Monday, August 31, 2009

Teriyaki Doritos

Another chip flavor in my J-List package, this one happens to be from Doritos, in a teriyaki flavor.

The bag of chips borders on being industrial strength in tenacity. I had to cut it open. That's bad for a snack bag. If I were on the train and moving, or walking somewhere where I just needed a snack, I don't want to have to ask for help or look for a sharp object to open a damned bag of chips.

The Doritos are of a normal size, perhaps a smidge smaller than their American counterparts. Beware, when you open this bag. These smell horrendous. Almost smelly enough to turn me off them completely, but I tried them and the taste is much better than the scent.

I'm not sure if I'd classify these as teriyaki. I guess one could, because they're sweet and salty, but I don't taste the soy sauce. If anything, it's more of a barbecue taste, like a sweet honey barbecue. The Doritos from Japan have a much more intense corn flavor to them than the regular, which I like and don't like at the same time. On one hand, the proportions are different, giving a very crispy, almost sembei-like texture to the chips, with a sweet corn flavor as an aftertaste, but on the other hand, the corn flavor really takes us away from the teriyaki, and if the flavor is billed as teriyaki, I don't know why there isn't more of a flavor.

They're good chips, and quite addictive at that. I like them.

7/10- NICE

Late Night Doritos: Last Call Jalepeno Popper

I've always loved spicy things, but for some reason, have never gotten around to trying jalapeno poppers. They're a bar food staple. The tasty appetizer with a beer. So I figured if I tried these, I might be inspired to try the actual food.

If these are supposed to be accurate, Doritos has the flavor spot on. The aroma is deeply spicy, spicier than I thought, and the chips are bright orange. If they were green, that would be cool. But I digress.

The flavor is really, really good. I was expecting a weak peppery flavor, nothing to write home about, but these are spot on. The chip base provides the battery taste of the popper's shell, and the taste starts out tangy and cool, and then develops into a legitimately hot chip with a nice peppery taste and a real spice that can only be remedied, of course, by eating more chips.

This is the first Doritos chip I've had that doesn't taste like a conglomerate of Cooler Ranch and Nacho Cheese, so they definitely need to stick around. I like them a lot.

9/10- GREAT


In or around the Philly area, Jose Garces sets the bar for Spanish and Latino-influenced tapas restaurants. There's no denying that Amada, Garces' spanish tapas restaurant; Tinto, his Basque tapas restaurant; and Distrito, his Mexican tapas restaurant, are truly top of the line. We diners are fortunate to have his ever expanding empire (Village Whiskey is opening this Thursday! uh, make that Friday) right at our feet, but it is unfortunate for other restaurateurs serving food in the same vein -- they are going to be compared to Garces.

But it's not only other Spanish and Latino tapas restaurants that I compare to Garces, I also pit Garces against Garces. Will one of his restaurants be as good as his others? And so it is, I go to see how Garces' Peruvian and Cantonese-fusion tapas restaurant, Chifa, stacks up?
Pisco sour is the national drink of Peru, and I hear Chifa makes a mean one, but I cannot resist a drink with lima beans as an ingredient, so went with the Lima Bean Fizz, an eerily glowing blue-green drink mixed with cucumber infused vodka, lima beans, and Thai Basil. It's the cucumber and basil that really shines through in this drink, not the lima bean, so the legume leery should not hesitate to order up a Lima Bean Fizz.
These complimentary yucca-flour cheese rolls with sweet and spicy guava butter alone are enough reason to visit Chifa. Warm and aromatically cheesy with a chewy center, these rolls are addictive, and possibly the best part on my entire meal.

You know how people go to Olive Garden and order the cheapest item on the menu just to get the complimentary bread sticks and salad? Not to compare Chifa's rolls to Olive Garden's bread sticks (no comparison!), but I'd go to Chifa and order one of anything just to get these fried cheese rolls.

While I did have two meat eaters with me on this visit, I am not going to cover their meat dishes (other reviews out there have done a great job of this), but will stick to the vegetarian dishes. Be sure to ask your server what dishes can be made vegetarian that aren't under the 'Vegetable' section, because there are a couple.After such a high with the cheese rolls, these scallion pancakes were such a low. Uniformly round with small scallion bits, I thought they lacked the flavor and character of slapdash scallion pancakes packed with scallions found at many Asian restaurants. This is the only dish of the evening (meat dishes included) that we would not order again. Simply put, the scallion pancakes are boring. I asked for Chaufa, a stir fried rice dish with mango and edamame, to be served without the chorizo and scallops. Moister and sweeter than most stir fries I've ever had, I can't say that this sizable-for-tapas hot pot of rice blows stir fried rice from other Chinese restaurants out of the water. Excellent, tasty, sweet, savory? Yes. I'm sure it's the chorizo and scallops that elevate this dish above standard Chinese fare, but without those ingredients, you're looking at a bowl of stir fried rice.Under the vegetable section you'll find a dish called Aji Mushrooms with only Aji mushrooms, tofu, and potatoes listed as a descriptor. I ordered this without asking what the dish was like, and was completely surprised to have a puffy pastry dough baked in a bowl arrive, to which the server poked a hole in the center and poured cream over the mushrooms and tofu inside. It was like eating a pot pie filled with the best mushroom soup you've ever had. This dish even stood out amongst the meat dishes.
By omitting the King Crab, the kitchen can make a vegetarian version of Red Curry Del General with eggplant and tofu. Underneath the sweet and spicy red curry sits a mound of sticky jasmine rice. An excellent red curry, but I've had just as good from most Thai places for much cheaper.
With the recommended three dishes per person, we were too full for dessert, but these complimentary puffed rice bars, otherwise known as Rice Krispie treats, topped with and edible dragon printed paper did the trick of bringing our meal to an end.

