Peanut Butter Creme Oreo Cakesters

These are like Decepticons. When I opened the package to eat them, I expected them to be better than regular Cakesters, which have typically been dry and puck like, so I was hoping the extra oil in the peanut butter would be enough to make them softer.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t very conscientious. I failed to notice that these were peanut butter creme flavored, making them artificial and tasting of sugary, confectionery neglect. The cakes themselves were a little softer, and when I opened the package, I was very excited. I could smell the peanut butter from across my desk, so of course, I expected that the peanut butter would naturally be in the cakes themselves.
Not so. There was a greasiness, a lardy, filmy consistency that stayed in my mouth, and a sugar high that stayed, too, but no lasting peanut butter flavor at all. The cakes were chocolate flavored and didn’t remind me of Oreos. Probably great snacks for lunchboxes. I was just disappointed at the sugar flavor of the peanut butter filling. It was too whipped and not dense enough for me. It was great that they finally got the cake formula down, but that the filling is now crappy irritates the living daylights out of me.
On the plus side, I’m now experimenting with getting the detritus out of my photos! Check it out.

Loves It Brittle

I got a lovely tin of brittle from Loves It Brittle last night and have been chomping all night long. I love peanut brittle, but until now, I’d only had the opportunity to try regular brittle and chocolate covered, so this was a great treat for me to nosh on.
The first one I tried was the Family Favorite, which had lots of wonderful peanuts and a great brittle base. The base was delicious, and crispy. It was a thinner base, which I really liked, and it absolutely melted in my mouth. Some of the peanuts fell off the brittle in the process, which was kind of a pain, but I tipped the bag into my mouth at the end and all was well. But overall, the flavor was really great and it all went together deliciously. The sea salt comes out really well with the creaminess of the butter, and there are little air bubbles within the brittle that pop and fizzle nicely. The second brittle I tried was The Works, which was the same as the Family Favorite, but with more nuts. What I really enjoyed about this brittle was that the nuts were all chopped to a roughly uniform size, so that I didn’t have to guess what each one was and that they were each relatively equally distributed, so there wasn’t a large chunk of cashew in one section or a hunk of walnut in another. And again, the brittle base was really delicious and buttery.
The third brittle I tried was easily the best brittle of them all, but surprised me, because I didn’t think it would be my favorite when I tried it. This was the Calypso Crunch, and although I’m not normally a big fan of coconut, I was intrigued by the idea of mango extract in the brittle base itself. And it succeeded brilliantly. The buttery cheeks of the mango coupling with the buttery base in itself went together like a good wine and cheese and with the coconut and cashews, it made for an incredibly rich candy treat. It was a really complex and subtle flavor. If I had any criticisms, it would be that it did a strange thing to my mouth where if I ate too much at once, it numbed it a little, which was definitely odd. However, this was definitely the best flavor, with great notes of toasted coconut and burnt sugar. Really excellent.
I tried the PMS brittle next, with spices and peppers mixed in. I ate some and it went down the wrong way and I coughed a little, but it was very chewy and tasted great and added a nice kick that went along well with the buttery flavor. I enjoyed the spices and didn’t think they were too overwhelming or overpowering. I also loved the Tree Hugger brittle, although the granola got stuck in my teeth at first, but soon integrated into the brittle. It made it even butterier and was a really nice textural difference. It was very crunchy and crispy! I thought the addition of almonds was a good change, too. Very different! Those two were definitely my favorites, as well.
The pumpkin spice brittle was good, but it was a little too sweet for my tastes and the pumpkin seeds, when chewed, left a bitter taste in my mouth. The nutmeg was too heavy in the flavor, but the texture was like the others, and I liked that. It was very, very buttery, much like regular pumpkin pie filling and emulated the flavor well.
If there was any brittle that I didn’t like, it would have had to have been the Cup of Joe brittle, with cocoa powder and coffee extract. I didn’t find that the combination of nuts and coffee to be good at all, and the texture was too brittle. It shattered in my mouth and I had to let it dissolve because it was too crunchy and hard to chew up.
Overall, though, this brittle was tasty! Some of these flavors really took a deviation from the standards and I thought that was a neat thing to do. I loved it and thought it was really clever and creative.

