Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thai Tea Ice Cream

Behold the first ice cream of the season! I call it Thai tea ice cream...or "the ice cream that didn't wanna." Let me explain...

This ice cream officially kicks off my 2009 ice cream making season, but was supposed to kick off the 2008 ice cream season. I had been dreaming of Thai tea ice cream all 2007/2008 winter long, and when the weather warmed up and it was time to break out the ice cream maker, I could not for the life of me find Thai tea any where.

I could find individual packets of instant Thai tea, but no bags of loose leaf tea and spices, or what is sometimes called Thai tea powder. And I'm fully aware of the awesome powers of purchasing goods online (Amazon is my savior), but was determined to find the tea at one of the many Asian markets along Washington Ave. in Philly. It was a principle thing. There's also Thai tea syrup, and you can even make it yourself.Well, I never found the tea all summer long (didn't look too hard, just whenever I was in a store). Cut to this past winter, and the tea magically appeared at some market the boy was shopping at, and he thoughtfully bought me a pack since he knew I had been on the hunt for quite some time.

Yes! Thai tea ice cream is going to happen!Not so fast! Doh, I forgot to put the ice cream freezer bowl in the freezer. The bowl usually lives in the freezer all the time, ever at the ready, but I took the bowl out for the winter to make more room in the freezer.

Plans dashed, I settled on a day late. I tweaked a Vietnamese coffee ice cream recipe from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop, but the ice cream turned out way too sweet and too strongly tea flavored. Ugghhhh!

The next day, work got in the way, so there was no re-do.

Finally, the following day I tweaked my tweaked recipe and made a Thai tea ice cream that's fit to show off. One year and a couple of tries later.

I hope you enjoy the recipe; it's quite good, and is possibly the most anticipated ice cream of my ice cream making career. Worth the wait? I would have preferred to have it last year!Thai Tea Ice Cream
makes about 1 quart

After steeping the loose leaf tea, you'll need some way to strain the tea. Many who regularly make Thai tea have these large tea socks that do the job. I did not have a tea sock, nor did I want to buy one. I found that the coffee press I had worked just fine.

1/3 cup loose leaf Thai tea
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup half and half
  • Add 2 1/2 cups of hot/boiling water to loose leaf Thai tea, and steep for 20 minutes (this is more water than the brewed tea called for in the recipe, because some of the water will be absorbed by the leaves). Strain tea (I pushed the French press plunger down) and let cool to room temperature.
  • Mix 1 1/2 cups brewed tea, sweetened condensed milk, and half and half in a large bowl.
  • Process mixture in an ice cream machine. Chill overnight in the freezer before serving.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Snyder's of Hanover EatSmart Tres Bean Dip

Image Copyright Snyder's of Hanover

Today, the sun was out, and it was a good day to eat nachos.

My mom had bought some dip at the store with tortilla chips, and I was eager to try it.

I made my all-time standard- chips, dip, cheese, and sour cream.

And this dip is fucking incredible.

I'm very particular about my dips. I don't really like salsa because of the chunks. I don't even like chunky marinara sauce. I don't like seven-layer dips, because of the chunks, so I was worried about this dip.

When you open the jar, you're hit with a wonderful, spicy aroma. And no chunks. It's a smooth, tasty dip with three beans. I couldn't taste the lime they advertised, but the jalapenos were there and added some great heat.

Warmed up, this dip is spectacular, but cold, it's great, too. It's perfect. It's the low-fat equivalent, actually, no fat equivalent to the gross dips I like- the cheesy, oniony ones, and it doesn't taste like you're chewing on veggies, either.

Take this dip. Worship it, and then pile it on chips with cheese and melt it. You will not regret this dip. It's perfect.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dancing Deer Pancake and Waffle Mix

Oh, dear.


I think...I think I have a problem. I think I have a serious addiction to this mix.

I opened the door this afternoon and a box was here! It was from the wonderful, wonderful Julie Kelley at Dancing Deer. I'd contacted them about my blog and she had graciously sent over a box of samples for me.

The box was adorable, first off. You can't see it, but it says, "Jess, The Foodette" on the sending label, and has little pictures of what else? Dancing deer all over the place.

Inside the box was a lovely note from Julie and a 10% coupon off my next purchase- definitely going to use that!

Inside the box were a few things- Dancing Deer Pancake and Waffle Mix, today's review, and Dancing Deer Dark Gingerbread Cake, tomorrow's review, or later tonight if you're very good.

I decided to try the pancake and waffle mix first. I mixed it up- seriously, the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that this FINE WHITE POWDER is addictive and incredible.

It smelled delightful when I mixed it- really fresh, and I halved the recipe, too. I used half an egg, 1/3 cup of milk, and one tablespoon of butter and it made four large pancakes for me- more than enough with a small amount of mix, half a cup.

