Three-Day Juice Cleanse: Day 3

DAY 3: The Awakening 

No photos. Camera too heavy.

6AM: It was a wonderful, spa-like two days. I danced with unicorns in the center of Westport, Connecticut, and took the Honda out for a spin in Southampton before my deep-tissue massage. Juice cleanses are wonderful. They rejuvenate you—I don’t look a day over 12 now.

Then I woke up this morning after a sleepless night and realized that I ran out of money and went over budget. This must be what it feels like to be Ty Pennington. I found $3.60 in coins on my bookshelf and in the cup holder of my car and, inexplicably, in the bottom of a glass of wine, and bought some lemon juice and spring water with it. I’m kicking it old school with a gallon of water and a head full of crazies. I have Tabasco sauce and maple syrup in my fridge, so I’m taking today to start the Beyonce diet. Apparently, it tastes like Beyonce. I’m pretty sure that if I drink this all day, I’ll start to hallucinate Beyonce, so it’s worth a try.
This tastes disgusting. Four pounds of brownies arrived in the mail.
7AM: I don’t feel hungry, but that’s mainly because I don’t feel anything but cold. Juicing is the equivalent of flushing a coffee-maker out with vinegar, except in this case, I’m the idiot who flushed a coffee-maker out with vinegar. My corpse will be squeaky-clean when I finally succumb to the sweat chills and diabetic coma of too much fruit sugar.
7:30AM: I keep phasing in and out of sleep. I’m going to die in my sleep, alone and bloated with beet juice and Tabasco. Ew. This is going to be like the end of a Richardson novel. I’m going to literally die penniless, malnourished, and delirious outside a Whole Foods. That’s basically the plot of Clarissa, right? I hate lemons. I hate cayenne. I hate water. Every sip of this foul beverage tastes like I’m ingesting my own stomach acid.
8:30AM: All the single ladies, put your hands up. Now put them over your hearts and promise that you’ll never date someone like me. Juice cleanses are murderous. I thought I saw my own blood at the bottom of my “#1 Dad” tumbler, but it was really just a clump of hot sauce. I swallowed it anyway and now my throat aches. This time, tomorrow, I’m going to house a plate of tamales like I’m selling them prime beachfront property in Miami.
9AM: I almost broke. I went to grab a yogurt with my final dying breath, but upon opening it, discovered it was partially frozen from the inconsistent temperatures of my refrigerator. The universe is testing me.
12PM: HOLY CRAP, I ATE A BOWL OF CHILI IN MY SLEEP. There is an empty bowl in my sink and it looks like I murdered a squirrel with my mouth. Betrayed by my own body.
7PM: You guys, food is amazing. It gives you so much energy! 300 calories on the elliptical without breaking a sweat. I feel like I could crack a nut with my glutes. Food, guys. No more juice.
No more.
Calories/day: 1,246
$/pound: $10.80
$ total spent: $50, and with the gift card, $75 for three days of juicing.
Compare to: $180 for three days on Blueprint, and $130 on three days of Evolution Fresh.
Weight lost: 4.8 lbs
Dignity gained:+4 street cred on my OkCupid profile

Sneak Peak and Trend Prediction for the 2013 Summer Fancy Food Show

Four solid years and here we are – the Summer Fancy Food Show is easily my favorite event of the entire year, birthdays, new car days, and No-Pants Thursday notwithstanding. We’ve been preparing, rejecting outfits, schmoozing with the finest of friends, and receiving samples left and right before the show to give you a sneak peek of what to expect from this year’s new products.

PS- I’ll give you the final update of Day 3 of my Cleanse tomorrow!

Trend Prediction

Here are the top five trends I anticipate seeing. In checking out the sofi nominees, perusing the exhibitor list, and receiving press releases, it looks like the surge of healthy ingredients in foods has not ebbed (although I’m still waiting for Cheetos to make a glorious return) but in the interest of separating from the gluten-free and ‘light’ trends of the past, now, fresh ingredients are taking a stand. We’ve been seeing tons of snacks and drinks that have been including coconut and supergreens/fruits. Here’s a breakdown at the top five trends I anticipate seeing throughout the year.