Loves It Brittle
www.lovesitbrittle.com

Hero Pommes Fines Herbes

I made these as a side dish last night with some dinner. They looked gourmet and reminded me of some MREs, in their package. They came all foiled and when they spilled out in the pan, came out in a giant lump.
While cooking, the directions, which were extremely sparse, mentioned that it would take about fifteen minutes. In actuality, it took about a half hour before any crispiness was present, and by that time, all the potatoes were reduced to tiny potato shards, and although they were very soft, they were bubbling and freaking out and skipping all over the pan.

I was also disappointed in the usage of sunflower oil over duck fat in the potatoes. Call me an asshole or a gourmand or a lover of trans fats, but if you’re going to make easy to cook French cuisine for the every day housewife or aficionado, use the actual ingredients. I don’t want the damned sunflower oil. But maybe I’m just picky and when I die at the age of 35 from liver failure, cite this article and raise a glass of Riesling for me.

When the potatoes were finally ready, we had them after dessert. And to be honest, they were decent, but none too impressive. They weren’t fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. They were very irregular and some were undercooked and slimy and some were very crispy. The good ones were tasty and had an earthy, very natural taste and the herbs were intense and also delicious, but the remainder wasn’t impressive and the overall package just didn’t yield what we expected at all.

Max and Dylan’s, Boston, MA

Erik and I went to Boston to see Of Montreal last night and after the show, went to this little restaurant to grab food before heading home. It was tiny and chic and I’d seen the menu online and was pleased to find that although it was quite upscale, it had really cool and comfortable foods that one wouldn’t be afraid to order and enjoy with a nice glass of wine and company.

So after the show, it wasn’t quite empty, but that was perfect because our food arrived within ten minutes of us ordering it. Erik ordered the beef tenderloin flatbread with mashed potatoes, frizzled leek, and truffle oil, and I ordered the flash-fried jalapeno cheese sticks. I wasn’t too enthusiastic about the beef flatbread because it contained two things I really try to avoid- beef and mushrooms. Truffle oil being a far cry from the actual fungi, but still.
However, being a food critic, I had to do my duty. And hot damn. First off, when it came out, it wasn’t what I expected, which was the one piece of flatbread like a sandwich with the potatoes and leeks on the side, but the flatbread was covered in the potatoes, drizzled with leeks, the beef was also liberally placed all over it, and then, the truffle oil.

It was cut into squares like a pizza, and what I imagined would happen was that I’d take a piece, from Erik’s chiding, nibble off a piece, pretend I liked it, and then let him eat the rest, but I ended up eating half of the entire pie. It was amazing. I’ve heard people say, “That beef melted in my mouth,” only to eat beef and have it be stringy and disappointing, but that beef actually melted. It was so tender and buttery, with just the tiniest bit of rock salt on top, which sweetened the truffle oil and accentuated its buttery flavor. The mashed potatoes, which I originally thought were some sort of ricotta or mascarpone cheese, were gods unto themselves, and to think that I thought them a lowly side dish. They were creamy and amazing, like the sperm of the gods. The leeks added a crunch to the flatbread that the bread itself also gave, and it held together in a wonderful combination that I would have never tried if it wasn’t for stepping outside of my damned comfort zone.

Ain’t it good?
The jalapeno cheese sticks also exceeded my expectations, because I thought that the cheese sticks would have rounds of pickled jalapeno studded amidst them, which isn’t really my forte, but I liked the idea, and was excited to try something spicy. When they came, they were colorful, big triangles with sea salt on top and gooey mozzarella on the inside. The serving was more than enough for the two of us to share and still be full. The jalapenos were infused throughout the breading, which was made of tortilla chips. The flavor was great, and since they were flash-fried, there was virtually no grease to be found in them. They were fresh tasting and wonderful, and the salsa they served it wish was sweet and very ripe.
We really loved the restaurant, and it inspired me- MAYBE- to try a few more new things in my diet outside of the general meat and potatoes. I’m not going to try mushrooms, so don’t expect to see them on the reviews anytime soon, but maybe a few new things will pop up. But I really did enjoy the atmosphere and loved the home-like and comfortable menu. If only there were desserts! Overall, though, we loved Max and Dylan’s pretension free style and laid back way of service.