So I ate the pancakes with butter and syrup, my topping of choice, but next time I make these, or maybe when I make waffles, I'll use their suggestion of dark maple syrup, berries, honeycomb, and toasted nuts. I've never had honeycomb with breakfast. Sounds good.

The funny thing about these pancakes- the really, really funny thing, was that they tastes spot on exactly, down to the crisp on the edge and that homey, sweet flavor of my now deceased grandfather's Swedish pancakes, the ones he'd make every morning, literal hundreds of them depending on the number of guests we'd have. I have all confidence that if I made these in the Swedish pancake pan, it would be like having him home again, making his little pancakes.

I feel like I need to...sue this company. Don't they know that I have prom in less than a month, and that I'm going to eat all of this in a matter of minutes? I could inhale these pancakes. Seriously. They're the most incredible pancakes I've ever had, and I've been to bed and breakfasts and had some serious chefs in the family.

So, Dancing Deer, your addictive white powder- er, pancake and waffle mix brought back some really fantastic memories for me AND fed me the most delicious pancakes I've ever had. They were fluffy, a little crispy, and cooked really well. I kept poking them, because all the other boxed pancakes I make turn out raw, and I ate them, wondering, where's the goop in the middle?

There was no goop, readers. A goopless, delicious mix. A hit from Dancing Deer.

10/10- ORGASMIC!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Judson-Atkinson Bunny Mallows

Image Copyright Judson-Atkinson Candies

I don't know why I picked this up, but it was early in the morning, it was free, and it was from the bank.

I trust the bank with candy.

It was obviously an Easter leftover. They had Tootsie Rolls, too, and I could have reviewed those, but nooooo, I wanted to do something interesting for the sake of the blooooog.

You people fucking owe me.

I brought it home. I stared at the bunny. He stared at me.

I ate him, fully expecting him to be exactly what he was advertised as- a marshmallow, giving some liberty for hardness as it was after Easter, but instead, I was treated to the cotton-candy flavor equivalent of fucking heroin injected into my tongue. This was definitely liquefied cotton candy. I can taste the Red Lake #9.

No go, Judson-Atkinson. I want free stuff.

1/10- GROSS

Late Night Doritos: Tacos At Midnight

Image Copyright Frito Lay

I tried them! I finally tried them!

You don't know how excited I was to finally find these in a store in my crappy New England town- a town that can only dream of the Midwestern delicacies and snacks that it can never provide!

I slid on the laminated floor at Walgreens and collided into a mildly perturbed Food, screaming, "IT'S LATE NIGHT DORITOS! LATE NIGHT FOR LATE NIGHT STANDS! I FOUND THEM!"

He took me home. With my Doritos.

I was really excited to try these- after all, so many blogs had lauded them! I opened the bag and inhaled, and they smelled crisp and fresh and like a real, live taco- with the sour cream.

I ate them, and they were good. But alas, it might have been my euphoria, or perhaps the fact that I ate all the obnoxiously seasoned ones, but I got tired of them. I was sad.

My late night tacos with greasy grease, nevermore...

6/10- OKAY

Rudoloh's OnYums Hot Flavored Rings

Image Copyright Rudolph Foods

Here's another dollar store bonanza. If we keep getting gems like these, we'll have to create a series: "Living and Dying on a Buck: Dollar Store Snacks"

There were a few flavors of these, but we were intrigued by hot sauce and kept saying the name "Onnnyoooohms" over and over in the car.

These were fucking gross. Upon opening the bag, we smelled lots of vinegar, like, a bottle's worth of douche. Groooossss.

The Ooooonnnyoooohms- 'scuse me, Onyums, were bright, bright red, like they were dipped in nuclear waste. They looked like they had a legitimately good Funyun style texture, but that was quickly unnoticeable when you ate them, because you were pummeled with the hottest, burning sensation. It was like eating pepper spray.

I might go back and try their other flavors, because they seemed like there was a good base to them. They were also the only snack food I've ever seen whose website sold snack seasoning in bulk.

Pro tip: It looks a bit like crack cocaine, only it tastes like sour cream and onion.

1/10- HORRID

Brim's Fireballs

Image Copyright Taquitos

Food and I stopped at the dollar store for a little R and R in the air-conditioning, to gawk at the colorful customers and scout out strange things to buy and eat. We walked out with Harry Potter glasses, a Windex-flavored drink, and these.

I had seen Brim's stuff on Taquitos, and I was intrigued. I love things in cans, and I live for cheese balls. We opened them up in the car, prompting the ever-popular "balls between my legs" joke that we carried on for another hour or so.

They are bright red and take on the appearance of those old Cheetos asteroids, the hot flavored ones. They don't smell very hot. On the outside of the box is a passage from Isaiah, which we liked considering it's a product that calls itself fiery cheese-flavored balls.

