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Lay’s Passport To Flavor: Taste Testing With Leon On Dog Beach.

August 21st, 2016 No comments

Tikka Masala

You won’t need a passport to try Lay’s latest test Chip flavors… Indian Tikka Masala, Brazilian Picanha (Steak & Chimichurri Sauce), Greek Tzatziki and Chinese Szechuan Chicken, also known as Lay’s Passport to Flavor collection, and some will transport you to a dish from another country.

Lays Chip Taste Test

I appreciate the unique flavors Lay’s is willing to create.  They’re fun and interesting to try.  We’ve tried and reported about most of them here.  Leon likes all of them, because he likes anything.

Testing Lays Chips

After trying this passport series, our favorites are the Indian Tikka Masala and Brazilian Picanha. The thought of the Greek Tzatziki flavor is better than the actual, because it’s too subtle.

First and Second Place

If we were to buy any of them again, it would be the Indian Tikka Masala Chips, because they taste just like the dish.  I now want Indian food and will most likely order the Chicken Tikka Masala.

Indian Tikka Masala

The other Chips could use more flavor, though Leon would eat ’em up in a second.

Hello Fresh Meal Delivery: A Comparison to Blue Apron And Plated.

July 18th, 2016 No comments

Hello Fresh Test

Well… Hellooooooo Fresh.  It’s finally your turn — Nice to try you.  It’s hard to give-up Blue Apron, but I’m ready.   Temporarily that is.  We previously tried and reported about Plated, another meal (recipe + fresh ingredients) delivery company.  It’s my plan to try most, if not all of the popular meal delivery companies and here we try and compare Hello Fresh to Blue Apron and Plated.

Box from Hello Fresh

The Hello Fresh ingredients and recipe cards arrive in a large box that lists the enclosed meal’s nutrition facts on its side — A nice feature not included on the Blue Apron and Plated boxes.

Hello Fresh Menu

All ingredients were well packed and arrived fresh.

Leon and Hello Fresh

In fact, each meal is packaged individually in nice windowed white boxes.  It’s different than Blue Apron and Plated — The recipe ingredients are contained and sealed together in the large box.

Hello Fresh Packaging

The smaller boxes are impressive, but unnecessary — Hello Fresh can save on this packaging.

Hello Fresh Ingredients

The proteins arrive under blocks of ice, as like the others, and all was perfectly fresh.

Hello Fresh Meat

The Hello Fresh recipe cards are smaller than all others I’ve used, including the recipe cards from Chef’d, soon to be reviewed here on Nibbles of Tidbits — Check back for that comparison.

Hello Fresh Recipe

The Hello Fresh recipe cards are harder to read than the others — The card and photo are smaller, thus appear less detailed.  The Blue Apron recipe cards are more user-friendly than those printed for Hello Fresh and Plated.  Blue Apron includes a photo of the chopped ingredients and the others do not.  I had no trouble following the Hello Fresh recipe cards, but Blue Apron’s are better.

Hello Fresh Meal

Taste and the recipes — I made Jamie’s Roasted Chicken with Lemony Bombay Potatoes (above) and Spring Asparagus and Shrimp Risotto with Meyer Lemon (below).

Hello Fresh Shrimp Dish

I’m not sure why my Shrimp Risotto (below) looked albino compared to its photo (above).

Hello Fresh Risotto

Dukkah-Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes, Snap Peas and Citrus Sour Cream (below). I liked it best from our first box.  Not pictured, we also tried three Hello Fresh vegetarian meals. Since I forgot to deselect upcoming meals, I received a second Hello Fresh box in the mail. Related to that, the Hello Fresh web interface could use improvement.  It’s not as easy to view and/or cancel future meals as it is on the Blue Apron and Plated websites.  I had switched from the Hello Fresh ‘Classic Box’ to the ‘Veggie Box’ subscription on their website, because it’s a better value.

Hello Fresh Chicken Dish

Hello Fresh costs approximately $10 more for a Classic Box (three meals w/meat) = $70.  Three meals w/meat from Blue Apron costs the same as three vegetarian meals from Hello Fresh = $60. Aside from cost, we agree that Blue Apron meals are more flavorful and sophisticated overall. And since they do cost less, they’re a better deal all around.  I keep the Hello Fresh and Plated subscriptions open in case there’s a meal I can’t refuse, but need to manage them better so not to receive meals from all companies in the same week.  Each offers potential for a great meal.