As per my experience, I'd recommend staying away from the more classically Asian dishes (although, apparently the pork belly buns are to die for) and order the dishes that cannot be had at every corner Chinese or Thai restaurant, not because these dishes aren't great at Chifa, but because your average (really it would be above-average) Asian restaurant has already perfected these dishes.

With still a few veggie dishes on the menu untried, a return visit is definitely in order, if only to get those fried puffy cheese balls again!

707 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19106

Lunch: Mon-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm

Dinner: Sun-Thurs 5pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-12am

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ferrero Melon Mango Tic Tacs

Melon Mango TicTacs

Here we have yet another impulse buy of mine. This seems to be how I acquire most of my candy. I grabbed this at the last moment with some other essentials. Melon is one of my favorite flavors, and I'm pretty fond of mango, too, so I was curious to see how they would translate to Tic Tac.

Although both colors could have been melon, only one could have been mango. Surprisingly, it was very easy to tell the two flavors apart by taste. I'll start with melon.

Melon Mango TicTacs

Melon was green, and it had a nice sour honeydew flavor. It reminded me of melon soda, which is one of my favorite beverages. It's probably not that authentic, because I don't like real honeydew melon very much. The flavor of this Tic Tac was consistent throughout. There was a slight minty aftertaste, but nothing too major for my taste.

Mango, the orange one, was a pretty decent representation of mango with a hint of orange. To me, it seemed like this flavor had less of a minty aftertaste. My husband thought both flavors reminded him of Nerds. This flavor was good, but I liked the melon better.

As with most fruity Tic Tacs, these aren't great breath fresheners, but I enjoyed them. The melon in particular was tasty, and the slight minty finish was a plus for me, because it didn't leave me with a stale aftertaste like the melon did.


Ferrero Website

Starbucks Sausage Piadini

Mom and I went to Starbucks today for a little breakfast, and I wanted something hot and filling, but not too rich, so I ordered this piadini.

Contrary to what I first thought, piadini, or piadina, is not a word invented by Starbucks marketing executives to seem avant garde and homemade. It's an actual Italian food, a sort of taco-flatbread thing served with meats inside. I ordered the sausage, egg, and cheese piadini.

The piadini is lighter and fluffier than it originally looked in the case. The bread is some sort of foccacia bastardization with green flecks in it. The green flecks could be boogers or green dye for all I know. Their flavor is never again mentioned in the context of the food. The filling is nice and hot, and the bread is crispy instead of simply tasting reheated.

As for the flavor, the sausage and cheese are rich and gooey, but the egg is flavorless. It exists. I can feel its presence, like the ghost of a dead grandmother or a lingering elevator fart, but lacks any actual substance within the melding of the pastry.

It's good. Would I order it again? I'm on the fence. It's a nice, hot meal, but at $3.25, you're better off with a McGriddle. Cheaper, tastier, and much more filling.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Chili's Chicken Crisper Bites

Yo, all my foodies. So Swagger and I went out to Chili's to celebrate us leaving for college soon, and got a shitload of good food for me to review.

As a meal, I got the chicken crisper bites. These are billed as chicken fried "to perfection" with sauteed onions, pickles, and cheddar cheese with ancho-chile ranch sauce on a bun, served with crispy onion straws and french fries.

I ordered these without onions and pickles because that just seems strange, for one, and for two, it also seems like there's just too much going on with the briney flavor of the pickles and the crunchy onions, and the cheese and sauce, and underneath that you remember that there might actually be some chicken, too. So I got them with just cheese and sauce, figuring it'd be much less simplified to eat.

The food comes out on a platter with each sandwich stabbed squarely through the middle, as if to create a food diorama based on a medieval pit trap, so one can safely stab one's french fries through the skewers. They were nice and hot and massive. I was wholeheartedly tricked by the sandwich. I figured, oh, they're tiny, they won't hurt me, and like the Gremlins, I was fucked.

