Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Odwalla Chocolate Protein Monster

Here's a drink that has been getting me through the day. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have three classes in a row- three hard History classes and damn if I ain't beat by the time those are finally over. Usually, I stop at the "Oasis" in my hall and grab a bagel or something, but lately I've been trying to avoid carbs and if I don't need them in a snack, no point in eating them.

So I've been getting this drink. The first time I saw it, it was while gazing hungrily at it and I got up because it looked so good, I had to get one. I did, and it was no mistake. The shake is soy milk, but I couldn't taste anything remotely resembling soy. Just good, rich chocolate.

The shake fills you up fast, so it's good for a meal replacement or just a good "to go" snack. One recommendation I do have is that the drink is thoroughly mixed pre-consumption. There's a layer of Dutch chocolate at the bottom that should not go to waste!

7/10- TASTY

Trident Layers Green Apple + Golden Pineapple

Trident Layers

While grocery shopping, this gum called out to me in the checkout, as new things often do. I've had some bad luck with non-Orbit fruity gum, but the idea of layered gum was too intriguing and gimmicky to resist.

If you take a look at the picture below and compare it with the picture above, you might notice that the actual gum is not green-yellow-green like the cover, but yellow-green-yellow. I'm not sure if the layers are actually flavored differently, or if it's just for show, like an Andes mint. The discrepancy wasn't really upsetting, just an odd marketing choice. In fact, I hoped it meant that the gum would be heavier on the pineapple side. I was completely wrong.

Trident Layers

The green band in the middle of the gum made it look neat, but it was very sticky and soft, making the gum a little messy to take out of the wrapper. As for the flavor, the pineapple was completely undetectable unless I used my imagination, and I never would have thought it was there if the package didn't say so.

The gum was a little on the soft side for chewing, and although it was very juicy, it was a basic sour green apple gum that reminded me of children's bubble gum. After a while (maybe 10 minutes), the flavor became stale, and wasn't doing my breath any favors. This gum was disappointing, since it tasted like fake apple and nothing else, but I can't say I hated it. I won't buy this flavor again, but I'd be willing to try others.

For more reviews, check out Gigi-Reviews, The Impulsive Buy, and Gum Alert.


Trident website

Iron Cupcake Challenge

This past weekend I was asked to be on a panel of judges for The Iron Cupcake Challenge held at The Green Apple Bistro in Moorestown, New Jersey. My judging companions were E of Foodaphilia and Vince Frank of Swanky Bubbles. We all had a lot of fun judging, and, believe it or not, picking a winner was extremely difficult.

The Iron Cupcake Challenge is a local meetup group where any local bakers and food enthusiasts can join for a monthly cupcake face-off. Kati Angelini of Kati's KupCakes organizes the event the NJ/Philly area where each month a new ingredient is presented, and all participants bake their interpretation of the ingredient in cupcake fashion. Proceeds go to a different charity each month (Ronald McDonald House was this month's recipient), and the victor goes home with a crown and a $100 check.
Judges' table.

Next month's cupcake challenge flavor is pumpkin (hello, Autumn!) and the event will be held at The Pop Shop (hello, 30 varieties of grilled cheese!) in Collingswood, NJ. If you think you've got what it takes to be the next Iron Cupcake Champion, join up and pony up the $15 entry fee. You know you've always dreamt of winning a local bake-off!

Iron Cupcake Challenge: Moorestown
The Pop Shop, 729 Haddon Ave., Collingswood, NJ 08108
Sunday, October 25, 5 pm

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lunchables Extra Cheesy Pizza

Lunchables shame me.

These stupid little meals are the results of my wasted childhood. My mother packed me lunches in bags and wrote my name on them and included notes, and damn it, I just wanted these fucking Lunchables.

If I'd only heeded her wisdom. If only. If only.

This Lunchable demon contains the makings to create a full-scale nuclear apocalypse, or three small pizzas. It's relatively sparse, containing none of the candy or Capri Sun pouches I remember as a child. Merely the stark remains of what used to constitute...a meal. It has three pizza crusts, a packet of sauce, and two compartments for mozzarella cheese and cheddar cheese.

The crusts are essentially canvases for mass destruction, and the taste is nothing special. It's like eating a bland flatbread with sweet sauce and crappy cheese. The sauce appears to be appetizing. It has many different colored herbs in it, but the taste is sickeningly sweet like...oh yeah. Low budget pizza sauce. The cheese is cheese, but what really grosses me out is the appeal in eating these raw.

