Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sasquatch Jerky

Alright, guys, remember how I said that I may end up coming up with weird reviews out of desperation? Little did I know just how weird things were going to get...

First, I am not sure who I am madder at -- my step-cousin in-law -- and no, I did not make that title up. Big Chris is my Mother's husband's sister's husband's, daughter from his first marriage's husband... Don't you love 21st century family trees? Yes, I know we are not actually related, but I really like him and Sumer (his wife -- technically, my Mother's husband's sister's husband's daughter from his first marriage) and I haven't had the chance to see them in years since they moved from Georgia to Washington... anyway, where was I?

Oh, yeah. Was I madder at Big Chris for deciding to:
A) Have a family reunion (with family members who he is related to, but I am not) out in the campgrounds of Idaho; or
B) Inviting me to said reunion where I am not really related to anyone, and would be a good 100 miles away from the nearest Starbucks.
OR am I madder at my Chris for deciding that this was the perfect opportunity to shed himself of his New York City roots by sleeping on the ground with dirt and bugs and possibly snakes... (I am not bitter!) ...NOOOO! Big Chris just had to fill my Chris's head with how MAGNIFICENT the campground would be, how they could go fishing EVERY DAY, how life just DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS! Yeah, thanks, Big Chris, you are going to have to work hard to make this up to me.

Clearly by now you may have gotten the point that, in my mind, any vacation where I not only don't have access to a Starbucks, but also have to be without the Internet, air conditioning and indoor plumbing, is NOT a vacation to me. You may also be wondering how I got said Internet back to write this review so soon (and it may help if I actually get to the review at some point). The short answer to both is because after one night, me and the rest of the clan beat feet out of there. We beat BIG feet, more accurately. I apologize that this going to be longer than most of my reviews, but it is quite a story.

After flying up to Spokane where Big Chris and family live, we were carpooling with them in their family truckster to the campsite in Idaho. On the way to the campsite, Little Chris (we have a lot of Chris's in this family -- and that would be Big Chris's son, if you care) let it slip that this was the family's first camping trip EVER! -- a fact they all hid from me. Not only was I going into the woods, I was going as part of a group whose only wilderness experience consisted of visiting Camp Snoopy at Knott's Berry Farm and watching "Survivorman." I figured I was probably going to die, possibly by being attacked by squirrels.

Driving into the Buckles Mountain Idaho Campgrounds, we made a stop at the lone General store. When I say General Store, I mean that was actually the name of it. It was like one of those places in horror movies that the stupid teenagers stop at to buy beer and supplies that will prove useless before they are hacked off, one by one, by the insane masked killer that lives in the woods. I might have made the mistake of saying this out loud in the store, and I might have gotten the 900 year old, toothless, one eyed owner pissed at me. Oh yeah, and I might have gotten the kids scared out of their trusting little minds (and yes, they do for some reason regard me as an adult). By the time we made our way to the counter (oddly enough, with supplies that, had a crazy masked killer been in the woods, WOULD in fact be proven useless -- unless the killer had a thing for Korn Nuts). There on the counter was a small, crudely made wooden rack with packets of dried meat labeled "Sasquatch Jerky." Since I already had such a great rapport with the 900 year old, toothless, one-eyed shopkeep, I felt the need to laugh and ask him what it was really made of. Oddly enough, he was NOT a very humorous man, and rather sarcastically asked me if I had ever bothered to learn to read. It's pretty bad when a 900 year old, toothless, one-eyed man living just to the east of the middle of nowhere is calling YOUR mental capacities into question. Again I laughed and said "no, really?" -- at this point, Big Chris was worried we would be kicked out of the store before he got to buy his damn Korn Nuts, and was trying to get me to shut up. The guy just ran off on a rather "colorful" rant about how the something-that-rhymes-with-ducking weekend warriors had no idea what was out in the woods; then something about thinning out the numbers, and that we'd be lucky if we made it out alive. I figured at this point I should probably just buy the jerky -- and hope that it wasn't Soylent Jerky, and get the hell out. Once back in the car, Big Chris practically caressed his bag of Korn Nuts in a way that is not quite natural.

