Dolfin Dark Chocolate Lavender

This is the last in the series of little chocolate bars Keepitcoming and I bought at the specialty food store. Keepitcoming is a perfume aficionado. One of her favorites, Guerlain’s Jicky, has a strong topnote of lavender. So when we purchased this, I needed her expert opinions as she’s a real pro on scent and flavors with this kind of herbal note.The chocolate bar isn’t merely infused with lavender oil, but has bits of lavender in it, making the flavor extremely strong, but never overwhelming. It lacks that standard soapy flavor with too much herbiness, and bypasses it completely, seceding to a mild yet memorable flavor. It’s not a terribly dark chocolate, either, lacking some of the bitterness typically associated with percentages above 60%, and treads a good line between sweet and smoky.Overall, this is a rather accomplished bar. It’s got all the right elements of a delicately crafted, complex flavor- a slightly spicy, minty lavender with a sweet and smoky base, and melts smoothly on the tongue. Though lavender is nothing new in the chocolate pairing world, this is definitely a fantastic representation of the flavor.

On a side note, Keepitcoming is now the official blog photographer. Awesomeness shall ensue.

Keepitcoming Love’s Disturbing Observation of the Day: “Dolfin is keeping it real with lavender.”

Maple Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s been a rather hazy, lazy day. Keepitcoming and I have had a whirlwind week and needed to relax, spend the day getting things done around the house, and enjoy ourselves. So for dinner, we decided to make these maple bacon chocolate chip cookies alongside an entree of scrambled eggs and some cold iced tea.This cookie recipe, adapted from Noble Pig, yields a really moist and crispy cookie, with a golden brown bottom and a decadent, smoky sweet flavor the entire way through. These are fantastic lunchbox cookies or potluck items, or even a taboo breakfast cookie. With a conservative usage of batter, it makes a prodigious amount of rich, large cookies, with a good number leftover for late night snacking.Maple Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies, recipe adapted from Noble Pig
Ingredients (makes 12 large cookies)
5 strips maple smoked bacon
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon maple extract or syrup
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees, and setting a frying pan on your oven’s lowest setting to heat up. Chop each piece of bacon in half so it fits easier in the pan, and start frying.
2. Mix together your flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, and cream your butter and sugars. It helps to have the butter relatively soft so it easily incorporates.
3. Once the butter and sugar is creamed, mix in the egg and maple syrup.
4. When all the bacon is fried, to the point where you no longer have curls of fat, let it cool and finely chop it with a knife or in a food processor. We then refried the bits to render them down even more, crisp them up, and get rid of the excess grease.5. Mix in your chocolate chips. We don’t like a ton of chocolate in our cookies, and we like it to be on the less sweet side, so we used Ghiradelli 60% bittersweet chips.
6. Mix in your chopped bacon, and scoop a heaping teaspoon onto the tray, lubricated with your extra bacon grease instead of spray, six to a batch. They get quite flat and really spread out.
7. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the center is solid and the edges are crispy and brown. Once cooled, the cookies will slide right off the sheet and into your mouths. Delicious.The money shot.

These really were delightful cookies, and impart a breakfasty smokiness and chew, along with a gooey chocolate center. The amount of chocolate we used was enough to get chocolate in every few bites and not overwhelm. These are great cookies for anyone, bacon aficionado or not!Keepitcoming Love’s Disturbing Observation of the Day: “Luscious cookie action.”

FoodShouldTasteGood Jalapeno Tortilla Chips

Tonight we made a delicious spread of queso and guacamole along with these jalapeno chips, received as a sample from FoodShouldTaste Good. In the altogether, these chips are absolutely delicious, but soar to a higher elevation when paired with delicious dips.

The chips are comprised of corn, red pepper flakes, and pieces of legit jalapeno, and are grease-free. Not that illegitimate stuff on the street corner near your job, natch. This is good shit. The corn base melds relatively well with these, adding a delicious hit of salt and crunch without overwhelming the palate and maintaining a spicy flavor as a naked chip.In their bare state, they do add a sharp bite of heat, a clean, lingering snap, to even the most numbed palate, the heat spreading through the chip and heightening exponentially with each bite. Their saltiness and texture integrates with the spicy flavor and rarely interferes.My only real complaint with these chips is that they lack a certain uninhibited depth to them, like a stripper, and that the heat could have a number of external flavors playing along- smokiness, cheese, lime. While the heat alone is delicious, it’s a little boring unadorned, despite the handfuls you can easily consume. It needs a dressing-up of sorts, perhaps a dip, to maintain its fresh and tasty flavor.