1.     Healthier/artisanal instant beverages

This is a particular favorite of mine as I absolutely adore instant drinks. Companies like Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen are crafting gourmet instant coffee packets, a trend I’d love to see with other microbrew coffee brands. Agave nectar from True Agave is making its debut, and also featured are a few variations of instant coconut water, and coconut water ice treats to cool your beverages down.

2.    Versatile, curious teas 

Savory teas and bi-temperature curious iced and hot teas are making their debut at the show from Numi and more.

3.      Sundried tomatoes

What used to be an afterthought on Italian-esque sandwiches is making a bold, flavorful comeback in condiment form. Pesto, ketchup, mayonnaise, tomato sauce, and more are being featured – I’m still waiting on chocolate-covered tomatoes.
4.      Exotic spices and alcohol in ice cream and candies

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams featured a meringue and absinthe ice cream this spring, and now Three Twins is bringing their cardamom ice cream to the show. Gelato Petrini is also showcasing their pistachio cardamom chip gelato and pineapple prosecco sorbet. Above, Marich debuts their coconut-curry cashews and dark chocolate chipotle and caramel almonds. And cat packaging from Monty Bojangles.

5.      Goat’s milk and sheep’s milk in various desserts and products

Greek yogurt has had its day in the sun, but how about sheep yogurt? Bellwether Farms is bringing their sheep’s milk yogurt to the show, along with goat cheese cheesecake and breakfast cheese from Belle Chevre, goat cheese pearls from Artisan Biscuits, and Rogue Creamery’s Blue Heaven blue cheese powder.

Here’s a small sample of the treats I’ve been receiving lately—no doubt you will see many more as the show continues! From this selection, I think this is going to be one of the best shows yet. There are some real knockout products here!

Cookies, candies, and confections abound- these seasonal cookies from Dr. Lucy’s were excellent, and packed with pumpkin puree. As were the other seasonal varieties, Merry Mint, Holiday Sugar, and Maple Crunch. I ate them in mere days!

Chuao is debuting their latest flavors at the show, too, in Orange-A-Go-Go and Pop Corn Pop. The latter really excited me, as it seeks to provide not only the flavor of popcorn, but the sensation of popcorn popping. Meta, anyone? I think it’s the best bar from Chuao yet, but you’ll have to read my deeper analysis after the show!

Tonewood’s exquisite maple wafers are up for a sofi- sweet, melting maple flavors in gorgeous packaging.

Hella Bitters from Brooklyn- perfect for the Old Fashioneds I’ve been dying to make the Bedfellow.

Brownie Points sent this gigantic red velvet brownie over along with about fifty other delicious treats- from this alone, I’m really impressed. It’s a massive, gooey confection with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting, like a portable layer cake, and wasn’t too sweet at all.

Queen City is back again, with more delicious schnecken! They’re bringing tons of flavors with them this year, like pumpkin, chocolate, and mallow magic, too.

Kelapo Coconut Oil, good for the skin, good for the food. And extra-good for the paleo banana pancakes I made this morning.

Last, but not least, butter and oat shortbread from Duchy’s.

Also, this. See you at the Fancy Food Show, everyone! I’ll be Instagramming, photographing, recapping, and stuffing my face. Juice cleanse who?