They tasted like packing peanuts with hot sauce, but weren't really hot. If you wanted heat, you had to eat a lot of them, which Food stopped, because he said it was gross-looking to watch me try and eke the hot out of the balls.

Ha ha. Balls.

There wasn't much flavor, except the occasional change in texture with a hard corn thing. Nothing special. Brim's website has the usual subsections- products, news, and ETERNAL LIFE. And sweet and spicy pork cracklins'. Their flavors fascinate me. I want more.

I long to live in the South.

2/10- CRAP

Orbit Mist Mango Surf Gum

Orbit Mist Mango

Along with the watermelon gum, I picked up Mango Surf while at a gas station. I love mango, but had never had purely mango gum before. Normally, it gets thrown in with other flavors and fades to the background.

Again, the packaging was fresh and cute, and the blue and orange looked quite nice together. You can see the little flavor orbs in the picture below. Unlike the Watermelon Spring (a pale and unappetizing green), this gum was a pale yellow, and looked better to me. Unfortunately, the colors in my pictures look pretty similar. I will have to get better at this.

Orbit Mist

The gum smelled really fruity, and within the first couple chews, I was reminded of papaya juice that I used to drink as a kid. There was mango, too, but the papaya taste was an instant hit of nostalgia for me, so I thought this gum was fantastic.

But, once the initial flavor faded, there was just a mildly fruity flavor left that didn't really live up to the initial flavor. At least the duller flavor did last a long time, so if you love it, great! The watermelon got better after the initial sourness went away, but the mango got worse. One last note: the mango gum never got soft, and chewed well all the way through.


Orbit Website

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wrigley 5 Gum Zing


While at the grocery store with some friends, we saw a kind of 5 gum that we had never seen before, so one of my friends picked it up. As a kid, I chewed a lot of bubble gum, but I never really liked the traditional bubble gum flavor. I just liked blowing bubbles.

The packaging is really cute. I love the combination of pink and black. It was marketed as being a gum that's sour, then sweet. A little iffy sounding for a bubble gum, but I am always up for new things.


It smelled like normal bubble gum, and had a slight fruity hint along with the traditional bubble gum flavor. It did taste sour, in a way that was a little off-putting. It stayed sour for quite a while, and didn't get sweet for at least 10 minutes. The sweet flavor hung around for a long time.

In general, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't really good, either. I was also disappointed because it wasn't really bubble gum. I could barely blow a bubble at all with it, even compared to non-bubble gums (vanilla Dentine Ice was great for bubbles). Not something I'd buy again, but there are other flavors of 5 gum that I like, Rain and Lush in particular.


5 Gum website


Meat-lovers just can't seem to get enough of Paesano's sandwiches, and the way they talk about them, it almost makes me want to order the famed roast beef or suckling pig sandwich from the Fishtown sandwich shop located just across the street from big sis' Modo Mio. Fortunately, Paesano's threw us vegetarians a bone and included one veggie sandwich in their line up of six sandwiches.

Paesano's is not large inside, but you can dine at an "L" shaped counter with a half dozen or so stools, or, if you like, sit on the sidewalk at one of the two-top tables and the friendly staff will hand the sandwich out the window when your order is up.
The Panelle is wrap sandwich filled with a Sicilian chickpea pancake, roasted tomatoes and fennel, and "godzuki" sauce (sour cream, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary and hot sauce). When asked if I wanted long hots, I said yes. I also spied some onions and lettuce in my wrap.

The tangy sauce and mildly spicy peppers contributed most of the flavor, while the very mushy chickpea patty provided bulk to the sandwich. The handmade flat bread that wrapped the sandwich was crispy and excellent. No store bought tortilla wraps here!

The Panelle is a good, cheap ($4!!) sandwich, and I'd gladly order another, but the Panelle did not make an addict out of me like some of Paesano's meat sandwiches apparently do to others.

I will give Paesano's kudos for creating a veggie sandwich that I've never seen or experienced anywhere else. Paesano's could have offered the mozzarella, tomato and basil sandwich; portobello sandwich; ALT; or hummus wrap, which all can be great sandwiches, but are so overdone that the sight of any of these on a menu as the lone veggie offering makes me weep.

I think Paesano's offers good, cheap ($4-$8 and includes a free drink), creative, gourmet sandwiches. Paesano's also offers a soup and sandwich of the day, bread, roasted potatoes (ask for them veg or else they're cooked in pork fat), and an Italian Nutella and apricot crepe. If I'm back in the area, I'm hitting up the $2 crepes!

152 West Girard Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19123


Tues-Sat, 11am-7pm

Meiji Almond Meltyblend

Almond Meltyblend

I'm not sure why I keep seeing Meltykiss and Meltyblend. Here's a picture of the same chocolate, taken by a Flickr contact of mine, but the box says Meltykiss whereas mine says Meltyblend. Maybe they changed the name for sale outside of Japan?

