Monday, August 31, 2009

Simply Addictive: Sarah's Caramellas

Before I start this piece, I want to point out that this is not a shameless plug for a friend's idea for a dessert. I was skeptical when I heard that Sarah, a West Coast-based colleague who worked at the advertising trade newspaper with me oh so many years ago, was embarking on creating a brownie/blondie-type bar in hopes of selling it to some shops and actually make a living at it. Sarah relocated with her husband to the East Coast, and was hoping to make a little money on the side while raising her young son, Race. Recently she visited a mutual friend of ours, Christine, and dropped off some of her Caramellas for us to try out. Neither myself nor Christine are what we'd call dessert lovers. Christine tried a Caramella and was instantly hooked. She told me that I'd better take the rest or she'd eat them all. I finally tried a bar and I too am hooked. It was the most delicious bar I've ever tried. In fact I wanted to save one for tonight so that I could experience the taste while writing this post. I got home and knowing I had one left went to grab it from the fridge. At first I couldn't find it and went searching all through the shelves. I was about to call Christine and accuse her of stealing my Caramella when I finally located it. I then realized that I was acting like a crack addict who couldn't find his or her next hit. Now, enough about my addiction—on to more about the amazing Caramellas...

Sarah's Caramellas are an oatmeal and brown sugar bar topped with homemade caramel, chopped walnuts and smooth dark chocolate. The original recipe came from a relative on her sister's husband's side, a woman who raised five boys. Sarah happened to try a bar at her sister's house and after tracking down the recipe she began baking them herself, tweaking and changing along the way until she came up with her Caramellas. Sarah then took them to some parties where they were (not surprisingly) a huge hit. A test run with a local shop proved very successful so fortunately Sarah is now going full speed on working to get the Caramellas out to the public. In just a few short weeks, the Caramellas will be available at the following places:

Coffee Labs, 7 Main Street,Tarrytown, NY

Black Cat Café, 45 Main Street, Irvington, NY

Julie Bean Espresso Mobile Café, Based out of Hastings on Hudson, NY

If you're lucky enough to be near any of these places, by all means please do yourself a favor and try these slices of heaven. Eventually Sarah hopes to get more places in Westchester County, and then she has her sights set on New York City. Sarah can also make special orders for catering and corporate events and parties, which includes delivery (minimum order is 20 bars for $60 plus delivery charges). If you'd like to be kept in the loop about where Sarah's Caramellas are available as well when her website is up with all info, please keep checking

Oh, and Sarah, if you'd like to test how the Caramellas hold up in the mail you have my address.

Monday, July 27, 2009

It Is Wickedly Delicious: Rachel's Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is one of those things that one either loves or hates. I happen to love the cheese curds and now I love them even more because yogurt maker Rachel's has taken cottage cheese to the next level and come up with some terrific flavor combinations. Initially one might think that mixing Cucumber Dill or Pear Mangosteen and cottage cheese may be weird but trust me, when you give them a taste you'll be hooked. There's also Sun Dried Tomato Pesto, Lemon Verbena Berry, Roasted Red Pepper, and Pomegranate Orange Cranberry. I have two issues with the product: the $1.89 price tag per container is a bit steep if you'd like to have one for lunch or breakfast each day. The other involves distribution as there is only one grocery store in my area that I can find the product in (it's also difficult to find Rachel's fine yogurts). In addition to getting the products on more store shelves, I'm also hoping that the company will decide to put out larger sizes of the cottage cheese flavors.

Would You Like Some Twang In Your Beer?