Save yourself money and heartbreak. Buy a frozen pizza. Thaw it. Eat it. Still cold. Then, cook it and eat it like pizza ought to have been eaten.
1/10- SHIT

Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh Combinations: Chicken and Ham

Here's another little lunch set. I ate this for dinner last night. Really, it's quite substantial and I'm pleased with the presentation.

The chicken was the same, and the ham was a little gamier than I would have liked it. The photo on the outside depicted flaky shavings of ham, but the pieces inside were floppy and a little tough. A lot of water, too, from the water packed. Not bad, though.

The crackers and cheese were the same. Really, the only difference in this was the addition of the ham and the omission of the turkey. I wish that the cheeses had been different, like a pepper jack or a havarti, or even a mozzarella. Anything. The swiss was nice but the more I ate it, the more I disliked the cheddar. It just wasn't as sharp as I would have enjoyed, which was a shame.

I'll be trying more of these in the future. I have a few Oscar Mayer Deli Creations, and as a sandwich snob, we'll see how those work out for their price and taste. I have a few Lunchables, too, and they might or might not compare to the Deli Fresh ones...


Monday, September 28, 2009

Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh Conbinations: Chicken and Turkey

I want to point out that I tried this last night, pre-Yom Kippur, and am fasting for the day in observance. Just sayin'. And that I'm aware that this is the wrong photo, but bah, they're all stock photos any how!

This is, essentially, a glorified Lunchables for adults. But better. It contained crackers, chicken and ham, swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, and a small candy. I didn't expect the candy and it was freaking Milka. A Milka bar, the likes of which I can never get, in a damned Lunchable for adults. It was awesome.

So onto the lunch. There is something inherently fun about stacking and making your own lunch, like in a sushi roll or an assembly line. The chicken and turkey are both rather wet, and required drying off. I rarely enjoy meat that has been packed in water, so that was a bit of a turn off. However, this was quelled once I ate them.

Each sandwich was substantial, making eight total for me to eat. The chicken was good, but the turkey was either smoked or secretly ham, because it tasted and smelled like ham but definitely was not. It was awfully strange. Regardless, they pack a good amount of stuff into such a small box. I liked how the meat was sliced and natural, but at the same time I craved those little turkey frisbees in the kid's Lunchables, solely for the continuity in size and the fact that you got some of it in every bite. Which brings me onto the cheese. The swiss cheese was mild and delicious, with just a hint of a bite, and was square-shaped so as to cover the entire cracker and underlying meat piece.

The cheddar, though, was inexplicably half the size of the swiss piece, perhaps a tiny bit thicker. It provided much less coverage and although sharper, just had less flavor and creaminess to it than the cheddar. Granted, neither of these are "cheese" and are "cheese products," but are still good. I just wish the cheddar had been...better, if you'll excuse the rhyme.

Overall, though, this was a really substantial and tasty lunch. I enjoyed the creation, and the little Milka bar at the end was phenomenal. I would have liked to have a spread, and perhaps another flavor of crackers in the mix, but for a $3 lunch pack, it was not bad by any means.
7/10- LOVELY

Ba Le

It's funny how you get in the habit of stopping into a place to pick up one thing and never sample any other items from the menu. For me, such is the case with South Philly's Ba Le, a chain bakery and restaurant that sells a wide range of Vietnamese baked goods, desserts, meats, ready to eat meals, Banh Mi, bubble tea, and many other treats I don't know how to pronounce. Ba Le has always been my Washington Ave. stop for avocado bubble tea, and that's about it...until I decided to try their vegetarian Banh Mi, one of twelve varieties of Banh Mis they offer.Sweet and mildly spiced fried tofu strips, pickled daikon and carrot strands, a cucumber spear, jalapeno slices, and a couple cilantro springs are nestled in a freshly baked baguette slathered liberally with sweet mayonnaise. The soft-on-the-inside and crispy-on-the-outside baguette (so crispy the sandwich was loud!), and the addictive sweet fried tofu really make Ba Le's Banh Mi a standout amongst other Banh Mis I've recently tried.Ba Le bakes their baguettes on site, and sells them in packages of four for only a few bucks, so next time you're jonesin' for a Banh Mi (so simple to make at home), drop by and pick up few baguettes. Rice flour is used in Vietnamese baguettes, so the rolls are a little different than a traditional French baguette, and a whole lot different than a hoagie roll, so getting the real deal really makes a difference when building a Banh Mi. Our bag of four baguettes were not as ultra crispy as the baguette the sandwich Ba Le made me, but still very good. And look at me! I went back to Ba Le and tried something other than the bubble tea. Plucked a container of Mi Xao Chay, stir fried vegetarian egg noodles with tofu, veggies, and vinaigrette, from the deli case and dined happily at home. Making progress at eating Ba Le!