Mi Tierra, Hadley, MA

I ate the best Mexican food in the world this weekend and now I am scheming. I am scheming to abduct a worker from this restaurant so that they can cook for me. Because I must know the secrets to this restaurant. Erik showed me this restaurant a little while ago and now I simply can’t get enough of it. It’s just incredible, and the food couldn’t be more simple, hearty, or good for its value. And the best part is, it’s in the backwoods of Massachusetts, untouched by the rabid Smithies in Northampton or the drunken UMass kids or rowdy Mt. Holyoke girls or pretentious Amherst College students or granola-munching Hampshire hipsters. So nobody, save a few older people, knows about it.

And now all that will change.

So Mi Tierra is tiny and amazing and wonderful, and we are in love with it. We went there tonight after a healthy workout at the gym and ordered the best thing on the menu- the tacos dorados, mine with potato, Erik’s with cheese.

At the start of every meal, the lovely server, usually Dora, will bring you a massive basket of hot, homemade chips with a fresh salsa verde. The salsa verde is to die for, and I could probably drink gallons of it and not break a sweat. It’s spicy, enough to make you blush but not make you swear (out loud), and the chips are very crispy, bubbly, not oily at all and the perfect size for dipping. I wish they were a little saltier, but they bring out the salsa quite well and balance without one overpowering the other. The salsa is smooth and perfect- no chunks, just the way I like it, and is a wonderful bright green color.
Onto the entrees. We both ordered the tacos dorados, which are four corn tortillas with your choice of filling, (steak, chicken, cheese, or potato) deep fried until golden brown, covered in homemade queso and sour cream, and served with rice and beans. For years, I avoided most Mexican because rice and beans, for me, is just a side dish to be swept aside or given to someone else. It’s too goopy or too dry or too something or not something enough, but this…I’ve never had something like this, where I’ve finished the side dish before I’ve even stared at the entree. The rice is perfectly seasoned, and I usually end up pouring the extra salsa verde on it for a little more kick, and the beans are godly. They are salty and buttery and probably have pure lard in them, but taste amazing. They aren’t mushy, but are tender enough to melt in my mouth.

The tacos themselves were incredible. As I write this, I’m eating the leftovers. They are the size of a large penis, semi-erect, and taste better, too. The potatoes are spiced and crispy on the inside and tender, and the outside is smothered in freshly grated queso and sour cream. They are extremely crispy, and for being deep fried, really not all that greasy. The cheese tacos are amazing. The log of cheese inside is semi-solid and creamy, tastes fresh and has a nice bounce to it when you bite into the crispy taco. The shell stays firm around the entire thing and makes a great pocket to keep the entire thing in.
The portions are also massive. When Erik and I go, we generally order these and, though we try to finish, on an average day when we haven’t had anything else to eat, we generally end up bringing home two to four tacos to snack on later and rave about. If I kill anyone, I want to eat these when I’m brought my last meal, they’re so good. The best part, though, was that our entire meal, with drinks, (the chips are free!) came to under $20. How’s that for entirely awesome?

In short, Mi Tierra is a place where unicorns go to have their children. We’re going to camp out until they let us live there.

Doritos Late Night All Nighter Cheeseburger

Being a student on a budget, sometimes I have to make substitutes. Some days, I want filet mignon, but I’m usually broke, so that generally results in me reheating a leftover steak burrito and shaking pepper on it. Some days, I want Baked Alaska, so I shake some rubbing alcohol over Cool Whip and take a lighter to it. It ain’t pretty. But I ain’t rich.

All kidding aside, I’m generally not a fan of beef, so when I have a craving for greasy fast food that a cheeseburger can only satisfy, and I have only a vending machine at my disposal, I have to get creative. Luckily, these new Doritos are here to help. I saw them at the convenience store today and had to try them. Although these are remarkably similar to the secret flavored X-13D Doritos that were out a few years back, these are much tastier. There’s less of a pickled flavor to these, and much more of a beefy, meaty flavor, a much more flavorful and savory, salty taste.

Although the corn base is quite prevalent, it’s definitely noticeable that these are burger flavor chips. There’s a great smoky flavor and a cheesy powder on these, and a mustard and onion, too. I didn’t notice as much cheese, so these are more “hamburger” than cheeseburger, in my opinion. However, they’re damned addictive. Be careful of that. What’s next from the late night section? Doritos already did buffalo wings, but they’re liable to bring that back for their Late Night selection. Loaded nachos? Loaded potato skins? Chicken sandwich? Cheesecake laced with a massive hangover? Pepto-Bismol and Chaser Collisions?

