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Archive for March, 2013

Happy Easter: Grateful For Daily Bread And Cheery Eggs.

March 31st, 2013 No comments

Easter Eggs

Oh happy day — Feliz Easter!¬† Hope it’s a feaster. ūüôā

Formal Place Setting Example: A Reference For Those Who Care.

March 28th, 2013 No comments

Table Setting

I want to¬†pull up a seat in front of this setting — Looks like much is about to be served.

Come & Get It: The Triangle Rings For Homemade OC Goodness.

March 25th, 2013 No comments

Come & Get It

Competitions & Contests Announced for 2013 OC Fair

Think you  bake one delicious apple pie, brew the best beer or have an uncanny knack for  making crafts? Enter [YOUR] 2013 OC Fair competitive entries for an opportunity to earn an award and have your winning entry on display for more than one million Fairgoers from July 12th РAugust 11th. The 2013 OC Fair invites locals to put their skills and knowledge to the test and sign up to compete in the many competitions and contests being offered this year.

Categories and divisions available this year include:

  • Culinary/Wine/Beer: Baked Goods & Confections,¬†Preserved Foods, Sugar Arts, Food Blog Posts, Table Setting Designs, Homemade Beers, Commercial Wines & Home Wines
  • Crafts & Hobbies: Collections, Fiber Arts, Hand¬†Crafts & Hobbies, Jewelry Arts
  • Visual Arts: Woodworking, Photography &¬†Non-Traditional Prints, Sculpture, Painting, Graphics, Ceramics, Student Video¬†Festival
  • Garden &¬†Floral: Fruit & Vegetable, Cut Flowers, Container Plants, Floral Arrangements,¬†Floral Design Contest
  • Livestock: Market Shows (Orange¬†County 4-H and FFA only): Beef, Calves, Swine, Sheep, Goats, Rabbits, Broilers,¬†and Turkeys, Breeding Shows: Dairy Goats, Pygmy Goats, Open Angora Goats,¬†Cavies, Poultry, Rabbits, Youth Breeding Sheep, Youth Egg Laying Contest,¬†Educational Posters & Contest
  • Youth: Collections, Culinary, Garden & Floral, Fiber Arts, Youth Fine Arts, Hobby¬†& Craft, Jewelry Arts, Photography

The OC Fair competitive entries require online registration in advance and the deadlines for entry registrations are as follows:

  • April 26 ‚Äď Commercial Wine
  • May 3 ‚Äď Homemade Beer
  • May 18 ‚Äď Home Wine
  • June 1 ‚Äď Crafts & Hobbies, Visual Arts, Youth (Fiber¬† Arts, Collections, Hand Crafts & Hobbies, Jewelry Arts)
  • June 7 ‚Äď Livestock
  • June 10 ‚ÄstCulinary Arts Baked Goods & Confections, Preserved Foods, Sugar Arts, Table¬† Design

Entry registration deadlines for¬†Garden & Floral competitions vary, visit ocfair.com/competitions for the¬†list of dates. Entry registration for all competitions is currently being¬†accepted online at ocfair.com/competitions. For participants who need help with an online entry, the OC Fair has scheduled¬†‚ÄúHelp Days‚ÄĚ from May 29 ‚Äď May 31, Wednesday – Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at¬†the OC Fair & Event Center Administration Building.

In addition to the traditional¬†competitions, the OC Fair is also hosting Special Culinary Arts Contests for amateur cooks and bakers to show off their¬†skills. Most contests are only open to adults 18 and older. Each contest will¬†be judged and awarded live at the Fair. The entry registration forms and¬†contest details are available online at ocfair.com/competitions in the¬†Culinary Arts Guide under the ‚ÄúCulinary/Wine/Beer‚ÄĚ section. Entry forms are due¬†the Wednesday before each contest:

  • Get Baking¬†Cookie Contest ‚Äď July 20 (Also open to¬†ages 5-18) (Register¬†by July 17)
  • Hot! Hot!¬†Hot! Chili, Wings or Salsa Contest ‚Äď July 27 (Register by July 24)
  • OC Cupcake¬†Classic ‚Äď August 3 (Also open to youth ages 5-18)¬†(Register by July 31)
  • Salad Daze¬†Contest ‚Äď August 10 (Register by¬†August 7)

The 2013 OC Fair,¬†themed Come & Get It, is July 12th ‚Äď August 11th and brings 23¬†days of food, rides, exhibits, animals, music, action sports and fun, as well¬†as the Toyota Summer Concert Series at the Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar and Action Sports Arena. The Fair is open Wednesday – Sunday. Concert tickets, action¬†sports reserved seats and single-day general admission are available for¬†purchase online at ticketmaster.com or from the on-site Box Office. The popular¬†Super Pass, which offers the passholder 23 days of admission, is available for¬†purchase online at ocfair.com from the onsite Box Office.