We got to the campground around three, and thanks to Teddy Bear Grylls and company, it only took until seven to set up the "easy to assemble" tents. We had a MAGNIFICENT dinner of canned tuna (so much for that fishing EVERY DAY bit) but we did get to roast marshmallows, so that shut me up for a good five minutes. I never knew how dark it could really get, and by the time I finally climbed into my hopefully snake-free Hannah Montana slumber bag (did I mention that Big Chris said he would also provide all the equipment?) you could barely see two feet in front of your face. I also never noticed how loud the middle of nowhere can be. I don't care what anyone says -- the sounds of nature are NOT relaxing. With every snap, chirp and snore from Chris, I was sure the bears were coming to get me. I couldn't sleep and I was scared, and being scared makes me hungry -- even after about 100 burnt marshmallows. Anything good was across the little tent "city" we put up, and I sure as hell was NOT going out there alone. I DID have the "Sasquatch" jerky, though. So, FINALLY, the review!! ( I told you there would be a review in here somewhere)

The meat was your average jerky-sized strips -- but they seemed a little thicker then normal beef jerky. They smelled peppery, but not exactly like any meat I had ever eaten. It wasn't a bad smell, just different.
It was surprisingly tender, kind of like if you made jerky from filet mignon. There was almost a butteriness to it. If I had to compare it to another type of meat, it was like mixing buffalo with bacon. Smokey but not salty. Beef-like, but not quite. Whatever it was made out of, it was pretty good -- again, here's to hoping it was not made out of the last sarcastic chick who stopped at that store. I ate the whole bag. I was going to stop at the store on the way out and get more! This is where the review should have ended, but what happens next is more unbelievable than me actually sleeping outside.

There is no nice way to say this, but a couple hours later the bag of jerky and the 100 marshmallows caught up with me. Like it or not, I had to make my way out to nature's litter box. I will skip the details of that, but I got the job done and was walking back to the tent. As I saw the tent only steps in front of me, I was mentally patting myself on the back for not getting abducted by aliens, eaten by bears, bitten by snakes or chopped up by scary masked killers living in the woods. Right before I was about to open the tent, all the chirping, hooting and other woods sounds just stopped. Pun intended -- there was dead silence, minus some rapid snapping like something was heading right for the camp from the direction I had just come from. All of a sudden, the night was filled with the loudest sound I have ever heard. It wasn't exactly an animal growl, but it wasn't a human voice either. It was deep, and vibrated through my bones. I jumped in the tent, secure in the knowledge that I was probably going to be eaten by god knows what. I couldn't help it -- I screamed my head off in fear -- but at least I wasn't alone. By this time, all the extended family members were in their tents screaming in fear, too. The growls got louder and closer, and it became clear that whatever it was, it was running through our camp! I decided I wanted to see whatever it was that was going to attack me (WHY I did that I am still not sure -- probably the same reason why I have to watch when I get a shot). I opened the tent flap just wide enough to see out of. Then, without warning, there was the blast of a very near shotgun! All I saw next was a very large, very hairy set of legs that were attached to the now-angrier (if that was even possible) growling thing -- picture a larger, inbred cousin of a Wookie -- and it was being chased by none other than the 900 year old, toothless, one eyed shopkeeper! For an old guy, he sure could run! (He didn't seem too concerned about firing that shotgun around so many people,either.) I would like to tell you that as a group we all decided to join the guy in his chase; but instead, as soon as they were out of our circle and back into the woods, the heart-stopping growl and the shotgun blasts getting further from us by the second, we grabbed as much as we could from the tents and got the hell out of there.

Not until we were all safely back on the highway, still shaking from what we saw, did any of us start to breath again. In the hurry to get out of there, we left more behind then we should have -- sadly, my empty Sasquatch Jerky package included. I may have been being a "jerk" about what that jerky was really made of when I first bought it, but after that night I am convinced it was the real thing.

Even now, safely sitting in Big Chris's living room in Spokane, I am shaking with fear and exhilaration all over again, having relived that night to tell all of you about it. If you don't mind excusing me, I will be off now to change my pants and to write this all out in an email to Ian Punnett.