The sandwich itself is delicious. It's little, roughly three bites' worth, one if you're Galactus, and is very tasty. Not a lot of cheese taste, and if there was any ancho-chile ranch sauce, a sauce I was legitimately excited to try, I could not tell you where it was. Seriously. It was like searching for WMD' was not there.

I can make that joke. I'm a Republican.

Good little bites, though, but filling as hell. Extremely addictive until you actually get full. I just wanted to keep eating and eating and I powered through three of them until my stomach reminded me that it was full. I left the last one sitting there. I didn't even want to take it home. Four is just too many for me, I guess. I'm a wuss.

The fries and onions on the side baffled me. So is it fries or onions? Oh. I guess it's both. It just made me wonder why they'd bother serving smaller-than-adequate portions of each with the sandwiches. I'd have wanted one. The onions seemed like more of a garnish than a side dish, too. Little crispy straws. Too small for me. The fries were nothing spectacular. I made better at home. Just plump pieces with the skin on, and by the time I dug through my shredded onion things, they were cold. AND WHERE WAS MY DIPPING SAUCE, CHILI'S?

Overall, these were quite tasty. When I was eating them. At home, I was miserable and bloated. So, my foodies, my lesson to you is to beware the allure of the Seductress of Sliders. She will take you to a fun, friendly atmosphere to STAB YOU THROUGH THE STOMACH AND LEAVE YOU FOR DEAD.

Rest in Peace, my stomach.

8/10- YUMMY

Friday, August 28, 2009

Desert Heat Buffalo Wild Wings and Assorted Appetizers...

I had these wings a few nights ago with a friend of mine, and I was excited to see that for the first time, BBW is eschewing their messy sauces for a nice dry rub. Of course, I had to eat them.

We had appetizers to start out with- BBW's miniature corn dogs and mozzarella sticks. The mozz sticks were quite good, actually- nice and big with a panko crust, and the cheese was hot and melty enough so that it strung out in a big loop rather than falling out of the breading and scalding your face. The corn dogs were tiny and crispy, and the batter to dog ratio wasn't bad. They were good dogs, just a little bland. I would have appreciated some dipping sauce or flavoring in addition to them.

STICKS- 6/10
DOGS- 5/10

As for the wings, well, they were typical BBW fare. If chicken had a hierarchy, it would go like this. Boned chicken, then chicken nuggets, chicken wings, chicken tenders, and finally, fried chicken fillet on top. These "boneless wings" waver in the nugget/tender region. They call them tenders, but tenders are, at best, big slabs of breast meat in holdable shapes. These are like tenders that have been curled up like pill bugs and fried into a frenzy. They're too crispy, and rarely ever larger than a small dog's turd.

The seasoning is good. Lots of paprika flavoring and spices, a very salty taste, too. But it's just too hot, somehow. I'm not sure if it's the dryness of the spices offsetting the flavor, but it is really akin to being in a desert. Out of eight wings, I ate three, maybe. They're not that good.

Why do I keep eating here?!?


Nestle Ume Soda KitKat

Ume Soda KitKat

I worked very hard to get this KitKat. It came from a Namco Wonder Tower in Osaka, and I probably paid way too much to win it, but it was great fun. After struggling to knock over the tower of KitKats and Tirol chocolates in the machine I was playing, a kind employee took pity on me and opened up the machine to make the game a little easier. So, even though I had help, I am proud of the KitKats I won that day.

Anyhow, I am slowly getting over the fear of fruity KitKats that developed after eating Muscat of Alexandria. Even though part of me wanted to write this KitKat off as a bad idea right away, I did my best to approach it with an open mind.

Ume Soda KitKat

The KitKat was a pretty pale green and had a nice, slightly floral, light plum candy scent. It smelled fruity in general, much like the Ramune KitKat, only a little lighter. At first, I didn't think I would like it, because it seemed a little sickeningly sweet, but then, the tartness of Japanese plum kicked in, and it was quite interesting.

It was a lot like plum candy in the finish, and that's what saved this KitKat for me. The contrast of the sweetness of the white chocolate and the sharpness of the plum (which seemed to come from between the wafers) was a fun balance. It's definitely not my favorite, but I definitely enjoyed it! Maybe it just tasted better because I worked for it.


KitKat website

The holy grail of chicken.

By pure accident, I have perfected fried chicken and french fries. Sorry for the photo...I really do need a good camera!

And I'm going to show you the recipe.

Ingredients (serves 1)
1 boneless chicken breast
1 potato roll
bread crumbs
1 potato
oil- olive and peanut

1. Take your chicken breast and tenderize it- roll or pound it down until it's roughly 1/2 inch thick.
2. Mix together salt, pepper, bread crumbs, and flour. Dip chicken in and coat on all sides.
3. Butter roll and bake potato. Yes, bake it. Once it's done baking, cut it into fry shapes.
4. Fry chicken in pan at 200 degrees for about ten minutes, or until golden brown on both sides. Let cool.
5. Fry fries at same temperature until crispy and golden brown.
6. Take cooled chicken, fry again for roughly 30 seconds to a minute, take out and serve.