Burger King’s Mac N’ Cheetos: A Fun Concept That Misses.

July 3rd, 2016 No comments

Mac N' Cheetos

We tried Burger King’s new Mac N’ Cheetos (pictured) — Macaroni and Cheese inside fried batter shaped like Cheese Puffs.  The Macaroni and Cheese in Burger King’s ad looks creamy and their “Cheetos” appear to be dusted with an orange, cheesy powder, but in person they look different.

Burger King Mac N' Cheetos

I hate to report it, but they kind of look like little fried turds — That’s from a consensus of three tasters.  Burger King’s Mac N’ Cheetos were darker than expected and had no visible orange flavored powder, like Cheetos and Cheese Puffs do.  If the batter is supposed to be made with Cheetos, we couldn’t taste the Cheetos flavor in it.  And the Macaroni and Cheese inside was very dry.

Inside Mac N' Cheetos

I didn’t want more than just one Cheeto.  That’s not good.  I didn’t expect them to be great, but they’re just plain funny and bad, like crazy Fair food.  Maybe BK should wrap them in Bacon, JK.  I waited in line too long for them, and the first BK I went to ran out of them, while I was stuck in the drive-thru.  That wasn’t good either.  I wish I could report better, but three tasters on behalf of Nibbles of Tidbits do not want them again, though all appreciate the fun concept of ’em.

The ‘Superfood Side’ That Replaced Coleslaw At Chick-Fil-A.

April 12th, 2016 No comments

Super Food Salad

Though sad that Chick-Fil-A removed Cole Slaw from their menu, the pictured Superfood Side that replaced it is quite flavorful.  In fact I’ve been craving it ever since trying it.  I’ve now had it a few times for lunch aside Chicken Nuggets.  It’s funny and unexpected, since I liked Chick-Fil-A’s Cole Slaw so much.  I didn’t want to like their Superfood Side, whatever the heck it was, I initially thought.  Now I REALLY like it, ha.  It’s a tasty combination tossed in a tangy Maple Vinaigrette.

Note:  If you miss Chick-Fil-A’s Cole Slaw too, the recipe is posted here.

We’re Thankful For Jennie-O’s Turkey And Thanksgiving Menu Ideas.

November 4th, 2015 No comments

Jennie-O Turkey

Wow, it was a perfect Turkey that went from the freezer directly into the oven without effort — It’s the Oven Ready Whole Turkey from the Jennie-O Turkey Store.  It’s ready to be cooked in a bag.

Oven Ready Turkey

It’s true what the package says — The Turkey browned in the bag, was tender and tasted great.

Menu

I didn’t know Jennie-O sold such a Turkey.  I didn’t have to remove the giblets, yay!

Turkey and Corn Dish

Since the Turkey was so easy to prepare, I made a complete, early Thanksgiving Dinner.

Brussels Sprouts Side Dish

I got several ideas and inspiration from the Jennie-O website, especially the Holiday Sides page.

Turkey Bacon

And surprisingly I discovered that I like Turkey Bacon, though I wasn’t even sure I wanted to try it. It looks quite different than Bacon in its raw state. It feels like Bologna, kind of looks like a surfboard and fake Bacon with a line running down the middle, but it tastes pretty good, like Bacon.

Raw Turkey Bacon

Turkey Bacon cooks up nice and crisp, but it’s a little harder to tell when it’s done.  I accidentally burnt the first batch, but the second batch (below) turned out well.  There is a fine line between burnt and nicely crisp.  Turkey Bacon is in a few of the Jennie-O Thanksgiving Side Dishes.

Cooked Turkey Bacon

I will definitely buy Jennie-O’s Oven Ready Whole Turkey and Turkey Bacon again.  I appreciate the coupons they sent us.  I gave away a couple of them.  When purchasing Jennie-O’s Oven Ready whole Turkey, a lady in line in front of me, expressed her love for Jennie-O products and had never seen their Oven Ready Whole Turkey, so I gave her one of the Jennie-O coupons to try it too.