Three-Day Juice Cleanse: Day 2

Day 2: The Reckoning

12PM: Splendid news. I was walking through Whole Foods in a semi-drugged haze and found Blueprint Cleanse! I’d been dying to try this and now, for a mere $50, I can! Apparently the cleanses allot you six bottles per day, but I could only afford five, so I guess I’m doing the midget and/or children’s version of a cleanse. Tant pis. The juices are sleek and clear and increased the value of my rented refrigerator by 6.2%.
Also, this is what a $13 bottle of nut milk looks like. I drank it with my shirt off.
Unsurprisingly, the drink that costs two hours of untaxed income is delicious, if basic, like a very filtered horchata, and I immediately cry after I finish it, because it is gone and I will likely never have it again until I am working for a living, and that saddens me to the core.
2PM: I discover that the number of calories I ingest per day, divided by the number of times I nap, added to the laps I do in the swimming pool before retiring to the sauna equals the official number of times I’m allowed to subtly mention on Facebook that I’m doing a juice cleanse. Also, I have five less friends on Facebook. To celebrate my exclusivity, I drink ‘beet, apple, carrot, lemon, ginger’ and can’t help but notice that it looks exactly like cranberry juice, which goes really well with vodka. And pancakes.
It should be noted that this is my 3PM drink instead, as shortly after ingesting the nut milk, I passed out from approximately 9-3.
4PM: I drank the ‘cayenne, lemon, agave’ at an abhorrent coffee date and didn’t once consider choking myself on it. For that, I reward myself with a pair of leather shorts and another sip of juice. It tastes like it’s laughing at me with its minimal ingredient list and trendy typeface. I laugh back and remember that I spent $7 on pepper water. Now nobody is laughing.
6PM: I practice my smile in the mirror with a bottle of ‘lemon, agave, lime, mint’ and decide to take my juice to the gym to show it off like a newborn. Oddly enough, the herbs and citrus give me the impression of drinking citrus water at a fitness area of a hotel, and I burn 12 more calories than I normally do before passing out pantsless to an episode of 30 Rock.
8PM: My final drink with Blueprint is ‘pineapple, apple, mint’ after purchasing approximately $281.39 worth of groceries that I can’t touch for the next 36 hours. The good thing about this one is that it tastes like a very well-made cocktail, and costs about as much, so I can pretend that I’m at a party. A party with food.

I dream that I have cheated on the juice fast and wake up in tears.


Three-Day Juice Cleanse: Day 1

The setup: I’m doing three days of juice cleansing from three cold-pressed juice plans to prepare for the Fancy Food Show— Spoiler alert, I die at the end.

The budget: $50
The schedule: I’m awake from approximately 12 in the afternoon to 2AM as I’m off from work for the week. During the day, I work out, eat, write, vigorously— exercise in the privacy of my own home, ball so hard motherfuckers wanna fine me, and take long baths. I have fifteen juices for the three days and am going to drink one every two hours, starting at 12, and going from there, at 2PM, 4PM, 6PM, and 8PM, ending my eating at 8PM for the night. I will do a diary entry every two hours. No coffee, alcohol, or refined sugars.

Day 1 

12PM: Starting the day right with a bottle of freshly squeezed orange juice from Evolution Fresh, who graciously helped me with my first day of juices. It’s classic, it’s delicious, and it makes my heart sing. Oh, wait, I can’t drink coffee. That’s not juice. Suddenly, I’m less pleased, and also, my head hurts.

Later, I am told I woke up the Bedfellow in the middle of the night with requests for custom-designed, enormous burgers with four to five layers of meat. Also, all my dreams have meatballs in them.
2PM: I fell into a deep, lethargic sleep at 12:05 after downing the first orange juice. I have awakened now, dreams of packages, exclusive women’s summer camps, dead brown bears, and warped hardwood floors replete in my mind. It is as if my internal clock knows when to alert me to my next juice. 

My mid-afternoon juice is Super Green. I’m not sure if it’s a green juice, but it does have pieces of chlorella, spirulina, and the power of 28 raspberries in it. It is sweet, with a thin texture, and it makes me want to get up and work out. I work out for twenty minutes and then hit the pool. Each accidental sip of chlorinated water makes me feel fuller.

4PM: Something tells me I shouldn’t drive. But the Mango + Fiber tastes so, so good. It reminds me of a Fresh Samantha. Who acquired Fresh Samantha, anyway? It might have been Odwalla. And they sell Odwalla at some Starbucks locations. And Fresh Evolution is sold at Starbucks. Maybe the juices are similar. They taste like childhood. I took another nap today.