This is definitely the best chicken I've ever had. Why? Because it's so simple. I wanted to do a dry rub, put a sauce on it, and just decided to throw that down the tubes. It's so simple. Baking the potatoes was genius, and wasn't even my idea. We had a leftover baked potato in the fridge so I just put it in the fryer. They come out tender and have so much less moisture and starch than fresh potatoes, which ensures that there won't be a raw inside and that the flesh will be extremely tender, but crisp on the outside.

As for the chicken, the key is in the twice-frying. I let all the juices soak in and then refried it for that extra crispy crust. I had no idea it would taste so good! Seriously. Try my accidental recipe. You won't forget this chicken easily.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


The original Dmitri's (a second location is at 23rd and Pine, and a third location is in the works for Northern Liberties) is a tiny Greek BYOB on a corner in Queen Village, and is consistently on lists of top recommendations for anyone dining in Philly. Now, with a few visits under my belt, I'm scratching my head as to why.

But before you beat me over the head with comments, it's not that Dmitri's doesn't serve up some good food, it's just that I think the food and atmosphere are not flashing-lights-wow worthy of a visit from out-of-towners.

As an early forerunner in Philly's BYOB game, and with a quaint neighborhood location (if not tight and with a long wait), I will warn anyone with Dmitri's on their must-do-while-in-Philly list that Dmitri's is more of a beloved neighborhood institution, and not a destination restaurant. Although, devotees will surely disagree.

The one thing Dimitri's is renowned for is their grilled octopus, and while I don't eat octopus, on a recent visit three others at our table did. The unanimous sentiment was that the octopus was tough and over charred, with some bits burned to a crisp. Bad night for octopus at Dmitri's?
Dmitri's loves their grill, and they seem to grill things a bit too long, giving food an almost unpalatable char. The grilled pita bead was almost inedible. Thankfully there was also French bread. The baba ganoush also suffered from many charred bits, but not enough to make the roasted eggplant dish unpalatable.
Cucumber and dill soup was a special of the evening, and this huge bowl of what was more like a thick yogurt tzatziki sauce came out. Delicious, but not soup. We used it as a dip for the bread.
My favorite at Dmitri's are the beets with onions and vinaigrette. Simple, tangy, yet balanced...and huge! This 'little dish' was enough to feed our entire table, and then take some home. All of Dmitri's plates are on the large side. No small plates here, or going out for a late snack after eating at Dmitri's.
Dmitri's spinach pie is excellent, with flaky crust and ample spinach filling. Again, the portion is huge.

Back to the fish and meat eaters at our table, two of whom ordered the fried scallops and the seared scallops: both scallop dishes were cooked perfectly, with the fried scallops winning the taste contest (who doesn't like fried better?).

The seafood combination, an impossibly large bowl of garlicky broth containing shrimp, clams, mussels, fish, and scallops, was also ordered, and was declared winner of the entire evening not only for taste and variety (the whole ocean's in there!), but for value. Seriously huge!

So, Dmitri's serves up some good Mediterranean grub with simple flavors and ingredients at reasonable prices and large portions, and does a bang-up job with the seafood (octopus? meh). I can see why the place gets recommendations, but, still, if I had only a weekend in Philly I'd be miffed as to why I was sent here. Dmitri's really is a local love affair.

795 S. 3rd St., Philadelphia, PA 19147



Shameless Foodette: Red Lantern Cake

Yesterday, The Brownie Whisperer and I got together to create a cake filled with rage and buttercream. It was the sequel to the blue lantern cake that he soloed with last week, and soon to be preceded by something even more amazing...when I think of something to create.

The cake recipe was adapted from the guy who got his ass kicked by Bobby Flay, Cake Man Raven, who inexplicably spells his name "Cakeman," like caveman but pussier. Regardless, here's the recipe.

I will warn you- concentrated food gel is bullshit. The lady said we'd be able to color it with a toothpick's worth- the entire cake took the whole bottle. Like fuck it worked.

Ingredients (serves 2-10)
2 1/2 cups of cake flour
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of fine salt
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
1 cup of buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vinegar (white distilled)
1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil
An assload of red food coloring
1 tsp. of vanilla extract

4 cups of confectioner's sugar
1 lb. of cream cheese (room temperature)
1 lb. of butter (softened)
2 tsp. of vanilla. extract
Cinnamon to taste
More red dye

1. Sift together all dry ingredients- the first 5 on the list.
2. Add liquid in an electric mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until well incorporated.
3. Slowly add dry ingredients to bowl, until all ingredients are combined.
4. Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.
5. For the frosting, mix together the cream cheese, cinnamon and the softened butter. Partition off roughly 3/4 of a cup for the "blood" middle.
6. Gradually add confectioners sugar until it reaches desired sweetness and smoothness.
7. Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and frost the cake.
8. Mix red dye into blood and add milk until frosting reaches liquidy consistency. Frost cake with white, blood in moat on middle layer (see photo) and white on top. Garnish with fondant symbol.