The OC Fair & Event Center is located off the 405 and 55 freeways at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. For more information, visit ocfair.com, become a fan at Facebook.com/OCFair and/or follow them at twitter.com/ocfair.

Note:  Press Release is from the OC Fair & Event Center and Photo Credit is here.

What To Make With All Those Avocados: Several Ideas To Consider.

March 22nd, 2013 No comments

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THANKS to the California Avocado Commission for all this goodness — Since we had so many Avocados, we¬†ate¬†a lot of Avocado dishes/meals.¬† You name it, we made almost everything.

Veggie Sandwich with Avocado

Most are familiar Avocado favorites and some ideas came from others linked throughout.

Egg Baked in Avocado

We made them all from top down — Starting with Snow Crab Stuffed Avocados made with Mayo, Lemon Juice and Zest, Red Bell Pepper, Dill and Red Onion.¬† Simple, rich and amazing.

Avocado with Italian Dressing

Continuing with a Veggie Croissant Sandwich made with Salad Bar Vegetables, Avocado,¬†and Cream Cheese instead of Mayo.¬† An Egg Baked in an Avocado — Have you seen that one before?¬† It’s different and not bad.¬† And I could eat an Avocado with Good Seasons Italian Dressing (above) everyday.¬† It’s ready in minutes and always satisfies.¬† On to Mango Salsa.

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Mango Salsa ingredients, plus Jalapeno are pictured above and combined below.

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BLT Sandwich, plus A+, minus the L & T on this day.

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Open-faced BLT, plus A, minus¬†L — Avocado was mashed with a little Mayo.

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Avocado Pizza (if you will) made with a Flour Tortilla, mashed Avocado drizzled with Olive Oil and Lemon Juice, topped with a Fried Egg, Cumin and Salt & Pepper.  I overcooked this Egg.

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It could be better next time — The original is much more impressive.

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Black Beans, Corn, Red Bell Peppers, Avocado, Red Onions, Jalapeno and Lime w/EVOO.

Avocado Dish

Cucumber Avocado Salad with Tomatoes, Green Onions, Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil.

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Avocado on Toast with Sriracha and Olive Oil — An unexpected new favorite.

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Avocado with Grapefruit — Many say how well it goes together.¬† It’s okay.

Avocado and Grapefruit

And would you believe Avocado Ice Cream?

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Ours was made with Avocados, Coconut Milk, Milk, Lime Juice and Lime Zest.

Avocado Ice Cream

I didn’t think I’d like the¬†Avocado Ice Cream, but did and would make it again.

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Ahhhhhh Avocados, they’re¬†wonderful¬†to eat and moisturize well — Cheers to Avocados!

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Dogs¬†apparently love them too — I can’t believe we ate ’em all and still want more.

Avocado

Food Relatives: How Many Things Can Be Derived From One?

March 20th, 2013 No comments

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How many things can you make from a Potato?¬† The list would be long.¬† One more sibling in this¬†scenario might be¬†Chili Cheese Fries —¬†Our list of ‘where to find the best’¬†is here.¬† One of my favorite things to do is to see how many¬†dishes I can make with the same¬†ingredient.¬† Did you see all the Avocados we received?¬† Stay tuned to see what we made (and did) with them.

Hot Mess Burger: Do You Have The Stuff To Rock With Meat Riot?

March 17th, 2013 No comments

Hot Mess Burger

Its name cracks me up and it’s somewhat true¬†that Jack in the Box’s new Burger is a Hot Mess¬†in a good way —¬†We like it a lot, though it’s a bit overpriced, but we’ll have one again.

Avocados In Hand: What To Make With Them Soon To Be Served.

March 15th, 2013 No comments

Avocado Nails

Hands suitable to prepare the¬†many AVOCADO dishes¬†that’ll be pictured here soon.¬† We’re creatively enjoying our California Avocado Commission Avocados¬†as Avocado Ice Cream, etc.

In Avocado Heaven Thanks To The California Avocado Commission.