Anyhow, I've written several reviews of Meltykiss and could go on and on about the smooth, velvety texture of the chocolate. But instead, since this is a new flavor, I'll focus on the flavor.

Almond Meltyblend

Upon opening, the chocolate smelled very nutty. I was expecting more of an amaretto type almond, for some reason, with cherry notes. While I could smell a little bit of that, it mostly smelled like the nuts themselves.

The taste was pretty similar to milk chocolate, but somehow, Meiji has managed to preserve the taste of almonds without adding any texture whatsoever. Just like the smell, there were mild hints of amaretto, but mostly, it reminded me of eating chocolate with chopped nuts inside, but without any crunch. I must say, I loved these and found it hard to stop eating them.


Meiji Website (Japanese)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lindt Excellence Pistachio

We bought this bar to finish off our pizza with, because it was a lovely day.

I felt it. It was a heavy bar, with a really nice feeling to it, and when we unwrapped it, I was surprised and delighted to find out that it had little pods.

The pods made the bar. The almond creme, as it advertised, was nicely pooled instead of smushed down in a bar, and sat a nice green pistachio in the middle.

Lindt chocolate is just excellent. I mean, compared to so many others, it's just smooth, creamy, no bitterness, and just delicious. I like it a lot. The flavors went really well together. I didn't really know where the almond flavoring was, but the texture was like a marzipan as opposed to a creme.

It's a good bar. I like their other flavors and hope to see more pod-bars soon.


eRev Obscene Energy Pack

Food and I went out late last night and bought these drinks at a 7-11 for a buck apiece. We were intrigued because they were marketed as obscene. I didn't know how to feel about drinking an obscenely flavored beverage, but was nonetheless piqued.

We bought four flavors- original, sugar-free, grape, and orange.

We soon figured out why it was a buck apiece. The original tasted like boiled and liquified candy necklaces with bitter, bitter aftertastes to them. Food did not feel like a T-Rex as we thought he would after drinking the obscenely flavored drink.

Sugar-free was the same. Same bite, more chemicals.

Grape was the biggest personal disappointment for me, because I was almost one hundred percent sure that it would taste just like my favorite discontinued soda, Mountain Dew Pitch Black and PB II. It just tasted like gross Fanta with chemically tastes to it. Huge failure.

Orange was surprisingly good, tasted almost like tangerines, fresh taste to it. Still that energy drink taste, but it was almost perfectly masked by the fresh orange taste.

These were a dollar for a reason. I couldn't see myself getting addicted to them like SoBe or Arizona juices, even though they were cheap and tasty. The aftertaste was too gross to get hooked onto.

4/10- GROSS

Starbursts Extravaganza: FaveRed Fruits Chews and Sour Gummibursts

These are funky. I found these two flavors for two for $1.69 apiece.

The sour gummies are heavily advertised, especially during the hours I watch TV, it seems. There are supposed to be four flavors in the bag, and it looks like I managed to bag all of them. In the package there are ten gummies, each about the size of a quarter.

They're advertised with strawberry, watermelon, orange tangerine, and green apple. They're a harder gummy, with a slightly pasty outer flavor. There's a definite aftertaste in the green apple. The liquid is not very sour. My guest reviewer, The Food to my Foodette, and I have high tolerance to sour things, so we didn't think these were really shocking.

The strawberry tastes just like a Twizzler...same sandy outer texture, same funky aftertaste, almost bitter, with a nice reddish color.

I was most excited to try the orange tangerine flavor, and was happy to discover that it did have a distinct orange taste, but there was something off about it, with a taste that I can only unfortunately liken to the exact flavor of ramen noodles and floor cleaner.

The watermelon was the standard for all watermelon flavored candies, tasted like artificial colors and flavoring. Not much of an aftertaste on this one, but very pasty. I decided that I didn't like the texture of these after all.


I generally like Starbursts chews to their other little bastardizations, so I figured these would be good. It came with four flavors- strawberry, watermelon, fruit punch, and cherry. Felt like they didn't come up with new flavors but took their leftover one-hit wonders with some of their standards and came up with the crappiest of candy mix tapes.

The Food thought the strawberry didn't taste like strawberry. Neither did I. It tasted less like strawberry and more like a differently packaged watermelon-flavored burst.

The cherry was the standard cherry Starburst, which I really like, because it's got that creamy taste to it that's not sour, but takes the acidic edge off the flavor. Same color, reddish cream.

Food didn't like the fruit punch. It tasted really chemically, like drinking a sweet flavor of bug spray. It had acidic moments which really grossed me out. Not a fan.

Watermelon, Food and I agreed, tasted like watermelon in candy form. The standard. It was creamy, like drinking a watermelon drink. I like that the Starbursts maintain that creamy taste to them. It's tasty.

