12 year old girls lit nightly on their shrine to Zac Efron anyway...

Once I worked past the smell and actually got to a piece of candy I was pleased to find that the strawberry flavor was actually much more stubtle then the overwelming aroma would have you expect. While it is an improvement from what I was expecting (I guess) it still tasted like a heart shaped, strawberry scented, Zac Efron shrine candle that melted into a random batch of Hershey's chocolate. Oh and BTW the aftertaste is from hell.

I normally like Hershey's Special dark chocolate but I just couldn't enjoy it with the strawberry. If you missed these kisses the first time around consider yourself lucky. If you see that big old bin at the store that I told you about- well my friends there is a reason they are in a big old bin!

Albertsons Supermarket

Monday, November 10, 2008

Stouffers French Bread Pizza- Pepperoni

I think we all know I have a somewhat unnatural love of frozen pizza
One of my first loves was and still is Stouffer's French Bread pizza.

I just love the thick chewy bread. The sauce is just a little sweet and you can almost taste the oregano. It's funny, while I hate this sauce on pasta I like it on the pizza. The cheese is stringy and zesty. And perhaps the best part- the pepperoni actually looks and tastes like real pepperoni! (seriously, what is it with scary frozen pizza pepperoni?)

I think this will always be my bench mark for frozen french bread pizza.

Albertsons Supermarket

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Otis Spunkmeyer Mini Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

As far as I am concerned anything that makes chocolate for breakfast acceptable can't be all bad.
The Otis Spunkmeyer mini muffin has a small fudgy dome dotted with equally mini chocolate chips. It's more of a cocoa taste then a real chocolate flavor but it is pleasant. The texture is soft and a little spongy- but oddly enough at the same time the muffins are a little too oily to have a decent crumb to them.

The chocolate chips are soft- not melty soft, just soft. Even at that they are pretty good.

I have to give points to Otis because these seem vastly better then they did the last time I tried them a few years ago. Honestly, there is nothing special about these muffins but for a fast snack they are not bad.

Vons Supermarket

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Bertolli Shrimp Scampi & Linguini

Is there ever a bad time to have shrimp scampi?
No, I am pretty sure the answer to that is no- but some times you want scampi and you don't have a whole lot of time. Enter Bertolli Classic Dinner Shrimp Scampi with Linguini. Everything you need for dinner is in the bag and it can be on your table in 10 minutes.

The pasta is done in a creamy garlic sauce and features slices of bell pepper, large pieces of garlic and of course shrimp. The pasta is done perfectly- nice and al dente, for frozen pasta quite impressive.

The sauce. Surprisingly strong on the garlic (which I consider to be a very good thing) creamy, but not cloying or "cheesy" my only complaint with the sauce is that the pepper is the strongest flavor. It's not necessarily a bad thing- it is just not my favorite.

The shrimp are top notch, yes they are frozen (well duh) but they are plump and sweet and again happily are perfectly cooked.

All in all for a heat and eat dinner with shrimp it is hard to get much better then this. Paired with a loaf of crusty bread and a salad this made for an easy and tasty dinner.

Sample From Company

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hershey's Bliss- Creme De Menthe

When I read that there was going to be a mint version out for the holidays I had to hunt them down.
Since I had zero luck finding the Caramel Apple Kisses I was worried that the Mint Bliss was going to be the same thing. Luckily for me right there in the center of all of the Xmas candy was a big stash o' Bliss!

Would it be terribly embarrassing to admit that I actually had to restrain myself to get dinner started cooking before I tore into the bag?

Again, I am admittedly not often kind to Hershey's or to the Bliss line (although I did really like the Raspberry Bliss) so it probably sounds strange that I am so excited about these. That my friends should tell you how much I love mint.

Enough build up, how are they?
When you open the bag there is a wonderfully intense mint aroma- that part is good... Sadly it is down hill from here.
When you unwrap the actually candy the first thing you smell is sugary chocolate. And yes, the chocolate is indeed VERY, VERY sweet. There is a strong dairy taste to it and it has a smooth, cool feel on the tongue. It's not bad, it's just mediocre.
The mint is on the toothpasty side, wait that is actually being too kind. It's more like Mylenta.

Sadly, as far as I am concerned these can stay with the rest of the Bliss line (minus the Raspberry). Great idea though!
Albertsons Supermarket

Vosges Bombalinas- Naga Mango

I still remember the very first time I had a mango...
It was a magical time, coffee houses were all the rage. Bands had cool names like Toad & The Wet Sprocket or Hootie & The Blowfish. Al Gore had just invented the Internet and waaay back in the day said Internet use came with a per minute charge (you don't even want to know how much our AOL bill was!)- oh yeah 56K was lighting fast!