Ba Le Bakery and Restaurant
606 Washington Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19147


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Crispy Husky Bar

Here's a review of a bar that reminds me of my ex-boyfriend. It's flaky, unreliable, and tastes vaguely waxy.

This bar also happens to be from the college at which he matriculates, UConn, but is from a much more awesome source, my good friend Swagger. What's this? Why, it's a Husky Bar, one of the many flavors made by Munson's, a local chocolate company, to support our state university, UConn, and their famous team mascot, the Huskies.

This is a really hefty bar, at 2 and 1/4 ounces, and is pretty tasty. The squares are really thick and it's hard to put away an entire bar in one sitting. The chocolate is all right. It's not Chocolove, it's not Coco-luxe. It's meh. It's a rich, waxy chocolate with a strange mouthfeel and interesting inner coating. It leaves a grainy, healthy aftertaste, like my ex-boyfriend but is, in fact, not very healthy at all.

I will say that I did love the crispy bits in the bar. They added a nice texture to the bar and were consistently present and not overwhelming or stabbalicious like Captain Crunch.

Oh, PS, it's my 19th birthday. Huzzuh!

5/10- GOOD

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Japanese Mayonnaise Potato Pringles

I just got a box of items from J-List and am too excited to share them with you! The first item is a Pringles treat, that's advertised as a mayonnaise potato flavor. The box is nothing special, just your standard Pringles tube.

Well, I've never had mayonnaise on my potatoes before. In fact, I can't stand it. But this was so strange it just begged to be tried. When you open the can, you get an extremely strong scent of paprika. The chips aren't red, they just smell like paprika to the highest degree.

The first thing you notice when eating these Pringles is that they're about eight hundred times as crispy as our Pringles. They taste like Pringles deep fried, or Pringles that have taken a walk in the Sahara and gotten sunburnt. The taste of these is nice and mild, but with a slight spicy burn in the back of your throat after you rest from eating.

I don't taste much mayonnaise, but I do taste a tang, and I definitely taste potatoes from the flavor of the chip! I'm not too impressed with these. I'd have liked to try them when they weren't all crunched up, but for a first impression, not bad at all. They definitely beat out American Pringles, which I detest, in that there's so much more flavor on these than the US ones.

6/10- ALL RIGHT.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Iwatsuka Seika Black Bean Senbei

Black Bean Senbei

I'm trying to expand my tastes, so these black bean senbei seemed like a good opportunity. Savory senbei haven't appealed to me in the past, but I've grown to like sweet ones.

These came from Mitsuwa Marketplace in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Unfortunately, senbei aren't available where I live, so I stock up on them whenever I can.
Black Bean Senbei

These smelled like most savory senbei I've tried: salty with a hint of soy sauce. They had a nice crunch, and were on the harder side of senbei. They had a mild soy taste with a good saltiness, and a slight oiliness.

The black beans added a nice raw bean texture, and they reminded me of soy nuts. I really enjoyed the beans. The senbei was satisfying and salty at first, and then the bean flavor came through. My husband and I both enjoyed these, especially him.


Iwatsuka Seika website


Every time I see Whoppers, I feel like I've been craving them for years and that it's the perfect thing to sate my hunger and chocolate craving. Not Whopper, the burger, mind you, but Whoppers, as in, the malted milk balls.

Essentially, these are the poor man's Aero bars. They're fluffy, crunchy, and sometimes have a propensity for cutting your mouth open. Mmmm! Delicious! The malted flavor is not very strong at all. I tend to like a strong flavor, as I'm used to delicious homemade chocolate malted shakes with a heaping tablespoon of malt powder, but what do I know? The chocolate is pretty crappy. It's mockolate, with artificial flavors. It's waxy and doesn't melt well in your mouth and essentially provides a mere buffer for the crunchy malt.

They're not that great. Save yourself the next time you crave these and go get something better. I liked it when Hershey's had these in their Twosome collection, with more chocolate, real chocolate, and tinier malt bites, like little B.Bs from the guns. But alas, like all good product, that was to be discontinued. Another day, Hershey...another day.

3/10- LAME


There's a bit of a burger craze going on in Philly right now, what with people lining up to try Garces' $24 foie gras-topped Whiskey King burger at Village Whiskey, Stephen Starr slashing lunchtime burger prices at Butcher and Singer, and PYT's Tommy Up declaring burger war via social media and email. Of course, this craze is all about the meat burgers, so where does that leave me? Out sampling the veggie burgers, of course!