5/10- EH.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Smarties Overview

Smarties Comparison

This isn't a real review, just a little comparison of regular (small) Smarties to giant Smarties. Or maybe the giant ones are actually the normal ones, I'm not sure. As a kid, I always got the little ones in my Halloween Trick-or-Treat bag, and they were one of the last things I ate (and not in a save the best for last kind of way).

In most parts of the world, Smarties are candy coated chocolates (like M&Ms) made by Nestle, but for some reason, in the United States, Smarties are little sugary discs that are sort of fruit flavored (like SweeTarts). After a Smarties dark age of sorts where I didn't have them for about 10 years, a friend of mine at work filled her candy dish with Smarties a few months ago and I tried them again.

Smarties Comparison

I came across these giant Smarties at a gas station and thought it might be fun to compare the two. I figured the giant version would be the same as the small, but I was wrong. The small Smarties were very mild, and the main flavor is "sweet." They were just a little tart, with some hints of fruit flavor that were most noticable in purple (grape).

The giant Smarties weer a different game entirely. They were extremely tart and borderline sour. They were firmer than the small Smarties, too, and the fruit flavors were more noticable. I tried orange - a flavor that doesn't even appear in the small Smarties - and it was as if someone had pressed Tang poweder into the shape of a Smartie. I also tried purple - which was so very sour. The small Smarties we so much milder, I was surprised.

In the end, I'm not a huge fan of Smarties, but I'd rather have the small ones. Besides, two giant Smarties have the same number of calories as a whole pack of small Smarties (both are 25 calroies). Still, it was fun to take pictures!

Smarties website

Vodka Rosemary Lemonade Fizz

Are y'all rampin' up for the glorious stoop-squattin', patio-pimpin', get-up-n-grill weekend that's ahead of us (at least on the East Coast)? I am! I'm rampin' up so hard I'm writing this post blitzed!

Couldn't wait for the weekend, so I test drove a recipe for vodka rosemary lemonade fizz from the May 2009 issue of Gourmet. So glad I did, 'cause now I've got the lemon/rosemary syrup ready for this weekend.

The drink is essentially a rosemary infused sparkly lemonade (vodka optional, but come on...), and unlike many mixed drink recipes, I actually had the ingredients on hand. Win! And it actually tastes good - not that it's hard for any version of lemonade to taste good. Double win!

Vodka Rosemary Lemonade Fizz
adapted from Gourmet
serves about 5

I laughed at Gourmet's suggested 1 tablespoon of vodka per serving - that's about half a small shot! I won't even suggest an amount of vodka to use; just use your own judgment. I also like mine more lemony, so upped the syrup.

1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup sugar
2 (8-inch) rosemary sprigs, plus more for garnish
  • In a small pan, bring lemon juice, sugar, and rosemary to a boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Take off heat, and let cool to room temperature.
  • Fill each 8-ounce drinking glass half full with ice, add 3 tablespoons of lemon/rosemary syrup, and vodka to taste. Top off with seltzer, and give the drink a stir. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Taco Bell Nachos

Image Copyright Taco Bell

Today I had three bucks on me, so I decided to go and get nachos from Taco Bell. They have three varieties on their value menu, for 79, 89, and 99 cents.

The 79 cent nachos, affectionately known as the triple layer nachos, were covered in a mix of refried beans, cheese, and red sauce. Not sure if I'd count "red sauce" as a layer, but whatever. These are good, and only good if made fresh out of the oven. I've had these before, and they were delicious. The chips all had ample amounts of topping scooped on, and there was extra leftover to be eaten with a fork. But these nachos were gross. They'd obviously been sitting out for a while, because the cheese had a skin over it and the chips that were covered with topping had reached the consistency of warm noodles. It reached the point where I wasn't able to pick them up anymore because they were completely limp and falling apart.

3/10- ICKY

The 89 cent nachos were the beefy five layer nachos, and they were quite good. These were freshly made. Either they have a separate distribution for these or they just ran out of triple layer nachos to plop beef on, but the chips were as they always are- translucent with grease and deliciously salty, and covered in the same toppings as the triple layer nachos with the addition of seasoned beef and shredded cheese.

I like the way my local Taco Bell makes these, because the beef is so deliciously tender. It's not chunky or gloppy beef. It's just the right amount of moisture and makes the meal delicious, like eating the perfect, tiny taco.

The 99 cent nachos were the same as the others- standard cheese, sauce, and bean base, but no shredded beef and tomatoes, guacamole, and sour cream. Think of a seven layer dip. That's what this is. Unfortunately, my toppings seemed to be squirted out by a mechanical squirter in perfect dollops, because there was a section for each topping, instead of being evenly distributed across the chips. There was a lot of topping. I almost wish the veggie and seven-layer stuff had been under a layer of chips with the gooey part on top, as the rest didn't seem to hold up well.


All in all, these were some okay nachos. Could I make better? Yes. For less than a buck? No. That's why we eat them. They're cheap and filling and sometimes taste good. The Chihuahua liked them. Why not me?