Catch bad guys red-handed. No photos of me. I'm not pretty.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Trader Joe's Cream Cheese Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Breasts

Rachel, this one's for you. One of my amazing bloggy friends commented on my recipes with a mutual detestation for mayo, so I went out to find her an amazing treat that I knew she'd love. I loved it, too. That treat turned out to be a find from The Brownie Whisperer raving madly about these chickens from Trader Joe's stuffed with cream cheese. And yes, I realize that this is the worst photo in the world. If you hate it, buy me a goddamn camera.

He took me home, and cooked me up a chicken. They're bigger than I thought they'd be. They're not nugget sized, like I assumed, but a little bigger than a regular cutlet, I'd say, eight inches long, maybe two across. Either way, they're hefty.

The chicken is coated in panko bread crumbs, so it's really crunchy, and a buffalo seasoning. It took thirty five minutes exactly to cook this in the oven, but it's worth the wait. When we took it out, the cream cheese was oozing out the sides. It looked fantastic. I waited for it to cool, and then dug in.

The first thing you notice with these is the crunch of the panko. The chicken is easy to saw through and just gushes cream cheese. The buffalo flavoring is subtle. It's noticeable, but doesn't take away from the taste of the chicken or the cream cheese. The cheese is delicious and creamy, the perfect filler in here. Every bite has a nice amount of cream cheese in it.

My only complaint was that it's an awfully messy food, so it's not ideal for on the go, but I think that if I had to have a last meal, it just might be two of these in a baguette or a hoagie roll with some cheese on top! They would make an amazing sandwich. And the coolest part about these is that the chicken is local, from a town not too far from my own.

9/10- MMMMM!

Hershey's Chocolate Bubble Yum

Hershey's Chocolate Bubble Yum

Chewy chocolate is risky business. Although I'm not a big fan, Tootsie Rolls are much better than chocolate Skittles. When I came across this gum in a gas station in Kentucky, I was compelled to buy it. Maybe it was morbid curiosity.

When I was younger, I loved bubble gum, and that hasn't changed. For some reason, though, Bubble Yum and Bubblicious seem like too much gum for me now. However, it's hard to find such vivid flavors, or sugared gum, without buying this type of gum.

Hershey's Chocolate Bubble Yum

To sum it up quickly, it looked, smelled, and tasted like a Tootsie Roll. There was also a hint of hot cocoa, enhanced by weird crystals in the texture. The gum was hard to chew, since it was firm to begin with, and it kept getting harder the longer I chewed.

Surprisingly, it wasn't bad. I don't think I'll be buying it again, but the chocolate flavor was decent. The main thing I didn't like about it was the firmness, but maybe my pack just wasn't very fresh.


Bubble Yum website

Meiji Creamy Almond Kinoko no Yama

Creamy Almond Kinoko no Yama

I'm afraid my reviews of Kinoko no Yama are rather predictable. Nearly every kind I've tried has been a huge hit with both my husband and myself. I am a lifetime Meiji customer because of Kinoko no Yama and Takenoko no Sato. The shapes are cute, the original flavors are delicious, and there are always new, tasty varieties to try.

We found these Creamy Almond chocolates at Jungle Jim's in Fairfield, OH and bought them without hesitating. We were so excited to eat them that I didn't wait to get home to review them; I took the pictures in the car that night.

Creamy Almond Kinoko no Yama

The chocolates had a generally nutty and lightly sweet smell. I tasted the chocolate by itself, and it was a mild white chocolate with tiny chopped nuts inside. However, Kinoko no Yama are meant to be enjoyed as a whole, so it doesn't really matter how the chocolate tastes alone.

Together, the crunchy cookie blends well with the chocolate, balancing out any difference in sweetness and adding a fantastic texture. The almond flavor was pleasant, enhanced by the real nut pieces, and never too sweet. My husband and I had no problem polishing off the entire box in under 30 minutes.


Meiji website

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Deli Manjoo

Here's a funky little treat for New Yorkers in Chinatown. It's called Deli Manjoo. It's a Korean-based company that makes fresh cakes in front of you to eat. It's probably the most amazing thing I've ever encountered.

Everyone loves Twinkies, but hates how cheap they are. These are the gourmet answer to a Twinkie. The cake is just a little more dense, the cream isn't that fake whipped cream bullshit, it's custard, and best of all, they're bite-sized for easy eating.

The price is upsettingly inexpensive, too. At $2 for 8 cakes, it's just impossible to pass up. They're able to be ordered in walnut and plain.

