Archives for category: Food

Things are crazy here in Austin, but that’s all because of SXSW, not because of any withholding of the new flavor of Taco Bell chip-based taco.

Cool Ranch Doritos Taco 001

Obtaining one of these babies was as easy as wading through three levels of employees carefully repeating my order to make sure that it was correct. I don’t even know how much it is to order these “all the way” or whatever they call Taco Bell-izing with sour cream. James says it’s “supreme,” but my description is more memorable.

Cool Ranch Doritos Taco 002

The cradle is now two-sided, with the Nacho Cheese on one side and Cool Ranch on the opposite side.

Cool Ranch Doritos Taco 004

Here is a close-up of the spiced goodness on the shell.

Now, in “normal life,” I’m not a huge corn chip fan, but if Doritos are on sale and I buy a bag, it’s probably going to be the Nacho Cheese. That said, my opinion is that the Cool Ranch flavor works a lot more interestingly with the taco fillings than the Nacho Cheese flavor did.

Cool Ranch Doritos Taco 005

 

Also, like the Nacho Cheese shell, this thing splinters into 40,000 pieces when you bite into it, so I don’t recommend eating it in the car (as I did) unless you just like getting tomatoes in your floorboard and shredded cheese all over your jeans and your purse.

I don’t know how much this costs “plain,” but it’s $1.79 Supremed up, and I’d eat it again tomorrow. For breakfast.

 

 

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Yesterday, my teammate’s mom mentioned a BK employee pushing a bacon sundae on her (which she posted to Facebook since she knew of my love for local Momo’s Donuts’ maple-bacon doughnuts – available only on weekends!).

I had never heard of such a thing! And, of course, I couldn’t let another day go by… So, lunchtime took Daphne and me to our local Burger King, where they happened to also be featuring a buy one/get one free promotion on their classic chicken sandwiches.

One of the “barbecue” summer items they had advertised was a pulled pork sandwich, which Daphne wanted. Apparently that is discontinued, even though it’s still being advertised in the store.

Back to the sundae. Here it is from the BK promotional material.

Here is what I got.

Yeah, buddy!

The bacon appeared slightly overcooked, but it worked perfectly with the ice cream, because it was crunchy throughout. Had it still been somewhat chewy, it would have been as icky as some people think the bacon/ice cream combo sounds.

Also, I didn’t have any little chunks of bacon. All of mine was pretty much one- to three-inch strips of crispy, meaty goodness.

Like this one, coated in chocolate.

In case you know nothing about this brilliant concoction, it’s ice cream, hot fudge sauce, caramel, and bacon. So, basically, the bacon does serve as a nut replacement, and I prefer it. The saltiness of the bacon works with the caramel (anyone tried any sea salt caramel?), and bacon and chocolate are just a perfect combination, anyway. Put them all together with ice cream, and, well…

Yeah. I would have licked the bowl, were that physically possible.

I even ate the whole sundae before I tackled another new BK offering: sweet potato fries!

Very yummy. Too salty toward the bottom, and I ADORE salt. Maybe it was a fluke. No extra charge for this mini-review, folks!

Last week (and I think this week, if my morning foray to the grocery store was any indication), Kroger had a bunch of their energy drinks on sale half price. I’ve not ever been a huge fan of energy drinks, having tried a few when someone else was paying (gas station convenience store mystery shops). Diet Red Bull, some other Rockstar… I just thought they were awful. But they were on sale HALF PRICE!! So…

Sale bonanza! But was it a good buy?

I read all of the information on the cans carefully. For instance, did you know that you aren’t supposed to drink more than three energy drinks per day? I took it easy and only had one or two. There were a lot of supplements in the drinks, and I know that overdoing it on vitamins is just as bad as underdoing it on vitamins.

If you’re new, I’ll tell you this right now: I love me some food. So I don’t like wasting calories on beverages. All of these drinks have 10 or fewer calories per serving (most cans are two servings, except for the itty bitty baby Rockstars). And most of them have excess caffeine.

This is the first one that I tried.

After a Zumba class, the rehydrating promised from this Rockstar seemed appropriate.

In case you're wondering, milk thistle is supposed to help with liver toxins or something. Taurine does something with bones. Whatever. How does it taste?

It looks moderately like lemonade.

This wasn’t offensive-tasting. It didn’t taste like lemonade per se, but there was a lemony citrus element to the drink that successfully masked the supplement content. I was able to finish this beverage without much protest from my taste buds.