Thanksgiving Dinner with Jennie-O

Thank you Jennie-O!  I tried a couple products I never thought to try before and actually really like ’em.  I have a better appreciation of Jennie-O’s products.  They offer much more than we thought.

Do Us A Flavor Lay’s: Pick My Chip Idea Next Time.

August 9th, 2015 No comments

Do Us A Flavor Contest Finalists

Have you heard of Lay’s Do Us A Flavor Chip Contest?  Lays may someday pay YOU for coming up with a great Chip idea.  This time the finalists’ flavors are… West Coast Truffle Fries, Southern Biscuits and Gravy, and Greektown Gyro and New York Reuben Sandwich flavors. Different.  I like that and was excited to try each, but… hhmmm… some aren’t executed that well. Bummer. The Reuben and Gyro Chips just taste weird.  Some of the respective Sandwich components can be tasted in each, but neither come together in a positive tasty manner.  And the Truffle Fries Chips don’t have enough Truffle flavor.  They taste more like Sour Cream and Onion Chips.  The best of the (4) in a collective opinion of five are the Southern Biscuits and Gravy Chips.  They have a good, peppery Biscuits and Gravy flavor and might be purchased by us post review.  Lays should pick my Chip idea next time — TBA if it happens.  In any event, it’s a fun contest that I hope continues.

Blue Apron Review: The Menu Of The Week Never Looked So Good.

April 30th, 2015 No comments

Cod

Blue Apron Box Report No. 2 — We love them even more now.

Blue Apron

It’s Blue Apron’s unique and enticing recipes that I appreciate most — The meals are exciting to eat.

Chicken

We received 3 new recipe cards and the ingredients to prepare them all — Our final dishes are pictured on the right of its respective recipe card and our first Blue Apron report is linked here.

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Each meal was completely different than the one before it and all had exceptional flavor.

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We’re already looking forward to the next box from Blue Apron.  Originally I was just going to try them, but their weekly menus and quality of ingredients are keeping me interested.  I had also planned to try and compare similar companies, but after a little research it looks like Blue Apron may be offering the best deal.  If that continues to be true, I may not want to try nor like another. Each looks similarly impressive, but I must have a good price too.

Similar companies are listed below and prices may change — Check them out yourself.

Plated.com – Eating Well Made Easy ($12/Serving – $72/Week – 6 meals total for 2)

Hello Fresh – Restaurant Quality Meals At Home ($11.50/Serving – $69/Week – 6 meals total for 2)

Green Chef – Deliciously Simple ($14.99/Serving – $89.94/Week – 6 meals total for 2)

Forage – Recipes from Notable Restaurants ($7.50 – $15/Serving – $60/Week – 4 meals total, which may serve 2. It’s unclear)

Chef’d – The Easiest Way to Cook Like a Pro ($19 – $38/Serving for 2 – Each meal has its own cost)

Testing Out Blue Apron: A Weekly (You Cook) Food Delivery Service.

April 15th, 2015 2 comments

Spicy Turkey Meatball Pitas

Have you heard of Blue Apron?  It’s a weekly food delivery service.  Blue Apron delivers recipes and ingredients to your doorstep for YOU to prepare.  Blue Apron takes meal planning and grocery shopping off your To-Do List.  They do that for you then deliver all to you.  We tested them out.

Blue Apron Delivery

Our delivery included 3 Recipe Cards and all the ingredients to make them.

Leon and Blue Apron

All was wrapped in bubble foil insulation with sealed frozen ice blocks.

Blu Apron Box Inside

After review of its contents, let’s just say that I hope every box is as fresh as this one.

Fresh Ingredients

All produce was fresh — Kale, Spinach, Bibb Lettuce, Fava Leaves, Sugar Snap Peas, and the meat appeared fresh too.  The box of ingredients even smelled fresh.  The quality of all made me happy.

Blue Apron Ingredients

Each recipe comes with a “Knick Knacks” bag, which holds small and measured ingredients.

Shrimp Ingredients

Knick Knacks bags may include Butter, Cream, Spice mixtures, etc.  I love organization.

Beef Ingredients

I had fun exploring my first Blue Apron food box and couldn’t wait to make and taste everything.