And more importantly, how drunk do you have to be to come up with a name as awkward as Late Night All Nighter? Chrissake.

Baklava!

Over the weekend, I consummated and gave birth to a gorgeous and wonderful thing. Together, it was nurtured and drawn out, slowly. It was a slow process. Sometimes, it hurt. Sometimes, we cried. But together, Erik and I created something so incredible, so delicious and brought magic into this world.

That magic was baklava.

So, baklava is this great Turkish dessert with nuts, honey syrup, and phyllo dough. It’s layered with a ton of butter and cinnamon, and then baked in the oven, covered in syrup, and then ‘frigerated and devoured quickly. It looks daunting. It is simple. We felt so accomplished, though, when it was done, and the result was incredible.

And here it is. Make it. Don’t share it. Eat it in the confines of your own home with a good Sauternes and rejoice.

Ingredients (serves 2)
8 oz. phyllo dough
1 jar of almond butter, unsalted creamy
1 cup of butter
cinnamon, to taste
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of honey

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and butter up a 9 x 9 pan. The recipe called for a 9 x 13 pan, but we didn’t have one, and it made our baklava have a crispier crust because we had to double up on it. So it’s good!
2. Starting with two sheets of the phyllo dough, fold in half and place in the bottom of the pan. It’s important to keep the dough that you’re not using moist so that it doesn’t crack and dry out.
3. Melt the butter and sprinkle cinnamon into it, and with a pastry or clean paintbrush, spread it onto the phyllo dough layer. Repeat until you have eight pieces, and then spread a layer of almond butter on. Originally, this calls for chopped nuts, but the almond butter is much more moist and is better than anything we could come up with.
4. Layer the dough in sheets of two, nut butter, butter, dough, nut butter, butter, and repeat until the pan is full, like a lasagna, and layer the dough as a final layer, brush with butter and cinnamon, and cut into triangles or diamonds.
5. Pop into the oven for 12-20 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy on top. While this is baking, on the stove, combine the last three ingredients- water, honey, and sugar. Bring to a boil and then reduce and let simmer on the stove until sugar is dissolved and syrup is thickened.
6. As soon as baklava is out, smell it. It will smell amazing. After you’re out of the amazing coma, pour the syrup out of the pan all over the baklava and don’t stop until it’s submerged and floating in it. Pop in the fridge until cool and translucent on the bottom and sticky and amazing.
7. Stick your face in it.

This will drive you insane. We ate this for days. This food is the most romantic, the most obscene, the most loving, cruel, delightful, wonderful, teasing, crazy dessert ever.

Baklava.

Do it now.

Foodette

Kettle Chips Fully Loaded Baked Potato

Kettle Brand came out with a new flavor of potato chip this year, that, oddly enough, I had a small part in helping create. It’s a small world. So when I saw them in the stores with Erik, it was necessary that we try them. I do believe there’s also a sample bag coming to me as thanks for helping create, too.

So these chips boast a plethora of flavors, with chives, cheddar cheese, garlic, sour cream, and bacon flavor, and they really do taste like potato skins. The best part is that the flavor really works with the potato, because the entire idea works around the fact that the base itself is a potato, so the idea translated well to a portable snack. The amount of seasoning varied from chip to chip, and I preferred it when there was more sour cream flavoring, but overall, they are really excellent.

Another point to note on is that the chips are extremely crunchy and carry a fantastically earthy and buttery potato flavor that doesn’t get lost amidst the flavoring. The crunch is incredible, and many of the chips are large and unbroken in the bag. Any criticisms is that each bag, a paltry 5 oz, was $3 at our local grocery. Eeeek! Still, this is a huge winner from Kettle Brand.

Oh, and apparently Photo Booth takes photos backwards. Boo.

