Fancy Food Show, Part I

We’re back! We’ve been sleeping for hours. And now it’s time to tell you all our stories about the Fancy Food Show in New York.Sunday morning, Keepitcoming and I got up early in the morning and caught the train to Manhattan. Even on the train, there were a few people excitedly discussing the food show, but we slept and organized our stuff for the rest of the day.Upon our arrival, we hailed a cab and took our bags to our entirely awesome hotel, and then went to Javits Center for the show. After getting our badges, we started off on our samplings and meandering of the floor. Javits Center is a massive beast of a hall, so it was a little overwhelming. Luckily, the morning was relatively calm, so we spanned a good part of the first floor and searched for the strange, the unusual, and the excitingly flavored.Fuck yeah, press!

Our highlights for the day included Chocolat Moderne, a chocolatier out of NYC with truffles and caramels influenced by Greek and Japanese flavors. We sampled a rosewater and pistachio caramel, a sesame and wasabi truffle, a soy sauce caramel, a Kalamata olive caramel, and a few different bars from them and found them all to be well-executed and gorgeous, too! There were sections from quite a few countries, too, and many cheeses were sampled as well.We also enjoyed a soda flavored with melon and peppadew, a sweet, small pepper classified as a fruit. It was definitely the most unique drink we sampled throughout the show. Vosges Chocolate also had a fantastic display that we went back to multiple times! Overall, though, our first day was rife with samples, flamboyantly dressed drink salespeople, and an overwhelming selection of incredible delicacies. After about six hours of walking the floor, we headed back to da hotel, a pimping establishment in its own right, and dined on Cuban cuisine. It was a great start to the show, and tomorrow, you’ll hear about the interviews and German foosball.

Fancy Food Show, Interlude

Dear readers and/or members of my immediate family,

Keepitcoming and I are immensely enjoying the Fancy Food Show, and I will be delivering a blow by blow report of all the festivities as soon as I can. We’ve been eating a ton of incredible edibles and are rather pumped to tell you all about this. We were especially gratified to sample an astounding variety of chocolate clusters and various extenders. Just dropping by a heads up, and upon our return, expect photos and a panoply of humorous and, as always, scathing commentary.

With love,

Foodette and Keepitcoming

Christine’s Bacon Toffee

I was recently treated to a sampling of some toffee, one of my favorite confections, from Christine’s Gourmet Toffee. Not only was it toffee, but it was toffee with bacon. What could go wrong? Little did I know, this would be one of my most pondiferous and curious reviews to date.

Keepitcoming and I sat down to the bacon-laden confection and munched on a bite. And munched. And munched. After roughly a minute trying to unstick our jaws, and believe me, we tried everything, we reached the conclusion that the texture was utterly inedible. Whether it was the heat altering the chemistry of the candy or not, it was just impossible to eat even the smallest bite of this without getting it in your teeth and all over the place. This affected me to the point of changing the review on the last toffee, the truffle truffle, because I realized exactly how important texture can be to making a good toffee.The flavor on this was sublime. It was a real shame that the texture was so off-putting, because I was amazed at how wonderfully the butter and sea salt complimented the bacon. There wasn’t a lot, not enough to discern a textural difference in the toffee, so it was a smooth piece all around, but the dairy ingredients just brought out and accentuated the bacon’s smokiness so much that it became intensely indulgent to chew.

Wanting to keep this flavor and still be able to eat this without major dental work, Keepitcoming and I devised a plan so that the toffee wouldn’t go to waste. The next morning, after an adventure in Manhattan, I woke up and made scones with the toffee in them for breakfast, trying to see if in its melted form, this would be easier to chew on. Lo and behold, it was probably one of the most incredible breakfasts, so in lieu of a traditional review, I give you the recipe and the rating.Bacon Toffee Scones

Ingredients (serves three)
1 cup of flour
1/2 stick of butter, cut into chunks
1/4 cup of brown sugar, light or dark
1/2 cup of whole milk
1 slab of bacon toffee

1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and sift your flour into a medium sized mixing bowl.
2. With a pastry cutter or two forks, crumble your butter into the flour until it resembles small peas or a slightly coarser batter. Add brown sugar and combine thoroughly.
3. In a food processor or with a large hammer, pulverize your toffee until it’s chopped up into small, bite-sized chunks. Dust with flour and put aside.
4. Mix in your milk gradually, adding toffee when all is incorporated. Don’t overmix it, but make sure it’s dry enough to roll out onto a cutting surface.
5. Do that. Roll it out, that is. And cut into six squishy squares onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until tops are golden brown and toffee is bubbling out.Keepitcoming with butter oozing between her fingers. This is porn for the awesome.After baking these, the toffee was even better. The bacon was basically infused into the scones, and with the richness of the pastry and saltiness of the candy, it made a complexly flavored, but easy to make breakfast with barely any preparation. I’d definitely try this with other recipes, too, as bacon and toffee is quite versatile.