 6PM: I’m sweating like the grossest baby alive. The orange juice grew on me. I drank it in the shower and cried a little. It made me happy to realize that it was 7PM when I wrote this, which meant it was a little less than an hour until my next feed. 

 8PM: I watched the Bedfellow eat a cheeseburger and keened quietly on the bed. And then I finished my sweet greens and lemon drink. I didn’t like it the first time I tried it outside of the cleanse, but once it dawned on me that it was my only form of sustenance, I liked it again. I’m developing the Stockholm Syndrome equivalent to juice cleansing. One day down.

I love you, sweet greens and lemon.


Wendy’s Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger

I am literally going to die.

I’m done. I’m dying, my insides are decomposing, and I’m going to die. And I feel so clean.

I’m on a juice fast. It’s the worst. I mean, I feel great, slightly delirious, and I fall asleep at stop lights, but I can already feel my stomach aching for a burger. Obviously, with my couture food tasting lifestyle, it’s difficult to maintain such a diet while still sticking my mouth in the latest and greatest delicacies from Chez Mac Do and Wendy’s. I enlisted the Bedfellow to help me eat this burger while I watched her, on the floor, from across the room, while I cried silently into my sweet green and lemon water.

The new Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger features some new ingredients and some old ones- bacon, cheese, onions, lettuce, tomato, and smoky mustard sauce (from the flatbreads, I imagine) along with Cheddar cheese sauce atop a pretzel bun. Pretty intense, and at $4.89, pricier than the standard bacon burgers but hopefully worth the price. It’s a fairly weighty sandwich, and very visually appealing, with lots of sauce, veggies, and a shiny, toasted bun.

The Bedfellow liked it, though found the pretzel, which I’d consider to be the main draw of the sandwich, bland and not very tasty. It wasn’t sweet like some pretzel rolls, and had no salt on top. I would have found the inclusion of rock salt fairly audacious given the assault of savory ingredients already inside the burger, but was pleased to hear that she thought the rest of the salt balanced out the boring flavor of the bun. Though if you’re going to make a pretzel bun, why bother making it at all if it isn’t going to taste very good?

Luckily, it didn’t overwhelm the rest of the burger, which was satisfying in its composition. Although she found the cheese and mustard sauce difficult to tell apart, she liked the sweet and smoky flavors, which leads me to wonder if Wendy’s has adjusted their mustard sauce recipe after testing it in March. The arugula blend was a nice touch, too, and gave a splash of color alongside the relatively anemic-looking tomato and yellow and brown color palate of the meat and cheese. Red onions balanced out the richer flavors. The cheese provided another good boost of salt and softness atop the burger, but was overwhelmed by the thicker, gooier cheese sauce. Unfortunately, with the success of the toppings, the burger itself was dry.

When 50% of the components- pretzel and burger, are outshone by traditionally secondary items within the composition of a sandwich, cheese and bacon, it seems that it would not prove to be successful. However, it was saved by the quality and abundance of the remaining toppings. The Bedfellow said she would certainly get it again given the chance. I’d be curious to know who is supplying the pretzel buns for Wendy’s, or whether they are recipes from another company, tweaked to taste as they do. If this is a permanent addition to the menu, I would hope they add a little more of that eggy, saline flavor so quintessential to pretzels themselves. 

Dove Mint Chocolate Promises

I’m totally a celebrity. My UPS guy thinks I’m a legend, to the point where I have to give him my autograph every time I get a package. Geez, stalker much? My sexuality is mystical, my Levis are unwashed so the denim stays pure, or at least until the washing machine in my unit is fixed. And I get plenty of exciting packages in the mail, circulars notwithstanding. Recently, Dove sent me a package that wouldn’t have been out of place at the Oscars, or at the very least, the Outstanding Performance in Telemundo Series Awards. Candles! Lip balm! Doublemint! Hand soap! It’s perfect for both the mint lover and the obsessive compulsive cleaner in you. And thankfully, I have both. 