Sasquatch Jerky brought to you by the very non-jerky guys at Jerky.Com

Monday, March 30, 2009

Update on Updates

I just wanted to give you guys a little heads-up that reviews for the next few days may be kind of sparse. The significant other (Chris) has decided that he wants to shed his New York City slicker roots and try "roughing it" at a family reunion camp-out in rural Idaho... lucky me.

So barring getting eaten by bears (it's always bear season, right?) or other wild creatures, hopefully I might find something interesting to review out in the middle of nowhere. All I am saying is after a few days I get desperate to review something, anything, so don't be surprised if you see mystery pickled egg reviews or whatever else I can scrounge up.

Albertson's Buttermilk Pancakes

I really like pancakes. I know I should try to make my own from scratch because I am sure they would worlds better then anything I could buy boxed or frozen-
But the thing is my pancake craving NEVER comes at a convenient time. I can go months without even thinking about them and since I don't eat breakfast on a daily basis I never think to keep the ingredients on-hand. Conversely, I really don't like the box versions. I am not sure what it is that I don't like about it I just know I don't like it. Really what this leaves are two options: go out for pancakes or eat the frozen kind.

Now, having had pancakes from one end of the country to the other and having had them homemade, from greasy spoons and from higher end places my all-time favorite pancake is still the old school McDonald's pancakes from back when they still made the batter in-store- sadly they stopped doing that in the mid-nineties. At any rate I hold the memory of those pancakes as my benchmark.

Because they were on sale at a ridiculously low price I decided to try the Albertson's store version rather then a name brand.

The pancakes themselves are portioned well, about the size of a saucer and thick enough to be fluffy but not so thick that they get gummy in the center. The recommended cooking time in the microwave (because I was feeling ultra-lazy) is 1 minute 10 seconds for three pancakes. Following the cooking time the pancakes came out hot and soft and managed to avoid turning into rocks (as microwaved pancakes can all to easily do) The texture was actually perfect- especially for frozen.
Flavor wise, they actually reminded me more of cheap frozen waffles then buttermilk pancakes. There's no real depth of flavor- but c'mon lets be fair we are talking about frozen pancakes. There's not really a trace of the buttermilk. If anything there is almost and eggy flavor to them. I have to say that flavor wise these are not quite as good as Eggo's version but they were passable, the texture was great and it was half the cost of the Eggo.

Albertsons Supermarket

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ben and Jerry's Mission To Marzipan Ice Cream

This flavor made me think of Jim over at Jim's Chocolate Mission Jim is the only person I know who seems to love marzipan as much as I do

Just in case you don't know Marzipan is a type of confection that is most often made from almond meal and sugar (although Persian versions sometimes contain rose or orange water as well).
I LOOOOOOOVES me some marzipan. I am talking break out the picture of whatever stud puppy I am lusting over that day kind of love- in fact we're gonna go with Paul Rudd because much like marzipan I have thought he was great since forever and a day ago (or since "Clueless") and hopefully now it (and he) will get some of the recognition it deserves. Anyway...

Back in the day at my house we always got the fruit shaped marzipan around Christmas and Easter. We probably didn't get to have it more because I seemed to be the only one that liked it but for some reason my parents didn't feel like it would be a holiday without it (kinda like fruit cake I guess). As an adult I buy it whenever I can- which meant the second my Albertson's had this Ben & Jerry's in the case I ran home with it.

The ice cream is a sweet cream base, to me the base it's self had more flavor that it picked up from the marzipan rather then sweet cream. It has that sweet, cherry like almond flavor that things made with almond paste have. It's nice because it's not too sweet because there is a faint nuttiness to it.

The Marzipan comes in an a combination of a swirl and almond cookie pieces. The swirl is a fluid, almost sticky ribbon that winds it's why through the ice cream. The cookie bits actually remind me more of pure marzipan paste rather then a cookie. It's crumbly but not crunchy in anyway. It is a tad grainer then marzipan is as a rule (I guess that's how you know it's supposed to be cookie pieces) it is embarressing to admit I went digging through the ice cream for the chunks of marzipan?

I haven't pulled out the elsive 11 rating for Ben and Jerry in a while but not only is this Paul Rudd good:
But it's an 11!