Snyder’s Hot Buffalo Pieces

I took a nice weekend to myself to attend a local WASP festival with Keepitcoming, and to prepare for the Fancy Food Show, which is a mere week away. We’re quite jonesed, I can assure you. Today at work, though, I was feeling a little bold and I put down my needlepoint and bought these pretzels.

I’m no stranger to spicy foods. I absolutely love wings, and have perfected an egg scramble with sour cream and sriracha during breakfast. So it was natural for me to be drawn to these, like a 1970’s socialite to clusters of caviar. The pretzels themselves are not whole pieces, rather, they are crushed up and coated with a flavoring. In this case, the buffalo sauce.Because the pretzels are crushed, they have more of a chance to get coated with the flavor. Thus, the pieces themselves look like the aftermath of a Snooki/Oompa Loompa fanfiction orgy, bright orange and flaking all over the place. And I’ll admit, I was really excited to try them once I saw the seasoning.The first flavor that hit my taste buds was vinegar, and it stayed vinegary for the entire bite. Despite the color and “five-alarm” hype, there was literally no heat in these whatsoever. Honestly, I was taken aback, because the buttery trademark of the wing was present. It had all the elements of a wing, including a poultry aftertaste, but completely missed the mark on the one thing that makes Buffalo wings delicious. Even after eating a bunch of these at once, cramming them into my mouth like a porn star at a gang bang, there was nothing that made me think of the heat that wings deliver.

These were wishful thinking. If I was to give helpful advice to Snyder’s, as a soccer father from the mid-seventies, I’d say something like, “C’mon, slugger, you can lick this,” because I expect more of Snyder’s and wish that they hadn’t dropped the ball on this one.

Truffle Truffle Beer and Pretzel Brittle

This review brought to you, in bed, courtesy of a pants-free lifestyle. Thank you for reading.

On a more awesome and non-clothing related note, this is one of three selections from truffle truffle, a Chicago-based company making truffles (duh), caramels, and other confections. I was sent a selection of their treats, including this fantastically original concept, beer and pretzel toffee.

You all know, from my rehashed “fun facts,” that I’m generally not a fan of beer. That stunt last year with the police and the Sam Adams brewery and the biological terrorism didn’t help matters, either. So beer hates me and I’m pretty much done with beer. Facebook official, natch. But I will meet you beerophiles halfway and agree that pretzels and beer are a classic combination.This toffee is infused with chocolate stout, covered in milk chocolate, and rolled in chopped pretzels. Each piece makes a substantial snack, truffle truffle’s main chef, Nicole, choosing to make a thicker toffee than a thinner, more brittle confection. This proves to be a positive change in the texture of the piece, bites flaking off with a substantial chew, yet not breaking too easily as to shatter mid-bite, and mingles with the pretzels without melting too quickly.The flavor is a bit muddled. The toffee itself is predominant, but lacks the beer infusion that I came to wonder about. It’s mainly a very buttery and rich flavor. The milk chocolate is a thin coating, but serves a good purpose of giving the toffee another layer of depth in its taste. As for the pretzels, they gave a fantastic crunch and played nicely with the toffee, but I would have preferred more salt to balance out the toffee’s sugary finish.

Overall, this concept has me inexorably curious. Would the beer flavor be more prominent in a candy with a lower boiling point or cooking temperature? The concept paves the way for many ideas, and I applaud the ingenuity of the chefs in coming up with this neat little snack. Overall, a great candy and a truly fascinating idea.

Wise Jalapeño Cheddar Chips

I was peckish yesterday and after my excursion at C-Town with Swagger, was feeling like a little snack, so I picked up a bag of these Wise jalapeño cheddar potato chips. C-Town has a bigger selection of more interesting snacks, but I guess I was feeling a little pedestrian and wanted spicy food without the risk of lead poisoning.

These particular chips were pretty ballsy. They decorated the bag with peppers so you could see how serious they were. These chips weren’t flaking out, that shit was in your face like a can of mace, with the clip art and bas relief drawings of jalapeños. The delivery, though, the soliloquy that I so relied on from these chips, was entirely unsatisfactory.Upon opening the bag, I noticed that it was half empty, filled up to the cheese wedge graphic on the bag. If you were an optimist and a douchebag, you’d say, “It’s half full!” and I’d be forced to brutally sodomize you with a chili pepper. But there weren’t many chips crammed that far down, perhaps about twenty or so in the bag’s entirety. It was a bit of a rip off. But once I tasted them, I realized that I wasn’t missing very much at all. The chips themselves were a creamy orange color, with no specks of any belying pepper essence whatsoever.The flavor promised bold, exciting, risqué delights that would tantalize the palate and blow your fucking mind, but in all actuality, they tasted like regular cheese chips. They weren’t interesting at all, and they certainly weren’t spicy. They were standard, thin cut potato chips with a good crunch, but barely a spritz of what could have been a well executed flavor. I was disappointed and demanded more.