I got mine plain. When eaten hot, the cake was lovely. Not too sweet, which served as the perfect pair to the sweet, thick custard. It was chewy and dense, like a pound cake. They're adorable, too, like the poor man's petit four, and are shaped like little ears of corn. The custard was hot and gooey and gushed out of the cake, but was still very tasty. Eat these with milk. You've been warned.

Cold, they're good. Cake is still very dense and not mushy in the least. And the cream has solidified so you can eat it in a more portable fashion. A great and cheap little treat for the road!

8/10- LOVELY

Awesome Person and New Header Alert

Meeting people, not eating food, is the best part about writing a food blog. I've met so many wonderful people online and in person because of this blog, and recently had the opportunity to meet in person Kristen Nichols, a blogger herself who posts 'musings and inspirations for weddings, style, and everyday life' on her aptly named blog All Things Lovely.

A couple of comments exchanged on each others' blogs, an email here and there, and a meeting in person, and Kristen offered to design a new blog header for me (RSS readers, you're just gonna have to click over to see the new header). At first, I was blown away by Kristen's generosity, but then took her up on the offer.

Working with Kristen is so easy; she's friendly, speedy, professional, and just all-around awesome. Kristen's also a workaholic with three (!!!) businesses to her name:
  • Milkmade Press specializes in gorgeous custom stationary and letter press, and also assists businesses with branding and design.
  • Jubilee Photography specializes in wedding and portrait photography.
  • Haute Boudoir is 'a sexy, sassy and sweet little photo boutique focusing on intimate, fashion influenced fine art portraiture.' Listen up lovers: trust me when I say that a sexy photo session with Kristen makes the perfect gift for any occasion. Yes, even Thanksgiving. Want!
So, thank you, Kristen, for creating the fun, food-themed header for my blog.


I just got back from visiting friends in Kentucky, so I have plenty of new snacks to review, but in the meantime I just wanted to remind readers in the United States that the Mars Real Chocolate Relief Act is still going on.

If you haven't gotten in on it yet, every Friday, Mars gives out coupons for a free candy bar to the first 250,000 people to register at the website. The promotion is only running until September 25, so be sure to sign up. There is a 4 coupon per household limit, so you still have time to get all 4 if you haven't yet!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Kraft Oreo Brownie

This brownie was eaten in a movie theatre. It boasts Oreo pieces, like in the photo, but lacks them. It looks just like a regular brownie, come to think of it.

If you like thick brownies, this is a good treat for you. It's a pretty chewy, cake-like brownie. It tastes thick and cakey but doesn't crumble all over the place. I'm not sure how this is accomplished, but it manages to keep the taste of Oreo without actually having a large amount of Oreo chunks to begin with. If there were any, I really didn't taste them. The brownie encompasses six good-sized mouthfuls. It was good, just not great. I wasn't impressed or excited. It was just an average brownie with a gourmet price tag of $2.50.

4/10- MEH

Friday, August 21, 2009

Recipes take a test drive.

All right, guinea pigs, I have three recipes for you, and they're both delicious and famous, at least in my eyes. Two of them I lack photos for, so am using shameless stock photos instead. SHAMELESS PHOTOS. Shame them. None of them are mine. I'm just some hack with a blog.

It's going to be a new feature of mine called The Shameless Foodette. I'm a teen. I make amazing and oftentimes, strange recipes. So I'll post the best of them here, yes?

If you like these, PLEASE COMMENT. I want to know if I ought to keep this feature.

Chicken Salad
Here's a favorite of mine. I love chicken salad, but detest the aroma, flavor, and texture of mayonnaise. So I invented this version of chicken salad that still maintains the creaminess and texture of salad without the mayo, and a few additional tasty treats.

Ingredients (serves 4)
4 pieces of flatbread (I use Arnold Select Sandwich Thins)
4 chicken tenders or breast fillets
1/2 cup of mashed potatoes, refrigerated
2 spoonfuls of hummus (plain)
1/3 cup of shredded cheese, any flavor
2 spoonfuls of sour cream or cream cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Turn on stove and cook chicken however you like chicken cooked, though preferably sauteed in a pan.
2. Toast flatbread to a light brown.
3. Mix together the remaining ingredients and microwave for 20 seconds on high.
4. When chicken is finished, take two forks and shred it. Salt and pepper to your liking.
5. Mix shredded chicken into bowl with other ingredients.
6. Spread on bread.
7. Devour.

If it sounds gross, it's definitely not. I adore it. It's flavorful, has a little bit of tang from the sour cream and hummus, and still sticks true to the basic idea of a chicken salad.

Ghetto Dog
Another big favorite of mine. I make it when there's nothing left in the house and when I want to have a quick and cheap, but gourmet, meal.