And here is the rest of it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Matt's Muchies Island Mango

I wasn't sure I was the right person to review this flavor, Island Mango is a mango and coconut leather
I have a well documented hatred of coconut- well let's check that- I hate untoasted coconut. It's a texture thing, I like the flavor of coconut just fine. It's that moist, mushy yet oddly crunchy, stringy texture I really hate. Now toasted coconut manages not to have any of those problems. Luckily for me the good folks at Matt's Munchies thought of this (clearly they did it just for me because DUH! the world does in fact revolve around ME!) while I am not sure if the coconut is actually toasted or if it somehow seems to become toasted during the "leathering" process, but either why it has that great slightly crunchy, toasty taste and texture.

The Mango leather base is incredable! It's like someone took the most perfectly ripe slice of mango ever and dried that. It's sweet but it had that piney sour notes to it. Combined with the coconut it almost picks up a papayaesque flavor. .
I knew I would like the mango it's self but I am surprised at how much I liked the coconut with it.

For those of you who aren't coconut fans or can't eat coconut Matt's also makes a "plain" mango leather- there's nothing plain about it, it's the same fantastic mango base that's in the Island Mango.

By the way both leather's are under 100 calories (70 for the Island Mango and 50 for the Mango) and they are Organic and free of gluten, nuts, eggs & dairy. They are also certified both vegan and Kosher.

Sample From Company
You can purchase directly from them by visiting their website HERE or by phone at (516)319-3135

Friday, March 27, 2009

Whoppers- Blueberry Limited Edition

I know I have often said there is not enough blue food... and maybe I should stop saying that
I was killing time at Walmart* and poking through the Easter candy and these limited edition Whoppers stood out- mostly because I figured they would be horrifying. I love blueberries but outside of they're natural form and some very traditional food items (pies, pancakes etc) I tend to not like blueberry as a flavoring. But hey...

They are pretty shade of Tiffany blue
The outer glossy shell is not chocolate (thought there is cocoa in there), it's a sugary confection that is blueberry flavored. They short of smell like blueberry air freshener. The blueberry portion tastes kind of like air freshener actually, it's vaguely floral. You smell it more then taste it. It's sweet without any of the blueberry tartness. And to be fair there is not even a pretense that there is any natural flavor in there.

I may not like like the outer layer but I have always liked Whoppers inner malt ball. It's slightly salty, there's a little toasty thing going on. The texture is honeycombed and starts to melt instantly as it hits your tongue.

The malt center coupled with the blueberry coating together well... I feel sorry for the malt ball. But on top of that it also creates almost a Tootsie Roll like aftertaste. The Easter bunny can keep these.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Butterfinger Egg

As best I can tell there are actually three or four types of Butterfinger "Eggs" out there. This particular egg is the solid form made with Butterfiger pieces
I can understand why they did so many versions- everything tastes better in egg form.

I have always loved the flaky yet still crunchy, peanut buttery center of a butter finger bar. What I have never really cared for about Butterfinger bars is the chocolate coating. It's too sweet and too waxy for me. Nestle makes some decent if not right darn good chocolate (on they're European products mostly) so I just don't get why most of the standard U.S. Nestle products are covered in that I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Mockolate.

When I first picked up this egg I hadn't paid enough attention to the label and I thought this was like one big egg shaped Butterfinger bar- what it really is, is small clusters of butterfinger bits embeded in milk chocolate. You can sort of see the pieces in this picture:
I found myself wishing for less chocolate more Butterfinger Center. The milk chocolate is grainy- although that could be from traces of the Butterfinger bits. The chocolate is just too darn sweet. The pieces of the Butterfinger center are too small for me, the flavor of it is just a tiny hit of peanut butter and then it's gone. There is just not enough actual Butterfinger bits!

I can see kids loving these egg's but for real Butterfinger fans it's too much of a tease.

Albertsons Supermarket

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cheetos Giant

Did you ever just sit and stare into the Cheetos selection at the store and wish that there was just a ginormous version available?
I personally never have but someone out there did because Chester Cheetah has granted their wish. I know there is probably a Brittany Spear joke in there but that is too cheap a shot even for me.