On a lighter note, though, Keepitcoming has deigned to drop in with some witticisms on my most recent posts, so keep an eye out for her delightful commentary, especially that on Soylent Green and Special K. It’s people! Huzzuh!

Celeste Meatball Pizza for One

Okay, so there are a few things I like to come out with and admit whilst posting on Foodette. My affinity for all things unhealthy. My more than slightly morbid fascination with the French Revolution. And now, I have another closeted skeleton for your enjoyment and scathing wit.

I think I’m…pie curious.

Don’t laugh, I’m serious. I’ve found myself staring at certain pizzas whenever I go out. I’ve been eschewing pepperoni, sausage, etc, for something…a little different. Something eccentric. And although I know today’s pizza isn’t strange, (it’s a stand in for the original pizza, one that my mother’s manwhore wanted for his own lunch) it sort of leads me to question the world around me. Am I pie curious? Was I born this way, or was it an environment of New Haven pizza, strange toppings, and thin crusts that led me to this important life decision?

Today, I went out and got a Celeste Meatball Pizza for One, trying to curb myself of a lifetime of disappointments, like prosciutto and fennel, and desperately making one last attempt to get back to a normal life with normal, vanilla pizza toppings. Like meatball. A safe route.

The Celeste Pizzas are pretty sad. I mean, there’s no way to perk up the phrase “pizza for one” unless you include a shot of gin. Celeste doesn’t bullshit you like California Pizza Kitchen and go as far as to recommend a wine to serve with your frozen pizza, but the website is upsettingly sparse and evocative of 90’s Geocities pages.After microwaving this pizza, I cut it into slices and ate it with a Foxon Park Iron Brew. The heating is abysmal with these. Biting into the slice, I got a very lukewarm, mushy bite, but when I got to the crust, pleased with the temperature, it was at a rather volcanic temperature and burnt the roof of my mouth. Though the toppings are ample on this, the textures are just terrible. The sauce is delicious, not like the sugary sauce on most pizzas, and has more of a red pepper flavor than tomato. However, with the amount that they blob onto this, it bogs down the crust and makes it soggy and unable to stand up to the sauce and cheese. The cheese is salty and that’s about it.As far as the meatballs go, Celeste provokes me with some shit about how this is just like my grandmother’s meatballs. Fuck you, Celeste, you don’t know me! My grandmother would beat me with a belt if she knew I’d compared these meatballs to hers. Bullshit. Tasting the meatballs is hit or miss as they’re spread all over the pizza, so in one bite you could get none or six. The flavor is hearty and laced with oregano, and goes well with the rest of the sauce, with a little breading crunch and a soft texture, but there are like, no meatballs. Searching for them on the crust is like looking for WMD’s or talent in a Robin Williams film.

So this ends my foray with regular pizza toppings. From now on, I’m staying with wild. I’m trusting my gastronomical instincts and seeking out the exciting, the different, and the slightly strange in both life and eating. You can have your grandmother’s mass-produced meatballs, but as for Keepitcoming and I, you can find us in the truffle oil, burrata, duck egg, and andouille section of the menu. We’re pie curious and proud.

Cadbury Bournville

Dark chocolate. When said too many times, it sounds like a bad pornographic film. Daaaaaark chocolate. I feel like there should be a synthesizer playing softly in the background.This hot number in the red suit is the Cadbury Bournville, and as Rebecca tells me, the best dark chocolate. We shall see. Cadbury is positively ace at making milk chocolate, but how do they fare on the dark side? The Bournville, aside from having a fantastically pretentious name, like a microbrew or a fancy hotel, comes off in large chunks that are big enough to stifle a full-grown mother or at least distract her from a lecture on skinny-dipping in thunderstorms and its risks.The flavor is really, really milky, almost like a milk chocolate, and the melt is grainy at first, but smooths out towards the end. It’s funny, with all the experience I have with dark chocolate, this just resembles more of a high end milk than a dark. It’s only 39% cocoa solids, a little paltry for a dark chocolate. My personal favorite for a dark percentage is around 54%, but this makes it a rather good mixture of tastes and textures from each chocolate. The flavor is caramelly and smooth, and reminded me of hot chocolate powder with its texture and taste.

This was a tasty chocolate bar, much better than a regular US bar, but not quite to the standards of dark chocolate that I generally frequent. If this were, as stated, a porno, it would be in the discount bin, covered with stains and packaged with naked midget wrestling. Its heart is in the right place, but it just don’t have the balls.

Special K Pink Lemonade Protein Water Mix

The best way I can tell you about Special K Pink Lemonade Protein Water Mix is to tell you a little more about Keepitcoming Love. I swear, it’ll all connect. Just sit back and let the magic happen.