Blue Apron Ingredients

Shrimp, Flank Steak and Ground Turkey were included in this delivery for Lemon & Black Pepper Shrimp with Fresh Linguine Di Cavolo & Fava Leaves, Pan-Seared Steaks with Green Peppercorn Sauce & Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, and Spiced Turkey Meatball Pitas with Sugar Snap Pea & Bibb Lettuce Salad — A good variety of recipes I wouldn’t make or try, but for Blue Apron.

Blue Apron Meat

I like trying new things and I like surprises, so this type of service is entertaining.

Recipe Cards

You can look ahead at upcoming recipes online or surprise yourself when the box arrives.

Meal Prep

The step-by-step instructions on each recipe card are done well.  I’ll often change something in a recipe to make the dish better, but I didn’t need to and wasn’t going to, as I wanted to make all as instructed for this post.  Recipes are created by Blue Apron’s culinary team and renowned guest chefs.  Recipes will never be repeated in the same year and meals are 500-700 calories.

Lemon & Black Pepper Shrimp

Meals take about 35 minutes to prepare and ingredients are pre-measured, so there’s no waste.

Pan-Seared Steaks

Matt liked all the meals too — Maybe I’ll get him to cook one of the recipes.

Hey Matt likes it!

I didn’t expect to like Blue Apron as much as I now do, but I find it convenient and enjoyable — You still need to chop, mix and cook all, but it’s nice to not have to plan what to make and shop for the ingredients.  If I shopped for the quality ingredients I received here, it would probably cost more money, and more time and stress to look for and obtain all, let alone conceive the recipes.

Blue Apron Meal

Choose when you want your box of food delivered and how often — Once a week, every other week, once a month, etc.  I set up Blue Apron to deliver recipes and ingredients every other week for now and look forward to trying more recipes.  If everything remains fresh, I may be a customer for a long time, though I simply intended to try it.  I’ve seen advertisements for similar food delivery companies and may need to compare them to Blue Apron who sets the bar high.  Blue Apron’s prices are reasonable too, approximately $60/week for three meals for two.  Shipping is included in the price too, which helps sell me.  Check back to see how our second box of food turns out.  Posted will be a clear side by side comparison of each recipe card and meal.

Best Dessert In Fullerton: Sticky Toffee Pudding At The Olde Ship.

January 9th, 2015 No comments

Sticky Toffee Pudding at The Old Ship

Have you had the Sticky Toffee Pudding at The Olde Ship British Pub & Restaurant?  It’s one of the BEST Desserts I’ve had in my life and it’s perfectly served in warm Heavy Cream.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

I’ve had it three times and still can’t stop thinking about going back for it again.  I suggest going to The Olde Ship each time we’ve dined out recently, but my husband needs more food variety.  It’s a rich dessert that’s best shared, so not to be put over the Sugar edge.  The unsweetened Heavy Cream balances the sweetness beautifully.  I love The Olde Ship for this dessert, other authentic British dishes and its cozy atmosphere, especially during Christmas time.

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I searched for The Olde Ship’s Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe online, but didn’t find it, I’m told it’s made with Dried Apricots and other things.  I may attempt a copycat recipe after a little more study.  I visited The British Grocer, a store run by the same people at The Olde Ship in Fullerton and Santa Ana.  The British Grocer is in Fullerton, down the street from The Olde Ship British Pub & Restaurant on North Harbor Boulevard.  I’ve yet to visit its Santa Ana location, but hear it’s larger.

Heinz Sticky Toffee Pudding

Pictured directly above is a prepared, canned Sticky Toffee Pudding I purchased from The British Grocer.  I was told by a clerk there that’s its flavor is most like the one made at The Olde Ship. The store offered two options, one that’s frozen and this one that was canned.

Boiling Sticky Toffee Pudding

Surprisingly this one is made by Heinz and it does have a similar, rich flavor that’s good served with warm Heavy Cream, though it has a different, more Bread Pudding like texture, rather than a loose, Bran Muffin texture like the Sticky Toffee Pudding prepared at The Olde Ship.  I’ll buy more of both.

STP Label

I served the Heinz Sticky Toffee Pudding the same way, which made it taste great.

Heinz STP (Boiled)

It’s romantic and beautiful inside the Pub, with hundreds of lights in December.