So how giant is giant you ask?
That is a picture for scale. It is shaped like a neon orange marshmallow. And unlike marshmallow it is not smooshy and sweet. It is super cheese flavored. It's as if they took the amount of cheese flavor in a regular cheetos and upped it to 11. Actually it reminded me of an old school Planters Cheese Ball more then a Cheeto. By that I mean it's saltier then a normal Cheeto and the cheese flavor is a little more fake, but it's so good in that 'it's bad but it's good' way that you don't care.

The texture is both harder then a regular Cheeto or even a Cheeto Cheese Puff and at the same time the core is almost powdery. I have a small mouth and the downside for me is that they were just too big (stepping away from the double entndre). It was dense enough that biting into it scraped my gums and eating it whole wasn't much easier because it filled my whole mouth almost to the point it was uncomfortable (must refrain...) and for once that was kind of a bad thing (almost made it)

I liked the ides of the Giant Cheeto, I love the extra "cheese" I just don't like the texture as much.

Albertsons Supermarket

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Matt's Munchies Apple Pie Fruit Leather

I love fruit leather, when I am smart enough to think ahead when it comes to lunch I try to always have one.
So when the good folks over at Matt's Munchies asked if I would like some of their leathers to try I jumped at the chance.

Matt's fruit leathers are all natural, organic. The are also gluten, nut, dairy, soy and egg free. They are also certified Vegan and Kosher Parve. AND they are less then 100 calories a serving. The sheets are roughly 4 inch strips of nori-like fruit.

I was in an apple mood so I decided to start with the Apple Pie flavor. the first interesting thing I noticed is that the apple pie flavor is in fact made with no apples but with banana's instead. With that in mind the first thing I had to do was the smell check, the smell is very, very cinnamony. It actually reminded me of those cinnamon scented brooms they sell around Halloween (which I happen to love them).

So did the banana end up tasting like apple?
Actually, yeah it does. It reminded me alot of the flavor of apple sauce. There's almost a floral quality to it, I couldn't tell if that is from the banana or the cinnamon. The cinnamon is just slightly fiery- which is for this leather works out well. I think if the cinnamon was the really "hot" variety it would just be too much.

Where the fact that it's actually made with banana rather then apple stands out is the texture. It starts out with that chewy yet firm texture fruit leather has but as it's in your mouth it sort of melts in that thickish, kinda creamy, kinda not way that banana's do (well frozen banana's) I think if you didn't know that the banana is there you most likely couldn't tell that it was not in fact made with apples.

I love the fact that these leather's are a snack I can have without screwing up my diet. And one package is a very generous serving. I am not sure if this will end up being my favorite flavor of the bunch (I have a feeling that is going to be the Mango) but I am excited to try the rest.

Sample From Company
You can purchase directly from them by visiting their website HERE or by phone at (516)319-3135

Monday, March 16, 2009

Reese's Mini Reester Bunnies

Yes, the Easter candy has been out since about 12 hours after Christmas was over but I have some how managed to avoid filling my house with pastel colored bunnies and chicks.
That is until I saw the Mini Reester Bunnies. My favorite Reeses product is the classic Reeses Egg, I just think that the Egg has achieved the perfect levels of peanut butter to chocolate. I know that the Reester Bunnies have actually been out for a few years now but I have been unable to pull myself away from the Eggs, so in the interest of a review I tore myself away from the beloved Egg.

The Mini's are somewhere between 2 and 3 inches long and while they are well molded they are very thin. The Center of the bunny is a smear of peanut butter. There's nothing new or special about the chocolate or the peanut butter, on this bar it's mostly about the ratio of the two. This candy is mostly chocolate with just enough peanut butter so that you know it's there. It adds a little bit of grit to the chocolate and cuts the sweetness a little.

I think the deciding factor to if you just like or love the Reester Bunnies is dependant on what part of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups you like more. If you are a fan of the chocolate then these are the Reeses for you. I on the other hand am a fan of the peanut butter so while I like them enough they will never achieve the same status of my beloved Egg.