Veggie burgers are normally not my meal of choice, so I'm a little embarrassed when people ask me, a vegetarian and food blogger, what my favorite veggie burger around town is, and I have no answer. I hope to one day have a good answer to that question, and attending Burger Club Philly "meatings" organized by the Burgerbaroness of fries with that shake has helped me on the quest.

Let's start with Stephen Starr's veggie burger from SquareBurger, the fast food burger shack located in the newly renovated and kid-friendly Franklin Square across the way from the park's carousel and Philadelphia themed mini-golf course.

Only open seasonally, with changing hours depending on the time of the year (hey, a website would be helpful Stephen!), you better pony up before the end of October November 15 end of the day, November 1 (dude, keeps changing dates!), if you want a taste of Stephen Starr's West Coast style burger (read: small patty, potato bun, minimal toppings), and be willing to wait in long lines at lunch when the weather is nice.

(Sorry for the blur; these are camera phone pictures.)
A lover of lemonade, the menu suckered me with "homemade" lemonade, but I was disappointing to receive pink lemonade that tasted like it was from a mix. I guess I mistook the term homemade for fresh squeezed. Homemade means nothing nowadays, apparently.

Fries are skin-on shoestring, and adequately nice. A Gardenburger was pulled out of the sack to be grilled up for my veggie burger, which, for some reason, is more expensive than the meat burgers!!! A Gardenburger from a finer dining establishment, or even a grub pub, would get the snub from me, but SquareBurger is a tiny shack in a park, and is about what is expected, although, really, I expect there not to be a veggie burger at such places.Melted American cheese, ketchup, yellow mustard, diced onion, and pickle relish are all the toppings available, but, if you're a mayo freak like me, please see the condiment packets along the counter railing. The smell of all these classic fast food burger condiments along with the grilled squishy potato bun remind me of the off-the-menu Burger King Veggie Whopper (that's a Whopper without the meat) that is many road traveling vegetarians' savior and dirty little secret.
On an earlier occasion I tried the Cake Shake blended with vanilla ice cream, half and half, butterscotch sauce, and crumbled TastyKake Butterscotch Krimpet, and I do not like! You either love sucking wet cake through a straw, or you don't. Most do. I don't.

This time I went with the Butterscotch Sundae made with Jack and Jill vanilla ice cream, butterscotch sauce, whipped cream, TasteyKake Butterscotch Krimpet, crushed Heath bar, and maraschino cherry. Kids will love this unsophisticated sundae, but I need something more interesting. Really, I got this sundae to try the TastyKake, a local, Philly, preservative-loaded cake maker that is near and dear to those who grew up on it. I respect local pride and nostalgia, but I missed the love boat by 30 plus years to be endeared to anything TastyKake.

Best veggie burger in town? No, but it'll do in a pinch when hunger pains strike while playing mini-golf with your nieces and nephews.

Franklin Square

200 N. 6th St., Philadelphia, PA 19106

cash only

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wonka Giant Chewy Nerds

Giant Chewy Nerds

Ever since I saw this review of Cybele's, I've wanted to try Giant Chewy Nerds. They were actually quite hard to find, but a chance meeting at a gas station brought us together. My husband and I split them on a long car ride.

Nerds were a favorite candy of mine as a child. The idea of sugar-coated-sugar kind of makes my teeth hurt now, but I still appreciate the bright, tart flavors. I'm also a long-time jelly bean fan, hence my eagerness to try these.

Giant Chewy Nerds

The selection I'm holding for the picture is a pretty accurate representation of what was in my bag. There were very few yellows and greens and far too many oranges and reds. I refer to them as colors, because I couldn't find a flavor guide anywhere on the package.

Purple was definitely a fake candy grape, but in the best way. It was my favorite because of its bright, tart flavor, without a trace of cough syrup like some grape candies.

Orange was very sour, and went a little into the realm of cleaning product for me. There was an odd aftertaste, probably from the sour center, that I didn't appreciate. As I mentioned, my bag was mostly orange.

Red was sweet, and a mild berry. It tasted more like strawberry than cherry, and was pleasant.

Yellow was sour but sweet in the middle, and reminded me of Lemonheads. I didn't get a good idea of the flavor since there were only 2 or 3 in the bag.

Green was a bit ambiguous. I thought it was apple, but my husband thought it was watermelon. I think he was right, but either way, I liked the flavor. Again, there were only a few in the bag.

These were fun candies with a neat texture, but some of the weaker flavors put me off from buying these again.


Wonka website

Fun with Google Analytics!

Never fear, the review will be up tonight. Just thought I'd indulge you a little bit with some funnier lines.