Me at The Old Ship

Pictured below is the Great British Breakfast that’s served with a Banger, Baked Beans, Irish Bacon, a Tomato, Mushrooms and Fried Toast.  At first glance, the Toast looks basic, but it’s fried. I thought I’d like that more than I did, but toasted is better.  I like the Baked Beans a lot.

Breakfast at The Old Ship

The Olde Ship’s Famous Clam Chowder is very good too, with lots of Clams.

Clam Chowder

Back to why this post started… The magnificent Sticky Toffee Pudding at The Old Ship (below).

Sticky Toffee Pudding in Heavy Cream

Until we meet again, aka when my husband is ready to go back — I have to be reasonable.

Lay’s Do Us A Flavor Chip Contest Take Two: We Pick Only One.

August 14th, 2014 No comments

Lay's Chip Contest II

I submitted a Potato Chip flavor idea in Lay’s latest Do Us A Flavor – Choose Your Chip Contest, but never heard back.  It appears they didn’t choose my flavor idea… Steakhouse Bloody Mary Kettle Cooked Chips, which would have to be better than Cappuccino, don’t you think?  I was surprised to see and taste that option, but do appreciate its uniqueness.

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With respect to Lay’s actual picks (above), I was most excited about the Wasabi Ginger and Mango Salsa, thought the Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese to be basic, and the Cappuccino to be odd.  After tasting all, I’d only be able to eat an entire bag of one, the Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese.  I’m not sure how I’m able to taste Macaroni in a Potato Chip, but somehow can.  They’re pretty good.  Overall, we could only eat a couple Cappuccino Chips before they got sickening, a few more of the Wasabi Ginger Chips before being overpowered by their flavor, and the Mango Salsa Chips tasted like my favorite Fruit Lollipop at Disneyland, a flavor not sought in a Chip.  We say #SaveBaconMac, if any.  Vote for your favorite — Previous winners.

Appreciation For El Torito’s 60 Years Of Innovative Mexican Cuisine.

April 14th, 2014 No comments

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Comida del Oceano — A Limited Edition Seafood Menu currently being offered at El Torito Cantina Authentica in honor of its 60th Anniversary.  They’re having a ‘Year of Celebration’.

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Nibbles of Tidbits was invited to try most items on El Torito’s Comida del Oceano Menu.

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It was an honor for us, as we respect and appreciate El Torito’s 60 Years of Service — Gracias!

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Cheers to that with a Spicy Pepino Margarita and Yerba Buena, described below and here.

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My favorite, the Spicy Pepino Margarita is made with Cucumbers, Cilantro and Jalapenos.

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Also on the Comida del Oceano Menu, pictured from top down is the Calamari Filet Appetizer (Crispy Calamari Filet Strips served atop Baby Arugula with a Sweet Chili Sauce), which was perfectly crisp and tender, nicely cooked and the best Calamari I’ve had in a long time.

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Enchiladas de Mariscos filled with Shrimp, Crab and Three Cheeses.

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The Enchiladas are served atop tasty sautéed vegetables, as shown above and in first photo.

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Tacos de Camarones, served in Guajillo basted Tortillas — We loved that about them.

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The Salmon Polanco-Style is a work of art and great atop Spinach and Chimichurri Sauce.

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Camarones en Garlic-Lemon Butter Sauce — Loved the Roasted Tomato Butter Sauce too.

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Cheers to El Totito’s longevity and continuous progression.

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Our menu tour concluded with the Seafood Fajitas Supremas, a guest and employee favorite.

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It includes Shrimp, Mahi Mahi and Crispy Calamari — A supreme Fajitas combination indeed.

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Flourless Chocolate Cake, a gluten free choice by many — It’s ultra-moist with excellent flavor.

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Thank you dedicated Chefs!  Looks like they have a great team under Chef Loreto Alcala (right).  Chef Arturo Castillo (left) heads up El Torito’s Orange location off The City Way.  We dined at the Fullerton location this day, a nice, large space with a Bar and Outdoor Patio.

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We wish El Torito 60+ more years of success combined with dish and drink innovation.

The Original Umami Burger: What’s Not To Like About Its Definition?

March 28th, 2014 No comments

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Umami:  A taste sensation that is meaty or savory and is produced by several amino acids and nucleotides (as glutamate and aspartate) — It’s the definition of Umami.  Understand now?