Albertsons Supermarket

Meiji Melty Kiss- Dark Rum

I have loved all of the Meiji Melty line that I have tried
There is just some thing irresistible about those little chocolaty sugar cubes. Today's Melty Kisses came as a sample from my friends over at Jlist.Com
According to the Jlist product info the Dark Rum flavor is only available once a year in the winter and it actually does contain real rum! (cause you know some times you need your chocolate and alcohol fix at the same time) Once you smell the candy there is no doubt that there is alcohol in the cube. If you have ever smelled Myer's Dark Rum it smells exactly like that.
The cube is covered in a dusting of cocoa powder. Like all of the other Melty's the texture is really, really smooth and melts quickly with a cool feeling on your tongue. The easiest way to tell you what it tastes like is to imagine rum soaked M&M's (I am sure the Mars people will love that analogy). The chocolate is sweet and you almost expect to feel the crunch of the sugar shell. The rum is woodsy and on the bitter side (as dark rum tends to be)
My only complaint is that the box mysteriously emptied within hours...

Provided by Jlist.com

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pepsi Natural

One of my favorite things in life is Coke made with REAL sugar...
I have been known to stock up on KP (Kosher for Passover) Coke and the Mexican variety but in my quasi-Yoda like lifetime (I am not as old as I make it sound but I feel it because the age of my average co-worker seems to be 12) I have never once seen Pepsi with cane sugar. I know it exists, I have heard that Pepsi does a Kosher version as well but I have never seen it. When I was candy hunting at Target... OK actually I was buying laundry soap but candy hunting sounds way more interesting, anyway... there on an end cap was a big display of Pepsi Natural.

Pepsi Natural (which also seems to have been test marketed as Pepsi Raw) is an all natural version of Pepsi. It features sparkling water (because merely calling it carbonated is soo 2005) sugar and kola nut extract. It is also colored naturally and of course has that sweet, sweet caffeine.

Blah, blah, blah PR aside what does it taste like?
I was worried it would be a little too much like Red Bull Cola in terms of the after taste- luckily for me that was not the case.

The smell is exactly like that of gummy cola flavored candies. Just a little sugary but kind of spicy at the same time hmmmm gummy... In terms of carbonation it is barely there. There's about the same amount of fizz as there would be if you left a normal Pepsi sitting for about six hours- I like flat soda so that worked for me. Of course it's all about the flavor.

Again, I am going back to flat Pepsi, be honest in a moment of desperate thirst (or laziness) we have all taken a sip from that bottle or can that has been sitting around for who knows how long and if you have (don't lie) then you know it seems like the syrup in the drink thickens and the cola flavor both intensifies and goes stale- that's what this taste like. I know that description probably sounds bad but it does taste pretty good. There's almost a cinnimon thing going on and there is a clean sense to the overall flavor.

While as a rule I prefer Pepsi's flavored options to they're regular cola I found myself really liking this one. What I am really hoping is that this opens the doors to more soda being made with sugar again rather then HFCS (and yeah, I am REALLY hoping Coke does a version like this)


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Jack In The Box Pomegranate Berry Smoothie

Marvo over at The Impulse Buy actually beat me to reviewing this (read his review HERE) and because I am feeling lazy I have used the same stock photo he did (yeah, sometimes Googling for myself is just too hard)
Since Pom is a wonder fruit will it make me less lazy? probably not- and even if it could the smoothie is so weighted down with sugar that my bloated (from the dairy) yet hyper (from the sugar) self will probably just choose to ooze myself onto the couch with some knitting.

The smoothies are a mix of frozen yogurt, raspberry, blueberry, cranberry and Pom juices (least you think an actual piece of fruit made it any where near your smoothie). Maybe it was just the combo of all the berry juices but to me it tasted the most like Cran-Raspberry juice. The yogurt added a little thickness and a vague creamy value. I think the easiest way to sum it up would be to imagine taking store brand cran-raspberry juice that had been opened and started to get that stale taste old juice get and mixed that with some milk.

I should have just stayed with the 2 for 99 cent taco's (hey at least you get to play guess the meat!)

Jack In The Box

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Haagen-Dazs Five- Mint

I LOOOOOVED the Brown Sugar Five so I went into the Mint flavor with high hopes
Just like it's Brown Sugar cousin the Mint has only five ingredients. What I loved about the Brown Sugar had been it's rich flavor and creamy texture. Sadly, the mint didn't quite make the same high marks.