It was on a warm summer night. My best friend and I were huddled around a CRT monitor debating the merits of Classic Trek vs. TNG with other nerds from all over the world (the sad part is I did not make that up for literary purposes). Anyway, said best friend is from St. Croix and he had just purchased a flat of mango's (he BTW, is one of those talented people who can reach into a huge pile of mango's and pull out a perfectly ripe one seemingly at random every time) and while we were in a heated battle over who was the better Captian Kirk or Picard (shyeah, as if anyone could top Kirk!) we dug into the box of mango's with abandon. Since that night I have come to love mango's almost as much as I love Trek.

When I saw the little boxes of the Naga Mango Bombalinas tucked into the package Vosges sent me I squealed like a Ferengi who just found a bar of latinum.

The candies are strips or pieces of dried mango covered in dark chocolate and dusted with sweet curry. OMG! again, there are times when some candies are just too good to properly explain.

First the dark chocolate is a 62% dark chocolate. It has deep woodsy notes, it's a little bitter but that pairs incredibly well with the curry and the mango. The mango is just thick enough to be chewy without being tough (like a good fruit leather) It's sweet and that sweetness balances out the bitterness of the chocolate. The curry is the most interesting part. Unless you are a big curry head you might not be able to quite place what the flavor is because it is subtle, just a little firey (well maybe "warm" would be a better description) I could be imagining it but it comes off a little peppery to me. I just love everything about it. All three flavors work together as well as Kirk, Spock and Bones!

Oh, and being the good friend I am I shared my stash with my best friend- who proceeded to help me finish the box in one sitting... I think he liked it too!

Once again just a reminder that the kind folks over at Vosges would like to give you a chance to taste them as well.
Just in time for the holidays they are offering my dear readers 10% off of all purchases made on they're website Vosges Chocolates.Com simply add in code 2810WB1 and you are on your way to some amazing treats (check out that site, you could have all of your holiday shopping done before Thanksgiving!)

Sample From Company

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Jack In The Box Steak Teriyaki Bowl

So here it was after 11:00 PM at night and all of a sudden I have a major craving for teriyaki...
Now sadly, even here in the wonderful, magical land of Southern California heeding the call of random food cravings at late hours can be hard to fill. What I really wanted was a local chain of Teriyaki bowl places all breast meat bowl but they closed at 10:00. I had however, remembered that Jack In The Box had just brought they're Teriyaki bowls back- and conviently enough my local Jack is open until 2:00 AM so off to the drive-thru I went.

I opted for the steak bowl. Say something nice... well there certainly was a lot of broccoli!
The rice... oh dear, the rice was watery and bland even for fast food. The steak strips were lean and certainly resembled steak. Flavorwise it tasted slightly better then most heat and eat version of steak. It's lean, tender and vaguely beef flavored. The teriyaki sauce was salty and vaguely teriyaki.

I guess "vague" is the best way to describe this. It's kinda of like steak, kinda like teriyaki and definatly avoidable.

I will say the flavor does improve just a little if you let the bowl set for a bit. Yeah, I should have gotten a Sourdough Jack.

Jack In The Box

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chocolove Orange Peel in Dark Chocolate Bar

Again, do I really need to repeat my love of chocolate and orange paired together?
Yes, I am sure we would all like to skip my gushing, so let's just talk about the Chocolove pair.

The Chocolove Orange Peel bar is a 55% dark chocolate and just like you may have guessed from the name it does indeed have pieces of orange peel sprinkled throughout. Actually sprinkled doesn't describe it good enough- there is no mistaking or missing the orange peel. The peels are candied and manage to be both soft and crispy at the same time which makes for a really wonderful texture. The peels give a very naturally sweet taste that lingers even after the candy is gone.

The chocolate while not the darkest of dark's does stay to the side of bitter- which pairs with the orange like Bert with Ernie. It is just creamy enough that there is a nice melt.

This was a really nice bar. I got this one at Target and if you find yourself wondering the aisles there you should pick one up! (and you know if you got an extra one for me...)


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vosges Caramel Marshmallows

Ok let's just read the ingredient list shall we?
Marshmallows made with bourbon vanilla beans, sweet sugar caramel, French guerande grey sea salt, dark chocolate and pecan & walnut toffee. Yeah, as if there is any chance that this is going to be anything less then amazing?

Let's put it this way. If some things are so good they are like "Clive Owen naked good" and other products are even better so they are like "Stephen Colbert accepting my marriage proposal" good what do you call something that tops even that?

How about "A naked Stephen Colbert accepts my proposal while laying on a bearskin rug in front of a fire" good:
Yeah, these are THAT good.