March 13th, 2013 2 comments

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Many thanks to the California Avocado Commission, Mission Produce and to California Avocado Growers, especially the Pinkertons for one of the best days ever.  We LOVE Avocados.

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We recently traveled to Oxnard for a hands on tour with a California Avocado Grower.

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It’s a¬†special day when you start¬†it with an outdoor brunch on a hill.

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AVOCADOS — The Star of the day in every way.

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We learned about growing techniques from Dan Pinkerton on his farm.

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Bloggers from all around were invited to experience the California Avocado Story.

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We RSVP’ed Y-E-S!

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And you can see why we were glad to experience it all.

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Avocado in EVERYTHING was¬†the Menu — Starting with a Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche.

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Bacon Smoked with Avocado Wood.

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A very fresh Fruit Salad, including Avocados — It’s a Fruit you know, right!?

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Omelettes with Tomatoes, Asparagus, Cheese and sliced Avocados.

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Baby Greens Salad with Avocado.

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Spring Vegetable, Sausage and California Avocado Frittata.

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Warm Bagels with an Avocado Spread.

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Grilled Fajita Potatoes with Avocados.

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A Chocolate Mousse dessert made with Avocados.

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Professionals¬†also photographed¬†Avocados’ glory.

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My first plate (below) before going back for more Bacon Smoked with Avocado Wood.

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Take all the Avocados you want¬†they told us — Thank you!

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We stuffed our face (and bags to go). ūüôā

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We loved the view, brunch and our friendly, informative tour guides.

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Our drive was already worth it.

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Then it was on to Dan and Susan Pinkerton’s other grove/farm/crop, along with Jan from the¬†California Avocado Commission¬†to pick our own Avocados and possibly drive a tractor.

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Learning about tree buds and what to look for and hope for when growing Avocados.

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The beautiful trees were loaded.

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Looking to pick some Avocados.

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As if all wasn’t enough, it was on to a tour of one of California’s leading Avocado packing houses, Mission Produce — It was truly a behind-the-scenes look at a farm-to-fork journey.

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Hair nets please everyone — Oh goody.

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Thousands of Avocados — Crates filled on¬†farms and¬†hauled off by¬†tractors to be here.

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First a cold wash to bring down the Avocados’ basking-in-the-sun temperature.

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The cool-down is an important step to Mission Produce.

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On to the belts and rollers, through specially made machinery.

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First a wash, then light wax.

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Now sorting — Second tier Avocados, Grade 2’s get tossed on top for separate packaging.

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Others move on to be weighed, stickered by size and PLU, then packaged.

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Each cup weighs then drops the Avocado — I think the heaviest lasts the longest.¬† Not sure.

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Boxing Avocados to be shipped to grocery stores and restaurants near YOU.

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You’ve seen them sold in stores and now you know the care involved — All is well run.

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More Avocados to take home — Thank you!¬† And a¬†1/2¬†Avocado Stress Ball.¬† Does it look real?

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We’re grateful for all that grows, those who grow it and those who get it to us.

Avocado Tree

What an amazing day — God bless California Avocados.

Sometimes Pizza Delivery Is Easiest And Best For All.

March 11th, 2013 No comments

Funny Food 54

It’s easy being cheesy.

Carrabba’s Beef Brasato Recipe: Taste It Without Being There.

March 10th, 2013 No comments

Brasato (Prep)

Linked¬†here is a video of a Carrabba’s Chef making their Beef Brasato, which is featured in one of Carrabba’s Italian Grill’s commercials.¬† Though I’ve never been there, the dish Beef Brasato looks and sounds pretty good —¬†It’s basically slow braised Short Ribs, Italian style.

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Carrabba’s¬†Beef Brasato RECIPE has¬†the makings for a great dish… Wine, Beef, Fresh Herbs, Garlic, Onion, etc.¬† All ingredients are pictured but not listed —¬†If visually indecipherable (Olive Oil, Dried Sweet Marjoram, Crushed Tomatoes, Lemon Zest), the complete list¬†is here.

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Carrabba’s Beef Brasato¬†recipe is¬†(somewhat) summarized here in a few photos.

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Cut, dice, chop, crush and press the Garlic, Herbs and Vegetables.

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Flour, Salt, Pepper and sear the Beef Short Ribs.

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Sauté the Mirepoix.

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Add Garlic, Red Wine, and return the seared Beef and add the remaining ingredients.

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Apologies for the poorly seared Beef, pan wasn’t hot enough (a common¬†story on The Bad).