The flavor is a very, very mild mint. It's not as strong as pretty much every other mint ice cream I have ever had- at the same time it has sort of a mouthwashy taste. I think if it had a stronger mint, or if there had been a dash of vanilla to round the mild mint out it would have been much better.

The texture is also different. Where the Brown Sugar had been dense and creamy the Mint is much more aerated and well fluffy. That said it's not that it was bad but it was not what I was expecting.

It's not so much that I didn't like it because it was bad, it just wasn't all that good. I still am looking foreword to trying the rest of the line because the Brown Sugar was just outstanding.

Albertsons Supermarket

Cold Stone Creamery- Cake Batter Ice Cream

Didn't it seem like there used to be a Cold Stone Creamery every five feet?
There is still one in my relative local area but I don't get to go into one with the ease I could a few years ago. Since the first time I have had it is the Cake Batter flavor. I have tried every cake batter ice cream I have come across since and while many are good Cold Stones is still the best.

I think one of the things that makes the Cold Stone version is so great is the texture. It is super creamy but at the same time it's almost sticky, I know that doesn't sound good but it makes for an interesting mouth feel.

The cake batter flavor is EXACTLY like "raw" yellow cake batter. It's sweet, there's some vanilla, maybe a little eggy. You can also add your choice of a mix-in. I ALWAYS get Oreo's. I just think that the crunch from the cookie and the hit of chocolate add's good contrast to the cake flavor.

Cold Stone may do a lot of great flavors but this is the one I will always love.

Cold Stone Creamery

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fling- Hazelnut Bar

If you read my review of the Milk Chocolate Fling then you already know minus the meringue plank I didn't like it...
I still have the Hazelnut and Dark Chocolate versions to work through (and the only times these reviews start to feel like work is when I don't like something). I am trying to have an open mind. Part of me is hoping that the Hazelnut version is something like a Kinder Bueno. The other part is hoping I at least sort of like it.

Lucky for me opening the bar led to a really pleasant roasty hazelnut aroma- which at least masked the overly sweet smell the Milk Chocolate version had. Yes, the chocolate it still shimmery, and it's still on the sweet side but the hazelnut creme helps to cut that.

The hazelnut creme is definitely on the hazelnut flavored rather the REAL hazelnut. There's coffee notes to it and thanks to the meringue there's a maltiness to it. There is no way you will ever confuse the creme with some of the higher quality hazelnut chocolates out there but in small doses it's really not bad.

The meringue plank is still the best part. In the end I actually liked these enough that I would buy it again.

Albertsons Supermarket

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fling- Milk Chocolate

I have rewritten my quasi-witty opening blurb for the Fling bar way to many times
Maybe it's just that everything involved with the bar, the wrapper, the website the store standee is just way too pink. It has this weird reek of trying to hard to be sexy when really it's mediocre looking and only ok. The appeal to the bars is supposed to be that are they are only 85 calories per Twix Style finger and yes, that somehow by eating them you too will be shimmery and hot. 85 calories a finger- but a serving is two fingers and that's 170 calories... let's keep that in mind.

The bar it's self is a meringue plank with a layer of truffle then the whole thing is dipped in milk chocolate. Yes, it is real chocolate- but it does have PGPR in it- not exactly top of the line chocolate. It is a pretty bar- the chocolate is slightly iridescent and I do like glittery things- although that doesn't give me any warm fuzzies for what it probably means to the taste. I have a feeling glittery and good chocolate are two things that are probably mutually exclusive.

So how did it taste?
You know those girls who are not pretty enough to completely coast on their looks but at the same time they weren't ugly enough to have to develop a good personality? this is the chocolate version of that girl.
I knew I was in trouble when the chocolate had that cheap, too sugary smell to it. Yes, the whole thing is reallllly sweet. too sweet for me. The "truffle" is smooth and it dissolves quickly (I don't want to say melts because it's gone to fast for that) Other then kind of chocolaty, kind of salty it doesn't have much of a flavor. What I did like about the bar is the marangue plank. It was crunchy and sweet, it was kind of malty. Hands down the best part.