Upcoming week...

My week in reviews...upcoming foods.

Ideas and suggestions appreciated and encouraged!

Today- Taco Bell Value Nachos
Thursday- Domino's Macaroni and Cheese BreadBowl
Friday- Homemade recipe reviews! Homemade pizza and berry tart
Saturday- Chicken Ranch Tendercrisp from Burger King
Sunday- Sipper Sunday...a drink!

Ideas, please! Next week is Dancing Deer Week!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Updates...and future reviews!

Great news, Foods and Foodettes!

Dancing Deer is sending me a package of goodies to review, so expect many of their delicious confections in the next few weeks...Mmmmmm...

And this week I'll be doing a few local joints, like some pizza specialties in my town, and perhaps those Domino's BreadBowl pasta dishes...

More as we come!


Dunkin' Donuts Boston Creme

Image copyright The Traveling HungryBoy

Mmmm...doughnuts. Nothing better than those.

D&D ran a contest about a month ago, and I genuinely hope I win. Why? Because I got to create the ultimate doughnut.

See, I love Boston Creme. It's a love hate affair between the two of us. On one hand, I love the glaze, the cream, and the overall gooshiness of the product, but the's just bleh. I love their glazed sticks- that's good cake, but this is more of a Wonder-bread like product than their cake doughnuts, and it brings an almost neutral, bland taste to the entire thing.

I love it. I just wish there was more sugar and flavor, and that's why I created my doughnuts.

6/10- MAYBE

Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili

Image Copyright Frito Lay

I really do enjoy tortilla chips, and Doritos are no exception. This flavor is pretty interesting, definitely deviating off the standard Cooler Ranch and Nacho Cheese flavors they tend to employ.

The scent is great and really pungent when the bag is opened. These Doritos really do taste like chili, and have a nice tang and paprika-like taste to them. As always, they're crunchy and very tasty.

I never quite agree with the number of chips in the bag, though. It never seems like there are enough. Probably because they're so good, but I digress. The flavoring is another thing. A few years back, they had a really excellent spicy, spicy flavor with TONS of powder. They were just doused with the stuff. And those were spicy, too. This is "spices" but not "spicy". I wish Frito Lay would skimp less on the flavor powder.


Mars Starburst GummiBursts

Starburst GummiBursts

Here is yet another fairly new product from a familiar brand. I heard about these sometime last year and had been seeing commercials for a few months before I actually saw them at a convenience store near work.

Having grown up loving Gushers fruit snacks, I imagined (hoped) that these GummiBursts would be like Gushers. It seemed weird to see these in the candy aisle, since they look more like fruit snacks, but maybe they are too sugary to be considered fruit snacks (not that those are all good for you).

Starburst GummiBursts

The bag smelled exactly like fruit snacks that I used to take to school in my lunch. The pieces even had that waxy, firm, slightly sticky feel of fruit snacks. Also, I was really surprised how much juice was in each piece! The pieces may be small, but they are pretty packed. Here's what I thought of each flavor.

Orange was sour, sweet, and burned my throat a little. It didn't taste much like orange Starburst, but it reminded me of orange Dum Dum suckers.

Lemon had better tasting juice - nice and sour, but a little less sweet. The outside gummy didn't taste very lemony, though.

Cherry was the only flavor that genuinely matched its Starburst original cousin. The flavor was exactly the same. Also, it wasn't painfully sweet. I liked it best.

Strawberry had tasty fake strawberry juice, and even though it wasn't as good as a pink Starburst, it was still pretty enjoyable.

Overall, I would have to say that these were worth trying, but maybe not worth buying again. I loved how packed with juice they were, but the gummy part was a little too firm for my liking. Definitely took me back to the old days of lunchboxes, peanut butter and jelly, and quieting down in the cafeteria, though!


Starburst website

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dancing Deer Caramel Pecan Brownie

Image Copyright Dancing Deer

These are freaking amazing. I appreciate- really, really appreciate a good brownie. I picked these up at my local organic grocery store. Not the hippie-dippie pretentious type, just a great place for groceries with the added bonus prize of being organic and delicious.

I think I could legitimately live off of these. Not healthily, mind you, but happily and full of goo. The texture is sublime in these brownies. Honest to Dog. The pecans are perfectly applied and crunch with that wonderful roasted toasted taste, and the caramel is gooey enough and adds to the overall softness of the brownie. They use only the best ingredients here. I popped it in the microwave and almost convinced myself I'd made these by myself.

They're a tad on the pricey side, though, that's my only concern, but if they send me samples to review I wouldn't complain. These brownies kick ass. The deer kicks the asses of your brownies. This deer pooped on Little Debbie.

That is all.