Monster Red Tea and junk

Have you ever had Lipton prepared tea? The kind you can buy in a 2-liter bottle at the grocery store? That’s kind of what this tastes like. It looks like this…

You got your cranberry juice in my tea!

Again, this wasn’t difficult to get down, and it tasted fine. Not wonderful. Fake tea isn’t my favorite. But I didn’t gag.

More like "Mountain Don't"!

I had high hopes for this one! I’d downed two energy drinks and had not had much trouble with that whole thing. And I LOVE Mountain Dew! But this drink… goodness help us, it is NASTY. It tasted not at all like Mountain Dew. It tasted like supplements and something strong that is supposed to mask that taste, but didn’t. Yuck. Gagged it down because I’m cheap, but it was disgusting.

At this point in the experiment, by the way, something interesting had started happening. I was crashing at the end of the day. I would fall asleep at 9:30 and stay down all night. I usually go to bed between 12:30 and 1. That happened for a couple of days, and then something REALLY weird happened…

I left the house one morning feeling like I could conquer the world! I was so giddy and hopeful and energized! By 4:00 PM, I was drowning in a sea of morose complacency. I was sitting at my desk on the verge of tears, thinking, “This life is soooo depressing. Nothing is ever going to change. Whyyyyy?” So I was emotionally crashing in addition to the physical. I don’t think it was the caffeine; I drink a ton of caffeine (in the past 24 hours, I’ve had more than 3 liters of Diet Coke). I guess it must have been some of the other stuff?

Of course, at the same time, we were having really weird weather and I was largely unable to breathe, so I was sucking on the Albuterol way more than the recommended dosage. So perhaps the lesson here is not to mix a stimulant inhaler and energy drinks?

One morning, I got to the office about the same time as my employer and, because his hands were full, I was trying to unlock the door for him. My hands were shaking so much that I couldn’t hit the key hole!

Lesson learned.

Oh, and speaking of lessons…

zomg, it's pink!

It's packing its own straw!

This here beverage was adorable. But do you remember the stuff with which you used to swish during your visits to the pediatric dentist’s office? Yup. That was how this tasted. It was even a little worse than the Amp, but only because instead of just being generically bad, it was specifically medically-tasting. And, yes, I polished it off.

This one wasn't memorable in any way. Meh.

So. Not really impressed with any of these. None was tasty, and they might have contributed to a near mental breakdown. You should really pity my closest friends; if you interviewed them, I’m sure they’d tell you that they highly recommend I no longer partake of the energy beverage genre. Plus, even half price, they’re still too expensive for me.

Call me naive, but I’d seen this picture so often, that even after other people had posted their pictures of the Locos Tacos with completely different wrappers, I was still kind of hoping for something like this.

 

Because, let’s face it, that’s pretty epic.

We ordered two: a regular taco for Daphne, and a supreme taco for me. Now that I think about it, the actual product didn’t look too much like that picture, either.

Which one is supreme? Which is regular? Yeah... the tomatoes tell you that it's full-throttle!

 

The hard paper packaging. It's not a chip bag, but it'll do.

Dorito-y!

At first, I felt kind of ripped off because I couldn’t see the sour cream… then I bit into the taco, and there it was! In giant, uneven globs between the meat and the lettuce.

Still, compare the concavity of my actual taco to the near-bursting bounty of the publicity photo.

Basically, this is a Taco Bell Taco in a Dorito shell. The shell improves it, of course, and it’s a fine quick snack but it didn’t transport me to another world or anything.

I did, however, have the tell-tale “Dorito fingers” after having consumed my dinner.

This is a weird-perspective picture. I don’t have freakishly-malformed fingers. (No offense to people who have freakishly-malformed fingers.)

Last night, I got a text that I could go into Sonic for a free hamburger in honor of Leap Day today. My plan was to go to Sonic after work, get the free burger, then take advantage of Happy Hour pricing to acquire an inexpensive Diet Coke. However, two things happened when I arrived at the menu.

The first thing that went wrong was that Sonic now has a few snack items on sale for $1.00 during Happy Hour. So we “had” to add a corn dog to the order, because D loves those suckers.

The second thing that foiled my “get out cheap” plan was seeing a POP menu card for Sweet Potato Tots. Sweet potato tots. For real.

There were more than this. I ate five of them in the time it took me to retrieve my camera.

At first, I couldn’t tell whether the tots were minced, like the regular tater tots, or just mashed and extruded.