This is not a bad bar but I would much rather take those 170 calories and have part of a Twix bar- now if only they would do a Twix where they switch the cookie with marangue! that would be good!

According to the Fling website Fling is currently only available in stores in California (lucky us) but it can be purchased on line.

Checkout Cybele's review (with really good pictures!) HERE

Albertsons Supermarket

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Haagen-Daazs Fleur De Sel Caramel Ice Cream Bars

I LOVED the Fleur De Sel Caramel pint I reviewed in the past (as well as the many I have bought since) and Haagen-Daazs once again caused me to make that too loud, too embarrassing squeal I have been known to do- (you know the one that tween girls make when they see a glittery picture of Robert Pattinson) when I saw these bars in the freezer case
After a quick look around hoping no one else in the aisle had heard me (they had- I can be really loud) I beat it out of the store and back to my laptop (oh, yeah I paid for the bars too)

The bars are enrobed in a thick layer of dark chocolate. The caramel ice cream base is sweet, but thanks to he dark chocolate not too sweet.

Just like with the pint the star is the salt. It's sharp but at the same time it's not. It makes the sweetness of the caramel stand out. It adds depth and earthy notes to the chocolate. When the salt hits your tongue it's like all the flavors get as shiny and glittery as Edward Cullen on a moonlit night. The salt makes everything that was alreayd good better. As much as I like the pint edition I give this version a slight edge because the salt is a little more pronounced as it runs in stripes down the bar rather then randomly mixed in.

Albertsons Supermarket

Monday, March 2, 2009

SOBE Lifewater- Fuji Apple Pear

One of the things I have found myself missing since I have been trying to be "good" about my diet (gee, um having a food blog makes that a little interesting!) has been fruit juice- apple juice especially.
Now, it is pretty darn hard to top Purity Organic Apple Juice but I have to give SOBE points for making a darn good apple flavored water.

The water is zero calories and naturally sweetened (I have to admit looking at the label I am not sure what exactly it's sweetened with). The water at first tastes like pear, there is that crisp, floral taste but it doesn't have that weird, kind of papery quality that I seem to find in pears. The end notes are all apple. It's a sweet juicy finish.

This is actually the first apple flavored water I have really liked!
Albertsons Supermarket

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The French Market- Disneyland

Now that I have been able to once again join the ranks of Disneyland Passport holders I will be able to make regular trips to the parks again.
While I certainly don't consider myself a restaurant critic (or this to be a restaurant blog) I figured that enough people come to the park from around the world that I at least might be able to help steer them to some of the better options in the park. So from time to time I am going to sneak some Disneyland reviews in.

Prior to today's visit I hadn't been to either Disneyland or California Adventure in five years. One of the places that had always been reliable in the past was The French Market. Like many of the sit down places in the park it's "bufferteria" style- what they really means is think back to high school; Lunch ladies serving from steam trays. And picking desserts and salads off a little line. The food was never outstanding but it was good enough and a decent value for the price. It had a certain cheesy charm to it- it even got practically a whole chapter dedicated to it in a Baby Sitters Club book (BSC #23 "Dawn On The Coast"- damn I am old that I can even make mention to that series)

The menu is changed on a routine basis and normally feature 5 main entree choices, salad and soup (as well as mac & cheese or chicken mickey's for kids). Among today's options were some sort of salmon, skinless roasted chicken, pot roast, veg & four cheese gratin and jambalaya.
We decided to get a few things and share amongst ourselves. Since the menu changes so much I am not going to really go into great details on any of the actual items. What I will tell you that is while the portions are still as generous as they had been the taste and the quality is well... about what one expects from steam table food. If you really like cafeteria food you are sure to love this. Expect to spend over $10 but under $20 per person.

There is one thing that can be found pretty much at any of the food venues in New Orleans square that I love so I do want to mention it:
The Mint Julep. With the exception of the Ultra-exclusive Club 33 Disneyland is an alcohol free park (although it can be purchased at the Disneyland Hotel, pretty much any where in Downtown Disney and throughout the California Adventure park) The mint juleps served here are not the classic cocktail but instead it is a minty limeade type drink. I never make a visit to the park without getting one. They are just really refreshing.

Disneyland Park
New Orleans Square