Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fage Crossovers tomato basil blended low-fat Greek strained yogurt

I heard in passing that some yogurt company was going to release a curry-flavored yogurt and I got excited. I found myself in the dairy section of a supermarket with one of my aunts and we came across some yogurts with interesting combinations, but nothing savory. We ended up grabbing a few of those to try, but my search for the savory continued. About a month later, I found it: Fage Crossovers coconut curry blended low-fat Greek strained yogurt with roasted cashews. Right next to the curry was Fage Crossovers olive thyme blended low-fat Greek strained yogurt with roasted almonds and Fage Crossovers tomato basil blended low-fat Greek strained yogurt. Tonight, I tried the tomato basil.

Texture is thick smooth and creamy just like most greek yogurts.

Flavor: Before adding the almonds, there's a tangy, savory-sweetness to the yogurt. It took me a while to get, but after a few tastes I finally got the tomato flavor and then the basil came through, too. After adding the roasted almonds, which were seasoned with salt and course ground black pepper, the black pepper took over the flavor and it was hard to sort out the tomato and basil.

I was amazed at how much I liked a savory-flavored yogurt. I would have this again, but I wouldn't add the full serving of almonds so the tomato flavor won't be overpowered. This is a good serving for a light and savory snack.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

7 Select Brand Spicy Guacamole Thin Tortilla Chips

The bag says “thin tortilla chips,” which is accurate. They are light and crispy and a nice texture for snacking. No jaw-shaking crunch or mouth-slicing shards of hard tortilla chips. 

The first thing that hits you is the spice. These are spicy, so those with a low tolerance for the heat, should avoid them, but the acclimated will think it nothing. When you start chewing and moving the chip bolus around you get a creamy nuttiness that I assume is supposed to be avocado. Then the smokiness comes in and brings it all full circle: a smoky, creamy spice. I wasn’t able to taste any tomato, although there’s tomato paste in the ingredients. But I think the sour cream, onions and garlic that really come through. There’s no avocado listed in the ingredients! 

Overall, these are good. I would eat them, again. I would serve them at a party. I will probably use them in my taco salad recipe. I give them three potatoes. 

My best friend bought these for me from 7-11, where they continue to offer interesting and often good flavors under their own brand. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Carmela's Mint Cacao Nib Ice Cream

October 6, 2013
I first came across Carmela Ice Cream when they had a booth at the Larchmont Farmer's Market. I would buy several different flavors in their small cups and take them home or to someone's house for a tasting. The flavors were novel and quite yummy. I remember how excited I was about learning what new flavors they were offering. My favorite during that period was the Aztec Chocolate Ice Cream, an amazing blend of cinnamon, chili and chocolate an ice. Then suddenly, they weren't there anymore. 
I thought they just went out of business, so I was surprised to come across their simple little ice cream shop near the corner of 3rd and Fairfax. 
The past few years, I've found a lot of enjoyment in not-green mint chocolate chip ice cream, and I was happy when I found the Carmela was offering their own take on it. The cream was smooth and refreshingly minty. The cacao nibs brought a subtle and slightly waxy cocoa flavor. If you look at the spoon in the picture you can see that there's a substance that is left on the spoon. The ice cream was so good that the substance was hardly a turn-off, but I did some online digging and I found some suggestions that it separated butterfat, which is a sign of over-churning. Oh well! I'll order this ice cream every opportunity!

Bulgarini Gelato's Olive Oil

April 4, 2014
Probably one of the best frozen treats that can be found in L.A.County is Bulgarini Gelato, especially their specialty dish, olive oil gelato. As you can see, it is a white gelato that is tangy like a greek yogurt, somewhat salty and drizzled over with olive oil. The best way to try to describe it is kind of like plain greek yogurt, but much more complex with an explosion of sweetness and sourness that is only enhanced by the chilly temperatures.
If you're ever in Pasadena or surrounds it is very much worth the sidetrip to visit and taste the offerings of this hidden gem.

East Coasting 2013 Part VI... Mister Ed's Elephant Museum!

May 2013
Mister Ed's Elephant Museum is a place I've visited several times in my life and it is fun and interesting every time. Mister Ed apparently really loved elephants and started collecting them, figurines and photos and such, not the real ones. So there's the elephant museum where you can see thousands of elephant things on display. I don't know if Mr. Ed also loved candy, or if it was a subsequent owner who opened the candy emporium, but it is there and full of all kinds of candy including retro candy, homemade fudge, saltwater taffy and other snackie yum yums. 
The grounds around the museum are also very pretty and have cute little elephant touches and a giant talking elephant. 
When I visited Pennsylvania this past June, my aunt said the current owners are trying to sell and might end up closing Mr. Ed's. I thought it was important to post this, just in case. 