Skittles Crazy Cores

Skittles Crazy Cores

These have been out in the United States for quite some time now, and there are a ton of other sites that have reviewed them, but I might as well throw in my 2 cents. Everyone's tastes are different, so if your tastes are similar to mine, maybe you'll relate to my take on these.

I have loved Skittles ever since I was little, so a new variety is extra exciting. I remember when Tropical Skittles were introduced, and I devoured those, despite my feelings about banana flavored candy (hint: negative). So, when I saw that the Crazy Cores would include flavors I typically like, such as mango, peach, and lemonade, they sounded pretty promising.

Skittles Crazy Cores

Mango Peach, peach with an orange core, had a tropical feel and a nice amount of tartness. Peach seems kind of neglected in American candy, and this tasted like a passable mix of peach and mango. It was my favorite of the bunch.

Melon Berry, which was pink with a green core, tasted berry sweet and not too melony. It was my least favorite, and just didn't have that tart punch that even the Wild Berry Skittles carry.

Cherry Lemonade was red with a yellow core, and the outside tasted like a cherry cough drop. That was a big negative right off the bat, but I did enjoy the citrus zing of the lemonade core.

Blue Raspberry Lemon was blue with a yellow core, and a little perplexing. The coating had an almost perfumy taste to start with, and that was downright gross. But it faded quickly, leaving a classic blue raspberry flavor (like Blow Pops). The lemon was mellow and sweet, and could have used a little more sourness.

Strawberry Watermelon, green with a pink core, was my second favorite. The strawberry was like a good sucker - bright and a little tart. The watermelon core tasted fresh and light (and fake), and it wasn't too sweet.

I am not sure why there are two flavors with lemon-based cores, but these Skittles were at least enjoyable. The regular flavors are better, but the Crazy Core concept was fun to eat. After my third Skittle, I could feel a sugary film in the back of my throat, which one of my coworkers calls The Skittle Spits. Just thought I should warn everyone.


Skittles Website

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Orbit Mist Watermelon Spring Gum

Orbit Mist

Gas stations and convenience stores always have the newest candy. A couple days ago at a Sunoco station convenience store, my husband and I happened across this new Orbit gum called "Orbit Mist" and of the 3 available kinds (watermelon, mango, and mint), we got the two fruit flavors.

I don't know if I'd be satisfied if this was all I had to quench my thirst, but this gum claimed to give a hydrating sensation. Regardless of that, the packaging, both inside and out, was cute, fun, and fresh, and definitely caught my attention.

Orbit Mist

The gum, a pale shade of green, smelled a lot like watermelon candy (Jolly Ranchers came to mind), much stronger than a real watermelon. The gum itself was a little grainy from the flavor crystals, an almost seemed crunchy. I don't know that I got a huge hydrating sensation, either, but sensation is a term that can be used pretty loosely. It was juicy, but not more than other gum.

The taste was at first really sour, reminding me even more of a Jolly Rancher. The juiciness quickly died down, as did the tartness, leaving a much mellower watermelon flavor that was pleasant. The gum felt cool in my mouth without being minty, and the texture stayed nice and bouncy for about 30 minutes, after which it softened (sort of like the infamous pomegranate, only not as dramatic) and I had to spit it out. I feel I should mention that the flavor was still hanging around at that point. Overall, I enjoyed this gum. My jaw hurts if I chew gum for too long, anyway.


Orbit Website

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hershey Pelon Pelo Rico Tamarind

Pelon Pelo Rico

One of my friends recently returned from Mexico (the same one who went to France last year, yes, I am so jealous), and she kindly brought me back a couple Mexican sweets to try! The first of two is Pelon Pelo Rico, a Hershey product. The flavor is tamarind, a fruit I don't see too often in the United States (just in Pad Thai).

If you look at the following picture, you might be reminded, as I was, of the Play-doh barber shop toy. Pretty fun concept for candy, too, but pretty messy. Definitely for kids.

Pelon Pelo Rico

The goo smelled like tamarind. The goo was also difficult to eat, and I ended up scraping it off the top with my teeth. If I was younger, I would have had no trouble just sucking it off. It was chewy, sort of like melted fruit leather might taste - sticky and pulpy. I have to say that the experience was pretty fun.

The initial flavor was very intense. It wasn't bad, but very foreign to my tongue (and I have had tamarind before). Once I was used to the flavor, it was better. My husband said the taste reminded him of mild peppers, and he liked it more than I did. I think tamarind is probably an acquired taste, and I think that if I had more exposure to it, I would have liked this candy more. It was a lot of fun to eat, and unlike any candy I've ever had before!


Hershey Pelon Pelo Rico website

Yoo-Hoo Chocolate Beverage

Image Copyright Cadbury-Schweppes

See, I like Yoo-Hoo, but you have to drink it the way they ask you to. No Yoo-Hoo anarchy here. If you decide to fight the man and eschew the system, you end up with a watery half drink, an average rest, and a chalky, quasi-chocolate goo-powder at the bottom.