-"nibbler 2" eat each other
Oh my god, this is not a website for cock-fighting or vorephilia.


-does ramen noodles have adhesive on them?
That's an awful question. I'm trying to figure out what this means. Adhesive? They're more useful as an adhesive than a food product. Uh, maybe?

-gorditas porn

-how to dissect coconat brittle
Your science teacher is definitely on acid.

-how to make pure spring water
Go to sink. Turn on tap. Stick head in oven.

-iceland medium cheddar
Eeeeeeeew. Cheese water? Really?

For all of my readers, this isn't Twitter. It's Foodette Fucking Reviews.

-taco bell slimy chicken
Eeeeeeeew, why do you guys type this stuff?

-wang aloe dream juice
The perfect counterpart to the semen cookbook.

-what is the motto for entenmann's

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Japanese Spicy Chicken Pringles

Another J-List item. These are billed as tasting like spicy fried chicken and carry a photo of drumsticks on the front to hit the point home.

The powder tastes like chicken breading, actually. I licked some off the top of the canister package. It tastes like salt and pepper and MSG. Your standard ramen flavor. Maybe a hint of chicken bouillion, too. The unfortunate case with Pringles is that they're so concentrated with their potato crisp and flavor that they often ignore the flavor their chips are supposed to be, and eventually, all you can taste is the potato flavor of the chips unless you pay attention.

I think real chips would benefit from this flavor, even though there's no spice or chicken flavor to speak of. It had hints of garlic, paprika, but overall, simply your generic spices found on snack foods mimicking real foods, and no spiciness or heat at all. Like eating roast chicken skin.

For someone who likes salt, these border on unbearably salty, almost getting sour at the end. I'm a salt fan, but if you don't like the taste sensation of pouring Morton's into your mouth or snorting flavor packets from ramen noodles, please avoid these.

3/10- SUCKS

Monday, September 21, 2009

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Chipotle Hazelnuts

I'm rather addicted to these. Amherst has spoiled me because they've placed a Trader Joe's not ten minutes from campus by car, as opposed to Branford where the closest one is roughly 30 minutes away. So now I can go to TJ's all I want and buy their wonderfully overpriced food and gorge on samples.

I'm definitely nuts about these. Ha ha. They're chocolate-covered hazelnuts, a portable version of Nutella, but with a touch of chipotle heat and cocoa powder on the outside. I think the best thing about these is that if you're a girly wimp like me, it's masochistic portion control. If you eat too many of these, your tastebuds will go bye-bye and then you'll be fucked. With these, they're sweet, but spicy enough to hurt just a little. It's definitely a good hurt.

The hazelnut is really creamy and crunchy inside, and the dark chocolate is of an extremely high quality. They're an excellent candy. If I had any complaints, it would be that the cocoa powder is messy, and I live in a dorm, so like to eat things in bed. These are not a bedtime food. It leaves a residue. Not a bad one, necessarily, but enough to make me stop typing and wipe my hands on my roommate's towels. (Just kidding.)


Garlic Nutritional Yeast Popcorn

Thought I'd share with you a simple snack that has been rocking my world lately. Yes, it's popcorn with nutritional yeast, and, yes, even non-vegetarians (nutritional yeast is almost exclusively found in vegetarian pantries for some reason...something about B vitamins) go gah-gah for the stuff when it's sprinkled on popcorn, but I thought this would be a good reminder to all who have loved and forgotten to pick up this snack habit again, and maybe even enlighten a few who are out of the pop corn + nutritional yeast = yum loop.

The popcorn recipe has a few more flavoring ingredients than the cheesy tasting nutritional yeast; there's also salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. This combo was actually first made by a friend for a pre-hiking snack, and the only thing I could think about after eating this snack was getting back to the car to finish off the bag of popcorn. And then replicating the recipe back at home.We've been popping corn on the stove in a lidded pot with a couple teaspoons of oil in the bottom, which is so incredibly simple, if not a little scary the first time you try it. Oil + popcorn + lidded pan over medium-high heat = popped corn in a few minutes. Try it! The only way to fail is if you walk away from the stove and burn the kernels, but you'd never do that, right! (My popcorn looks burned, but it's not; the black bits are just the outside of the black popcorn kernels.)

If you'd like to skip the oil, I recently tried this trick where you stick popcorn kernels in a paper bag and throw the bag in the microwave for a few minutes (just like microwave popcorn!) and it pops right up, no oil used at all!

I find the nutritional yeast and other flavorings stick better to the popcorn if there's a little oil or butter used in the popping, so prefer the stove-top method. Also, putting the popcorn in a large bag with the nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and giving it a vigorous shaking helps immensely in getting the flavor in all the nooks and crannies.