Ingredients (serves 4)
4 turkey dogs (Definitely use turkey- the taste makes a big difference. Ball Park White Turkey Franks are best.)
2 spoonfuls of ancho-chipotle powder
4 slices of bread
Cream cheese

1. Spiral cut your hot dogs once they're out of the package. Spiral cutting makes them gorgeous and really crisps them up. Just take a sharp knife and cut into the dog to the bottom without cutting through, like you're slicing it but faking out at the end. Make as many slices as you can, and cut an "x" in each end of the dog.
2. Take your bread and spread cream cheese on. Trust me on this one. It's good.
3. Rub the hot dogs with the ancho-chipotle powder, making sure to get into all the cuts and crevices made by the spiral cutting.
4. Put hot dogs on the grill or pan and cook until crispy and browned.
5. Put on bread. Roll up, natch.
6. Consume.

It's delicious. Just trust me. It's a creamy, yet spicy taste, like the chicken salad. It's good.

Pancakes Bananas Foster
I made this one day when I was craving stuffed French toast, but didn't have any bread. It's a really tasty and pretty way to start the morning.

Ingredients (serves 4)
Enough pancake mix for 12 pancakes
2 bananas
1/4 cup of brown sugar
Caramel/Dulche de leche sauce
Whipped cream

1. Start making pancakes. In the mix, stir in a little dulche de leche or caramel sauce, enough to color the mix, but not screw up the chemistry of the pancakes.
2. Cook pancakes.
3. Slice bananas into circles and sprinkle brown sugar, sugar, and a little flour on them. Make sure to cover all sides. In separate pan, melt butter and toss in bananas. Mix in remaining dulche.
4. When bananas are brown and crispy on all sides, take out of pan.
5. Layer each pancake in this order- pancake, bananas, whipped cream, pancakes, bananas, whipped cream. Whenever you stop layering, top with whipped cream.
6. Eat.

They're all really delicious recipes that I've tried and perfected over and over. Eat them. They are cheap and tasty.

The KFC Double Down Sandwich

Well, folks, here it is.

I know what you're all going to say, and I appreciate it, but the time has come for me to depart this earth. I'll entertain a few questions. For instance, how I will end my life in a pain-free way.

The answer, friends, is the KFC Double Down sandwich. I never said it had to be dignified.

So I saw this lead on GrubGrade and a few other sites and sniffed it out at a KFC near me. I had to get it. It was just disgusting enough for me to have to eat, and oddly enough, seemed to be Atkins-friendly.

I took this photo from Food Geekery, because in my amazement, I never ended up taking photos. How I acquired that was a mystery, really. I went to my local KFC, looked on the menu. No Double Down. But the employees must have been debriefed for such inquiries, because I asked for one, and they delivered.

So how is this monstrosity? Well, it's damned good. I'll tell you that. It reminds me of a MAD Magazine parody a few years back for TGI Friday's where they offered the menu option to replace your bun with two pieces of fried chicken. Oddly enough, that's what this is.

Deconstructing the sandwich. It's two pieces of fried breast fillet, bacon, cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese, and Colonel's Sauce, which may or may not be semen from Colonel Sanders himself. The breast fillets are like KFC's standard fillets. They're salty. They're greasy. They're delicious and crunchy and crispy. They serve as interesting handles for a sandwich. Not sure if it's the first thing I want my hands all over, but still.

The cheese is quite tasty. It's all melted and gooey and stays nicely on the chicken, and you can taste the individual spicy flavors of the Jack and the sharpness of the cheddar. Quite good. The sauce...I have no idea what it is. Some quick research tells me I could have one of two limited edition sauces, put out by the Colonel in 1964, a selection of a honey rum or a BBQ. I tasted neither, but did taste a creamier flavor, potentially semen or the cheese melting. The bacon was present. Wasn't good, wasn't bad, just added a mildly porky flavor and didn't really add anything to the meal.

So there you have it, folks. Straight from the horse's ass. Do you like it? I don't care. Why? Because I am dying slowly.


Mojito Granita

Quick, quick! Before a cool front comes through and people stop complaining about the heat and humidity, and start complaining about the chill in the air, let's post a seasonally appropriate recipe for hot, sultry days.

While my Cuisinart ice cream maker is my most cherished kitchen gadget, and is still attached to me by an umbilical cord, I do realize that not everyone has an ice cream maker, so wanted to offer up an icy dessert that can be made with only a freezer, a container, and a fork. I also wanted to make a dessert that's not so rich and calorie laden (my eating has been sinful lately).

Enter the granita -- an Italian semi-frozen dessert that's refreshing, extremely light, and perfect for hot days when ingesting food seems like torture. Granita is akin to a snow cone, shaved ice, or water ice (it's a Philly thing), and is as simple to make as throwing a flavored sugary liquid in the freezer and periodically scraping the frozen edges to the center until you have fine grained icy crystals. After an hour in the freezer the edges start to freeze, then you scrape the frozen edges to the center, breaking apart large frozen bits.
Keep checking in on the mixture every 30 minutes or so, scraping the edges to the center.
At about the three or four hour mark, you have granita!