Mushy perfection. After eating the whole order, though, I decided that they were, indeed, minced. It’s just that the “meat” of sweet potatoes is so soft that it kind of mooshes up when you bite into the tot. It is crispy on the outside (I can’t tell if there is some kind of batter/coating on the outside, or if the frying just bubbles and crisps up the outside of the tot.

Whichever, the outside held up and the inside was sweet and mashed. I didn’t salt or ketchup or enhance the tots in any way. They were perfect straight out of the fryer. They were also pretty greasy, but that was okay with me.

These are at least $1.50 more than regular tater tots, but I think that they’re worth it. I’m not sure whether these are a permanent addition to the menu; I plan to eat them so often that Sonic will be encouraged to keep them on permanently.

Yummmmm.

Good thing there’s a pronunciation guide.

Yes, this is the last bar. I made them last for over a week, which is an incredible testament to my willpower. I’m sad they’re almost gone, but there are other bars to sample, and I think this has rekindled the chocolate romance that started about three years ago when I began planning to teach a class.

Here is another entry from Vosges Haut Chocolates. If you’re interested in their story, you can read about it here. Hopefully, you are more mature than I am and won’t want to bang your head against the wall or try to concoct some electrical charge conveyance device that will facilitate a “Freaky Friday”-esque changing of souls with one Ms. Katrina Markoff.

Interesting stuff, but, really, we’re all here for the chocolate, right?

First surprise: There is a coupon up in there! Yea! It is the closest thing to Willy Wonka’s golden ticket that I’m ever going to get, so I’m thrilled. Especially since, on the back, there is a rather sensual picture of a caramel-topped marshmallow dipped in chocolate and topped with nuts. *droooool*

This bar has hemp seeds, coconut, and macadamia nuts. I am not a giant fan of coconut. I love macadamia nuts, and don’t know that I’ve ever actually had hemp seeds.

First, there is a giant partial macadamia nut in this sucker!

Of course, that is the part that I ate.

First of all, the chocolate is very smooth. It is milk chocolate, but also has dark chocolate mixed in. So, there’s a bit of a snap to it, but it’s not extremely crisp. The macadamia nuts, which themselves have a pretty mild flavor, provide two things: some crunch, and salt. Both of these are so much fun in this chocolate. I adore savory chocolate, and there is palatable saline content to this one.

The coconut tastes like actual coconut, and not like coconut “flavoring.” Because of the balance of the salt and chocolate, I was actually okay and even enjoyed the tropical flavor. There is none of what Steve Almond refers to as “cuticle”-consistency coconut in here. It’s not at all discernable by texture; there is just a mild flavor of it throughout the chocolate.


The most fun thing was the hemp seeds. They practically pop, adding a fun little explosion to each bite.

Of the four bars I received, this one is probably my favorite. There is so much going on, and the flavors play against each other in an exciting way. The Blood Orange bar, which I loved, had all sweet notes. This one is salty and nutty and savory and sweet and just super enjoyable to eat. It’s also the only one about which I cringed giving any to my ten-year-old daughter, whom I think equally enjoys Hershey bars.

And then there’s this, which I can only assume is a rendering of Katrina Markoff, toting her bag as she globe-trots, learning from master chefs and sampling chocolate. Devouring her is ridiculously satisfactory.

Now, to shop for my 15% off chocolate…

Yeah, yeah, so more chocolate. I was expecting this bar to have some cake in it, so I was excited enough… Until I started ripping into the wrapper and found THIS:

The. chocolate. is. RED!

Not to mention the pungent cakey aroma that rolled off of this thing once the seal was broken. It smells like a bakery. You can actually see the swirly patterns from how the chocolate was piped into the mold. See? If you don’t, make the picture bigger so that you can swoon over this with me.

Because I’m always curious as to from where my chocolate comes, I do a little research on everything I eat. If I’m planning, then I research BEFORE I buy. Redstone’s is an area importer/distributor of specialty items. If you want to watch a badly-filmed, poorly-edited, boring video of their showroom, you can do so here. I don’t recommend it. If I had a business with such exciting product availability, the website would make you want to get up and dance. But maybe that’s just me.

Regardless, it’s neat that the company is semi-local, so that is one thing about this that makes me happy. In addition to the name brands they distribute, they also have a private line of chocolates, and this is one of them.

The ingredients in this bar are basically chocolate (of the milk variety; the first ingredient, even before cocoa mass, is sugar), marshmallow bits, red dye, and cookie dough flavoring. What is not to love about THAT?