Hunker down, movie watching season is approaching, so I wanna know your favorite popcorn recipe? Garlic Nutritional Yeast Popcorn
makes 2 sit-in-front-of-TV servings

I never measure anything when making this popcorn, but did for this post. Normally, I just glug some oil in the pan or add some butter, add enough popcorn kernels to just cover the bottom of the pan, cover, and pop, then add nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper to taste without any type of measuring device.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
20 cranks of the black pepper mill
  • Add vegetable oil to 4-quart lidded pot, then add popcorn kernels.
  • Cook over medium-high heat, shaking pan occasionally to move kernels around and avoid burning. When popping subsides to about 3 seconds between pops, remove from heat. (Because I don't normally measure and often use a smaller 2-quart pot, the popped corn often does not have enough room and starts to push the lid up. Don't freak. Just have a bowl nearby to pour some of the popped corn into, then continue cooking the unpopped kernels in the pot with the lid on.)
  • Pour popcorn into a large bag along with the nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Shake the bag to distribute the ingredients, then pour the popcorn out into a serving bowl.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Meiji Hokkaido Melon Apollo

Meiji Melon Apollo

Despite mixed feelings on Apollo, I bought this box of limited edition Apollo at a Japanese import shop. Since it's a premium pack, the chocolates are much larger than the normal size and come individually wrapped.

According to the box, this is from Meiji's Hokkaido line, and both the white chocolate and the melon flavor come from Hokkaido. Specifically, this is Furano Melon, or melon from Furano, Hokkaido. Fancy melons are quite the treat in Japan, and it's not uncommon for them to cost hundreds of dollars.

Meiji Melon Apollo

The chocolate smelled like what a melon buttercream frosting might smell, and it tasted like that as well. The flavor, despite containing 4% Furano melon, tasted a little fake to me. It was very interesting, but maybe it just didn't blend with the white chocolate as well as I wanted it to.

The white chocolate was sweet, of course, but could have been a lot sweeter. It was creamy and rich at first, and then the fruity flavor kicked in. My husband thought the quality of the white chocolate was very good, but also wasn't crazy about the melon flavor. I'd still like to try real Furano melon, but for the time being, these provided a cheaper tasting experience.


Meiji website

Bueno y Sano- Amherst, MA

Beware. I've been doing many positive reviews lately, so if you've been inclined to send mushrooms or something else vaguely disgusting, send them now.

I had the best meal of my life yesterday. I might murder a human so that when I go on death row, I can request two of these.

These are in reference to the barbecue chicken quesadillas at Bueno y Sano, an authentic Mexican restaurant in the center of Amherst. These are no ordinary quesadillas. This, my friends, is the sheer embodiment of the Mexican rebuttal to...a pizza.

But first, let me prolong the anticipation by telling you about the soft taco I had for a small appetizer, the chickpea and red curry soft taco. It was very tasty, and the peas were firm, not at all mushy, but very clearly cooked. Unfortunately, I didn't taste as much curry as I would have liked, and tasted more of a "generic Mexican red sauce" than anything else. The taco came with lettuce, tomato, onion, all of which I scraped off, cilantro, and the finest, smoothest cheese I've ever tasted. It was so tiny, I thought it was well-packed rice. It was amazing and cold and wonderful.

6/10- GREAT

And then, the masterpiece, the barbecue chicken quesadilla. The sauce is homemade. The chicken is tender. The tortilla is crispy.

There is really only one way to make this. This has to be the messiest, most amazing food you've ever eaten. You are morally obligated to wear the sauce stains like blood on your white-collared shirt, and then the world will know that you are a proud, proud foodie.

So you take this quesadilla. You admire it. You smear it with sour cream, and then with hot sauce, and you eat it. Sauce runs down your fingers. It gets on your face. It stains the hardwood beer pong table you're sitting at. And nothing really makes your happier. It's carnal. It's delicious.

10/10- OBSCENE

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Japanese Wild Cheese Cheetos

Hey, again, trying more Japanese snacks with Roomba and MM. Today we sampled some Cheetos advertising themselves as "wild cheese". Dubious as I was, I must admit that these live up to their title of being wild.

The main difference between American Cheetos and these that you first see is the shape. These not only contain the baton, bicep, and occasionally Iowa-shaped curls, but also contain a special paw-shaped Cheeto. These are more of a Frito consistency, quite dense, and very crunchy. However, the texture of these combined with the cheese tastes a bit like eating uncooked macaroni and cheese, and often juxtaposes strangely with the softer texture of the batons.