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How about this… Umami is a savory taste, one of the five basic tastes (together with sweet, sour, bitter and salty).  A loanword from the Japanese, Umami can be translated as “pleasant savory taste” — It’s basically a description, NOT specific ingredients.  I didn’t know all this.

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Pictured is the Original Umami Burger from the Umami Restaurant Group’s Umami Burger.

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And Beer Battered Onion Rings from Umami Burger’s Sides Menu.  They were good, but I prefer thinner Onions.  Theirs are thick with too much Onion — Not sure if they are always like that?!

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As for the famous Original Umami Burger, I regret to inform that we thought it was just okay.  I’d heard great things about it over the past couple years, but we didn’t find it mind blowingly different.  It’s quite rich actually.  We like its ingredients… Shiitake Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions, Roasted Tomato, a Parmesan Crisp and Umami Ketchup, but idk — It was pleasantly savory, but other Burgers have been even more pleasantly savory, if allowed.

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It’s not inexpensive, but had to try it and you may still want to too.  I’d like to try Umami Burger’s Ahi Tuna Burger.  It looks and sounds impressive, like many of Umami Burger’s other Burgers.

Staub Enameled Cast Iron: The Best Chicken In The Best Pot.

March 21st, 2014 No comments

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We received this Staub Cast Iron Cookware as a gift for our wedding.

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It’s from one of the attorneys I work for as a paralegal — His family swears by it.

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I’ve given away Cast Iron Pots in the past — I generally thought them to be unattractive, to rust easy, and be too heavy to use.  Well… This one is NOT unattractive.  In fact it’s so gorgeous I can’t stop staring at it.  I want to keep it nice forever.  It’s still pretty heavy, but I greatly appreciate its enameled surface and think it would be less apt to rust.  Thank you!

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The first thing I cooked (several times already) is a Whole Chicken.

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This one is seasoned with Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder and Paprika — Each has been different.

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And was simply placed a-top roughly chopped Onions and Carrots.

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I include Fresh Herbs if I have them.  Dill and Thyme (my favorite) were added to this Chicken.  I add most in its cavity and some to the Carrots and Onions, since I later puree all with a little Chicken Juice and Chicken Stock to make a Sauce to serve with it — A quick alternative to Gravy.  Cook Chicken covered in the oven at 325° for approximately 3 Hours.

Staub

Put it in the oven and forget about it until the timer goes off.  It’s a great meal and our house smells good too.  I’ll experiment with a different pot to assess the difference in Chickens using the same cooking method and report back soon, if I can give up this pot for a bit.  Staub is made in France and this one has a self-basting system, you can read more about here.

Crispy Green Crispy Fruit On The Way To The Deep Blue.

February 10th, 2014 No comments

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It wasn’t easy saving these Crispy Fruit as munchies for our cruise,  because I LOVE Freeze Dried Fruit, and admit I did eat Crispy Green’s Crispy Tangerine too quickly to photograph it.

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Pictured above is the Crispy Fruit Pineapple aka Freeze Dried Pineapple — It is indeed crispy, like a Chip, and should not be confused with Dried Fruit, generally with a chewy texture.

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We were leaving Miami here for Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Maarten, amongst the Virgin Islands, with bon voyage Fresh Apples and its Freeze Dried counter-part pictured below.

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The Apples were equally crunchy and crisp, either way — Fresh and/or Freeze Dried.

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Crispy Green makes it right, and crispy, which is everything to good Freeze Dried Fruit.

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It was then on to planning our first breakfast on the Celebrity Reflection — Sail back for more.

Islands Nalu Nalu Burger: We Surfed The Roasted Garlic Aioli Wave.

October 24th, 2013 No comments

Islands Nalu Nalu Burger

Islands Fine Burgers & Drinks — It’s the Nalu Nalu Burger and it’s new on Island’s Menu.

Islands Burger - Nalu Nalu

It’s made with Roasted Garlic Aioli, Provolone Cheese, Sautéed Onions, Mixed Peppers, Hot Chili Pepper Rings and Lettuce.  Our Nalu Nalu Burger (above) was over-cooked and just okay.  We still prefer Mavericks, Kilauea, the Pipeline and the Hula to this Hawaiian wave.

Giving Micheladas A [Bad] Name: Accessible For Exposure Not Taste.