They’ve recently introduced Dove Mint Chocolate Promises, now 150% more reliable than the promises your parents made you when you were seven. I mean, did you really get that pony? Now, you can self-soothe and self-medicate with chocolate. I’m not typically a fan of chocolate and mint, but in this case, the mint is swirled with white chocolate so the herbaceous flavor is far less intense. The Promises have a very mild flavor, heavy on the cocoa butter and vanilla, almost like butter mints coated in chocolate. The dark chocolate is not very nuanced as far as dark chocolates go, but I liked how it blended with the mint without being too overpowering. They’re tasty as a snack and have a cool melt on the tongue.  
If you ignore the vaguely ominous messages printed on the inside of the label that seems almost tailored to speak to your frail self-esteem – “Chocolate won’t let you down!” they’re the perfect snack. I’m surprised that I haven’t tried these before, as they make a nice treat to put out for guests with coffee after dinner. Or serve to the paparazzi outside my house. I mean, that frat guy with the camera who stares at my back door is definitely with the press. Right?
So, just remember, the only certainty in life is smooth chocolate. And, y’know, the sweet, tasty embrace of death.Delicious mint chocolates! Suck it, Thomas Jefferson! Dove for life! Also, don’t they make soap?  
This post has been brought to you by My New Bathroom Ceiling (patent pending) courtesy of George, the handyman who didn’t bat an eye at my creepy paintings. Thanks, George.

Taste of the Union: Foodette’s Summer Eats

It’s June and I’m already summered out. I’m not sure whether it’s the heat or the lack of entertainment, but suddenly, sitting in my apartment in the dark for endless hours is less appealing than I anticipated. Yes, apparently I’ve matured, as I’ve had this strange desire to do things other than not working, by which I mean to say, I want to work and write and wear actual clothes again and stop trying to sell my possessions online. I mean, unless anyone is seriously interested in these two unlit organic soy candles I’ve been trying to peddle for a week now. You know where to find me.

So here’s my weird little request: I’ve grappled with this for some time. This isn’t an ad-driven site, I do it for pleasure, but I’m looking for something because I’m assuming you like what I provide. I’m looking for writing work. I want to write so I can keep getting better at what I do and give you even better, more amazing content. If you think I can help, I’d love to hear it.

On the plus side, I’ve been able to hone the skills that everyone dreams of having on their online dating profile- home repair, gourmet cooking, and gym ratting, the latter of which has officially negated the ‘child having’ portion of said profile as the gym has been littered with children lately, listlessly watching Spongebob on the elliptical machines and squeezing Vitamin Waters all over the locker rooms. So yeah, I’m a catch. At least, the Bedfellow seems to think so.

In any case, here’s a compilation of some of the treats I’ve been trying, like the BBB (brisket, biscuit, benedict) sandwich shown above. This is a fairly typical selection of the things I eat as treats- otherwise you’d see endless photos of decidedly non-pornographic yogurt.

I have been on a protein kick lately, so most of my meals have consisted of some permutation of meat plus carb, whether it’s pasta, rice, bread, or potato. This is a pulled pork sandwich dredged with some of Dr. Gonzo’s Smoke Isle sauce- we made a trip to Worcester to find it after the store recently reopened. But I’ve also been doing some desserts- this bittersweet chocolate, balsamic, nectarine, and creme fraiche tart was a lot of fun to make and eat.
We split some of these mochi dumplings a few weeks ago- in peanut butter, taro, red bean, and black sesame.

This is a more typical set of larger meals for me, something that I’ll eat after a good workout or as an early lunch before work. Brisket and Onion Crunch on a burrito has been my latest favorite indulgence– it’s so easy to throw together!

I’ve also been trying my hand at different types of grains with fabulous results. This rosemary chicken with maple and red pepper grits was one of the tastiest meals I’ve made in a while.

Pasta has been another easy meal, and this isn’t anything incredibly out of the box, but was very tasty. Roasted red pepper and tomato with chicken, Cajun spices, and onions.

I’ve been enjoying some more celebratory meals, too, to commemorate a successful apartment search, a late graduation shindig, and the potential publication of a short story I’ve been working on. Dad and I drank an ’82 Barton on a cold, rainy evening along with some fried yucca and steak with chimichurri.