The flavor is what really changed our rating from a lower score. First, the pieces started out cheesy, averagely cheesy, like macaroni and cheese, but got spicier with a hint of jalapeno flavoring. The flavor was identical, down to the last salty bite, of those cheap Maruchan macaroni and cheese ramen cups. These were quite tasty and we couldn't stop eating them.

7/10- DECENT

Friday, September 18, 2009

Saralyn's Shortbread

The best thing about shortbread is that they're crunchy and powdery at the same time, and maintain such an incredible buttery flavor. So when Saralyn's Shortbread offered to send me a few samples, how could I resist?

The best shortbread I have ever consumed was in a cafe in Edinburgh Castle. It was a four by four square, roughly an inch, inch and a half thick, dusted with granulated sugar and warm, fresh out of the oven. It was a chilly, cold day, and that shortbread was slightly chewy, perfectly crunchy, and buttery good.

So did this pass the test?

I received three flavors to try, none of which I'd ever seen. I'd only had buttery shortbread before, so these were a good treat to see if the shortbread flavor could hold up to other add-ins. The flavors she sent me were mint chocolate chip, peanut butter crunch, and maple walnut.

The peanut butter crunch and maple walnut were in boxes with cookies roughly the size of large buttons. They might have been the cutest thing I've ever seen. The maple walnut was easily the best of all three and maintained the butteriness of the shortbread authenticity, yet incorporated its own flavor, a nice, toasted walnut taste and a maple-kissed hint, into each and every cookie.

8/10- GREAT

The peanut butter crunch was also very tasty, but I found it a little too sweet for my liking. The pieces of peanut butter cup were far and few between, and the shortbread flavor was completely dominated by the peanut butter. The texture was great, as this shortbread is, and was quite crumbly and good.

6/10- NICE

The mint chocolate chip shortbread cookies were the last of the lot to try. These were delicious! They maintained a fantastic, cool, minty taste, and the chocolate chips kept the cookie moist and tasty. I'm not a big fan of things that are mint-flavored, but Roomba loved these and ate two of them! I nibbled on them. Again, texture is a huge deal with these, and they're consistent and perfectly petite.

7/10- TASTY

Thanks, Saralyn!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

General Mills Cereal Eating Contest

In college, we have themed weeks for the dining halls. It was General Mills week this week. It was pretty relaxed, I didn't see a whole lot going on, but I did participate in a cereal eating contest tonight.

It drummed up a lot of publicity. Six kids, myself included, participated, and the winner had to eat four bowls of cereal, Lucky Charms, as fast as they could. I placed my own personal bets on the kid next to me. He looked like he could eat a lot of cereal.

I gave a girl my cell phone camera and she took a really great photo of my arm, pouring milk, and little else.

I tried to mix the cereal with the milk so when the time came to eat it, it would be mushy and easier to eat. I think everyone had that mentality. So we started, and there was a whole crowd of people around us, going nuts. Some even brought signs.

I ended up finishing three bowls, not even starting on the fourth, when the winner was called. It was the kid next to me, and he was neck and neck with another boy. It was a lot of fun. We all got prize packs, including shirts and snacks and a miniature basket ball hoop!

I'm not sure if I ever want to eat another bowl of cereal in my life. That stuff fills up quickly. I'm so stuffed! However, this has turned me onto the fun of competitive eating.

More news. I'm participating in something extra special for General Mills week at UMass tomorrow night, something that I'm a little afraid of, but photos will come. I'm not revealing where or what I'll be doing, but it's going to be epic.

Until then, foodies.

SNACKDOWN: Japanese Oreos vs. American Oreos

My apologies to Saralyn- I bumped up your post to tomorrow, but rest assured, it's going to be awesome!

Today is a well-deserved Snackdown with two kinds of Oreos, one from the vending machine downstairs and one from Japan. The Japanese Oreos come in a tube, with two tubes per bag, apparently the equivalent of the Oreo box here, and the American Oreos come in the standard "six-pack".

The Japanese, lucky for them, never got the memo about downsizing the Oreo size, so as a result, theirs are much larger than ours are.

The American Oreos have that standard, sweet-sweet taste to them, with a creamy filling and that crunchy texture, a nice mixture of sweet, sweet. Almost too sweet. The cookie is pretty dense and crunchy and maintains a nice flavor.

The Japanese Oreos are completely different. The cookie is almost a light, fluffy crunch, that can only be likened to panko, it seems. If I were to liken this to anything, it would be to the Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers that are used for making damned good icebox cake.

Even the frosting is different on these. As you can see on the American cookies, the frosting is gooier. It has a marshmallow, vanilla-y taste to it, and is very soft and oily, making it easy to peel off if one should wish to.