October 2nd, 2013 No comments

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I like the idea of an all-in-one Michelada, but the pictured could repel one from trying another.

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A Michelada is a Mexican Cerveza that’s made with Beer, Lime Juice, assorted Sauces, Spices and Peppers, which sounds interesting and good if prepared in the right proportions.

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The pictured was plastic wrapped at 7-Eleven — One then adds Beer and the included Spice packet (the biggest problem here).  It’s too salty and overwhelms in a bad way, and best not added.  The Lime/Spice around the rim is better on its own.  Once the Spice packet is added, you’ve f’d up your Beer.  After this Michilada, I’m left wanting one that’s prepared right.

Z’Tejas Chili Fest ’13 Benefits The Blind Children’s Learning Center.

August 30th, 2013 No comments

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Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill at South Coast Plaza is launching its annual Chile Fest, an homage to the famous Hatch, New Mexico festival, Sept 3 – Sept 16 and $1 from each entrée off the special menu will benefit the Blind Children’s Learning Center.  Executive Chef Daniel Stevens says the idea behind Chile Fest is to celebrate the versatile role the fruit (its internal, edible seeds qualify it as a fruit rather than a vegetable) plays in the culinary world.  Each menu item on the Chile Fest menu including desserts and cocktails contain a variety of Chile Pepper.

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Excerpt from PR materials (above) — Photos are from a media preview we attended.

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Nibbles of Tidbits (we) got to sample items from the Chili Fest Menu — Enlarge for better view.

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Pictured from top down — The Herb Chili Glazed Mahi Mahi, my favorite of all we tasted and tried, two drinks on the Chili Fest Menu, the Skinny Smokin’ Margarita, my drink pick, and the Skinny Z’Smash.  The other drinks (on right) are two of Z’Tejas most popular… The Chambord Margarita and 6th Street Margarita.  We liked the Hatch Chili Onion Rings too.

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The Adobo Steak Relleno and Tamarind Chicken Salad also had a punch of flavor and heat.

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The Hatch Chili Coconut Flan is extra creamy and spicy — It’s so rich it needs the heat.

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Dishes pictured below are found on Z’Tejas regular menu.

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Corn Bread — It’s excellent and one of the best I’ve had.

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Raw Ahi Chipotle Citrus Bites — I want them again.

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Grilled Salmon and Vegetables — All was well prepared.

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I like the addition of Pepitas to the Tableside Guacamole.

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Did you know that Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill has the ‘largest outdoor patio’ at South Coast Plaza?  It does and I like it.  We’re always looking to have quality food and drinks on a patio.

The Promenade Event Centre & Gardens: Choose Your Favorites.

August 11th, 2013 No comments

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Do you have an event coming up?  I recommend The Promenade Event Centre & Gardens by The Turnip Rose.  I worked within walking distance from it and enjoyed its gardens and many introspective lunches at Cafe Rose Express.  And now, a couple years later I have an event.  Photos here are from a tasting event held there for current and potential customers.

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Pick a date, package (if applicable) and food favorites, and all shall be great.

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Mini Sliders & French Fries, Seared Ahi, the best Chicken Skewers ever, and more are options as Hors d’oeuvres — Taste all and choose a favorite for your event.

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Crab Cakes too — Contact The Turnip Rose directly for actual choices and official dish names.

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The service has always been exceptional at all Turnip Rose venues and events.

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Your choice of an Entree is also in order — A small sampling of a large sampling is below.

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Several Chicken, Fish and Steak selections are available.

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I need (at least) one more tasting to be sure.

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Dessert Bars, Cappuccino Bars, Candy Bars and Beer & Wine Bars by request, oh my.

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Rock Candy Swizzle Sticks for the Coffee Drinks — I want them too.

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It’s a comfortable and classy indoor/outdoor Event Centre with great food to consider.

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If getting married and/or having a reception, a Wedding Cake by Creative Cakes is included.

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Cheers to all — Thanks for coming.  Okay, let’s party now!

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See you in January and in between with possible reports leading up, then happily ever after.

Chipotle’s Sofritas: Shredded Tofu Braised With Chilis And Spices.