The marshmallow it's self is soft and fluffy. You can see the specks of vanilla bean in there. The sharp tang of the sea salt mixing into the the smooth creamy caramel- must I tell you again how much I love salt and caramel together? The crunch of the sweet toffee against the slightly bitter, woodsy chocolate. Seriously, this is one of the best things ever to be put in my mouth.

The kind folks over at Vosges would like to give you a chance to taste them as well.
Just in time for the holidays they are offering my dear readers 10% off of all purchases made on they're website Vosges Chocolates.Com simply add in code 2810WB1 and you are on your way to some amazing treats (check out that site, you could have all of your holiday shopping done before Thanksgiving!)

Now, if you will excuse me Stephen and I have a few more marshmallows to finish (ok by "Stephen and I" I really mean ME!- I love him but I AM NOT SHARING!)

Sample From Company

Perugina Chocolate Covered Cherries

I have a system for eating chocolate covered cherries.
I like to bite off the bottom of the base of the candy and "drink" out the filling (I prefer the liquid filled to the creme filled cherries).

The Perugina version is a creme filled one, enrobed in dark chocolate.

The bottom of the one I tried was a little sticky-as if some of the creme had oozed out at some point and the chocolate smelled sweet. Biting into the cherry the base came off cleanly and it was sweet- it's was diabetes in a chocolate dome sweet.
The "creme" center was pretty much pure sugar mixed with cough syrup as best I could tell. And not good cough syrup!- no, it was like cheap discount, no name cough syrup.

The chocolate sadly, was also entirely too sweet. There was was good thing about this candy and that was the cherry it's self. Somehow it managed to be the only part of the candy that wasn't drowning in sugar. It was large and plump and had the rest of the candy been better it would have been outstanding.

Personally, I think I am going to stick to Cella's version.

Claro's Italian Market

Monday, November 3, 2008

Alta Dena Holiday Egg Nog

Woo Hoo! the first egg nog of the year!
Yes, Gigi loves her some egg nog (and talking about herself in the third person!). My normal egg nog of choice in recent years has become Lactaid's version- but as much as I like that there really is no substitute for egg nog made with real dairy.

I know I have had Alta Dena's version in the past but it has been at least 5 years and even if it hadn't been that long- it's the first egg nog of the year! (clearly I need an egg nog intervention)

So how was it?
Very, very thick! I had forgotten how thick a good dairy egg nog could be. There is something really satisfying about the heavy, creamy mouth feel. Since the Alta Dena version has both milk and cream in it, that probably is it's own answer.

There is nice hearty nutmeg flavor with a nice cinnamon edge. There is even a pinch of ginger that adds just a little heat.

Just yum! this gets an 11!!
It's thick, rich, perfectly spiced. It's like Christmas in a cup.

Albertsons Supermarket

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trader Joe's Lumpy Bumpy Bar

I hope this bar didn't get it's name because it makes you lumpy and bumpy if you eat to many of them!
And after tasting the bar I don't think I am going to have an issue with that.

The Lumpy Bumpy bar is exactly that a lumpy bar of nougat, peanuts and caramel that it wrapped in dark chocolate. Hm sounds like a TJ's version of a Snicker's bar to me. And since 99% of all TJ's candy is out of this world you would think that would have been a good thing. But alas...

The big problem is the nougat beyond being tooth achingly sweet it has no flavor what-so ever texture wise it's almost powdery it's so dry. Assuming you made it though the nougat there are nice large whole or half peanuts, which would be good except they seem unsalted (y'all know me and my love of salty caramel) and on the stale side. The chocolate is just sad- and since it uses real vanilla I had a little more hope for it. But no... I don't even want to talk about the caramel.

Since Trader Joe's so rarely strikes out this badly I am willing to let this one slide (and I am sure they are breathing a sigh of relief) but seriously this was just sad.

Trader Joe's

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cocoa Pete's Caramel Knowledge

It's candy! It's innuendo! it's coffee!
Need I say more?
Oh, yeah you might want to know how it tastes...

The outer shell is a surprisingly thick decadent dark chocolate. It's a 61% cacao chocolate. It's woodsy and has a great snap to it. It is also just sweet enough that it doesn't have that overwhelming bitterness some dark chocolates can have. The chocolate on it's own is pretty darn good.

The center is a coffee, caramel ganache-like filling. The caramel is not sticky or gooey. It's almost fudgy in it's texture. According to the box there is real Italian coffee in there. While you can certainly taste the coffee I hate to say it but the filling tastes more like sour milk then coffee and caramel.

If these had been a simple caramel filling or even better a salted caramel with this chocolate it would have been excellent. As it is now... Hey did I mention the chocolate was good?

Longs Drug