East Coasting 2013 Part V... Utz Potato Chip Factory!

May 2013
This was kind of a dream come true. I'm into snacks, hence this blog, and I've always wanted to go to a food factory. So when I found out the plant for my favorite chips was not very far from where I was staying in PA I  knew I had the perfect opportunity. 
The Utz Tour Gallery is completely self-guided. You get a history of the company and then you get to walk down a corridor with windows to view the factory and the different stages of production. Fascinating! Yes, it is old and the decor outdated, but that is so secondary to the awesomeness of seeing Utz being made. 
After you're done watching how the chips are made, you drive to the secondary location for the Utz Factory Outlet Store, where you can dance around a room full of every potato chip flavor and Utz product known to man. You can leave with a car full of Utz products, or you can have them shipped to you! They also had every flavor from Zapp's and Dirty Brand potato chips. I highly recommend these places for every potato chip fan.

East Coasting 2013 Part IV... Beer!

Ah yeah! This was a good paddle from Good-Ta-Go, the beer-lover's store and tap room in Chamberburg, PA. I had my first sour, Monk's Sour Flemish Ale, which tasted a little like vinegar, but then that's a taste I like. See part I of my East Coast 2013 posts to see my first shandy. Here I tasted my second: Shock Top Lemon Shandy, which wasn't as good as Leinenkugel's. I can't remember anything about the other two.

East Coasting 2013 Part III... Other snackie yum yums

The above are photos from snackie yum yum experiences i had while traveling around the East Coast in 2013.

  • Antietam Dairy consistently serves me the best ice cream I've ever had. That's double scoop of chocolate chip at dusk. 
  • I also drove around Lancaster County and found myself in Lititz, PA. That's a town with a great snackie history. I visited the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery. Sturgis boasts being the oldest pretzel bakery in the United States. There's a giant pretzel to prove it. Also in Litiz I visited the Wilbur Chocolate Candy Americana Museum and Candy Store. At the time there was a view into the Wilbur Chocolate Plant, but that is no more. It closed in January 2016.

Catching up...East Coasting 2013 Part II

The above are photos of random chip experiences from my East Coast trip in 2013.
  • The chip aisle at Walmart in Chambersburg, PA. 
  • Middleswarth Potato Chips. 
  • Beet chips  and a hibiscus beverage from the Chalsty's Cafe in the Museum of the City of New York.
  • Wise All Natural Potato Chips: Delicious! Plain crisps and lightly salted but with a potato-y aftertaste which is appropriate for potato chips. There's a little bit of an oily feel, but again, that's what is expected from a potato chip. These are great just potato- potato chips. (05/26/2013)
  • Grandma Utz' Handcooked Potato Chips: I missed Utz so the first single serving bag I came across I bought. I actually almost bought all the varieties they had available, but sensibility won over and I ended up with Grandma Utz's Handcooked,  original Utz, and BBQ flavored. At the commissary they were only 27 cents. So I was trying to remember and I thought that I really liked the hand cooked, but my taste buds must've changed because the bag I just ate wasn't pleasant. They left an odd aftertaste like they used a different oil or something. But I did like the texture. They felt like they were in the middle between the hard crunch of kettle-cooked and the light crispy of regular-cooked. (05/26/2013)

Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy East Coasting 2013 Part I

My original photo from hanging with the aunts in 2013
May 27, 2013
Went with three of my aunts to one of the nicer local bars, Break Away, to hang out. We ordered a lot of food and beer and the Lemon Shandy was my second. It's really light, very lemony, almost a natural lemonade as in lemon juice and water. There's no body at first sip but then after you move it around your tongue a bit it blossoms in your mouth and you can taste the wheat behind the lemonade. Definitely perfect for a summer afternoon. Love the lemony flavor and the smooth feel. 

July 4, 2016
I'm a lazy bum and that's why it has taken me so long to post the above. Just to add an addendum, I had a Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy at a gathering yesterday and it is still just as delicious and refreshing as when I first tasted it in 2013, and I think it is the perfect alcoholic beverage for the summer (I didn't copy that from their website, I believe it!). 

A shandy is a beer mixed with another, usually non-alcoholic beverage. Summer Shandy, according to the Leinenkugel's website, is a blend between a weiss beer and natural lemonade flavor.