July 3rd, 2013 No comments

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You can’t see the Sofritas under the tasty selection of toppings on my Chipotle Salad, and don’t be afraid when you do — Chipotle’s Sofritas are made with shredded Tofu that’s braised with Chipotle Chilis, roasted Poblanos and aromatic Spices.  Its spiciness makes it desirable.

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Sofritas is an option for vegans or anyone who likes its flavor — We eat it all.

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It looks like this (below) and probably better in person. 😉

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Chipotle Mexican Grill always seems to be busy, but the line usually moves along quickly.

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You have to slow the employees down to get exactly what you want, but it’s okay, I guess.

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They’re making a Burrito for another and a Burrito Bowl and Crispy Tacos with Sofritas for us.

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Guacamole costs extra — I’m going to want a BIG scoop, thank you.

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I love Chipotle’s delicate, crispy Taco Shells, but one must eat ’em fast for optimum crunch.

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At times I could imagine I was eating Ground Beef Tacos instead of Tofu ones.

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Though Sofritas is good, there’s a Barbacoa mountain to climb — I LOVE it, as evidenced here.

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Chipotle’s MENU has something for all — It’s easy to have a good meal there.

Microwave Egg Poacher: A Bad End To National Egg Month.

May 30th, 2013 No comments

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Yes, it’s also National Egg Month — There seems to be a day or month for every food.

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I bought this Microwave Egg Poacher because it was under $2.00, but PEEEE. UUUU.

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It stunk up the house while cooking and just plain stinks in all ways.  When the lid/top is fully open, it tilts the bottom/base causing some of the raw Egg to fall out — Not good.

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The result was an Egg horror film, hahaha — I was literally frightened by how they looked.

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The Yolk was desperately trying to get away and/or cooked to hell — A stinky, scary situation!

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Didn’t even want to taste it, so all went into the trash — Eyes were reserved for transplant onto other food.  They were added to improve its look and for a redeeming feature chuckle.

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As a better replacement, I was hoping to find an Eclair on top of the trash.  I’d eat it.

Snazzy Gourmet Oatmeal Snatched By The Dog: Not Too Snazzy.

May 7th, 2013 No comments

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Peaches & Berry Bramble Natural Gourmet Oatmeal was what I wanted to try most, but nooooooooo, the dog ate it, I swear — This time it was true.  It was too close to the end of the counter and got snatched over to the sneaky place, like too many casualties before it.

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I was glad to still have the Cranberry O’ Nut Natural Gourmet Oatmeal to sample.

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And was completely impressed with the clear tops — For that reason I’d want to buy it.

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It’s great quality too — A little Hot Water in the Cranberry O’ Nut made an excellent breakfast.

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Also had to try the Bourbon Salted Pecan Pancake & Waffle Mix — Sounds so interesting.

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I made Waffles with the mix and they cooked up nicely, despite overfilling the Waffle Iron, but ultimately I wanted a lot more flavor from them.  Overall it was fun sampling (and almost sampling) a few of the products sold on Snazzy Gourmet — They offer some cool food stuff.

Tracy’s King Crab Shack: The Best Alaskan King Crab Bisque In Town.

April 3rd, 2013 4 comments

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From Alaska to California and hopefully back for more — I’ve never been there, but our resident photographer cruised Alaska last year and came back exclaiming he had the ‘Best Crab Bisque’ ever.  It was at Tracy’s King Crab Shack in Juneau and he couldn’t stop talking about it.

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I tried to find its recipe online, but could not, thus resorted to having it shipped from Tracy.

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It’s not cheap (mostly due to shipping), but I learned it’s worth it — Wow!  I see now.

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Though not as pretty as when it’s served to you in Juneau, Alaska, it cooked up flawlessly.

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One has the option to add Cream, Milk or Stock — I added Cream, as recommended by Tracy.

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She also suggests a squeeze of Lime at the end — It has generous pieces of King Crab.

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This King Crab Bisque is superb without a Lime squeeze and magnificent with one.

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Tracy’s King Crab Shack was recently featured on Top Chef, as shown in a few TV pics.

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Chef-testants had to quickly create a dish with Tracy’s Crab Legs — The Best Legs in Town.

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Tracy’s King Crab Shack Story and Stovetop Instructions are above.

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Thanks to Matt for the beautiful Alaskan photos and tip on Tracy’s — I’m hooked on all!

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!