But if you shake it...shake it good, like a Polaroid picture or like a crying baby...too soon? If you shake if well, it's heavenly. Severely delicious.

It might take people a while to get used to the whole "chocolate drink" as opposed to the "chocolate milk" thing, but I think it's vastly superior. Nothing compares to a good chocolate milk, but if you can't have that, this is the next best thing.


Eclipse Bistro

Eclipse Bistro is a casual upscale eatery in Wilmington's Little Italy neighborhood, and has been on my list for a few years ever since a trusted friend told me that he loved the place. The only things stopping me from hitting up Ellipse were their limited veggie offerings and a pricey dinner menu.

Now, to be fair, Eclipse's menu prices are not out of line with other casual upscale restaurants, it's just that it's not every night I want to spend $25 for an entree. So, with frugality in mind, I thought I'd hit up Eclipse for lunch, thinking prices would be slashed. They weren't. Well, except for the entrees, but, it turns out, I can't eat those anyway.

The lunch and dinner menus are virtually identical in menu items and prices, with the exception of added entrees and salads to the dinner menu, and entree prices being more expensive for dinner. I thought this was odd, so did a little research on other comparable restaurants' menus, and, nope, this is how fancy restaurants roll. I guess I'm just so used to ethnic restaurants' lunch deals, that I thought this was the norm. And I'm sure Eclipse's lunch menu prices are the reason why there were only three other tables dining for lunch,while some Thai restaurant somewhere was packed.

Long story short, lunch ain't cheap at Eclipse. For lunch, appetizers are $11-$14; sandwiches are $11-$14; Salads are $8-$10; pasta dishes are $16-$17; and larger plates are $13-$18.

And as far as vegetarian items, you're stuck with salads and appetizers, although, I'm sure the kitchen could rework some dishes or make a veggie plate upon request. Service was very professional, if maybe a little slow with water refills, so I'd expect the kitchen to be just as professional.
We started with the blue cheese, fig jam, and caramelized onion flat bread. This quirky combo of sweet and pungent flavors has become quite ubiquitous at restaurants, and there's a reason why; it's awesome! Eclipse's version was on a medium thick, chewy crust. I appreciated the sprinkling of coarse salt to balance out the sweet fig jam.
The panko-crusted fried eggplant with roasted tomato jam and shaved Locatelli was my favorite of the bunch. The eggplant slices were large and filling, and while grease was visible when I cut into the eggplant, the dish did not feel or taste greasy. The tomato jam was not sweet as the name would suggest, but was full of concentrated sun dried tomato flavor. I'm calling on all restaurants to bring back the sun dried tomato!

Look past the fried eggplant, and you'll see my partner's grilled chicken wrap with avocado, Mozzarella, roasted red peppers, and mayo. He thought the chicken was perfectly cooked. He subbed a salad, but sandwiches usually come with a hefty stack of thin-cut fries.

This phyllo pastry with roasted winter vegetables and brie sitting on a pool of port wine reduction was the only loser in the bunch. Not that I mind eating zucchini, peppers, and mushrooms any time of the year, I wouldn't really call them winter vegetables. And that port wine reduction was so sweet, it should only accompany dessert, or, at most, only be drizzled on the pastry. I tried desperately to get each bite of the savory pastry away from that liquid, but it was a lost cause.

And with that, I just ate three of the four vegetarian appetizers on Eclipse's menu. The only things left are salads and vegetable potstickers. Hmm, I guess I could hit up Eclipse's sister restaurants, Dome and Capers and Lemons, for a little variety. And I might just do that. One day.

Eclipse Bistro

1020 N. Union St., Wilmington, DE 19805
Mon-Fri: 11:30am-2pm, 5:30pm-10pm
Sat: 5:30pm-10pm
Sun: 5pm-9pm

Friday, April 17, 2009

Boulder Canyon Spinach and Artichoke Chips

Image copyright Boulder Canyon Foods

It's the first time for me to try these chips, and I'm very excited, since I've been eying them since yesterday's corn chip scandal.

The aroma is very strong and impeccable, like a dip in itself, but the overlying smell is cooked potato and olive oil, like an Italian restaurant.

I fell in love with these chips during my freshman year when the Parmesan and Garlic flavor inexplicably turned up in the vending machines, even though I'm not a huge fan of kettle chips.

These chips have a delicious crunch, very thick, and taste like the dip you'd get at Chili's if you ordered a spinach and artichoke dip. They have the slightly earthy taste of spinach and the buttery dip taste. They're very tasty. There's even a creamy, sour cream-like taste to them. There are visible herbs on top of the chips to eat, and I tasted a strong basil hint in some of mine.

I'd eat these again, but since I'm not a big fan of kettle chips and prefer more powder as opposed to the more oil-based flavor these have.