Twang is a company that makes all kinds of great flavored salts and cocktail sugars. Basically they are the adult beverage drinkers' best friend. Well, at least those who enjoy flavor, and lots of it. I was happy to find Twang's two beer salts which come in the flavors of lemon lime and also a lime version. They come in cute little plastic containers in the shape of beer bottles complete with tiny bottle cap. I was a bit confused as to how to use them as there is no information on Twang's site. Do I rim my beer like a margarita? I Googled it and a few people pointed out that you're actually supposed to pour some of the salt into your beer until you get your desired taste. If you decide to give these a try which I suggest you do, first try a little in your beer as apparently the salt doesn't go with some beers. Since my taste buds run toward Miller Chill and other beers that might not be a beer connoisseur's choice, it's fine for me. According to Twang's site the salts can also be used on food which I'd imagine would be quite tasty. Highly recommended especially if you drink girly/bad beer like myself.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Vosges Serenades With Red Fire Chocolate Caramel Toffee

I was delighted that on my most recent birthday I received a package of Vosges Red Fire Chocolate Caramel Toffee from my boss (thanks, Sam!). Even better, it was one of the items I had wanted to try for awhile now but just hadn't gotten around to. The toffee comes in a small bowl-shaped hard cardboard container which is decorated with a quartet of Mariachi guys in action. Inside this box is a generous amount of the Red Fire Toffee, large pieces which are comprised of sweet butter toffee, infused with ancho and chipotle chilies and Ceylon cinnamon, and dipped in dark chocolate. The entire piece is then topped with a generous portion of Red Fire Pecans. Now if you're thinking, "oh, Red Fire, too hot," it is not. Of course my idea of "hot" is probably not the same as yours because I'm used to really spicy food but these are hot in a sense that it complements the caramel toffee perfectly. Like all Vosges products, they are meant to be savored when you are eating them and the boxes always instruct you how to get the most out of the product. I'd rather not close my eyes as I eat my Vosges (which they suggest) and I'm not sure that I'm sophisticated enough to recognize all the ingredients as they pass over my tongue. However I will admit that I don't think there is another company that puts as much style, detail and quality into their products as Vosges does. Another winner for the Haut-Chocolat company.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Topps' Amazing Technicolor Wazoo Candy

I'd read about this crazy candy bar, Wazoo, on some blogs. I set out to find this baby blue-colored candy in 7-11 (no luck) and then some other random shops that had candy sections where I also came up empty. Then I realized, where has my mind been? The mecca of all things not healthy for you will surely have it. That's right, Economy Candy. So I set out for a walk to the Rivington Street joint and what do I find? Not only the Blue Razz Wazoo but sister bar, Wild Berriez Wazoo. Now, I've tried some weird-looking products in my lifetime but these bars might take first place. My initial thought was that they look like something a child made with Play-Doh. Blue Razz is baby blue with layers of dark pink and a darker blue, while Wild Berriez is lavender purple with pink and yellow layers. Each 1.6 ounce bar is topped with colorful and tangy crunchies which I swear I am still finding all over my living room floor. The label states that the "crunchy candy topping" is made in Thailand. Do we not have sprinkles in the States? I did not expect to enjoy these bars but they are fruity and tasty and somehow not sickeningly sweet. I will give the candy creators at Topps credit for coming up with something very different but it might be too out there for most. If you can get over the explosion of color it's worth a try.

Feelin' Good About The Blueberry Pomegranate G2

On a recent visit to my local Kmart, I did my usual search through the aisles in the beverage section for new flavors routine. I've heard that Gatorade was releasing a Blueberry Pomegranate flavor under it's G2 arm and lo and behold, there it was. Totally psyched, I grabbed a couple of bottles and headed home. I like when companies experiment with interesting flavors. I love G2 Grape and Fruit Punch too, but let's face it, they're not all that exciting. With Blueberry Pomegranate, now we're talking. Besides having the illusion of "healthiness," it tastes darn good. The beverage is refreshingly fruity, although I don't know if it's reminiscent of blueberry or pomegranate. All I know is that it's a winner. I went back to Kmart today and much to my horror, the 32 ounce bottles of my new favorite G2 was SOLD OUT! However they also carried the 8-pack of 20 ounces of the blueberry pomegranate so I opted for that over the smaller 8=pack of the 12 ounces. It turned out to be a good bargain as it rang up for $5.50 despite the sticker stating that it would cost me over $8.00. I'm hoping that this G2 flavor will find it's way to the outlets that are a bit closer to my apartment. Fortunately the "Big K" is on the way home from work for me so I'll just have to make some G2 pitstops in the meantime.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Pick Up Stix Courtesy Of Pringles