Dolfin Milk Chocolate Green Tea and Jasmine

If you hadn’t already figured it out, Keepitcoming Love and I are connoisseurs of exotic flavor combinations. It’s a little like being a connoisseur of exotic dancing- slightly bogus, but all about taste.

In any case, we’re always excited to get a new treat in a flavor we’ve never had before, in this case, Dolfin’s milk chocolate with green tea and jasmine. I’ve found that strong, Asiatic flavors like these are generally paired with dark chocolate, so this would prove to be a gastronomical experience to savor. Milk chocolate happens to be my favorite.The bar was the same size as the Dolfin hot masala bar, lilliputian with four sectors for eating, but unlike the masala bar, it was obvious that there was tea. In fact, the chocolatiers went so far as to mix small pieces of tea leaf and spice into the bar, so not only was the bar completely infused with the tea’s flavor, it was texturally different, too, similar to poppy seeds with a slightly bitter crunch.The flavor of the milk chocolate changed drastically, as the spices provided a tasty buffer to all the sugar in the chocolate, which was still quite sweet. The green tea pieces added the most intense flavor, a slightly soapy, harby sweetness similar to green tea ice cream, and the jasmine gave the bar a spicy complexity and a fantastic floral scent. The chocolate bound the bar together and gave it a hit of sugar and rich cocoa that it definitely needed. Milk chocolate was definitely the right base for this, as the tea gave its own bitter flavor. With a dark chocolate, I could see the tea being pushed to the back burner, easily overwhelmed by the richness of a 60% dark, or the entire bar tasting too bitter from the darker elements.This was really a beautiful bar. Not only was it delicious, but it was visually pleasing and certainly different than many bars that have passed through Foodette. Our expectations were low after the disappointment of the masala bar, but this has drastically changed my opinion and I’m curious to see the other Dolfin offerings.

Lindt Ice Coffee Bar

One time, and keep in mind, this was about three weeks back, we did not have an air conditioner. We were hot and sweaty and irritable, had no interest in the fetid refuse of a community pool, and needed to cool down.

We improvised quite well, I’d say, and after ten minutes filling the tub, setting the fan up, and getting Parks and Rec on the laptop, we were in business. It was better than a pool. We could adjust the temperature and drink iced coffees, and there were no children sporadically urinating. It was that kind of cooling down and refreshing summer feeling that I was looking for when I picked up this bar, one that Lindt calls a summertime treat, and split it with Keepitcoming.This bar was not evocative of a fresh iced coffee. While it was good, with high-quality white chocolate and an ample amount of filling, the overall effect was just too sweet. Comparing it to the iced coffee we made, this was a rather paltry substitute. The bar consisted of a coffee creme filling with coffee bean pieces, all covered in white chocolate. That was the first mistake. The white chocolate, which was perfect in the Vosges bar because of the balance of sweet and zesty, had nothing to balance it out and was overwhelmingly sugary, like my middle school guidance counselor.The coffee filling was a noble concept. It’s nice to try to make something that emulates a classic summer drink, but it just falls short. The creme was less of a whipped, ice cream texture than a hydrogenated, sugary, slightly greasy mouthfeel, and that was pretty off-putting. The coffee bean bits were the most welcome flavor and textural difference, allotting a good, bitter roast to seep onto the tongue. Unfortunately, these bits were far and few between, the only remote hint of any coffee flavor resting in this bar. It was as satisfying as waiting a half hour for a watered down Frappucino, and around the same price. I’d rather have an iced coffee and my improvised pool.

Sonic Drive-In, Wallingford, CT

Sonic is here! In Connecticut! We’ve been teased to the brink of passion for so long, and finally, we get to explode in juicy, sausage-fueled orgasms. Sigh. It’s amazing.Dillinger and I made it there this evening, and after a half hour and a massive order, we had our food. Up on the sampling roster this evening: cherry limeade, a chili cheese dog, chili cheese tots, a Campfire Blast, limited edition, a jr. Frito chili cheese wrap, a sausage burrito, and a java chiller.It seems like a lot of food, but the burritos were small, and Dillinger and I ate a little of everything else. And with all that, our total came to a little over fifteen dollars. God, I love good fast food.So we started with our drinks. The cherry limeade was exactly what I’d hoped it would be, with a nice, subtle cherry flavor and a good citrusy hit in the back. A little watery, but the ice melted quickly. It was a very hot night. I would have preferred a little less carbonation and a little more syrupy flavor, but it was, all in all, exactly what I expected.The Campfire Blast, on the left, might not have been a drink, but I drank it with a straw and was blissfully disillusioned. The ice cream was flavored quite accurately with the essence of graham, to my surprise. Not necessarily the level of expertise of Judie’s, but for a chain restaurant, it was an original and well-executed concept. The pieces of chocolate covered marshmallow were really tasty toppings, and were soft and frozen on the inside. The chocolate melted off quickly, but the flavor was definitely present.I really liked this, because all it needed was the burnt smokiness to make it a real campfire treat, but the ice cream was dense as a rock. I was literally fellating the straw to get the ooze out. I got through a quarter of it and got bored, throwing it out in vain. If this was a little thinner and potable, I’d order it again. The flavor was refreshingly original and extremely tasty in the summer.Dillinger had a mocha Java Chiller for his drink, but to be honest, it was more of an ice cream dessert than a frappucinoesque beverage. It was very thick, similar to the Campfire Blast, and was hard to drink. At least the CB was in the grey area. This was distinctly advertised as a drink, and drank more like a thick milkshake.