Keepitcoming is a fascinating sort of girl. When I met her, she was sweet and adorable. She’s still sweet and adorable. But, I soon realized, underneath her veneer of innocence is all business and a desire for satisfaction.

Case in point. I like to watch her sleep. In an entirely adorable, summer blockbuster, non-creepy way. Surpassing that love is my love to sleep, myself. I’m rarely able to watch her sleep, though, because the time I wake up from my hibernation, she’s up, dressed, looking like a Bottega Veneta model, and pinching me awake at some ungodly, single-digit hour in the AM.

It’s all for a good reason, though, because after the initial shock of waking up before sundown, I come to realize that there’s a lot of time in the day to do the things we love the most, like sitting in our bathrobes on the chaise and doing nothing, or sitting in our bathrobes on the porch doing nothing, or getting dressed and going to the park to do nothing. In that way, she reminded me of this drink mix. Truly, I express my amorous sentiments like nobody else.Pictured above, not cocaine.

I made this mix with water from the potentially dangerous tap at my work. And just like Keepitcoming, it will either blow my mind or leave me crippled from the neck down. Of course, I’m kidding, but this was a pretty fantastic flavor. Most protein drinks you’ll get and dump into water will be slightly thick and chalky, as though you’ve gone and confused your Crystal Light with your Chanel eyeshadow, but this one was smooth and pretty similar to drinking lemonade from a neighbor’s lemonade stand, if your neighbors were Kellogg’s.Pictured above, not hepatitis.

The flavor was a little watery, but definitely had all the good qualities of a pink lemonade- starting out sweet, it developed into a nicely acidic citrus taste, one that didn’t have the soapy characteristics of other drink mixes. It might have mixed more thoroughly with cold water, but the tap only had lukewarm and third degree burn. I think the best part was the satisfaction and sustenance I felt after drinking it. It did say it was a protein water, so I was curious to see how long it could sustain me before needing a snack. I drank this at work, mixed it at two, and when I got out at nine, I wasn’t feeling the urge to eat cheese balls for dinner. Miraculous indeed.Overall, I’d try this again, because not only did it taste sweet and pack a powerful punch, it was also good for me. Three more things that it shares with Keepitcoming, and I wouldn’t trade her for all the lemonade-flavored protein water in the world.

Milk Coffee Kit Kat

In every relationship, there’s always a hierarchy between partners, an age-old fact that presents itself with the dawn of each day. This has recently come up in my own partnership, and has led me to question all that I know in my day-to-day happenings.

And still, the fact of the matter remains- Keepitcoming Love makes the best morning coffee. I make delicious eggs. Case closed.

It’s just how it’s always gone. We’ll both do breakfast or I’ll slip down and whip something up, and she makes the coffee. But sometimes, we’ll be sitting in our robes on the chaise lounge, listening to The Zombies on Pandora, and I’ll come bounding up like a puppy saying, “Surprise! I made coffee!”, and we’ll both take a sip and simultaneously wince.

“Did you use the coffee spoon?”
“Did you use the right ratio?”
“Oh, totally.”
“I might have done a little improvising here and there, but it’s okay, right?”

She’ll take a few sips. I’ll shrug and say something about how nice the weather is and inconspicuously try to mix sriracha into the coffee. It fixes everything, right? And halfway to a terrible, watery grave, we’ll look at each other and say, “This coffee is pretty bad.” She’ll stroke my head and tell me I’ll learn- someday. I’ll sigh. And she’ll pad back to make another pot of coffee. And that’s one of many reasons why I love her.

It’s how it’s always gone. As much as I’d like to wake up earlier than she does and bring her coffee in bed, it’s just not a skill I’ve cultivated yet. Until now. Now, I can bring her this new finding, the milk coffee Kit Kat bar from the Asian grocery, and essentially emulate the idea of coffee in a single serving of a candy bar.Originally, I was convinced this was a tea-flavored Kit Kat, because the package had photographs of cherry blossoms and a cup of something tea colored, so I naturally assumed it was. Not so. When I bit into this bar, I got an intense, dark rush of coffee, like eating a chocolate covered coffee bean. If it weren’t for the white chocolate around it, I’d have been turned off to the flavor, as without the extra sugar, it is quite bitter. I’m not sure if the white chocolate is supposed to imitate the milk addition to a cup of coffee, but it certainly sweetens it up and cuts the bitterness.I was surprised at how much I liked this bar, because I’m more inclined towards chocolates with caramel and peanut butter flavors in it, so this was an entirely foreign experience. The size of the bar, a miniature Kit Kat, was perfect. Any larger would have been overkill. The wafers in this were crisp and airy, and gave a nice textural depth to the candy. All in all, it provided an accurate coffee experience that I’d be glad to serve Keepitcoming in lieu of my strange brew.