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Braise all covered together in the oven at¬†300¬į – 325¬į¬†for¬†4 hours,¬†until¬†Beef will fall apart.

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Serve¬†over Rice or Risotto — It was flavorful, though I¬†added too much¬†Crushed Tomato.

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I’d make it again or try it at the restaurant someday — The pics don’t validate it well.

A Bite Of LA: Chinatown, Olvera Street & Philippe’s French Dip.

March 7th, 2013 1 comment

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We took the train to LA for the Chinese New Year Parade in Chinatown, then walked to Philippe, The Original and Olvera Street — All are within walking distance from each other.

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The Dragons and Confetti Poppers were the best part of the parade.

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Nearby in Chinatown, Sugar Cane was being pressed —¬†As a kid, I remember¬†a lot of Sugar Cane being sold on¬†Olvera Street, but didn’t see any available whatsoever.¬† I wonder why?!

China Town

The most expensive Ginseng we saw¬†was $899.00 per pound — Wow.

Chinese New Year Parade Dragon

And then we went to Philippe, The Original.¬† It’s family owned and operated since 1908.

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They claim to be the Home of the French Dip Sandwich and lines can be too long.

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The lines are weird too — One line becomes ‘pick the best of several’ that lead to the counter.

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Note it’s cash only — A French Dip Sandwich was once 35¬Ę.

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We both went with the Beef French Dip, though Philippe’s offers several Meat options.

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Ours was with a Pickled Egg, Cole Slaw, Potato Salad, Lemonade and Iced Tea.

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Okay, I’m sorry to say… It’s just okay.¬† I’m not a fan of¬†pre-dunk Bread.¬† It makes the Sandwich soggy.¬† I’d prefer to dip it¬†with each bite.¬† I’m told¬†to have it with Philippe’s Mustard next time and wish I had it this day, since I’m not sure I want to stand in line¬†for it again.

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I’m happy to have tried it, which is good enough for now — We’ll see about next time.

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Gone with remnants of wet Bread left behind.

Don't get gas here!

Don’t get gas here (above) near Philippe’s and Olvera Street — It’s a bigger rip-off than usual.

Olvera Street

The start of one side of Olvera Street (above).

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Food and reflections of today (above) and yesterday (below).

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The Kitchen at Avila Adobe, the oldest existing residence in Los Angeles.

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The Dining Room — I wanted to sit and eat, again.

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Another full day of food and fun together.

Ultra-Cool Hot Gadget: How To Grill A Hip Chicken.

March 6th, 2013 No comments

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This Chicken plans to cross many roads — Don’t ask why.¬† He’s already on the other side.

The Bad & The Funny Behind The Food Scene: Enjoy, Sweetheart.

March 4th, 2013 No comments

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Gratitude For Countless Things Good To Eat & Freedom To Enjoy It All.

March 3rd, 2013 No comments

Food Quote

Lay’s Do Us A Flavor Contest: Potato Chip Finalists Taste Test Here.

March 1st, 2013 No comments

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I forgot the Potato Chip flavor I entered in Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Contest and apparently Lay’s forgot¬†too as it wasn’t chosen as a finalist — Darn.¬† The prize is $1,000,000.00 or 1% of sales, whichever is greater.¬† See Official Rules for specifics.¬† And the finalists are… Sriracha, Chicken & Waffles and Cheesy Garlic Bread.¬† YOU may¬†vote for your favorite today through May 4th.

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Have you tried them yet?¬† I like¬†the varied selection chosen and created by Lay’s.

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I expected to like Sriracha¬†best, since I like its flavor, but it didn’t translate well onto the Potato Chips (above).¬† I don’t taste Sriracha.¬† It’s just hot without that recognizable flavor.

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I was excited to see Chicken & Waffles (top) since it’s¬†different and first thought ‘oh big deal’ when seeing¬†Cheesy Garlic Bread (above).¬† After all was said, done, thought about and tasted,¬†the Chicken & Waffles bag was empty first due to extra¬†analysis of its¬†interesting flavors, but¬†ultimately¬†I voted for Cheesy Garlic Bread, because it REALLY tastes like Cheesy Garlic Bread — Lay’s¬†did us a flavor with it, though¬†I’d buy¬†the Chicken & Waffles again too.

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Text VOTE to CHIPS (24477) to submit a vote.

03/10/13 Update: Though voting continues into May, it’s been difficult finding more Chips to try.¬† This is a call-out for Lay’s to get more Chips out there — Supply if you advertise!