Dillinger, who likes his coffee stronger, wasn’t too impressed. Neither was I. There was more of a mocha, chocolatey flavor than caffeine, and more ice cream than coffee. It was large for its price, but we found it to be too sickly sweet for our beverage preferences.We moved onto the burritos. The Jr. Frito chili cheese was very small, but made a nice snack. The burrito was soft and held the toppings well, and the chili was the standard fast food variety, no beans or vegetables, just meat, meat, meat.It was smooth and zesty, but wasn’t spicy at all. There was no sign of cheese and we had to send out a small search party of Fritos, which were crispy and crunchy. This was obviously freshly made to order and, for an item that cost a dollar, was very filling and flavorful.Dillinger’s breakfast burrito was also fresh and hot. By the way, I ought to mention that no more than five minutes after we ordered our food, it was delivered to us piping hot. That’s no small feat for a regular fast food establishment, but this was also one with over sixty cars waiting and demanding food. The burrito was the same length as the Frito burrito, but was about twice as thick, simply teeming with eggs, cheese, and meat.

The eggs looked like the standard cubed scrambled egg format of most restaurants, but the sausage added a great flavor to the whole shebang. I would have preferred another flavor added to this, as with this burrito, there was no sign of cheese aside from a slight gluiness holding everything together. However, it was a sizeable breakfast item, also cheap, and had a healthy amount of meat and eggs within to make it a substantial sandwich.My chili cheese dog was a beast, but once we got it out of its wrapper, we found that it was more manageable than it looked. We split the dog and were full after. A whole dog would have been too overwhelming for me. The bun wasn’t toasted, and split under the weight of the massive meat log. The hot dog itself was incredibly firm and robust, and snapped off nicely with each bite. The chili was liberally spooned on, as was the cheese, a veritable blanket of dairy across the top of the top, and sealed the toppings in, keeping them hot.

The flavor of this was tasty and warm. I imagine this would be very comforting on a cold day in winter. However, since I’m in the traveling hot dog business, I must say, this isn’t a hot dog I’d make a road trip for, as opposed to Rawley’s or Blackie’s. It’s average as far as mush puppies go, but not something I’d go out of my way to order. A standard and classic entree, but no more tricks to turn. Our last item, the chili cheese tots, which I’m unfortunately lacking photographic evidence of, were delicious. Despite the fact that we’d had a lot of chili and cheese-related combinations during the course of our feeding, this was still welcome. The tots were extremely crispy and fresh and held up to the copious amount of toppings on this. It seems that all the missing cheese from our burritos had congregated here, atop a mountain of chili seeping into the spaces in the tots.

There were nice chunks of potato in each piece, and the chili surrounding them was hot and gooey, covered in melted cheese. These were incredibly indulgent and one small serving was enough for the two of us. Terribly delightful and addictive.

Dolfin Milk Chocolate Hot Masala

Keepitcoming and I bought an assortment of strangely flavored chocolate bars yesterday from a local cookware and gourmet shop, amongst those being a few bars from Dolfin. This morning, we cracked open one of those mini bars and ate it for breakfast with our morning coffee.This bar was flavored with hot masala on a milk chocolate base. One miniature bar was enough for the both of us. The milk chocolate was very smooth, luxurious, and melted slowly, but the flavor was very sweet and lacked the palatable depth of a darker percentage.

The masala spices were present and mingled with the chocolate, but unfortunately, reminded us less of a spicy Indian dish than a chai tea mixture of spices. There was a strong cinnamon base, with hints of nutmeg and cumin, but no real heat to the chocolate bar to speak of.I enjoyed the flavor of this bar, as it was mild, approachable, and sweet, similar to most of the men on, but it was misleading, like their Photoshopped profile photos, and didn’t deliver the spice and pizazz I was looking for, placing it squarely into the realm of unoriginal and unmemorable concepts. Decidedly average. We’re hoping their other bars fare for the better.