The Bedfellow and I also had some wine the next night, along with some of the best steak I’ve ever made. I highly recommend sirloin for inexpensive, tender steak. I used to stick strictly to Porterhouse until I tried this and I doubt I’ll ever go back. It takes kindly to a good sear and also allows you to make a killer pan sauce after. I topped ours with roasted garlic and rosemary butter.

And of course, oven fries! (And yes, I take my steak bleu.)

This was the roasted garlic that went alongside. This is elephant garlic, so the bulbs are enormous!

Strawberries for shortcakes marinated in brown sugar, sea salt, gin, and honey for a few hours before serving.

We drank this 2006 Meerlust from South Africa. Dad and I had tried it at a tasting earlier that month, so it was fun to celebrate with on one of the nicest evenings of the summer thus far.

Sir Kensington’s Gourmet Scooping Mayonnaise (Original and Chipotle)

I told myself I’d be able to gently coax Sir Kensington’s new creamy, white sauce, known in some circles and areas of the Midwest as ‘mayonnaise,’ without any awful, bodily puns, but it appears I’ve blown my humor wad a little early. Luckily, I have four jars of this stuff to make up for it. Yes, your favorite gentlemanly purveyor of condiments has filled the condiment coffer (I assume you all have a condiment coffer) once again with their release of two mayonnaise flavors, Original and Chipotle. 

The new mayonnaise flavors are simplistic and clean in design on both the inside and outside of the package, as their original ketchup counterparts are. Minimal in ingredients, minimal in frippery. I’m excited to see a specialty food company working with mayonnaise- since Empire Mayo’s plethora of flavor releases, it’s been popular, but rarely done with other craft brands. Sir Kensington’s reputation and quality will hopefully open the doors for other companies to try their hand at eclectic mayo, too. And just in time for the Fancy Food Show (4th year running!)!

The new Gourmet Scooping mayonnaise, tested against an unnamed national brand rhyming with ‘Smellman’s,’ performs brilliantly- any pretense of awkward scooping is mitigated by the thick, creamy texture, lightly dotted with flecks of black pepper and a faint citrusy aroma. It’s the Greek yogurt of mayonnaise- a cut above the rest, with a more nuanced tang and acidity. It is also saltier than I expected it would have been. However, when analyzed on its own, the forefather of what I hope will be a golden age of artisanal mayonnaise, it falls a little short of my expectations.

I tried the mayonnaise in the two most important contexts- as a topping alongside a burger, and as a sauce for fries, the latter of which I picked up in Amsterdam, along with potential second-hand LSD flashbacks. What I liked about the European mayonnaise was that it stood on its own while acting as another way to enhance the glorious fries. It added another layer of shiny and rich to an already shiny and rich food without making it unnecessarily fatty. It’s lubricant for the soul. Did I expect that in Sir Kensington’s? Absolutely. Sir Kensington’s did for ketchup what society inexplicably did for Lena Dunham- validated the existence of a boring and overused staple of wiener-gobbling and brought out its insouciance. It was simple, but packed a punch.

While the mayonnaise was good, it had neither the indulgence of its European brethren nor the reimagined style of the brand’s initial frontrunner. It’s basic- high in quality, but essentially mayo v1.5. The chipotle is extremely well-crafted, despite suffering from the same high expectations as a result of Sir Kensington’s reinventing the wheel. Chipotle mayonnaise has been done before. That doesn’t mean that I’m not happy that Sir Kensington’s made their own version, but it does mean that my standards will be elevated when testing it. This is a clean, generously-spiced version, and is the Jekyll to the mild Hyde of the original. It reminds me of samourai sauce, and its pungent flavor lingers on the tongue and works well with the richness of the original base. Sir Kensington’s has taken a bold risk in releasing this line of spreads, but needs work before they can distinguish themselves from the crowd. As a gourmet version of a commercial brand, I’d have been content, but with a craft company as renowned as this in the specialty food world, I expected more.