Glee Gum

Molly from Verve, Inc. sent me all sorts of flavors of Glee Gum, which I chomped on all throughout my first semester. The flavors were all really ingenius and tasty, and the gum is all natural.
I tried the cinnamon and mint varieties first, and while they were strong and natural-tasting, so I got a nice burst of mint, I did notice that the gum tended to lose its flavor easily. A remediable issue, because all I had to do was pop another piece! The tangerine and berry flavors followed a similar suit, though they had more of a sugary flavor to them, and a weaker fruit taste. The gum had a great and crispy shell around it and a nice chew, too. I didn’t find that the gum, unlike other gum, was sticky or too chewy or made my jaw pop.

If I had a favorite gum out of the Glee line, though, it would have to be the Wee Glee. These were adorable pieces of baby gum in all different flavors, much like Chiclets. It had four flavors in the box, which fit easily in my leather jacket’s pocket, and each flavor was tasty separate, or mixed together. The only one that didn’t really agree with me was the triple berry flavor, which I found to be a little too artificial tasting, despite not actually being artificial. I loved the banana, though. I’d have an entire Foodette Glee gum made of just banana if I could.

Overall, if you’re a fan of the show Glee, if you’re still using terms like “glee,” in a Glee club, a fan of natural gum, or if you go bananas for delicious treats, try this. This gum was fun and tasty and a sweet kick-back to retro stylings.

Chocomize Chocolate Bars

Nick from Chocomize let me pick my own chocolate bars to customize and review, and with all the selections, how could I not? So I designed three of them for your perusal and tasted them all, some with mixed reviews, some with not. And on with the show!
I was allowed three, and all are very hefty bars, I might add. I picked one of each base. My first was a milk chocolate base, and I wanted to create the ultimate, crazy Foodette bar, so I made it with Oreo pieces, peanut butter drops, toffee, bacon bits, and 23 karat gold flakes, for the extra decadence. When you make a bar, you’re allowed up to five toppings per bar, and it really doesn’t get overwhelming. My bar’s toppings were amply spaced out and no one topping was clumped in a specific area. The milk chocolate was great, too. It snapped audibly when I broke the bar in two and had a milky, creamy flavor, with a fantastic taste, like a Cadbury bar.

The toppings were fresh and also good. If I had any complaint about this bar, it was that the toffee element was really lost. I got the peanut butter element just fine. The bacon was chewy and smoky and perfect, and provided a wonderful depth and juxtaposition with the chocolate, and the Oreo was crunchy and gave a different flavor of chocolate and dryness to the bar, and the gold was a great garnish, but I didn’t get the toffee’s buttery flavor that I was hoping to round it out. It was still great, though!The next bar was a dark chocolate bar base. When I made it, I was trying to think of elements that would compliment the dark chocolate and bring out some of its flavors, so I ended up topping it with hazelnuts, sea salt, poppy seeds, butterscotch, and crunchy almond croquant. Okay, so I’m a little misguided. None of that can be faulted by Chocomize, though, mainly by my own personal whim and pressure at seeing all the goodies to top on my bar! Chocomize’s dark chocolate is another good bar, again, a snappy chocolate. It crumbled a little when I bit into it, but the flavor was creamy and smoky and had undertones of licorice in it. It was good, and held up to the toppings well. Some of the hazelnuts fell off of it.

The sea salt was ample on it, almost to a too sharp degree, and the poppy seeds added a nice crunch to the bar. The butterscotch might have been too sweet for my personal tastes, and the almond croquant was a good addition, it made it buttery and nutty and complimented the poppy seeds. The textural component was really interesting, overall.The last bar was, surprisingly, my favorite, because like Gigi from Gigi Reviews, I’m not as abhorrent about white chocolate, but it’s really not my first choice. However, in picking ingredients that went well with white chocolate, Middle Eastern toppings, I picked a winner and found a combination that makes even white chocolate haters turn their noses towards this bar. The bar has sesame seeds, coconut flakes, hot curry powder, and crystallized mint leaves on it. The white chocolate itself was creamy and tangy, like a good yogurt, with a milky taste, much like its predecessors to it. I will say, even without the toppings, Chocomize makes a damned good chocolate. In this bar, the sesame seeds and curry were the predominant flavor, followed closely by the mint leaves, which provided a really nice cooling and sugary burst of flavor.

If I could have picked another element to add, it would have been ginger, though that might have conflicted with another hot element. The coconut added more crunch and was a creamy taste and buttery notion to bring to the heat of the curry. This was easily my favorite.