See the marshmallows?

This is a smooth, sweet, soft chocolate bar. It is milk chocolate, and sweet enough that lots of chocolate snobs might turn up their noses at it. But it has good quality ingredients (i.e. vanilla and cocoa butter as opposed to vanillin and some less expensive fat), and even now, with the remainder of the bar wrapped up beside me (that’s right; I only ate 2 lines of the 5 line bar), I can smell the incredible cookie dough sweetness.

It just makes me happy. And that’s the best part of chocolate.

It's Fall! When a girl's mind turns to pumpkin. Wait. It's Winter.

This packaging just screams “Thanksgiving!” doesn’t it?

NO! THIS packaging does, though:

What?! Pop-Tarts CRAFTS?! Sign me up!

I do wonder what one does with the edge one would cut off to make a Pop-Tarts square. I presume one consumes said end.

Anyhoo… pumpkin pie. You either love it or you hate it. I love it. I love the texture, I love the taste of pumpkin. I’m really a fan of all orange vegetables; I can’t think of one that I don’t enjoy. Squash, yams, carrots… I like orange in nature. I have had pumpkin pie with whipped cream, but never with frosting. Will it work?

I didn't get around to eating breakfast until I was at the office.

Cute, right? The top is covered with fall-colored sprinkles. The filling is uber-pumpkin-pie-looking.

The taste is pretty spot-on pumpkin pie, too. If you like the pie, you’ll probably like this, too. Especially if you like the crust part of the pie. If not, you can always toast and then butter these puppies, so that the butter will melt down the sides, infusing the non-iced crust with a rich, fatty flavor. Mmmm… butter makes everything better. Even Frosted Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts.

Yes, you read it: hibiscus flowers, blood orange, and caramel. I always love the pairing of orange and chocolate, and super duper hate that the… is it Lindor? chocolate orange bar has almond slices. Yuck. I was looking forward to this, expecting a smooth chocolate experience. The bar did not disappoint.

Isn't the packaging purty?

This candy bar is like the Caramello bars in that there is actual caramel inside of each square.

Or outside, if the bar has seen some heat.

So, this one was messy but good. Just like little kids and your hair after… um… being in a parachuting simulator.

The chocolate was smooth and mellow. The hibiscus gave it a subtle almost berry fruit note, which played well with the orange citrus pop. The caramel was creamy and delicious, if inconsistently-distributed due to the leakage.

Mmm... caramely.

Apparently, the mess of this bar is not a fluke. You can read about it as well as other reviews here. Also, for the record, I don’t think there’s such a thing as “too sweet” when it comes to candy bars. I do like more bitter and darker chocolate. But I also think that super sweet fruity stuff is good, too.

In the end, this was the most fantastic-tasting mess I have ever had the pleasure to consume completely, thus rendering my promise to my bestie to save a bit of each candy bar a complete and utter lie. But I’m sure that I’ll make it down to the city to buy another one before I finish the other two bars, right?

This is my new wallpaper. Please click on it to see it in all of its glory. ❤

And, yes, I licked the packaging.

Because I have the best friend in the history of friendships, I received four of the excellent chocolate bars I saw during the Central Market festival last weekend! I’m going to review each one…

…starting with Mast Brothers Chocolate Vanilla and Smoke bar.

I love the optical illusion on the packaging! Mast Brothers is a company in Brooklyn. If you’re interested in chocolate production, here is a great short video shot at one of their suppliers in the Dominican Republic. Look at all of those beans drying!

Opening this package was reminiscent of Willy Wonka’s golden ticket.

The chocolate is very dense and dark. There is only cacao, sugar, and vanilla in here. The “smoked” comes from the chocolate beans being smoked instead of just roasted. It lends a subtle smoke flavor that doesn’t come through in every single bite, but that does play around in the background.

A tip: When you eat dark chocolate, please don’t chew it. Milk chocolate is fine to munch, if you must, but the darker the chocolate, the thicker and ickier it is to masticate. It is like chewing on paste. If you let it melt on your tongue, you’ll get a lot more out of the bar, flavor-wise. If you just chomp into this bar, you might miss the smoke entirely.

This bar has a clean, sharp break. The chocolate is silky smooth and fairly bitter, closer to the natural chocolate taste than bars with more sugar. Because of the richness of the candy, it is easy to eat just a little and feel sated. Very interesting and enjoyable.