Mojito Granita
adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
makes about 1 quart

serves 4

2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
2 limes, zest of
1 cup mint leaves, lightly packed
1/2 cup lime juice (about 6 limes)
3 tablespoons rum
  • In a small sauce pan, add water, sugar, and zest of 2 limes. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves, then remove from heat. Reserving 5 of the mint leaves, add the remaining mint to the saucepan, and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
  • Strain the cooled mixture into a container you will be freezing the granita in, pressing the mint leaves firmly to extract flavor, then discard mint leaves.
  • Finely chop the reserved 5 mint leaves and add to the mixture along with the rum and lime juice.
  • Place container in freezer. After an hour in the freezer, scrape the frozen edges with a fork to the center of the container, breaking the large frozen chunks into smaller pieces. Repeat scraping of frozen edges to the center every 30 minutes until fine crystals have formed.

Diet Dr. Thunder

Here's Walmart's rebuttal to the popular Dr. Pepper soda brand.

It's in a silver can, same size, same brown liquid, same scent of cherries, even, but when you take a sip, you taste...nothing. It's as though Dr. Pepper was filtered through someone's system a few times, the flavor was leeched out, and you were left with carbonation and little else. There's no flavor. There's not even a sugary taste. It's like drinking scented seltzer.

The bubbles are nice, but it's essentially, brown seltzer. And who drinks that? This soda isn't worth the low price you pay for it. I keep opening cans, thinking they're flukes, and just pouring them down the drain. This is one disgusting soda.


Cakes by CrumbyDelights

I got a selection of cakes in the mail a few days ago and am just getting the chance to review them now.

These are cakes by CrumbyDelights, and I received a few different flavors in the mail. One thing I will mention that I really love and highly recommend to anyone who ships things that need to be kept in one place is this shredded paper.

I'm sure I'd seen it before when used with gifts for my birthday or something, but I like it a lot because it's festive and nice, but because it serves a purpose, too. When I opened this box, there was a veritable mass of shredded fuchsia paper in there, and it had all clumped together so that the plate inside wouldn't move. In addition to that, the plate was packaged in a nice hat box, so when I opened it, the cake pieces were as fresh and ready to eat as the day they were packaged.

I tried the first cake, an amaretto and Kahlua chocolate cake first, and I was somewhat on the fence. I'm not really a drinker of alcohol, so I can't quite tell you if the flavors were accurate, but I do know that Kahlua is a coffee-based alcohol and that amaretto is an almond based alcohol. In that respect, there wasn't any coffee flavor that I was able to detect, but I might be wrong about the subtle flavors that Kahlua has.

There was a decent amount of almond flavor and a really moist, but dense texture, probably from where the alcohol was. A nice crust was around the cake, and the overall taste was chocolatey and flavorful.

6/10- MMMM.

This cake was a pecan rum cake, with a really nice streusel on the top. It had a very tropical flavor to it, potentially from the rum, and the texture was much better on this cake than the last. It was definitely airier and fluffier and had less of a heavy and dense texture to it. The crumbs fell apart in my mouth, but not in my hands, and were moist and tasty.

As for the taste, the pecans really made it a more interesting dessert than if it was simply a rum cake. They were nestled in a nice glaze on top, and the streusel made a moist top crust as well as middle, too. I'd like to see this with pineapple incorporated, perhaps, or a cream cheese frosting. The alcohol flavor was there in strength, in the intensity of the flavor, but not so much in the overall taste of the cake.

7/10- GREAT

The last cake was a plain almond cake with a dusting of powdered sugar. It had the same texture as the chocolate cake, the same spongy, but extremely dense cake. It reminded me more of a pound cake than any other type.

The almond flavor was present and good. It was a nice mixture of a vanilla cake taste and the almond extract I assume was used. There was a nice crust covering the cake, a chewy, brown and nearly caramelized crust that made the inside even tastier.

6/10- NICE

Crumby Delights

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Snapple Diet Peach Green Tea

I tried this tea late last night, after a hastily prepared chicken sandwich and a hot walk outside. I was looking forward to a refreshing, cool, and tasty beverage. All I got from this was the cold. And that was from an effort entirely of my own, as a result of refrigerating it prior.

This drink was just gross. Everyone has had canned peaches or fruit before, right? There's always that residue of sugary, thick syrup at the bottom of the can that you either incorporate into a recipe or throw out. It appears that the Snapple company has made alliances with the canned fruit industry to take that syrup juice or whatever you call it and simply bottle it for their own profit.

The result is a sickly-sweet, thick liquid that refreshes less than it coats the throat. It's too saccharine to drink more than a sip or two, and if there's any peach flavor, I couldn't find it. The dominant taste was of concentrated green tea and goop. Not a fan. Never will be. If this is the diet version, I hate to try what the sugared kind is like.

1/10- YUCK