The White Hut, West Springfield, MA

So Keepitcoming Love and I decided to go on a hot date to The White Hut tonight, in West Springfield. I suppose I ought to preface this by saying that Springfield, as a whole, is a desolate and terrifying wasteland from which there is no escape. Literally. We spent fifteen minutes trying to find the exit to 91.

But onto The White Hut. They have three or four dinner options and a rapidly expanding breakfast menu, and none of their prices exceed $4 for a single item. They’ve been doing this since 1939. We went inside, after a rather abysmal parking job thanks to yours truly, to a small, diner-style area with the kitchen right in front of the counter stools.

The ordering is simple and the menu is short, but what they make, they make extremely well. I got a hot dog with mustard and Keepitcoming had a hamburger with lettuce, tomato, and ketchup. We split an order of fries. The White Hut has a nice selection of beverages, too, most notably their range of Stewart’s sodas.

The hot dog was medium sized, grilled to perfection, and had a good bun to meat ratio. Meat. The skin snapped nicely and the dog had a substantially spicy flavor unto its own. With the mustard, a classic yellow deli spread, it was very savory and made a great entree.The bun was toasted perfectly on the outside, with a crisp, buttery shell yielding to soft bread inside. The flavor wasn’t anything special, it was just a regular bun, but toasting it up gave a nice holster for the tube steak and made it harder to fall apart mid-consumption.Keepitcoming’s burger was also delicious. It had an ample amount of toppings, and the flavor was sublime. The patty was cooked on the same flattop as the grilled onions, White Hut’s signature topping, and gets a lot of the onion flavor infused during cooking. It’s a nice, thin patty and is evenly cooked the whole way through. The beef is toothsome, and is tender without being mushy. An extremely juicy patty.The bun was also delicately toasted, and held up well to the toppings. Toasting definitely took the bun from being rather average to decidedly delightful.Our fries were the least expensive item in our order, but amply served both of us with a few left over. They were really perfect. Each fry was thick, but never undercooked on the inside. The outside of the fry was a crispy, golden brown shell that yielded to a fluffy potato mush interior.They were fried to order, and also freshly cut. The fries still had remnants of skin and an intense, buttery potato flavor, needing no salt or pepper to enhance their taste. Good fries, good price. Yum. Keepitcoming Love’s Disturbing Observation of the Day: “The White Hut cuts burgers in half as a courtesy to the ladies.”

Vosges Amalfi Bar

This is another selection from the Fancy Food Show. Keepitcoming and I came back to the Vosges booth every day of the show because they had a consistently interesting product line and absolutely incredible new findings. One of these was the Amalfi bar, which I procured a sample of.If you’re familiar with Vosges, you know how strange their flavors can get. This is no exception. With 36% cocoa butter white chocolate, pink peppercorns, and lemon zest, this bar makes an excellent dessert on its own. The bar is separated into eight squares, each liberally portioned with the peppercorns. While the lemon zest doesn’t impart a textural difference, the essence is right there, from the very scent of the bar itself. Creamy lemon and sweet chocolate waft up from its exterior, leaving the peppercorns to lie in wait on the inside.Upon biting into the bar, the first immediate sensation is a crunch of peppercorn. The pepper isn’t overwhelmingly spicy, but does provide a taste more evocative of the actual spice than a heat-related sensation. In this bar, though, heat might not be as tempting, as the flavors hint at a mild, indulgent quality, and they meld together in an extremely en pointe expertise.The flavor recedes into a milky and extremely buttery tranquility, with the lemon zest playing a bigger role, and gives a fantastic, fresh, and fully developed flavor in the entire bar. This is perfect for a dessert at any time of day, but most happily evokes those long, drawn out summer days of citrine pleasure and lackadasical passing. This is a bar I’d happily purchase and would recommend to any palate.

Fratelli Beretta Gli Originali SalaMini Classici

So my sister came back from Italy and all I got were these Snausage-esque snacks. And a few more things, but for today, we’re reviewing real live dog treats. I’m kidding, of course, they’re essentially preserved cocktail salami, in toe-sized format for easy snacking. There’s about ten to a blister pack and the plastic cover depicts them bouncing into a bowl in one of the most exuberant and intense ways I’ve seen sausages operate.

They’re a little greasy to the touch, but upon biting in, have a pleasantly savory and moist texture without being overladen with grease. There’s a good chew to these and they have a well-balanced yet pedestrian meaty flavor.While I’m not sure if I’d choose these for a snack again, they are a good representation of preserved meat and certainly rise above the levels of a Slim Jim or similar jerkies. They were a substantial breakfast treat.

Keepitcoming Love’s Disturbing Observation of the Day: “These look like suppositories.”