The Japanese frosting tastes more like a plain frosting and is very dense, to the point of almost flaking off. It's the same overall taste, but the texture makes it more lush, like halvah.

Overall, I really did prefer the Japanese Oreos. They were much different than the American ones and reminded me of the dessert my mother likes to make. I especially enjoyed the crunchiness.



Glico Matcha Mobaccho

Matcha Mobaccho!

In the past couple years, I've seen a couple candies from Japan that come packaged in a coffee cup-like container. To my knowledge, both are essentially Pocky bits, and both come from Glico. The one I'm reviewing is Mobaccho, and the other (cuter) one is Walky Walky.

It seems like the whole point of the package design is to be cute, because even though this comes in a cup, it doesn't seem like a good idea to leave it in a car, ever. Also, the package came open in my lunch bag when I brought it to work.

Matcha Mobaccho!

Despite the packaging frustration, the Mobaccho smelled like good, if a bit mild, matcha and a hint of cookie. This was described as "matcha and crisp pretzel" but the pretzel really reminded me of animal crackers. This was good, but unfortunately, I could taste the pretzel more than I could taste matcha.

The coating was a decent matcha chocolate, but if I didn't suck the coating off, I could barely taste it. I would have liked a thicker coating or even a matcha-flavored cookie center. It was a decent snack, but a bit disappointing.

Kelly at Tasty Japan posted a review of strawberry Mobaccho, so be sure to check out what she thought.


Glico website

Moshulu Brunch

I've always wanted to dine on the Moshulu, that big four-masted barque docked in the Delaware River at Penn's Landing, so was excited when a friend booked a Sunday brunch reservation at Moshulu for her husband's birthday (he likes boats, and the Independence Seaport Museum is also right next door).
Inside the funky smelling boat (is that smell that greets you at the door the Delaware River or the nearby dessert bar?) with slanted floors and linen-topped tables is where you'll be dining for brunch (top deck dining is available at the Bongo Bar and Deck). The atmosphere is country club meets swanky hotel buffet meets not-so-lavish Titanic. Most diners are straight out of church, or a gathering of the entire extended family.

The $35 Three-Course Champagne Brunch includes the all-you-can-eat First Course Buffet, an entree off the menu, and the all-you-can-eat Grand Dessert Display, and let's not forget the all-you-can-drink champagne, mimosas, and bellinis!

Buffets bring out the gorge in most, and I did eat more than usual, but decided not to get my money's worth of food, but instead get my money's worth of mimosas! That was my buffet strategy, at least. I went with a mixed salad (it's make your own), green bean and tomato salad, and scone off the buffet table. Also on the buffet: muffins, danishes, sweet breads, bagels, assorted cream cheeses, jams, pasta salad, potato salad, assorted soups, fruit, meat, cheese, olives, and others.A dining partner's buffet plate of lobster bisque, pasta salad with sun dried tomatoes, salad, and nuts. For my entree I ordered the portobello panini from the lunch side of the brunch menu. Not a bad panini at all, with balsamic vinaigrette and basil pesto aioli giving the mozzarella, tomatoes, and portobello a good kick. The hand cut and fried chips, unfortunately, were limp.
Already stuffed to the gills, I hit the dessert bar stocked with cookies, marshmallows, fruit, and cakes for dipping into the chocolate fountains (plural!). Assorted parfaits, custards, tarts, petit fours, and cakes are plentiful. I can't argue with dessert, and I won't argue with Moshulu's all-you-can-eat dessert buffet. Their creme brulee was actually better than most!

With the exception of the limp chips that accompanied my entree, nothing at Moshulu's weekend brunch was bad. Nothing was mind blowing either. Moshulu's Sunday Champagne Brunch offerings are on par with any country club or nice hotel, and will fit the bill for your next family gathering -- something for everyone and all-you-can-eat/drink. Plus, you're dining on a more than a century-old boat with an amazing history, which is pretty cool!

I'd say, as a Philadelphian, it's your civic duty to visit the Moshulu at least once, just to say you've done it. If brunch is not your thing, they also do lunch and dinner daily. Next trip, I'm snagging a seat in the Bongo Bar on the deck solely for the spectacular views of the city and the Ben Franklin Bridge.

Penn's Landing, 401 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19106


Champagne Brunch: Sun, 10:30 am-2:30 pm

Lunch: daily, 11:30 am-3 pm

Dinner: daily, 5:30-10:30 pm

Bongo Bar and Deck: Mon-Fri, 5:30-10pm; Sat and Sun, 11:30 am-8:30 pm