Pringles, the ubiquitous creator of the beautifully stacked potato chips in the tall and short containers, has come out with Baked Wheat Stix. When I purchased these Stix I thought they were actually pretzel sticks but they are lightly flavored crisp cracker sticks. (I wasn't thinking at the time of purchase that a vanilla-flavored pretzel might not actually taste good but nonetheless this still was not enough to discourage me from picking the product up.) Each package include 10 packs of Stix, each less than 100 calories, according to the copy on the front of the box. Since I was looking for something light this seemed to fit the bill. I chose the vanilla-flavored Stix and I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised. There's a decent amount in each bag and the taste of the vanilla is not overpowering at all. The Stix themselves have a nice size to them both in width and height. These Stix would be an excellent on-the-go snack too, and kids would probably love them. Stix also are available in Crunchy Wheat, Pizza, and Honey Butter, the latter two of which I will definitely be trying soon. Looks like I'll be playing pick-up-sticks again, only this time with my snacks.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

This Much Is True: Pistachio Crisps Are Addictive

Pistachio is not a commonly used nut and except for ice cream and Italian cookies I can't really think of another food that uses this green seed. So when I saw the television commercial for TrueNorth's Pistachio Nut Crisps I was very interested in tracking this snack down. It took me awhile though as I couldn't find one grocery store that stocked it. Finally I found them in Rite Aid, of all places, in their "food" aisle. Ironic, I thought, as Frito-Lay (of Cheetos, Doritos and Tostitos fame) is attempting to present their TrueNorth line as a healthier snack. I also thought the name TrueNorth sounded more like an insurance company but regardless, I wanted to give these snacks a try. I thought there was a better than even chance that these would be delicious but let me just say that they are way better than that. They are super-addictive and it is very difficult to stop eating them until the bag is finished. Even better, they're 100 percent natural and contain five grams of protein per serving. I suppose it's not a great idea to eat the entire bag in one sitting but you could do worse. I'm going to try the other flavors and varieties which are no doubt also amazing: Nut Clusters (Roasted Peanut, Toasted Almond, Pecan-Almond-Peanut); Nut Crisps (Almond, Peanut); and Whole Nuts (Pecan-Almond-Walnut-Pistachio). Go nuts if you want!

Paradise Found: Häagen-Dazs Peppermint Bark Ice Cream

Better late than never, I finally tracked down the Peppermint Bark ice cream by Häagen-Dazs. I have reason to believe that this dessert may very well be the most perfect ice cream one can ever taste. Assuming you're a fan of peppermint, it simply just doesn't get any better. This ice cream combines white chocolate ice cream and white and dark chocolate pieces of peppermint bark and honestly it is just amazing. I thought that Hä-Dazs' Green Tea ice cream was the best I've ever tried but this is even better. Maybe it's fortunate for me that this limited edition flavor has just ended its run because it would not be good for my cholesterol. If you are lucky and still want to try it, you may very well find it in the grocery store (I found the Green Tea for quite some time after it had supposedly went to Ice Cream Heaven). Give yourself one more taste of the holidays before it's too late.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Yummy Thomas' Holiday Muffins

I'm a sucker for just about anything cranberry. In fact I'm the designated cranberry sauce cook for my family's Thanksgiving feast (no canned jiggly maroon thingy for us). Heck, I've even slathered on cranberry body lotion. Around Thanksgiving, there's always "limited edition" items on the grocers' shelves and this year I found Thomas' Cranberry English Muffins. Festively packaged these muffins are downright delicious with each muffin bursting with lots of berries (boy, that sounds like a commercial!). I don't know about you but I love having cranberries in the "nooks and crannies" (tm) of my breakfast. Since they aren't around all that long I've bought a few packages and stored them in my freezer. If you're interested you can check out Thomas' store locator for this product until both this link and product disappear until next year.